A Testimony of Miracles through Faith as told by a Cancer Survivor
By Rian Short
Diagnosed: Burkitts Lymphoma, Stage IV on Aug 2nd, 2015
Cancer Free: Sept 25th, 2015
Please share with all who would listen
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the suffering of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12, 13
I expect front row parking no matter where I go, any time, day or night. It does not matter to me if it is black Friday, Christmas, or the state fair. I will always expect front row parking. And just to be clear, when I say “front row parking” I mean directly at the front door or entrance to the event. In fact my expectations are so high that I will have a front row parking spot waiting on me whenever I get to my destination, I am completely shocked if it is not there waiting on me.
I fully understand that this sounds crazy. I am expecting to receive something to happen in my favor 100% of the time in a situation that I have 100% no control over. I have absolutely no control over whether a front row parking space will be available or not when I arrive at my destination. This is not reserved parking I’m talking about. I don’t call ahead, have parking spots with my name on them at every location in the United States, or park illegally in the handicapped parking spots. I simply drive to the location expecting there to be a front row parking spot waiting on me and in all honesty I can say that this occurs 98% of the time. The other 2% of the time I will be within the front 4 spaces.
Many of my friends and family have experienced this with me. At first they called it luck, but then as they noticed it would happen almost every single time they went somewhere with me, they began to use words like….odd…weird…some even said I must have paranormal powers.
I am here to tell you that I DO have paranormal powers. In fact I have many paranormal powers. One of the greatest of these powers is what most people would call faith. It was a gift given to me from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In fact all of my “paranormal powers” are simply gifts that I have asked the Lord to give me throughout my life. I have received every one of the gifts I have asked for, no questions asked. But keep in mind there will always be times when those gifts are tested. “Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:3
I know that it sounds extremely trivial that I believe the Lord provides a front row parking spot for me on a consistent basis, as though the Lord was my personal valet service. But in fact, the Lord commands us to use our faith in all things and through all aspects of our life regardless of the size and scope of the situation. Mathew 17:20 states “because you have so little faith, truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Many of us in life have had our own mustard seed moment. That moment in time where we bring to bare all the faith we have in our mind, body and soul in order to bring us through a situation in life that seems to be unbearable. My mustard seed moment came on August 2nd 2015, when an Emergency Room doctor did a CAT scan of my abdomen only to let me know I had cancer from my belt line to the bottom of my chin, basically everywhere he could see on the scan. I was taken immediately to St. Johns, downtown Tulsa, Oncology and received a diagnosis of Stage IV Burkitts Lymphoma. If I ever needed a front row parking spot I needed it now.
Jesus went through a battle of faith more than once. Immediately after Jesus was baptized he was taken into the desert to have his faith tested. Jesus was there fasting 40 days and 40 nights. At the end of 40 days and 40 nights when his body, soul and mind had to be at their weakest. Satan came to him and said “If you are the son, tell these stones to become bread”. Jesus responded “It is written, man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Satan also tempted Jesus to throw himself from a mountain top to prove he could be saved by angels and by showing Jesus the whole world and telling Jesus that if he would just bow and worship him he would give Jesus the whole world and all that was in it.
Here is what I find most fascinating about this whole story. Jesus who was at his weakest in his life was battling Satan who I’m sure had not missed a meal or an hour of sleep. Jesus was going up against the master liar and manipulator at his weakest moment. Imagine yourself being thrown into the arena with a Gladiator. After you have been starved of water and food for 40 days. What do you think your odds are? What would you do? How would you defeat this huge destructive force? The amazing part of this story is that what Jesus used to battle the most evil force in the universe was the beautiful and simple Word of God. Three times Satan tested Jesus and all three times Jesus won the battle by using the Word of God. “It is Written:” Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus exercised his faith through saying out loud the word of God and the promises that God has made to all mankind in his word. So believe it or not, my belief is that we are to do the same. Speak the word of God and it shall manifest in your life. God keeps his promises in the big things and in the little things alike. We should always exercise our faith in the small matters of our life; front row parking spots, so we are prepared to exercise it in the huge situations in our life; cancer.
My faith in my front row parking spots just took center stage. I knew I had faith, I had used it many times before, but mostly for the simple and mundane battles and trials of life. The question that kept spiraling through my thoughts now was ‘Do I have the faith it’s going to take for this battle? This was not about a front row parking spot. This was about me living or dying.
Cancer does not discriminate. Cancer does not care about your age, gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Once it decides its coming for you then the fight is on. Part of the fight is that there are all types of cancers. And of all the types of cancers there are an unlimited amount of locations in the human body for cancer to rear its ugly head. Oncologists fight this battle every day on determining what type of cancer it is and the best course of treatment. This makes cancer a formidable opponent from diagnosis to what I am calling end of journey. End of journey either means you are in remission or you have passed away.
An accurate Diagnosis is critical to how your journey is going to end. If the Doctor gets that step wrong then nothing will matter after that point because the treatment will be ineffective. Some cancers are loud and boisterous saying “Here I am, bring it on.” These loud fellows you can normally see outward signs of, possibly followed with pain in the area. Other cancers are more covert. They like to sneak up on you and catch you off guard. And it is normally by accident or a routine doctor’s visit that these cancers are located.
My cancer was the loud in your face cancer. I had left my home for two weeks and traveled to California for a military assignment. I noticed while there I was having trouble catching my breath, going to the bathroom and sleeping. I also noticed a severe tightness in my abdomen and chest area. However, I rocked on and did my duty for the 14 days I was there. It wasn’t until the last day that I knew something was wrong when I went to button up my jacket and the buttons were tight against my body. I began to believe I was severely constipated and just decided since it was the last day, I would grin and bare it till I got home and could go see the doctor. I flew back to Oklahoma and by the next morning I looked like I was eight months pregnant. I went directly to the Urgent Care facility by my house. The doctor who saw me pushed on my belly, sent me for an x-ray and then came back in the room to let me know it was constipation and he would assign a prescription to help get me moving again. Elaina got the prescriptions and we headed to the house. All is well, right? I took my meds and went to bed expecting any moment to rush to the bathroom and empty two weeks of food waste quickly. When I woke up the next morning and that had not happened I became nervous. Elaina and my mother were talking in the living room when I came out. They had decided something was definitely wrong and I needed to go to the ER. So I threw on my shoes and we all headed to the emergency room at St John in Broken Arrow. Dr. Noe was my physician. He looked at my stomach, pushed around a little and then stated that he wanted to send me for a CAT scan. I asked if he thought I was just constipated, and his reply was an unequivocal “no”. “What I am seeing here is not really consistent with constipation unless it is a major blockage, but you say you are just feeling pressure and no pain, is that right?” I thought for a second and then realized he was correct. An then I guess that is when it set in with me that I had not been feeling pain through this whole thing……just pressure. So we waited for the results. Dr. Noe came back into the room and had a seat in front of me and asked “Is it ok if I talk to you in front of your wife and mother.” I knew then whatever was getting ready to come out of his mouth next would not be good news. I told him that would be fine and Elaina and mom shook their heads in agreement. He said “I am sorry to have to tell you this but you have cancer. “ He went on to tell me I had a small mass in my lower intestine and that the cancer was caking on the omentum of my entire abdomen area from my chin to my belt area. Basically everywhere you could see on the scan. Needless to say this upset my mother and Elaina immediately. Elaina stepped out of the room and my mother set in the chair in shock. I have to tell you at this moment that it would have been a very good time for me to break down, go into to shock, get angry, demand a second CAT scan, scream, cry, throw things around the room, or simply just zone out. At the very moment the words left his mouth that I had cancer I felt a calm come over me that I have never felt in my life. The Lord was in the room, I could feel his presence, I could feel his warmth, and more than anything I felt his reassurance that I was going to be ok. Regardless of what lay ahead, the Lord was clear that he was going to bring me through it 100%. He also made it clear in no uncertain terms that he was going to be right beside me all the way. The Lord said “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”. Heb 13:5. At first, like most Christians, you try to rationalize away what you are seeing or hearing. However, later my wife and my mother said that they felt the same sense of calm at the exact same time. So my family and I were just told the worst news of our lives, and all we could feel is the loving embrace and calmness of Lord Jesus Christ. Eph 2:14 “For he himself is our peace”
MIRACLE ALERT: Once someone is told they have cancer, they typically will start the same psychological path one takes when dealing with the death of a close family member. Those being denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance. I was familiar with these stages through my time in college and my studies in psychology. I knew this could be coming. No sooner did this thought go through my head that I felt the warmest, most comforting spirit fall over me. It was like a warm heavy quilt. The Lord told me right then that I was going to be ok. He stated that I would have to go through this trial but that he would be there the whole time. The entire room felt warm and bright. Later, after asking my Mom and Elaina what they felt at the time they both stated they had an overwhelming feeling that I was going to be just fine. This is not a typical response to finding out you have cancer. I never experienced any of the typical responses to finding out you have cancer. Did I ever have fear? Yes. Did I ever get depressed? Yes. However, my fear was not having enough faith and my depression was from wondering why God’s amazing grace would choose to save a sinner like me. As far as me wondering if God was going to do what he said he was going to do……I never doubted that.
WHAT KIND OF CANCER ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
I was transported to St John Tulsa the same night as we got the news. Like I said in the introduction, my feet never touched the ground from that point forward. We arrived at the hospital and I was taken straight to a room. I was hooked up with IVs and told by the nurses we would be seeing the DRs first thing in the morning. The next morning as scheduled I was greeted by DR Pisc’s P.A. and the fight began. We were told there would be a biopsy to determine the type of cancer we would be dealing with and then would need to seek a course of action. I went through a lot of tests that day, had what seemed like gallons of blood drawn, 1000 needle pokes, and stuck into one machine after the other. I had the biopsy and on and on we went. Of course I am exaggerating here, but when you are going through it everything seems out of proportion.
Dr. Pisc came in to see me before the biopsy or any of the test results had come back. I asked her what she believed, based on her experience, what it is we were looking at? Dr Pisc told me that she could not be 100% for sure what type of cancer it was but what she could tell us is that we needed to pray it was not a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma but that it was a Non-Hodgkins. The outcome is night and day as far as the two prognosis would be concerned. She said that as soon as she heard something she would let me know. Basically what she had just told us was that depending on what type of cancer you have, determines how long till you see the bottom side of a casket lid. She could give no reassurances. She was a doctor and she was not going to guess or hint one way or the other, and I don’t blame her. It is serious business mixed with huge emotions. This would be an answer you wanted to be 100% on target with data to back it up.
After the doctors left it was quiet. It was a quiet that you could actually feel laying over your body like a blanket. Elaina, Mom and I were in the room. There are those Christians out there reading this and asking me why I just didn’t ask for complete healing in my body from head to toe right then and get up and walk out of that hospital. As a Christian I can tell you that I have seen in the past where what I call, immediate miracle responses, have happened. I have witnessed them with my own eyes. There are the folks that are healed 100%, immediately, without medication or any outside healthcare. To be honest my faith at that time was not strong enough to see something like that happening. I knew right there laying in that bed that I would not be able to raise my faith to the level necessary to ask and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Lord had healed me 100%. That brought me to the sobering reality to question where exactly my faith was with the Lord. Of everything I had been told about my cancer, the waiting for the biopsy to come back, the blood tests, the CAT scans, none of it came even close to raising the level of concern I now had for where my faith might be in the Lord. This genuinely scared me. Being in the situation I was in I did the only thing I knew to do, and that was to ask the Lord where my faith was. So I prayed and I asked the Lord where my faith was with him. With all humility I wanted to know if my faith was going to be strong enough to get me through this journey and through the valley of the shadow of death I was now walking through. Jesus answered me immediately and without hesitation as I prayed. The answer he gave was simple and beautiful. To this day I have never had such few words make such a tremendous impact on my life, Jesus said “Do not Fear, I will meet you where you are.” Isa 41:10 “So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God”.
After I had heard these words the Holy Spirit showed me what to do and how to pray. See, faith is a very powerful force. It can move mountains. But what most don’t realize is that it is the faith of the person in question that will determine the outcome of any spiritual event, including healing. In the hospital room waiting on our diagnosis, I asked my Wife and Mom to pray with me. I asked if we could all agree that my diagnosis would come back Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Elaina and my Mom both said they could, so that is what we prayed for. I prayed that the disease be one that was non terminal and was not a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
My Wife and Mom have been Christians long enough to know that if you have a group of Christians praying for something, small or great, and the group is not in agreement on what is being prayed, you will not get results. Mat 18:19 “Again, truly I tell you if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my father In heaven.” So when I asked them if that was something they could agree with me on they knew exactly what I was asking. The moment we went to prayer with this request we would be standing in front of God the Father and agreement on a prayer is important.
For those of you who are not familiar with the principle of agreement, it would be like having 3 people go in front of the board of a company to ask for a specific request. Once inside the spokes’ person for the group of three lays out to the board members exactly what they are there to request. Now imagine that the whole time the first person is laying out the request, the other two, or even just one of the other three is shaking his head side to side in full view of the board. Chances are the board members are going to immediately notice that the group of 3 are not in agreement and nothing will be granted. My Wife, Me, and my Mother, when we prayed, were in agreement and by being in agreement we were able to go before the “board”, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with the full confidence that we would receive what we had requested in all humility. Our humble prayer was that the Lord send his healing Angels, that I might be diagnosed with the least deadly form of the disease. Then we began to Thank Him for the good news that we would be receiving very soon. We Thanked Him for that which had not yet been received as though it was already manifest in my life. 2 Cor 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight”
MIRACLE ALERT: The next morning I was up early and decided to take a walk. Elaina and Mom were already up and talking. I maneuvered my way out of the hospital bed and headed for the door. Normally one of them would be right beside me but for some reason this was not the case on this particular morning. As I rounded the corner by the nurse’s station I saw Dr. Pisc and made it a point to say hi to her. She looked and me and said, “Oh yes, I have good news for you.” I asked her what that was and she said that it was Non-Hodgkins. I asked her to hold her comments and follow me back to the room where my Wife and Mom could also hear what needed to be said. Dr. Pisc told my Mom and Elaina that she had great news. She began to tell us that from the biopsy I was revealed that I had Burkitts lymphoma. She explained that it was a very aggressive cancer and that I was already at stage 4. I know for a fact everyone of us in the room at this point, except for the doctor, was wondering what the great news was. She then went on to explain that Burkitts was a cancer that was 100% curable in about 80% of the cases. She also stated that even though my Burkitts was in stage 4 that it would be responsive to chemo therapy. She stated my prognosis was very good. We were all smiling at that point. I guess the smile I couldn’t get off of my face just kept growing around the room. The night before we had prayed to the Lord that I would be diagnosed with the least deadly form of the disease. Not only did my diagnosis come back as being one of the least deadly, it came back as being 100% curable. Glory be to God the Father. My chances of having a 100% curable cancer out of 200 total cancers and 7 billion people in the world was .000000071% chance. Again, these are not odds that anyone would bet on. (Feel free to check any of my math, I could be off a bit, but it close. I’ m not a mathematician but tried my best))
SHOCK OF IT ALL
I was now in shock. Not because of the thought of having an extremely aggressive cancer, but by the fact that I had just been diagnosed with a curable cancer. I never knew those two words could ever go together. To the normal person that sounds insane. I know there are folks out there who will say the Dr. was just telling me something that was already there and God had nothing to do with the diagnosis. What I would simply say to you is that the doctor read the CAT scan and could not determine what it was which led to the biopsy. Until the biopsy came back, no one on this earth had any idea what type of cancer was going to be diagnosed. The simple point of the matter is that I, Elaina, and my Mom in full agreement went before the Lord in faithful prayer, full of expectations, and asked that my cancer be the less lethal of the two. What we received was not only a less lethal cancer but one that is 100% curable 80% of the time. My family and I prayed and believed before we knew any outcome. We prayed with the full expectation of deliverance based on what we had agreed upon together. We agreed, we prayed, we enthusiastically expected, and we received what we had prayed for. Then we spent some time praying and Thanking the Lord for that answered prayer. My eyes had been opened. My mustard seed of faith was continuing to grow. Jesus told me that he would meet me where I was at. He delivered on that promise. The entire front row of heavenly parking spaces had been open to me. The veil had dropped from my eyes and I now saw that I could ask the Lord for 100% healing from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. I could see that nothing was too big for him or too small. Each decision from this point forward would be taken to in prayer. And from this point forward we would begin Thanking God for the healing I had received. From that point forward we would give thanks and pray as though I was already healed 100%. We all knew that more decisions had to be made moving forward but those decisions would be weighed in the hands of the Lord. Our next big decision came quickly. We were asked if we wanted to go to MD Anderson or OU Medical for my chemotherapy? We would need to get headed that way the same day so that I could get started on my treatments as soon as possible.
WHERE TO GO, MD Anderson or OU Medical
Burkitts Lymphoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in the world as well as one of the rarest. So in my case I went from not having cancer at all to Stage IV in about 6 to 8 weeks. The fact that I was already at Stage IV created a high sense of urgency in my doctors in Tulsa to get me to a good cancer hospital immediately. Dr Pisc recommended MD Anderson in Houston Texas or OU Medical in Oklahoma City Oklahoma. We could feel the pressure from them to make a decision and to make it quickly. I remember feeling like I had just been in a serious car wreck and just wheeled into the emergency room. Doctors, nurses and family members rushing around, trying to make split second lifesaving decisions for me in which I had no control. That is the worst of it all. Once you are diagnosed with cancer, any shred of control you thought you had is gone. At that very moment you have to give total trust to the doctors and nurses who are there to help you. You have to rely on their expertise. I have to say the cancer patients who seemed to have the most trouble throughout their treatment were those individuals who wanted to argue with the doctors, change medications, not take medications at all, argue with the nurses and try to tell the nurses what they needed and when. It never ended well for them. My family decided to give Jesus the wheel to my situation immediately. I had no idea where the Lord would take us. Then I heard my Mom say “We will give it to the Lord. We will ask Him to open up a bed at the hospital you need to be at.” Once again Elaina, my Mom my brother and sister-in-law and I went before the Lord. We prayed for a quick response telling Jesus that we would trust in his judgement, in that whatever hospital called first with an open bed is the hospital we would go to. Jesus Christ answers prayers on his time. I have always heard that from preachers. God will do it in his time…….be patient and wait on the Lord. Realistically we did not have time to wait. The rate at which the cancer was spreading was exceptional and not getting hooked up to chemo as soon as possible could mean the difference between life and death. It seems I should have been focused on the cancer that was eating my body at a Piranha rate of speed, but I still had a calming peace. I can’t tell you the feeling of peace I had. The Devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy and that includes your peace of mind. Visions of the disease eating me from the inside out would begin to pour into my mind. The devil reminding me that I had the most aggressive and rarest cancers in the world. The devil asking me what the chances would be of even finding a doctor who would know anything about such a rare cancer, and with that, there would be no way they would have any idea how to fight it. The Devil is a master liar. Knowing this, I went to the Lord in prayer once again Thanking Him for not allowing any hand brought against me to prosper, not even satan’s. I knew the Lord was already at work, knowing beforehand what I needed. And if there was anyone in the universe who knew exactly how urgent the situation was it was my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Just 45 minutes later Dr. Pisc came back into the room to let me know that OU Medical Center called with an open bed and that there was an ambulance standing by to take me there. We all smiled, praised God and Thanked Him with tears of joy.
As it came time for me to leave Tulsa and head to Oklahoma City I couldn’t help but wonder, why OU Medical Center. Why not MD Anderson. I mean MD Anderson was supposedly at the top when it came to putting cancer patients into remission. They are known throughout the United Stated if not the world as the hospital to go to if you have cancer. Especially late stage cancer like I had. In the Ambulance I prayed and told the Lord he would not have had my Mom move in the spirit that way and move Elaina and I to agree to go to the first bed open if he did not have a plan. I knew there had to be a plan. I just didn’t know what that plan was at the time. When I found out, it blew me away. I was in shock of the information I was given. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I remembered the Devil coming to me and telling me that I had one of the rarest and most aggressive forms of cancers in the world. I remember the Devil implying to me that there would be no way that that there would be doctors available who had the knowledge to fight this cancer.
Miracle Alert: Dr. Ikeguchi and Dr. Herman were my first two Oncologists at OU Medical Center. Dr Ikeguchi had been to Africa to study Burkitts Lymphoma and the effects it had on the children there. Gaining extensive knowledge on this rare form of Cancer. Dr. Herman had spent his time studying Burkitts Lymphoma. According to the nurses at the hospital Dr. Herman is considered an expert in Burkitts Lymphoma cancer and has been published for the knowledge he has gained and the work he has done in this area. What are the ODDs that the hospital I am sent to had two of the best authorities in the United States and possibly the world at that Hospital and that they, of all the Oncologists in the field would be my Doctors for the first two months of my treatment. Anyone who knows me, knows I like to figure probabilities. The chances of this happening was a .00034% chance out of 100%. Not good odds at all in the natural world. The ODDs including hospitals that are strictly cancer hospitals is 3,413,522 to 1. Approximately. There is nothing bigger than Jesus Christ. There is nothing stronger than the word of God to rebuke the destructive forces of the Devil. (Feel free to check my math, I could have been off a bit.)
WHERE THE MIND GOES THE BODY WILL FOLLOW
I have seen a lot of science fiction shows in my life. That is also a major understatement. I even watch the SyFy shows that would be labeled B or C category or one or two stars. If it is SyFy, I will watch it. We arrived at OU Medical Center and went straight to the seventh floor. This is the Oncology floor. As I was being wheeled towards my room I was looking in the occupied rooms trying to catch a glimpse of what might be in store for me. I had never seen anyone on chemo, never even talked to anyone who had been on chemo. So to say I had absolutely no idea what to expect would be absolutely 100% correct. I caught glimpses of the end of the bed in each room but couldn’t see toward the front where any of the SyFy stuff would be located. I was not nervous……ok I was extremely nervous. Yes, I believed the Lord was with me, no doubt. But the battle field of the mind is a very active and treacherous place and you couple that with 43 years of SyFy imagination and well I saw tubes coming out of heads…big glass jars filled with green liquid…contorted body parts and you get the picture. Not knowing a thing can be the scariest thing of all. The devil loves to draw you into the world of what if and speculation. He knows that if he can move you away from the word of God, then he has the opportunity to take you on a demonic joy ride of fear.
They wheeled me into the room and helped me into the bed. I slowly looked around the room. No Frankenstein, Dracula or the Devil. No Glass jars filled with green oozing liquid. It was just a hospital room. I asked the Lord to forgive me for my fear. I know under the circumstances most people would be scared and it would be completely understandable. However, I knew through the word of God that fear was the opposite of faith. Fear can freeze you physically and mentally. It can keep you from moving forward and can block you from seeing the things that the Lord is doing for you, around you, and with you. I prayed right then “Lord, forgive me for being fearful. I know that you are with me and that you are in control of my life, this situation, and the outcome. I love you Lord. Amen.” I know it wasn’t a fancy or long suffering prayer, but Jesus heard me. I felt a complete calm come over me. Even as the Doctors and nurses came in the room, two and three at a time, taking blood, hooking up machines, sticking needles in my arms, taking X-Rays……I was at peace knowing that Jesus was in control.
One thing is for sure is the moment you decide to give it to the Lord the devil will be there to fight you every step of the way. He will throw at you everything he has in his arsenal to keep you from holding the faith. He will do everything within his power to make you doubt, question or even deny the healing grace the Lord has given you. I was no exception. My family, Wife, Mom, kids were no exception. Because if he can’t get to you then he will do what he can to get to you through your family. I experienced this almost immediately. But I also knew there was two ways in which to see every situation. I could see it through the Lords eyes or I could allow the Devil to tempt me into believing the SyFy version of the situation. It was a fight from the very beginning. The devil was on me from the moment I made that decision. Not a day went by that he didn’t tempt me or attempt to scare me into not believing the Lord had the power to heal my body.
MIRACLES ARE REAL and GOD STILL DELIVERS THEM
As mentioned on page one, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Burkitts Lymphoma on August 2nd 2015 and was CANCER FREE on September 25th, 2015, 49 days later. Dr. Herman called it an anomaly. Dr. Oglesby said he had never seen anything like it. Not just the recovery time, but the lack of serious side effects and the consistency my blood counts throughout the entire process.
During some of the times I have shared my story I have been asked by a few people a very difficult question. I have been asked “Why is it my son, mom, aunt, cousin, friend, didn’t make it? They were Christians and they believed and had faith. So why did God not heal them?” I don’t have an exact answer to that question. I know that sometimes the Lord heals someone to be an example for others. To help others grab onto their own faith and develop a closer relationship with God. So I have to believe that it is also in his plan to take some of us home to have that same impact. I wish I had a better answer for those who’s family members didn’t make it. What I can tell you is it does not mean they had any less faith than anyone else. Sometimes I think God just brings his children home. Sometimes he allows us to see the reason for that persons sacrifice and it helps, and then sometimes he doesn’t. One thing I know for sure is that God loves all his children and is always going to do what is best for them as any parent would. I also know that those who have left us are in heaven and there is no way to compare an eternal life in heaven to a mortal life on earth. On the earth we deal with the earthy restrictions of faith every day. It seems at times that the moment we confess something with our mouths in the name of Jesus Christ the devil is on the scene to steal it away.
According to the Medical Community I should have experienced serious side effects from the chemo and drugs given during treatment. They kept looking for them to creep up in my blood work. However, each morning they would come in and tell me my numbers were good. My red counts, white counts, platelets, uric acid, and blood cultures. There were however a few major concerns that came up and these are the concerns that I believe God had the opportunity to show his grace in all abundance.
The Doctors first major concern was that my Kidneys were going to shut down because the cancer was dying so fast in my body that it was clogging up my system. They brought in a kidney specialist, he gave me some medicine and hung out with me for a few days and then everything stabilized. However the rate at which I was killing the cancer cells did not. My Kidneys just hung in there and kept pumping the cancer out of my body.
MIRACLE ALERT: The normal steps that would have been taken would be for the Doctors to simply put me on dialysis. This was something the Doctors believed was coming soon with the rate at which I was flushing the cancer. I remember praying about this very thing. I asked the Lord to open my kidneys and allow just the medicine to do what was necessary to flush the cancer. I never saw a day on dialysis.
There second biggest concern was my face drooping on the left side and the double vision I was having. I’m not talking a little droop. I looked like a basset hound on one side of my face. I wasn’t just seeing double; I was seeing double with one set of doubles higher than the other. This was also during my first treatment. Again they brought in a Neurological specialist who at first was very concerned and believed the cancer had gone to my brain prompting him to order a CAT scan. If the Cancer had gone to my brain they were going to have to drill a hole in the top of my and put the chemo directly in through a port going straight to my brain. This worried almost everyone. This is understandable. Nobody wants a hole in your head. That one thing in itself brings up a whole other host of complications. So off to the CAT scan I went.
MIRACLE ALERT: I saw Jesus lying next to me in that tube. He simply smiled at me. He didn’t have to say a word. The look on his face was a very happy “Man, aren’t they going to be surprised”. This told me there would be nothing in that scan. Sure enough the scan was clear. No Cancer. In fact they had found that the Burkitts had not touched a single organ in my body other than the small mass on the outside of my small intestine, the omentum around my abdomen and my bone marrow. The droop went away and so did the cancer.
The third biggest concern that came from the doctors concerned the mass that was on the outside of my lower intestines and the rate at which it was dissolving. I saw this as a good thing. The concern for the doctors was that the tumor could be metastasized to the small intestines and with the rate at which it was dissolving it could dissolve faster than the small intestine would have to heal the holes that would be left behind. This would leave a 5cm hole in my small intestines allowing waste to flow out into the body cavities. This in turn would cause a host of complications, infections, possible organ failure, and definitely surgery. The question was do we operate now or wait to see if it actually leaves a perforation. Scary…no doubt.
MIRACLE ALERT: The rate at which my cancer cells were dying and flushing did not slow down. The family went to the Lord in prayer and asked the Lord to ensure there was no perforation in the small intestine once the mass was gone. We all agreed the Lord could make this happen. When my PET scan came back the tumor on the small intestine was gone and there were no perforations. It was the best case scenario one could have.
THE LORD WILL ALWAYS BRINGS THOSE AROUND YOU WHO YOU NEED AT THE EXACT TIME YOU NEED THEM
I would like to appreciate the unconditional love I received from family and friends. This love from my Mom, Wife, Brother, Sister in law and my Boys and my Aunt Steva. My Mom and Wife haven’t left my side since day one. I lived at my Mom’s house for most of the trips in between hospital stays and she was at the hospital with me from the first day to the last. Which was awesome because she is a loving Mother, but she is also a fantastic cook. Elaina, my Wife, has been a spiritual rock for me. Reminding me during times I was not my spiritual best that God was in control. She cried with me, kissed me, laid next to me on the bed, made me laugh, and kept me focused on Jesus. My Brother and Sister In Law stayed with me my first week in the hospital. My Brother would pray for me every day and I always got a copy of that prayer on face book or text. My Aunt Steva was the first to respond to anything I put out there on social media and constantly lifted my spirits. Cindy Stone for sending me a card every day just to let me know she was thinking about me. She is an awesome person. Richard Barry for the times he came up to the hospital to sit with me and catch me up on all the stuff in life I was out of the loop on. Mike Barnes who shaved his head, twice, to show his support for me. My Uncle Joe Lynch who shaved his head as well. To the soldiers who came to the hospital to see me from my unit, it meant the world to me. Josh Philllipi who literally bought me a game system to keep my mind off things. The games he got me…Mortal Combat, Call of Duty, it’s the soldier in us. My boss Patrick Henderson who came immediately to pray with the family and set the tone for the battle ahead. Elaina’s work colleagues who raised over $900.00 for our family. To all of my friends and family who sent me the encouraging words on facebook each and every day. If I have missed someone here I apologize. The outpouring was so great and the prayers so many that it was very difficult to keep up with. But I want you to know that all your prayers made the difference. So anytime anyone asks me to pray for them I never take it lightly. I love you all.
In total I had 576 Hours of chemotherapy over 5 months. That would be 14 forty hour work weeks. It’s a lot of a toxic chemical over a short period of time. We prayed and asked God from the very beginning that the chemo not cause any serious side effects. I lost my hair, had some stomach aches, some tingling in my toes and fingers, some memory loss and some constipation. All of which the doctors and nurses say will correct themselves. No organ failure, no damage to my nervous system, no damage to my skeletal system, and no damage to my circulatory system. This is not the case for so many people who go through cancer treatment. I’m sure you have heard that if the cancer doesn’t kill you the treatment will. The Lord placed a shield around me from day one. I could feel his presence and his power on day one and still do today. He has never left my side, and it lets me know that until the day I die in my sleep as an old old man, I am to get this story out to anyone who will listen. It is a story of Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that he will keep the promises he has made to us. It is also a story about the simple fact that God still performs Miracles.
I was diagnosed with Stage IV Burkitts Lymphoma on August 2nd 2015 and was CANCER FREE on September 25th, 2015, 49 days later. Dr. Herman called it an anomaly. Dr. Oglesby said he had never seen anything like it. Not just the recovery time, but the lack of serious side effects and the consistency of my blood counts throughout the entire process. I called it a miracle. During this short period of time the Lord showed me what the faith of a mustard seed can do and how it can grow to change a person’s life forever. I understand not everyone’s faith is in the same place spiritually. Just remember that Jesus will meet YOU where YOU are at, just as he did with me. I am sharing my testimony with anyone who would listen because the Lord has asked me to do just that.
Please contact me if you would like me to share this Testimony in person with your church, youth group, Sunday school class, bible study group or any of the like. I am very experienced at public speaking due to my exposure in my civilian occupation. I am a born again Christian and love the Lord.
Powerful words, Rian! Powerful message! I am in awe of your faith during this time, and that faith brought you peace. I am also in awe of God’s grace. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.
Amazing, like I said earlier in post your faith in God to take control, and the amazing family support is what has got you through this.Keep the faith Rian, god is on your side and will always be there for you
I love you and was apprised of what was going on through your Mom. God can and still does work miracles. So many things could have happened to your body with all you went through, so my prayer now is to thank God for granting you one of his miracles and you and I both know he will always be with you.
Rian…funny you talked about “a parking place” …I too always get a space right up front…I know I will…and I do. I remember when your Mom first talked to me about your cancer…it was always with the thought that you were healed…and she was steadfast in her belief….she was strong in her faith….and so were you and your family. You are an amazing man and I love that you have shared your experience… God Bless you Rian. I feel honored to know you.
I love your story Rian. You have stayed positive throughout this experience. I know that your story will motivate others that have been diagnosed with this horrible cancer.