Robert’s Story is a testimony, through which he has suffered, wept, and praised God through the darkest moments of last year. From the Bronchitis that won’t go away, to the Pneumonia that wasn’t Pneumonia, to the final diagnosis of Lung Cancer.
He was a smoker.
April & May
Not just Lung Cancer.
At that time, before the first PET scan, after the biopsy that revealed the Cancer in the lung, we all thought it was located just there. That we caught it early thank God. The PET Scan revealed that the cancer had metastasized to the spine, a spot above the kidneys, the brain, the jaw, and hip. When he asked Dr. Kaywin how long he had left
‘Lets just hope you’re here next year doing maintenance”
was the answer.
There was no cure.
The thought of death was there. He thought he was going to die. And if I’m terribly honest, we all did. The possibility was certainly presented in uncomfortably close proximity.
He wasn’t sleeping. The cancer was causing extreme bone pain and he could only hold a sleeping position for an hour at times, two at most. He would change from bed to armchair and back every night for weeks.
At Sleep Number, looking for a bed that would accommodate him.
He wasn’t breathing either. The cancer was not letting his lungs get enough oxygen. At 3 am we had to call the Rescue due to lack of breathing. He was taken to the emergency room and admitted. He had developed Pneumonia on top of the Cancer. And now was taking steroids to breathe and Oxycodone every 4 hours for the pain. It was the first time he slept in weeks.
June & July
Despite the logical thought process: you have cancer- you get treatment; the truth isn’t so linear. Dealing with Cancer has a lot of moving parts: Insurance, bureaucracy and paperwork, and infections. If any of those moving parts isn’t right, you don’t get treatment- and the cancer progresses.
Leila, Robert’s wife, fought to keep every appointment on track, throughout hospital cancellations and oversights. She would be for hours on the phone with insurance representatives and hospital schedulers to make sure treatments happened.
August & September
Because he was able to meet the criteria, the doctors administered a combination of Keytruda and Chemotherapy, a combination that was only approved by the FDA 3 weeks prior to the start of treatment. Keytruda, an infusion therapy, worked with his own immune system to kill cancer cells, mitigating the aggressive and violent effects of Chemotherapy.
Every week he would go for blood tests: Hemoglobin, Oxygen levels, Platelets. Chemo kills your hemoglobin, which causes immense fatigue as your hemoglobin (carriers of oxygen to the muscles) isn’t there to help them function correctly. If Hemoglobin goes too low, you need a blood transfusion days prior to treatment. Sometimes we would wait 12 hours to check into the hospital Short Stay, wait for a room, get the blood, and wait the 2 hours per bag to flow into his body.
From the start of diagnosis, Robert lost around 40 lbs in 3 months, going from 189 to 149. I would cook for him purees and dishes from South Carolina, where he’s from, including Charleston Red Rice. When he couldn’t eat solids, Leila started him drinking smoothies with a lot of calories to combat the weight loss. Eventually she had to go back to work and he relied on Smoothie King to make them: Peanut Butter, Banana, Kale, Strawberries, Ice Cream, Weight Gainer, and Protein Powder; for a grand total of 1800 calories per smoothie!
That helped him go up a little bit. A version of this smoothie, especially the nutrient dense aspect, became Keto Avocado Raspberry Smoothie
This helped him get back to a regular weight little by little.
October & November
This process is not easy. By any measure. And anyone that goes through this process, my heart goes out to them because it is the fight of their lives. It takes a lot out of you, and to get through it, it requires organization, tenacity, and faith.
The Bible says that “ faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” -Romans 10:17
Robert and Leila took this to heart. Every room in the house where you walked had scriptures of faith, healing, and God’s promises. At any random time, you could hear Robert yell
“I SHALL NOT DIE BUT LIVE, AND DECLARE THE WORKS OF THE LORD!”
That became his motto. And when times seemed darkest, when he couldn’t walk on his own and use a cane. When he couldn’t bend down, or get out of the car without help, this is what he would say.
God responded. After the 6th round of treatment, Leila received a call from the oncologist, Dr. Kaywin, saying that he had responded well to treatment and had made remarkable progress! She organized a night to Thank God, and worship Him for what he had done in Robert’s life. Friends and family joined together to thank God for the healing that Robert was receiving.
And then came the prophet.
In November, Prophet Brian Carn visited our church, Alpha and Omega and amid a night of intense messages to the church, he stops and goes
“whoever I’m talking to, God says “you’re not dying of cancer!”
Robert immediately jumps up and goes “that’s for me!!”
I’ve been taught that your faith can move mountains. And you have to live it through thick and thin, keeping your mind fixed on the miracle you are expecting regardless of what the current circumstance says.
Fast forward to Christmas, and Leila throughout the year kept saying, “I don’t want anything for Christmas, just my husband.”
God is good. Despite whatever we go through in life. He is undeniably good. Now Robert has a new motto, and it’s yelled at random times through the house so you can never see it coming.
“GLORY BE TO GOD!”