Yesterday October 20 at 1:00 I had another milestone in my treatment The radiation on three nodules on my brain. As I tried to come to a comforting safe place as how to stay under the mask two to three hours I thought of a solution. I listen to Gospel music when I mow and do things I do not enjoy and am encouraged. So I did a playlist on my iPhone. As I went and checked in and sat in the waiting area I was welcomed by one of the tech and was told they would be ready for me in a moment. As I was called back I ask if today I could listen to a playlist of music while we were doing today’s procedure since it would be so long. They said yes just get where they could start it and they would get me set and start it playing. Well when they started it it was not loud enough for me it hear clearly so they set it up in a place where it was some what amplified so it could be clearly heard. As the procedure started I could hear Big Daddy Weave, Charlie Pride and Alan Jackson, with a mix of some Old Gospel and New Christian music.
After about 40 minutes the first Technician came out and told Sherrie The first one is done and he is ready to go to the next one. He is doing good and wants to keep going so we are starting on the second nodule. Time passes and 30 minutes later another Technician comes to Sherrie and says the second one is done and he wants to continue. She continues to relate this to Sherrie “We like his music and we have been jammin to it. One of the guys was dancing and I told him to stop you don’t dance to that. Eddie is doing Good!” Sherrie told her He is strong with an Unshakeable Faith. The technician replied yes we can tell and yes he is strong and doing great we will be able to finish today. The last procedure was over 30 minutes later and Sherrie was told Eddie is done and all three nodules have been done. He did great, as soon as we can get him out and he sees the Dr. Yall will be ready to go.
I have had little side effects to yesterday but the Infusion of Zometa has been not so fun. It could possibly give Flu like symptoms and in the aches and pain. Well lets just say I want to know where that truck came from that ran over me and then backed up to be sure. Today has been better but yesterday and last night was rough.
Thoughts and an Inspiration
A good friend sent me something in an email and I just read and absorbed a good drink of refreshment. I want to share a little with you for someone else may need a refreshing drink of goodness as well.
This was called All the Grace you need by Dr. Oscar Thompson
Dr. Thompson was in his last year of life. He was dying from cancer. But he was not in town to talk about cancer; his focus was on preaching about Christ. Yet on one occasion, he talked about the grace God had given. A Doctor has just shared the news of Cancer that was inoperable. A bone scan later revealed that the malignancy had
metastasized and spread to my foot, knee, hip, rib, shoulder, and cranium.
“After the doctor left my room that night, a deep, sweet peace from him who is our peace surged within me. It was simply inexplicable and ineffable. I reached for my New Testament on the nightstand and said, ‘Father, if I am not going to live, I want to count. I need a word from
you.’ There surfaced in my mind a passage of Scripture that I had memorized years before. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God’ (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
“‘Oh, Father, I understand. You are going to send me through the valley so that I can comfort others with your comfort when they walk there.’
“Then came that inner nudge that said, ‘Read on.’ Verses 8 through 11 revealed this promise to my heart: ‘We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust
in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, … you also joining in helping us through your prayers, that thanks may be given by many persons on
our behalf for the favor bestowed upon us through the prayers of many.’
“I put down the Testament, rejoiced in the Lord, and later slipped into a peaceful, refreshing sleep. Was I rejoicing because I felt I would live? No! I was rejoicing because it really did not matter. My life was under his control. I rejoiced because of a wonderful awareness of
his love. Verse after verse that I had memorized began to surface. First John 4:18 exploded in my consciousness: ‘There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.’
“I knew that nothing could come into my life without God’s permission. If it came with his permission, then I knew that it surely came with his grace to deal with it. …
“The joy of living is permitting God to do through us whatever he has in mind for each day. Most people’s lives are crucified between two thieves, yesterday and tomorrow. God can only give forgiving grace for
yesterday. He stores no provision of grace for tomorrow. Tragically, most of us live in yesterday and tomorrow, in that devastating land of ‘What if?’ God has adequate grace to deal with yesterday if it is put in his hands. But his grace is poured out one day at a time. The person
who has not learned this will never live victoriously. He will always be vulnerable to circumstances.
“In other words, I learned that God does not give dying
grace on non-dying days.”
There it is. God gives us the grace we need for today.
My friends as I have thought on these words I have been even more encouraged to be strong be cause in My weakness My Lord is strong. He is greater than anything to come against me. If I live in the world of “What If ” I miss the blessings the God has instore for me. You see If the story above is true and I believe it is spot on for me today. God has the grace I need for today and it is enough. But I also know God has my grace for tomorrow as well.
The thing is I usually try to find a safe place to store all my fears and leave them there. Or I find a person to confide in who make me feel safe. But like my friend who sent this to me, I found someone who made me feel brave. We must not seek people who make us feel safe but find those who can make us feel brave. That makes us all feel better.
We have passed a few milestones on the journey since my last blog. Wednesday started early At Athens Limestone Hospital getting my Power Port installed for the Chemotherapy to begin. Then it was off to Blackwell Medical Tower to get my last radiation on my C-Spine and Right Shoulder. This was my fifth and final radiation treatment for these two areas.
To day I saw Dr Katragadda my Oncologist. We discussed the medicines he has gotten approved for my Chemotherapy. I will begin Chemo on October 31 and will be in 21 day cycles for four cycles and then maintenance doses after that.
Friday brings another milestone the radiation on my three spots on my brain that need to be treated. Oh and another little victory, the Radiation Doctor, Dr. Gleason said most have roots that have spread and the ones I have do not. They are tight little spots and that is why he can do a focused radiation on them and they are done for. So there is another thing God has given us victory over.
God Winks this week
Just in case you do not know what a “God Wink” is here is my definition: A God Wink is something that happens or you see something that makes you think only God can show me that.
As I told you Wednesday I had the surgery to install My Power Port for Chemo. Dr. Koonce explained how it worked and a God Wink popped into my head. You see the Port is a small Heart shaped piece that has a line that goes from my left shoulder to a vein to my heart. This line is what will deliver the medicine to fight the cancer. The distance as it travels is about 18″. I remembered the the distance from your brain to your heart is about the same. So what does that have to do with a God Wink you ask. That is a good question and I am glad you asked, let me explain.
Many years ago as a child I walked up the aisle during a revival to a fire escape. We had a fire and brimstone preacher holding revival at the little church across the road from our house. He talked about hell and how hot it was and I did not want to go there. So up the aisle I went. Soon after I was baptised in The river at the end of Lamb’s Ferry Road. I did all the right things and I knew who Jesus was and what he did for me but that was all head knowledge, I was right in my mind. But you see I lacked something.
Years pass and I’m at a Men’s Conference at Doublehead Resort. Pastor Tim Anderson said something that had convicted me to the bone. I was living the right life, but you see I had no Relationship with my Lord. We sat down after the conference in a little cabin beside the Tennessee River and talked. It was then I gained the distance between my heart and my head. Everything is now connected. This is why my friends I can have so much Peace about this journey. I have a relationship with my Lord and Savior. If you only have the head (brain knowledge) then you are missing the whole part of happiness and joy in your salvation. When you have a relationship with the Lord who is bigger than any and all of your problems you have no fear for you big brother is beside you to fight off all those bad things.
Another God Wink came this week at the last of my radiation treatments. As I finished they were taking off the mask and I looked up and saw a cross directly above me in the ceiling. If you look at the picture above this is the machine that does my radiation treatments. I have cropped the picture to show the little cross.
As the machine rotated I saw the cross and commented and the technician it is where the laser is used to align for you position calibrating the machine. Friends to me it was a cross and it had red beams from the top, bottom, right , and left of me. I was reminded that from the cross all good things began for us. The beams of red light reminded me it was the blood of Christ shed for me on that cross so I could have that relationship with Him if I just believed in him both heart and mind. The cross in the ceiling was a soft reminder to me that my Lord is showing me God Winks all around me if I just look and see them.
My Lord is with me in the valley as much as the mountain tops. We just look harder for him in the valleys. We should always look beside us for his presence. I told someone one time I had rather be in the valleys of life or climbing the mountain than on the top. There is where I always feel closest to my Lord. I am ashamed sometimes at that statement now especially as I am reminded He is always there if we just look for Him. It is in those Mountain top experiences we tend to think we do not need those blessings. As we look down into those valleys for our perch high on the top of our mountain sometimes we forget how we got there.
My friends I am thankful for the Mountain Tops as well as the valleys just now I remember how I got there. So here I am climbing that mountain once again. My precious wife Sherrie on one side and My Lord on the other. There are so many Prayer Warriors behind us there is no way I can fall back because you all will catch me and push me up further. I am so grateful for the prayers, cards and acts of kindness show to me Sherrie during this journey. Word can not express the gratitude in my heart for you.
Happy Friday the 13th!! Today was the second day of radiation and the second day of having to lay still while being restrained by the mask. There are two sessions lasting about 10 to fifteen minutes each but in the mask for the entire time. The radiation seems to have just a small effect of being out in the sun sort of a draining effect. No sickness feeling as of yet. I have begun to pray and worship during this time. The fear of how will I respond to being so closely confined was real. Yet when I concentrate on the prayers and thanking God for his love and grace the other things pass away.
Here is my thought for today. Relating to the mask as I lay there I can see two different views of how this can apply to us as a people going about our lives. So many times we wear an invisible mask of everything is ok. Yet we hide all the things we want no one to know or see about us fearing that people would not understand. In most cases we are simply wrong. We fear what others think about how we look, how we act or anything else we can think of to fear. When we fear things we inhibit the possibilities of people actually ministering to us as their views are based on what they see in you and not what you fear they think. In most all cases if we would only take off the mask and be real as to who we actually are our fears would be totally unfounded. We would be met with love rather than the thing we had feared from an individual.
As I am relating to the mask is that for my good I am held in a position to be healed. This healing can be more that Physical healing it can also heal the soul. As I have related I have begun to not fear the time behind the mask but to take the advice of a friend who has walked this journey before me. You have a choice under the mask to fear and become frantic and drive yourself into a fit but. I have found facing the worst makes the outcome the best. What is the worst thing that could happen? you panic? and how does that help you get through it? Well it does not. So what can be the best thing that can happen you get the needed healing by being still and relaxing and letting the machine and the people take care of you. You do realize that for our good God Holds us down in his infinite wisdom to get us to think and draw us to him. Well God has my attention and now instead of the fear of the Cancer or the fear of the Mask my focus is on his love and healing power. Hs keeps manifesting this in my life by his presence, and others praying for me. As I pray and worship in my time in the mask there is such a presence that nothing else matters but my Lord and his presence with me. I can not see the world around me as my eyes are closed unable to open under the restraint. I hear the whirrs and sounds of the machine yet they dim in the awareness as we walk together my Lord and I. So to end today remember this meaning of fear.
Fear is something we allow to control us without looking at the facts and facing reality. If we look reality in the eye and face it head on we overcome that false evidence. I have looked Cancer in the eye and told it you can not have me unless you go through My Lord first and HE is the Great Physician, The Healer. My fear is gone because of this, it is in Whom I believe in and who walks daily by my side on this journey up the mountain.
For those of you who have never had a mask made to purposefully hold you down without moving. This is my mask it is perfectly fitted by my face neck and shoulders. This was stretched over me and was molded by my features, when it set there was no moving. The next adventure for me is coming on Wednesday when I go to Blackwell Towers and lay on a table and this will be placed over me on a machine table and screwed into place. I will be locked into place as the technicians will setup the machine to do my radiation. This day will be the mapping that will allow them to do the actual work on Thursday. They will locate three places on the Brain and one on my C Spine. The X marks a reference spot to where the 12 lasers will be guided to each spot of cancer to a pinpoint location to effectively kill it. Then they will move to the next spot ands so on until all is done. As the Technicians were making this they were talking me through what they were doing. As you can imagine this can be a little unnerving as you literally not move. You cough you do not move you sneeze you do not move unless they let you go. The voices of those around me telling me what was happening had a soothing effect to calm me as they worked. When I go back on Thursday I will be in this for a long time 20 to 30 minutes for each spot of Cancer invading my brain. So that will be three on the brain and one on the C-Spine. You can do the math it will be a long time.
As I think on the process there are things that come to mind.
One of those things will be the people who will be so kindly be talking me through what is happening,
Another is the precision of the work of the machine to do the work to kill the cancer, twelve beams of light precisely pointed to one minute spot.
There has been much preparation to perfect this treatment for me.
Outside of this room there will be people praying for the success of the treatment from Ukraine, England & Panama. Closer to home there will be people all over the southeast and some even in the north.
There will be a friend waiting and praying as the procedure is done, ready to carry me home when they are done.
There will be my Lord guiding the hands and minds of the Physicians as they work guiding his own creation (Radiation) to my cure.
Now let me guide you to all of the thoughts above and hopefully tie God’s Handiwork together in all of this.
My sweet wife gave me some words of wisdom a day ago and I have been processing them since. She simply told me ” God has given you the best.” Now I did look at her like a cow looking at a new gate. But then she explained such a profound statement.
God gave you cancer but we have been told it is the BEST you could possibly get, The Non- Small Cell Carcinoma I have is a slow growth as well as the type which is called Adenocarcinoma. The Oncologist said we have more success with this type over any other type. We have more medicines and more treatment options for this one type.
She then told me God had given me the BEST Doctors and the best Facility to go for treatment. Everyone we have talked to has raved about how everyone was the best, kindest and most compassionate people they had met.
I was reminded that I had the BEST Church supporting me. So many people praying and sending words of encouragement as well as people taking of our needs that I can not do for now without being asked.
She reminds me God Had given me the BEST Friends and Family that anyone could wish for.
WOW God does love me! He has given me the best of everything. Just look at the list above and then think of the time, effort invested for me in the precision alignment by man and machine to give me the BEST treatment that could be given. Yes and my Lord will be with me under that mask giving me thoughts of encouragement as we talk during this log time of immovability.
I have to agree with a friend during the time in the MRI, CT Scan and now this, this time has become some of my best prayer time. It is amazing how fast time goes when you are in communion with the Father as you go through these things.
YES GOD HAS GIVEN THE BEST. But the biggest question today is have I given him my BEST? My friends have you given your best to Him? I know I am saved by grace, at times I am still a wicked sinful man. I yet haven’t given him my best. I think I have been given and example by the Father above and the bar is set high.
This man is receiving the Best of God’s Love, Mercy and Grace. I will strive to begin now giving back to Him the Best that God deserves from me. Just like the mask in the picture above is a perfect image of me, I will strive to be a perfect image of my Savior.
What my friend will you do.
I dearly and deeply LOVE You each and everyone thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement.
Today was the day to meet with my Radiation doctor whose name is Dr. Gleason He is a young and caring man Sherrie and I agreed that God had put him in our journey. The next plan is I go back Monday for another MRI of my Brain and Cervical spine. They want to get thinner more detailed slices of my Brain to pinpoint my treatment. Now Sherrie and I have agreed to be grateful for the small victories and this was one of them. You see I literally loathe the MRI. Just picture Big man little bitty tunnel and I am all up in it. Can I say fat man squeeze? Well the victory was that I was going Monday for the Cervical MRI this meant another visit to that demon machine and I was already dreading that one. The victory is they will do both in the same time, Also they will give me some happy juice in my IV since it will be so long doing both. So I will not care what they do I just will not care.
The next thing that same day they will after the MRI will be to make a mask of my face. This will allow them to stabilize my head so it will not move. When this is done it will hold me in position to map my brain. Now that is something there are some scary things in there and I hope they do not map past where I was before I found my Relationship with Christ. Some things just need to stay buried. The mask and the mapping will allow them to pinpoint my radiation to the three specific areas in my brain that the cancer shows up. He is also going to mark a place to zap the place on my C1 Cervical vertebrae and a place on my shoulder. These two places are to only ones now causing me pain.
All this happens on Monday. Then sometime next week I will go to Blackwell Tower to get the radiation done. This pinpoint accuracy will allow me to get all of these places treated with only one concentrated treatment. Then Chemotherapy can begin.
Each Blog I want to give you a encouraging thought for the day or shall we call it a God Wink.
Wednesday night we watched The Shack, I had heard of the book and never read it but the movie encouraged me so much. I do not want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it so I will give you the Cliffsnotes version to where my God Wink was. The gist of the movie is about a man who had lost his youngest daughter during a camping trip. She had been abducted and killed at a shack not far away. He built up so much hatred for the man who killed her and hid her they did not have a body to bury, Years pass and he goes back. While he was there he found nothing and started back to his truck, He saw a man walking to him and who invited to follow along, In the movie it turns out it was Jesus, He gets to another Cabin and meets Mary and God. They are telling him how much they love him and the hatred he has is keeping them apart yet they still love him and want a relationship with him. Time goes by and Jesus is standing by the sea shore and tells him to get into the rowboat and go to the other side and he will meet him there. As the man rows to the middle of the lake he stops and something begins to hit the boat and is causing water to come in and the boat is sinking. The water is dark and black and when he puts in his hand it also comes out black. Just as the boat is about to sink Jesus walks up to him hold out his hand and tells him all the things happening are the dark things in his mind and to let them go and walk with him. Mind you Jesus is walking on the water. The man finally with much trepidation steps out on the water holding on to Jesus hand. They walk across the lake and talk Jesus send him onto a journey to find peace with different people and in different ways and he returns to the shore where Jesus is waiting. They talk and the guy starts to walk back to the other side. AS he walks in the water Jesus is still on the shore and he walks until he is knee deep in the water. He turns and walks back to Jesus and Jesus takes his hand and says it is always easier when we do it together as they are walking on the water. The next thing you see is that they are running in the water to the other side.
Ok you ask where is your God Wink in that. Good question so let me tell you. When the man was sitting scared in the sinking boat and the black water all around him about to take him in. Jesus comes to him takes his hand and he is safe. I see all the black water as my cancer and the sinking boat is my helplessness from the news of the C word. I am that man and Jesus takes my hand and takes me out of that despair and walks me to shore. I am ok because Jesus walks beside me. I will go through some trials and rough days ahead but Jesus will be waiting for me to come to him. The guy walking into the sea and not on the sea would be me trying to go through this without my Lord, Family and friends beside me praying me through. Jesus is right it is easier when we do this together.
You see watching the movie was preparing me for the news that was to come yesterday that the Cancer had spread to outer areas of my body. it certainly not what we wanted to hear. But then I thought of The boat and the blackness in the water and Jesus holding out his hand. I knew it would all be better. Because it is easier when we , Jesus and I do it together instead of on my own.
Thank you my friends for the words of encouragement and support Sherrie and I can get through this with our Lord, our family and our friends. We will climb out of this dark valley to the SON and will see the light again. We will keep our faith strong and our eyes on Jesus and hold tightly to his hand. I have Jesus on one side and my faithful Sherrie on the other and an army of prayer warriors behind me I will make it out of this darkness and into the light! should I stumble and fall you will be there to catch me and pick me up and help me to push on.
This Blog is intended to be a path along the Journey to inform those that want to follow along on this path. You are welcome to walk on this path with us. It is my hope that you will see God’s work along this journey. This first post will be little long as I am trying to catch up to date with where we were to where now
Around beginning April I had Shingles and this brought on weakness and the most uncomfortable rash that goes along with it. I had recovered from this and still felt weak and tired. I was told that this was a part of the after effects of the Shingles. This has continued until to day. The following is a short synopsis of the journey so far.