On Wednesday, we traveled to Stanford to get a "second opinion" about surgery from a new doctor. Dr. Reddy was more compassionate and had many options for cancer treatment to share with us. We were impressed with his staff and the welcoming atmosphere at Stanford. The option we are focusing on now is surgery. A needle biopsy will be done on the nodule in my right lung and a brain MRI before they can carry out surgery. The large mass on my hip/groin is more complicated and will be a more risky surgery. Dr. Reddy is helping to find the best surgical team to see if this would be possible. We are praying and ask you to also pray that God will give us the PEACE that transcends all understanding if surgery should be the next step while continuing the Gerson Treatment.
Following my appointment, the next morning I read "Streams in the Desert," which is a daily devotional written by a missionary to China. Each day God uses these words to be such an encouragement to Dorina and me. The passage that resonated with me was: "Once the Lord has give us great faith, He has been known to test it with long delays." As the Gilmores wait, I hope your prayers will persevere and your faith be encouraged as you face those "Walls of Betrayal" in your own lives. Remember that God loves you more than you can imagine and He has a plan for His Kingdom that is much better and bigger than our little minds can fathom.
I have been doing a lot of reading lately due to the fact I have to stop five times a day to do the coffee enemas required by Gerson Therapy. I have chosen some inspiring books that I have wanted to read for a long time. "First" was the first book I read. It is written by a three-time CrossFit World Champion named Rich Froning. He is a humble man who has a great love for fitness and testing his body. He also has a great love for Jesus. The second book I am still reading is "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.
I've been reminded that when you have a true love for something it should be invigorating and joyous every time you take part in it. It should not be dependent on money, pride, or power. You do it because you love it! In both of these books I have realized that when you take away the business side of things, you are left with just the love of the game, the relationship, the hobby. I love this idea of being really good at something. Furthermore, I love the idea of being tested in what I think I am really good at.
My greatest loves in life are Faith, Family, and Fitness. There are two areas in fitness that I love: running fast and complete fitness (strength, gymnastics, endurance). I love coaching in these areas. The first time I was tested in my speed was my 6th grade year at the AAU Regional Meet in the 200-meter dash. I was fast but that day I realized I was not elite. In 2010, I was tested again in my overall fitness, and failed miserably at the CrossFit sectional meet in San Jose. However, these were not the true tests.
My true test came my senior year of college. Some people call it the "wall of betrayal." You know that point in your life where you pray with persistence for something specific and God does something else. At that point, I also began to question my faith. So the question is: when our faith is tested how will we respond? I could either give up and walk away from my personal relationship with God or I could take it up a notch and pursue Him that much more.
That senior year, when I had all goals laid out (to qualify for the NAIA nationals and the Olympic trials in long jump), I could not even muster a performance that was better than my junior high days. I chose not to walk away but to press in more. Then four years later, I hit that "wall" again. After training full time for 2.5 years to qualify for the 2000 Olympic trials, I came up short again. It was another test. In life we learn to love and hate the tests because they make us better, but they are so painful.
Now I face a test I never imagined - the test of cancer at age 40. This test had to be hard because my faith is strong. This past year has been very difficult as I directed this non-profit in Haiti while working two other jobs. Just like with many injustice issues, it can challenge a person's faith. But this year, God was preparing me for something more personal than challenges in Haiti.
In both of the books mentioned earlier, the authors describe how an athlete must embrace extreme pain. The athletes tackle running 100 miles or a doing back-to-back-to-back Fran workout. These athletes make friends with the pain so the next time they encounter that painful spot, he/she can better cope with it and overall be a better athlete. I am taking my cues from these athletes as I face cancer and treatment today. I am pressing in to hear God's voice.