The surgical oncologist was able to resect the cancerous tumor, along with 33 of my lymph nodes. Now, I have about two weeks to recover, then a month straight of chemo/immunotherapy, followed by a year of subcutaneous injections.
Center of attention. — with Sonja Anand, front left, Harriet Catherine (Long) Scripps, Teresa Harrington, and my twin sister, Marcella "Marci" Dendinger.
Enjoying a post-op recovery green shake.
Enjoying post-op recovery with my favorite ladies, Alexandria, Va., November 24, 2013. — with Teresa Harrington, front left, Harriet Scripps, Terri Rathbun, and Marcella "Marci" Dendinger.
A mother’s healing touch. — with Harriet Catherine (Long) Scripps.
Waking up to my mother and wife after spending two hours in surgery. — with Teresa Harrington andHarriet Catherine (Long) Scripps.
Spending time with family before surgery tomorrow to have the tumor and cancerous lymph nodes removed, Alexandria, Va. November 21, 2013.
My fight officially begins tomorrow.
My surgery is set for Friday, November 22, at 2:40pm, at the Virginia Hospital Center. The doctors will remove the tumor and cancerous lymph nodes on my left side near my chest. I will recover for about two weeks. Afterwards, I begin 5-7 weeks of radiation, then followed by chemotherapy.
I ask that you pray the following prayer on Friday, 11/22:
“As Alex faces this operation, gracious Father in Christ, I come to You and ask You to put in his heart the needed courage to face the day with confidence because of Your goodness and protection. You do not slumber nor sleep while he is in a deep sleep. Let this be an assurance to him that he does not need to worry or be afraid. Relax his fears…put his mind at ease…and graciously forgive Alex for all his sins. Also, I boldly ask you that you give the surgeon, Dr. Halabi, a steady hand and the necessary understanding to do his task with ease and perfection as he removes Alex’s tumor and cancerous lymph nodes. And give his family the reassuring faith that You are with them, and with Alex, the Keeper of his body and the Lover of his soul. Calm the troubled spirit during the coming hours of Alex’s operation. Finally, I lift up Alex into your precious hands today. This I ask in the name of my (his) Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.”
I never thought there would be mini-blessings immediately following my cancer diagnosis. In the midst of the worst news that a person can receive, I've experienced so many mini-blessings in the first week since the diagnosis.
First, I've truly felt God's peace and His presence during the first week of being diagnosed with cancer. My faith has never been stronger. Even though my "flesh and my heart may fail", I know without a doubt that He will strengthen my heart and be with me forever (Psalm 73:23-26).
Second, I realize how much my love is for my wife, and especially how beautiful my Venus truly is. Since the diagnosis, her beauty and virtues have seized my heart like never before. I am enraptured by how the strands of her golden hair caresses her beautiful face when she tilts her head down. I stand in awe by the way she has taken her stand to fight against this cancer alongside me. Our hugs have increased dramatically. My eyes gaze at her looks unceasingly. I yearn for a long life with my Venus; to grow old with her. Yes, I realize how much I love my wife!
Lastly, I've developed an urgency to do those things that I've been putting off for way too long. No more waiting. No longer will I say,"I am too busy right now to do this" or "I'll do it next week after I finish my work" or "I am just not sure if I'm good enough." Being diagnosed with cancer has made me realize that I'm but a mere mortal; earthly, perishable; a slave to limited, precious time. No more excuses...No more doubts...No more hesitations.
Cancer is certainly a paradoxical fellow. Despite its sole purpose to take my life, it has energized and stirred a fire within me to live life to its fullest.
One, like me, would have never thought that cancer would keep company with so many mini-blessings. I could list many more mini-blessings. But for now, the aforementioned gifts are the top three that I will hold throughout my fight against cancer.
It's amazing how quickly your life can change once you've learned that you have cancer. All your goals, projects, community involvements, social engagements and daily activities that keep you busy each day suddenly take a back seat when the big "C" enters your life unannounced.
My whole life changed on a dime onNovember 5when my family doctor informed me that I had cancer.
It all began on Wednesday, October 30, when I had noticed a large lump underneath my left armpit, near the front upper left chest. I was fortunate to get a medical appointment with our family doctor the very next day. My doctor immediately ordered tests to determine what the lump was. And following two days of medical tests they found a mass 6 centimeters in size, which turned out to be cancer.
Following the initial diagnosis, they ordered further tests to determine the extent of the cancer, which revealed that I had a tumor with cancerous lymph nodes attached. Fortunately, it's currently localized near my left chest area, just under my armpit.
My wife and I met with a surgical oncologistTuesday, November 12, to schedule the operation to remove the tumor and the cancerous lymph nodes.
The surgery is set forFriday, November 22at theVirginia Hospital Center. Afterwards, I will enter post-surgical treatment, which will entail 5-6 weeks of radiation (daily) and other cancer drug treatments.