Today was Chemo Round 11. We made some of the changes to my regimen so I am basically on maintenance chemo a few rounds early. I am already noticing some positive changes. Due to the neuropathy in my feet and hands my oncologist dropped the Oxaliplatin early. I CAN DRINK COLD DRINKS! Imagine that, just in time for the change of seasons I can now order an ice tea with ice. 🙂 My feet and hands still suffer from the neuropathy. One of the worst pieces of this reality is that my feet are numb and sometimes in pain. It causes me to be unsure on my feet. I have started using a walking stick to help provide stability. The sticks also prove to be good conversation starters.
The good news is my oncologist said the neuropathy should correct itself. I asked how long that would take and he said, “anywhere from two weeks to a year.” I have adopted that time frame as my “new normal.” Pastor, when do you think you will have that done, “anywhere from two weeks to a year.” Dan, when will this “honey do” project be complete, “anywhere from two weeks to a year.” Dad, when will you get me a car, “anywhere from two weeks to a year.” I love it!
TESTS AND TATTOOS
I got some test results today. My CEA continues to drop. If you remember the CEA measures a protein that is used to track active Cancer. When I first started back in May my CEA reading was over 120. Normal is under 5. Today it was down to 2.2! It is slowly continuing to drop. All a sign that the treatments are working and working well.
I also got some great news on the tattoo front. I asked if that was a possibility and as long as my Platelet Count is over 200 I am good to go. Yes, my oncologist was the one who gave me this information. Today my platelet count was 212. I almost rushed out to get some ink today before those with a negative outlook on this little project of mine could go all Eeyore on me and rain on my parade. Today being a chemo day I thought the better of it and we will wait for a few weeks to see where those platelet numbers stay. Andrea, I am getting ready. I hope you were not bluffing because I may show up at Marge’s looking for you in a few weeks. 🙂
DISCLAIMER…THIS NEXT FEW PARAGRAPHS MAY BE A LITTLE ROUGH…READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
I want to share with you a very special song. This is one of the worship songs we do at First Baptist. It is popular in many places but has taken on a deeper and much more profound meaning in my life these past few months.
I cannot explain why. My numbers are great. My scans show improvement. My oncologist is pleased and encouraged with my treatment. I feel good and am regaining energy. I look more like myself and am learning to live this “new normal” in a healthy way. Today was a treatment day and I left treatment and felt good enough to come to the office and get a few hours of work done. So, I cannot explain why. But, the reality is I have been spending time thinking about my funeral.
The truth is that nothing in my life has changed except some doctor sat down and told me what will most likely end up taking my life. Reality is that there are many people in our world today who are perfectly healthy, going about life as normal who for whatever reason will not be with us in the morning.
Death is a great equalizer, it has a way of reaching out to all of us at some point during life’s journey. Most of us live the vast majority of our lives believing it is something that happens to other people or that we will somehow escape or at least put off dealing with death. I know that once diagnosed I spent a lot of time wrestling with the idea of death and how I was going to walk towards it. As pastor I was the one who was supposed to walk alongside those WITH Cancer and now here I was the one afflicted by the disease. This was not the way I had written my story line. I found myself becoming obsessed with my funeral service. What would it look like? Who would speak? What music would be sung? Would it be done right or would some “hack” get up there and make a mess of things? (I know…probably not the best of thoughts but it is truth) I had some thoughts about what should be done and who should speak. I wanted it done right. Nancy would tell you I wanted to be in control one last time…she is probably right. I finally decided to spend a few hours and put the service together. I asked some special people in my life to speak at the service and I chose the music that was meaningful to me. Once it is complete I will put it in a file and get on with life.
If you happen to make it to my memorial service (there is no date set yet…there will be no date set for years to come!) this is the final song that will be sung. Listen to the words. They are perfect. They capture the reality, truth and heart of worship.
THE BLESSING OF JORDAN
I was working in my office today. I was finishing up work on the previous paragraphs. It was not an easy section to write. I was in a bit of a fog, thinking through realities bigger than the normal Monday afternoon type things. My door was open and some of the children from JAM Christian Daycare (one of the ministries of the church) were leaving on their way home for the day. One young boy (four years old) hollered down the Welcome Center, “Good by Pastor Dan.” I looked up and said, “goodbye Jordan.” I watched as he looked up at his mom and said, “I have to go tell Pastor Dan something.” He was off like a bolt of lightning…running across the Welcome Center.” He got to my office door. I expected him to say, “My sticker chart is almost full…I am ready for a prize.” I keep a prize box in my office and when the kids do something good the teachers give them a sticker…fill your chart and you get to come to my office and get a prize out of the prize box. I have lots of conversations about sticker charts and prizes. 🙂 That was not what was on Jordan’s mind this afternoon. “Pastor Dan, I pray for you.” With that he turned his head and was running back to mom on his way home for the day. What does one do with an encounter like that? I sat quiet in my office. Thankful for the hundreds of Jordans who are praying for myself, Nancy and the rest of our family. Your support and prayers mean more than you will ever know.
Go be a Jordan. Find someone in your life who needs a word of encouragement. Follow the Spirit’s leading. Run, don’t walk, to their side and simply let them know that you are thinking of and praying for them. Go be a Jordan. Let Abba Father use you to transform this weary and tired world into a place filled with life, peace and hope.
btw…my friend Jordan will be getting a sticker on his sticker chart tomorrow.
God is Good All the Time….All the Time God is Good