Gethsemane

I had hoped to have this blog posted on Wednesday, after the final consult with Dr. Chu. However, that consult did not go as planned, and since then we have been simply trying to survive — trying to “deal”.  
Brain cancer comes in various flavors — four, according to most doctors. The World Health Organization categorizes these cancers by grade, resulting in a basic breakdown of:

   Grade I:  low-grade tumors, which are benign or not growing, or growing very slowly. 

   Grade II:  still low-grade, but these tumors grow steadily, though they are still comparatively easy to manage and treat. 

   Grade III:  often hard to differentiate from Grade II, Grade III tumors are more malignant, faster growing, and far more dangerous. 

   Grade IV:  the most aggressive and malignant of all brain tumors, most are of a form called glioblastoma multiforme. These tumors are aggressive, malignant, spread rapidly, and are almost always lethal. 

   For the 17 years that I’ve been fighting brain cancer, my tumors have always been stable at Grade II. Even in cases where most cancers increase in grade as they recur, when mine recurred it always came back at the same grade. When this most recent tumor was removed on the 13th, Dr. Chu’s eyes-on assessment was the same as it’s always been. However, we knew that we wouldn’t get a conclusive ruling on the Grade until the pathology was complete, usually 3 – 5 days after surgery. We got it yesterday, and it was a complete shock to everyone, even the neuropathologist — my cancer had taken a radical upgrade, and this time had recurred as a Grade IV glioblastoma multiforme. We still aren’t sure exactly how to handle this unexpected bad news, and it is truly devastating. My original neurosurgeon, Dr. Keith Black (still the founder and director of the neurosurgery clinic where I go at Cedars), wrote a fascinating book titled, “Brain Surgeon,”and in the opening chapter he characterizes just how weighty this news is. I’ve highlighted a few sections from that opening chapter:



   The most malignant of all brain tumors. Spreads through the brain like wildfire. Expands aggressively, destroying as it grows. No known medical treatments have been able to meaningfully increase the survival of GBM patients. Median survival of 9 – 15 months. Of course, Angie and I knew all of this, and have for years. The moment Dr. Chu shared the final pathology report from the OR, we knew what it meant. We had hoped the surgery would be the end of a long process of dealing with a fourth recurrence, and we now know that it was only the start. A long road remains, and that road likely goes through more chemotherapy, radiation, clinical trials, immunotherapy, and probably all of the above. We thought we had won a small battle with successful surgery, and now face the fact that the fight has only just begun. 

   On the way home from that appointment, my iPhone randomly browsed to a divinely-appointed song, simply called “Gethsemane.”  The words brought tears to both Angie and me:

“I long to walk in Eden with trees in bloom and where the Air is Sweet 

to spend my days in such eyes beside the brook where You will eat with me 

but I have heard you calling and in obedience I go 

to another Garden whose history I know.

Chorus:  Lord for now it’s Gethsemane 

For now that’s where your bringing me

To a place whose agony you’ve known

So because your will is clear

I’ll trust you and I’ll stay right here

If Eden calls tomorrow then those 

Pathways I will roam

But for now, Gethsemane is home.

I won’t compare my suffering with all the pain I know you endured but yet you have used this garden to teach me how 

Surrender makes me yours so strengthen and sustain me

And I will face whatever comes I know that Eden is waiting 

When this night is done

 But for now, it’s Gethsemane

For now that’s where you’re bringing me…”

   The point is, as I once heard a great preacher say — God may call you to walk with Him in the Garden of Eden, or He may call you to cry with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Your answer must be the same. And for us, it is — and for now, Gethsemane is home. 

~ by MichaelMoyles on December 23, 2016.

16 Responses to “Gethsemane”

  1. Sending love and prayers, Mike, Angie, Ellie, and all extended family and friends!!!

  2. We love you dear friends and will continue to pray ceaselessly!!!!

  3. Michael,
    In the face of everything, you still find the light. You May that light shine brightly and warmly on you and your family.
    May your Lord call you when he may, but I would prefer that you continue to walk among us a while longer.

    Inspired,

    Travis

  4. Praying and waiting with you, dear brother. Certainly an unexpected blow for all of us. Haunting the blog for new updates. Thank you for posting! “Love you. He still works miracles and there is no quota.

  5. My heart is breaking for you & your family. Prayers will continue & I know He hasn’t done His big miracle on you yet. You be strong, like you always are, & all of us will be your backbone when things get too heavy for you to handle. God is good! My love to you & the family………

  6. Love you Brother … just that, love you! You are the miracle.

  7. You and your family will continue to be in my prayers for the road ahead. And will be praying for a miracle!

  8. Prayers continue. You are not alone. Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love. Love to you and all your family.

  9. Praying for you and Angie. You are an inspiration and I will be thinking of you as you continue this fight.

  10. I agree with Travis above – I also pray that Jesus continues your walk on this earth longer. Your faith in Jesus and your courage are an amazing testimony. Thank you for sharing your journey. Charlie Lane

  11. Great Commander, great person. You probably know that I don’t do the prayer thing, but my thoughts are with you.
    Much love from the Howsares
    Merry Christmas!

  12. Keeping fighting the good fight brother! I will not cease praying for you! Use every weapon available to you to fight this thing, including nutrition, medical treatment, and spiritual strength and faith. God is able!

  13. As someone who knew you long ago, I can only wish you all the best in your fight against the monster.
    Mrs. Marcia Howard

  14. MIke, Your whole family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  15. Our prayers are with you and your family, always. Your walk with Christ is nothing short of inspirational – and I dearly hope that I can watch this walk continue unabated.

  16. Sir,

    I’ve been trying to keep up with this as best as possible. When I was given the news of your return of cancer, I was in shock. All I could think was not again. That you didn’t deserve another round with this. I find it unfair, yet I admire your strength and courage. While the author of that book discusses the grade 4 tumor in the manner that he did, there is no boundary that God knows. I believe in that fully, and that he wants us to see that. You and your family are in my prayers. The battle will be hard, but it can be won. See you whenever there is a chance.

    One of your Soldiers,
    Rich

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