Find updates on the health status of Danny Box here. We will do our best to maintain up-to-date information and prayer requests. Please contact Rachel for any questions/communication.
Thank you all for the prayer and the many responses of love and support I received following my last update about the recent spread of cancer into some of my lymph nodes. Since Tuesday’s update, my oncology team has reviewed the treatment plan with me and I wanted to update you with that information.
I have four cancerous lymph nodes that cannot be removed surgically, but will be treated with Immunotherapy (as opposed to chemotherapy). The drug in this treatment works with my immune system to attack the cancerous nodes and will be administered intravenously once every three weeks. I will not be undergoing any radiation as was previously planned. My treatment begins this Monday, May 6, and my Oncologist is very optimistic as this treatment plan has been very effective in treating cases like mine.
As I mentioned in Tuesday’s update, this was an unexpected plot twist for Kathy and me. We were expecting a cancer-free scan and completion of treatment by the end of this month. It was good to get away together to San Antonio a couple of nights to process the news with the Lord. Nothing like walking the grounds of the Alamo to contemplate life and death! At that time, we weren’t really sure where this story was leading. However, after getting more information yesterday and hearing of the high success rate of this treatment with no mention of reduced life expectancy, Kathy and I feel very encouraged in the Lord. We of course continue to affirm that my times are in God’s hands and our hope and trust are in Him alone for my wellbeing.
Our God is a great and awesome God and sometimes His ways don’t make sense to us. Larry Crabb in his book, When God’s Ways Make No Sense, reminds us of the lessons of the Old Testament book of Habakkuk. After learning the surprising news that God planned to use the evil Babylonians to deal with the sin of His people (Judah), Habakkuk both trembles before the Lord and trusts in the Lord. He trembled at what God’s story might include, but He trusted that God was up to something good. Therefore Habakkuk ends this brief book with worship and praise (see Habakkuk 3:17-19). Likewise, when threats to our health or financial security or most treasured relationships arise, it is natural to tremble before the Lord. What might He allow? But the greatness and goodness of our God—demonstrated by the fact that Christ died for us while we were still sinners—means we can trust Him and rest in Him to accomplish both His glory and our good.
“My God is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” Psalm 62:2
God is telling a story of His glory through each of our lives. Recently, my story (and Kathy's) has taken a surprising plot twist.
After finishing six months of chemotherapy and preparing to begin radiation, a CT scan revealed a growth that was troubling to my doctor.
After a biopsy last Friday and a PET scan on Monday, it was determined that I have some cancerous lymph nodes in my lower abdomen area tracing back to my colon cancer. This new development requires a new treatment strategy to be reveal in the next couple of days. Though this new plot twist was surprising to us, it wasn't to God. We trust the Author of this story as caring and in control. Yet, Kathy and I are getting away together a few days to draw close to God and prepare for this next chapter.
As always we appreciate your prayers and your love. You all are beloved characters in this story.
Greetings on this Tax Day. As of last Wednesday, Danny has completed his 12 rounds of chemo (six months!!) We praise God for this huge milestone! He will begin 5-day treatments of radiation and a lower dose chemo in a week or so. This part of his treatment will continue Monday - Friday for five weeks. That will conclude the treatment originally prescribed. Follow up scans and labs will determine if any next steps are necessary. Naturally, we're praying for no complications or issues! We are so thankful for how far Danny has come and that he's finished with the last 24 weeks!!
Happy New Year! Danny had a CT scan last week that was FREE of cancer! He will continue the planned chemo and radiation treatments. He had his sixth of 12 treatments today. Half way!! He is very thankful for your prayers.
General update: As of today, Danny has completed 4 of his 12 chemo treatments!
I want to thank each of you again for all your prayer for me as I journey through the chemo treatment plan for my cancer. Most of you have been praying for minimal side effects and I am happy to report your prayers have been answered. The biggest effect has been fatigue on days 5-7 following a chemo infusion. This has been very manageable (with iron infusions) while also providing cover for avoiding house hold chores. As they say, silver linings...
But seriously, as Thanksgiving approaches, I am thankful to God in my cancer experience. As followers of Christ, we believe that everything that happens to us is either assigned or allowed by God for our good and His glory. We see this over and over in the Bible. It’s why we can give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It’s why we’re told to count it all joy when we fall into various trials (James 1:2-4). This sovereign work of God in our lives explains how God can redeem even our most painful circumstances and transform them into eternally significant stories. Insert Job, Joseph, and Ruth here.
What are you thankful for this year? Let us thank God for all the blessings like good health, financial stability and meaningful relationships. But let us also consider the surprising, unpredictable, Christ-exalting work that God may be up to through our shattered dreams, crushing afflictions, and challenging circumstances. As the Apostle Paul said,
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
Thanks be to God for His manifold wisdom and grace!
Danny receives his second of twelve chemo treatments today. They are administered every other Monday. Pray for minimal / no negative side effects. Lord willing, he'll be back preaching regularly as of 11/25.
Thank you so much for everyone who has been praying for my recovery and for minimum side effects from my cancer treatment! Here is the latest: I have finished my first treatment (5 hours in the “spa” and 2 days home on a pump) and am feeling tired but good. I have passed the initial test for side effects but am told days 5-7 (Friday through Sunday) is the usual lowest-low time in the treatment. So we will see what the Lord will do.
In my reading through John’s Gospel, I have noticed Jesus physically healed someone three times. The invalid in John 5:1-17 (see also 7:21-24), the man born blind in John 9, and the raising of Lazarus in John 11 after Jesus delayed his coming, allowing Lazarus to die. After meditating on these three events, here are some observations that Jesus pointed out to me:
- When Jesus healed, he healed more than the initial or presenting problem. In defending his healing of the invalid on the Sabbath, Jesus points out how the Law allowed circumcision on the Sabbath, but Jesus had, in contrast, “made a man’s whole body well” (7:21-24). Jesus did something good for this man much beyond restoring his mobility. This is evidenced by Jesus finding him afterwards in the temple (likely worshipping). I, too, look to Jesus to do more than remove cancer, but to spur on continued transformation and devotion in me. He is up to something good in my life—perhaps, in keeping with our goal this year, growing me to “live a life of love”.
- When Jesus healed, he was not only doing good for that person, but was accomplishing something for the glory of God. He explicitly states this regarding the man born blind (John 9:1-3) and again of Lazarus’ illness (John 11:1-3, 40). The good works that Jesus did were God-glorifying acts to draw attention to His identity and the activity of a good and great God. I want God to do the same through me and I am thankful for the opportunities I have had already to speak of Him to medical staff and neighbors.
- Finally, Jesus allowed suffering—and even death—in the lives of people He loved. Note in John 11, “Now Jesus loved Martha and hers sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (11:5-6). Jesus’ delay allowed for Lazarus’ death. That may not sound like love to you, but the text clearly declares Jesus’ love for Lazarus and his sisters. The crowds even recognize this in 11:36. I, too, am convinced of Jesus’ love for me and that the presence of cancer does not indicate absence of care. I completely rest in Jesus’ care and control in my life which provide the courage to enter completely into this process without questioning and complaining (well…maybe a little irritability which they said is a normal side effect!).
The last thing influencing me in this experience are words from my Dad who would regularly say, “You gotta play the cards you’ve been dealt.” My Dad was a gambler and this statement was more than his gambling strategy—it was his philosophy of life, and I loved how this attitude carried him through a number of hardships throughout his life. He wasn’t one for self-pity and complaining. It was in his later years after coming to Christ that Dad learned that the “Dealer” was actually a good God who was up to something good in him and glorifying to God. Because of how good and great Jesus is, I am happy to play the cards he’s dealing.
With much gratitude for your prayer and expressions of love,
Danny had his chemo port put in on Thursday 10/18. He will begin treatments next Monday 10/29 and will receive treatment for 24 weeks.
Danny was discharged from the hospital! He is at home recuperating. Praise God! (If you have interest in providing meals for them, please email Rachel.)
It was this time last week, I was trying to come out of anesthesia after 8 hours of surgery. I was living inside the pages of a comic book as The Green Hulk. When I opened my eyes I would begin coming off the page and in to reality, but when I closed my eyes I would retreat back as the Green Hulk! Why couldn’t it have been Superman?
After a week I’m happy to report I’ve made it back into reality and my internal systems are up and running minus one abdominal tumor and my spleen. Pathology has confirmed a successful surgery and my Oncologist has laid out a plan of chemotherapy and radiation extending over a period of six months. It is a good plan with which Kathy and I are at peace. It will begin 2-3 weeks after my release (probably tomorrow). My Oncologist believes my cancer is curable—not just treatable.
Though I don’t live life in a comic book (to the disappointment of my grandson, Deacon), I do live life in a story. And so do you. Our lives are part of God’s story of His glory. My life is bigger than my cancer. Our life stories are not primarily defined by our trials, trauma, or transgressions. It’s a story of how a Good God endured suffering to redeem our lives as trophies of His grace.
The story of Jesus is the only superhero story I want to live in.
“But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say You are my God.
My times are in your hand.”
After spending two nights in the ICU Danny was moved to intermediate care last night. He was able to walk some, too!
Danny continues to do well! With assistance, he has been able to go from the bed to a chair a couple times. Pray for patience as he is anxious to get up and walking. Also, pray that no infections develop. He should be transferred to a regular room today.
Thank you all for your constant prayers! Danny was in surgery for 7 hours today. They were able to remove the tumor and his spleen. This required removing a section of stomach muscle and about 6 inches of his small intestine. He will be in ICU for a day or two for close observation as he begins healing. The pathology report should come on Friday which will determine what further treatment is needed. Danny will stay at the hospital for 7-10 days as he is recovering.
For the time being, the family is requesting no visitors at the hospital. I know we are anxious to see him, so I will let you know when it is a good time to visit. Keep up the prayers for a good report and for his quick healing! He loves his church family so much!
- Rachel Parkhurst
- "Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion." ~ Psalms 103:2-4
My surgeon tells me I have two phenomena going on in my body. I have a tumor that is imbedded into one of my stomach muscles and is also attached to my lower intestine. Both my muscle and my intestine will need to be cut and rejoined as the tumor is removed. The second phenomenon is a potentially cancerous issue with my spleen requiring its removal. In prep for the spleen removal, I had to get 5 immunization shots Tuesday (Ouch!). I asked my Doctor if these two phenomena made me phenomenal. He didn’t answer.
The need to do the immunizations delayed my surgery by two weeks. The new surgery date is Tuesday, October 2 at St. David’s Hospital on Hwy 620.
When crisis comes, it is always good to ask, 1) “God, what are you up to?” and 2) “What does faith look like here?” I do not know what God is up to yet. It is early. I may not know until heaven. But because God is good, we know He is always up to our ultimate good and to His glory. Test results or surgery results never change that fact.
What faith looks like, I believe, is waiting on the Lord and trusting in Him. A few passages in my reading of the Psalms:
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord.
be strong and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand…
Kathy and I don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds our future. And so do you. This is great comfort to us and to all of us who are facing uncertainty. God is good and God is great.
Thank you for your continual prayer and support during this latest adventure of faith.
Your “Phenomenal” Pastor!
After meeting with the oncologist and surgeon, Danny learned that he has an issue with his spleen in addition to the mass in his abdominal area. He received some immunizations today in preparation of his spleen being removed. Surgery will now most likely be next week but is not yet scheduled.
Danny received word that the PET scan was clear (besides the one mass)! He has an appointment Monday 9/17 to schedule surgery which will probably be on Thursday 9/20.
Danny's doctors have found a new tumor in his abdomen. Surgery to remove it will most likely happen next week. This week he is awaiting results of the PET scan.
----All updates below are from Summer 2017----
Danny is happy to report that his hemoglobin level is back to normal and he will not require any chemotherapy. He is back in the office about three-quarters time now as he continues his recovery for two more weeks. He deeply appreciates everyone’s care, prayer and support.
Danny received results from his PET scan test they did after the surgery and everything is clear. Praise God for this great report! It'll be another few weeks before the genetic test results are in which will determine the need for further treatment.
Danny was discharged from the hospital yesterday, Father's Day! What a gift! He is at home continuing the recoving process. They are still waiting to find out if a further treatment plan is necessary. Thank you for your prayers!
Great news: They didn't find cancer anywhere else other than tumor. 14 lymph nodes were completely clean so that is huge news!! We praise God for this good news!!!!
Praise: Danny was able to stand up a couple times today and sit in a chair! Healing will take some time but this is great progress the day after surgery!
Praise: Danny is out of surgery and all went well. They removed a 2 foot section of his colon and removed a pretty hefty tumor but feel they were able to remove all the cancer with clear margins.
Pray: Please pray for no blood loss and no infection.
Danny will remain in the hospital for 5-7 days. More information about his treatment plan should available on Friday. For the time being only family will be allowed to visit.
Danny's surgery to remove the tumor will be at 8:30am tomorrow (Tuesday, 6/13). It will last about three hours and he will stay in the hospital for 5-7 days. Please pray for successful surgery and a clear treatment plan. Continue seeking God to find how He is using this to bring Himself glory!
Danny reports that God is moving in response to the prayers of His people. His hemoglobin level has bounced back to a healthy level of 10 for his surgery. Second, God has now clearly revealed that the tumor is cancerous and has finalized the next step of treatment. Danny will be admitted to the hospital on Monday (June 12) and surgery will be Tuesday (time yet to be determined). Danny & Kathy remain optimistic in the Lord with a very positive prognosis. His ears and eyes are open to how God might use this for His glory. He wishes to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, support and prayer.
He's free from the hospital for the time being! Still waiting on the pathology report. Surgery is expected to be later into next week.
No pathology report yet, but doctors want to move forward with surgery to remove the tumor from his colon after his hemoglobin reaches at least 10 (normal is 15, his is at 7). Surgery is planned for next week. In the meantime, he is being discharged from the hospital today.
Danny has not yet received the pathology results but hopes to be discharged from the hospital tomorrow. Surgery will be in the next 1-2 weeks depending on his blood count. Pray that the blood count continues to go up and stays at a healthy level so they can do the surgery.
Our lead pastor, Danny Box was admitted to the hospital on Thursday June 1 with symptoms of anemia. Testing revealed a tumor in his colon. He is waiting for results of the pathology report which may be available as early as Monday. Please join us in praying that the tumor is benign. Danny asks that you join him in seeking God with the question, "What are you up to here?"
For the time being Danny prefers visits only from family members. For further communication please contact Rachel Parkhurst.