Our 55th anniversary was the beginning of a series of epic family events. Joy and Nathaniel were married on April 29. David did double duty as the “officiant” as as the Father of the bride. Nicole, soon to become Colton’s wife, was maid of honor (who cried tears of joy through most of the ceremony). I got to do a grandfather’s blessing after they had the first kiss of their marriage.
Donn and Elizabeth flew in from Kansas City to join Cyndee, Sherry and me in the trek to Hermiston. We did a family picture after the cermony, but somehow Joy was a bit occupied. I delighted in their first dance. The videos are here and here
Michael’s baptism was next on May 21 in Kansas City. David joined Sherry and me for the quick trip to join the celebration. Elizabeth partnered with another girl doing the call to worship (video here) and I did the invocation and the baptism was the focus of the rest of the service. The baptism video is here.
It was wonderful to see Michael responding with joy and also with appropriate reverence in the service before returning to a playful 9 year old at the potluch following the service. He made the rounds of the tables greeting everyone and sharing his enthusiasm. The hightlight of the afternoon was a very competitive Mario Cart game! The challenge was to the airport on time for our 7am departure!
Grandpa-Granddaughter trip to Paris and Nicole-Colton wedding posted soon
I had an in office appointment with Dr. Mashru, my medical oncologist today. That’s the first time we have been in the same room in many months. My blood work has been fine for all those months which is wonderful. My recent scans showed one new small melanoma nodule in my lung. That new nodule prompted him to change from pausing immunotherapy after Wednesday’s session to continuing them through the end of June. Then there will be another scan and another consultation.
I am still trying to assess my reaction to this new nodule. It doesn’t really concern me, but any new growth must get serious attention, which Dr. Mashru is giving it.
At Sherry’s request I had Dr. Mashru take a look at a rough spot on my back. He looked carefully, gave a initial suggestion that the skin lesion was a skin cancer of some kind (not melanoma), took a picture and sent it to my Dermatologist. She soon messaged me saying it looks like a “seborrheic keratosis” which is a scary phrase. But she also noted that Dermatologists refer to these benign growths as “barnacles” 😊 So I laughed, thanked her, telling her I am looking forward to my July appointment where she will give me a complet skin check.
I have to admit my bigger emotion is toward Joy Love’s Saturday wedding in Stanfield with Donn and Elizabeth coming from Kansas City and Cyndee coming from Cannon Beach.
My 42nd Western Seminary commencement on Friday and Saturday was a wonderful event. As MABL program founding director, I get to hood all the graduates in the program. There are so many stories in this group of men and women, including two babies born to students this semester. Very productive time.
Dr. Frager, my radio-oncologist, released me from care since the melanoma in my brain is gone. I remember the Green Mask and the multi-member team controlling the CyberKnife that did the ultra-precise zap on the two nodules.
Dr. Burt, my urologist, removed the bladder cancer with “ordinary surgery” a year ago. He just took another look and showed me the inside of my bladder: no sign of cancer visually. The urine cytology lab test confirmed: “Negative for High Grade Urothelial Carcinoma”
Dr. Mashru, my medical oncologist, after reviewing my last CT scan and blood tests explained that the infusions of Nivolumab every four weeks for treating the melanoma that metastasized into my lungs. The good news is that he expects to end those treatments in April, which is a year after they began.
I asked for clarification, and he confirmed that since there has been no activity in the cancer over the last 15 months of treatment, he expects it is dead. Follow up CT scans will monitor to confirm
No cancer?? I will admit that it is hard to wrap my mind around that prognosis. But with prayers of thousands and cutting-edge treatment, that seems likely.
UPDATE: I had my pre-infusion blood tests (all good) and conversation with the Nurse Practitioner. She was pleased to hear how well I was doing which led me to do a bit of research on response to nivolumab treatment for Melanoma, If I read this article correctly, the overall survival rate is 42% and the disease progression-free survival rate is 36%. Mine was detected early and even more importnatly covered with prayers of many.
Colton formally proposed and slid the ring on Nicole’s finger. This means two upcoming weddings: Joy and Nathaniel in late April and Nicole and Colton on July 1.
Christmas in Kansas City
We are spending a week with Donn, Susan, Elizabeth and Michael through Christmas Day. We got a blizzard to highlight our time! You can see Michael’s sled trip in sub-zero weather here. Michael also went high to top the Christmas tree decorations as you can see here
Our visit will include a Saturday Chiefs game. With temperature in the low teens, wind chill in low single digits, Donn purchased Mobile Warming Heated Wool Socks. I get to use Elizabeth’s pair!
The visit will culminate with Christmas Eve and Christmas morning services at their church. I am excited that Elizabeth will be doing readings on Christmas Eve, but a bit disappointed that their children’s Christmas program occurred last week.
Visit to Spring Branch Cemetary & Wheatland
Sherry and I traveled to Spring Branch Cemetary, outside the church I grew up in and where we will be gathered to our fathers, to introduce Michael to his ancestors, going back to grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents!
Then we drove south to Wheatland and had a marvelous lunch at Gigi’s Cafe.
The results of my Wednesday CT scan are back and the news is very good: (1) No evidence of disease progression. (2) Stable to slightly smaller pulmonary nodules. There is a lot of detail but that’s the bottom line.
I will continue having Opdivo (Nivolumab) infusions every 4 weeks and scans every three months, the next in January and another in April. The only side effects is an itchy back so Sherry anoints it each evening. But next week I will be in Denver for Evangelical Theological Society National Meetings Monday-Friday and then at Grace Pointe Church in Las Vegas for the week end. I may ask Andrew, my roomie, to do some unusual duty
I have been at all the national meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society will be since 1977. This will be the first time since 1986 that I will be I will have no leadership role. It’s going to feel very strange! But I will enjoy meeting many old and new friends as well has hearing some fine papers.
The NEW news is that Joy sprouted an engagement ring thanks to Nathanael! He joined the Dojo where Samantha teaches. After a couple of sessions, Sam asked Joy to come “help” her. The rest to the story is summed up in “happily ever after”!