When positive is not so positive…God is still in control!

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Let’s face it…sometimes life gets a little complicated.  For example, I never understood why with cancer positive is negative and negative is positive.  Then again, nobody ever accused me of being a mathematical genius.

In any case, this morning I went to pick up the results of the biopsy from my tongue surgery on the 16th of January.  Lo and behold…the tissue is positive for squamous cell carcinoma. It is the third time that I get a positive (therefore negative) report.  The first was in May of 2010, the second in the summer of 2012, while in Grand Rapids, and now.

As Job so aptly put it: “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10)

As you may have learned far sooner and better than me, once we know that God is good and that God is in control, then we must trust Him and simply seek His wisdom in our big and small trials.

God has reminded me recently of so many people whose suffering greatly supersedes my own:

  • When I went in for surgery, I waited with an elderly man who had a plastic tube through his throat.  He tried to talk to me even without his vocal chords.  And he smiled at me.  The other man could not smile because his Parkinson’s disease did not permit it. 
  • My grandmother is fading away from an inoperable tumor in her brain. 
  • Daniele, a brother in Christ in northern Italy, has suffered for ten years with brain cancer and awaits his homegoing. 
  • Cenni, a lady in our church, has a brain tumor that is pushing on her frontal lobe and can’t seem to get a doctor to operate on her. 
  • Roque, a pastor from Venezuela, has been in our hospital here for probably close to a year with Leukemia.

So tell me, how can I complain?

God is so good to me!  It didn’t look like I would be able to get a CT scan until at least March, but my doctors were able to get me one in the hospital for this Friday, the 7th.  Then they want to schedule surgery to remove a larger portion of my tongue, hopefully still superficial.  So far I have not had any complications other than chronic inflammation and mild pain (and a really cool scar down my neck).  I still can speak, sing, play my French Horn, read books to Noah, eat normally.

It becomes all the more important at this point to decide when it would be best for me to go to Nottingham, England to see the specialist there.

I also have a woman in our church trying to get me in to a known clinic in Milan.  So many choices!!

The hardest thing will be figuring out how to get the care I need without cutting off the help I get here in Perugia for free.  Since 2010 I have not paid a single penny for the care I have received here in Italy!  (I make up for it in taxes, though!).

My greatest concern is the effects that this disease has on my ability to serve my family, church and the people we are here to reach.

We truly appreciate your prayers in this situation.  The doctors marvel that I have been able to stave off the disease the way I have so far.  All I can tell them is that I have an army of prayer warriors and a wonderful God whom we serve together!

Thank you for sticking with us through yet another chapter.

PS. If  you want to catch up on the whole saga (not sure why you would…), you can  click on the tag cloud on the right for the cancer or health.

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4 Responses to When positive is not so positive…God is still in control!

  1. Elaine Tabor says:

    Will be praying for you ,especially that God will give clear direction as to what to do about your treatment. I,ve had cancer twice and as a missionary God has sent me several people to talk to as I at least have been thru all the ups and downs of curing cancer .May God give you all the grace and guidedance you need so that your life is a testimony to all the people where you serve !

  2. jonathan says:

    Thank you Elaine for your wise and kind words! Sometimes knowing the right route to take is harder than the sickness itself, but having the wisdom and encouragement of others makes all the difference. God bless you!

  3. Karen Patti says:

    Prayers from the Patti’s in Virginia. The Whitman’s all hold a special place in our heart. We are praying for your wisdom, clarity and healing! Thinking also of your grandmother and all of your family that love her so dearly.
    Love to all,
    Paul and Karen

  4. jonathan says:

    Thank you Paul and Karen!

    You have a special place in our hearts too! We hope you can come back soon!

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