April 18, 2021: Circular Letter for Family and Friends

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”

The Bible, Psalm 94:19

Switzerland-Winterthur, Sunday, April 18, 2021

Dear family, dear friends, dear brothers and sisters in faith,

As some have noticed, I have been in the hospital (Kantonsspital Winterthur) since Thursday, April 15, 2021. After acute back pain over 14 days (since Good Friday, April 2) and an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) examination on Wednesday evening, April 14, there was a high-grade suspicion of bone cancer.

This suspicion has now been clearly confirmed Friday evening on the basis of the examinations as a “multiple myeloma”. Quote from a clinic information: “Multiple myeloma is a slowly growing cancer in the bone marrow. The so-called plasma cells are malignantly altered. This means that they proliferate unhindered at several (multiple) sites in the bone marrow, impairing normal blood formation and thus destroying the bone. Treatment options for multiple myeloma include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplantation. Orthopedic surgery is also often necessary to treat the destroyed bones.”

Where do we go from here? As it stands today, the disease is not curable, but according to what the lead specialist told us Friday evening, it is very differentiated and well treatable. Already yesterday a chemo-therapy began, which lasts in several cycles (4 x 3 weeks) approx. 3 months (and apart from the current stay is done ambulatory). This will be followed by a stem cell transplantation (from the patient’s own good stem cells), which might be repeated after 1 month according to the plan of the leading specialist. In addition, next week the one damaged vertebra is to be treated in such a way that it will be stabilized and thus the cause of the current severe pain will be eliminated.

These are the sober sounding “facts”, but you can imagine that there are a lot of thoughts going through the mind not only of me, but also of my beloved wife Dietlind and our children. As shocking and completely out of the blue as the findings were on Wednesday night, it was somewhat of a “release” Friday night to now have certainty as to what it is and what to expect. Our lifespan is not determined by statistics (average 8 years, but totally scattered from 1 year to 20+ years), but by our loving and gracious God in heaven.

We are overwhelmed and grateful for all the loving and encouraging responses we have received so far, and we are confident that the Lord has His good plan going with this drastic turn of events.

The oncologist who explained chemo to me yesterday said to me in response to some of my questions, “Continue to live as normally as possible. Don’t let your life revolve around the cancer now, but learn to live your life on, now with the cancer.”

That’s certainly good advice, but we got a lot more good verses from God’s “recipe book,” thanks for that! You are welcome to pray that the therapy will go well, that the side effects will be minimal, that there will be no complications or infections, and that in everything we may give glory to the Lord.

We thank you for all prayer support, calls, visits, and other signs of your love, compassion, and connection. We are extremely grateful for our children who have come especially to stand by Dietlind at home now, so that she is not alone. All this helps us very much.

Best regards
Andreas and Dietlind