One of the devotional books that God used to speak to me while I was going through my first round of chemotherapy was Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.
This week I have the privilege of sharing a guest post on the Jesus Calling Blog.
Chemotherapy has many side effects. The past few weeks I have seen healing from one of the most annoying side effects I have experienced.
Soon after I started my chemotherapy treatments in May of 2016, I lost my nose. One of the drugs that was part of my chemo cocktail caused the lining of my nose to bleed constantly. I would slowly get better during my off week, but as soon as treatment began again, my nose would be sore and raw. During my first long (six months) break from chemo my left nostril cleared up, and I had hopes for complete healing. Once we started my second round of chemo that hope soon disappeared. My nose was raw each morning and night. The lining would bleed, and it would form clots that would, in turn, cut the interior of my nose when I blew my nose.
I talked with Dr. Saroha about it many times. He was compassionate, but it was just one of those side effects that came with the type of chemo I have been using. I had resigned myself to taking care of a raw, sore, bleeding nose for the rest of my life.
Six months into this break from chemotherapy and suddenly my nose has cleared up! I do mean suddenly. One day it was a wreck, and by the end of the week, it was healthy. The healthy caught me by surprise. I had a routine that I used to keep my nostril clean and clear (I will spare you the details). I found myself sitting in my chair realizing I had not needed to follow my routine for three or four days. At that moment I realized the clotting had stopped and my nostril was healthy.
It may not seem like much to some…but this is huge for me. I had resigned myself to living with a damaged nose for the rest of my life. In the grand scheme of things, it is a small discomfort. A minor inconvenience for the joy of living life. I had made peace with the awkwardness of my nose, now to find out I was experiencing healing.
For the past few weeks I have been walking through life taking deep, unobstructed breaths through both nostrils…sometimes it is the small things. [Read more…]
Thank you to Brian Bingaman of The Reporter for a great article on The Journey Continues.
The Reporter is a daily newspaper and web site serving the North Penn, Indian Valley and surrounding communities in Montgomery and Bucks counties, southeastern Pennsylvania.
As we get ready to celebrate Ash Wednesday, I spent a few moments to make the ashes. It is one of my favorite jobs as a pastor.
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent. It marks the beginning of forty days of fasting and prayer that lead up to Easter. Lent is a time for self-examination, and for discernment. A special season where we slow down and reflect on who God is, who we are, and our place in the world.
Part of what makes Lent so exciting is that it is a season leading to a celebration. We know that Easter is coming, a time to celebrate what Christ accomplished for us. Lent is a way of not letting that celebration sneak up on us. There are forty days for us to prepare ourselves, heart and mind, to celebrate the empty tomb.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this wonderful season. Ashes of burned palms from last spring’s Palm Sunday celebrations are placed in the sign of a cross on people’s foreheads as a symbol of repentance and a reminder of our own mortality. As we enter this forty-day season of Lent, we are reminded of Jesus’ forty-day fast in the desert.
As I burn the ashes each year, I spend time in prayer. I pray for those who will join us for the Ash Wednesday service. I pray for the people of First Baptist as they travel these next forty days, that they would be open to hearing clearly from Abba Father. I pray that in some small way we might connect with the journey of Jesus. I pray for all people, that this season may be on in which we are all reminded of the depth of God’s love for us.
If you are looking for an Ash Wednesday service:
My oncologist appointment was an early one, 8:15 a.m. We awoke to find our driveway coated with one to three inches of snow. Last night Nancy and I had talked about possibly canceling the appointment. We were not going to learn anything new, we had seen the blood work and talked with Dr. Saroha about the scans.
Not one for missing time with Dr. Saroha I was up early and outside with the snow blower. I am going to stop here for a moment. I cleaned our driveway of snow using our snow blower! This is not something I would have been able to do a few months ago. Now the truth is I have paid a high price for that activity and have slept most of the day, but I did it! I am thankful for small victories.
My appointment went well. I am unremarkable when it comes to the cancer in my liver, this means nothing is growing. The scans did not reveal any spreading of the disease into other areas of my body. My bloodwork was all normal. The CEA was 2.0, which is even down a little. [Read more…]
Nancy and I have traveled a similar journey for the past two years. I have to remind myself constantly that we have different perspectives.
Nancy and I were both in the room when we first met Dr. Saroha. Nancy sat in a chair, I lay in my bed as we first heard the words, “You have cancer.” We were less than four feet apart and yet we were miles apart. I listened to words that caused me to think about my own mortality. While Nancy heard the exact same words she was left wondering what life would be like without me. Perspectives.
I could not have asked for a better partner for the journey these past few years. Nancy has made everything I have accomplished possible. She has helped me through difficult times and given me strength when I wanted to do “just a little bit more.” Nancy has been a fantastic partner, and yet we see things through different lenses.
I have more strength and feel more like pre-cancer Dan than I have in close to a year. Just the other day I said, “I am finally starting to move like I want to.” Let me interpret that Dan speak for you. My day began with eight am coffee with one of Kennett’s most exciting and influential social justice advocates. We talked of partnerships and how to work closely together. I have accepted a position on the Board of Kacie’s Cause. While I am promoting The Journey Continues there are three other books in the works. First Baptist is full of life and there is much to do. Life is busy. I am energized and excited by all of it.
Nancy sees all the activity I just wrote about and wonders if maybe I ought not slow down? She can’t help but think that somehow all this activity is doing damage to my body and taking time off of my life. We have talked about it. We asked Dr. Saroha and he assured us it is not. Still, I can see the question in her eyes as she looks at me sometimes.
Two people, same exact experiences having different perspectives. [Read more…]
One of my goals for 2019 is to spend more quality time with Nancy. Last week we got away for a few days at Rehoboth Beach.
I know. I can hear the howls, “Why in the world would you go to the beach in the middle of February?” A picture is worth a thousand words. This is a picture of my personal, private beach. At one point I stood on my hotel room balcony and looking as far as the eye could see I only counted twenty people on the beach. That was the busiest I ever saw it.
When Joseph and Rayann were growing up we would take a week in February and head to the beach. It was just the three of us, we called it our Big Adventure. We ate poorly (great), stayed up late, and simply enjoyed time together. One of my favorite memories is the time Rayann stepped in a snow bank, got stuck, and when I pulled her out she lost her snow boot. How many people can say they lost a snow boot on the beach?
Nancy and I had been given a gift certificate to the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel. The place was amazing. We enjoyed a few days away and got to travel home in the middle of a snowstorm.
While away I had the opportunity to complete a thirty-year quest. When I was twenty I traveled to England. I was there for a few weeks and my group traveled all over the country and into Scotland. In one community we lived with host families. Each morning we would walk to the center of town to meet our group for the day. When our day was over we would all walk back to our host homes. My trip home led me past a fish and chips restaurant. It was a small, hole in the wall, take out place. You walked in, placed your order and walked out with fish and chips wrapped in a butcher paper cone. It was some of the best food ever. I stopped every night as I headed home.
When I returned to the States I started my quest to find fish and chips that came anywhere close to what I experienced in the small, hole in the wall shop in England. I have eaten a lot of bad fish and chips in pursuit of this quest. Nancy is the one who spotted Go Fish. A small, hole in the wall place selling fish and chips. I tried not to get excited as we ordered our food. My hopes had been dashed so many times before. That evening Nancy and I were the only people in the restaurant. We had the whole place to ourselves. It was fun, and the food was fantastic! The thirty-year quest was completed!
Nancy and I had a great few days together. It was good to step away from work and relax. Nancy took some time to work on a project the two of us are doing together while I spent some time writing. Our schedules were not being driven by appointments or deadlines, this was very refreshing. We could simply be together and do what seemed right at the moment. I will not lie, I did manage to take a few naps.
We had breakfast each morning in the hotel restaurant. It was a nice way to start the day. Looking out over the beach as someone served you coffee.
Thank you First Baptist Church for the gift certificate and the time to get away and relax for a few days.