The Skinny on Steroids

steroids    Steroids are an interesting thing. When I was diagnosed with the brain tumor in 2013, early on, I was given steroids. And they helped immensely. Now, I am NOT naïve enough to think that steroids are going to take care of a brain tumor. But I DO know that they were the ONLY thing that gave me ANY relief. But I couldn’t find a doctor who would let me stay on them at the time.

Fast-forward to early June. The symptoms that we now know are Stage 4 Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer began to show. Doctors. Scans. ER. The general diagnosis was set and the next step was needle biopsies. They were going to admit me to the hospital that Thursday, knowing that (at the time) the needle biopsies probably wouldn’t happen until Tuesday or Wednesday of the next week. I assured them that admitting me for DAYS just to sit there and rot, waiting for tests, was NOT going to sit well! They agreed! They were going to send me home. But I didn’t want to go home empty-handed.

“What can you do for my symptoms?” “What do you mean?” “Well, the swelling in my neck, to start.” They agreed to put me on steroids. I got an injection of ‘roids in the ER and a “blister pack” tapering dose to take home. They helped a lot, but started to help less as I tapered off. I got a second tapering dose. Same thing. Meanwhile, I was meeting with doctors. So I said, “Here’s what I would like. I would like to get a stronger, stable dose of steroids and I would like to be able to renew them without having to track someone down every time.”

Honestly, I was FULLY expecting an argument, based on previous experience. And although I may seem like an sweet teddy bear…I CAN hold my own! But the doctor said, “Sounds great!” She typed it into the computer and 20 minutes later- no joke- our pharmacy, a 90-minute drive away from where we were sitting, texted me to say my prescription was ready to pick up!

When you get chemo, you also get a steroid injection. So this past Monday, I took my regular, oral dose AND got the injection. By Tuesday, I had more energy than I have had in a few weeks! It was pretty great! But I knew it was temporary. And sure enough- Wednesday, my energy level had dropped a bit. And yesterday, it was back down where it had been for the past few weeks! Oh well, can’t win ’em all!

Our approach right now is this- listen to my body. So, I am trying to do the things that I CAN do. But (Because I tend to push and do too much as a natural course of life.), I am also trying really hard to not overdo. I am getting a nap in most days right now. I am going to work most days, as well. I am making it to band practice. (That is therapy for me as much as anything!) I am writing a sermon every week. Still having staff meetings. Still having worship planning meetings. Still leading three worship services on Sunday. Still working with committees. But I have also needed to pull back on some things. Fortunately, we serve a congregation that is incredibly supportive! We are taking this a day at a time, some days an HOUR at a time.

We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post!

Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

Behind the Scenes of Radiation Treatment

radiation-therapy

Yesterday was Day Three of radiation treatment. That means that I have today and tomorrow left, and then I have the weekend “off” before it’s back to chemo and radiation next week! The nice part is that, since mine is a palliative treatment, next week will be the LAST week. (Except for one last radiation treatment the following Monday, to make up for the one I will miss on the Fourth of July!)

I thought I would give you some insight into what a radiation treatment is like. If you have been reading this space for the past few weeks, you know that they made a “mask” for me last week. It covers my head, neck and shoulders. It is FORM-fitted. We are talking snug! The purpose of it is to make sure that you don’t move during the treatment. The “mask” is made of a mesh material, which means that you can (sort of) see through and, better, you can (really) breathe through it! But as I said…it is SNUG!

After checking in at the front desk, we head into another part of the building- to a waiting room outside the areas where I receive the treatment. Usually, we don’t have to wait very long until they come and get me. From that moment until I am back out with my wife is only about 15 minutes! Yep- it’s fast! 90-minute round-trip drive, 15 minute treatment!

They take me into the room where the treatment happens. We have learned that shorts and a t-shirt are the best attire for me. Partly because parts of the building are stuffy and a bit hot. But also because the first thing that happens in the treatment room is that the shirt and glasses come off. Once on the table, the pillow goes under the knees and the mask gets bolted down around my head and shoulders.

Granted, I am only 3 treatments in. But every time they bolt that mask down, I am reminded all over again just how tight it is. It only takes a moment to adjust, but there IS that moment! Then, the table moves into the machine for a scan. The scan is designed to make sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be. Then, the table comes BACK out. I have to admit, I have NO idea what exactly is happening during that time, but there is some kind of camera/scanner/device in the ceiling, right about my head, that slows pans back and forth. I figure it MUST be doing…something!

Then, the techs come back in the room, look at the machine for a moment, push a button or two, then tell me it’s time. They leave and the table moved back into the machine. The radiation is then administered. The truth is that you can’t feel anything while it happens. You would never know anything is actually happening.

Oddly, with that form-fitting mask pinning your head and shoulders to the table, all of the noise the machine makes and the fact that you’re simply not in there very long, I managed to fall completely asleep yesterday! I had dozed slightly the other two times. But yesterday, I was out cold. It was the movement of the table sliding out of the machine that woke me up! I got the mask off, the shirt and glasses on and was back with my wife!

After yesterday’s treatment, we met with the Radiology Oncologist. (That happens once a week during treatment.) They simply want to touch base and make sure things are going well. My weight has maintained, after a 13-pound drop in 10 days. So- that’s a good thing! All of my vitals- BP, pulse, pulse-ox level- were great. And the doctor felt that things were going very well. So far- NO side effects from either the chemo OR the radiation. Still several days to go, but the doctors are optimistic that I won’t have any real side effects. I’d be fine with that!

We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post!

Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

“Well, the People Kept Ringing the Bell!”

panic button

Well, Day Two of the radiation treatments is in the books! For those of you keeping score at home, that means: Chemo done- 1, Radiation done- 2, Chemo yet to come- 1, Radiation yet to come- 8. So far, just two days in, I have a grand total of ZERO side effects. One the one hand, it’s early and they still might show up. On the other hand, the doctors said they are pretty confident that my side effects will be relatively minimal. So- we’ll see, won’t we?!

Given that there simply isn’t much to report on from a radiation treatment that lasted 14 minutes and didn’t cause side effects, let me tell you a bit more about the chemo treatment from Monday. But first…an aside. There is an episode of Seinfeld where Kramer is telling Jerry and George about having been on the bus when a guy tried to rob the driver. After a fight, while the bus was moving, the end result was the driver out cold on the floor, Kramer driving the bus and the would-be robber standing over him, fighting with him…while he drives the bus. As the story unfolds, Kramer says, “I kicked him off the bus at, you know, the next stop.” The other guys are stunned, “You kept making the STOPS?!” Kramer answers, “Well, the people kept ringing the bell!” Hang on to that line- it WILL come back into play!

After we got settled into our room for the chemo treatment on Monday, the technician who was working with us was “showing us the ropes”. One of the last things she showed us was the bell you saw in the picture at the top. Not a bell LIKE that- that IS the bell. She put it on the little pop-up table that was attached to the chair I was in and explained that, if I had ANY problem at all…ring the bell. She was clear to make some distinctions, however. “If you have to go to the bathroom…don’t ring the bell. Just have your wife come and get me. The bell is for a medical emergency, because I come running if you ring the bell.” OK. She left us to check on other patients.

We sat there, talking and reading, passing the time. The IV that was administering the chemo drugs was in my right arm. So as we talked, I was gesturing with my left arm. And if you know me at all, I CANNOT talk without arm gestures. Impossible! So were talking, and I’m gesturing, and we’re talking, and I’m gesturing. And I’m getting more comfortable, which means my gestures are getting more animated. (You can smell what’s coming, can’t you?!) Suddenly, I flipped my left hand while talking…and brought the back of the lower knuckle of my left hand squarely down on the little…dinger…of the bell!

I immediately muttered, “Shoot!” (I SWEAR, no pun intended, that was the word I muttered! I’m a pastor- I’m pretty G-rated!) Following that was a half-hearted call toward the hallway, “False alarm! I didn’t mean to ring the bell!” BUT…it was too late! She came running in the room, “Are you OK?!” “Yep- other than being a bit of an idiot…I’m just fine!” I explained that I accidentally rang the bell and promised I would NEVER do it again! In the end, it got moved out of my reach for my WIFE to ring if necessary. After the technician left, I said to my wife, “You kept making the stops?!” And without missing a beat, she said, “Well, the people kept ringing the bell!”

We continue to insist on hanging on to our faith, our love for each other and our humor in the midst of a difficult situation. Again, happiness is fleeting and other people can take it away from you. But joy is that God-given thing that no one can take away from you. BUT- you can very willingly give it up. We refuse to let go of our joy. The cancer can attack my body, but it cannot shake my faith or lessen my joy.

We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post!

Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

“The First Transport is Away!”

star wars

My family is a bunch of self-proclaimed geeks. We LOVE trivia. We LOVE Jeopardy. We all can quote WAY more lines from movies and TV than a human should be able to. We know more obscure facts about music than you can shake a stick at. And our days simply involve moving from one “family joke” to another, most of which are based on one of those obscure things mentioned above.

One of our (MANY) favorites comes from Star Wars Episode 5. (Although, if you’re a purist like me, you make that scoffing, “spitty” noise with your lips and say, “Episode 5! Please. It’s The Empire Strikes Back and it was the SECOND movie, not the fifth!”) The “good guys” have been hiding out on the ice planet Hoth and the “bad guys” find them. The guys immediately put into play an existing plan to get transport ships full of their people off the planet and out of harm’s way. As the plan unfolds, the first attempt is successful. A disembodied voice in the space ship hangar announces, “The first transport is away!” And all the “good guys” within earshot stop what they are doing, wave their arms excitedly and cheer. All, that is, except one guys. Rumor has it that many of the extras in those scenes on Hoth were natives of Norway or wherever they filmed the scenes and NOT actors. It showed. The guy in question, when the incredible news is announced and everyone is waving their arms and cheering, proceeds to swing his fist, in an arch, from his hip to the sky…in slow motion. It looks like someone said, “Can you swing your arm up?” And he, with overwhelming doubt, confusion and incredulity on his face, responds, “You mean…like THIS?” Worst acting job- ever! And so, when something we have been planning actually starts, one of us will say, “The first transport is away!” And we will ALL slowly, PAINFULLY, swing our arms up in the air! (I TOLD you we were geeks!)

Yesterday, I had both my first chemo and first radiation treatments. The chemo infusion started at 9 with some prep. As I have mentioned before, my veins have gone from the Poster Children for Awesome Veins Everywhere to having their picture on a milk carton! Everybody seems to struggle to get a needle in me. (Well, they DON’T struggle with getting the needle IN! In fact, the bruises on my arms testify to the fact that they have been getting the needles in JUST fine! They just haven’t been getting them in the RIGHT place! And the secret to success with needles is the same as success in real estate- location, location, location!) So it took a while to get a good line in. Then, there is a time of flushing the line. Then, medicines started.

chemoA total of 3 bags went in, with more flushing in between and afterward. As soon as that first chemo treatment was over, my wife texted both of our sons these words, (You KNOW it’s coming!) “The first transport is away!” Gotta love it!

About 12:30PM, we left there and went to grab some lunch. From there, we headed to the other facility for the radiation treatment. I had to strap that lovely “mask” on and be rolled into the tube. But the treatment itself is pretty fast- about 15 minutes. Then…we went home! (Well, we stopped at the pharmacy to pick up two different nausea medicines for me…and THEN we went home!

So far, as I write this about 9PM Monday evening, I am not having any side effects. Now, I’m NOT naïve enough to think that means I won’t have any. But the fact that I don’t have any NOW is a bonus- I’ll take it! I have 4 more radiation treatments this weeks. Then, off for the weekend. Then, next week looks JUST like this week. Then, treatment is (At least for the time being) done. From there, we are hanging on to the hope that there is a Clinical Trial that I will be a good fit for. We walk this journey one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. We refuse to give in and give up. Instead, we choose joy. God is good, all the time!

We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post!

Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

“You Wanna Ring the Bell?” “Ding, Ding!”

Rock17

In one of the Rocky movies (I think it was Rocky 47- Rocky Fights His Way Out of the Nursing Home! Actually, it was Rocky 3!), the movie ends with Rocky and his arch-nemesis turned trainer Apollo Creed in the ring in the sweaty old gym. Rocky and Apollo are going to spar. They both have their gear on and, to signify that the fight is going to start, Rocky says to Apollo, “You wanna ring the bell?” Apollo holds his gloved hand up and pretends to ring a bell, “Ding, ding!” Then…the fight begins.

So today is a bit of a “red letter” day. Today is Day One of BOTH chemo and radiation. The chemo will be administered once a week for only two weeks. Meanwhile, the radiation will be administered, concurrent with the chemo, 5 times a week for those same two weeks. And currently, that is all of that type of treatment the doctors are planning. The bottom line is that neither of these treatments will cure what I have. Instead, they are intended to simply “knock” the cancer down. Meanwhile, genetic testing on tissue from the thyroid id being done to hopefully identify a Clinical Trial that I might be eligible for.

Last night happened to be the monthly Administrative Council meeting for the church we currently serve. I plan on attending as many of those as I physically can, moving forward, but this one- the FIRST one “post-diagnosis” was pretty important. The meeting was a good one. (I frankly worry about churches when the meetings of their governing body are divisive and antagonistic. Been there- done that. What hope do you POSSIBLY have of helping a congregation be all that God is calling them to be when the leadership can’t even behave themselves?!) This congregation consistently has good, positive, supportive, Christian leadership meetings!

At the end of the meeting, the Chairperson of the committee turned it over to our Lay Leader- the person who serves as the congregation’s “representative” to the pastor. He said that he had talked with my wife and that he wanted the group to pray over me. So he read some Scripture and we then journeyed to the sanctuary.

Once there, he had us ALL kneel at the Prayer Rail. He said that, before they came to God on my behalf, we all needed to be “right with God” ourselves. So encourages us to pray, offering up anything that we saw as a barrier between us and God and asking Him to remove it so that we could come more fully into His presence. He then asked everyone but me to get up, surround me and lay hands on me. He started the prayer, then left it open for others to pray. Once he felt that everyone was done, he then closed the prayer time.

Early in his prayer, he said, “Lord, the fight begins tomorrow.” (Meaning today.) And as they prayed over me, I jokingly asked myself, “Well if the fight begins tomorrow, then what have my wife and I been doing in all those doctor’s offices and hospitals for the past 2 weeks?!” But you know what? He’s right. The fight DOES begin- in earnest- today. Sure, we’ve been going through some…many…less than desirable things the past couple of weeks. But those were just the prelims. The main event starts now.

My prayer is that the chemo and radiation don’t take too much out of me. The doctors are somewhat confident that I will tolerate the treatment they have designed pretty well. (And the truth is that, while I may SEEM like a marshmallow, I can’t stand just about anything!) If that proves to be the case, I will continue to do what God has called me to do, making sure I’m am eating well, resting when I need to and generally taking good care of myself. (That last part was predominately for my wife!)

For the time being, I will continue to post daily. (I only THOUGHT I had moved away from it being a daily blog!) This space will continue to serve as my “CaringBridge” page. I have some thoughts and insights I have gained in the past few weeks that I will share along the way, along with keeping you updated more specifically on the health issues.

We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post!

Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

UPICKEM2: JOHN the BAPTIST

UPICKEM2 John the Baptist

My name is John. John. One of the most common names in history. But my story is far from common. First off- my name was divinely given. An angel appeared to my dad, a priest named Zachariah, and told him that my mom, Elizabeth, was going to have a child- a boy. They were to name him- me- John, which means “God is gracious.” The angel told my dad that I’d be filled with God’s Spirit. He also told him that I was to be raised under the strict code of the Nazirites- Israelites consecrated specifically to the service of God.
Most descriptions of me are short and sweet, brief and stark. I wore a camel’s hair garment, bound by a leather belt. I mostly ate locusts and wild honey. And all of that begs the question- WHY? Why did I wear those kinds of clothes? Eat that kind of food? Live out in the wilderness? As I said, I was raised as a Nazarite. I was trained to live a simple, sacrificial life. I was prepared, from an early age, to focus on being the one who came to prepare…the way of the Lord.
Secondly, I’m often referred to as John the Baptizer or John the Baptist. And no- that doesn’t mean I’m a member of the Baptist Church! Instead, it means “one who administers the rite of immersion”. Baptism. My baptism was with water, for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus would come, however, to baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit.
My mom, Elizabeth, is the cousin of Mary- Jesus’ mom. That’s no accident. It also makes Jesus and me cousins. My conception was somewhat miraculous, but Jesus’ conception was immaculate. I was born about 6 months before Him. I also preceded Him in the coming of His earthly ministry. I was His herald, His messenger.
Any Hebrew familiar with the Old Testament should have expected my ministry- it was foretold all the way back in the Book of Isaiah- “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness; prepare the way of the Lord”. The last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, even more directly points to me- “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple; the Messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come.” I am “the messenger who will come”. But Jesus is “the Messenger of the covenant”.
As I said, I tended to be a loner, living out in the desert by myself. I never sought out crowds of people. Instead, somehow, I seemed to attract them. Thousands of people came to me and were baptized by me. And I want to be clear- it wasn’t my clever wit or sparkling personality that attracted them- it was solely the message I preached. There was a God-shaped hole in the people’s hearts. They were searching for something that was missing. The Word that God gave me to share with them began to fill that hole.
Some of the Jewish leaders began to take notice of me and sent a delegation of priests out to find out who I was…and who I THOUGHT I was. They wanted to know if I was claiming to be the Messiah. They wanted to know if I was claiming to be the Old Testament prophet Elijah, reincarnated. I assured them, in no uncertain terms, that I was NOT the promised Messiah OR a reincarnated Elijah. Then they asked if I was a prophet. I again assured them I was not. Finally, in desperation, they asked, “Well, then who ARE you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
I told them I was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. I told them I was the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ I told them I was the voice of preparation, announcing the coming of Emmanuel- God with us. I am NOT the Light. I simply came to bear witness TO the Light. I’m not even worthy to carry His sandals.
Turns out, they weren’t done with their questioning, “If you’re not the Messiah, or Elijah or a Prophet, why do you baptize?” Again, I was ready with an answer, “I baptize with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than me- I’m not worthy to carry His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand. He’ll clear the threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
One day, I was talking with two of my disciples. As we talked, I looked up, saw Jesus and said to those with me, “Look, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! THIS is the one I meant when I said, ‘A Man Who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me’.”
Soon after that, I was in the Jordan River, baptizing new believers when Jesus came walking down the hill. I was stunned. I waded near the bank of the river and said to Jesus, “I need to be baptized by You. Why do You come to me?” Jesus laid His hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye and, as He waded out into the water next to me, said, “Let it be so now. It’s correct for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” And so…I baptized…the Messiah. And as I brought Him up out of the water, the most amazing thing I have ever seen happened. Heaven opened and the Spirit of God descending like a dove, landing on Jesus. And then, God spoke. “This is my Son, Whom I love. I am well pleased with Him.”
If you remember the story, Herod the Great was king when Jesus was born. His son, Herod Antipas, was the king when I was in the middle of my ministry. He didn’t like what I was doing, so, during the time that Jesus was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness, he had me arrested.
Although already married, King Herod fell in love with Herodias, the wife of his half-brother, Philip. He convinced her to leave his brother. He then divorced his wife and married her. I heard about this…sinful arrangement and couldn’t keep silent. I told Herod that what he was doing was wrong. And even though he didn’t like what I said, he saw me as a righteous man and wanted to protect me. But his “wife”- Herodias- was furious- so she had me thrown in prison. While I was there, I began to struggle with…everything. I KNEW Jesus was the One. I KNEW it. But I had SO hoped that the Messiah would come as a conquering king…not a suffering servant. So, I sent people to ask Jesus, “ARE you the One Who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus understood my question- He knew I was struggling. So, He sent them back to me with these instructions, “Tell John what you’ve heard and seen. Tell him about the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, the lepers cleansed, the deaf hearing, the dead raised, and the good news proclaimed to the poor.” Then Jesus added something else- especially for me, “Blessed is anyone who doesn’t stumble because of Me.”
All along, Herodias was looking for an opportunity to get rid of me. And finally, she found it. It was Herod’s birthday, so he threw a big party. Herodias’ daughter danced at the party. He was so pleased with her dancing that he told she could ask for anything she wanted and he would grant it. She went to her mother to see what she should ask for. Herodias was ready. She asked for my head on a platter- literally. Herod, to honor his word, send an executioner to the dungeon to finish the deed. My earthly ministry was done.
I would like to take a second to clear something up. People are often troubled by the fact that the Bible quotes me as saying that I didn’t know Jesus until the day I baptized Him. I DID say it- but my words have been misunderstood ever since. Of course I knew Him- we were cousins. But until that day- the day I baptized Him, the day God’s Spirit came down from heaven- until that day, I didn’t know Jesus fully as Messiah. Once God’s Holy Spirit came down on Him, there in the Jordan River, there could be NO doubt- He is the Messiah.
I WATCHED the Spirit of God come down from heaven, like a dove, and envelope Jesus. I have seen and I can testify that Jesus IS God’s Chosen One. I didn’t perform any signs or miracles. That wasn’t my job. My job was simply to prepare the way for Jesus. Instead, my ministry focused on a simple but challenging call- repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is near. I challenged those who were baptized but refused to change, “You sons of snakes! Who warned you to run from the fury that’s about to break over your heads? You’ve got to re-shape your lives. God’s new order of the Spirit is confronting you!” I wanted their faith to produce fruit. Spiritual fruit is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual conviction. Without spiritual fruit, there’s no real repentance.
I’m NOT the Messiah. I’m the one who was sent ahead of Him. HE is the One. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. And the friend, who attends to the bridegroom, waits and listens for Him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and now it’s complete. I must become less so He can become greater.

 

 

Snowball Gets a More Specific Diagnosis!

Snowball

Yesterday was a pretty easy day. We had to be out of the house early and at the facility where the chemo will be administered by 8:30AM. (It’s a 45-minute drive.) The purpose of this particular visit was to go over what the treatments will be like, how long they will take and what side effects we need to watch for. We also met with a dietician and a social worker. Then…we got to go home!

We are pretty doggone excited that we don’t have to go ANYWHERE today. I expect there will be a lot of hanging around the house, watching movies and playing board games! Then, of course, there’s Sunday. And until I am physically not able to, I have every intention of being in church on Sunday- in the pulpit and behind the drums. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. AND…it’s very therapeutic!

If you have been reading this blog of late, you know that they had classified my cancer as “poorly differentiated”. It turns out that the biggest reason they classified it as such was because they simply didn’t get enough viable tissue on the first round of biopsies. There is another word that has been bandied about since this all started. We first heard the word 2 weeks ago yesterday- Friday, June 9. The word is Anaplastic. The first doctor who talked to us after that first round of biopsies (And I mean RIGHT after!) said that, while it couldn’t yet be substantiated, the initial thought was Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.

They are classifying my cancer as Stage 4 Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer. What confirmed that for me was seeing it yesterday on a form at the facility that will be administering the chemo treatments. They have been pretty clear- there is no cure for this. The chemo and radiation are designed to “knock it down” without knocking ME down too far. The hope beyond that is a Clinical Trial.

When I had the brain tumor- the VERY rare brain tumor- 4 years ago, I was undergoing experimental treatments in an effort to treat something they didn’t know how to treat. At the time, I wrote a blog referencing, of all things, the old cartoon Pinky and the Brain. They were lab rats. And a recurring character in the show was another lab animal- a guinea pig named Snowball. At the time, I compared myself to Snowball. I now realize that I am about to, once again, become Snowball the Guinea Pig!

My wife, who is often the smarter of the two of us, said something recently that really resonated with me. I told her that, while I am absolutely going to do this treatment, with a smile on my face, a joke on my lips and God in my heart, I don’t want to. But she reminded me that I have devoted much of my life to trying to help others. What I went through with the brain tumor helped the doctors take another step in how to treat it. And what I do now does the same thing- my going through the treatment and Clinical Trial will help provide more data that will, one day, have a profound positive impact on someone else. So…bring it on! Snowball is ready!

We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. I will continue to update on this site, so check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post!

Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!