The Next Journey

Hello Keto Cancer Mom readers. I am Jacob4Jesus.

Many of you know me from The Ketogenic Forums. You may have seen me write about my wife with cancer. What you likely don’t know is that my wife is Keto Cancer Mom.

I am posting here now to tell you that as of about 6pm last Monday my beloved wife took her last labored breath in her sleep and passed to be home with her Lord.

Please watch this special video message that I have recorded for those who care about her. It is about a half-hour long.

I would like to continue posting to this site about my journey, now as a widdowed father of four.

Home at Last

The past week has been exhausting. I went to the ER on Friday, the 13th. They tested my electrolytes and discovered they were very low, so I got lots of IV fluids. They ended up discharging me in the morning, but by afternoon I was feeling yucky. I went back to the ER and they did more tests and decided to admit me (which they should have done on Friday).

Lots of lab tests and imaging later they realized the cancer in my liver spread a lot. So, I started the “heavy” chemo again. I haven’t been eating much over the past week, mostly due to feeling very bloated in the stomach/abdomen. I look and feel like I could be 7 months pregnant! But of course, this is not true. My energy has been really zapped lately, so I haven’t been walking much. I’m hoping that between the chemo and bowel treatments I’ll feel better soon.

Finding Peace

In Hebrew “peace” is shalom.  We often talk about being at peace with things, but what does that really mean?  In some ways when we are at peace with something (a person, event, thought, etc) we are not bothered by it.  You don’t have to like what you are at peace with, and that is important to realize.

I am at peace with my cancer diagnosis.  I do get riled up about it at times, especially times when I’m sitting and writing and letting all my thoughts and feelings out.  There is nothing I can do to change the fact that I currently have cancer. That doesn’t mean that I will stop treatment. I just mean that I can’t just “flip a switch” and change to not having cancer.  That is only something that God can do. He has the power to heal or not, as He sees fit.   Continue reading Finding Peace

Thoughts and Stuff

The other day my son “Mario,” age 9, asked me about how I got cancer.  I wasn’t expecting the question at the moment because we hadn’t talked about it recently.  I explained to him that sometimes cells in the body start to misbehave and start doing things they shouldn’t or sometimes they don’t do things they should.  I really don’t know why it happened to me.

I do have to say that I still feel really well, and I can keep up with my 4 kids.  It does feel like the size of the lymph node in my left armpit has gone down now that I have been on Talzenna.  It’s hard to tell for sure though what changes are occurring.  And of course, I have no idea what changes are happening in my liver – I have to wait for the PET scan for that.

But, God is good, and He’s been seeing me through this.  Through this journey, I have been able to reach out to, and encourage others.  It can be so hard to walk through this and to stay encouraged.  I know God is there and He has been there with me the whole time.  But, I still wonder sometimes “why me?”

4th of July – One Year Later

This year I get to celebrate 4th of July with my family, instead of being in the hospital. I was there right at the start of my cancer journey to expedite care. The view of the fireworks 🎆 shows was great. I was sad that I wasn’t able to celebrate with my family.

This year, we are going to Denny’s to have supper and maybe catch a fireworks show from their parking lot. We started doing it because Mario has gotten scared one 4th of July, and for a long time was afraid of loud noises.

Having Faith

What is faith?

As Christians, we talk about faith all the time.  We talk about putting our faith in Jesus.  We talk about having faith that things will work out, or that things will be OK, or get better.  Putting our faith in something intangible is hard.  I think lots of people like things that are concrete, that they can see or touch.  Looking ahead to the future is hard because it’s so uncertain.

As I go through this journey I just have to have faith that things will work out well for me.  That God will heal me.  Getting a cancer diagnosis is hard enough, but then when you ask (or are told) about prognosis and get told its a short amount of time – that is hard, really really hard.

I remember being in the hospital, for the purpose of expedited care, and getting the results of my PET scan much sooner than expected.  Getting results right away usually isn’t a good sign.  I remember getting the prognosis of 2 years, which is the average.  Imagine being about 25 weeks pregnant and being told you have 2 years to live.  Imagine thinking about not being there to see your little baby, who is still living inside you, grow up.  Imagine not being there for your other kids as well.  That is hard.

The prognosis changed for the better, but not the best after my latest PET scan.  Now I am getting a range of 1-5 years if nothing changes.  My oncologist said that had it been the liver that cleared up instead of my bones then the prognosis would be even better than the 1-5 year range.  Even a prognosis of 5 years is hard to take.

I have faith that God will continue to heal me, to keep me healthy despite all the chemo and treatment that I am facing.  I don’t have much control over the cancer anyway, so it is easy to put my faith in God and Jesus that they can take care of it.  I think a key part of the journey is to stay happy.  If a person has something to live for, to fight for, then the outcome will be better.  We can’t just be a passive player in the fight for our lives.  We need to take an active role, to research, to try new things, and to rely on God and Jesus.  Jesus can give us comfort in the most trying of times.  He can be our shield and protector.  It can be hard to find someone who understands your situation unless you know someone who has gone through this before (or is currently going through it).

Jesus DIED for us.  Think about that for a minute.  Jesus died for you.  He died for me.  He suffered many horrible things so that you and I could one day have freedom from sin.  So that someday we could be in the presence of God and away from sin, death, and all the nasty stuff that happens to us.  I have put my faith in Jesus, and having Him to cry out to is comforting.  He will listen, and not judge.  I don’t always get a response back, but I do feel better.  Sometimes I’ll hear a song that resonates with me, or maybe someone will say something.

I am blessed, though.  God has been good to me throughout this ordeal.  He has given me energy and strength.  I read and hear all the time about how chemo just wipes people out emotionally and physically.  God gives us many tools when we ask.  In my case using the ketogenic way of eating (I dislike calling it a diet) was one of the biggest ones.  I don’t know how much of it was God alone or God through keto, but I haven’t really had any days where I have been so exhausted that I couldn’t do anything.  That is a real blessing because I am responsible for taking care of children at home.  I also didn’t have significant problems with nausea, especially this second time around on chemo.

What is there to lose by putting your faith in God?

The biggest thing is the penalty of sin – death.  Romans 6:23 says “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

I still have all of myself.  I’m still me.  I’m still in control, but my life is more Christ-focused than before.  I enjoy going to church and helping out with my kids’ Awana club, and other things.  And I’ve gained someone that I can yell at (if I wanted), whine to (if I wanted), and complain to (if I wanted), without feeling too bad about it.

Do I ask why I had to have cancer?  Not really…  I have started asking “how can I use this for Your glory, Lord?”  I want to use my journey to bring people to God.  I want people to see His love.  Even though I have cancer I am not angry at God.  It takes a lot to be able to honestly say that.  Early on in my journey I wanted to be able to give others hope, not just generally, but I wanted to be able to share how God has been so good to me.

On that note:

Romans 3:23 – “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 – “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Romans 5:8 – “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Acts 16:31 – “Believe (trust) in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

Do you want the peace of God in your life?  Think about your situation.  Think about how you have sinned and have offended and saddened God.  But also think about how God, like the loving father He is, has given you a “Get out of Hell free” card.  He loves you so much that he sent Jesus to die for you.  God wants you, he wants so much for you, but you have to receive the free gift that is His Son, Jesus.

If you want God in your life then:
1) Confess your sins (apologize sincerely for what you’ve done wrong)
2) Ask for forgiveness (be real, be sincere) and repent (stop doing the bad stuff)
3) Ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior

Prayer

As I sit here getting my 2nd chemo infusion (day 2, cycle 1) I am thinking about my situation.  On Sunday I asked for prayer from a visiting pastor, and one of our church’s missionaries.  He prayed that the cancer be removed from my body and that healing would occur.

I can tell you that it is VERY hard to have faith, but I still do.  I have faith because we have a good God.  My next PET scan will be in about 3 months.  I have faith that the cancer will be gone someday, and that I will be free of it, and that I will be able to enjoy life with my husband and kids.

Finding Joy

Rejoice every day, for each day is a gift from God.

Find joy each day, even if you are going through something tough. Find joy in the small things, be it a song that you sing with your kids, or a hug from a friend or loved one. Joy comes in many forms: a hug, a word, a touch, an act of service.

The one promise that we have in life is physical death (“For the wages of sin is death…” – Romans 6:23). When you have a condition like cancer it can be hard to find joy, but joy is there, if you look for it (“…but the gift God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:23).

I have joy through my battle with cancer. I have joy because I know that the Lord is by my side. I have joy because I woke up today. I have joy because I have wonderful kids who love me. I have joy because I know Jesus.

It can be hard to find joy in the midst of physical, mental, emotional battles. Every day that you are here is something to be joyful about. I have joy because even though my latest PET scan didn’t have the exact results I wanted, there was improvement in some areas. Other areas had some problems. However, I still have joy.

Find joy because it’s much better to have joy in the midst of trouble because the joy that good brings makes the burden much easier to bear. Joy is knowing that the battle is in God’s hands because He is our Provider, our Healer, and our Shield.

It is really hard to let go and say, “Your way, Your will” when it is a situation that we desperately want to be in control of. And honestly, we really don’t have control over what happens. Medications either will work or will not work – we can’t make it do what we want. Eating a certain way either will work or will not work – we can’t control that either. And yes, it’s hard. It’s hard to do what we think is right for our body (even when we pray about it and think we are in God’s will).

When we look back at things we can see God’s planning, but it’s so hard to see it in the moment. But when we do look back, things are clear, and we can see His handiwork.