Tuesday, July 20, 2010

From Drugs to MC Hammer... And Back Again

On Monday, with my wife beside me, my oncologist and I had an unexpected conversation. We had gone into the Willamette Valley Caner Institute and Research Center (WVCI) that morning with a very different plan. It was going to be our average office visit where we would cover my recent side-effects, doses, blood-work and, on this occasion, a discussion of my recent MRI. (MRI pictured, in part, below:)

I'll assume that, much like myself, you don't really get much information from these images. The first, to me, looks like Tim Burton's probable childhood drawing of a Christmas morning. The second, seems to be an image that may have been taken by the digital camera, hidden by aliens, in the telescope of Coronado as he traveled to what is now New Mexico.

Instead, something else happened. I had been talking with Kristin about the fact that, in spite of the encouragement from WVCI staff on the "quality" of my MRI results, I was not happy with the results. Basically the results showed no change with the exception in the largest of the multiple tumors showing slight shrinkage. From the point of view of someone in the oncology field it was a huge result. The drug, Vectibix, had managed to keep the cancer "at bay" with no growth. That would be great (he said sarcasticly) if I could remain on Vectibix forever. But I can only be on the drug for so long before the drug itself kills me.

So, unbeknownst to me, I started to have a nice little improvisational scene with my doctor in which I ask him to put more drugs inside me. It is generally considered a bad idea to combine Vectibix with any other drug. The side effects are drastic. He looked through my previous treatments and found one that might work with my current drug therapy, had worked before and would be the lesser of evils as far as side-effects that would be forthcoming. 

We've decided that on Thursday I will begin a combination of Vectibix and my old friend Oxaliplatin. The combined side effects should be fairly to horribly uncomfortable to live with. But this is my last chance. Unless something new is invented and able to be approved for trial on stage four patients with no money and no time or unless God chooses to step in this is my last chance. Our last chance. So if I'm going to spend the rest of my time with drugs and side-effects I'm willing to take the chance of getting my butt kicked. If it doesn't work, I'm in no worse a situation than I was a week ago... or even today.

With all the changes and my future feeling dimmer, I've decided to ask you all for a day of prayer. Wednesday, July 28th, Kristin and I would like to ask all of you to spend the day praying that God will heal my cancer. Those of you who have talked to me about the prospect of healing probably already know that I don't believe healing is God's plan for me. I think that God has a purpose in my cancer and, though I'll never likely see that purpose, I am satisfied that He has one. Still, the Bible (a book I believe deeply in) says, "Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn't rain, and it didn't—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again," in James 15:16-18. While I doubt I'd ever be able to claim that I'm "living right with God," I know that some of you are. Further than that, God listens. He hears every word.

"The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." - James 15:16b (The Message)

So, I'd like you to pray. Normally I say something like, "pray, send a thought, think of me... whatever works for you." But this time I'm asking a pretty big favor. For those of you who don't believe in a supreme deity, those of you who choose a different name for God than me or those who are just unsure, I'm asking you, just this one day to pray to God. Pray to God as I see Him. I'm not asking you to adopt my faith. I'm not trying to get you to have some spiritual experience that gives you some enlightenment and changes your life. My request is selfish. I just want to live and I'd like you to suspend or dis-suspend your belief for one day and pray to my God. 

I don't mean for you to take the day away from work or family or even your children I just mean that throughout the day, as it comes to mind or your reminded, take a moment and talk to "God" saying something like this, "God, please heal Aaron from his cancer. Take away his pain and take care of his wife and family. Thank you." It's a simple prayer. I do realize that this is a very large favor to ask. It may offend some of you. I apologize. But please put your problems with God, Priests, Pastors, Christians, me and any other God-associated group aside and say some prayers for me on Wednesdays, July 28th.

Thank you.


HKD said...

i will pray. hang in there. xo

Ivy said...

The Unscripted house is joining you in prayer. You and your wife are such an inspiration in your personal attitude and through your faith.

God bless you and we'll join you in prayer.

Banana Queen said...


Ali said...

I feel though it would be great to join everybody together and pray for just one day- those of us with the opportunity to live a healthy, normal life owe it to ourselves to pray every day. For you and others in your shoes.

You are in my thoughts, and my prayers.