Return to Knoxville: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

“God’s children are strengthened by their falls; they learn to stand by their falls. Like tall cedars the more they are blown, the deeper will they be rooted . . . so that after all outward storms and inward declensions this is the issue, ‘They take root downward and bear fruit upward’ (Isaiah 37:31) for the Lord restoreth their souls.” ~ Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)

Scott and I are currently in Knoxville for his first cancer post-treatment follow-up. We have very good news, and some somewhat disappointing news.

The good news is that his PSA has dropped dramatically since treatment. Although his doctor cautioned us that we can’t know for sure that Proton Beam Therapy was successful in killing the cancer until about a year after treatment, a drop in PSA is a good sign. But indications in this area for Scott were in the “Wow!” category. Typically, they hope to see about a 30% drop in this number at this 3-month check-up, and they tell us that they often even see a drop as dramatic as 50%. Scott’s number dropped a whopping 75%! The team at Provision was very, very pleased with this result, and assured us that it’s a great sign. We are so thankful for this encouraging news!

On the negative side, however, they also told us that there is a good chance that Scott’s remaining side-effects are permanent now. There is still some chance that they could improve over the next three months, and we will know for sure what his new normal is by his 6-month check-up in November, but usually things have resolved as much as they are going to by now.

In spite of this possibility, we are so thankful that we learned about Proton Beam Therapy and even now, we wouldn’t have chosen any other option. From the beginning, we knew that 95% of men who choose PBT walk away with results that leave them with a quality of life equal to, or even better than, before treatment. That means that there is that other 5%. These men do suffer some permanent changes, and it seems that may be where we are. But even the side-effects still lingering for Scott are nothing compared to the side-effects we were told would be certain with other treatment options. So we’re thankful and rejoice in God’s guidance during our search for treatment options; His comfort during the really tough weeks of very rare side-effects; His healing over the last few weeks; and His love that determines what is best for our continued refining in this life.

One more time, we want to stress the importance of catching prostate cancer early! We want to, once again, urge all men to get annual DRE’s and PSA checks. The earlier this is caught, the greater your chances of full recovery. If there is a history of prostate cancer in your family, these checks should start around age 40. Please don’t listen to the doctors who are now beginning to support the idea that, because it’s a slow-growing cancer, there’s no urgency in catching it early. This is not true! Our doctor told us at this visit that they see men who got their initial readings and cancer diagnosis, but who postponed treatment even for a few months because their numbers weren’t so bad. Within a few months, things had already changed enough that these men were then looking at a completely different long-term picture for healing.

We also thank Him for providing us an incredibly secluded and quiet place for this trip where the two of us have relaxed more than we can remember doing for the past year. We were in great need of this time to connect with each other and to have individual time to meditate on God and His Word and workings in our lives. A gift from a friend provided a few extra days here for us to just rest. We can’t begin to express our gratitude for this.

Perched up on a mountain, this cozy little place offers a breathtaking view and woods filled with wild turkey, deer, tranquility, and peace.

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Morning view during our prayer/meditation time

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Even Murray, who tagged along with us, can’t get enough of this view.

On the home front, our family is currently going through some pretty hard times. We may share more later, but for now, please pray that we will keep trusting that God is directing all our steps, filling us with wisdom as we parent our unusual family, determining what of our material needs are “real” needs, and timing His provision perfectly as part of His plan for our lives and for the lives of our children.

Most of all, please pray that we will face each day full of gratitude and a firm belief that, as is stated in the quote above, “the more [God’s children] are blown, the deeper will they be rooted…” Please pray that we will never miss any opportunity God brings to us that could result in our bearing more fruit.

Another book signing coming up, and some fun news about our next book. We’ll share that in our next post! Stay tuned, and thank you so much for those of you who really do pray for us and support us in so many ways. We cannot do this life alone, and we rejoice that God hasn’t asked us to. In addition to His continued supernatural help and provision, He has blessed us by bringing so many into our lives who love us and are wiling to be used by God in this mission He has given us. Thank you with all our hearts.

I will close with one of my favorite verses. We are holding onto the truths in this verse so much right now.

“He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8

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Sunset from our windows

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