Personal Health Update from Pastor Lee

The past year has been one of the best years of my life. Last August, I got engaged to the love of my life, and by November, I was married to her, my best friend. Within a few months of being married, we received the wonderful news that we would be expecting our first child due this November.

Yet, this past year has not been without some not-so-great news. Our baby is battling a heart arrhythmia. There have been more doctor visits, ultrasounds, dopplers, and echocardiograms than I can keep up with. The prognosis is good, and the baby’s heart seems to be growing stronger by the day. We praise our God for that!

For the past few months, I would go with my wife and sit through her ultrasounds, praying that our baby’s heart will be beating normally. Now, the tables have turned. About three weeks ago, I noticed something wrong with me. . . [For full disclosure, and because I have never been one to be embarrassed very easily, I noticed something wrong with one of my testicles. I’m thankful for great doctors who communicated to me and my family early on that I am considered high-risk for testicular cancer (I won’t bore you with all the details about that here), however because of that information, I have always given self-examinations to check for any warning signs.]. . . All of a sudden, instead of my wife sitting on the table with gel all over her body, I am now the one sitting back on the table getting checked out. Long story short, the doctors found a testicular mass, and I have testicular cancer.

Here is the good news. I am going to be just fine. We found out that the cancer has not spread to any other areas of my body. All my scans looked great! We discovered the mass about as soon as possible. The doctors will move forward with surgery to remove the tumor on August 10th, and it appears that at most I will have just one round of chemotherapy. The rate of survival in my case is 99%. Overall, testicular cancer is one of the most survivable cancers. One of the doctors told me that if you are going to get cancer this is the one to get. Thankfully, the surgery is not very invasive. I will be back at around 100% in just a few weeks.

Yet, even with that high survivability rate, I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t worried, stressed, anxious, or really all the above. The stats are comforting. However, there is still that 1%. That 1% matters to me. That 1% holds a lot of implications. It means I won’t grow old with my wife, it means I won’t watch my first child grow up, it means I won’t have that big family, it means that my parents bury me, it means I won’t officiate my nieces’ weddings (I’m assuming they’ll ask their cool uncle), and I’ll miss much of what I would have hoped to have witnessed.

But would you like to know what is more comforting than the statistics? The fact that God is the God over the 99%, and God is God over the 1%. I know that God’s plan for my life is infinitely better than whatever my plan is for my life. I take solace knowing I am in His hands. My God is sovereign, and nothing will befall me in which He has not ordained. And that which He has ordained is always right. God works all things out for my salvation, and He watches over me in such a way that not even one of my beard hairs will fall off my face unless he has determined it to happen. This is God’s tumor, and He can do with it as He wishes and use it however He pleases (Ps 115:3).

My comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own. I belong in body and soul, and in life and death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.[1] Here is the reality: my life is a mist. Inevitably, I will die one day. The likelihood that I will die from my cancer is 1%. The likelihood that I will die one day is 100%. In 150 years, no one on this earth will know who I am. Yet, for all eternity, my God will know me because I am His and He is mine.

My comfort in all of life is knowing that my Redeemer has fully paid for all my sins and purchased me through His shed blood on Calvary’s cross. I belong to Christ Jesus, and He has assured me of eternal life in heaven. This cancer episode is nothing more than a reminder that this world is not my home, but there is a hope of a home that awaits me where sickness, sorrow, pain, and death will be felt and feared no more.[2]

[1] Heidelberg Catechism, Question and Answer #1

[2] On Jordan’s Stormy Banks (Hymn by Karnes)