As so many dear folks from around the world have been writing and encouraging and praying, I think it is time for an update. These past few days have been both the worst, and best of my life…. a “wake up” and perspective builder for sure. Following the initial “shock and awe” over such unexpected news, we were thrust into a new world of emotions and quick decisions…. And we are learning terminology I never wanted to know. Cancer is a scary word to hear….it is also an opportunity to embrace God’s love and test our faith. It is defeatable, and with God’s help and infinite grace, plan to do just that.
We have alternated between the bluntness so often found in the medical community, filled with statistics of “survival percentages”, and unfiltered, clinical announcements of potential threats and experiences to follow…and yet at the same time, experiencing first hand the beauty and marvel of dedicated health professionals in action. Nuclear PET scans, CT scans, endoscopies, ultrasounds, biopsies, blood draws, and every kind of intrusion one could imagine were thrust at us over a few days. Quite a new world for me as I have literally never been sick or in the hospital or taken any medications. But all of this has been a blessing as we have also experienced a global outpouring of support and love from friends that has been inspiring, encouraging and humbling. It is clear that our God is in this in a big way, and I can feel His hand directing it all.
As many now know, and after much prayer and a series of incredible blessings, we were lead to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. It is a truly world-class facility which offers the very best care and “leading edge” medical treatment options for such situations. Strangely, a week ago I was totally unfamiliar with this place…and now we are settled into two apartment suites at a luxury hotel and the family is gathering around for the adventure. Are we not amazingly blessed to have such options of time and money to be in this position? So few ever could! That makes me sad, and passionate to help, oh my! Maybe we now have yet another “world” where we will be “forced” to jump in and see what we (us… and God) can do. Wanna help? Stay tuned!
Just as one more note of encouragement to many of you, our friend Bill Nicholson ( a past CEO of Amway and former White House appt secretary to the President of the USA) was contacted about me, and immediately Bill called and asked how he could help. He said he is on the board of trustees of MD Anderson, and was close friends with one of its founders! Of course he is… he knows everyone! Next, that man he referred to called me, and we chatted for an hour. He said he would make calls to assure I was seen by the right people… and followed through. Wow. God works in such amazing ways to show His hand. We are grateful and blessed.
So…..I will begin treatments fully next week, and the doctors are encouraged, and “on it”. This is indeed a serious situation (sometimes it seems we are so encouraged that we forget what we were told…and we trust God to bring us through so…). I feel deeply thankful that it wasn’t further along… and that it is treatable and curable, with God’s favor and grace. We are optimistic and filled with faith and trust in our Lord to deliver me through it as a better man…. more “useful” for God’s purposes! I certainly feel that I have been immensely blessed with my life and family and friends… rich indeed in all that matters! But, Lord willing, not “finished” with the race yet. The victory is His…but, I am learning so much already as I observe (from the very inside) this world of cancer patients/survivors, and their amazing courage and strength. I will already never be the same! These are heroes, these are fighters, these are over-comers, these are people that I never understood as I do now. This facility, with it’s research and assorted buildings is 15 million square feet!!! And all dedicated to defeating cancer. Who knew? Not me… but I sure am awake now. Before I came (and after I leave) there will be people going through this..some with much support and faith… and some very alone or fearful. They all need our prayers. Each one matters to God the same.
So the Dornan family is looking forward to a Christmas like we have never had before! We have re-located to Houston from our 15,000 square foot home to 1300 sq ft apt… and we are loving it! Life just got real simple. There will be about 15 of us huddled around our little tree and you can be sure we will be singing songs of praise! No one is very concerned about “what they are getting from Santa”. I will shuffle between daily radiation treatments, Chemotherapy blasts, weird diets, assorted other tests, and a joyful celebration of the birth of our Lord. Who could want or need any more? For most of you (certainly fellow believers) who would read this, you can easily understand why we might be feeling optimistic, blessed and joyful in spite of the situation. I assure others of you that it is not just about “attitude” or simplistic positiveness. It is also not about “Jim being a fighter and winner” alone. It is about remembering “whose” we are. At Christmas we are reminded that; “God so loved the world, that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16. We are all sinners and saved by God’s grace and mercy alone through Christ…and through him, we are more than conquerors. Life without that forgiveness and peace would be a lonely scary place indeed.
We are ALL loved and valued. It is about living for something bigger than our personal comforts or glorification. It is not about pretending we don’t really have a problem, and “willing it away in our mind”… it is about trusting God and allowing Him to lead and work in our lives. Our minds and thoughts are indeed powerful, and God’s Word is “mightier than a two edged sword”. We stand on that word and His promises. He is always faithful to his promises. We must use all that God offers us to win. Our minds and hearts must believe, the doctors must be guided (and are we grateful for them!), and we can then rest in Him. My prayer is that we all feel and live that way more than ever.
Our Bible is clear about what God has for each of us, as we have faith in him through His son Jesus, and then we are at peace and free to praise Him “in all things”… because we are loved and forgiven and empowered for His purpose. The Dornan’s are blessed and joyful this Christmas. We pray that you are as well. I will remain trusting God and joyful. I will fight this “invader”!!… as I believe it has no place in my body. (I must admit though that I am still shocked and “offended” that he got in at all). I will give God the glory when it it gone, (are you praying and claiming that with us?)… and I will continue to ask God for many more years in which I can say thanks to all of you who have been so generous in your love and support. You will love the new version of Jim that promises to emerge.
Merry Christmas to all. We will keep you updated on this most amazing chapter of my life so far. May God richly bless you all.