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Teenager Questions God’s Love During Gruesome Cancer Fight

At 17, Jordan was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Later, he was given 6 months to live when the cancer was discovered to have spread throughout his body. He endured 65 doses of a potentially deadly treatment as time began to run out. Read Transcript


You hear the knock at the door, and you

hear the doctor coming in, sitting down,

and you can tell, just by the look on his face,

that this isn't going to be good.

NARRATOR: It had been six years since Jordan Lawhead had

surgery to remove the malignant melanoma on his neck.

Now 23, he learned the cancer had returned.

This time it was stage four and had spread to his brain

and beyond.

JORDAN LAWHEAD: It was in my head.

It in my neck.

It was in my stomach, my back, my lungs, everywhere,

and growing.

NARRATOR: Even with treatment, doctors

at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

gave Jordan only six months to live.

JORDAN LAWHEAD: What you feel in that time is,

your heart is racing, and your mind is racing.

You feel broken, completely broken, and devastated.

And just reaching for whoever you can, and whoever you can,

you're reaching for is broken, too,

Why him, Lord?

Why-- why not me?

I would rather take his place and deal

with all the suffering and the pain and agony and all of that,

rather than have him go through it.

NARRATOR: Doctors immediately started radiation

to shrink the tumor in Jordan's brain.

They also performed two emergency surgeries

to remove part of his bowel and his appendix.

Then Jordan's life expectancy dropped to just a few days,

when doctors discovered a fast-growing tumor on his neck.

DR. IGOR PUZANOV: It was threatening

to pressure on his windpipe and on trachea, which, of course,

he would not be able to breathe and he would die immediately.

NARRATOR: Doctors felt Jordan's only hope was Interleukin 2.

The FDA considers it a black box drug-- one that when used,

could be fatal.

DR. IGOR PUZANOV: So we really were

pushed into doing the risky treatment under even

riskier circumstances.

We had probably two days left to do it, or not to do it at all.

And it was in that moment, I had

to decide to believe that God has made us as individuals

and not statistics.

NARRATOR: Jordan would have four rounds, each requiring

a five-day hospitalization.

One night, Jordan lay in bed awake.

His father, who was in the room, was asleep.

JORDAN LAWHEAD: I looked up and I said to God,

I don't really feel like you love me.

People say you do.

There are stickers, there's t-shirts, people say it,

I've read it in the Bible.

But right now I don't really feel like you love me.

We would hope for, in that moment,

in our own mind, this sort of sense and cosmic hug,

but at that moment, I had to sit up, I had to wake my dad up.

And I lay back and he was wiping my face and my chin,

and it was in that moment, I opened my eyes

and I realized that the love of God

isn't just a fuzzy feeling from the sky.

But it's as real as the people in our lives meeting us

in the darkest places with a bucket, saying, let her rip.

I am here for you.

I love you.

In the darkest place, it's that place.

It's that moment, those hands, that heart,

that-- that messiness.

That love has to come from somewhere.

NARRATOR: Jordan and his parents had

been fervently praying for his recovery, and as word spread

Jordan heard from people all over the world.

JORDAN LAWHEAD: I had so many people praying for me.

I was very fortunate to hear from them.

I had old people praying for me, I had kids praying for me,

I had strangers writing me, telling me, texting me

that they were praying, asking God to intervene.

I prayed for hours and I prayed the Lord would have mercy,

and everything that we had every ounce of our faith,

was relying that this boy would be rescued.

NARRATOR: The tumors began to shrink

after the first treatment, taking Jordan out

of immediate danger.

JORDAN LAWHEAD: It was slightly surprising to me.

It was surprising to my family, and it

was surprising the doctors.

And when everybody is surprised and feeling

positive and excited, slightly, holding their breath,

we were just all like, let's keep going.

Let's keep fighting.

Give me another dose of that horrible stuff,

because it's working.

And I'm going to go for it, even if it kills me.

NARRATOR: Over the next several months,

Jordan endured three more rounds of Interleukin.

Then 18 months after Jordan was diagnosed,

he was once again waiting for the doctor's knock on the door.

JORDAN LAWHEAD: And they said these very interesting words.

Jordan has had a confirmed complete response.

The heartbreak that we talked about,

the pain, the physical pain was redeemed.

It was a confirmed complete response to the drug,

to the power of God intervening, by all the people praying.

NARRATOR: It's been eight years since Jordan

was given six months to live.

With only 2% recovery rate for these cases,

Dr. Puzanov says Jordan beat the odds.

DR. IGOR PUZANOV: He is now 31-year-old man

with no cancer visible in brain or in body.

NARRATOR: Today, Jordan is a songwriter and musician,

and runs youinspire.org, a website

to encourage others who face similar trials.

But most of all, he is grateful to a God of mercy

who can be trusted.

JORDAN LAWHEAD: I believe it taught me to see Him as He is,

and as I am, and that I need to be

joyfully dependent on His mercy at all times.

That I'm not in control, that He is.

And that when I put my trust in Him with every part of my life,

whether it's my health, my joy, and career, and plans,

and money, and all of that, that I

can be joyfully dependent on Him because He is merciful.

And I have the scars to prove it.

MUSICIAN: (SINGING) You are almost home.

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