Sunday, July 14, 2013


   During May of this year Becky had a hard month physically. She lost 20 pounds, had a hard time keeping down anything she ate and just felt lousy. We thought that we should see Dr. Jackson and do a general checkup and find out what was going on.
   He thought it would also be a good time to do a follow-up chest x-ray. Three and a half years ago Becky was diagnosed with Renal Cell Cancer (Kidney) and had a kidney removed. At that time the Dr. felt that long term prognosis was excellent. If the cancer did return it would probably show first in the lungs and then in the liver and bones. Therefore a yearly chest x-ray would show any problems.
   After he got the results of the x-ray, Dr. Jackson asked Becky to do one more from a side angle to see a few things clearer. That was the first hint that something was wrong. He then invited us back into the room and pulled up the digital images. He said he say 5 circular lesions that he was not positive of what they were. He suggested that a radiologist read them as soon as possible.
   Our son Kevin has a brother-in-law that was trained at Johns Hopkins University and Hospital in Baltimore and is now practicing in the Salt Lake City area. Mark wanted us to get them to him as soon as possible. Upon receiving the copies, he saw 8 lesions and felt from his experience that the Renal Cell Cancer had returned and was aggressive. That all happened on a Wednesday and Friday of the first week in June.
   Mark suggested that we get CT Scans of abdominal regions and a PET Scan of the entire body. He felt that more lesions would show up. Monday we get the tests scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, and with advice we received, we made plans to return back to the USA for whatever follow-up would be necessary. The scans showed 15 active lesions and the prognosis was months.
   We rapidly made plans to return home and packed as much as we could in the few days we could. We had the hope that we could return after we got everything under control.
   The Senior Missionaries had a wonderful party for us on Thursday to send us off. Many tears were shed that night in Becky's behalf. Friday morning we headed to the airport accompanied by the Frenchs who dropped us off. Saying goodbyes is one of  the hardest things there is to do. I am grateful for the knowledge that we will see them all again either sooner or later.
   The flight home was hard due to all the time we had to just think about the next steps we needed to take. The future was now a bit uncertain. We knew tests needed to be ran and Doctors seen before a plan could be formulated to move forward.
   We met first with Dr. Bishoff (Urologist) to confirm the information and then run additional tests. He felt optimistic as he arraigned our appointment with Dr. Samuleson (Oncologist). Dr. Bishoff is one of the nicest men I have ever met.
   The appointment with the Oncologist was the next week and the second week we have been home.
Dr. Samuelson said he would like another CT scan to focus on the lungs and liver. We scheduled that for the end of that week. The results come back and they felt the need for a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of Renal Cell. The biopsy was scheduled for the next week and it went smoothly. However they were not able to get a large enough sample to confirm. Therefore they want to proceed with the Renal Cell diagnosis.
   At this point we are in the US for 4 weeks and still don't have a firm plan on how to proceed.
   Several items are on my mind. How will the cancer proceed and what do we need to watch for and how will Becky be affected? What chemo are they planning on using, how effective will it be and how will Becky be affected? Also do we need to rob a bank to afford the chemo?
   So many questions and most are still unanswered. This is truly a time that we are reaching out to our Father in Heaven. We need strength and hope that only he can provide. This life is tender and can change at a moments notice.
   However as this proceeds, we know that the new door that has been opened to us will be another learning opportunity.
   I am so grateful for Becky. She is an amazing lady with wonderful abilities that were showcased during this last year in the Philippines. She will be needing all of those and more as we move forward.


  1. You are in our prayers on a daily basis Steve...we miss you guys

    1. We miss you more than I can say. It has not been a coincidence that we meet and formed such a strong bond. Your love and support ever since we met you both has been a reason for our strength today. Thanks for all the good you do.

  2. I am praying for you both. I will keep your names on the prayer roll as well. Thank you for the update - please keep us posted. Much love...

    1. If I am known by the friends I have, I am a very blessed man to have you counted as one. Thank you for all the wonderful support you have been to Becky and I over the years. We truly love you and your wonderful family.

  3. I am sure you were and are both amazing missionaries, because you are such beautiful people. I will remember you in my prayers at this hard time for both of you.

  4. Randy, This past year was the most incredible opportunity we have ever had as a couple. I am so grateful for the experiences we had that brought us even closer together. I hope all is well with your wonderful family. It has been our blessing to know all of them.

  5. Becky, you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Love and Prayers, Carolyn (Phillips) Johnston