Alternatives. We face some choices. We were hoping for a clean bill of health for Jeny but her medical report was not what we hoped for. The doctor did not see visible evidence of cancer. However, the tests revealed the type of cancer is rare and known to be a particularly aggressive form. The measurement for breaching the uterus was on a scale of 14. Jeny’s measurement was a 13. Cancer nearly breached the lining.
Jeny came home from the doctor with three alternatives. First is watchful waiting. Second is radiation. Third is chemotherapy and radiation.
The doctor is said it is always possible some microscopic cells escaped. If none escaped, then watchful waiting would be an acceptable risk. But if some escaped, the result would not be good.
He reports medicine has developed a particularly effective chemical against this type of cancer cell. Thus, if a few did escape then treatment would greatly improve her prognosis.
Jeny has checked with several people. notably my niece Dr. Laura Goff who is Executive Medical Director for the Vanderbilt Cancer Center. She consulted several colleagues and the unanimous recommendation was chemotherapy and radiation.
Jeny will begin treatment in June when she has healed from her surgery. She will receive treatment once a month for five months.
Another Choice. We have a second choice about how the circumstance are to be viewed. It could have been chance that everything fell in place so that the cancer was removed when it was so close to escaping the uterus. Thirteen out of 14 is very close to disaster. We chose to see it in a spiritual sense. We believe God moved in the situation and we are thankful.
I believe and am thankful Jeny was nudged to immediately seek medical help. She did not avoid the doctor in the fear it would be bad news. She embraced finding the truth. If she had waited, we would be facing far more difficult decisions.
Similar Story. Her diagnosis reminds me of my own diagnosis of cancer over 15 years ago. I have shared my story with many of you before, but under the circumstances it seems worth repeating.
I saw my doctor for my routine physical. He recommended I switch blood pressure medicines because mine was more expensive than an alternative. I was hesitant but he suggested I try it for 30 days. If I was not happy with the new drug I could switch back.
I tried the new medication for 30 days and decided to switch back. When I called, I was told the doctor left the practice. I asked for my old medication and was told I would have to establish a relationship with a new doctor before they would be able to write the prescription.
I argued but I lost. I was self-righteously angry. I made the appointment since I needed the prescription.
When I arrived the first thing the nurse said was “What are you doing here? You were just here last month.” That really set me off. I replied “Your office told me I had to come in.” My tone was sarcastic.
When I met the doctor, the first thing he said was “What are you doing here? You were just here last month.” You can imagine my reaction. “Your office told me I had to come in to establish a relationship before I could get my prescription back” I replied in a self-righteous tone.
Then something hit me – my previous doctor never did a physical exam of my prostate. My PSA was below 1 and there was no reason to “glove up”. But I had recently read men of my age should still have a physical exam. So, I decided if we are supposed to establish a relationship we just as well get up close and personal and requested a physical exam of my prostate.
He was a little surprised. He does not get that request every day.
He conducted the exam and at the last moment said he felt a small hardening. He did not think it was anything but recommended a biopsy.
Thus, I found myself lying on my side, with my rear exposed to a number of students at the University Hospital, while a doctor took small parts of me for lab tests. The report came back as cancer. My cancer was fully removed by a robotic process and I have had many more years of life, just as we hope happens for Jeny.
Miracle odds. Consider the combined odds of the following events:
- His suggestion to change medicines.
- My agreement to try the new one when I was happy with the former.
- The likelihood of him leaving the practice.
- The office holding firm to their requirement to see me, rather than honoring his statement he would renew the old prescription.
- Me agreeing to an appointment rather than just switching to the cheaper drug. (If you know my fiscal habits you will associate this decision with very high odds.)
- I would read and remember an off-hand recommendation for a prostate physical exam.
- The doctor would agree to an exam with my PSA below 1.
- They would find the problem.
Without all of those factors coming together the cancer would have grown for another year before my next annual physical. I do not believe the odds have to be this great to have faith in God’s action in my life, but when the odds are this great it is hard to dismiss them as chance.
Just as in Jeny’s situation I choose to see it as God’s action in my life and be thankful.