It’s been one year (Wednesday, March 10, 2010) since I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer during the first surgery. Wow! A lot has changed since then. I continue to have regular medical and oncology appointments. I am 100% cancer-free. I’ve been receiving physical therapy for the past few months for my head, neck and shoulder. I’m gaining strength, mobility and relief from the lymphadema.
From a business perspective, January 2011 took off like a rocket! Digital Lightbridge has been blessed with many new, exciting clients and ministries to serve. Our showroom sales approach is effective. In April, Digital Lightbridge will celebrate its 10th year serving world-class organizations. I continue gain great wisdom and perspective from Digital Lightbridge’s board of directors.
The wonderful Tampa Bay magazine Overflow ran a story entitled “Beating the Odds with God” in their January 2011 issue. Getting over being photographed with my new appearance was interesting. I’ve been encouraged by the comments from their kind readers.
On February 1st, Lisa and I celebrated our nineteen wedding anniversary. We went on an amazing eight-day, eastern Caribbean cruise. Thankfully, my father-in-law Darrell and Brenda watched the three boys during the week and my beautiful sister Stacey took the weekend shifts. This was our eighth cruise and best!
I’ve been asked to speak publicly quite a bit over the past several months about the miraculous healing that I received, which is ironic since the left side of my face is paralyzed and talking in a clear manner is a challenge. In January, I was blessed to speak to Somebody Cares Pasco at the Salvation Army. On Monday, April 4, 2011, I’ll be speaking to Pastor Glen Gammon’s men’s group at Countryside Christian Center in Clearwater and on Saturday, April 30, 2011, I’ll be speaking to the American Cancer Society at St. Leo University.
Late last week, I was asked by the Florida Cancer Institute and Caris Life Sciences to participate in a clinical trail on my particular cancer (carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma (CxPA)). On Sunday, I was given a vision to start an organization called CXPA Cancer Foundation. The goal of the foundation will be to provide cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers with timely information about carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma, head and neck cancers, treatments options, health and disability insurance, my personal story and ultimately where real hope and healing can be found.
In some ways, I can’t believe its been a year since my diagnosis. Time went by incredibly fast. I remember when I was a kid and my grandmother would tell me that “when you get older time goes by faster”, she was right. Even in the midst of the dire uncertainty last year, each day was only 24 hours long. Each day only contained enough trouble for me and Lisa to handle at that moment. And now, with 12 months of perspective, I can see a hint of God’s plan. His perspective is not limited by time or circumstances. He is the author of time and life. As our Father, He only gives us what He wants us, as His children, to manage at each moment. Matthew 6:34 says “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today”. The statement “Today’s trouble is enough for today” for me means, don’t run scenarios out in your head about what you want God to do for you, I think He just wants us to really trust Him right now, in the moment and know that He is God, we are not and that He will work things out in his timing for our good.
Yesterday morning, during the weekly Bible study at my office. I admitted to the guys that my faith was so small last year, that even though I knew that God was capable of healing me, I didn’t fully accept it. On August 30, 2010, when Lisa and I went into our oncologist’s office to finally hear the report after the first post-treatments PET scan, I honestly expected to hear one-of-three things from him; more treatments, more surgery or there is nothing more we can do. When Dr. Robbins said “Your not in remission, your simply cancer-free.” I couldn’t believe it. My mind had begun to accept the “reality of my circumstances” – terminal stage IV cancer. But then, Truth showed up and reset my reality. That day reminds me of when the disciples were in the boat with Jesus (and He was sleeping) and the massive, violent storm tossed their vessel around and they believed the “reality of their circumstances”. As very experience, hearty fishermen, the disciples, although they literally had the Savior of the world in their boat, their faith was so small that they were terrified and feared death (Matthew 8:23-27). Today, with Jesus in our “boat of life”, in our every circumstance (big or small), we can be confident (with a little faith) that He will not forget us or allow us to be alone in our fear. I say all of this with love and mostly as a reminder to myself.
Later today, I continue my cancer journey with blood work/tests at the cancer center, an appointment with my medical oncologist next week and my surgeon (Dr. Steiniger) later in the month.
Thank you again to everyone who has walked with me and my family during this strange, horrible, wonderful and miraculous experience. We continue to covet your prayers and notes of encouragement.
Press on friends, Rich