My Journey With Cancer, Part 8


My Journey With Cancer, Part 8 by David Maddox

Early in the treatment process our cancer doctor made two statements to me which make a lot more sense after last week.  He looked at me and said, “You’re doing everything right” which obviously was encouraging.  But then he added very soberly – “Stay well.”  I wondered what he meant by that second statement until I encountered the reality of how little of wellness is really in our control.  You can do “everything right” and still find yourself dangerously ill.  From Sunday through Friday of last week I was in the hospital (another first for me) – one really sick “camper” with “Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis and significant fluid retention.  The key word to catch is “Spontaneous” – they don’t know how you get it or how you can keep from getting it.  So Sunday as the fever continued and my blood pressure spiked to the 160s the doctor on call said, “you have done all you can at home you need to go the ER” – and so we did.


Having never been in the hospital as a patient except once as a little kid and once when Lindsay as a child reached out as we were playing and put a fingernail in my eye – the whole thing was a new experience for me.  But the reality is that when you feel as bad as I did you will do almost anything seeking relief.  I learned a lot this last week.  We got out on Friday after a week of tests and intravenous antibiotics with oral antibiotics for another nine days.  Still weak and lots of fluid retention and the constant eating issues – BUT praise God – getting a little better every day.


What did I learn – lots.  Hospitals (or at least the one we were in) are now “customer”/patient service oriented.  The staff was so helpful and kind and always available.  I was on a cancer floor so things may be a little different there but for me one thing I really appreciated was once the doctor set the type of diet you could eat you could order anything you want on that diet anytime you wanted it.  With so much difficulty with food that was Heaven send.  When I felt I could eat I could order what I thought I could eat and it was delivered as “room service”.  The medical side was disappointing in that some of the test were not as I would have wished and the fluid retention is still a problem, but I am not complaining.  I am home – I am better – I am thankful.


As one who likes to walk I did that every several hours with Janet when she was there and by myself when she wasn’t as soon as I could.  When we walked together we held hands and you would have thought something really strange was going on with the comments and smiles that generated.  That’s just who we are.  After a while it became obvious that there were few (two several times the whole week) who could or would walk.  After a couple of days our doctors gave us “patio privileges” which meant we could go down stairs to the interior patio on the first floor on our walks where there were flowers and bushes and some small trees.  What a gift of God.  Sadly – in the whole week we never saw another patient on our walks to the patio.  That became even more discouraging when I happened to overhear a discussion between a patent’s wife and a social worker who said that for every day you remain in a hospital bed it takes a week at home to recover.  Needless to say when I got up in the morning it was out of the bed and into a chair or off walking unless I needed a brief nap.


There were some real positives about being in this hospital.  The first is that there was always a way to get an answer to your medical questions and they taught you how to deal with issues such as positions for sleep which I am using now at home.  As the week went on I was able to identify the Believers on staff and we had some great discussions and sharing times.  That was really wonderful in the middle of the night or during the day.  I got to know their hearts and needs and some prayer requests.  It was a real blessing and I pray for them now as I know they do for me.


Nothing positive to report about the cancer fight.  Frankly we had to put that “out to pasture” for the week while dealing with what could have been life threatening.  We will meet with our cancer doctor on Wednesday which will give us an opportunity to rethink all of the treatment options.  I am aware of only two at this point.  Jesus as He did in Luke 5:12-13 responds to the plea – “if you will you can make me clean” to which He answered “I will; be clean” and he was immediately healed.  The other is when King Hezekiah after years of being faithful to the Lord was told by Isaiah that the Lord say, “set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover”.  Hezekiah begged the Lord with tears for health and God because of his faithfulness gave him another 15 years.  Isaiah was sent back to tell him and to advise him what treatment was required for healing – “a cake of figs” (Isaiah 38:1-21).  So the second option is for God to reveal what treatment will work – my “cake of figs”.  Either the outstretched hand of Jesus to heal or revelation of the way for medical means to succeed.  That’s about it.


Please understand I am not equating my service and faithfulness with that of Hezekiah or even the reason I want to be healed.  Hezekiah wanted to live – and that was granted, but during those 15 years terrible things were set in place by him which meant after his death the most wicked King Judah ever would have was born and Hezekiah took foolish actions which led to the Babylon captivity.  Obviously I don’t want to be healed if what it would mean is that I would damage the Kingdom and bring dishonor on the Lord Jesus.  I want to live with good health to complete the call both Janet and I believe is on our life.  If I am wrong in that call (knowing God can move without me) – I will be sent home.  God has NOT come to Janet or I with the “set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover”.   If He does I will certainly share that.  The reality is if He does not have a purpose for us here going forward – I don’t want to be here merely fighting for physical life.  I love my family but I know our kids are saved and their spouses and three of the grandkids so far.  God is faithful so we will have eternity together.  Janet and I have had those discussions and we are on the same page.


Sorry this is long but one more lesson.  If you keep the TV mostly off – there is a lot of time for fellowship with the Lord even when you don’t feel good.  The latest confrontation was God bringing to mind a commitment I had made several times over the years and never kept.  That was hard to face.  Fortunately – I can still keep it so I repented and recommitted.  You should ask God that same question – what commitment have I made to you that I have not kept.


Please pray that God will heal this infection and restore my body.  Pray for wisdom on the Wednesday meeting with the cancer doctor – if He has been given my “cake of figs” then please reveal that – or if not that Jesus reach out and say, “I will; be clean of this cancer”.  Love you guys.  Thanks for your encouragement and support.

Past Posts


About David Maddox – After a legal career in both Texas and Arizona that spanned over 40 years as a civil litigator, God called David to leave his law practice and work full time as Discipleship Director for Time to Revive.  That call is really the fruit of decades of prayer for revival and teaching God’s Word, writing discipleship materials and seeking to make disciples.  David married Janet Whitehead in 1976 and they minister together from their Phoenix home.  God has blessed them with four children and thus far seven grandchildren.     David Maddox with wife

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