The predictions for his survival seemed hopeless. A grim cancer prognosis. A predictable end. For sure, Chuck Watson knew it would take a heaven-sent rescue…again.
It wasn’t the first time the grim death storyline brought waves of emotion.
“The worst is the diagnosis, but then you adapt, you learn, but the bad news is always a disappointment,” said the former primary school principal, recalling the first time he had heard he had incurable cancer in 1999. “I was never one to be depressed, but I was then.
At 48, the news from his urologist that he had prostate cancer and that he only had three to six years left to live had plunged him into despair. Like a drowning man, the fear of dying had struck this typically strong man in the dark of night.
“I woke up at least once, maybe twice a night and was screaming,” Chuck said, remembering the fear he felt about the journey ahead. “I tried to hide it and put myself in the fetal position,” he said, hoping not to disturb his longtime fiancée.
Yet in front of the students and staff, an outward calm had never betrayed his agitation. Chuck faced surgery bravely as cards of encouragement poured in, notes that often mentioned prayer on his behalf.
Even so, he barely stayed afloat.
“I was still waking up with panic attacks and realized it was something I couldn’t handle – and I had always been able to handle things, and I was proud,” said Chuck, a man who disliked faith at the time. “One night I was thinking about cards and I decided to pray – and I wasn’t good at it, but I said, ‘God, this is beyond me and if you’re real, I need you.'”
Sleep came a few moments after his prayer. Then, in the hours before dawn, he awoke, expecting fear to take hold of his heart, but instead he felt lifted from a sea of ‘anxiety.
“And with that feeling of peace, there was this message, ‘Whether you live or die, you’ll be fine,'” Chuck said of the spiritual moment. “I haven’t had a panic attack since,” he added.
This peace always sustains him during the darkest times, times when there seems to be absolutely no “rescue” in sight. Like the time Chuck’s surgeon had told him chemotherapy was unnecessary. The cancer was incurable.
The news had left him adrift. Wasn’t there something he could do to improve his health, add years to his life?
As in response, Chuck ran into someone with a similar prognosis – terminal – who was healthier after homeopathic treatments and a holistic diet. This approach was a godsend and kept the cancer at bay for quite some time.
But in the end, Chuck had needed another “rescue”.
“God placed before me people who had a huge impact on my treatments, doctors who were willing to think outside the box with treatments that were unusual at the time,” Chuck said.
He was still smiling from a consultation he had sought with a new doctor who had offered Chuck a controversial option. Feeling insecure about the treatment, he walked away to pray, asking God to show him the right direction.
“I suddenly remembered the joke about the guy on his roof and there’s a flood all around him and God says, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll save you.’ But he’s drowning and blaming God,” Chuck said, recounting how a boat and a helicopter came to save the man, but he turned them down because God was going to save him.
It was the “boat” Chuck needed. As a result, his health was sustained by treatment for a number of years, well beyond anyone’s expectations. Then, in 2013, “out of the blue” a CT scan showed the cancer had metastasized to his spine, hips and skull, he said. The future seemed hopeless…again.
But providentially, a man living in Utah learned of Chuck’s story from a previous Light Notes column online. Rance Jones recognized him as his son’s manager years earlier when Rance had worked in the Hanford area.
“You did well with my son and I want to give back a bit,” Rance had said in a phone call, offering to send Chuck “Body Strong Minerals” – a product that Rance says could boost the immune system. of chuck. “And I pay,” Rance had assured him.
Rance, who was also diagnosed with cancer, had been introduced to minerals by chance – a blessing he calls it – and it improved his health. Brimming with enthusiasm, he wanted to pass the news on to Chuck.
Could it be a possible “rescue” again, the retired principal wondered?
After consulting with his doctor, Chuck began taking the minerals as he continued his bone cancer radium therapy, a pain relief procedure. Interestingly, while following the mineral protocol, he never felt the expected bone pain even though it was in his skeletal system, including his skull. Then, over time, Chuck’s CT scans began to improve.
Amazing results came from her oncologist in late 2020.
“I went to get my scan results and he said, ‘Well, Mr Watson, I don’t understand this, but I have good news for you.’ Then he showed me the screen. “Here we go,” Dr. Lawenda of the Northwest Cancer Clinic had announced about bone cancer.
Nevertheless, the cancer is fierce and Chuck knows that active cells are still circulating in his blood. Today, there are two cancerous spots in her bones that her oncologist continues to monitor. These spots remain smaller than what he initially had a year and a half earlier, and he feels God’s peace and is grateful for it.
“I’ve never felt so satisfied and I thank God and my family for that,” Chuck said of his more than two-decade cancer journey. “I was blessed to live years beyond the original prognosis and I’m very grateful for that. Some call it a miracle,” Chuck added.
Or more than a heaven-sent rescue.
Lucy Luginbill is a Tri-City Herald columnist in national distribution, a religious editor, and a retired public television producer and host. Her popular Light Notes column reflects inspirational, faith-based stories. She has worked in journalism for over 30 years. @LucyLuginbill, [email protected]