I am excited to share with you the best bad news that I could have hoped to receive. However, if you are bored with all this medical stuff…please don’t feel obligated to read on!
But first, let me just say that the response to the invitation to participate in our prayer chain was amazing! We had over fifty people sign up!
I may have not been 100% clear about how it works to be a part of it, so let me answer the most common questions I got:
- How many days do I need to pray for? The people in our church will be praying for me at least for six months to two years, or until we get clear news that I am in remission. Cancer is a chronic situation that does not go away in a day and does not always stay away. In my case, it is my third time. So you can decide how long you want to commit for: one day, one week, one month, one year, five years (when they would officially declare me cancer-free)…it’s totally up to you! We will not turn down any prayer we can get!
- How much time do I need to dedicate to it every day? Again, that is up to you. Most people take a break in what they are doing and pray for a few minutes and then go back to what they were doing. Some people will probably pray for a full hour, but I doubt they will just pray for me in that case.
- Which time is best if I am flexible? The time that you are most likely to do it. If you already have a regular daily time that you pray for us, you can just make it a part of that time.
And now, a quick note about my visit to the “Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori” in Milan.
Graphic information that might not be suitable to queasy stomachs!
In front of Milan’s “Skyscraper” with Claudio
Claudio picked me up at 5:30 AM to take me an hour away to get the train that brought us to Milan.
We arrived in Milan a little after noon. My visit was at four. A whole day of travel for one hour, but it was worth it.
One of the best advice I got was from our friend Petra, that you probably remember from my last letters. She said to ask people that God give you peace in these situations.
I was uneasy most of the day, but the minute I shook hands with Dr. Riccio a calm took over.
For over an hour he asked questions, checked me, checked my CAT scan and answered our questions.
In my heart (and through my research and advice from friends in the medical profession), I was convinced that I did not want to do radiation treatment. Dr. Riccio is against radiation treatment in my case.
He gave me a clear theory of why I have cancer (after eliminating the hypotheses of chain smoker or alcoholic).
He gave me two options for my cure:
1. Continue picking at my tongue every time that a new tumor shows up.
2. Do a wider and deeper cleaning of the entire incision area to remove the offending area and then some dental work to remove the abrasion contact, which he considers the main offender. This was his suggestion. This will mean a least a week in the hospital in Milan, as soon as we can set a date.
If the cancer is not limited within the area that will be removed, he will probably suggest removing up to half of my tongue. But this is the worst case scenario.
So, as you can see, it really was some good bad news:
- I found a doctor I am confident in (Claudio and Serenella felt that way about him too).
- It seems the cancer has not spread beyond the tongue.
- So far it seems I will be able to avoid permanent damage, whether by radiation, chemotherapy or a more drastic removal of tongue tissue!
- Yesterday I went to the doctors here in Perugia to thank them for their many years of care and to let them know that I will be followed in Milan. They were as gracious about it as I could have asked for. Even the doctor I talked to seemed to think it was a good idea!
Of course, I continue to see God through this trial. I spent an entire day with two new believers, who used their gifts to serve. We were able to witness to three people on the train ride. The church has shown its love for me by their gifts and prayers…and that makes it all worth it!
Thank you for being part of the adventure!