Beating a Cancer Death Sentence.


Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Beating a Cancer Death Sentence.

 

Joe Fornear lived an active life as a pastor until he was diagnosed with advanced stage IV cancer.

 

I WAS SO HEALTHY.

 

ANY TIME I HAD ANYTHING

 

PHYSICALLY WRONG, I THOUGHT

 

I WILL TOUGH IT THROUGH.

 

 

WHILE VACATIONING WITH HIS

 

WIFE, TERRY, JOE FOUND A

 

LUMP ON HIS ARM.

 

I THOUGHT, I HAVE HAD

 

OTHER LUMPS ON MY ARM,

 

CYSTS, AND I THOUGHT IT IS

 

PROBABLY NOTHING.

 

I THOUGHT, JUST IGNORE IT AT

 

FIRST AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

 

HE WAS REALLY TIRED, AND

 

HE TOLD ME ABOUT THIS, BUT I

 

JUST THOUGHT, OKAY, YOU JUST

 

NEED TO GO TO THE DOCTOR.

 

Reporter: BY THE TIME

 

THEY CAME HOME, THE LUMP HAD

 

GROWN.

 

JOE VISITED THEIR FAMILY

 

DOCTOR.

 

HE SAID, WHATEVER IT IS,

 

IT’S NOT CANCER.

 

AND HE SAID THAT AT TWO

 

DIFFERENT APPOINTMENTS.

 

SO THAT KIND OF REALLY PUT

 

ME AT EASE.

 

HE THOUGHT IT WAS A CYST.

 

AND HE THOUGHT MAYBE IT WAS

 

AN INFECTION OR SOMETHING,

 

SO HE GAVE ME ANTIBIOTICS

 

AND TRIED DIFFERENT THINGS

 

TO TRY TO CALM IT DOWN OR

 

MAKE IT GO AWAY.

 

Reporter: THE LUMP KEPT

 

GROWING, AND HIS DOCTOR

 

FINALLY SENT JOE FOR A

 

SONOGRAM.

 

AND THE TECH SAID THIS IS

 

NOT A CYST.

 

THESE ARE LYMPH NODES.

 

AT THAT TIME IT WAS GETTING

 

CLOSE TO GOLF-BALL SIZE.

 

EVENTUALLY I WENT IN TO GET

 

THE BIOPSY, AND THE SURGEON

 

SAID THE CANCER WAS TWO

 

BASEBALL SIZES BY THE TIME

 

HE TOOK ONE OF THEM AWAY FOR

 

THE BIOPSY.

 

Reporter: JOE HAD STAGE

 

FOUR METATASTIC MELANOMA.

 

THE AGGRESSIVE CANCER WAS

 

SPREADING THROUGHOUT HIS

 

BODY.

 

ONCE THEY TOOK EVERYTHING

 

OUT UNDERNEATH MY ARM, IT

 

SPREAD TO MY STOMACH.

 

SO THEY HAD TO TAKE A THIRD

 

OF MY STOMACH OUT AND SOME

 

OF MY LYMPH NODES.

 

Reporter: DOCTORS SENT

 

JOE TO PITTSBURGH, WHERE HE

 

RECEIVED A VERY POTENT FORM

 

OF CHEMOTHERAPY.

 

IT IS AN IMMUNE SYSTEM

 

BOOSTER, AND IT WAS, LIKE,

 

BRUTAL.

 

IT TURNED OUT THAT DIDN’T

 

WORK.

 

IT ONLY GREW EVEN MORE.

 

Reporter: EVENTUALLY

 

THE CANCER INVADED HIS

 

KIDNEYS, LUNGS, AND

 

PANCREAS.

 

THE DOCTOR TOLD JOE IT WAS

 

ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE

 

HE WOULD LOSE HIS BATTLE.

 

HE SAID TO ME,

 

MR. FORNER, I DON’T KNOW IF

 

YOU KNOW, BUT YOU HAVE DAYS

 

TO LIVE.

 

THERE WAS TIMES WHEN, LIKE

 

KIND OF LATE AT NIGHT, I’D

 

BE LAYING IN THE HOSPITAL

 

AND I’D BE THINKING, YOU

 

KNOW, IN THE DARK, WHAT’S

 

THIS GOING TO BE LIKE?

 

BECAUSE I REALIZED I WAS

 

DYING.

 

Reporter: BUT TERRY

 

BELIEVED THAT GOD WOULD HEAL

 

JOE.

 

I WAS REALLY FEARFUL.

 

THAT’S WHEN I FEEL LIKE THE

 

LORD GAVE ME A PROMISE.

 

ABIDE IN ME, AND WHATEVER

 

YOU WISH, YOU WILL GET IT.

 

THE LORD WAS TELLING ME HE

 

WAS GOING TO BE OKAY.

 

Reporter:

 

THEY MET

 

ONCOLOGIST DR. BARRY

 

LEVINSON, AND HE TOLD THEM

 

ABOUT AN EXPERTAL TREATMENT,

 

AND IT WAS A LONG SHOT AT

 

BEST, BUT THEY WERE OUT OF

 

OPTIONS.

 

IT WAS A HIGHLY TOXIC

 

REGIMEN, AND I WAS CONCERNED

 

ABOUT HIS ABILITY TO

 

TOLERATE IT.

 

HE WAS QUITE ILL AT THE

 

TIME.

 

VERY WEAK.

 

HAD LOST A LOT OF WEIGHT.

 

I CERTAINLY WAS ANXIOUS TO

 

GET HIM STARTED ON THERAPY,

 

BUT ALSO FACED IT WITH SOME

 

TREPIDATION BECAUSE

 

TREATMENTS ARE VERY

 

DIFFICULT TO TOLERATE.

 

Reporter: DESPITE THE

 

DANGERS, JOE AGREED TO THE

 

TREATMENTS.

 

MEANWHILE, THEIR CHURCH

 

PRAYED.

 

BELIEVING THAT GOD WOULD

 

HAVE THE FINAL WORD.

 

WHY DOES EVERYONE SAY

 

“THY WILL BE DONE,” AND NOT

 

THE REST OF THAT VERSE.

 

WHICH IS “AS IN IN HEAVEN”

 

SO I STARTED THINKING, IS

 

MELANOMA IN HEAVEN?

 

IS SICKNESS IN HEAVEN?

 

ALL GOOD THINGS ARE IN

 

HEAVEN.

 

SO I STARTED TO ASK FOR

 

EVERYTHING IN HEAVEN TO COME

 

TO EARTH.

 

AFTER THE FIRST ROUND, I

 

COULD FEEL — I HAD TWO

 

MASSES, ONE ABOVE AND BELOW

 

MY COLLARBONE.

 

I COULD FEEL THOSE SHRINK

 

AND GO AWAY.

 

AFTER THE SECOND ROUND, THEY

 

SAID YOU HAVE HAD

 

SIGNIFICANT SHRINKAGE ON THE

 

INSIDE.

 

AFTER THE THIRD ROUND OF THE

 

CHEMO, IT WAS TOTALLY GONE.