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Keeping the Faith




Submitted by:
Mark Nester

Dad’s story started in March of this year when Mom took him into the ER at St Francis Hospital because he was talk incoherent and having a hard time walking straight. I knew something was wrong when Dad smiled and one side of his face stayed drooped. We all though he had a stroke. After some coordination and balance tests the ER doctor had a CT scan done. The doc came in with a grave look on his face and said he suspected a mass and the CT scan confirmed it. Within an hour he was checked into the hospital where his real journey started. We met Dr. Boedeker who would be Dad’s neurosurgeon, and our conduit into a world we never ever expected. After Dr. B. reviewed the results of the MRI he gave us the news. I remember our family’s reaction when he said it was as he expected…a tumor. I think it was a Wednesday and surgery was scheduled for the next day. I was so sad because I knew my dad was going on a long journey. We prayed and loved on each other as much as we could. Dad came through surgery and was out of it for a while. I asked Dr. B the question no one really wanted to ask “how big was the tumor?” He just held up his balled fist. I was very sad. Dr. B told us lab results showed it was a grade 4 glioblastoma with at least 3 branches or tentacles that branched out. He said he removed all “that he could see”. It was heart breaking. It turns out that the tumor had been so big that it had actually pushed his right frontal lobe over a couple of centimeters. There had been a lot of fluid surrounding it that was causing Dad lots of pain. After another 4 days in the hospital Dad got to go home. Next was the visit with the oncologist Dr. Olson who I like a lot better that Dr. B. Dr. B. is great as a surgeon but has absolutely no bedside manor or genuine love for people. I pray God will get ahold of him. Dr. Olson was more of a caregiver. He really spent time listening to our questions and giving us as much information as possible concerning the type of cancer Dad had. On top of everything Dad had a prostate issue and had to wear a catheter for over a week. It was awful for him. The first drug was Temodar. Dad had to take that orally. The side effects were minimal, so he says. But Dad was not the same. It was really hard for us to wrap our minds around the fact that Dad had pretty much had a lobotomy. I thought of the tumor as a foreign invader that was cut out. What I didn’t realize was that it was actual brain cells that had mutated and grown to the size of a man’s fist in, what one doc said, as quick as 4 weeks! So in essence they had removed his brain albeit a mutated section. Dad was unemotional, despondent, weak, and tired. I was so sad and there were times I thought he was giving up and slipping away. Then the turnaround! I remember on Sunday Dad had no energy, couldn’t even get his trousers unbuttoned, was shuffling instead of walking. Mom had to wheel him into church. We all thought he was going downhill fast. He went to Dr. Olson that next Monday. They started him on Avastin. By that Wednesday Dad was walking. I remember him getting down on the floor to look for a DVD in the TV cabinet and getting back up. Mom said there’s no way he could have done that only 3 days before. That was approximately 3 months ago. Dad had an MRI last week and Dr. Olson said the cancer is shrinking. Dad is really doing well. He is more like his former self. I am so proud of him for fighting it out and hanging in there. I shouldn’t be surprised though. He’s an airborne paratrooper! One of coolest things that has happened was in church at Victory Christian Center. Toward the beginning of the service the pastor will ask everyone to turn and pray for each other. Mom and Dad were turned with their backs to the stage praying with the people behind them. Mom turned back toward the front not knowing that Dad had already turned first and to her surprise Pastor Sharon Daugherty had Dad’s hands and was praying for him and speaking a word over him that God was going to restore everything that had been taken. The thing is….Pastor Sharon didn’t know that Dad had been through this. She just received a word from God to walk up to the upper level (Victory is a BIG church) and speak a word over that man. Mom filled her in. So COOL! We want everyone out there to know that whatever you’re facing…Father God has your address. He is in your midst whether you believe it or not. And we believe that He is restoring Dad in every way. Thank you Dad for your love and faithfulness to us and for hanging in there for your family. We love you.

* September 17, 2014 we began honoring the memory of Charles.