Here is the story of how Dr. Tom Renfro came to be the man on the left and then through a modern miracle of healing and restoration he became the man on the right.
It all began in the fall of 1996. In September, Dr. Renfro, a medical doctor in Norton, VA, found a small lump on the back of his neck. Being a physician, he treated himself with antibiotics for a possible scalp infection of some kind. However, on Friday, October 31,1996 he examined himself and found another lump on the back of his neck and one under his left arm. At this point, Dr. Renfro knew he had a problem.
Dr. Renfro spent the next couple of days consulting with a few specialists he knew and they advised him to see a surgeon quick. On Monday, November 4, he sat down with his wife, Sid, and told her what had been going on for the past few weeks. Together they cried, prayed, and tried to go to sleep.
Over the next few days a lot of praying was done as the doctor was visited and the biopsy was performed. Then on Tuesday, November 19 the results were delivered. The diagnosis: Mantle Cell Lymphoma: not just cancer, not just a non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, but Mantle Cell Lymphoma , a very stubborn and cruel variety of lymphoma. For Dr. Renfro, with all of his medical knowledge, this was terrible news. The doctor who delivered the news was visibly shaken as he looked into the eyes of a fellow physician who was very close to his own age. The prognosis: there's very little that can be done to even slow the progression of this type of lymphoma.
In December 1996, Dr. Renfro went to The University of Virginia and had a meeting with three specialists who confirmed the diagnosis and basically recommended that he go home and enjoy the time he had left. At this point cancerous presence had been found in the bone marrow and an eight centimeter mass in his abdomen. He was already considered a Stage 4 case with Stage 1 being the least involved and Stage 5 being the most involved.
Up to this point this story is probably similar to thousands of other stories. Dr. Renfro is a man, subject to human frailties, susceptible to fear, doubt, confusion and despair just like any other man. However, there is a huge piece of information that has been left out. Two days before the biopsy, Dr. Renfro's pastor (also his father-in-law), Glen Sturgill, was praying for him and God said, "I'm going to take him through." Everyone was excited to hear this good news as they all knew Pastor Sturgill to be a prophet of God. Their understanding of those words would not prove to be correct as none of them expected the harsh battle that was pending for them all as they watched this disease take virtually everything Dr. Renfro had accumulated in his 42 years of life.