Saturday, March 7, 2009

Metastasis and the Plan

Metastasis is the word most feared by cancer patients and their loved ones second only to initial diagnosis word ‘cancer’; and the word ‘death’ At Evan’s pre operative appointment this past Thursday we received the copies of the MRI in November and the repeat test in February. In one brief sentence , tucked away, almost as an afterthought were the words, “increased thickening of the lymph node in the left axilla is consistent with metastasis”.

Where do we go from here? How do we deal with this newest development? How long has he got? On top of these questions were the baseline questions for Evan’s upcoming surgery next Friday: How long will the operation take? (We don’t know, excision will take approximately 2 hours, reconstruction – we just don’t know, we don’t know what we’ll be dealing with) How long will he be in the hospital? (We don’t know, depends on his pain management and how he reacts to the operations) How much will this cost? (We don’t know, depends on how long the surgery takes, and how long he is in the hospital, and how good your coverage is, and how much of the deductible remains to be paid)

You might sense a great deal of unease, or a sense of failure to either communicate or of baseline knowledge. I suppose on the part of the medical staff, they have confidence in their skills, but the mysteries of Evan’s body and his disease process are baffling to them. We have a faithful confidence that God will see us through no matter the outcome. But let me be more specific lest you believe that we are blind to the realities of the situation or that we are swimming through this trial with rose colored glasses. Each of us; Evan, Mom, Dad, and Sissy are deeply confident that we are not in control of this situation and that our response to this situation is how we are to demonstrate our faith that God is in control and that His purposes will ultimately be for our good.

Evan remains the strongest of the family and is not idly elevated to the status of hero as he has faced and continues to face the greatest challenge anyone in our immediate family has addressed. He has declared that death is not what frightens him, he knows that he will be in heaven. His fear is of the donor site for any skin graft, the pain of which is akin to being skinned alive. He has shared that his anxieties have lead to daydreaming of dying on the operating table in the middle of the operation. And given the day and date of the surgery, (Friday the 13th), he as made us promise not to handle black cats or walk under ladders, not to say anything about mirrors.

So where exactly does this new revelation leave us? Actually, it doesn’t change anything. We had a plan: chemo – surgery – chemo; and the plan always called for the removal of the lymph node in question. As a friend told us when they heard about the impending surgery, “It’s too bad that the first round of chemo didn’t work.” And while this is true, the plan remains intact; the only thing that has changed is the challenge to our resolution to see it through to the end of Evan’s illness.

With all this shared, and our hero preparing to lay himself on the altar of modern medicine and under the surgical knife, we would like to leave you with a reference that has taken on new meaning for all of us: Genesis 22:3-13.

God’s many richest blessings to all who have read this entry and this blog from beginning to now. Till we report after surgery, shalom, peace y vaya con dios.


Anonymous said...

Paul, Lizzy, Morgan and Evan (Mr. Pat too!)
We have all been thinking about you this week and wanted to pray with you before we left on our-not so fun-vacation(I can fill you in later)

I wanted to share this prayer with you now....

Our Father God, You are so amazing and you have proven over and over how awesome your power and majesty are. We are asking now that you lay your hands on this family, these doctors, and this child. Evan is a warrior and knows his fate is in your hands, but this warrior is small and fragile. We ask that you arm him, as you did young David, to slay this "Goliath" called cancer. We ask that you send peace and comfort to this family and to friends as we all forge onward.
Your will be done.
I pray this in your holy name-

We love you guys and are praying for peace on the other side.

Sharen said...

Howdy Sheriff, Deputy Barney, Evan and Morgan. The entire citizenry of The Lobby is praying continually for each of you. The outlying populace is as well. As Jesus peers over the shoulders of everyone in the OR and places His hands over the surgeons' hands, may impossible strength and peace flood your souls as your minds are stayed on Him. The Mayor sends her love.

Anonymous said...

Evan, Lots of love and prayers coming your way!! Your such a strong boy and I know your parents are very proud of you!! Stay strong and know that God is in control and will get you through this! -Miss Nicole

Julie said...

Good Morning Evan, Morgan, Liz, and Paul, I woke up thinking about all of you and praying for you. I sure hope God is helping you sleep in this morning!! I pray for God's peace and the fullness of every comfort of His! He will be holding you in His arms all day long! We love you, Julie and CJ tne the rest of the Paine crew

Mike Coppotelli said...

We have never met, I heard about your struggle through an email prayer chain. My daughter spent 5 months in the hospital, a few years ago, after she suffered a brain aneurysm at age 13. She continues with physical rehab daily, but her faith and ours is much stronger. So, I know some of the fear you are feeling, as I recall the days when she underwent brain surgery to repair the aneurysm. However, stay strong as God is with you, and always will be. Everything is easier with God. Our thoughts and prayers are with you young Evan. I would love to meet you one seem to be a brave young man, wise beyond your years. Stay strong young one....God is great!!!

Love Mike C and family

Janine Hepfner said...

Coleman family, my thoughts and prayers have been with you for over a year now. I want you to know that I am always impressed with your candor and strength. God Bless you all and to Evan particularly-- I am sending you thoughts of encouragement and strength.