The Word is Out


The word is out: I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

I found out just before the holidays last year. I didn’t immediately share it with the social media world for several reasons. For one, I’m a pretty private person who’s not big on airing angsty posts on Facebook. Secondly, it took me a while to get over the shock and anger. Aside from a few minor surgeries, I’ve been an active, healthy guy all my life and the news was like a cold slap in the face. I was also in the middle of a musical at a local community theater and didn’t want to give anything but my best.

Then the word started to leak out and I knew that my wider circle would want to know. I am profoundly touched by the floods of encouragement I’ve received and the promises to pray not only for me, but for my family members, too.

It took a few months of consultations with doctors, talks with my wife and a lot of prayer to decide what course to take. In case you haven’t heard, I have opted for surgery in late May and will invest six weeks in my recuperation. I hope to be back in the ministry saddle in mid- to late-July. Men, as an aside, please get regular exams. I know the results can be scary. I never thought this would happen to me and I would rather it just all go away — but we have to do what is necessary to keep going. Besides, many men survive this kind of cancer, including tough-guy movie star Robert DeNiro and former Yankees manager, Joe Torre.

Life happens, doesn’t it? Some things we simply have no control over. However, we can control the most important thing, and that is our long-haul reaction. I admit that I’ve had a few bouts of fear. I lost sleep the first week of the diagnosis, mulling over worst-case scenarios. My heart was heavy when I shared the news with my kids, and I’ve had a cry or two with my precious wife. But God has planted little signs of hope and love along the way, and I must focus on these.

I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know that the Lord holds the future. And that’s the best place for it to be.


  1. Reply
    Sheila says

    Just one Word: Jesus <3

  2. Reply
    Barb James says

    Mark, this is what what we do, isn’t it: stand with one another, pray and ask God to make Himself known in both big and small ways so there is no mistaking that He is right there with us when we are on the edge of being swallowed up. Your blog post is an answer to prayer. Praising God that He is both with you and for you, no matter what. And so are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Much love to you and Laura.

  3. Reply
    Robb Shaffer says

    Mark, I know you’ll use this situation as God intended–to help others know Him and to trust in Him. I’ll keep praying.

  4. Reply
    Judy Hunt says

    Hi, Mark
    I just saw this on FB and wanted you to know that I will be lifting you in prayer. I’d love to put you on our prayer list as well – we have some pretty amazing warriors! I can’t imagine what life must be like at this point, but love your recognition of God’s mighty hand in all of it. May you know that peace that passes all understanding and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to take one step at a time, knowing our Lord walks right beside you.
    Blessings, Mark

  5. Reply
    Kim Grout says

    Mark, our thoughts and prayers are with you. You are a strong and courageous man, who has a deep and faithful love for God. He will carry you through this and give you peace.

  6. Reply
    Terri Baggett-Edwards says

    You got this Mark. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Reply
    James Ballard says

    Wow, sorry to hear that. Mark you’ve been a good friend. I will be praying for you.

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