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For many people, over many years, just hearing Dave's name calls up memories of being loved. He has lived his life in such a way. He has never been one to call attention to himself so the very sharing of his story feels a bit out of character. But I have been vividly reminded over the past weeks and months how many people love and care about him and see his life as an example to be followed, and so I see it fitting to share his brave and selfless journey through this illness.
It has been a long journey. Dave's official Prostate Cancer diagnosis came in the Spring of 2013 while we were living in Chester, New Jersey, although his primary care physician in Minneapolis had noted suspicion a year earlier. We knew early on that Dave's cancer was of an aggressive nature from pathology reports. He initially underwent 46 grueling daily rounds of radiation treatment, never missing a day of work at Grace Bible Chapel in Chester, where he was serving through transition. He also began Androgen Deprivation Therapy at this time.
In May of 2015 it was confirmed that Dave's cancer had metastasized to two areas of his spine. He continued to undergo Androgen Deprivation Therapy until January of 2017, when the physical toll of the treatment became just too much for him to bear. All the while he continued to serve others in this weakened state, never letting on to the suffering he was enduring. After completing his work in Chester, NJ he went on to serve churches in Minnesota, Kansas, and on the West Coast of Alaska before finally retiring in the Spring of 2018.
At present, Dave has exceeded his life expectancy by 2-3 years without undergoing any further treatment for his cancer. As he has grown increasingly weaker he has kept a positive outlook, continued to love and care for those around him, and held unwaveringly to his faith and the promise of its hope. In the Fall of 2019 scans showed that the cancer had finally begun to spread quite significantly throughout his spine and ribs, and more recently also into his pelvis and hip. Miraculously, he never began using any pain medication until August of 2020, and his pain is still managed quite well with a minimal amount of medication.
On October 1 Dave entered in-home hospice care. He continues to be his kind, loving, praying self, although he is very weak. On October 23 he took a sudden and significant turn and has completely lost use of his legs. He grew very weak over the days that followed but then seemed to have regained some strength. He spends his awake time now listening to me read scripture to him and meditating on its beauty, still enjoying his favorite meals, attending church online on Sundays, looking at pictures, and reminiscing about memories with family and friends. Covid of course has made this a much more solitary time, forcing family to visit through the glass door. We are saddened by this, but it is important to protect him from any risk of having to be hospitalized. He is comfortable and at peace here at home.
Thank you for your continued love and prayers. They are felt and appreciated. --Cheryl