For these last three years I have been so grateful for the kindness these people have shown me and the prayers they have offered for me. I knew how much I loved my patients and church members, I now know better how much they love me in return. From time to time I have doctors that wanted me to see a mental therapist or join a support group to help me deal with my cancer. I simply tell them that my therapists and my support group are my family and my friends, many of which are in my practice and my ward and stake.
Okay, having said all that let me tell you something that lifted my heart the other day. I have a patient and dear friend who I have treated for many years. She comes from the most wonderful family. I love all of them. This particular patient was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer about 17 years ago and told it was incurable. They estimated she had 18 months. She underwent treatment anyway even though she new it wouldn't cure it. Part of her cancer was in the back side of her throat and I could see it. I took careful photos of it every time she came and would share those with her physicians for their records. I can usually get way better images than they can. As the years went on we could see it growing but there was little we could do. These last three years my heart has come to understand her's even better with my own health challenges. This last week she came in. She told me that about 6 months ago they had surgically removed some of tumor so that she could swallow better but fully expected it to grow back. Then in November a new drug was discovered for her cancer. She started taking it within days of it's approval. Last time I saw her she had a huge tumor in the back right of her throat and another pretty big one in the left side of her throat. Now when I look, the right side had nothing and the left side had shrunk to almost nothing.. She said "God just needed to keep me alive until a cure could be discovered" I can't describe how those words came home to me. It perfectly describes how I feel and what I hope for.
The other day I was visiting with a reconstructive surgeon. At some point, when my cancer is cured, I am going to have to reconstruct the right side of my face. The surgeon was very nice and said that what I needed was complex but possible. He then told me, "You know, you may not survive this cancer right?" Well, I know know as well as anyone what medicine can do for my cancer right now. I have read hundreds and hundreds of clinical studies related to my cancer and they all start out with "Since there is no known treatment for recurrent osteosarcoma..." then they proceed to talk about why their experiment might further our knowledge about this untreatable disease. I looked at this surgeon and said. "You know, I am barely old enough to rememberer Polio. It used to be mostly incurable. Then God chose to reveal a cure. How many polio patients have you seen this week?" He got a big smile and said, "None... I like the way you think"
So, life is good. I have had a wonderful year with two sons getting married, another son leaving on a mission, and hundreds of things that have brought be great joy. I appreciate every single day. The hard days just make me appreciate the good ones more. I love walking, holding my wife's hand and I am looking forward to years and years of that to come.