Two Words Beat Three, Cancer-free!

On Monday (August 30, 2010), my medical oncologist told Lisa and me that I’m “cancer-free”. Those two words shattered the words “you have cancer”, that I first heard March 10, 2010. This strange journey has ended. I will still need a few months to fully regain my strength, endurance and energy, but being out from under the banner of “cancer patient” to “cancer survivor” is absolutely incredible.

I’ve learned a lot about myself, other people and God’s character. Personally, the human body is amazingly resilient. A lot of “parts”, muscles, glands, nerves and lymph nodes were surgically removed from my face, neck and shoulder. Although I have left facial paralysis, limited strength and range of motion issues in my arm and neck, my body is compensating and finally healing. Adjusting to the new, abrupt ‘normal’ is strange, but getting better each week. I would never have chosen cancer, but I’m glad God allowed it as I’ve learned so much in a short period of time. Lessons that I’ll be able to share with my three sons as Lisa and I continue to enjoy watching them grow up.

I’d love to know how many people prayed for me and my family during this strange time, certainly, hundreds. Thank you, thank you friends! God really does hear our prayers. He answers them on-time, never early, never later, on-time, His perfect time. The answers are not always what we think they should be. Lisa and I prayed with our pastor early on the morning before my first surgery and God’s answer was stage IV CxPA cancer. That’s not what we were expecting. I thought God might make the recovery period from that surgery even quicker than expected or perhaps not even necessary at the last minute. I was wrong.

The random acts of kindness, meals, notes, cards, gifts, visits, hugs and encouragement demonstrated by you my friends is wonderfully overwhelming and incredibly special. I am a blessed man. Throughout chemotherapy treatments and especially radiation, those gracious gestures lifted my spirit and gave me the determination not to quit. Lisa knows that I considered quitting a couple of times, either due to the frustration or pain. Thank you for being used by God to spur me on to get well.

God’s character is love, perfect love. As it says in John 3:16 “God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.” I love a lot of people, but I wouldn’t consider killing any one of my sons for anyone. God allowed his only son to die for us, that’s a perfect love. Here’s a cool video that tells the story of hope: http://www.billygraham.org/specialsections/graffiti/graffiti.asp

I titled this post as “Two Words Beat Three”, but one Word beats all words, Love.

Thank you friends for praying for me and caring for me when I could do neither for myself. I am grateful.

Love and press on, Rich

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8 thoughts on “Two Words Beat Three, Cancer-free!

  1. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
    Praise Him, all creatures here below;
    Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
    Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

    Praise God the Father who’s the source;
    Praise God the Son who is the course;
    Praise God the Spirit who’s the flow;
    Praise God, our portion here below

  2. Rich and Lisa: What wonderful news! Gay and I and many of our dear friends around the country who have never met you, but know you through 33 Hope have sent love and prayers your way these last 7 months. I had your test and Dr. visit dates on my calendar to remind me to send prayer for you a week ago on Monday and Wednesday, and on this Monday. Reading the news today gave us such joy for you and your family! We continue to remain vested in the faith. He is alive, that we might have everlasting life. I give thanks each day for my blessings, and today I give thanks for yours as well Rich. Thank you for being a great partner, a great example of faith under adversity, and as Steve Brown of the Key Life Ministry says, for “showing up” as a Christian. Bill and Gay Whitacre

  3. Rich,

    Although we have never met, I have found your story and your faith to be a source of tremendous inspiration. I continue to be in awe of your strength and fortitude.

    May God continue to to bless you, your family, and your friends. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your journey with everyone.

    I hope that maybe one day our paths will cross when I am visiting the Wolfs in Tampa. Until then, you will continue to be in my prayers!

    John Stone

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