Two years ago we discovered that I had cancer. The treatment at the time was as good as the facts known then allowed. We have just discovered after several weeks of extensive tests that the cancer was more widespread even two years ago than was detectable at that time. Only within the last few months has there been any evidence otherwise. We now know that we are dealing with a more widespread issue and a more aggressive form of cancer that is consequently more serious. There are several treatment options available and I have already begun the one that seems most promising. My response to that medical treatment will be monitored closely over the coming weeks. If it appears to be helpful in controlling and reducing the cancer, it will be continued. If not, we will shift to another form of treatment. Until the doctors can evaluate my body’s response to the initial treatment they have no way to offer a more specific prognosis.
I realize that some of you will be curious for more specific information, but until we have a better idea of where this process is going, we would rather keep it more general. I am not in pain (and never have been) and have relatively few symptoms that would indicate anything out of the ordinary. Were it not for the careful monitoring since my treatment two years ago, we would not have known there was a problem.
We will appreciate your prayers for both Linda and me as God lays us on your heart. I have no doubt that God is able to heal me supernaturally should he see fit, but I do not presume to have any claim for such healing. Many of God’s children die from cancer every day and I am no better than they in that regard. Should God see fit to spare me at any point in the process, either through medical intervention or supernaturally, I shall be grateful and know that my work here was not yet finished. If, on the other hand, you should hear in the years ahead that God has seen fit in his sovereign providence to take me home, then you will know that what he gave me to do here was finished. But please don’t presume to order flowers for my funeral yet! I am not at death’s door. I may be worse before I am better if my current treatment is effective. (The doctor tells me that could be a good sign!) As they say, sometimes the treatment can be worse (at least in the short term) than the disease! Of course the reverse would be true in due time with no treatment.
I plan to continue teaching as much and as long as I am able, though I don’t expect to match Dr. Hendrick’s record of 60 years teaching at Dallas nor to reach the age of 90 as he did before he went home this week, and probably not even the “80 years if our strength endures” of Psalm 90. But the One who determines that is, as Dr. Ketcham was famous for saying, “too wise to make a mistake, and too good to be unkind.”