Learn more about the experience that inspired this site.
By Chris Lawrence
Sitting in the waiting room, I could hardly summon the energy to be nervous.
Over the previous several weeks in the spring of 2016, I was enduring the worst storm of my life. Searing back pain and a subsequent MRI revealed the grim truth: I had stage IV cancer.
After meeting with three oncologists at three different cancer centers, they all pretty much said the same thing about my cancer: incurable, hopeless. Which is why I barely had the energy for another appointment. What else could this doctor possibly say that would be remotely encouraging?
Little did I know that this meeting would be different—much different.
“We received the results of your genomic sequencing and in short, it’s good,” said the doctor with a thick British accent and white wispy hair. “I know how to treat this.”
He knows how to treat this?
I was stunned by the news. Also skeptical. So were my wife and father, who accompanied me in the doctor’s room that day.
Dr. Brian Leyland-Jones, one of the world’s leading genomic sequencing researchers, explained how his treatment plan would perfectly match the genetic drivers of my cancer. He went on to illustrate, through a brief scientific tutorial, how every cancer is caused by genetic mutations. The key, he said, is targeting them directly—not just blindly zapping tumors—but attacking the root of what causes the cancer in the first place. For more about this approach, check out this article.
This meeting proved dramatically different after the initial ones. Indeed, after the doctor left the room, we felt the difference powerfully and palpably.
We felt hope. So much so, that my dad wrote “hope” on the white board of the exam room.”
This “hope” proved no moonshot. Within a few months of my targeted, multi-drug treatment, my scan revealed the tumors on my liver, ribs, back and pelvis were blackened and dying. Several months later, my cancer was in full remission (No Evidence of Disease)—a remarkable reversal from where I had started.
That day in the doctor’s waiting room, hope had arrived for my family and I. Of course, I believe that because of my faith in God, I already had hope—a hope that can never be taken away, even if incurable cancer cuts short my life (and some day it might). Like it says in Psalm 71:14, “As for me, I will always have hope.” Yet, receiving hope from the medical world that day was a huge boost—something I see not just as coincidental, but an extension of God’s hope.
Photo by Ted Wilcox
In 2017, we started a non-profit organization called “Hope Has Arrived” to help others facing cancer experience the same hope we have. Our purpose is to help survivors—and their families—find hope, strength and peace in their fight against cancer. We want them to find medical hope and especially spiritual hope, a type which can never be defeated. Our desire is to empower them to live a life overflowing with hope—not just a trickle, but springing forth like an artesian well from the deepest parts of who they are.
Our goal is to help all who suffer with cancer find the hope they so desperately need—the hope that is already waiting for them. The hope that has arrived.
Note: We are not doctors and we cannot answer your medical questions. However, we welcome your questions about finding hope and knowing God.