View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Friday, March 21, 2014

Round Three

Yes it has been a long time since I have written on my blog, and I was not intending to this time either, But the longer I wrote, the more I realized I needed to post it.  This is just to bring everyone up to date.  For the last 18 or 20 months I have been fighting with type 2 diabetes, losing the battle,  About 8 months ago the stomach pain and bowel pain, which we thought was coming from the diabetes medicine, became worse and so I stopped it, only to discover that was not the cause.  In the beginning of December I went back to the G.I. doctor and said "We have to scope my stomach and find out why I am having this sporadic pain." Turns out that because I had not had a stress test since I retired in 2001, she was requiring one before she would put me under anesthesia to do an endoscopy.   I insisted that I was not having any heart issues, but she insisted on ruling out angina, which can express itself in various and sundry parts of the body.  Thus began a catch 22 situation where now I was having to have tests for something that was not bothering me, and not dealing with the pain that was causing my distress. 
Of course, the GI doctor can't request the stress test at the hospital, my GP has to do that.  Another week goes by, I have the stress test, and sure enough, a little blip shows up and they don't know why.  After two more stress tests and two sessions with an ultra sound with a cardiologist that only comes to the Big Island once a week from Honolulu, nobody knows what is going on.

We are now into mid February where I spend three days in the hospital while they try to figure out my stomach pain.  They do the last part of the stress test, a CT scan, test on my gallbladder, kidneys, pancreas, determining the gallbladder is suspect and there is inflammation and swelling in the lower bowels.  But NOBODY will sign off on doing a colonoscopy or endoscopy until the heart issue is resolved.  They call me on the 26th to schedule an angiogram on Friday the 28th at 11:30 am in Honolulu.  No one on the Big Island can do that procedure.  Problem is, I can't find a seat on any airline that will get me there by 11:30.  Hawaii is flooded with tourists from any area where the weather is cold (which is just about everywhere).  This is where I make an executive decision and tell them I am already booked for a flight to Portland on the 5th of March for our granddaughter's wedding and I will pursue treatment there.  This, of course, is a huge relief to my two daughters.
We spend the first week Portland making appointments at Oregon Health Science University (OHSU)  all which have to be  after the 15th because I am not risking anything getting in the way of being able to attend the wedding.  The angiogram was completed on the 18th and, guess what;  nothing is going on.  The heart is fine, no blockage, no build up, only a 10 to 15% reduction in flow which is expected in a normal 75 year old, especially in one whose body has been subjected to all kinds of abuse and stress over the years.

Now that that issue has been put to bed, they scheduled a colonoscopy and endoscopy for the 20th, yesterday, to be completed at the same time.  Only their news was not good news.  Inflammation in the stomach, and evidence of cancer in the colon. Biopsy's were taken and we are waiting for those results.  This morning I was notified that I have appointments with the G.I. surgeon on the 27th and also the Preoperative Medicine Clinic that afternoon.  I am assuming the biopsy report will be back by then.  Also this morning, the colonoscopy doctor called to say the CT scan showed no indication of tumors anywhere else in the torso other than what is already in the colon. 

So Jeri and I begin the next chapter in our lives.  There was never the question of if the cancer would come back but when, and where.  And until the biopsy report comes back we won't know if it is related to mucosa melanoma.

As I have been writing this I have received 6 calls from various doctors and nurses giving me results of tests, scheduling of appointments or just checking on how I was doing after all the procedures yesterday.  I don't think I have received 6 calls from Hawaii medical people in the last 6 months.  

The  CT results show no indication of any cancer other than in the colon.  Lungs are clear as is the pelvic area, so that is good news.  There is also no indication that the cancer has masticated outside the colon.  At this point it appears that surgery is a given and any decision on radiation and/or chemo will depend on what they find during surgery.

Last night my oldest grandson, Mitchell, asked me how I was doing with all of this.  I said I was doing fine with it, it wasn't the first time we had traveled down this trail, and he replied that he was not fine with it.  And so began a long discussion of who is actually in control, the cycle of life, and where I was in all of this.  And so I want to share that with all of you also.

I am a big fan of God being in control of my life.  I have seen evidence of it in my life of 75 years, and would not trade any day of it for what I might think would have been better.  I am appreciative of the adversity's that have occurred in my life because it has strengthened my faith and made me stronger.  God has shown me great love and has blessed me beyond - well, most of my dreams.  Surely more than I deserve.  I am not looking forward to major surgery and/or radiation and chemotherapy.  But I know that God has a plan for this, and I am His servant and this may not be about me, but about someone down the road who needs to hear my testimony and see how God has operated in my life.
I explained to my grandson that this is part of the cycle of life.  I am in a win/win situation.  If I am healed a third time, what a blessing that will be.  If not, then I will be at home with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and that will be the greatest blessing of all.  For those of us who know Christ, and have accepted him as Lord and Savior, we will spend eternity in heaven fellow shipping with each other.  When one dies it leaves a huge hole in the lives of those around him, but life goes on, time heals.  Death is just as much a part of life as birth is.  We have an appointed time for both and there is nothing, NOTHING we can do to alter those dates.  I explained to Mitchell that both sets of grand parents are going to die, but not before their appointed time, and in the end we will all be meeting again in Heaven because of our love for Jesus.

He asked me if I was afraid of what was forth coming and I said that death does not scare me, but I was afraid of the pain of surgery and the amount of time it takes to recoup from that, but mostly of the thoughts of having to go through chemotherapy and dealing with the side effects of that.  I have not felt good since 2009 just before we started dealing with the last episode of cancer, and so to anticipate what lies before me, and my family, I am not the least bit excited to go through this again and what looks like more pain than before.

But, the good news is that my Heavenly Father knew of this before the foundations of the earth were set in place, has placed in motion everything that I will need, will comfort and hold me when needed, and I have hundreds of people praying from me all over the U.S. and in some parts of the world.

Matthew 6:7-8 "When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long. Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him. GNB  (see past blog Adoption, February 2010)

I want to thank everyone for their prayers in the past and request your continued prayers as we travel down this new trail.  


  1. Hi Mike, We just read your news and we are sorry to hear that you are facing another round of treatments and uncertainty. Fortunately we belong to a God who knows with certainty each day and moment allotted to us and has given us the certainty of His presence and a secure hope for eternity. You will be in the prayers of a good number of people who love you and are concerned for you and Jeri. Thanks for letting us know. Love and prayers, Cindy and Mike.

  2. I am sure you know how Linda and I feel. We have informed Heather and her family. We all will be with you in spirit and in the knowledge that God never puts us in a situation in which He also doesn't give us the strength to deal with it. Please keep us informed and give Miss Jeri a big hug for us.

    Ron & LInda and family

  3. Dear Mike and Jeri,
    Well, brother, you've had to go through a lot over the past few years, but you've managed to 'stick to the stuff!' Our Lord is truly sufficient for all things that come into our lives. What a great testimony you gave your grandson. Sue and I are sorry we didn't make more of an effort to see you two after we left Newfoundland. After I finally was able to hang up the uniform in retirement in 1990, we should have taken the time to come see you instead of going to Newfoundland to see what it looked like. Just know you and Jeri are in our prayers. Sue and I teach a couples' Sunday School class here in Warner Robins composed of folks over 60. We'll put you all on our prayer list there as well. What a great thing it is to know that "absent for the body is to be present with the Lord." Please let us hear from you. Our email address is
    F.O. and Sue

  4. Dear fellow classmate and youth group friend,
    My prayers will be for your travel down this new road. Your faith in God is inspiring and your witness strong. Glad to hear no cancer outside of the colon and only surgery pending for that area. God bless and keep you each step of the way. And, God bless Jeri and your family as they support and encourage you. No fun suffering, but fight the good fight and come out on the other side as you have done before. I expect postive blog follow-ups documenting your progress. May God give you His peace. Sharon Drake