Beating the odds: A Milwaukee pastor's fight to beat cancer

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Being diagnosed with an aggressive, inoperable form of cancer can be frightening. Especially when 90% of patients with it die -- but there is one man who welcomed the diagnosis and beat the odds.

Pastor Julius R. Malone has been doing this at New Testament Church of Milwaukee for 34 years -- preaching god's word from the bible and instructing his congregation how to live god's way.

"Trust him. You know, just continue to trust him even when you don't feel him. When you don't see him," said Pastor Malone.

Pastor Malone even wrote a book in 2007 entitled "Going Through the Storms of Life" -- tackling the question of why god allows the difficulties in our lives.

But, he got his greatest test on living what he preaches beginning in October of 2013. Pastor Malone started having stomach pains, his doctor treated him for acid reflux but the pain would not go away.

"So I began to pray about what's happening. Why do I have this pain, and the lord impressed upon me, 'you have cancer, you need to find out where it is and have it removed before it spreads," said Pastor Malone.

After a battery of tests and different doctors, the cancerous tumor was spotted lodged in his pancreas.

"It was somewhat of a relief because I suspected that all along. Now I know where it is, now we can work on getting rid of it before it spreads," Pastor Malone said.

"Pastor Malone said to me, do whatever you have to do to get me to the point where they can take it out," said Medical Oncologist, Dr. Paul Ritch.

With this tumor, the medical team at Froedtert and the medical college knew it wasn't going to be easy.

"What is crucial is that it is wrapped around certain blood vessels that supplies blood to the upper abdomen, to the stomach, the intestines, the liver so that you can't just sacrifice that artery because you'd be cutting off the blood supply to those organs," said Dr. Ritch.

The tumor had to shrink, and an aggressive regimen of chemo treatments started. Pastor Malone kept preaching and an aggressive prayer chain started.

Minister Doug Smith says while praying he was led to set up a prayer clock with different people designated to pray every house, 24/7, starting December 8th, 2013.

"It's a blessing to us at 2 a.m. to get up and pray for our leader because it's quiet. That time of night no distraction, no telephone, no television, no nothing," said Minister Doug Smith.

After four treatments, there was no spread but also no shrinkage -- after four more treatments, the same thing.

"Sometimes he tests us so that we can find out about ourselves. In fact, I was a little bit surprised at my lack of anxiety," said Pastor Malone.

Pastor Malone says he meditated on Philippines 4:6 and 4:7 from the bible that begins with "be anxious for nothing." He underwent 28 treatments of radiation and the tumor shrank enough for a very complex, but successful surgery on August 22nd, 2014.

The medical team participated in a YouTube video at Malone's request, called "Pastor Malone's Surgery."

Malone never stopped preaching during treatment. Never lost his hair. Never experienced nausea -- an artery did not have to be taken from his leg, and he didn't need a feeding tube when he left the hospital.

"All of these things I knew it was because of prayer. I knew it was because of prayer, and I was so grateful for all of the people who prayed for me," said Pastor Malone.

New Testament Church got great news a few days after the surgery, the doctors found that there was no residual cancer.

"God does use means and so don't think that going to a doctor means that you're not trusting god. God uses doctors, nurses, equipment and all of that," said Malone.

Pastor Malone is planning to revise his book, "Going Through the Storms of Life," because of what he's been through -- he has a few things to add.

The 24-hour prayer chain just ended this month. But individuals continue to remember Pastor Malone in their prayers.