View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Friday, April 29, 2016

Decisions decisions


Job 23:14  He will fulfill what He has planned for me; that plan is just one of the many he has. 

Proverbs 4:26  Plan carefully what you do, and whatever you do will turn out all right.

Proverbs 17:21  People may plan all kinds of things, but the Lord’s will is going to be done.

This has been the week of trying to make wise decisions on what procedure to choose, or do nothing, and seeking God’s will.   It has not been easy because God did not make it a clear choice.  So I determined that based on His silence it was up to me and in the long run it probably was not going to make a difference in the end whatever choice I make.  Bottom line is my day of being born and dying were determined long before the foundation of the earth was formed.  So it came to a point when I said “Come on, God, gee whizz, give me 
a break here!!  I need some help determining what your will is!”  Because that is all I want is God’s will in my life.  Not my family’s, or my friends, not even mine, but only God’s will. 

If you remember my choices were 1) do nothing; 2) Surgery; 3) Immune therapy;  4) Clinical Trials.
I asked the surgeon what would it be like if I chose to do nothing.  Remember life expectancy is one to two years.  The doctor gave me a solemn look and said “You really don’t want to go down that path.  The cancer will take over the left side of your face, causing swelling and all sorts of ugliness, probably will lose the sight of left eye, you will waste away because the cancer will consume all your energy and you will die of something other than the cancer.  You may fall and break a hip, catch the flu, get pneumonia, any of these or something else will kill you because of your weakened condition.”  Well, that sounds exciting. 

I asked the oncologist about the Immune therapy.  There are less side effects but one is troublesome.  It can cause diarrhea up to 3 or 4 times per day all the way to 20 times per day.  Thank you but no thanks.  Also it has only a 30% chance of success with melanomas and even less success with mucosal melanoma, but insurance will pay for it.  As for the clinical trials, they are not covered by insurance and the medicine is prohibitly expensive, like $100,000 for 4 vials for a 12 week study.  Plus whatever the hospital and doctors costs are.  And no guarantee of success. 

So that basically leaves me with one choice.  I cannot do the “do nothing” choice because that makes it final.  Giving up is not in my profile.  It very well may become necessary down the road but not today.  I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.  In the mean time I have decided to proceed with the surgery with the understanding that they only take out those areas where there is cancer and they leave in the upper jaw bone.  I believe that will give me a quality of life that will be acceptable until the cancer returns, which I am told by both doctors is not “if’’ but “when.”  And “when” has been defined as any time after 6 months.   

That all said, we now have two pre-opt appointments scheduled for Wednesday, May 4th, and surgery scheduled for Friday, May 6th.  Hospital stay is projected from 7 to 10 days, with possible rehab afterwards if needed.  The word is that there will be 6 to 8 weeks of recovery after the surgery before returning to Hawaii.  Which is fine because Mitchell’s and Hanna’s wedding is the 17th of June and we were planning to be here for that anyway. 

Now for Prayer request:  1)  that I will survive the operation.  8 to 10 hours is a long time for a 77 year old to be operated on.  2)  that the surgeon will be able to get all the cancer without removing the eye or the upper left jaw bone and teeth.   3)  That recovery will go smoothly and the pain will be manageable.  4)  Pray for Jeri.  The stress that this whole scenario is causing is very detrimental to those who have Parkinson’s disease.  5)  Pray for Randall and Lani as they are having to bare the brunt of housing us, going to appointments with us and helping us make these decisions, all the while working full time jobs.  They have been tremendous in helping coordinate appointments, feeding us and generally taking care of us.  They have been a blessing from God. 

As we know more we will update you as we are able.  Thank you all for your faithful prayers.