Chris' Blog


Chris Philbeck

Two Weeks

It’s pretty amazing to think about how significantly your life can change in two weeks.  Actually, I think we all know that life can change in the matter of seconds, but as I write this I’m thinking about two weeks.

On Wednesday, December 7th, Sandy and I heard the Dr. say, “I’m almost certain you have a tonsil cancer.”  What…I’ve never even heard of tonsil cancer.  But that’s where it began.  Two weeks later on Wednesday, December 21st, I had completed a needle biopsy of a lymph node, a tonsil biopsy, a laryngoscopy and a PET scan (more about that later).  I had also consulted with an ENT, a Radiology Oncologist and a Medical Oncologist along with numerous people who have had the same or similar cancer.  Two weeks later I had stood before my church family twice, the first time asking for prayers during a time of waiting, the second time asking for prayers during a time of trusting.  Two weeks later I’ve read hundreds of emails, cards, notes, facebook posts and tweets.  Two weeks later and it feels like I have logged more minutes on my cell phone than I had for the entire first 48 weeks of the year.  Two weeks later and I’ve/we’ve prayed, read Scripture and shed a lot of tears.  Two weeks later and I know that God is still sitting on the throne just exactly where He was on Tuesday, December 6th.

Today is Thursday, December 22nd and I’m moving forward.  As you probably already know, my PET scan was clear…the cancer has not spread from my neck.  I told Sandy that while I know I’m in a very serious “life and death” situation, I’m going to let that good news carry me through the Christmas holiday and be glad.  However, once Christmas is over I’m setting my sights on what I know will be the most difficult journey of my life.  I will begin a 7 to 8 week series of chemotherapy and radiation to completely eliminate and eradicate this cancer from my body.  My Radiology Oncologist, my Medical Oncologist and my ENT Dr. have all told me that this cancer is treatable and curable.  They can’t make any promises but they are very positive and optimistic.  The treatment will be very difficult…they have not tried to sugar coat that at all.  I will receive my first chemotherapy treatment on December 28th.  The following week (the first week of 2012) I will have a feeding tube inserted into my stomach and I will begin my radiation treatment.  The chemotherapy will be once a week while the radiation will be daily (Mon – Fri). 

I will be in the pulpit for all three Christmas Eve services as well as for our Christmas Day service.  I hope I can attend at least one of the services the following week when Christ Franklin is preaching but that’s not definite.  After that I may not see you again until sometime in May (I’ll leave that up to God).  Our Elders are strong men of faith.  Alan Baumlein, our Executive Pastor will be leading the staff.  I will be in constant contact with Bill Cragen the Chairman of our Elders and with Alan.  We’ve got some great preachers who will be filling the pulpit.  January will be a special month as my son, Andrew, and my brother Kenneth will both spend some time in the pulpit.  And by the way, I’ve already got a great idea for a new sermon series when I’m back.

Here’s how you can pray for me in the days to come:

  1. Pray for my strength to endure the treatment.
  2. Pray for my family (Sandy, Andrew & Kara, Tricia and Grace) this will be hard on them…pray especially for Sandy).  I will need them to make it through.
  3. Pray that I will not need a temporary tracheotomy.  While the radiation will ultimate shrink and eliminate the tumor in my tonsil the Dr. has told me there’s the possibility of swelling.  My airway is already blocked by the tumor.
  4. Pray for the complete and absolute elimination/eradication of the cancer from my body so that I will be cancer free!
  5. Pray that I along with my family along with all of you will honor and glorify God through all that happens.

I can’t tell you what it means to me to know that all of you are walking with me through this trial.  I love you all, I love this church and I love the God who is bigger and greater than any crummy two weeks that changes our lives.  I love the God who can take the two worst weeks of your life and use them for your good and His glory!

Jesus cares,

Pastor Chris