Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom. 5:1-5 NKJ)
I just wanted to post in order to publicly thank our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His special grace toward me over the past six months or so. Back in early November 2021, I underwent a transrectal biopsy for prostate cancer that led to complications. After about four days, I was in the emergency room with acute prostatitis and sepsis. Apparently, the usual antibiotics they had given at the time of the procedure (Cipro) failed to work. I spent four days in the hospital and went home feeling much better and taking a different antibiotic (Augmentin). However, after about ten more days, I was back in the emergency room again with acute prostatitis and sepsis. This time I spent six days in the hospital, during which time they discovered that E. coli had gotten into my bloodstream, and they diagnosed me with bacteremia. They inserted a PICC line, and I then underwent six weeks of daily infusions of Rocephin at the hospital. In the end, by the grace of God, I dodged the same bullet twice, you might say, and I am thankful to be alive.
Meanwhile, my biopsy result had shown that I had high grade prostate cancer (Gleason 4+5=9) that appeared to have gotten outside the prostate and into the peripheral nerves at the very least. Unfortunately, we could not do anything about the cancer until I finished the course of Rocephin and there was certainty that the bacteremia had been eradicated. The V.A. sent me to the University of Chicago Hospital, where there were specialists in high grade, high risk prostate cancer such as mine. I met with a team of specialists on Wednesday, January 5, and my wife and I chose the surgical option for treatment. The surgeon said he wanted to schedule my surgery as soon as possible because of the seriousness of the cancer, but that he didn’t know if he could get me in any sooner than a month or two later. Thankfully, however, on the following Tuesday, January 11, the surgeon called with news of a postponement in his schedule and asked if I could make it for surgery that Friday, January 14. He said that I was the worst case and was therefore at the top of the list in case of an opening. I gratefully agreed to undergo the surgery at that time, of course. The surgery confirmed that I have stage 3 cancer. I am told that there is about a 30% cure rate in a case such as mine. As I see it, however, I have a 100% chance that all of God’s promises will come true and a 0% chance that anything will happen apart from God’s good and gracious plan for me, for my family, and for my church.
Since the surgery, there has been a fairly lengthy recovery, with the usual, expected after-effects of such a procedure. However, there were a couple of effects through all of this that I hadn’t expected. The first effect was significant lack of sleep. I went for a number of months in which I rarely got more than an hour of sleep at any one time. Thankfully, that period is over, and I have been sleeping much better over the last few weeks.
The second effect was significant brain fog and memory issues, which I am still experiencing, although it appears to be slowly getting better. At first, it was so bad that I thought I might be getting early onset dementia. My primary care physician at the V.A. tells me that a number of the things I’ve experienced could have impacted my brain and caused these symptoms, including sepsis (which I endured twice), bacteremia, anesthesia during the surgery (which was done while I was essentially upside down, with all the blood rushing to my brain for 3-4 hours), and prolonged lack of sleep. Each of these could have caused the brain issues, but I was blessed to have had them all. But my doctor has encouraged me that it should continue to improve. I certainly hope so, because it has been very difficult to focus for very long and to learn new things or to remember things I already know.
I am currently having my blood tested every three months to check my PSA levels, and so far, by the grace of God, the results have been good. I am grateful to our Lord Jesus that I am still alive. I am grateful for His providential care and guidance. I am grateful for His constant grace and faithfulness. And I am thankful for the peace He has given me throughout these difficult days. What a wonderful Savior we have! If you would, please say a prayer of thanks to Him on my behalf today, and please ask Him for continued healing on my behalf as well.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:28-39 NKJ)