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Thursday, February 4, 2010

One year ago

Hi gang -

A year ago today, I was now coming out of surgery thinking I had just lost a tonsil and found out that behind that tonsil was cancer. So started the process of getting set up to take care of this problem. My thoughts that day were that it seemed so unreal. I did not feel that hurt and while I knew it had to be taken care of, I wondered if it would just go away. The next few weeks were a whirlwind of doctor appointments to set the chemo and radiation process in motion. Little did I know what changes in my life as well as Lucilles, that this process was going to take us through.

Little did I know that over the next two months I would spend almost half of it in a hospital. Little did I know that I would not be able to work effectively, sleep well or keep up physically with the treatments. Little did I know how much power there is in prayer. Little did I know how much support was out there praying and supporting Lucille and me in this journey.

God has a way of using our problems to his advantage. The posting of this blog which has helped me. The posting of this blog which I understand through comments has helped so many others. The posting of this blog to see that with faith all things can be conquered. I know I would not be here today without the support and prayers from each and every one of you. Prayers and support have come from around the world. It just shows us how small the world really is. It has taught me that there is good in all people. And sometimes it takes something like this to draw folks together.

The sicker I got when going thru chemo the more prayers that were offered up. And the more support that was received. Wonderful people stepped up to keep my business going, to bring us meals, to making me caps (which I still wear today!), to bringing gifts of joy and blessings, to the phone calls and emails from people who we know and people who we did not know. And blessings from the folks (doctors and nurses) who took care of us. Without supporters cancer victims would have a really rough time making it through.

Dr Rastogi told us up front that I would be taking the treatments regardless of how sick I got as this was a curing treatment, not a maintiance treatment. There were days and nights that I wondered if I would survive. The treatments seems worse than the cancer. But again YOU always were there at the right time to pull me through!

As I started radiation, I had visions of going to Philmont Scout Ranch to backpack. But as my neck started to burn and I started losing alot of weight I realized that it was not to be. Again it was the joy of the boys in the Troop that helped me to continue. My family was always there, just like they are today, to take up the slack. Whether it was to sit with me while I was sick or to help take care of our home, I cannot forget the love and devotion of family. I think of Walker, our second grandson (who is now 3), who has alot of problems of his own. We compared port scars, and stomach tubes. He knew what I was going through. He had already been through it himself.

And then to the recovery. I thought July 3 I would be finished and everything would be good. I did not realize that it would take 3 weeks to get to the point that I would start the actual recovery process. And today I am still recovery.

Today, I can say "yes, I am a cancer survivor", and "yes, I owe where I am today to all those who have helped through support and prayers". I cannot ever say "THANKS" enough or give of myself enough to make up for the support and prayers. But then, that is what God expects of each of us, to help others without want of recognition. So I hope that God has blessed each of you in some way for your outpouring of love.

I mentioned a silver lining in this cloud somewhere in my previous blogs. I may never fully realize what the silver lining is but it might be: the help I have given others through this process, the compassion that I have because I now have walked in the shoes of a cancer victim, the deeping of my faith in God, the witnessing of my faith in God to others, the trust that one puts out there for others to see and reaps the rewards.

As of today, I am cancer free. I have another full round of tests in April. But actually I just live from day to day, trying to live each day to the fullest. Trying to give something back to others through witnessing. Trying to make a brighter day for someone who I may not know. Trying to slow down and smell the roses.

So while today has been somewhat tough on me, I know that tomorrow will come and another opportunity will come for me to help someone else. I thank you again and I know God is blessing each of again this day. Later Gang......