My friend Diana forwarded an email message to me recently. It came from her friend (and mine) Barb. The message is written by Barb's good friend Dave Trout. I was so moved by the message that I wrote to Dave and asked him if I might share it on my blog. I told him that his words are words that so many need but cannot express as beautifully as he has done here. He graciously said yes. Dave has cancer. You'll figure that out rather immediately. He also has wisdom and abundant grace. So take a few minutes. Realize how short and precious and beautiful life is. And put Dave Trout on your prayer list. Wrap this man and his family in prayers. And thanks, Dave, for letting me share this. The quilt shown here is made from a pattern called the "Patience Nine Patch." If I could quilt, Dave, I would make this for you. Since I can't quilt, I just put it here on this blog with prayers for you.
This cancer journey has been a learning experience for me.
For instance, I’m learning the difference between patience and waiting.
Patience is when the nurse tries to draw blood twice
out of one arm and fails,
then finally draws it out of the other arm
on the third try—
and I don’t get frustrated.
Waiting is when there is nothing at all happening
but I have to stay because I “have an appointment.”
Over an hour after the appointment time,
I finally get in.
Then I wait for the doctor
who’s “running late.”
I’m just thankful he’s not “walking late!”
Now I’m waiting for my beard to grow back.
(Maybe it will be black and curly!)
Oh yes – I’m learning.
As most of you already know
I had to wait weeks for the Plan A surgery.
Finally, the day came
and I was ready. Let’s GO!
Afterward Dr. Nichols, the surgeon,
came to me and explained
that even though the tumor had shrunk,
the cancer had spread
and he couldn’t do what he had planned to do.
He was very apologetic and compassionate.
I was patient. (Pun intended!)
I’m learning that to ignore or dislike the facts
doesn’t change the facts.
(This is where I insert that contemporary phrase, “It is what it is!”)
The nursing staff at Riverside was terrific.
They were competent and sympathetic.
But when the doctor came in at 9:00 am two days later
and asked me if I wanted to go home or stay another day,
I impatiently said, “I WANT OUTTA HERE.”
Then, we waited until 5:00 pm
for all the dismissal “red tape” to be completed.
I was reminded of the young boy
who was on a trip with his dad and kept asking him,
“How long before we get there.”
The answer was always,” A long time yet.”
Finally, the boy asked,
“Daddy, will I still be four years old when we get there?”
that even when it seems like nothing is happening,
progress is being made.
We met with Dr. Moore, the oncologist, this week.
Now we’re on Plan B, Phase one.
He said the next thing for me is an even stronger chemo treatment.
I will have to have an infusion port inserted next week as an outpatient at Riverside.
Beginning Dec 19 I will have periodic infusions
at Zangmeister Center, but will also have to have a portable device
that will infuse the chemo for 24 hours five days a week
for up to 18 weeks, depending on my body’s reaction.
When he reviewed all the side effects of this particular treatment
(nausea, vomiting, depression, etc)
I was about ready to ask,
“Will it kill me?” but thought that might be tacky.
I am going to need patience!
I will have to trust progress is being made.
However, if you ask me how I am,
I will tell you what I told a surprised nurse
at the hospital when she asked:
“I am a man with cancer. Apart from that, I’m doing fine.”
My body is falling apart!
I’m inflicted with a vicious, aggressive disease.
I’m facing some very difficult days and weeks ahead physically
and an uncertain future.
I’m not happy or upbeat all the time.
Some days I just want to stay in bed.
But as for me and my spirit, I am doing just fine, thank you.
Like Abraham Lincoln said,
“The best thing about the future
is that it comes only one day at a time!”
I’m learning to be thankful in a whole new context.
Thank God for Pat.
Without her I would find this journey overwhelmingly difficult to face.
And thank God for you. Your calls, cards, and emails brighten my spirit
just knowing you are continuing to pray for me and Pat
as we move ahead.
We pray for you, too.
And thank God, with all the uncertainty,
I’m still learning many things.
I’m learning (perhaps too late in my career)
to ask someone with a serious illness not “How are you?”
but rather “How is your spirit?”
I’m learning the wisdom in the words,
“Hold everything loosely, except your faith.”
I’m learning the term “wait and see”
can be filled with hope as well as fear.
I’m learning by experience that the gracious gift of God’s Spirit is available for everyone to infuse us 24/7 with His grace to both wait and be patient for His will to be done—whatever that may be.
I’m learning even when it seems like God is not working; He IS working in our lives.
I’m learning to “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”
(Psalm 37:7 NKJV)
I’ll keep you updated, but in the meantime,
remember God loves you and me.
That’s what this Christmas thing is all about.
He asked me to remind you.