Consultation report

Posted in From Al & Libbie at 2:05 pm by Al

Dear praying friends and family,

You cannot know how much your prayer support and personal encouragement has meant. Thank you!

As we had mentioned in our previous letter, we had an appointment for a consult at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). The upshot, as we expected, is that we don’t know a whole lot except what testing is still necessary before anything definitive can be done. In other words, the brand of cancer needs to be determined.

Notwithstanding, we do have a few things to report since the last note, mostly about the upcoming schedule.

We met with an oncologist (cancer specialist) at HUP this morning. His specialty is melanoma. He helped us organize an MRI of the brain, which will happen late afternoon on Wednesday, February 1. Due to lack of any symptoms at this point, the expectation on all fronts is that this will be clear. But they need to make the scan because the brain is one of the places to which melanoma spreads.

Secondly, we were directed to a thoracic/pulmonary (chest/lung) surgeon at Abington with whom we will speak tomorrow or Wednesday to schedule a biopsy of the larger tumor. At this point we don’t know when the biopsy will be scheduled, probably soon. But we don’t know how long it will take to get results. We are guessing that we won’t have results for as much as ten days from now?

If the results indicate no cancer, then the course of action is to praise the Lord. If the results show cancer (and thus the type of cancer), then we can begin to determine the next course of action. So, don’t expect anything from us until we get the results on the biopsy, which will is likely to be perhaps 10 days. Sorry!

After we were told how to proceed to obtain the MRI and biopsy, we did receive some further illumination this morning by asking the doctor what the benign possibilities might be. He honestly confessed that he wasn’t coming up with many benign possibilities. Not encouraging news, for sure. But realistic. The biopsy will tell the tale. Given the size, recent occurrence, etc. of the tumors, the doctor sees three basic possibilities: metastasis of the melanoma (most likely), a primary cancer originating in the lung (not likely as I was not a smoker or around second-hand smoke), or a metastasis in the lung of some other cancer from elsewhere in the body.

I have been trying to finish this note all evening and without much success! The president of Chong Shin Seminary in Korea called and then came by to visit. Just as he was leaving our very dear friend Eep Talstra (from the Netherlands) called to tell us that his wife Lies had just died. She had cancer and declined very quickly, much more quickly in fact than anyone expected. She went into the hospital on Sunday morning and died just after midnight on Tuesday morning. I only bring this up because we need prayer for how to manage a trip to the Netherlands in the next few days.

I am just a font of encouragement tonight! I wish I had better things to report. Sorry. And, I’ll be honest I feel quite emotionally drained at this point, given the news of Lies’s death and all that is connected with my own situation. Still I would be remiss if I did not say that God has sustained and has been so good. I was much uplifted over the weekend at the New Life Church Men’s retreat. 130 men worshiping the Lord and praying and spending time together for 2 days is nothing short of glorious! Many came alongside me to encourage and pray for me.

Blessings, Al (for all the Groves family)

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