Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Targeted Therapy

Today I completed a course of laser-targeted radiation therapy for several metastatic deposits, including one of the left cheek, left axilla, and left upper arm. Pictured above is my "phantom of the opera" mask that allows precise positioning of the external beam radiation device for the facial lesion (just in time to scare the grandkids at Halloween!) Although the lesions themselves have caused some pain, the procedure is essentially painless.

I also consulted with Dr Alexander, my local oncologist, and was pleased to learn that my labs are all normal or near normal. The visual symptoms have not progressed and there has been no recurrence of transient shakiness of the right leg or arm. We have adjusted some of the meds to better control side effects while continuing on a form of oral chemotherapy.

You know I am prone to draw an analogy in the spiritual realm. I am reminded that even after we have surrendered our lives to God, there often remain some patterns of behavior or a besetting sin that, if unchecked, will metastasize and threaten our spiritual well-being. Although usually not a painless process, God's Holy Spirit targets this area like a laser beam, causing awareness, conviction, and a desire to eradicate the source. "If we walk in the [laser Light of His love] as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1John 1:7-9; see John 6:7-14)

Threatened with the very real possibility of a progressive decline in intellectual capacities, I am confronted with a "radioresistent" tendency to value the gift above the Giver. (Just ask my daughters if Dad has not on occasion attempted to use his intellect to humiliate them at a game of 221B Baker Street or failed to enhance their enjoyment of family time together by pulling out a point-busting, tile-clearing, triple letter-score, triple word score esoteric idiom to end a game of Scrabble!) Adjusting to this potential loss, I am forced to examine the source of my angst. Like a laser beam, the Holy Spirit targets my pride, in stages burning off the hubris and exposing the blind spots, gradually replacing these with a fresh perspective and power that acknowledges a loving, omniscient God is still in control of my life.

With half my brain fried behind my back !
(See how resistant some sins are?! Lord, have mercy!)
Dr Dan


  1. I know that mask - may it serve you well.
    Love reading your blogs. Keep them up!

  2. Dr. Crabtree,

    You shepherded my father through his difficult days and for that I remain forever grateful to you. I have followed your progress and continue to be taught by yours and Linda's example. Like many who read this, I continue to be with you as you travel this road and pray for all that is good. God Bless You!

    Vicki Ballard
    Atlanta, GA

  3. You are a remarkable and brilliant man! I have enjoyed your blog and know that you have a wonderful supportive family! You will be in my prayers and keep up the great attitude!

  4. Darlene Jones, DarJones37@aol.comOctober 30, 2009 at 10:45 PM

    Dear Dr. C,
    First of all let me just say how amazed I am by you. I miss you as my Doctor so much. I can't find any other Doctor like you. There seems to be no one who can take care of my medical needs like you did (can). I am just lost without my Dr. C. I feel as though I am wandering around in the dark hoping to find someone. I do wish you all the best and prayers are sent up for you daily. You did so much for me and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Blessings to you and your family.

    A loyal patient,
    Darlene Jones

  5. I'm sure many of your patients reiterate those same words..... " I cant find any other Dr. like you." The truth is, they would have to look far and wide and I know that to be true. But the even deeper truth is that because of who lives in you, that's what makes you the person you are, is why you can write like you do, and is why your patients are drawn to you. IT's because GOD knows as His eyes roam about the earth searching for those whose hearts are committed towards HIM, whom HE knows will give HIM the glory for all that HE does through you.....that He has found one such person. Because of how you trust the LORD, how you wait on HIM, how you rest in are able to hear HIM and share what you hear and that's making such a difference in so many lives and the example you and Linda are for our LORD and SAVIOR is evident to so many. I know that I have grown in leaps and bounds in just the past 4-5 months but only as a result of many personal and difficult trials myself, but I am almost ashamed to say that I have grown at all when I read your blogs as your faith is absolutely UNSHAKEABLE and grounded. I pray that I will grow to such a faith level as you have, cause my heart is certainly desiring it. To hear HIm more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly and trust HIM more completely without reserve..... No matter what is hurled my way, that I would stand in the confidence of knowing that I cant, but HE can....I'm weak, but HE is strong and most assuredly, HE IS ABLE to do anything over and beyond anything we can imagine.

  6. bill and wendy hunterNovember 1, 2009 at 8:59 PM

    Dan - Your blog proves that the hope we have in Christ is indestructible. God keeps His work in a secret place in our spirits. I expect that part will still be working even IF your intellect becomes impaired. You will still be leading spiritually in this place!
    Bill & Wendy Hunter

  7. It is so terrific to see you in church every week and when I do....I just cant thank GOD enough for that one more week, one more day, one more hour that HE's given you . IF one didn't know you or your story, they would never know what you have been through and continue to go through by your external countenance or physical demeanor.....its' really a glorious testimony to our FATHER !!!!!!!! To HIm be the glory.

  8. Dear Dan--We've been keeping up with your postings and they're so bittersweet for us to read. It's such a blessing to be able to share in your wonderful musings. As we watch and pray from afar these past many months, one thing is very apparent to us--that you are the same Dan we've known since Muskegon: solid, steady, faithful and true to the Lord. Our get-together in OR this summer with you, Linda and the rest of the gang was so sweet--we look forward to God providing another opportunity to do it again!
    Love, Sharon and Abe

  9. Dear Dr. Crabtree,

    We really miss you -- all of us. William told me just last night when I was showing him the new building where our doctor has relocated that the new doctor is good, but he isn't Dr. Crabtree (that from a 16-year old boy). We miss you and your whole staff. We definitely don't get the same loving, dedicated support at the new office. We've been struggling again. I remember the last time we were in your office going through our struggles, you offered a loving prayer -- how I miss that kind of relationship with our doctor. I hope you know how much you have touched our lives -- we will be eternally grateful to you. I am still praying for you! All our love! Jenny (and Sam, Samuel, Kathleen, and William too)