Saturday, September 19, 2009

I need you to pray for my friend

I need you to pray for my friend. Again. Lots of you have prayed for my friends before. Thank you for that. I did not ask this friends permission to get you to pray but she won't mind. I didn't ask her permission to print on this blog the update she wrote on her own web site today. Again, I don't think she will mind. I didn't ask her permission to tell you what I told her either. But hey, I wrote that so she doesn't get a say-so.

I've known Dara for maybe 9 years but she and her husband, and my wife and I, have only really spent time together on I think four separate occasions. Still, you know how it is when your spirit bonds with another persons spirit right? And when two couples "click" you know what that's like too. Well, that happened to us. We were able to show Dara and Anthony kindness at a hard time in their lives nearly a decade ago. The next year it was their turn to show us kindness and they did. They introduced us to the "real Tucson," fed us fish taco's and prayed for us. I was not well when I got to Tucson. I was when I left. Who knows? Maybe it was their prayers?

Now it is our turn again. Dara has been battling cancer for a year. Have I ever mentioned that I hate cancer? Well, I do. A lot. If you've been reading this web site for only four months you know that is true. I hate Dara's cancer. So I'm printing all of this here simply so that maybe you'll take a minute and pray for her. I would be grateful. But probably not as grateful as she would be.

From Dara today ...
Thank you everybody for the cheerful greetings. If you want to know what the Snoopy dance is you have to watch the "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown" video. I can't get my feet to go as fast as his but I try.
Chemo was fine yesterday There is still a BP concern, and my port site has a sore that will not heal. The Doctor looked at it yesterday and said it was like a canker sore and could take a long time to heal because the drugs that I am on make it difficult for my body to form new blood vessels. Plus, the surgen who put the port in likely severed a blood vessel that would feed that area. SO, yuck!
Teaching is going fine, I wouldn't say better, just fine. I see the Doctor on October 2 and will look again at the reality of working. The delima I face is that there is a strong possibility that I will never be free from some form of treatment. Avastin is my miracle drug at the moment, but there is always the possibility that my body will require something else in the future. That understanding came to me this week as I remember the anniversary of my September 17th, 2008 diagnosis. The day my world went black. I have hope now, but from time to time I feel the weight of the last 12 months, and I cry.
Thank you for praying me through.
Love, Dara

And this is all I knew to tell her in response. It's not nearly enough but it's what was in my heart. And it feels right ...

Do you mind not crying alone? Because, quite honestly, I feel like crying for you. I don't want you to have to take meds for the rest of your life. I want you to do The Snoopy Dance in person! :( BUT ... we live life by God's rules ... His schedule ... His calendar. This is where I usually give my pep talk. But I think I would rather just say, Dara, sometimes life sucks and all you can do is let it, endure the sucky parts, and do your best to enjoy every moment that God give no matter how it feels. I never truly faced death in 2001 ... but it felt like it. And my life has never been the same. Yeah, I still take meds and I hate that but it is what it is. And when I finally resigned the church I loved for 23 2/3rd years after fighting for its heart and soul for the last 3 of those years I did so because my doctor told me in specific terms, "You have to quit your job or you will die." So. Again, it is what it is. I am reminded that the joy is in Jesus and in relationships. Nothing else matters much. Things like health and strength were an illusion all along. But if it all drives you to Jesus ... it's worth every bit of the pain.
If you don't let it drive you to Jesus ... well ... then it REALLY sucks.
Anyway, I don't mean for this message to be sad. Just realistic. It's tougher to find the bounce in my step now than it was pre-2001. My steps are more deliberate. More measured. More intentional. I try to make them matter more. I pray complete, utter, total healing for you. No meds, no pain, no treatments. And I deeply hope that God grants you that. If He doesn't? Then attack life with as much joy, gusto, and passion as possible anyway. Remember, these years we spend on the fallen planet are the only moments in our eternal history that we will be able to really make a difference in the cosmic battle we find ourselves locked in. So fight well, my sister. Salute your Commander-In-Chief every day. Love well.
And when it's over for us down here? THEN ... then we will dance.
You are loved in St. Louis.

That's all I've got. Will you pray for my friend?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Baseball is evil and baseball is hairy so I quit

Tonight I decided to hate baseball for the next 5 months. My team stinks and they stink on purpose. 'Nuff said. But here are some pictures that influenced my decision in a back-and-forth kind of way...

These guys kept falling into the stadium which made me want to enlist and drop into ball parks more often.

Then they double-decked it which doubled my temptation.

Next my friend Gordon decided to switch from his team to my team. That was really encouraging. Thanks, Gordon!

Everybody knows that I love meetings and I guess that in baseball you can pause the game at any point and get together with the guys and meet. That almost clinched it for me. I was nearly hooked. Two meetings at once! See how happy they look?

And then I saw this guy and I realized ... I don't want to turn into him. And he's cheering for baseball. So I want to thank him for helping me to give up the game until spring training. And maybe forever. Probably not ... but maybe. I'll have to talk to the lady who cuts my hair. She gets a vote.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Heart Attacks and Brain Cramps

So today my brother ... whom I had not seen in two years ... mentioned quite casually to me that he had a heart attack 18 months ago.

Say what?

Yes indeed. My brother ... the sole remaining member of my family of origin ... had a heart attack while I was living in Cleveland and neglected to pass that word along to me. Exactly how does something like this slip your mind? Was he engrossed in the latest episode of "Family Guy?" Obviously NOT. I mean, on his own, he's obviously only a marginal "family guy" at best!

Anyway, he's alright. Of course that doesn't matter because now I have to kill him. Slowly. Painfully. It's a matter of family honor. Dad would have wanted it this way. And as a beginning of his punishment/torture I thought I would expose the latest picture I took of him (moments after he revealed this bit of news) to the world. The head below ... the sign above ... it only seems appropriate and accurate.