Saturday, June 28, 2014

Going for Gold: Reflections from Ericlee

We can all remember the day when we felt like life was changed forever. Good events and bad events happen that change us. I am talking about in all realms - physical, spiritual, emotional, relational, and mental. In 1982 as a 8-yr-old my... life changed as I witnessed the extreme poverty in Haiti for the first time. In 1988, as a 14-yr-old my life changed as I stood up in the midst of a huge crowd of teenagers at Hume Lake Camp and committed my life to follow Jesus wherever he told me to go. In 2003, my life changed as I said "I Do" and married Dorina after waiting patiently for 29 years. In 2006, my life changed again as I witnessed the miracle of childbirth and became a Daddy for the first time. In 2007, my life changed again as my family and I embarked on the uphill battle of trying to eat clean, unprocessed, organic, in-season food. In 2009, as a 35-yr-old, my life changed as I was let go from a job I greatly loved as a teacher and coach at Fresno Christian School. In addition, that same year my life changed as I stumbled upon CrossFit! Finally, in 2011 my life changed as we put up our house for sale, and moved to Haiti for 3 months so I could have a crash course lesson on how to direct a 65-yr-old ministry and a non-profit.

So once again my life is drastically changed as one month ago I was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma cancer. It is now an all out war with these cells that have mutated in my body and gone awry.

On Wednesday, we had an appointment to see Dr. Algazi at UCSF. He surprised us and recommended no surgery and no radiation since the cancer has already spread to multiple places. As a leading expert in melananoma, his recommendation is to start using a combination of two potent drugs followed by "immune therapy." The first drug has had a 50% success rate with patients, the second a 20% success rate in decreasing tumors. There are serious possible side effects, including blindness, heart failure, other auto-immune diseases and possible spreading of the cancer, to name a few. I would have to take these drugs for many years. The doctor was kind enough to say that the choice was mine and to let him know in a couple of days what direction I want to go. On a side note, these drugs are not cheap ($16,000 a month for one set and $120,000 for the other set).

From 1998-2000, I took a break from teaching and trained 100% in hopes of making the Olympic games in track & field. I had a strict training program that included specific nutrition and sleep. (I wish I had all my knowledge from CrossFit then). I did not make it to the Olympics, but I can never say "what if." 

Now I am in strict training again for a "gold medal" in wellness as I battle this cancer. I do not feel peace about taking the drugs recommended by UCSF. I have decided to commit to Gerson Therapy for at least two years as my method of treatment. My diet and sleep are very specific and I must follow the therapy exactly. So today we leave for San Diego to see Dr. Azar who is an M.D who is a also certified in Gerson Therapy. She will help us navigate some things in the therapy and make it specific for fighting my cancer.

I will leave you with this. No matter what, I want my Lord to be glorified in it all. It is not about the carrots, the coffee enemas, or any drugs for that matter. God is the Great Healer and I will trust in Him for His will. Whether training hard for a Crossfit competition, battling injustice in Haiti or fighting cancer, I will give it my very best with the tools that God has given me to ultimately give Him Glory.
**If you want to learn about more ways to join Ericlee in his fight against cancer, join the Facebook group "Help for the Gilmores." Donations for medical bills and needs can be given online here.

No comments: