The hardest thing about all this for me is that regardless of my situation, all this cancer stuff is running in the background of my mind. In a business meeting, at a party, with friends for dinner, by myself, feeling bad, feeling good…cancer and all that goes with it is a relentless issue waiting for any opportunity to ooze into my psyche. I don’t think about dying. It is the treatment that encompasses my thinking. I think about how crummy I feel, and how it has gotten worse with each treatment. I have a big one coming up this Tuesday. I wonder if the side-effects will side-line me for more than 3 weeks. My wife retires, we celebrate our 42ndanniversary, and we have a family vacation all happening in 3 weeks. I don’t want to be sick. I don’t want to GET sick in the first place!
My last treatment was 3 weeks ago next Tuesday. I felt good the day of treatment, but then started feeling bad by bed time, and had flu-like symptoms with fever, aches, cough, tiredness for the next 12 days. I tried going to work several times, but usually only made it a few hours.
I started feeling better last Monday, but still tired quickly. CCHF’s Fall Board meeting was this past week. It is a big deal. Board members fly in from all over the country for 3 days of business, with site visits, meals and activities sprinkled in. (The Board went to the National Civil Rights Museum together. It is awesome. If you have never visited Memphis, that alone is worth the trip.) I felt pretty good during the meeting, for which I am grateful. But I started feeling bad yesterday afternoon, and ran a fever with night sweats last night. Arggh!
The cure is worse than the cancer. (At least it is for me. Most people have no side-effects at all.)
Honestly, it is not only the treatments. It is also the waiting – the not-knowing. Tomorrow I go for a CT scan that will determine if the tumors in my torso are responding. (I get the results on Tuesday, and I will let you know.) In 2 weeks I go for an MRI. That will determine whether I am producing more brain tumors. Our family vacation in 3 weeks will either be a great celebration, or a time for building memories. I realize that sounds morbid, but we are living in realities.
There are two possibilities. I prefer one more than the other, but either is wonderful for me. I mean that. I am ready to either plan to die or plan to live. I find it distressing and heavy to try to do both. But I have to. I am not being “double-minded”. You know how I am praying.
Whenever I sit down to write, I am always torn whether to share how I feel, or to share some of the scores of incredible stories of encouragement and assurance that I receive. I will try to do better. My reality is an enviable reality. I wish cancer on no one. But I could spend days and days reciting all of the blessing God has poured on me through friends and strangers. I wish that on everyone!
In spite of periods of discouragement, God keeps baptizing me with support and inspiration through visits, calls, emails, texts, and mostly through the prayers of thousands of people. If you are one of them, thank you. I need them. I am not discouraged all of the time, and I am not despairing. I just want to feel normal again. Mostly I am isolated, out of routine, and bummed that I am simply unable to do things I love to do.
I am not mad at God. If anything, I am mad at Adam. I know Adam was a better representative of the human race than I have been. But the world is broken and crying because the best representative we could come up with screwed up. Bad. And the result is that all of creation and people who were intended to be beautiful and healthy and alive, are contaminated with decay and temporality and death.
The very best example of what it means to be truly human is Jesus. Jesus hung out with sick and hurting people. He looked them up, rearranged travel plans and turned down meetings with kings to meet broken people who were everyone else’s “throw-aways”. He didn’t spend much time in temples and halls of power. Most of his time was spent in market places, outdoors with blue-collar workers, in homes of people who were “lepers”, teaching and healing and feeding hungry people. He is with me. He reminds me almost daily in unmistakable ways.
He is also the best example of God. If God is like Jesus, He is good, and we are in good hands. He is. We are. I am.
Thanks for praying for me. Please remember Victoria and me this Tuesday.