I Have Not Written Since November!

Let me start off by apologizing that I have not written since November. Life seems to be so busy, but fun happens each and every day. Thank you to all who read My Blog. I can start off by saying that Roxanne and I were in Georgia for a week and during that time we attended the Nascar Races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. They had record cold temperatures so it was fun watching the races while it was so cold. But making memories are so important. We also saw and went for dinner with some couples that we had met previously. That was so much fun, friends are so very important. It was a great vacation and time away which was a big blessing.

We even had a chance to get to one of the locations where Sweet Home Alabama was filmed. That was so beautiful and peaceful. We look forward to seeing more pictures from there as one of our friends from Georgia took some pictures of us, Like I said earlier making memories is so very important.

Two days after getting home we went to see my Oncologist and he talked about the latest CT scan. There were some concerns with the lesion on my pelvis. Another “hiccup” The next day he called back and asked me to go to an Emergency Ward to get an MRI of my spine. This would speed things up as we would be doing it over the weekend.

We arrived at The fantastic Misericordia Hospital at 5PM Friday night. The reason we went there was that was the hospital we were at during the early stages of the beginning of my cancer journey. It is so very hard to believe that we are now at month 29. The storm may rage but I can say with confidence that The Lord is with me each and every day. I am not losing my joy while going through this journey. I also try to impact as many people as I can through each and every day.

We ended up being at the hospital for about 27 hours, the MRI was done and showed that the lesion on my pelvis had grown considerably since doing almost nothing for the previous months. Just another “hiccup” that we will get through. All the staff were amazing, and I was so blessed to have the same doctor that I had in December of 2020. She was amazing and she remembered everything about our first meeting, where we met and even my attitude and how it was so different from most patients. To have the same doctor was not a coincidence but I would say a divine appointment. Dr. G. if you ever read this, please know how impressed I am by skills and your amazing patient care.

She needed to talk to the Cancer Centre, as it it happened the radiation oncologist I had seen in 2021 was on call that weekend. Another divine appointment. No new stories to tell as he know me. These 2 interactions were proof that even when we go through storms, God can arrange the appointments. The Cross Cancer centre decided they wanted to start radiation that night.

Before leaving the hospital, and heading to the Cross I had 2 hugs from Dr. G. and Roxanne and I were able to thank most of the staff we had seen during our time there as I was leaving right at shift change. A big blessing to thank all of them.

I think I was looking pretty good after 27 hours at the Hospital. Off to the Cross we went and saw Dr. J. and the amazing radiation staff who were also on call. They started radiation that night, and I had to be back Sunday morning before Church. I have 8 more treatments in the coming days. I spent time in the Chapel at The Cross yesterday as well, and because the building was so quiet I could be as loud as I wanted to be…..I have also said this before but I love the name of the Cancer Centre in Edmonton. “The Cross” Cross is the last name of the person it is named after but we as believers know that we serve Jesus who went to the Cross for us. He loves each of you so very much.

It has been a while since I have written, so just a quick update on the other “hiccups”. All the other lesions are currently cooperating. Those are on the brain, lungs, and liver. As for my vision it continues to improve, I’m not driving yet but I know soon with glasses I will. Actually I think more about the Vision Loss caused by the Immunotherapy than I do of the cancer itself. Going from having perfect vision to being legally blind in a very short time, was another storm. But I praise God and I trust God for the improvement and His continued healing that is going on in my body.

I am learning more and more that nothing is too big for God. He restores health, He restores relationships, He restores broken hearts. What ever you need from Him in your life and the lives of your loved ones, reach out to Him and trust Him. He has known you since the day that He formed you n your Mother’s womb. We may choose to run from Him at times in our lives, but He will never run from us.

I wanted to keep it short today, with the quick update, and again apologize I have not written for sometime. Thanks for forgiving any spelling mistakes due to the eyes. I will write again soon and remember how much God loves you and He wants us all to be impacting people. Have a wonderful day.-

Always Give Thanks!

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I directed someone to My Blog yesterday and I realized that I have not written in quite some time. It is Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada, this is a perfect time to write an update. It probably won’t be a long post but as I sit down in front of the computer this early morning I am reminded of the powerful words from Psalms 100:4-5.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Thanksgiving is more than a day on the calendar. As those who follow Christ already know, living life with a thankful heart is how we should greet everyday day. Each day we should be Praising and Thanking God for His goodness. Are things always good? We know that they are not, we just have to look at the world today and see how upside down it is. But even with everything going on all around us and all over the world, we can always find things to be thankful for. Am I thankful that I had too much dessert last night while visiting friends, and now I am wide awake at 4AM? I am not thankful for that, but I am thankful that I have a computer, and technology to write another Blog Post. I am also thankful that in quietness of the early hours of the morning, I can spend time listening to worship music, thanking God for his goodness while looking at the amazing moon outside. I am also thankful that since it is 4AM, that all of you who are reading will forgive my grammatical errors. Even at 4AM I still have a sense of humor.

I want to give some updates as to where “The Journey” is at. Where does one start? I will start by saying that I Praise God that I have been given another day. Looking at the calendar I realize that two years ago this week is when I first started to feel the pain in my right side. Two years, the time has gone so very fast! It seems like just yesterday that I started feeling the pain. The last two years have been an amazing journey, A journey of learning about medicine, a journey of trusting, and a powerful journey of increasing my faith. Not only that, but Roxanne and I continue to shine the light of Jesus at all the appointments, and not just there but each day, with all those we interact with.

During these two years I have also learned to listen to the “nudging” of the Holy Spirit. If He wants me to talk to someone, encourage someone, pray for someone then I need to do it willingly, and without fear. I have also learned that “chance meetings” are many times not “chance meetings”. Some are “divine appointments”. I remember meeting a young couple at The Cross (Cross Cancer Institute) I still follow up with them, see how they are doing and pray for them. We can never underestimate the importance of divine appointments, and most times they are benefit to all parties. I will say it again be prepared for the “nudge” of the Holy Spirit. God has big plans for all of us.

My Face Book Friends know that I started doing a devotional “Live at 9:” when covid started. Twenty Nine months later I am still doing the calls, and from all the feedback I get they are still encouraging others. They also encourage me. When I think about it, I started doing the calls about 7 months before my diagnosis. During those 7 months I was increasing my faith, little did I know that “The Journey” was coming, So I encourage all of us to build our faith day by day, We never know when we will need it for ourselves or when listening and supporting others.

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After all the earlier writing I will give you an update. My oncologist retired last week, and I ended up being his last patient. It was amazing to be able to talk about “things” other than health. One of my eye professionals is expecting a baby, so she will be off work for a while. Twenty Two months of cancer treatments, you almost take for granted everything will always remain the same. But it never is. I have briefly met my new oncologist, and the first words out of his mouth were, “Hi. I’m Matt”. I look forward to learning more about him as I continue my treatment.

All the Metastatic Sites, continue to reduce and/or are stable in size. I need to Praise God for that, I will never stop thanking Him. Storms may rage, but as Job said “I know my redeemer lives”. Vision, it has come a long way. Even as I type this I am doing so with out any reading glasses. I will say the 32 inch monitor we bought is really helping. But in saying that i can now read the paper and books with reading glasses. For over a year I was not able to read anything in print, other than the headlines in the paper. Small steps everyday. The vision fluctuates dramatically almost daily but overall improvement continues and again I praise God for that. That is the update on the health, other than saying I will have a number of treatments and updated scans before Christmas, and I am trusting that all the “lesions” continue to reduce. In writing this Blog I always said if I can just encourage one person then that is what I am supposed to do. When things feel overwhelming remember the words of Isaiah from chapter 43 and verse two.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. Isaiah 43:2”

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There is one more thing that I need to be THANKFUL for while writing this post.. This week Roxanne and I will be celebrating 20 amazing years of marriage. I could write volumes about how amazing Roxanne is and how wonderful our marriage is. She is a gift from God and our marriage is far greater than I could have every hoped for. One thing we have always done is keep God at the head of our relationship. I have been so blessed to be married to Roxanne for the last 20 years, and I look forward to at least 30 more years. Happy Anniversary in advance Roxanne. Thanks so much for loving me and for being my best friend.

It is after 5AM now, and time to wrap up today’s post. I know that many of you who read this are outside Canada, but find time to be Thankful. For all of us, give thanks for the big things, the little things, and remember and be thankful that God loves you so much.

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He  gave His [One and] ]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 AMP

Thanks everyone for taking time to read this post, and I look forward to writing again in the future about the amazing things that is doing during This Cancer Journey. Take care everyone, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

We Will Not Waiver In Our Faith

Quote:  “Faith believes in spite of the circumstances and acts in spite of the consequences.”  Adrian Rogers

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I ended the last post saying that I needed to buy 2 pairs of reading glasses. That was out of the ordinary for me as I did not require glasses to read. I was starting to struggle reading the paper. Something was happening, but I did not quite know or understand. At that point my distance vision was still working 100 percent. On January 11, 2021 I had a follow up appointment with Dr. S-2, the oncologist. He advised us to keep a close eye on the vision as the possibility existed that the vision loss could be due to one of the rarest side effects of the Immunotherapy.

In the last post I also advised that they put me on “Dex”. Thinking back now, that was an interesting 4 weeks while on that drug. I am a talker, but on that drug I never stopped talking. I slept on average 2 hours a night and I had lots of energy. In early January I spent my waking hours taking down the Christmas decorations, I watched many great movies during that time as well, and was on the treadmill at 3 or 4 in the morning. On one occasion Roxanne woke up and had to come and tell me to turn the volume down on the TV it was blasting through the house. The final equation, I was eating at all times, I could not get enough food. Dexamethasone is a powerful drug that helped to reduce the swelling on my brain, but it did make for an interesting month. I have since talked to others and they all say the same thing about the drug.

January 13, 2021 I had my third treatment of the immunotherapy drugs. Three hours , a great visit with the nurses, but when I wanted to read I needed to put on the reading glasses. As the month progressed I noticed that my distance vision was starting to be impacted as well. We remembered what Dr. S-2 said to keep an eye on the vision and it it continued to get worse to go to The Eye Clinic at the hospital. On January 23, 2021 Roxanne and I went for a drive in the country, and for the first time in my life I did not feel comfortable driving.

The next day after Church we ended up at the eye clinic. Once again due to COVID Roxanne had to leave me alone. During that visit they took a CT of my brain and found that the lesion had continued to shrink in size. That was a positive. Back to the eye-clinic on the Monday, and a follow up appointment on the Friday. They put me on three different types of eye drops to see if that would help. The eyes continued to get worse, and I was no longer driving.

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I sure missed getting behind the wheel of the car, driving around the city or even going on day trips out of the city. I learned that during this time that I did not make a good “side seat driver” while Roxanne was taking us to all the appointments and other places. I could not see properly but I was always giving instructions. It is funny to think about it now.

On February 2nd 2021 we saw the Oncologist Dr. S-2. We discussed the situation and he decided to stop treatments as he believed my vision loss was indeed a side effect of the Immunotherapy. At that time he put me on Prednisone in hopes that it would help and bring down any inflammation.

The next day I met Dr. S-3 for the first time. He is an ophthalmologist that specializes on the retina and other areas concerning the rear of the eye. It was interesting that all my doctors last name started with “S”. He advised me that I was his first vision loss associated with Immunotherapy. Seven colleagues in his office and none of them had ever encountered the situation. I had weekly appointments for most of February and he called other colleagues across Canada. He decided to give me steroid injections behind the eyes to see if it would help the retinas. At that time mine looked like a roller coaster.

Dr. S-3 and others started to marvel that I learned to “stack” reading glasses on top of each other to be able to watch TV and even shovel snow. I had to put aside any pride I might of had left to even wear 3 pairs to try and look at a menu in a restaurant. This is Daytona 500 weekend, last year on the same weekend, I remember wearing 3 pairs stacked (approx plus 10) to watch my favorite driver Michael McDowell win the race.

Throughout all the appointments, and all the questions, and all the unknowns our faith remained strong. Roxanne and I were trusting The Lord and seeking The Lord in greater ways. It was showing more and more that our trust was based on not only medicine but also God. The medical workers could see that there was something different about us. Even little things like never complaining. They say so many people complain at each and every appointment, we don’t do that. Because we know that the Lord wants us to share His love with others. He also wants us to grow out faith and not waiver.

I have taken way too much of your time today, thank you so much for all your support and comments. I appreciate you taking time to read about this journey, and please remember I am writing to encourage people. I want people to know that the creator of the universe loves them very much. Have a great week everyone, and remember God loves you.

James 1:6-8Tree of Life Version

But let him ask in faith, without any doubting—for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord— he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

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Be Still And Know

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December 26, 2020, I ended the last Post indicating that I ended up in the Emergency Ward. Covid sure made a trip to Emergency interesting. Roxanne was not able to come in with me and had to leave me at the door. I know that was hard on her, actually really hard on both of us. It was the first time since my diagnosis that we were not able to be together while at an appointment or getting medical attention.

She went home and I waited. The wait that late Saturday afternoon actually wasn’t that long. Would it have been better if my stay was longer? Probably, but that is alright, it just allowed me to meet more people. They ruled out a stroke which I didn’t even think about and the doctor sent me home that night with some medication, believing I had Bell’s Palsy.

On Monday we called The Cross and they said go back to the hospital and ask for imaging to be done. So Roxanne dropped me off at the hospital. I was there Monday the 28th for 9 hours, as my entire face was essentially not working and I could not eat. I met the greatest doctor, Dr. C. who spent lots of time with me, asked questions and listened. The room I was in was also amazing. The best room I have ever seen at Emergency. He ordered a CT scan of my brain… The CT tech, Dianne, was also very kind, and made me laugh. It was 9:30 at night and she had been working all day, but kept me laughing the entire time. An hour or so later Dr. C. came back and showed me the picture of my brain……One lesion appeared. He apologized, I told him it was ok that it would be alright. So in addition to the organs that were impacted they now found a lesion on my brain. He spent time talking to the Cancer Center, and they discussed the possibilities of surgery. They wanted me to come back on Tuesday for an MRI as an MRI is always much better and the concern they had was that in fact there was more than just one lesion on my brain. It was the lesion on my brain that was affecting my facial muscles.

7 hours Tuesday (29th) back to the hospital. I had the MRI and waited. Another doctor, Dr. G. found me just before 4, we ended up speaking in a hallway as there were no vacant rooms….”she said there is only one”. My response “praise the Lord there is only one”. I am not making light of the situation or cancer, but I know that my attitude and faith and the many prayers that we are getting are paramount for beating this thing….Right off the bat she said it is so good to see that I had a positive attitude. She had apologized as well for the wait, as she spent several hours discussing my case. It was determined that surgery was not the best option, but they wanted to move forward with “Gamma Knife” treatment. She said I would receive a call the next day. Before I left the hospital Dr. C. from Monday came back, and said it was great that I was a candidate for “Gamma Knife” and then actually shook my hand. It was my first handshake since the start of COVID. The doctor also sent me home with a prescription for Dexamethasone. More about that in later posts.

As promised we did receive a call the next day from the neurologist, Dr. O. and one of his team. They wanted to get me in as soon as possible. We settled on Wednesday the 6th. Christmas Eve in the Julian Calendar, we celebrate twice because of my Ukrainian Heritage. Roxanne also knew Dr O. from work and she was glad that he was looking at our case.

The Wednesday morning (January 6, 2021) we had to be awake at 4:30. It reminded me of early morning wake up to catch a flight somewhere. No flight, just a 15 minute drive to the hospital We had no idea what to expect, but as I like to learn I can tell you I learned lots about the wonders of modern medicine and technology.. There were 4 people scheduled to get “Gamma Ray Knife” treatment that day. The process involved getting another MRI, and much to both Roxanne’s pleasure and mine they confirmed that it was just the one lesion on the brain. She clapped and I said Praise the Lord… They also found no “seedlings” which was another blessing. They had to then prepare a mask which I had to wear, and it was formed for me specifically. I was able to take it home for a “souvenir” or as they called it for “show and tell”. I have kept it as a reminder of God’s grace and power. They had to design a plan based on the MRI, and after it was approved by a number of doctors and physicists, into the machine I went. I asked for a few minutes for pray with Roxanne, they respected that and stepped back from us. When we finished praying, everyone left the room and the process started.

My Souvenir

It was approximately 30 minutes in length. I could sense God’s presence reminding me to “Trust Him” and also I could feel the prayers that people were sending up to Heaven on our behalf Not only could I feel their prayers, I could see many faces, The power of prayer is so important, never stop praying and never stop trusting and believing about that situation in your on in your life or the lives of others…..Nothing going on in your life is too big for God!

Out of the machine I came, the technician said I did a great job, A couple of times he said he was almost ready to call me on the speaker to get me breathing deeper. He decided not to. I believe it was during the times when my breathing slowed that I was hearing the prayers and hearing God’s gentle voice. I will never forget those 30 minutes. It was so great to see Roxanne when I was done. What a smile she had on her face as she visited with other nurses. It was another amazing team we met and we are so blessed to have such wonderful health care. About an hour later we were on our way home.

Early Morning At The Hospital

I have no idea who reads this BLOG but, I don’t mind sharing that they did show me pictures of my brain, both from my the hospital visit on the 28th and from January 6th. On the 28th I had the lesion plus a large amount of swelling on my brain. Because they put me on “DEX” a steroid the swelling had gone down substantially, which is also helped with my speech and everything else. A great positive as well, in spite of what had been going on they said I had a “good looking brain”. That was good to know. I was eating again, talking again, and God remains and always will be AMAZING.

It was about a week later that I had to buy a pair of reading glasses as I couldn’t quite read the paper. That was interesting because I had never worn corrective lenses in my life.. A few days later it was a stronger pair. Well I think that is enough for today. Thanks to everyone that stops by to visit this BLOG. It is the story of a journey but more importantly a story of God’s goodness.

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10

11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.” Jeremiah 29:11-13


Greater Is He

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Psalms 27:1  The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Friday November 27, 2020, Well this was the day, the first visit to the Cross Cancer Institute, and my first treatment. I have learned to appreciate the name of the Center. I just call it The Cross, Everytime I say The Cross I am reminded that Jesus is with us, as we go through the journey. I should say it was really our second visit, because the day before we took an informational session about Immunotherapy, and discussed some of the common side effects. It was interesting and jammed lots of information into our brains. I started to understand how Immunotherapy boosts the body’s immune system and it is your own body killing the cancer.. Throughout the session I asked myself why I had too many sunburns in my teens and early 20’s. But there was no turning back, and we would trust the Lord completely each and every moment.

I am sure some of you may find this amusing, but one of my biggest regrets about getting cancer is that I can no longer donate blood. I had over 150 whole blood donations and fully understand the power of my O- and CMV negative blood. If you are reading this and have never donated blood, can I please ask you to investigate donating. I guess that is my Public Service Announcement for today’s Blog Post.

My first treatment November 27, 2020

I had a newer nurse to The Cross and she was great to work with. She had a trainer as well, they were both amazing people and really put Roxanne and I at ease throughout the appointment. Ipilimumab and Nivolumab were the drugs used with the first treatment. They told us to watch for side effects during the coming days. Roxanne is a nurse and she said that she would. The treatment went well, we were there for about 3 hours and then we were on our way.

Three weeks later we were back for another treatment. The care and attention from all the staff continued to be nothing short of exceptional. The treatment was going great, Roxanne stepped out for a quick walk While she was gone things changed. I started to feel really cold, and started to shake. I was shaking so hard that the chair was even vibrating. I was having a reaction to the medication. I would learn that many people have a reaction during their second treatment. The body’s way of saying what is going on, what are you putting into me?

Roxanne returned about the same time the nurses noticed I was having a reaction. They stopped the treatment and put me on oxygen and a number of medications. I don’t recall how long it took for my body to return to normal, but it did and they restarted the treatment. That was quite the day and a real eye opener. It again showed me how wonderful the care and attention is at The Cross, and how wonderful the care and attention is from Roxanne. They phoned the next day to see how I was, and I said just fine.

We had presume that the drugs and my body were starting to work on the affected organs, as they had also found 2 small nodules under my skin, one on my neck, the other on my back. They were both gone by this point in time. We thanked God that He was working in conjunction with medicine, and that I would be healed. Our trust in the Lord was growing day by day, and 99% of the time I was my usual joyful, energetic, positive self.

Christmas was getting closer, it would be an unusual Christmas due to the COVID restrictions. Roxanne and I prepared to have Christmas by ourselves. Still no signs of side effects, For those of you who don’t know us, we really love Christmas, and love to decorate.

Christmas Is The Best Time Of Year

There was still no evidence of serious side effects but a few days before Christmas I noticed that I was starting to slur a few words. Not a lot, but noticeable to myself and others. The day after Christmas Roxanne and I were at the mall, while in the bathroom I noticed that one side of my face was drooping.. I had not noticed that before. Well later that day with more slurred words and the drooping face we were off the The Emergency Ward at the hospital close to us.

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Well I think that is enough for today, I will end today with arriving at The Emergency department. I want to thank everyone so much for stopping by and reading My Blog. I am not a writer, but I am learning, and I thank you so much for taking time to read The Story of The Journey.

I want to close with another Bible Verse and remind each and every one of you how much God loves you.

The Battle Belongs To The Lord

I trust that everyone is having a fantastic day. I know it is a beautiful day in Edmonton this morning after 3 weeks of abnormally cold weather. It is nice to be able to go outside for a walk and not be dressed in 3 or 4 layers of clothes.

Some of you have asked me to write the next edition of The Journey going on in our lives. Thank You to those who read the post from last week and as promised here is the next edition.

November 18, 2020, it was time to go visit with Dr. S-1 and the Oncologist Dr. S-2. As I said last week I am very comfortable with Dr. S-1 but this was our first meeting with Dr. S-2. It was a busy room, Roxanne and I, the 2 doctors and 2 residents. We had no idea what the conversation would entail.

It did not take long for Dr S.2 to say, “Gord, you have stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma.” He explained my time line for survival if we did nothing. Nothing like getting to the point and giving us the news all at once and in a quick manner. He explained Immunotherapy Treatment, which is a newer form of fighting cancer. It is intended to boost the immune system so your own body is fighting and killing the cancer. He shared all the potential side effects caused by treatments. Roxanne listened and wrote them down, I was thinking about the first comments that I would make.

Of course we said that I would start the treatments, but I went one step further.. I recounted the story of David killing a bear, a lion and finally Goliath with God’s help, I said to the crowd in the room, that the first Melanoma surgery was the bear, hip surgery the lion, and now the metastatic melanoma being the giant.

I think back on it now, I did not have any health issues until I hit my 50’s. I was rarely ever at a doctor prior to that, so the things that have occured have caused much learning.

Roxanne and I knew that there would be a battle in front of us, but we also knew that The Battle Belongs to the Lord. We knew that we needed to draw on Him like never before as we moved forward in the journey.

I did say as WE moved forward in the journey. One thing I have learned and will talk about it more in future writings is that both spouses are on the journey when one is diagnosed with cancer. Both have to be in unity, and in our case trusting our faith to be able to move forward with confidence day by day.

Roxanne, I and the doctors were all on the same page we would start the Immunotherapy Treatments. The first would be scheduled for the following week. I had no idea what to anticipate, but we were comfortable with the 2 doctors and fully trusting in The Lord.

A few days later we went to Elk Island National Park, which is the picture at he start of today’s post. It was a great day of just walking around, relaxing and seeing all the amazing sights.

Well that is it for today’s post, I have no idea who is going to read this but part of the reason I am writing is to remind people how much God loves you, and He is never too busy for you.

Deuteronomy  31:8 It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will [march] with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; [let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not, neither become broken [in spirit—depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm].

Have an amazing day everyone.

The Journey Begins

Roxanne and I woke up in Jasper National Park on a beautiful morning in October of 2020. To be accurate it was October 12th, Thanksgiving Day in Canada. But it wasn’t just Thanksgiving Day, it was also our 18th anniversary. What an amazing 18 years. Even as I type this I realize how blessed I am to be married to an excpetional woman that loves me unconditionally. The autumn weather in Jasper was amazing. We had spent 3 days in Jasper over the long weekend but all great vacations must end and then it was time to head back to Edmonton.

The weather for the drive home was beautiful and memories of a wonderful weekend were played out in my mind. It was on the way home that I started to feel a pain in my right side. I had never had a pain like that before, but I thought maybe I ate way too much and and had too many desserts during the weekend. All the pumpkin pie was amazing!

Move forward another week and I still was not feeling good. Roxanne and I decided it was time I went to see our doctor. Our family doctor, Dr Deb is wonderful and appointments never last only a couple of minutes they are at least half an hour, and many times even longer. I have never liked doctors appoinments but she is a doctor that I don’t mind going to see.

She ordered some blood work and sent me for an ultrasound.

That is when the bells started going off.

Some of you are thinking Gord why are you telling us a story from 2020 in January of 2022? Well at this time I am ready and comfortable to share the story of the journey publically. Am I a good writer, no I am not. But I have decided that if I can encourage even just one person by sharing this story then this is what I have to do.

I have learned and fully understand that I am not on this journey alone, Roxanne is with me and so is God. It is my faith and trust in Him that keeps me smiling each and every day. There are people everywhere that need to hear that God cares and I want to share that through this story.

Some may stop reading because I am talking about God, but I trust and I believe that people will hear about God’s goodness through the story and our journey.

As I said the bells started going off, and then it was a CT scan ordered.

Before I share further I need to go back in time to 2014, when much to my suprise Melanoma was cut out of my right shoulder. Sadly too many sun burns in my teens and early 20’s led to the finding of the Melanoma. The surgery was very succesful and regular visits to see Dr. S-1 (There are many doctors I now see with their last name starting with an S, so I will number them) revealed no concerns whatsoever.

Six years of no concerns and the only time I even thought about the Melanoma was when I went for a follow up appointment. Visits with Dr S-1 were great as we talked about many different things and always had wonderful conversations. He is just one of many remarkable health care professionals I now work with.

Back to the CT Scan…It revealed a number of different concerns. We told Dr. Deb not investigate further and that it was best to reach out to Dr. S-1.

Within a day we heard from Dr. S-1 and he set up an appointment with himself and an onocologist. He knew Roxanne and I well enough that he could share the news over the phone.

As for the time line we were now in the middle of November 2020.

I think that is probably enough writing for today, as I get to go out and shovel some snow. I will try to write at least once per week and I trust that someone will find benefit from what they read. To those reading this, no matter who you are or where you are I want to remind you that God loves you so very much and He is never too busy for you!

Have an amazing day everyone, and thanks for taking time to read my blog.