Returning from vacation, I attempted to tackle the mounting emails in my "Inbox", when I came upon one from a young man, who I managed in Little League baseball when he was 12 years old. We developed a special bond that has lasted through the 20+ years since, to where we still get together a time or two each year to catch up on each other and our families over lunch or a Major League baseball game. It was good to see his name on the large list of Senders, as his career in Accounting and teaching was solid, wife and him recently bought a new house and they just had their first child. Their whole life was right in front of them. We were discussing meeting for lunch earlier, so I anticipated a routine response to that affect, but what I read dropped me to my knees. Here is the actual letter:
I was so happy to share with you the great news of the birth of our first child, Audrey Cianna Marie, last Monday, May 13. Despite the emergency c-section and Lisa having some complications with post-partum eclampsia, both Lisa and Audrey are doing great at home now! It is such a wonderful and surreal experience to be a father for the first time! I've attached another beautiful picture of Audrey :)
On another more personal note, I wanted to let you know that on May 3, I went to an oral surgeon regarding a sore on the side of my tongue that had been irritating me. The doctor examined it and then did a biopsy. I received the results of the biopsy on May 9. Unfortunately, the doctor informed me that it was cancerous (squamous cell carcinoma). The doctor basically said that what I am experiencing is extremely rare (i.e., 1% - 2% chance) to see for someone of my age and simply due to bad luck given that I do not smoke, rarely drink alcohol, and do not have the HPV virus, the three primary causes of this type of oral cancer.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have underwent a CT scan, a PET scan, a chest x-ray, and blood work and met a number of doctors in Orange County and in Los Angeles to discuss prognosis and treatment plans. The cancer is currently considered to be in Stage II, but does not appear to have spread to the lymph nodes or lungs. At this point, the doctor is planning to surgically remove an area of my tongue on May 29, along with the possibility of removing some lymph nodes in my neck as a precautionary measure, followed by the possibility of radiation treatments in the coming months. According to the doctor, it will likely take me many weeks and possibly months to fully recover from the surgery and treatment, but I am staying positive and I know I will be able to treat this cancer and get past this unfortunate and unexpected situation.
It goes without saying that I truly appreciate your friendship, as well as your thoughts, prayers, and support during this challenging time. It means so much to me!
All I am asking is the you, brothers and sisters in Christ, to pray for Christopher, Lisa and Audrey in this battle. Thank you for your prayers.
In Christ, Brian