Found this old email I wrote to my coworkers while in the middle of chemotherapy. It’s written in the fire of pain and maybe death approaching. It’s interesting to look back on it now, two years later. I still feel the same way. The same drive to not go back to normal. Maybe it will inspire you to go farther, too.
So I’m driving in with my brother yesterday to my fifth round of chemo. Halfway there, the tears come for a brief moment. I don’t know why. It’s not like I haven’t done this four times before. Guess I knew that I had to sink down in this funk for a week, which is hard when you’ve been feeling pretty good for the last week. But, I got back into a better mood quickly.
No problem getting the stick to set up for the IV. Then the CAT scan, which is no big deal. Then off to wait on the doc and get the scan results. And more waiting. And more waiting.
—— Preachy sermon coming next. You can skip to the next bracket or if you want to get a little insight on the meaning of life, read on. ——
So, since I had to wait about an hour for the results, I’ll take a small detour here to share something. When you are faced with a life-threatening disease, you start to focus quickly on what really matters. You start thinking about death. You start thinking about what you have done with your life.
I’ve helped raise a family. Gone to church and led a small group Bible study. Played drums in the church band. But I’ve felt that I really haven’t done enough, although it’s not about what you do. It’s about your faith in God.
But I think I have some unfinished business yet. I’ve been praying to God that he’ll give me some more years. So I can give back some more love and compassion to my wife, who deserves it. (Men sometimes have a hard time expressing love and compassion, especially to the people we love. That book, Men are From Mars and Women from Venus – it has some truth in it!)
I’ve never thought in despair, why me? Never. Because I’m grounded in The Bible, I know what this life is about. But, in my heart, I want to help more people – the sick, poor, lost, homeless – to be able to leave this earth with a smile on my face knowing I fought the good fight.
Instead of thinking, why me, I thought that maybe somebody needs to hear what I’ve got to say. I can assure you that if it wasn’t for my health situation, I never would have written what’s in these brackets. If you are or ever face a challenge in your life, I’d be glad to share a way out of it.
—— Pardon the commercial interruption. Now back to the scan results. ———
So my wife, my brother, and I are in the room waiting. We say a quick prayer and I cry again. Jeez – somebody turn off the waterworks! But, it was just a brief thing. Then the doc arrives.
If you remember my CAT scan from 6 weeks ago, it showed a 90 percent reduction in the size of my lymph nodes. That left only 10 percent to be back to normal size. Well, yesterday’s CAT scan showed a 70 to 80 percent reduction in that 10 percent! The doc said if you didn’t know I had cancer, the CAT scan would have looked normal. God is on the move again!
And, for even more good news, the doc said I’ll do one more round and then a PET scan. If that scan is good, and he believes that the CAT scan is a good leading indicator, then no more chemo!
If the PET scan is good, what I’ll probably do is go on a maintenance therapy for 2 years which consists of 1 drug spread out over those two years and not every 3 weeks. And, that drug does not weaken my immune system (or kill my hair cells)!
We leave the doc’s room and go wait for the chemo to start. Crap, I start crying again! Why? Because if you read between the brackets, then you know God is giving me more time to do some things for him.
Thankful for your prayers and thoughts and for God’s help in my life. Every time you guys reach out to help me, I am overwhelmed. Really. To tears – again.