The C-word and a Prayer Request

The C-word and a Prayer Request

Posted by Regi Campbell on July 25, 2019

If my health records were still on paper, the stack would resemble what you might find in the office of a professor grading term papers. I won’t begin to list all the stuff this old body’s been through. Of course, the biggest deal was my lung transplant in November 2015, which restored my vitality and extended my life.

But the downside of an organ transplant is the suppression of your immune system. It has to be “faked out,” so as not to reject the foreign item being placed in it . . . in my case, a left lung. Unfortunately, the drugs required for this process turn down your defenses against disease, including cancer. Your body’s self-healing system gets one hand tied behind it’s back, even though it still has to do its whole job. In the three and a half years since my transplant, I’ve had more than thirty skin cancers. Thankfully, my son Ross is a skin cancer surgeon. He’s removed these rascals, sometimes on the very day they’ve been identified.

But in December 2017, a small place appeared on my forehead . . . a tiny spot with a purple hue. It was biopsied immediately, but much to everyone’s surprise and chagrin, it turned out to be Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare but virulent cancer. The spot was removed, radioactive scans were done, and lymph nodes were removed and found to be benign. Still, the folks at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute decided it would be wise to radiate the area around the spot. Five and a half weeks of daily radiation later, and we were done.

Or so we thought . . .

About two months ago, I began to notice a little pain shooting down the left side of my neck. It was inconsistent and very subtle. After a few days, I detected a small knot under my left ear. Long story short, the biopsy from Emory showed the Merkel cell carcinoma was back and far bigger than the first time. Merkel is three times more virulent than melanoma and very rare . . . only about 3,000 cases in the U.S. each year. On June 14th, Dr. Lowe, a surgical oncologist at Emory, removed the tumor and all the lymph nodes in the surrounding area. The disease was evident in only one lymph node and isn’t believed to have spread anywhere else.

So . . . I’ve begun another regimen of daily radiation therapy treatments going through August 28th. I’ve been told to expect dysfunction in my jaw, mouth ulcers, and difficulty in swallowing. After that, I’ll go on a three-month PET scan routine to monitor for recurrence (which we’re told, almost always happens with Merkel).

We are in our Father’s hands. He is always good, and He loves us immeasurably. We are asking Him (not demanding) that the side effects from the radiation treatments be minimal or at least manageable. We’re asking that the disease be eradicated and not return, at least for a long time. Most importantly, we’re asking for the courage and faith to bend what we want to align with what He wants.

So, if you would, please pray for Miriam and all my family . . . for them to experience God’s presence in this season. And please pray that I would have the peace of Christ as I go through this . . . a peace that surpasses all understanding.

For those who want to follow along on our journey, check out our CaringBridge page.

And lastly, while you’re praying, ask that our 270 churches and 1,400 mentors would keep leading Radical Mentoring groups!

Thanks for being in this with us,

Comment here.

Responses (20)

Ray Snyder
Ray Snyder Posted: July 25, 2019, 9:19 am

I’ll pray for you every day, friend.

You are a beacon of Christ’s love to me and my men.

May you experience the warmth of His love every moment of your journey.


Michael K. Blumn
Michael K. Blumn Posted: July 25, 2019, 9:27 am

Prayers for you, Miriam, your son and family!!! Our Father is Sovereign & has much for you to do. Thank you and be encouraged! You have encouraged so many of us & continue to do so through your writings. The Brotherhood of Mentors is on our knees!

Matt Hom
Matt Hom Posted: July 25, 2019, 10:06 am

I’ll be praying for you and Miriam. I can only imagine how hard this must be. Thank you for your ministry. Please know that your work is making a huge impact in my life and the lives of many others!



Todd Reich
Todd Reich Posted: July 25, 2019, 10:15 am

Praying for you and your family Regi. Thanks for your blog and encouragement.

Todd Reich

Patrick Gage
Patrick Gage Posted: July 25, 2019, 11:44 am

Regi, i certainly feel for your … during this difficult time, Your Faith, Courage, Attitude, & Trust are going to bring you Hope, Dignity & Peace despite all the circumstances associated with this Cancer recurrance. May you & your Family experience the Grace of God during the Days, Weeks and Months to come🙏✌

Thembinkosi Ngema
Thembinkosi Ngema Posted: July 25, 2019, 11:55 am

Hi Regi
May the grace of God be with you during this testing time.You have been an inspiration to me from the day I stumbled across radical mentoring .Your love for Gods people is amazing.I have personally seen Men transformed through radical mentoring.You have left an indelible mark in my life.
Over and above running “Radical Mentoring “ in our Church I am also venturing into mentoring boys with male role model in their lives i.e raised by sin moms or from child headed homes.
All this was inspired by you.

I pray that God may touch you will th his healing hand and strengthen your family during this time of need.
I love you my brother.

Gerry Broemser
Gerry Broemser Posted: July 25, 2019, 12:02 pm

Regi, I will be holding you and your family up in prayer. Thanks for laying the groundwork for this amazing ministry.
I discovered your ministry while researching information to get different ideas for starting a Men’s Discipleship Ministry. My goal is to start my first R.M. group this fall in Ontario, Canada.

God Bless,


Millard MacAdam
Millard MacAdam Posted: July 25, 2019, 12:30 pm

My prayers are with you on the things you shared with us. Millard MacAdam

Hub Blankenship
Hub Blankenship Posted: July 25, 2019, 12:35 pm

I’m praying for you, Regi, and for Miriam and your family. God has used you so greatly over the years, and I’m sure He will do the same through this experience. Thank you already for the way you are facing your situation and giving glory to God in advance! You’re an inspiration to so many of us!


Hub Blankenship
Milestones Church, Spartanburg, SC (in your old backyard)

Zack Posted: July 25, 2019, 1:39 pm

Thanks for sharing this Regi….it’s an encouragement to many who may be going through the same and their families. We thank God for your family and pray as you have requested that they may experience the presence of God during this time and that the Lord may grant you His peace as you go through this. All the best. Shalom!

Rev. Rahim Shabazz
Rev. Rahim Shabazz Posted: July 26, 2019, 3:24 pm

Regi, please know that my prayers, and the prayers of both my congregations; Peoples UMC Detroit, MI. and St, James UMC Westland, MI. are with you and your family as you journey to complete healing. May God’s peace, grace, strength and mercy walk with you and keep you encouraged. Remember the line from one of my favorite hymns; “I don’t believe He brought me this far, to leave me!” Walk in the confidence of your faith that all will be well.

Alan Posted: July 26, 2019, 7:19 pm

May God Bless you with your health struggles, Regi. I will be thinking of you often and praying for you.
Be Blessed!
-Alan Salls

Lori Pyatt
Lori Pyatt Posted: July 28, 2019, 12:46 pm

Regi, You have been so faithful to us with your regular posts and insights/wisdom from God.

My husband and I are praying.

All of God’s best to you and your family during this time,

andrew Moage
andrew Moage Posted: July 29, 2019, 2:52 am

Dear Regi, I Andrew Moage pray that God’s will prevails in your situation. I pray that he takes you through this journey with minimal pain. that he shows us that miracles are still his style and way of doing things so that our faith may increase. that you remain in him no matter what. that your wife and family may find strength to carry on with life but not neglect to fast and pray in faith for your recovery. I pray all of this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen and Amen.

Bob Misdom
Bob Misdom Posted: July 29, 2019, 9:16 am

We are lifting you up in prayer Regi! May your body be cleansed and made whole again and may God hold you and your family in the palm of his hand.

John Rabun
John Rabun Posted: July 29, 2019, 12:51 pm

I had cancer when I was 17. Then I was in and of hospitals for 3 years. Physically I looked a professional athlete but without the height and skill. 😉
One of the more humbling experiences in my life would come in waiting rooms. I would be drinking the same stuff or hooked up to the same stuff as a person 3 to 4 times my senior. Those folks would see my age and my physical appearance; it always led to questions.
I gave the same response each time. Do you want the religious or non religious response. Inevitably almost everyone asked for both.
God is going to use this circumstance to take you on a journey. If you will trust him, it will be one of the most amazing experiences you will ever have in your life. When you are finished you will never trade in for the world, but you will never sign up for it again either. He is next to you. He is listening. He will change either your mind or body, someties both. He is pursuing you. Let him.
Non religious- You have to beat this with your mind. Have a positive outlook. Have a positive attitude. Live your life. If you let cancer win the battle of your mind, then you are already dead.

Joan Smith Ernst
Joan Smith Ernst Posted: August 5, 2019, 10:27 am

Appreciate you keeping us informed concerning this journey. Praying for God’s peace for you and your family!!! He is a loving God and will never leave you!

Jeff Marion
Jeff Marion Posted: August 9, 2019, 5:47 pm

Regi, I will continue to pray for you and your family. Your mentoring via the Ambassador program at High Tech Ministries has had a profound impact on my life and the lives of so many others through the years.
You and your family are surrounded by so many who will love you all through this. From His unfailing love to people you’ve never met who are praying for you.
God’s peace be with you brother, Jeff

Steve Beaver
Steve Beaver Posted: August 28, 2019, 7:50 am

Praying for you, Regi. Yes, Cancer SUCKS!! It has touched our family too. But our Father is faithful to show up and make His presence known in unexpected ways. Lifting your family up and treatment would be effective with minimal side effects. Grateful for the impact you’ve had on my mentoring ministry.

Live! - Radical Mentoring
Live! - Radical Mentoring Posted: September 10, 2019, 9:46 pm

[…] As my adventure with Merkel cell carcinoma unfolded, it hit me that I should ask the elders to pray for my family and me. My first thought was, “Nah, I’m good. A lot of people are already praying for us . . . why trouble the elders? I might be healed with radiation therapy and never even get that sick!” But then I recognized the source of that message. It was pride, straight from the evil one. As is often the case, pride was standing in the way of obedience. James 5:14 is clear . . . […]

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