My first evening at the seminary, I received a phone call from my Neurosurgeon. He informed me that the biopsy results were worse than expected, and I have been diagnosed with a Grade 3 cancerous Astrocytoma. Brain tumors are given a Grade of 1 (slow-growing) through 4 (fast-growing) to judge how fast they grow. All of the doctors believe I have had this tumor for many years (since my brain has "re-wired around it" so far), so it is very likely that this Astrocytoma was a Grade I or II when I was younger, and later evolved into Grade III, which is typical of Astrocytomas.
I immediately informed my diocese, and shortly after I received a phone call from my bishop. The conversation touched my heart, and he informed me that he can "hear my vocation to the priesthood in my voice and in my words." He assured me that this news does not affect his position on me applying for priestly formation, and then gave me a beautiful reflection about how God works miracles when we have faith in Him.
I will see my Neurosurgeon and an Oncologist this coming week to discuss treatment options, which include radiation and risky surgery to remove part of the tumor, which could result in paralysis or neurological defects. There is no "right answer" and all doctors have different opinions on how to approach treatment. I will have to make my "rounds" once again to many different Neurosurgeons in order to discuss options.
While the average prognosis for a Grade III Astrocytoma is 18-24 months, my young age increases my chances, and most importantly, so many people are praying for me. As a close priest-friend just wrote to me:
This type of prognosis is for people who have no faith - or even for people who have little faith but no one with great faith praying for them. You have no idea, not only how many, but the types of people who are praying, fasting, offering sacrifices, and doing penance for you. For my small part, I have remembered you in an especially potent and deliberate way this week at the Memento for the living at the daily Masses.
Nonetheless, whatever lies ahead, you will only be prayed for more, and you will not have to go through anything alone. Yes, our Lord will hold your hand, and so will His Blessed Mother. Ultimately, you know that is most important. But, I (and a lot of other people) are in this boat with you, and have no intention of abandoning ship.
Remain faithful, with my complete priestly love and support.
Thank you all for your prayers. They are the reason I am able to carry this cross.