Pastor's Health Update
Good morning to You
I wanted to give you another health update. Let’s start off with the food consumption. I am maintaining my weight, I haven’t gained any additional weight but I’m still eating solid foods, at least two full meals per day and snacks in between. So I thank God for that.
Also, I’m about to undergo round 3 of chemotherapy this week. This is the round where that they will go ahead and take care of the chemo Wednesday through Friday and afterward they will go ahead and test to see if the tumor is still the same size if it’s shrinking or what. So, I’m looking forward to receiving that report in the days ahead.
This has been an incredible journey. A lot of people have said to me, Pastor “thank you for being transparent, thank you for letting us in on what’s going on so that we can pray specifically for what’s happening. I appreciate your prayers. An interesting question came up one day regarding my spiritual and emotional state. A member wanted to know Pastor “where are you spiritually and emotionally”. This was my response, I have my Psalm 6 moments, in Psalm 6 David basically asked God the question “how long,” “God when are you going to do something about this”, “God I need you to help me to deal with this,” “I weep all night,” so I have those moments. But then, most of my days are Psalm 34 days, I will bless the Lord at all times and His praise shall continually be in my mouth. I even go ahead and tell others to magnify the Lord with me and to taste and see that the Lord is good. So I spend time there in Psalm 34 most days.
Well, that’s about it. Let me share this with you regarding the next time you see me. I will probably be bald, the hair will probably be gone. A lot of people look at that and say "Oh wow, that’s going to happen?" It’s a part of the process but let me share this with you, I would rather lose hair to regain health. I’m cool with that. Hair can grow back. I just want my health restored. Pray with me to that end.
Guys, I miss you! Just seeing you would be medicine for the soul! I know that during this season I can’t be around crowds but a just seeing you would help. So don’t be a surprise if I walk through one day.
God Bless You, Love You!
Okay, I wanted to get with you and share another heath update. This week, I had round two of chemo. Let me jump back to round 1, I did not know what to expect after round 1, some of the side effects involved fatigue, nausea and a few things like that. They had given certain meds in advance because they knew those things would take place. Well, I went ahead and went through round 1, and after the forty-eight hour period that’s when some of the complications really surface. The process involves me going to the office there where the oncologist is located, spending approximately five hours there and they will go ahead and place certain meds in you while you are there. You will have a portal unit attached to take home with you and after that you go back like that Friday and they will take it off. Well, it was when they removed it that I started seeing some things happening. Especially dealing with nausea, I was vomiting over and over again. As a result of that certain things had to take place. I had to go in one Sunday morning, before day, to have some fluids place in me so they kept me there to go ahead and put those fluids in. I had to go back again, they wanted to keep me for observation but I felt better so I was released. Then a few days later, it started happening more and more so they decided to go ahead and admit me. During this period, I ended up losing an additional ten pounds because I was unable to hold the food in that I was taking, the Boost and the soups, etc. and that wasn’t being received well by anyone. I ended up dropping down and they placed me in hospital.
Well, here is the Praise the Lord moment. I was placed in the hospital they pumped me full of fluids. When I went into the hospital, I weighed 153 pounds. On Sunday, they had this special service set up at the Church where there was going to be a Prayer and Praise Service where the Saints of God were going to get together and start praying. Now, I need to let you know I could not eat anything because of the nausea that was going on before and all of that. After I was in the hospital, after the Prayer and Praise Service, I was able to go and have round 2 of chemo this week, step on the scale and discovered that within a 3 day window, I was back up ten pounds to 162.5 pounds. Prayer works, Prayer really works!
I thank God for allowing me to get back on schedule and the good news is that I haven’t release anything out of my mouth as far as becoming nauseated and vomiting, none of that happened since I was release from the hospital. Once again, Prayer works!
One more Praise the Lord moment. Since that time, I haven’t had to drink Boost, I haven’t had a bowl of soup. I’ve had full meals, two to three each day. Once again, was able to hold that food in. Once again, Prayer works! So thank God for what He is doing. I know, I’m still not out of the woods, still have several rounds of chemo to go. That’s okay I can still see the hand of God moving in this situation. I thank God for you, thank you for praying and keep lifting me up. It’s one day at a time but I’m going to spend each of those days giving Him praise for what He is doing!
God Bless You!
I had my first round of chemo on yesterday and this is when reality set in for me. This bout with cancer is legitimate. The first round involved four different meds being pumped in my body to attack the cancerous cells. It lasted for approximately four hours rather than the five and a half hours expected. They were able to give two of the meds at the same time over a two hour period. The process does not end with chemo treatment at the hospital. I left with a mobile attached that will continued to pump the last med into the body until tomorrow morning. I will go by the hospital for them to detach the mobile unit and repeat this process again a week from this past Wednesday. I don’t feel any better or worse at this point. The energy level is down but the doctors told me this would happen. We have to give it time to work.
Alright, I wanted to give you another health update, I don’t have as much to share with you this time. Let me start off with letting you know that they are getting ready to go ahead, next week and place a port in so they can begin the chemotherapy. That will take place this week, so I will go with the first round this week and we will go ahead and have several rounds of chemotherapy and the objective is to go ahead and shrink the cancerous tumor that’s in my stomach. Listen, before you get down about that, I hope you have connected what I just said with the last report because I just gave you one of those praise the Lord moments. They did not know if they would be able to take care of the chemotherapy or do the surgery because of what is called an iron deficiency. Guess what, the iron deficiency is not there that means that they can go ahead and get started.
Praise God that we can go ahead and start walking toward the victory that I know He is going to already provide. So, that's it as far as the update is concerned, keep me in your prayers and I’m going to try my best to keep you posted.
God Bless You!
I promised you that I would keep you updated as much as possible concerning my health and I’m going to honor that promise and do what I can to keep you fully aware of what it is that I know. I’ve had someone to share with me, Pastor, we appreciate your transparency and appreciate you keeping us informed, and I’m grateful that you are grateful but I’m doing it deliberately and intentionally. The reason being is that I need you all praying for me. I need you all praying during this season that I’m in right now. I realize that when many are praying great things can happen.
Let me share with you basically where we are today, nothing has changed really but I can give you some more details. I’m giving these details in layman terms, I have a doctrine of ministry, not a doctrine in medicine, so I’m going to explain it the best way I can. Here we have a basic diagram of our system, what exists with the digestive system, what you have
happeninghere, this is the stomach area, so let me share with you where the cancerous tumor is located. It’s located in the lower area of the stomach, just before food reaches the small intestine. It's in this particular area in the stomach lining where you have this malignant mass that exists. Here lies the problem, whenever food is consumed or goes into the stomach it cannot be digested properly because the opening is so small. So as the food goes in it begins to stack up in this particular area because it cannot make it through this small pathway into the small intestine. That explains the weight loss. I have lost approximately fifty pounds within the last six months. With cancer there is very little appetite, I do not have a desire to eat, I basically have to force myself to eat something. There lies the problem with what’s going on with the things that need to take place to get rid of this tumor. They are concerned about what is called an iron deficiency because I haven't been eating, because of the weigh lost they want to make sure I am not anemic now and need to build up the iron, the iron level needs to get to another level before they can go ahead and start with chemotherapy and eventually the surgical removal of the tumor. So I met with the oncologist and this is what we are doing, we are trying to come up witha plan a nutritional plan for me to go ahead and build up the strength and the nutrients that are going into my body. They are going to perform what is called a PET scan and more blood work next week. This is why that’s happening, they found some more little spots in different areas, small spots but the CT scan could not fully give us a report as to whether or not those spots are cancerous so they have to go to the next level which is a PETscan and it basically deals with a full body scan. The CT scan just dealt with this particular area.
Now, there is a praise report connected to the CT Scan, when the CT Scan was done they discovered that cancer did not spread into the other organs associated with the digestive system. When it comes to the gallbladder, the pancreas, the liver, and those type things, there was no cancer found. So that’s a praise the Lord moment there! They are concern about those other spots they have found in different areas so that’s why they want to do the PET scan. The surgeons want to know everything before he goes in to try to remove the cancerous tumor. So after the PET scan, after meeting with the oncologist, and the surgeon in the future, what’s going to happen following next week, they want to begin with chemotherapy so they can possibly shrink the tumor that exists in this area so food can start passing through. They know they are going to have to still perform surgery to remove it but want to shrink it some so that I can build up the strength I need in order to have the surgery in the future. So that’s pretty much what’s going on right now, that’s what’s happening physically with me. With that said, let me share with you what’s about to transpire, I will probably preach this Sunday, both services if the Lord says the same and I’m physically able to do so but this will probably be the last Sunday that I preached during the summer. I’m going to need to take the summer off for them to go ahead and do what they need to do to get me to the point where they can remove this tumor from my stomach.
We are going to have others associate pastors as well as local pastors who will be sharing
atthe different services. This is your Pastor’s request, “I need you to stay on the ship, don’t allow this to be a season of getting away and not be a part of the Antioch Experience. I need you to continue to come out and be a part of what’s going on here at the Antioch Church. I need you to continue to pray with me and for me. I going to give you some specific prayer request in just a moment. But I need you to make sure that you remain actively involved here at the Antioch Church.”
Now as far as some of the specific prayer requests, let me share with you what the doctors are trying to do, they want me to go ahead and eat a certain amount of food and to go ahead and have a certain amount of calories going into my system on a daily basis. This is basically what I’m dealing with now. I need to drink at least six of these (BOOST) per day, they are saying six to eight, but if I can drink at least six and eat at least three of these (
Campbellssoup) that will help to go ahead and build up my strength and help with the iron deficiency that type of thing. So I need you to pray that God will help me to do this because I’m going to share with you that its challenging, it’s really difficult to do this. For sure solid foods, I cannot eat because they get stuck there, right outside the cancerous area but these are not as difficult to digest. So pray with me that God will help me in this particular area.
Also, I have a lot of abdominal pain due to the tumor and they are trying different medications to address that. So I need you to pray that they find the right medication because they have tried a couple and they are not working. One is causing me to become nauseated quite a bit and causing me to throw up quite a bit. So what they are going to do is go ahead and make some adjustments to it as well and give me something for nausea to hopefully help me deal with the pain that I’m having on a daily basis.
So keep me in mind these special prayer request. Listen, I need you to stand with me believing that God is able. I believe He is going to take care of this in His timing when He gets ready. So stand with me believing, continuing to be faithful and let’s just watch God do something miraculous.
God bless you today!
Today, I’m giving a follow-up to a robocall that was made here recently concerning my health and things that are taking place. I wanted to go ahead and give a few more details this way on today versus just making a call. I have been going through some things since having multiple heart attacks back in March 2017. After the heart attacks, after they placed the stent in the heart, I remember before being discharged from the hospital, talking to the medical team about some stomach issues that were going on. They gave me some meds to try to settle the stomach and I thought that was going to be the end of it. Well, I discovered a month or so later that the stomach issues remain and I talked to the cardiologist and shared with him that I still had some issues going on and I needed him to come up with a plan to deal with the stomach issues. Well, we thought then that maybe it was the medication that I was on following the heart attacks so there were some adjustments made to the meds.
A few months past and still the stomach issues remained. Following the heart attacks, I was placed on a medication known as a blood thinner and I had to be on the blood thinner for one year. So a lot of the tests that they would normally do on the stomach or the gastrointestinal area they could not do because I was on the blood thinner. Two of those tests, one being the EGD, which is when they place a scope down the throat and check out the upper GI, and the other being the colonoscopy. Well, after receiving permission from the cardiologist to go ahead and stop taking the blood thinner, remember this was something I had to be on for one year, so it took him one year to go ahead and give me permission and the reason it took one year was because of the damage to the heart following the multiple heart attacks. So he finally gave permission for me to be off the blood thinner for seven to ten days so that I could have those test done.
Well, the tests were done and the EGD the upper GI test that was done with the scope revealed that I have a tumor in the
prepyloricregion of the stomach. Many have noticed the weight loss that has occurred since I had the heart attacks and thought wow Pastor is really hanging with his diet and doing everything right, yeah, I thought that was the case but it was more to it. I could not consume food because the tumor actually blocked the flow of food from being digested properly. That’s the reason behind the weight loss. But note that from all of this the doctors were amazed that the pain was not as severe as it should have been because I have been dealing with this for so long. They went ahead, of course after they found the tumor and took a sample of it to send off to the lab. Once the sample came back they told me that the tumor is cancerous. It’s something that I didn’t want to hear but it is what it is. The next step is to take a what is called a CT Scan, the objective is to find out if cancer has spread to the lymphoid tissues. If it has not spread to the lymphoid tissues they will surgically remove the tumor if the cancer is just localized there and that will be the extent of it. If cancer has spread it will require the surgical removal of the tumor as well as chemo and radiation. So we are waiting to see what the next steps will be.
Listen, I’ve had people to say “Pastor why is this happening to you?”, well, I need you to know that I have not asked that question. I have not asked, “why me Lord?” because my position is why not me because so many people have to deal with storms, suffering, and sickness, so I’m not exempt. I need you to just stand with me in prayer, believing that God is able to take care of this. My main desire is for His perfect will to be done. He knows what He is doing and I’m just going to trust Him to do whatever He wants to do in this situation. I’m asking the Church to continue to talk to Him on my behalf, I’m praying that this will be a time in which God will allow great things to happen so that He can get some glory from it.
When it comes to the next steps since I’m unaware, since we are still trying to figure all that out, I will be out for a season until we discover what’s going on. Before the surgery, if I am physically able, I’m going to continue to preach on Sundays. After the surgery, of course, that will change.
Mid-week Bible Study, I’m going to have Associate Pastors and others sharing so you should come out and be a part of those sessions. On Wednesday evenings, at 6:30 PM the Prayer Warriors are going to gather, and I’m asking other members to come out to join them in a time of prayer, not just for me but for others members of this family of faith and that will take place on Wednesdays from 6:30 – 7:00 PM.
Listen, I have been preaching for several years since I was fifteen years old and pastoring for almost thirty-three years now and I know God is faithful. So I just need you to stand with me believing that He’s going to take care of this in His own way.
God Bless You and I thank God for You!