Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 7:09 pm | Fair 61º


Jim Langley: Dealing with a Devastating Diagnosis

I’ve been patiently waiting to address this topic, but first needed to reach that point where I had some closure on my own health issue.

Over the past year, I’ve had dozens of intimate conversations about my prostate cancer diagnosis. Originally I was planning on writing about Watchfully Waiting, and will probably address that topic downstream, but for now let’s discuss Dealing with a Devastating Diagnosis.

That’s what many of us and our loved ones have to do as we are confronted by medical findings that are not favorable.

It’s quite natural to immediately ask the question “Why does this have to happen to me (or my loved one)?” There is no good answer to that question, but the sooner we move forward and start dealing with the diagnosis, the better.

I stopped asking God for answers to such questions many years ago. What I’ve found happens is in His perfect timing, which is often years later, He always shows me how the circumstances I go through are all part of His master plan.

The key word we need to address in the following paragraphs is dealing, not diagnosis. Our natural tendency is to focus on the diagnosis, yet all we can do once we’ve become aware of our circumstances is to take small steps in dealing with the situation at hand. Life is full of challenges that we need to face head on.

Over the past year, I could have accepted my fate and swiftly taken one of several available optional treatments performed by local clinics.

My urologist suggested surgical removal of the prostate, which I questioned. His prognosis was logical and understandable since he is, after all, a surgeon. He also presented radiation therapy and Brachytherapy (implanting radioactive seeds in the prostate) as optional methods performed locally.

A long-time friend also wanted me to check out proton therapy in Loma Linda University Medical Center, and one of my clients suggested I travel down south to meet with his urologist to see if I too was a candidate for HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound).

Yes, there’s certainly more than one way to skin a cat!

I elected to pursue HIFU but became a bit concerned once I found Medicare would not pick up all the medical expenses associated with the procedure.

Then I was informed of a Food & Drug Administration study being conducted at UCLA Medical Center. After going through all the hoops, which included a Prostate MRI, I was informed that my condition did not meet the parameters for admittance into the two-year study.

Fortunately, I was referred to Dr. Leonard Marks at UCLA School of Medicine who performs the HIFU procedure. My hopes in consulting with him were for a less costly procedure at one of the leading hospitals on the West Coast rather than having it performed an hour closer in a surgical center in Van Nuys.

That initial consultation in Westwood turned out to be a very special day in my quest for medical assistance. Dr. Marks surprisingly prescribed an alternate, minimally invasive procedure he’s successfully performed called Prostate Cryotherapy. And, this procedure is fully covered by Medicare and my Medicare supplement!

It will take a few months before I can have the procedure performed since the demand is great, but I totally trust the Lord as He takes me through this process. Closure is at hand and I’m hoping for a long and productive life.

Now let’s talk about dealing with diagnoses in a more general way.

As I’ve contemplated this condition over the past 12 months, I’m often consoled by Romans 14:8 in which the apostle Paul exhorts, “If we live, we must live for the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

Those words have helped me deal with the unknown and not be anxious in the decision process. After all, if we truly leave our lives in His hands we can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He will be by our side through it all.

So, whether it’s you or a loved one going through trials, turn to Jesus and let Him take you through the storm set before you. He knows what lays ahead and His love for us is limitless. After all, He died for us and gave all for us on the cross.

Passages to Ponder

» Job 42:1-6

» Ecclesiastes 9:1-2

» Matthew 11:28-30

» Philippians 4:6-7

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at [email protected] for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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