Monday, January 21, 2008

Gary Austin Health Update

Gary Austin, pastor of the Grace Brethren church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been battling colorectal cancer for the past year. Here are excerpts from his most recent update:

I've completed the eight rounds of chemotherapy [5-FU] with minimal physical effects through the whole process. I kept asking the oncologist if he was giving me a placebo - sugar water instead of the "real stuff." He insisted I was getting the "real stuff." So I guess I can be very pleased with these minimal effects.

My oncologist has said he doesn't want to see me "officially" until next July. I do see the surgeon in April for his six-month follow-up. I'll have a CT scan at that time.

On the positive side, I've been preaching each Sunday since late August 2007, except for days church was cancelled due to weather matters. Jean and I did go to Indiana over Thanksgiving last November. We've been over to Garwin, IA, with close friends Pastor Howard & June Immel a couple times, too. We share lots of things in our lives -- it's great to have friends that close, they have been a strength for us this past year.

Both Jean and I are now under IowaCare medical coverage. This is the state insurance. IowaCare has covered ALL of my cancer treatments and covers all my medications - Dilantin, as well as any cancer meds. It's been an incredible answer to prayer for us!

Physically, I'm feeling much like I was prior to starting cancer treatments - almost! Jean and I have joined the Cedar Rapids YMCA for this year - with the goal of getting out to walk as much as we can each week.

The church here has been so incredible to us through this past year - always encouraging, maintaining support, and faithful in prayer. We have much to be thankful for - and we would like to see something positive begin that can carry on.

So you can see several areas of prayer for us: Praise God for His power in healing, strength through the process, and seeing our ministry continue. Ask for healing for Jean, restoring of physical strength for us both, and for our ministry at Cedar Rapids Grace.


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