God and Mantle Cell Lymphoma

This is one of the documents my dad left on his computer.

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chas·ten transitive verb \?ch?-s?n\
: to cause (someone) to feel sad or embarrassed about something that has happened

When I was young, I wasn’t sure about whether I should believe in God. I had gone to Sunday School, but wasn’t sure about confirmation. I wasn’t going to take the classes, but I did. At the end of the classes, I demonstrated a knowledge, and had a desire to believe, but I still wasn’t sure. God allowed me to be confirmed.

Over the years, God provided a number of people, events and situations in my life to guide the development of my faith. Elsewhere?

Miracles to help reinforce my faith. Elsewhere?

Throughout much of my adult life, I trusted God for all of my health, safety and well-being. I rarely went to the doctor. The only time I went to hospitals was to visit others, or for physicals for the fire company to prove suitability for active service. Those, and a hernia repair, were my only personal use of my health benefits. Birth of our children and wellness care for them…

In 2010, a lot happened in the life of our family. My mother had mini-strokes early in the year and was hospitalized. She had a couple of bad infections, and died in May(?). We had gone to Florida to visit her before that, and I had had a cold. I got over the cold but seemed to have sinus and throat congestion issues which continued. One night in September, Thursday the 23rd?, at the end my my lunch break at work, I had a strange and troubling feeling in my throat. Something seemed to be sticking to my uvula(?) and blocking my normal breathing. I told my friend/co-worker what was going on in case something worse resulted, but it stopped soon after. When I went home that night, I told my wife what had happened. I also told here that I thought that I was OK. But at around 6:15 the next morning, it happened again. We both got dressed and she took me to an urgent care facility near by. After filling out the paperwork, we were soon taken in to see the urgent care doctor. One look down my throat and he told me that I needed to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. He had his assistant make an appointment for me for 9:00 AM that morning. We drove to the next appointment, filled in the paperwork there, and were taken in to a treatment room by 9:05. The doctor came in, looked down my throat, and told us he needed to anesthetize my nasal passages and put a scope in to check from behind. Once that had been done, he told us that I appeared to have a large cyst which was attached to my right tonsil which needed to be removed. He had surgical time available on October 5th. We took it!

On October 5th, we arrived at the hospital, and after being prepped, surgery was to start at about 9:20(?), and take about 30 minutes. An hour an a half later, the doctor came out with the news. He didn’t know what kind, be he said that the growth was cancerous. They sent a sample to the Mayo Clinic for typing. At the followup visit, we were told that it was Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The doctor and his staff asked if we would like recommendations for an oncologist, and we accepted their offer to set up an initial consultation for us.

Now throughout this time, my family and friends seemed perplexed by how well I was taking all of this. I actually think that they felt that I might have been in denial, but I was not. I knew that God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is real, and I have faith in Him. The hardest part for me was deciding whether to trust God for my healing, or to follow the recommendations of doctors. Believe me, I prayed long and hard about this. I knew that God can, and does perform miraculous answers to prayer all of the time. I had been allowed to be a part of a number of miracles which he performed, though most weren’t for the benefit of me or my family. I asked God for guidance, and I followed that guidance. One thing most people have a hard time understanding, my prayers were not necessarily that I be healed or even survive, though I’m not anxious to die early. Rather, my prayers are that God can somehow use me to help edify those around me; to show them how you can get though something like cancer without falling to pieces if you know and trust God!

Now God did remind me of James 5:14-15. Before I started R-CHOP chemotherapy, I called my friend Dave, and elder active in our denomination to perform the service. I asked him because I knew of the strength of his faith. He and I had shared in some of the miracles alluded to previously, and I felt that this kind of faith was important on both the ministering party and the the party to whom the ministry was being performed.

At the end of my R-CHOP regimen, I was found to be in full remission. As long as I was in […]

Most of my career was spent working “the graveyard” shift. […]

This is where the document ended. I wish I knew what else he meant to include in the last two paragraphs. He cross-referenced a file he called “Tribulation Misconceptions” that I will share next week, because it is even lengthier than this one.

My dad, Joe Jerome, passed away on June 7, 2014 after a long battle with Mantle Cell Lymphoma. He had asked me for my help in setting up a blog where he could write about his cancer and his faith, but when he died without that happening, we knew he’d intended for me to have his files so that I could share the words he had written. I will be sharing his words posthumously over time, with only minor edits to fix the typos he would never have made if he hadn’t been so sick and so affected by his “chemo brain.”


  1. Aunt Janet says

    Being 19 yrs. older than Joe, my brother, I never really knew him. I was married before he was born. Not being with him those formative years I didn’t know his habits, etc. Then I moved away and spent 30 yrs. in Florida. He made the trip to visit a few times and when I would come back to Clifton Park we would see one another. Since our mother lived with me and she became ill he and Debbie made the trip to see her before she passed away, Then in 2010 I moved back to Clifton Park. I would occasionally see him, but, not a regular basis. Then I suggested that he, Debbie, my sister (Jo-Ann) and I get together once a month to catch up on what we were all doing. Those were memorable days and I looked forward to every one. When he started his first session of chemo he had such a great attitude. You would never have known he was as sick as he was. Then he had his stem cell transplant. We all had the idea that it would keep him in remission for years to come. WRONG! Two years later he started having problems again. These more severe than the last. Unfortunately the Mantle Cell had taken over his body. He still had his faith in God and decided to put his life in Gods hands. God took him June 6. His loss has been very hard on all of us, but, foremost to Debbie, Christina, Joe and Josh. As with all of us we grieve in our own way. Time heals though we never forget.
    Aunt Janet

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