This post was originally placed online May 30, 2022 by Pastor Jeff & Deana Denton.
After months of dealing with increasing pain, we finally got to the root of the problem last week and got an answer we weren’t expecting. Cancer.
The pain and nausea have reached a critical point, so I’m pretty much confined to bed, highly medicated, and sleeping much of the time while we await next steps this week. I’ve chosen to be uncomfortable and medicated at home instead of spending Memorial Day weekend in the hospital. We still have more questions than answers right now. Just a few responses to all the questions we’re getting...
1. We’ll get a CaringBridge page up with updates and stuff when we get more information later this week. I’d have probably waited another week to go public, but we had a wonderful Sunday morning service focused on prayer yesterday at Waterbrook. When focusing on our call to “Pray for One Another”, ”Love One Another”, and ”Carry One Another’s Burdens”, I felt it would have been hypocritical to not be vulnerable and ask the church family for prayer. I’m a pretty transparent person. Give us time to get more information and plans and we’ll share those because I really value your prayer on our journey.
2. I appreciate all the wonderful suggestions and tips from those who’ve traveled this road. We’re open to all the advice we can get. But, please don’t be offended that I’m not calling back your cousin’s Herbalife dealer or accepting your wife’s essential oil concoction until we at least get a plan in place with my doctors. Yes, Robin, I’ll drink your kale, lemon juice, eye of newt smoothie eventually to see if it helps.
3. My life verses are 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. “Be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I’ve been striving to be Joyful, Prayerful and Thankful for a lot of decades of life. I’m remaining focused on that through this journey.
4. Part of my response to the doctor was that I’m actually releaved with this diagnosis because I really felt I was a little crazy not being able to identify the source of my pain. I was convincing myself I was just being a wimp to the pains of aging. Not the diagnosis I wanted. But at least I’m not crazy. (You don’t need to weigh in on whether I’m crazy otherwise.)
5. I expect a path to healing. I have amazing prayer warriors in my corner. A great medical team. All the reasons in the world to fight. Those who don’t know Christ will not understand, but part of the peace comes from my absolute faith in Christ, relationship with a God who loves me more than I can ever comprehend, and the Holy Spirit who provides peace that passes understanding. But, at the end of it all, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” I’m not scared of any path.
6. Type and stage will happen more fully in the days ahead. But, I did already ask, it’s not a cancer of fashion, as some have accused me of having for years.
Deana Denton and I are surrounded by an incredible network of family, friends, and relationships local and around the world. Your prayer is what we covet most.
We love you and appreciate how much we are loved. If you took time to read this, then you’re already part of the incredible network of relationships we thank God for. #LoveOneAnother
Update on Friday, June 3, 2022
Since the original post, we have already started the journey with our oncologist and will continue moving forward. We are currently in the stage of tests, labs, more scans and insurance wrangling.
It becomes easy to dwell on what we don't know. We choose not to do that. We just continue moving forward with what we do know and the steps recommended to us.
Jeff has already received an infusion that helped deal with pain and nausea for a couple days. He tends to overdo it when he feels well. That means he spends the next day in bed all day. There's no talking him out of being active when he feels well enough to try and work. (The Elders and staff are not placing anything on him. What he's doing is to stay active and busy when there's so little else to do.)
You can imagine he wants to "just get going on a plan", but is allowing the doctors to take each step as it needs to happen.
The staff and Elders have made every offer that when he's reached his max point of effort, he can step aside and rest. So, he will continue to preach as scheduled. But there are those who have offered to fill in if he can't do it the day he's scheduled.
We are surrounded by such a loving church family who is checking on us. There's not much to do right now. He still answers emails, returns text, and takes calls as he feels up to it. He even pops into the office or staff meetings for as long as he's able. Office Manager Tracey Hansen is a good point of contact and can make sure messages get to him. He has made it clear he's still reachable and willing to help anyone who needs to talk.
Most importantly, he's talked Pastor Stephen Bramer into dressing alike this Sunday for the sermon. So, clearly, his spirits are still good and sense of humor is intact.
We thank everyone who has been praying for us. We are depending on that power coming as a result of so many who faithfully lift us in prayer, even before this health crisis began.
Thank you and we love you all.
- Deana Denton