Back in 2009 during this very time of the year (in fact exactly) I had been told that they had found a large mass (softball size) by my right kidney, and I was waiting for the results of a CT guided needle biopsy I had just had. We would find out right before Thanksgiving (09) that I had a very rare, typically terminal, cancer called Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor-sarcoma (DSRCT) (here is the Google hit for DSRCT). There is no protocol or treatment for this kind of cancer, and the five year survivability rate is between 10% to 15%; and this, even if surviving for that long, living with the cancer still. I started immediate chemo treatment (the most brutal you can get, that is not overstatement, but the reality). Went through 7 cycles (lost 50 lbs, and various other side effects that had me in the hospital over and again, with 10 units of blood transfused etc.). I had resection surgery May 6, 2010, and it was miraculously successful. They had to remove my right kidney along with the tumor next to it, and take 3inches of my inferior vena cava (where I now have gortex). I had two more cycles of chemo after surgery and was totally done by the end of June 2010.
I blogged throughout this whole ordeal, as I could, you can read about that here. In the midst of that ordeal I wrote the following post on the biblical book of Job (I wrote this April, 2010, just prior to my surgery in May).
In Bible study (or literary studies) there is a “device” called “dramatic irony.” The perfect example of this is found in the book of Job. We as the readers have a birds-eye view of the whole story; we see God’s discussion with satan in heaven, we see God giving satan space to slam Job for a “season.” Then we see the unfolding of satan’s attack upon Job, we go through all the false accusations of Job’s friends; we see Job in great pain and affliction, we see him wondering what’s going on, wondering where God was. We see Job in great mental, emotional, and physical anguish. Then we turn the pages and see God responding to Job — not in the way we might think either — and finally we get to the end of the book; we see how it turns out, how Job is blessed, even more so than he was before — mostly because He came to know the LORD in ways he never did before. My point, is that with Job we know he’s going to be okay (we know the end of the story); Job didn’t have our vantage point, he had to go thru it.
As I think about this, and my own precarious situation, it is amazing to think about dramatic irony; there is a story that has already been written by God, there is a so-called “back-story” going on here. To learn from Job, God is sovereignly in control of all the circumstances of my life; when I cry out to Him and wonder where He is and what He’s doing, to learn from Job, God is in control and every circumstance is ordered by Him. Beyond this there is a time of refreshing and rest coming; in ways that me and my family have never known (since we’ve never known the depth of suffering we are currently experiencing). There is great hope in looking at Job. God is in control, and He doesn’t want to keep that a secret; He also doesn’t want to hide that He is a God of great comfort, who doesn’t answer to us, but instead lovingly comes to us in His way, in His time. Dramatic irony is an ongoing reality, in my life, and in all of our lives; unfortunately we don’t know, specifically (we do in general as Christians), how each of our particular stories end (whatever kind of suffering or trial we are currently facing in life as God’s children). The good news is that God knows how each of our stories end and begin; He’s in control, and He just wants us to trust and rest in Him (I say to myself).
Anyway, just a reflection.
I have been cancer free, by God’s grace for almost 5 years now. It is weird to think that I shouldn’t be here right now, statistically!