Jimmie has now been on the new chemo pill for 10 days, and he has had a headache since he took the first one - a typical side effect. But so far that is the only side affect to arrive, thankfully.
Friends and loved ones ask daily how we are doing, but that is a more difficult question to answer than it used to be. I can't seem to think of a word to cover this limbo coherently. We try to concentrate on the good stuff happening - the amazing way the IBTM online Bible study is growing and yielding results, Cole's 6th birthday coming in May, a new grandchild arriving in June, and the love expressed by so many. Still, this has not been a good week.
Sitting with the oncologist on Monday he asked Jimmie how he felt right now compared to 6 months ago, 3 months ago, 1 month ago. Jimmie answered consistently that he definitely felt better now. Jimmie has improved dramatically since the surgery . . . yet the doctor was giving him the long face. I heard that expression in a John Wayne movie once and did not fully appreciate it until Monday. For the first time the doctor admitted something I had already suspected - that Jimmie has an aggressive, fast-growing variety of renal cancer. The IV infusion chemo the doctor started with had been his big gun, his best hope to stop the cancer. These pills are actually a step down in the line of treatments he has available. The only plus is that they are a totally different medicine with a different way of blocking the cancer than the infusions, so they may work for a time. Then fail. There are more pills after that with harsher side effects and similar results. The doctor has refused from the beginning to give us any time projections because he does not know how the medicines will work on Jimmie. And he did not this week either. The long face was soon contagious Monday.
But after we left the doctor's office Jimmie reminded me that it is the Great Physician who is still in control. And he's right. Our Heavenly Father has seen us through some incredibly difficult times in the past. He will see us through this one as well. And while renal cancer is a difficult cancer to halt and almost impossible to kill (the classic chemos and radiation treatments don't work), it is also unique in another way. Renal cancer has one of the highest occurrences of spontaneous remission of any cancer. Sometimes is just goes away on its own with no known reason. The oncologist mentioned that the day he told Jimmie he had cancer; our son-in-law, Bronson, found statistics about that soon after; and I just read that online myself.
So we will continue to trust God. We will continue to hope, and to look forward to good stuff, and to laugh. Jimmie said this week that there isn't much point to living if you can't laugh, so he plans to keep right on finding the humor in life. With a grandson like Cole you don't have to look far.
Please continue to pray for Jimmie and all of our family.