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Chapter 5, Sharing the News

Before I continue with my challenge of how to adjust my diet to defeat the cancer, I thought I’d include some of the communications I sent to my family and friends. It’s personal, but summarizes how I was feeling and thinking at the time. Here’s the first letter written when I first knew I had cancer.

#1

21 September 2008

Dear Mom and Dad,

God bless you! How are you? How’s your rib, Mom? Pain gone yet? I hope and pray you’re both well and happy!

Do you remember that I had a lump removed from my breast just before leaving Thailand for Vietnam? That was diagnosed as an abscessed cyst and was benign. I had another breast lump checked these past 2 weeks and just got the results on Tuesday. After all the tests were done, the doctor said that it is cancerous. I knew that was a possibility and had come to grips with that, but it was still a bit of a shock.

Frankly, I was thinking skin cancer would be more likely after all the sunbathing I’d done, but I kind of thought I’d done “everything right” to protect against breast cancer. Ha! Anyway, that’s what it is. My lifestyle has become extremely healthy lately, but obviously too late to prevent this cancer. It has probably been growing for several years already (the doctor estimated around 3-7, but it could be much longer.) The tumor is still small; about 2 cm.

I’ve been to what is said to be the best hospital in Vietnam, although I didn’t know it when I decided to go there. It was just where the Lord showed me to go when I prayed about it. I was happy to be able to communicate in English and to have all the testing done at the same place. It turned out to be a good choice as even though it is more expensive than other places, the atmosphere was calm and as close to ”friendly” as one would want in a hospital! It’s French and quite new.

However, I’m not convinced I want to go with the whole Western procedure of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy (aka “slash/burn/poison”!) I’ve been researching the subject and praying about it and when J. gets back from his fundraising (for our charity projects)  on Wednesday, we’ll talk and pray together then about what the next step should be.

Yesterday, I went to a Vietnamese herbal doctor and have started drinking a specially prepared herbal tea to help strengthen my kidneys and liver so that my body’s own system will be as strong as possible for the battle. He says it is also possible that the cancer can be defeated this way and the tumor shrunk, but he doesn’t promise anything. We’ll see. Whatever route one takes, takes faith. I haven’t ruled out surgery, but from what I’ve read regarding radiation and chemo: the cure is often worse than the disease!

I’ve already done a lot of research on the Internet and have a copy of the book “A Cancer Battle Plan” that helped D.  overcome his “hopeless situation”  with lung cancer and that L. referred to at the luncheon we had in the U.S. when I was there. (I borrowed S.’s copy and have read it through a few times, including once in Canada, as I knew then that there was the possibility.) I’ve also been gradually improving my diet ever since the bout with gastritis December 2006 and just a few days ago, I found a good source of at least a few organic foods and supplements. Many farmers here use banned pesticides and other chemicals on their crops and as most people know, there are still tons of Agent Orange dioxins in the soil here and undoubtedly in the food chain, so it is a relief to find that someone is trying to provide the population with healthy alternatives!

That’s my news. Sorry that it isn’t exactly good news, but please don’t worry about me. I won’t be a passive victim. I’ve already begun to fight. I like the logo written on the T-shirts of some cancer patients who regularly exercised together: “Kick Cancer’s Butt!” That’s my plan, too!

My biggest challenge right now is my long-standing battle with not getting enough sleep. It’s really hard to turn off my mind! This is all very new and I’m still adjusting to it, but soon it won’t be news anymore and I’ll sleep better, I’m sure.

So, here are some prayer requests:

1. for my healing and that this doesn’t metastasize

2. for wisdom about what treatments to use

3. to find the right team of health professionals to advise me

4. for good sleep

5. for peace of mind

Here are some of the verses I’m claiming:

Acts 9:34a “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.”

Psa. 103:3 “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases.”

Psa. 107:20 “He sent His Word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”

Heb. 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

So, I’ll stop here. Since I’ve taken so long to write this letter, I’m planning to send it, (all or parts of it) , as my explanation to others. I haven’t written anyone else, although I’ve talked with my kids and of course J. knows. I’ll write the others after I’ve heard from you. Iwant you to be informed first, so you don’t hear it through the grapevine! But you can mention it to whomever you want whenever you want. That’s up to you. I’ll be very grateful for any extra prayer power I can get!

I love you both so much! Again, please don’t worry about me. I’m in the best hands–the hands of the Great Physician! I’ll keep you posted.

Much love, Me

#2

22 September 2008

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thanks for your love, concern and generosity, as always. You are welcome to let others know at anytime. I mentioned that in my first letter as I thought you might receive it Sunday morning and would meet people at church whom you might want to tell. I figure the more people who know, means the more prayer power and that’s my first line of defense/attack. Even the unbelieving French doctor encouraged me, when I told him I believe in the power of prayer. He said that it has been proven to be effective! And he didn’t say that because he thought there was no other hope as he has a lot of faith in what he’s doing (the “slash/burn/poison” method). He also said he thought my prognosis looked pretty good as the tumor is still rather small.

So that’s fine. I’ll be quite busy today, but hopefully will have time to write a few people, too. I have already sent a prayer request to many of my friends here and in other countries and believe their prayers are already at work. Last night I slept well–only the 2nd time since I heard the news last Tuesday. I also have had more peace of mind the last few days and generally feel happier. I plan to pick up a few funny movies to get my “insides jogging”. (Did I send you the article about laughter? I can’t find it right now, but I’ll look later and send it if I didn’t yet.)

I’ll let you know what our plans are as I find out myself. The French doctor said that the surgery isn’t complicated and can be done at another cheaper hospital here in Vietnam, but that he recommended his hospital or one in Singapore or Hong Kong or the West for chemotherapy, etc. But I am not limited by his faith. We’ll just take it step by step and see which way the Lord is leading. This is quite a challenge, but I refuse to let fear have any place in my thinking. Of course I get attacked and tempted to fear, but I recognize it as totally counterproductive and fight it with prayer and praise. As I keep fighting, I keep winning! As Paul said, “Thanks be to God Who gives us the victory!”

Gotta go now–I have an appointment in an hour and a few things to do before I leave. God bless you! Don’t worry, but do pray! “Prayer is powerful. When we pray, things happen and things will be different. God answers prayer!”

Lots of love, Me

#3

25 September 2008

Dear Mom and Dad,

Hi! It’s me again. J. just came back yesterday afternoon and we finally got a few minutes to pray together about things. I still have a busy schedule and he has to also jump right into things here (in spite of jetlag and radical change in climate!) So, for now, I thought I could at least let you know where things are at with my short-term plans.

As I mentioned before, I’ve begun drinking a herbal tea to help build up my stomach, kidneys and liver as it seems they are weak. This part of my plan, (if not exactly this method) fits with the counsel nutritionists give to do all you can to strengthen these organs (and the colon) in order to help the body to properly absorb all the necessary nutrients fed it and to fight to rid the body of the toxins put in it (knowingly, inadvertently or even in spite of our most heroic attempts to avoid doing so) and to generate the natural healing our bodies are actually capable of doing (thanks to the original Designer.)

So, since I haven’t been able to locate a nutritionist and this doctor was recommended, I’ve started my treatment by following his counsel as best as I can. His treatment is very cheap (but that’s not why I’m doing it!) and he’s asked me to go back to the first place (FV Hospital) after 2-3 weeks on his herbal medicine, to check to see if the tumor has shrunk or if the cancer is gone or whatever progress might be seen. At that time, I will consider more carefully what to do next. For now, I’m expecting good results, but only the Lord knows!

My options at that time might be something like this: continue with the herbal treatment, and/or schedule surgery and/or juice fasting (with enemas). This 3rd option is step 1 of the plan in the book L. recommended–the plan they sort of followed for D’s healing. I would have tried it first, except that I don’t (yet!) have a nutritionist here to advise me about my particular needs. I’m looking though!

As I said, I’m not sure if I’ll go the surgery route and even if I do, I’m not sure whether I will go to FV or another hospital. Right now, I’m continuing my schedule as before, but if I follow any other course of treatment than the one I’m on, I’ll have to reduce my load and even take time off (if I’m in the hospital or if I choose to do the juice fasting for 2 weeks or so.)

So, I have a lot of factors to take into consideration. On top of that, I’m continuing to research what’s on the Internet about cancer and have found lots to read! Some is very encouraging, to say the least! I may ask for a little help from someone there in the US to send me something (like flaxseed oil, for example) that I haven’t been able to find here.

Maybe I’ll send you some of the material we’ve found so you can learn about it, too. It’s a whole different way of looking at health and sickness than the usual Western medicine angle. Very interesting and very godly!

Well, I think that’s the best I can do to update you. I’d like to add one thing to my prayer requests: please pray for my stomach, kidneys and liver (and whatever) to be healed and strengthened. Thanks. I love you both so much! By the way, thanks for your prayers–I have amazing peace of mind (the peace that passeth understanding!) and have been sleeping much better than the first 5 or 6 days. Praise God! You’re always in our prayers, too.

Lots of love, Me

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