Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Treatment Fears & Concerns

Ever since we started this blog we've tried to keep everything as open and honest as possible with what we are going through, what we are feeling, what our needs are, how you can pray, etc. Over the past several days, Kate and I have not been at peace with her going through radiation and chemotherapy treatments. The effectiveness of the treatment (chemo especially) is not well known and the potential long term side effects are very scary. Kate and I had a special time of prayer together on New Year's Eve to lay out our concerns before the Lord, asking for wisdom and confirmation from Him if we should stay on this course.

I'm embarassed to admit that we did not have prayer time together before she started treatments, only individually. If fact, we hadn't prayed together as a couple for a long time. This is my fault as the spiritual leader of my family, however, today is a new day and God has awakened me to do this more often. Praying with your spouse is a privilege and a very wonderful thing!

The chemotherapy drug Kate is taking, Temodar, has really only started to be used in the past few years. A very real risk of taking this drug is developing leukemia. On the radiation side, each daily dose she receives is significantly more than a general x-ray. Potential long term side effects include vision problems, cognitive disfunction, and secondary brain tumors, among other things.

If you've been following our story for sometime, by now you realize there are no "standard" protocols in the medical community for treating cancer, especially brain cancer. Doctors only prescribe approaches they think "might" work, and even then each doctor has a different opinion. It sure seems like a big guessing game with my wife as the guinea pig.

None of these treatments deal with the root cause of why Kate developed brain cancer in the first place, they only work to try and slow the tumor growth (if any remains). It seems logical that if you don't correct the root cause of the problem, then you are likely to get cancer again. From my research, I think the answer lies with one's nutrition. That is why we have radically changed Kate's diet to cut out processed sugar, reduce animal fats, reduce preservatives, increase Omega-3 (polyunsaturated) fats, increase fruits & vegetables, use purified water and purchase more organic foods.

If cancer was simply a genetic problem then I would expect all countries to have nearly equal cancer rates. But they are not, only Western countries have high rates of cancer. The obvious discernable difference in my mind, which has been researched and published extensively, is our dietary habits. Hence the reason why I am so passionate about improving my wife's (and family's) diet. I hope you will take this information to heart as well.

As we continue to make decisions regarding treatment, here are some immediate prayer requests:

1. If there is any reason why Kate should discontinue the current treatment plan and choose another plan, that God would make it abundantly clear to us.

2. If we continue with the current treatment plan, that Kate would be protected from long term side effects. Also, that short term side effects (fatigue, nausea, vomitting, constipation, loss of appetite, hair loss, etc) would be minimal and bearable.

3. That Kate would continue to have opportunities to minister to others.

4. That our marriage would continue to grow stronger through this trial.

5. That we would continue to say "yes" to people who want to serve us during this time.

6. That we would grow much closer to God and avail ourselves to spend time with Him, in the Word and in prayer.

Finally, a friend sent us a devotional email this week that was written by a well-known pastor (John Piper) and I wanted to share the high points with you. You can find the entire text of the devotional at: http://www.desiringgod.org/

Don't Waste Your Cancer

1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.

2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.

3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.

4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.

5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.

6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.

7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection.

8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.

9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.

10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.

Thank you for your prayers and support and encouraging blog posts. We appreciate and cherish all you are doing for us. May God double the blessing back to you.

Dave

5 comments:

Gram said...

If ever I felt the need to have drama in my life I suppose this time of life would take care of that need.
Several blog's back Kate's sister made a statement that Kate should follow her heart and not her head. It was in regard to knowing her well as a child.
I've known for awhile that Kate ponders a different approach to brain cancer then the conventional way of treatment. I get a little skidish when asked what my thoughts are about chemo and radiation. My first thoughts are this is life and death. Hit it as hard as you can and get rid of it. And yet I also think it is too big of a toll on the body.
When asked again tonight by Kate my thoughts on treatment, I kept thinking about the need for wisdom.
On Sunday I was handed a little devotional book written by a young man in my church on the subject of wisdom. Here is a excerpt:
31 Devotionals The Value of Wisdom by Mark P. Meuser
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding Proverbs 4:7
God gave Solomon wisdom not because Solomon was the king of Israel, God gave Solomon wisdom because Solomon saw the value of wisdom and he asked God to give him wisdom.
Jesus tells you in Matthew 13:44 that the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure in the field. The man who finds that treasure sells everything he has to purchase the field. Wisdom is no different. You must first see the value of wisdom. Upon finding the value of wisdom, it is your duty to do what you must in order to obtain that which is valuable.
I can only watch and pray for Dave and Kate as they study, pray, discuss and contemplate what is before them. But I believe strongly that the wisdom God imparts is the most important guide for their lives.
Thanks to Mark Meuser who has spent the last year on personal study of the Value of Wisdom from the scriptures. And for sharing that little book with me.
Gram keeping her eye on one spunky two year old whose charging into a brand New Year

Anonymous said...

Dave and Kate,
I've been following your blog and although we've never met I've been very inspired by you and your family.I pray for you and think about you throughout the day. When you are having a rough time, it bothers me which I find interesting because like I said, I wouldn't know you from adam. When you have time, please give more info about the diet. What specifically do you eat? Kate, I can see where you get a lot of your strength when I read grams blogs. Your mother is an amazing woman. Although your are going through some very tough times right now, you are touching people in ways you will never know. God Bless you.

Anonymous said...

Kate,

You actually don't know me, but you do know my mother in law, Leslie Harris. She told me a little about your story and sent me the link to your blog. I read the whole thing yesterday and haven't stopped thinking about you/praying for you since. You are living through what I have always feared and your courage and candor amaze me. Please know that you are touching people in ways you will never know- I am one of them. I will continue to pray earnestly for you and your family- not only for long term health but for wisdom, joy and the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Thank you for sharing your story. You'll never know how many lives you have touched.

-Katie

Anonymous said...

Hello sweet friends, we are finally back online after driving to and from California for Christmas despite the blizzard. We're nuts!

I so have missed getting your updates and hearing how the treatment is going. We will be praying for you, especially in light of your blog yesterday in regards to the wisdom you're seeking from the Lord. Cancer isn't a black and white issue, and sometimes you just want the doctors to agree on a plan that is most effective - but of course, that knowledge doesn't exist, just many opinions on it. It is hard to live with that during times like these. My prayer for you today is that you can rest in the fact that you personally know the One who knows all truth.

With much love, Laura and the boys

Anonymous said...

Dear Kate and Dave,
Once again, thanks for being honest and vulnerable about your questions and struggles. It really helps to know how to pray for you. I'm sorry, but also glad to be aware of your lack of peace re: Kate's treatment plan, and I'll definitely be praying that you will sense God's direction in HUGE ways, and that peace will run deep in your hearts and minds.

Hopefully today has been a good day in spite of the busy-ness of it.
Still a privilege to pray for you!
Tiffani Gibbs