Cancer Treatment Prep – Updated

Last week’s surgery, MRI, and oncologist consult left me with the understanding that I have two types of cancer: Bladder (which has been removed) and metastatic Melanoma with nodules in every lobe of my lungs, two places in my brain and apparently in my liver near my gall bladder. Most of the nodules are quite small. The doctors keep telling me how rare it is to have two types of cancer at the same time.

I continue to marvel that the blood in my urine led to a CT scan which providentially revealed the nodules in my lungs. Otherwise there is no telling how much they would have grown to produce symptoms. Early discovery means small nodules make for much more effective treatment.

Dr. Frager is the radiation oncologist who will be supervising the radiation treatment on the larger nodule in my brain. We will meet on Monday, Nov. 29 to set up that process.

The strike against the Kaiser system was averted so I am expecting a call today or tomorrow from the oncology folk to set up the immunology infusions (opdivo and yervoy for all y’all curious folk). Each treatment will take about 4 hours and be done every three weeks. After four treatments there will be a scan to check the effectiveness.

My big question is what will be the side effects of the two treatment modalities. Since they vary widely from person to person those life impacting questions are unanswerable for now.

A challenging thing is explaining to people that I have no cancer symptoms at all. I sleep well, feel normally strong, and am enjoying a full and fulfilling fife of family and ministry.

The great anticipation is removing my catheter in Wednesday’s follow up visit with Dr. Burt to check on the success of the bladder cancer removal. There will be great rejoicing when I am once again living a bag free existence! UPDATE: The catheter is extricated and I am now free. Dr. Burt confirmed that the bladder cancer was lowgrade so he does not see any need for any chemotherapy or other stuff – just have a look every 6 months in case it recurs.

UPDATE: I am headed to Ft. Worth for Evnagelical Theological Society where I will lead the “Evangelicals and Women” session. It will be outstanding. But three of the five presenters cannot be present because of international travel restrictions, so I am taking portable equipment to bring them in by Zoom. Then to Kansas City to meet Sherry and hang with Donn, my son and and his family for Thanksgiving. While we are there, we will go to Topeka to visit Sherry’s uncle and also to visit Quentin Heights Elementary School where I did 5th and 6th grades back in the mid fifties!

24 thoughts on “Cancer Treatment Prep – Updated

  1. Gerry,
    Praying for you and Sherry and family. We don’t know each other but I use your video lectures on CLD from Western to facilitate a group at my church in Bakersfield, Riverlakes Community Church. Praying for your healing and praising God for your faithfulness in ministry.

    • Thank you, George. I know of Riverlakes. Glad you were able to use the CLD lectures. and I deeply appreciate your prayers.

  2. We have been praying for you as a Pastoral team at Imago my friend. Will continue to hold you up as you anticipate the impact of the therapy. We will continue to ask Jesus for complete healing and that his power would be made perfect in this weakness. Love to you my friend,

    Rick

    • Thank you, Rick. God is providing strength and good doctors. He continues to affirm, “this is not the end. Keep on with what you are doing.” So I live it with joy.

  3. “Even though I wasn’t sure exactly what to say, I talked to God and spoke your name, I prayed for you today. He whispered in the quiet and filled my heart with peace. He said that you are deeply loved and that His love won’t cease.” These words were written by Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos of Mercer Island. They clearly, and poetically, express my thoughts and actions of today. Gerry, you are loved… by me, your lovely wife, your family, friends, colleagues, and most importantly, by our Heavenly Father. Please know that I am praying for you daily.

  4. Wow. I mean….I’m sort of speechless, which is rare! 😉 Thanks be to God for the medical care you are receiving (my dad had Kaiser and they were awesome), and for the hope and optimism you continue to uphold! So many people are praying for you, Dave and I included of course. Hard to hear of cancer nodules in brain, liver, etc. But there’s always hope and it’s amazing that you are symptom-free and able to carry on with your “obsession”, living the gospel of grace!

    • You have very correctly identified my “obsession” Karen! Kaiser has been right on top of things for me and I am grateful. That I am doing this now vs. 6 years ago when the first melanoma episode happened means there is a treatment modality where there was none then. The treatment journey has begun.

  5. Hi Gerry. This is Suzy Chapman Reams. Ruth sent me an email the other day, and told me about your current situation, so now there is someone else sending up prayers for y’all. Today she sent me your webpage, so of course I had to read ALL of the entries. And it reminded me of why I enjoyed your classes… even when I had to become a linear thinker instead of a circular thinker for your state and defend questions! 😳🤪😩🙄

    • Thank you, Suzy. I have so many fond memories of the times when you were in Portland and we spent a lot of time seeking the Lord and His ways together

  6. Gerry,
    I am praying for you specifically daily. I am praying that Yahweh sustains you, your wife, and your ministry to equip God fearing men and women across your spheres of influence and beyond.
    To Christ be the glory.
    McKenzie

  7. Appreciate this update, Gerry! Praising God for your continued strength and symptom free living thus far. That is a HUGE HUGE blessing!

    • It is indeed, and a little hard to believe that it was caught early enough to be treated without symptoms. Thank you for your prayers, Lindsay

  8. Thanks again for the update. I’m following you and praying accordingly. It’s a lot of information for you all to absorb in a short time. I’m praying for your whole family, because I know this impacts grandchildren, too. It is amazing that you have no symptoms from disease, but you probably will from treatment. I’m grateful for all the recent advancement in medical science that give patients good quality of life for longer time. By the way, David’s dad lived for years without a bladder. He used to tell technicians ahead of time about all his missing organs so they didn’t freak out when they couldn’t find them on the scans!

    • Thank Jana. That is quite an accomplishment, but I don’t expect to follow – my bladder is in tact and should be cancer free now – and soon to be catheter free!

  9. Thanks for the detailed report. I know some very specific things to pray for now. Your grasp of God’s goodness and sovereignty in the discovery and treatment of your cancer is a beautiful picture of an intimate faith in our Lord. Thanks for including us on your journey.

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