Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Insistence of Persistence

“Yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (Luke 11:8)

While teaching his disciples about prayer, Jesus relates a story about a man who finds himself with an urgent need in the middle of the night. Weary guests have just arrived from a long journey and he has nothing to feed them. With no 24-hour convenience store available, he goes to the house of a friend, bangs on the door to rouse him from sleep, and calls out his request to borrow some bread. The friend is indisposed, having already settled himself and his family securely in their beds, and does not immediately respond. The knocking on the door and the plaintive appeals continue. Finally, because of his persistence, the friend gets up and gives him all that he needs.

We are learning the necessity for perseverance, i.e., the insistence of persistence, in this battle with cancer.

We just returned from Charlottesville where I underwent a full day of imaging studies and consultations once more. There is good news and bad news. The good news is that a repeat PET scan shows no evidence of active metastases below the neck. The lesion in the left hip region which was treated with radiation therapy in late October is now slightly smaller and expected to continue to resolve. I have had no pain or limitation of motion (no limp), all vital signs remain stable and labs are entirely normal. (This is nothing short of miraculous, given the devastating picture of widely disseminated lesions “too numerous to count” just six months ago!)

The bad news is that there is at least one new metastasis in the brain, which measures 5 mm and is located near the center of the left hemisphere. (Linda sighs, "Honey, it's all in your head!" :-) The source of the brain metastases is unknown, given the lack of evident tumor growth elsewhere, but they are thought to have pre-existed as microscopic clusters of cancer cells which only now have grown large enough to become visible on imaging studies. Regardless, the oncologist, radiation oncologist and neurosurgeon all agree that the most prudent approach is to repeat the gamma knife procedure to destroy this remaining brain lesion. Other options, including whole-brain radiation, repeat Interleukin-2 therapy or monoclonal antibody infusions were offered as secondary considerations. We are scheduled to return this Friday, December 5 for my fourth gamma knife procedure.

Our confidence is in the Lord and in the power of persistent prayer. We are not discouraged. Right after telling his story, Jesus reassures the disciples with these words: “Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep searching and you will find; keep knocking and the door will be opened to you…” (Luke 11:9) Our God is pleased when we, like the man in the middle of the night, acknowledge that we have no other friend to turn to meet our need. As Peter once said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

Grateful for your persistent prayers,


  1. Hi Dan. I'll certainly be praying for you as you go through your 4th procedure on Friday. I know the good Lord is watching over you. Keep us posted.

    Love you with all my heart. Debbie

  2. We are persistently praying for you!
    The Gainors