Written By: Darryn Mills
On December 1st last year, I was playing floor hockey with some friends and ended up getting a concussion. I ended up going to the ER and they did a CT scan since I had been throwing up for about four hours. When getting the CT scan results, the ER doctor noticed something abnormal (not related to the concussion) and suggested that I stay overnight and have an MRI the next morning. A neurologist was consulted and he decided to do another MRI but this time with contrast. That was done on December 12th.
On December 18th we were informed that there were six spots and that they had absorbed the dye which indicated that they were active. That could either mean infection or cancer. That day I was admitted and numerous tests were done, including more CT scans, MRI’s, an ultrasound, a bone scan, and a nasal surgery. Since everything was negative a brain biopsy of one of the spots was done on December 22nd.
On January 14th we received the results of the biopsy. The spots were caused by PTLD (Post Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder) which was the result of being on immunosuppression meds for many years since the time of my kidney transplant at age three. This is usually treated by lowering the meds, but since some of the cells had begun to change to lymphoma (cancer), chemotherapy was necessary.
On January 19th I started the chemotherapy treatments that included two different medications. The first one was a single infusion, and then my body needed to rest for two weeks. After that they did another kind of chemo that included four infusions 12 hours apart. Since this medication was stronger, my body had to rest for four weeks. This completed one cycle, and the plan was to do six to eight cycles.
During my treatments I had to postpone both my college studies and my part time job. My lifestyle changed drastically within such a small time frame. Normal every day tasks like going to school, work, youth group, movies, and out for supper suddenly were not the best things to do anymore. Chemotherapy doesn’t just kill cancer cells; it kills all fast dividing cells. It kills red blood cells (which carries oxygen throughout your body) white blood cells, (immune system) and platelets (clotting ability). After each chemotherapy cycle, within seven to ten days all of these blood levels would get to an all time low and this is the most dangerous part for cancer patients. If the levels got too low transfusions were necessary. Since my immune system was lowered I had to be extremely careful not to get sick. A common cold can turn into something as serious as pneumonia if the patient’s immune system is not strong enough to fight off the virus.
I am extremely grateful that the cancer was found at a very early stage. I know that it was God that let the concussion happen. Normally this would not be discovered until the tumours had grown much larger causing many symptoms and possible irreversible damage.
Sometimes when we are first given bad news, our first thoughts are “Why God? How could you let this happen? What did I do to deserve this?” At first I thought these exact same things, but then as I remembered Scripture my attitude and point of view changed.
Jerimiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Even though sometimes we do not know all the answers or see the whole picture I believe that everything happens for a reason. I know for a fact that God never gives us anything that we cannot handle. It is in those weakest times that when we call on His name He will give us the comfort, peace, and strength that we need to carry onward. God is always there when we need Him and when things seem impossible to handle on our own all we have to do is call out for help and He will be there before we can say ‘amen’.
After going through two complete cycles of treatment with minimal side effects, the doctors ordered an MRI for April 1st to see how things were progressing. A week later on April 9th I got the best phone call of my life. The doctor told me that all the lesions were gone and that they could not find any signs of cancer! He said that they would continue to do two more rounds of chemotherapy to make sure all of the bad cells were killed.
At the beginning of this year I had thought that 2015 was going to be a complete write off. The original plan was to do six to eight cycles and when each cycle takes six weeks, I did not expect to be done all of my treatments until 2016. On May 15 I finished my last chemo treatment and I now have my entire summer back.
God does not let bad things happen to us to punish us. He loves each and every one of His children so much that He died on the cross. He wants us to choose to live for Him and accept Him into our lives. He uses trials and tribulations to help strengthen the relationship we have with Him while reminding us that He is the firm foundation. When we go through tough situations and cannot handle them on our own it forces us to step back and surrender everything to God. Even though going through the battle of cancer is the toughest thing I have ever had to face, I had a peace that passes all understanding knowing that God never left my side. I am truly blessed to have such amazing family members and friends who continually prayed for me during my treatments.
I believe that the trials and tribulations that I have gone through in my life have helped shape me into the young man I am today. They have strengthened my faith in God and I believe that He wants me to share what He has done in my life with others. During this journey I have had the opportunity to share my testimony with people who I never would have been able to talk to. I’ve had many people come up to me and say “Wow, you are an inspiration” or “your faith is so strong” and I have even had people tell me that my story has inspired them to pursue their own walk with God. Many doctors believe in only medicine to heal disease and illnesses, but I know the Great Physician who performs miracles!
About Darryn Mills:
Darryn Mills is a student at St Clair College, studying computer systems technology. He works part time at Nofrills in Essex where you can usually find him stacking apples and bananas. When he isn’t throwing a ball around with friends or spending time with family, he enjoys playing both the trumpet and guitar. God has had His hand on Darryn’s life since the day he was born. Darryn continues to pursue God with all his heart.