Note (08/28/2023): God is so good to us! During the past ten days, I experienced God’s healing power in a way I don’t remember before. There were so many people from all walks of life praying for Bonnie and myself, and the Lord was Glorified by this healing. I Thank my Lord Jesus for what He has done in our lives, not only with this event, but also the way He has guided and provided for us through the years! The following narrative takes me from an active, growing tumor to a “pocket of fluid” in 7 days.
In August 2023, I believe I experienced a miraculous healing from a tumor that was quite likely malignant. For posterity I want to detail the events that took place during this 7-day period.
During late spring and summer of 2023, I noticed that a lymph node under my jawbone on the right side of my face was swollen. It remained swollen for several months, neither gaining or losing size. It was a little painful, but the pain was not too severe.
On Thursday, August 17, 2023, I noticed that the level of pain started to increase substantially. On Friday, the “lymph node” began to grow and increase in pain even more. It didn’t grow very large at this time - but growth was evident. When I got home from picking our grandson Damon up at school, I told Bonnie “I think I have a problem.”
We decided to take my swollen lymph node to an urgent care facility, but I opted to wait until Saturday morning (August 19). I also chose to go to the Sierra-Providence freestanding ER at the corner of George Dieter and Montwood, because I knew they had imaging available on-site.
On Saturday, mid-morning or so, we went over to the ER. The Doctor saw me pretty quickly, and they took blood for a blood panel and felt around the swollen area. The Doctor had a look of concern, and ordered a CT scan to be taken immediately. It took less than ½ hour for the results from the CT to come back - it showed, and the Doctor that detailed the scan confirmed, a mass that was not associated with a lymph node. The exact wording of the CT report:
2.7 x 2.6 x 4.6 cm hypodense right neck mass probably involves the inferior aspect of the right parotid gland and extends inferiorly along the right neck with mass effect upon the lateral aspect of the right submandibular gland. There are no suspicious surrounding inflammatory changes.
2.7 x 2.6 x 4.6 cm exophytic hypodense inferior right parotid gland mass suspicious for parotid neoplasm. Recommend ENT consultation.”
A parotid gland mass is a tumor which starts in the salivary gland.
The ER Doctor informed me that what I thought to be a swollen lymph node was actually a tumor that was possibly malignant. She instructed me to see an ENT physician asap. Both she and the Doctor that interpreted the CT scan confirmed that it was a tumor and was possibly malignant.
Late Saturday afternoon, after the ER appointment, the tumor began to grow very rapidly. It more than doubled in size (probably tripled) by Sunday afternoon. It was painful enough that it was difficult to sleep for the next few days.
Saturday afternoon, I sent out prayer requests. I texted my immediate family (Lara, Larry, Sara) with updates throughout the ordeal; I texted Judah, Kerry and Alyssa at Crosspoint Church; I sent out a text to our church Care Group; and I posted a prayer request on Facebook, targeting my new/old friends and people I knew as prayer warriors from Mosaic Church. The response from everyone was very encouraging, and people all over the place started praying. Alyssa sent out a prayer request email to the entire Crosspoint Church. Additionally, unbeknownst to me, my brother-in-law Ed sent a prayer request to Barbara’s church.
The following Monday, August 21, Bonnie called three or four ENT offices trying to get an appointment. Most of them were limiting their practice to ears, and wouldn’t see me; and one office said they could see me, but the earliest appointment they could give me would be in October.
After those first few calls, Bonnie and I prayed together asking for an appointment right away; and then during the very next phone call, she found an ENT that could see me right away. An appointment was made for 1pm.
Southwest ENT saw me on time that afternoon, and the Doctor examined me and the tumor thoroughly. He felt it, moved it around, squeezed it painfully, asked questions, read the CT scan report, and concluded that it was indeed a tumor. He was concerned about the tumor’s location because of the possibility that it may have formed inside of a lymph node instead of starting at the salivary gland. If it formed in a lymph node, then it probably would indicate lymphoma, a very difficult and deadly cancer. He ordered a new CT scan for the purpose of making that determination. Additionally, he ordered a needle biopsy which was scheduled for the following Friday.
I felt devastated and frightened. The tumor remained large and painful, and I was unable to sleep soundly for the next few days. Old friends from my Christian past were contacting me through Facebook telling me they were praying, including my old Mosaic pastors Jesse & Esther Davis, and several other people from our old Church. Our Crosspoint Care Group prayed at our regular meeting Tuesday night. Additionally, our entire Church was praying for my sweet Bonnie and me.
On Friday, Bonnie and I drove over to Sierra/Providence at Loop 375 and Edgemere for the needle biopsy. We were praying for it to be benign instead of malignant. I was very, very nervous not because of the procedure, but because of the result. The staff at the hospital was very friendly, and engaged me as a human being rather than just a “patient”. We spent more time talking about early 1900s Southwest architectural/building history than medical issues - they all knew me from my Facebook page “The Trost Society”!
Finally the Doctor came in to perform the biopsy. They wired me up with electrodes, completely disinfected everything, and explained the procedure to me. He numbed the area with lidocaine, and inserted the needle. When he began to draw the contents of the tumor, he stopped and said “Mr. Stone, I have the best news for you. This is just a pocket of fluid, and is not a tumor”.
I was in shock and so very pleasantly surprised. I asked him a couple of times - “You mean it’s not a tumor?” No, he answered - “This is really great news for you”.
Was it a miracle from God, or was it a mis-diagnosed cyst? I am 100% certain that it was a miracle. There were 3 MDs, two of them that examined the growth closely and the other who carefully interpreted the CT scan, that identified the growth as a tumor. Three unassociated MDs came to the same conclusion. The last one, ENT Dr. David Reiersen, examined the growth closely and rather painfully - he even had half of his hand in my mouth feeling it from the inside.
Sometime between Monday, August 21, 2023 and Friday, August 25, the tumor miraculously became a simple pocket of fluid.