UPDATE AUGUST 7, 2012
There is an INCREDIBLE amount of good news to share.
First, thank you so much again to all who wrote, prayed, held good thoughts, left comments and more. Belin was SO encouraged by your response and kept saying “these people don’t even know me!”
We truly are one family.
Now for the good news.
First, Belin hoped to be a candidate for what is called a “neo-bladder”. This is basically where the doctors remove the cancerous bladder and build a new one. That’s a very rough layman’s description.
The bottom line is that the neo-bladder opens the door for living a life as close as possible to the life he would have led if the bladder had not been removed.
To be clear, he was open to all options and would have been thankful no matter the outcome but wanted the neo-bladder procedure.
Well, he was a candidate and got exactly what he hoped for.
Tuesday (July 31) was a long day – we were at hospital at 5:15 am and his surgery lasted 10 hours. Then we had the post-op, recovery room, move to a new room, etc. and he was finally settled at about 11:30pm.
He had the best doctor possible (this doctor lectures worldwide on bladder disease) and he did a beautiful job.
Fast forward to today and, amazing but true, Belin is being released tomorrow! That will be one week and a day after a 10 hour surgery. His recovery has been amazing.
Belin’s doctor called his recovery “miraculous”!
That’s the actual word he used! We think he might not be a person of faith yet this is what he said! The doctors and nurses simply can’t understand how Belin has recovered this well this fast.
We know of course that the Great Physician has had his hand on Belin all along. We are so grateful to God, and grateful to the doctors, nurses, administrators and all who work at M.D. Anderson.
And we are forever grateful to you, our dear friends who cared enough to pray, send good wishes and more.
When you look at what happened in overview you can easily see that things went better than anyone expected.
- He hoped for a good doctor and got a world-renowned expert who wrote the book on bladder cancer.
- He hoped for a good hospital and got M.D. Anderson
- He wanted the neo-bladder and got it.
- He walked the day after surgery.
- His kids were able to see him in hospital (Belin lives 4 hours from Houston)
- He got the best room on his floor (a little thing but important as it’s a big room)
- His wife was able to stay in a hotel literally connected to the hospital.
- Sonia and I were able to be with him. He was never alone. (So many are alone)
- His pathology report was perfect – no further cancer detected.
In all these ways, and many more, we see the hand of the Lord and are grateful. We see and feel your heart of compassion and are grateful. We witnessed the incredible skill of the doctors and are grateful.
Belins current prognosis is a better than 90% chance of leading a normal life for the next five years. After 5 years doctors consider him cured.
Let me end by saying one more time — THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. Your response and compassion made this easier for us all.
We are blessed to call you friends.
UPDATE JULY 30, 2012
First things first – I want to say thank you again to all of you who wrote, sent gifts, prayed and sent well wishes to Belin. I have delivered all of your kind messages and gifts to him and he and his family are overwhelmed, as are Sonia and I, with your open heart and generosity.
We have felt the effect of your prayers as God has met needs every step of the way.
Now for the update.
Belin has successfully undergone 4 rounds of chemo. We have seen God’s hand every step of the way. While it has been hard, Belin has done well, felt well most days, and been able to be with his family. What a blessing that has been.
We know that only God can heal. We know too that doctors can play an important part, and Belin has had some amazing doctors, nurses and more at M.D. Anderson. What an impressive place!
Here’s what happens next
The next step is surgery.
Belin is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday July 31. The surgery is around 8 hours long and very complicated. I will spare you the full details but will say that it is both a very complicated procedure and one they do often. So we have many reasons to hope for an excellent outcome, and that is what we are asking for.
Belin has been told he will be in hospital for one to two weeks (hoping for less) after the surgery.
Sonia and I are traveling to Houston to be with them. We will be there all this week and possibly beyond.
I want to thank you in advance for your patience during this period.
I anticipate being away from email, support tickets, consulting questions and generally everything work-wise during this week.
Since I don’t take long vacations this will sort of be my week off. 🙂
So what I’m asking today is this …
- Pray that his surgery goes well and his recovery is swift. For doctors to have clear thinking, super natural skill and that they do their work to the best of their ability and beyond. We are asking big because we serve a big God.
- Your understanding that I will be gone from work completely this week and perhaps a bit longer
- If you want to write a comment below I will make sure it gets to Belin. If you want to send a private message you can do that by contacting Hope at my support center. Just click here to reach the support center. She will know how to reach me.
I count you as my friend and I want to say again how much I appreciate how you have responded in this time of need. We pray for our readers and members every day and wish God’s very best in each of your lives.
Many of you replied to my original prayer request with a request of your own. We have prayed, and will continue praying for you.
I know too that there are people on my list and reading this that are not Christians. Please know that your thoughts and well wishes are very much appreciated too and that we value you just as much as anyone else and are grateful for you.
Thank you again. I look forward to being in touch very soon with good news!
UPDATED MAY 14 – It’s GOOD NEWS!
Thank you for helping and please read my update.
May 14, 2012 UPDATE
It’s hard to believe that only two weeks have passed since I posted this prayer request. I’m sorry I have not updated before now but am sure you understand why I have been away.
I have news to share, and it’s all very good news at this point.
Belin had his first round of chemotherapy last week and it went very well indeed. He tolerated the treatments well and is feeling strong and optimistic as I write this today. He is undergoing chemo first and then they will determine what surgery is necessary. His doctors say that taking this route – chemo first and surgery after – means he has an excellent chance for full recovery.
I believe it will happen!!
Belin and his wife have returned home now, as have Sonia and I. It was our pleasure to be able to spend so much time in Houston with them and not have to worry about work. I can’t tell you how much I’m loving the “Internet lifestyle” right now. The ability to work from anywhere, or take off without negative consequences, means so much.
During this time I have learned three major life lessons and I’d like to share them if I may.
Lesson 1 – There are some incredibly good people in the world – and YOU are one of them!
I thank you and our family thanks you more than words alone can say. As a writer I try to choose words carefully, so take this next part seriously please.
We were OVERWHELMED by your response.
Over 1100 people commented publicly or privately and offered prayers, well wishes and more. One woman who works at M.D. Anderson even offered her number if we needed help.
As I sit here I am struggling to find a way to say thank you that imparts the real feeling in my heart. I just can’t find the perfect word so will simply say emphatically THANK YOU for responding the way you did.
I could see the effect your prayers and kind thoughts had on Belin and his family. We could all feel the power during the hard times (and there were some very scary moments) and were comforted knowing that people in many countries (over 20 I think) were praying and sending good thoughts. Between the individuals who offered prayers and well-wishes and those who offered to pass the request on to their prayer circle or church or organization I know there were tens of thousands of people praying.
And it worked!
We were reminded how good people really are. We live in a fallen world and there are bad apples. No doubt there. But the outpouring of genuine love and concern for someone you will never meet just blows me away.
Another thing we loved was this – people from many different religions, and some purely non-religious folks offered their best wishes too.
What draws us together is truly stronger than that which keeps us apart.
Especially touched was Belin’s youngest daughter. Super Internet savvy, she was on the blog night and day marveling as more and more comments were approved. All in our family were touched by your kindness, and we will never forget your response.
Belin will be posting here soon so he can personally thank you.
Lesson 2 – These guys (and gals) are good!
Although I love golf I’m not talking about the PGA tour. I’m talking about the dedicated and skilled men and women at M.D. Anderson. I knew that M.D. Anderson had a reputation as the best in the world for cancer treatment. I knew from living in Houston so long (we lived there for almost 30 years) that M.D. Anderson was massive. But I had never witnessed up close just how good they are.
To all at M.D. Anderson who helped go our heartfelt thanks for your courage, dedication, skill and support. As Belin returns for follow up treatments we know he will be in the best hands possible, and are so grateful that he lives close enough to drive over when needed.
Lesson 3 – Live each day
It’s impossible to watch what we watched and hear what we heard without reflecting a bit about your own life and how you are doing. Og Mandino is one of my favorite authors and I was reminded of two quotes from him that I love. I’ve shortened them a bit.
The first on being today-focused.
“Live this day as if it will be your last. Forget yesterday’s defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. Make it the best day of your year. Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day! Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
The second is my favorite. I believe that taking action is the #1 skill of accomplishment and really love this quote.
“I will act now. I will act now. I will act now. Henceforth, I will repeat these words each hour, each day, everyday, until the words become as much a habit as my breathing, and the action which follows becomes as instinctive as the blinking of my eyelids. With these words I can condition my mind to perform every action necessary for my success. I will act now. I will repeat these words again and again and again. I will walk where failures fear to walk. I will work when failures seek rest. I will act now for now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure. I will act now. Success will not wait. If I delay, success will become wed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the person.”
In conclusion …
Belin still has a long road ahead. He knows that God is with him. He knows too that we will be there every step of the way with him. And now he knows that you will be there too in spirit and in prayer. And that gift to him means more to me than any words can say.
So I will say again – thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We appreciate you. We love you. We pray for you.
Be well and be blessed.
ORIGINAL POST BELOW
April 30, 2101 – I need your help. My brother in law has been diagnosed with late-stage bladder cancer and is seeing new doctors at M.D. Anderson tomorrow, Tuesday (May 1, 2102)
His name is Belin and he is quite literally like a brother to me. Having been married to his beautiful sister for 38 years now, Belin and I have become more than just friends or brother-in-laws.
Belin started his family a little later in life than some do. So, at 64 years of age, he has three teens – a 13 year old, a 14 year old and a 17 year old. Of course he wants to beat the cancer — who wouldn’t — but staying around to help raise his kids is heavy on his mind. Understandably so.
So I’m asking you to pray and send good thoughts right now for Belin. And to keep doing that whenever you can.
Please pray as you feel led. Sonia and I are praying the following. We are asking for …
- Complete healing
- For Belin to be guided to the right doctors and resources
- For his doctors to have exraordinary skill, clear thinking and a passion to help their patients
- For comfort during what he will face this week and beyond
Frankly we are asking for his doctors to have supernatural skill and clarity when dealing with Belin and all their patients too. We know that cancer, and other dread diseases, affect so many families today. And our prayers are with them as well.
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If you are suffering, or have suffered, our prayers are with you.
I know this is not a “business” thing to say but Sonia and I pray for our members and subscribers almost every day.
But today, this week, our focus is on our beloved brother and brother-in-law. And your help will be appreciated more than words can say.
We are grateful
Even in this difficult time we find things for which to be grateful.
Happily, we live only a few hours away from Belin, who lives in Louisiana. My wife Sonia is with him now and will stay in their home to help with his kids while Belin and his wife make the trip.
We live only 2 hours from M.D. Anderson, which means we can be there to lend support.
M.D. Anderson is perhaps the premier facility for the treatment of cancer, and Belin is going there tomorrow.
Belin’s other sister lives in Houston, so it’s very likely that both sisters will be able to see him in hospital.
Belin has insurance, a loving family and an incredibly powerful God.
I am happy to report that Belin is a Christian, so he absolutely knows Who holds his future. His wife and kids are believers as well, and that helps bring peace when facing challenges like this.
Here’s how you can help
First and foremost, pray. We believe in, and have experienced, the power of prayer.
Secondly, I know you don’t know Belin but if you want to send him a message there are two ways to do that.
1 – Leave a comment below. I will print these out and take them to him as encouragement that there are good people who care about strangers.
2 – If you prefer to send a physical card please feel free to mail it to my office address. Just send your card or letter to …
1511 South Texas Ave. Suite 326
College Station TX 77840
I will make sure to get your comments and cards to Belin as soon as humanly possible.
Thank you in advance for your prays, positive thoughts and well wishes for Belin in his time of need.
I have always relied on you for support, and tried very hard to provide the support you need as well. I believe this is how life is meant to work and so thank you again and wish you all blessings.