My name is Larry. My wife Serah and I have been attending FCC for 10 years. I came to know Jesus when He did a miracle in my life when I was 18 and a freshman in college. A year ago, I was told thatI would need chemo. I wrote the attached working my way through to a decision on whether to have the chemo or not.
I am 69 years old and I am a 53 year cancer survivor. I have just been diagnosed with a stage 3 (possibly stage 4) high grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. One of the unique aspects of my diagnosis is that I have actually been expecting it for the last 6 years and, as such, have been preparing for this day.
This is my 3rd bout of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The first one (stage 1) was when I was 15 and required only surgery. The second one (stage 3) was 23 years later and required chemo and radiation. Now, after a 30 year remission, I am about to embark on another series of treatments for the 3rd time. What form those treatments take will be determined and modified over the next several months – assuming I survive that long.
When I finished my chemo and radiation 30 years ago, I sworeI would rather die that go through that nightmare again. I haven’t changed my mind. But, in my early 30’s, I figured out that my life is not mine to do with as I please. But, rather, if I am going to be a steward of everything God has put in my charge, then I cannot chose dying as an alternative. When we talk about stewardship in church, we talk about time, talent, and possessions. Most Christians rarely consider that our lives are our most valuable asset. But I was suicidal from my late teens into my early 30’s (it is amazing how being raped can change your expectations of life). I was never an optimist. I was born with 3 learning disabilities and thus had developed dysthymia (chronic low to moderate depression) while I was still a pre-teen. But I also was not suicidal until after I was raped. But, in my early 30’s, I figured that if I was going to commit myself to be a good steward for God, I needed to start by allowing God the right to determine when I die. Thus, in spite of my own preferences, I will start chemo, follow the doctors’ orders, and do what I can to preserve my life. I cannot say that I am looking forward to the experience, but I know it is what I must do.
Whenever Pastor Nancy visits me in the hospital, she would ask me what verses I would like her to read. I always ask for Romans 8:18 to the end of the chapter because there are3 verses that I hold onto to help me through my trials.
Romans 8:18 states “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” This verse reminds me that no matter what I endure today, I need to keep focused on the prize which will be revealed in my eternity.
Romans 8:28 states “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I do not understand why I need to go through this trial but I know that God does, that God is good, and that this is the path I need to trod.
Romans 8:39 states that nothing “ ...will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus ourLord.” Even when it feels like God is far away, I know He is here. When I feel isolated and alone, I know I am not.
I have no idea what the future holds. I may, or may not, survive the chemo. Because I cannot take the chemo regiment that is the most successful, I may survive the chemo just to find out that my cancer did too. If I look too far into the future, it becomes overwhelming. So I keep my eyes on the present; I do what I have to; I endure the pain and trauma which is part and parcel of dealing with my cancer; I trust God; and I thankGod that He is with me through it all. To paraphrase Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: My God is able to save me, but even if He doesn’t, He is still God and I will serve no other.