Update on passing of Bishop Ken Letner

UPDATE: GRANTHAM, Pa. (Sept. 5, 2008)—It is with both grief and hope that the Brethren in Christ Church shares the news of the passing of our dear brother, Ken Letner, who entered into the Lord’s presence on Thursday, September 5, 2008, following his battle with cancer. Information regarding Memorial Service plans is forthcoming, so please check back throughout the coming hours and days for further details.

UPDATE: GRANTHAM, Pa. (September 3, 2008)—Ken returned home from Harrisburg Hospital this past Saturday after recovering from the seizure he experienced late last week..   Doctors deemed further chemo or radiation treatments no longer feasible in Ken’s case.  There are new lesions over the brain, and Ken sleeps most of the time.  This weekend, the family decided to transition to Hospice Care. 

Linda will continue to give updates on Ken’s health as she is able. However, please give the family privacy and refrain from calling or visiting them at this time. All of their energy needs to be focused on Ken.

The family does request continued prayers on their behalf, and a call to corporate prayer and fasting has been issued by the General Church for Sunday, September 14, for Ken and three other urgent needs within the BIC church family.

In addition to continuing to pray for Ken and the family, you may send any encouraging words to them at RR # 4, Box 5797, Mifflintown, PA 17059.

UPDATE: GRANTHAM, Pa. (August 28, 2008)—This past Monday, August 25, Ken Letner traveled to Johns Hopkins to undergo an MRI and a surgery scheduled for the following day. However, the MRI revealed that cancer is growing once more in the brain, making it inadvisable to carry out the surgery at this time. Ken is experiencing extreme fatigue and is unable to take calls. Please respect the family’s time together and pray for them as they meet at the Letner home to make decisions concerning Ken’s health.

UPDATE: GRANTHAM, Pa. (July 31, 2008)—Following his first month of chemotherapy, Ken and his family traveled to Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore, Md.) on Monday, July 28, for a check-up with Ken’s doctor there. An MRI taken there revealed improvements with the cancer in some areas of the brain as a result of the chemo. However, in the area of the brain where previous surgery and radiation had occurred, a large mass was observed. Doctors are uncertain about exactly what has caused this growth, but they are recommending Ken take strong doses of steroids for the next month in response. Ken and Linda will meet with the neurosurgeon to receive his counsel on how to proceed, and they will travel again to Baltimore next month for a follow-up MRI and to consider further surgery and radiation treatments.

UPDATE: GRANTHAM, Pa. (June 11, 2008)—Having completed radiation treatments, Ken met with his physician for a routine check-up. A CAT scan revealed no signs of cancer, a tumor, or swelling, suggesting that the radiation was successful. The doctor prescribed for Ken a steroid medication to relieve some of the eyesight problems he has been experiencing in recent days. Today he begins a new chemotherapy regimen which will continue over the next six months.

UPDATE: GRANTHAM, Pa. (April 3, 2008)—With about a third of his radiation treatments behind him, Ken met with his doctors for a routine check-up and received a medication to help alleviate the fatigue he’s been experiencing. After this first series of chemo and radiation treatments is over at the end of April, doctors will give his body the month of May to rest and regroup. More intense chemotherapy will then begin in June and continue through November.

UPDATE: GRANTHAM, Pa. (March 20, 2008)—Following the medical advice of his doctors, as well as those at the roundtable discussion, Ken is undergoing chemotherapy and daily radiation treatments. Though this is both a physical and emotional challenge, Ken is grateful that the allergic reaction he experienced from his initial anti-seizure prescription has subsided and that his new prescription is working well. He continues with physical, occupational and speech/cognitive therapy.

UPDATE: GRANTHAM, Pa. (March 10, 2008)—Results from Ken’s spinal tap and myelogram last week came back negative for malignancy, and he is recovering from both procedures without headaches. However, he has experienced an allergic reaction to his seizure medication, Dylantin. Doctors had increased his dosage last week in order to control the seizures he was experiencing, but since the allergy has been discovered, they are gradually reducing his dosage until they can safely stop administering it completely. Until then, Ken is taking prednisone and an antihistamine for the rashes caused by the reaction. He will continue outpatient physical and speech therapy and is traveling to Johns Hopkins today.

UPDATE: GRANTHAM, Pa. (March 3, 2008)—On Friday, February 29, Ken met with his doctor to discuss the pathology report on the tumor removed from the frontal lobe of his brain. The report showed the tumor to be a PNET (Primative Neuro Endodermal Tumor), a type of neuroblastoma. This class of tumor is usually found only in children and is rare to find in adults. Additionally, neuroblastomas are typically located at the base of the brain where it connects to the spinal cord.

Thus, due to both the location and type of tumor, the case is an unusual one, and Ken is in the process of getting further opinions on possible methods of treatment. Although his case is atypical, Ken reports that at no point in the process has the word “malignant” come up in regard to his tumor. Despite this, his doctor tells him that any time cells are located in uncharacteristic areas of the body, a cancer exists.

Ken is scheduled to have a spinal tap and mylogram this week in order to determine whether or not any tumor cells have spread into the spinal fluid. Then, on March 10, he will visit Johns Hopkins University, where a roundtable discussion will take place on the specifics of his case and the best methods of treatment. With these recommendations, Ken and his home doctor will then determine his treatment plan.

UPDATE: GRANTHAM, Pa. (Feb. 25, 2008)—Following physical therapy and other treatments in the hospital, Ken is happy to say that he was able to return home on Sunday to continue his recovery. Though physically and emotionally exhausted, he is very well taken care of by his wife and all the other friends and family who have served the Letners during this time.

He will meet with his doctor this coming Friday for a pathology report, stitch and staple removal, and a personal plan for treatment.

GRANTHAM, Pa. (Feb. 21, 2008)—In late January 2008, Ken Letner, bishop of the Susquehanna Conference, returned home early from his vacation after suffering some physical distress. Several tests and CT scans revealed a growth on Ken’s brain, which was causing his symptoms.

Following the advice of doctors and specialists, Ken went into surgery at Harrisburg (Pa.) Hospital on Tuesday, February 19, 2008, to have the brain tumor removed. Doctors report that they were able to extract the tumor in its entirety. They estimate that it will take them a week to ten days to perform tests on it in order to determine whether or not it is malignant.

Due to some complications caused by blood vessels being entwined with the tumor, Ken has experienced some post-surgery seizure activity, which doctors say is typical following this type of surgery.

Ken’s vital signs have remained strong and he came out of sedation yesterday. He will continue his recovery in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital over the next few days. A post-operation checkup has been scheduled for next Friday, at which point doctors should know the results of the tests performed on the tumor so that they can advise any further treatment, if necessary.

Linda, Ken’s wife, and the rest of the family want to thank you for your prayers, which have upheld and sustained them during this time. Please pray for Ken as he continues his recovery.

Correspondence can be sent to: Susquehanna Conference Offices, 14 Industrial Circle, Mifflintown PA 17059.

To email Ken or to join the email list for updates on his progress, please email susqcon@embarqmail.com.