Derek Allis

First post: May 6, 2021 Latest post: May 29, 2022
Hello! Thanks for checking in. This has been a pretty fast-paced and crazy journey so far. To summarize: In late March, I had a headache that was accompanied by some nausea and vomiting, numbness in my hand, as well as slight changes in my vision (trouble focusing and narrowed peripheral vision). I went to urgent care and they treated me for a migraine, at which point all of my symptoms subsided. I was symptom-free for the next several weeks. However, because some of my questions had gone unanswered, I scheduled an appointment with my primary care doctor, who, after hearing all of my symptoms, suggested that I get an MRI. The MRI ended up showing a tumor in the center of my brain. On the same day that we heard those results,  I went to the Sierra Vista ER, and then to the hospital at UCSF, where a neurosurgeon had accepted my case. Upon taking their own MRI scans at UCSF, the neurosurgery team determined that the tumor is too deep in my brain to be surgically removed. Biopsy results of the tumor show that it is a rare and aggressive form of cancer, (if you’re curious, it is a “Grade IV Diffuse midline glioma,” and the formal name is “H3K27M Mutation”). The medical team has moved quickly to begin an aggressive treatment plan. For the next six weeks, I will be receiving very advanced and customized radiation treatments at UCSF daily. Concurrently, I am taking an oral chemotherapy drug each night before bed. The most likely side effect of these treatments is fatigue. My sister Emily and I are staying in a VRBO apartment in San Francisco near the hospital until mid June. After that, we will monitor the tumor with periodic MRIs, and treatments will be determined as time goes on. While this form of cancer is controllable, it is not expected to be curable. I am expected to be able to return to Cal Poly in the Fall. 

     Though such an experience would be understandably harrowing, God has filled me with a peace that genuinely surpasses my understanding. Though the team at UCSF is doing some awesome work to help treat this tumor, I do have a hope that is beyond circumstantial. I am super involved in the college ministry at Grace Central Coast in SLO, and the love of God that has been expressed through His people (both at Grace and otherwise) for me has overwhelmed me. I shared a little story at a college group meeting on the Tuesday before my sister and I drove up here, and I’ll include a link to that at the end of this little bio. That blurb is really just an encapsulation of where my heart is through all of this, and I encourage you to watch that! (if the link doesn’t work, just copy and past the URL). 

My hope is not in “religion” or the formal structures of Christianity, but in the true and living God: Jesus Christ.

Also, as a Philosophy major, I have come to understand some unique ways in which the issue of God can be contentious, so I would love to have some deep conversations with anyone who is curious!!!

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