Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Famous Last Words

Dear Reader, 

No one is happier than moi for there to be an end of sorts to my cancer. I say of "sorts" because typically one is never out of it's cross hairs until they die from something else. 

I can't wait to blog about something else. I already have a title for one post "You're So Vain You Think This Blog Is About You." Not super clever, the content will be less clever I'm sure and with no redeeming qualities too. And I can't wait. 

Enough about that, let's talk cancer.

The end of May 2012 I was re-diagnosed with cancer. Previously in March 2011 I was diagnosed with plasmacytoma then the following happened:

  • 5 days a week for 6 weeks of about 2.5 minutes of radiation each session
  • After I was declared in remission
  • In December was told that it looked like the treatment did not work as there was still a mass present. 
  • December 30th after further tests it showed I was indeed in remission and the lump was either scar tissue or a dead tumor cell. No bone marrow biopsy would be done as it was too invasive due to bone loss. 
  • May 2012 a PET/CT scan was done. It is EXTREMELY accurate, it's used all around the world for decades. If you want to read up on it here or here are some options. From this test is how I was re-diagnosed. My PET/CT Scan technician was a doctor, this is his field - his speciality. He then sent it to Dr. Wai, my oncologist and she confirmed the finding. So did my G.P. and Dr. Wai's colleagues. 
  • THEN I asked EVERY person I could think of who would pray for my health and family. I asked to include us in their prayers. Several congregations joined my family in prayer and fasting. Also to be prayed for in temples too. From Afghanistan to Australia and several places in between this took place. Nothing else was done for me, no medication, no special diet, just normal life.
  • Then there were the tests to determine if the cancer progressed to myeloma and what treatment would consist of, Dr. Wai said it would more than likely be high dose chemo in Vancouver. I had my 24 hour urine sample that was tested, a blood test and a bone marrow biopsy. May I add that a the doctor who performed the biopsy was adamant to perform no biopsy if he did not feel the PET/CT Scan warranted it. He was so unusually thorough and made very sure I knew what I was getting into that I wondered if I should even do the biopsy. Afterwards the hematology lab tech working with him said that's just how he operates, he doesn't do any biopsies unless there is a definite need. Again, I had yet another doctor (one taking the bone marrow) who confirmed that I was indeed diagnosed with cancer. 
  • The day of my bone marrow biopsy I also met with my orthopaedic surgeon. It was a short visit, he said it was now beyond his expertise and referred me to the expert, the top doctor in this field in all British Columbia, Dr. Clarkson in Vancouver. 
  • After this, the following week we met with Dr. Wai and instead of having any treatment prescribed, I was given a clean bill of health. I was told every thing looked good and I was in remission. Regarding the change she said "I don't know why." 
For all the Doubting Thomas's out there count up how many doctors who reviewed my case, count up their schooling years and may I note they were all easily in their 40's, 50's, and 60's. Plus, all the competent technicians that work with them. Add up the schooling and work experience and then compare it to yours in this field and say "Who would know more if he was misdiagnosed, them or me?"

I have no idea why I went into remission, but I know for some reason our Creator heard the petition of many and granted me health. For how long, who on Earth knows? I in no way feel I did anything to deserve this, nothing about me is more special than anyone else. All I know is I am a blessed man and I have no problem giving credit where credit is due, and that is the Master Physician.

But wait there's more!

Dr. Stone, the orthopaedic surgeon who referred me to Dr. Clarkson the orthopaedic oncologist surgeon because of the cancer found. Well Dr. Clarkson volleyed my case back to Dr. Stone because of my favourable test results. Furthermore, for the mean time no surgery is needed! 

I have gone from being diagnosed with cancer and needing surgery to going in remission needing no surgery in one month. I have never worn my beliefs on my sleeve, but I don't pretend they don't exist either. I believe all good things come from God and I believe me being in remission is a good thing. 

I still have a bum hip, but it may very well improve and I intend to do what I can to help it.

Honestly it's a lot to cope with, yes it is more than just good news. I thought/hoped/prayed I would be in this position months from now. Yet all of a sudden here it is. It is literally taking concerted mental effort to imagine good health and life that accompanies it. May I never take it for granted, slap me and shake me if I do. Well, unless you're bigger than me than just a friendly reminder will do. 

The End. 


  1. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?



  2. Ruban, we met many years ago while at EFY in Calgary, we were 16, at least I was. I stumbled across your blog by chance. I was reading a story on, which led me to another story, which led me to a blog. While reading the comments on that blog I saw the name Ruban and immediately thought of you. And then on a closer look I saw Rebalkin. Your name has always stuck in my mind for two reasons 1) because of the way it rolls off the tongue, and 2) because I thought you and your cousin Pete were super cool. I have spent quite a bit of time reading through your blogs in utter amazement of the tender mercies the Lord has extended you and your family. May God continue to bless you and know that a friend(if only one for that brief week)will be praying that things will continue to go well for you and yours.

    1. Thank you for your words Mandy. You're right about one thing, Pete is indeed super cool.

      I actually have a photo of us, somewhere... When I find it I'll email it to you.

      So nice to reconnect, thank you again!