Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Father Knows Best

But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:10

This is not going to be anything close to a perfect analogy, but for those of you old enough to remember the classic TV sitcom from the 1950s and 1960s starring Robert Young, you will get my point.

Imagine you are able to select from a number of alternate endings to this most recent episode in the series on the life of Dr Dan, who has just returned from UVA and another round of extensive imaging studies to assess the progress of his response to Interleukin-2. Which would you choose?

A – No trace of cancer is found

B – Imaging studies are unchanged (architectural changes persist, but no new tumors)

C – There is evidence of a limited number of new metastases

D – Extensive recurrent metastases are discovered

Well, you can guess which ending I would have chosen… but (fortunately) I am not the author of this drama. The writer of this episode has chosen option “C”: The MRI of the brain shows a tiny new tumor of the left frontal lobe and the PET scan shows an area of faint but suspicious activity persisting in the left hip region. Lab studies remain normal, there is no associated pain and the patient’s clinical condition is stable.

The next scene, therefore, will take us back to UVA medical center on Thursday, October 2, where I will undergo another gamma knife procedure to eradicate the brain tumor, then an MRI of the left hip and possibly radiation therapy to that region as well. This is akin to extinguishing a few "hot spots" where once there was a raging forest fire.

Although I would have chosen (and honestly was fully expecting) version “A” with a “happy-ever-after” ending to this episode, I am grateful not to be playing the lead role in version “D”. And after some contemplation, I am truly looking forward to the page-turning adventure of a script that only the Master Author can create. I must admit that I would not have written any of this story. But then I would not have known the depth of intimacy with my Creator, nor the wonder of His provision… the power of prayer… the peace of His palpable presence.

Linda and I agree, there is no going back to a “routine” life, one that runs on automatic pilot. We are forever changed, living by the moment, fully dependent and surrendered to a loving, wise, and awesome God. Indeed, Father knows best!

The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. Nahum 1:7

Stay tuned for the next episode...


  1. Dan

    Thanks for the update. If it were easy - someone else would be doing this!


  2. Perhaps this will sound a bit odd given the situation, but certainly a different perspective. I prayed and prayed that my mother would have cancer or a brain tumor or some kind of disease rather than mental illness and a drug problem. God chose a much different path for my family. But it gives me such joy to come here and find a persistent gusto of faith and renewed vigor in the Lord coming from your heart. I am honored to know someone even if only by associated acquaintance that can find God's hand in very nearly everything they do. It is wonderful to know that there are actually people who actually praise Him in the midst of whatever storm there is. Thank you for exemplifying hope.

  3. I am ferverently praying.

    "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

  4. As always, you and your family are in my prayers. I know you're in good hands, both spiritually and physically.

  5. This is too bad! But God knows best!
    Hi Dr. Dan, Just a quick update on my family:-) Christopher has 6 kids; and Bill has twin girls, All are heathy. All my son's are in college. Bill is working on his masters in Computer Sciences. Chris is getting the usual stuff done with & will be transferring to Mt. Pleasant.Mark has 4 kids & is attending Ferris College.
    Robbie...Roberta Curtis.

  6. Dan and Linda,
    May the Lord continue to wrap His arms around you both and give you peace and strength.

  7. Dan,
    I continue to keep you in my thoughts an prayers. I appreciate the opportunity of checking on you through your blog. I miss seeing you and the care you have given me. I even miss you telling me to lose weight.

    With my warmest personal regards, Dan Pettway

  8. dan - be strong and courageous. as you know well already, you are not alone. we continue to pray for you, and are excited to see what God will do.

  9. You and your family are in my prayers. I know that you are keeping the faith, and that you are favored of the Lord because of your dependence on Him. I know He will bless you in so many ways. I loved the TV show Father Knows Best, and it was a great reminder in the analogy that our Father really does know best and is in control of our lives. May He bless yours abundantly! Love you! Melanie

  10. The race is not given to the swift nor the strong....... hang in there Dan. You only need enough oomph, grit and gumption, for one day at a time. Your strength will be renewed for the next hurdle. As a "hurdler", you will keep your form (your faith).