Three years ago to the day, Gary was diagnosed with Melanoma. This began with a yearly physical. Gary asked the physician to check the mole on his back, it was kind of bothering Gary. The physician took a photo of it and thought out loud that maybe it should be removed. The physician didn't see any concern with the mole but removed it and sent it in. Within 24 hours, Gary received a call from the physician who was totally shocked that this was Stage IV Melanoma and Gary was to see the Melanoma Specialty Team at Lemmon Holt Cancer Center immediately. The surgery was then scheduled as outpatient to remove this melanoma where the mole was, as well as lymph nodes from both armpits. A second surgery occurred to remove lymph nodes where cancer was evident. There was no treatment necessary following these surgeries. Gary was "Cancer Free" for three years. Gary was very diligent in taking care of staying healthy by seeing the surgeon yearly and the dermatologist every six months.
During November 2016, Gary noticed three lumps that were mysteriously growing in three different areas on the body. Gary already had an appointment scheduled for his yearly physical and with the dermatologist in December. The dermatologist took a biopsy from two of the three lumps. Gary was rather concerned about it being they all appeared at once and he right away thought that his cancer had returned. December 26, 2016, the report was given to Gary at the time they removed the stitches from the biopsies, the Melanoma has returned. An MRI of the brain and a PET scan was then scheduled rather quickly. At this time, we were thinking they will remove the lumps, which was done three years ago. But God had a whole other plan for Gary's life.
In the evening on Saturday, January 14, 2017, little did Gary and I know that our world was going to be turned upside down and we would be heading into a life changing experience. A call was received from the surgeon regarding the results of the scans. The first words were "We have problems". The scans are showing cancer in the Brain, Liver and Lung as well as throughout the body. There will be no surgery and he will be referred to the Melanoma Specialty Team at Lemmon Holt Cancer Center. We fell into each other's arms and just cried. We called the children to come over to give them the news that will affect their life as well. We held each other, prayed together and we cried together. God is sovereign and we were reminded that we are not our own but belong body and soul to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
So the journey began on Saturday, January 14, 2017. Since then, we have received prayers from friends and family, texts, cards, phone calls and visits. We felt God's presence in each one of you that are by our side and joining this journey with us. The amount of love being shown has been so gracious. So many friends and family have texted great scripture texts that Gary and I take with us to our appointments. There are still "bouts" of tears and even some fear with the unknown but we read those texts we have received and are reminded that He is our God and is walking right alongside of us.