Sunday, September 19, 2010


I think that it is part of human nature to resist changes to the way we do things or maybe I should say it is part of my nature to resist.  Starting from the day I was diagnosed with cancer, I have been determined to not allow cancer to change or significantly alter my life.  I wanted life to continue on as normal, whatever normal could possibly mean.  I began to suspect  last Sunday morning when I walked in to church, that as hard as I was trying, cancer was changing my normal.  The side affects from the Tarceva had started to appear and I found myself deciding where to sit so that, if necessary, I could leave without disrupting the service for those around me.  My suspicions were confirmed Thursday morning when I entered the MDA Radiation Clinic and saw emblazoned on a waiting room television "Cancer Changes Everything."  Since then, I have been reflecting over the past months to see how else cancer has changed my life.

There have been changes that at first glance appear positive but are actually negatives.  For sometime now, I have been trying to lose some weight.  Ordinarily, I would feel good about losing twenty pounds and an inch off of my waist.  I know a lot of people who have paid a lot of money for those kind of results but this is not a weight loss plan I would wish on anyone.  Eating all of the time and not gaining weight is good for a teenager but I have to eat every few hours to keep from losing more weight.  Sometimes, I actually get tired of eating.

Then there are changes that appear to be negative but are proving to have positive results.  As a result of the lung tumor, part of my lung has collapsed.  This makes it difficult to talk sometimes and singing is all but out of the question.  Not being able to sing maybe a positive for those around me but I am finding it also has a positive effect on me.  Since I can not sing, I am now more closely reading the words to the hymns and I am realizing what a wonderful gift the old hymns are to the church.  Don't tell your music ministers I said this but try this sometime, stop singing and read the words; let them soak in.   

Finally, there are changes that can only be seen as positive.  Sunrises and sunsets no longer just mark the beginning and ending of each day.  They are times to be thankful for another day and celebrate the glory of God's creation.  I know that my prayers and talks with God are a bit more direct and urgent.  My quiet times and Bible study times are deeper now.  I love Jesus and appreciate what He has done for me more now than ever.  I love and value my sons more now than the day they were born.  I love my wife more each day and thank God every day that she is here for me to lean on.  I simply can not imagine going through this without her by my side.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Do you ever think about all of the numbers you have to keep track of?  DeLayne and I didn't until the day I was admitted to the MDA Cancer Clinic.  They needed to know home and business addresses, home and business phone numbers, cell phone numbers, emergency contact phone numbers, social security number, insurance policy number and date of birth.  Just to name a few.

Once you are admitted, the numbers only get worse.  Now you have to remember your patient ID number, appointment times, building numbers and shuttle schedules.  At every appointment you can look forward to having your weight, height, temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and oxygen level measured.  And do not even get me started on what they do to you when you go in to have a test or procedure done.

In honor of all of these important numbers as well as the critical numbers we keep track of on the weekend like football scores, baseball scores and the Ranger's magic number, here are a few more numbers that have entered my life in the last year and what they mean.

53 miles - this is the furthest I have ever ridden  on my bike.  About a week before my 50th birthday I got the idea that I should ride at least 50 miles before I turned 50.  Okay, admittedly, not the best idea I ever had.

45 miles - just how many of those 53 miles I enjoyed.  The last eight was a serious prayer time.

274 miles - how far it is from our driveway to MDA.

5 - how many siblings I have; three sisters and two brothers.  Four of which are older than me.

28,000,000 - if you saw any coverage of the final stage of the Tour de France, you probably know this.  Team Radio Shack and Lance Armstrong reminded us that this is how many people in the world today there are living with cancer.  I did not know it at the time, but I was one of them.

28,000 - the number of new patients admitted to MDA in a year.

1,200 - the number of people that will participate in the lung cancer study I volunteered for.  There will be 600 with and 600 without cancer in the study.

April 2010 - this is when my lung cancer symptoms first appeared.

April 16, 2010 - the day that the FDA issued their findings that Tarceva was approved as a first-line treatment for lung cancer.  Anyone want to argue God's timing?

Saturn III - the clinical trial that established Tarceva as a first-line lung cancer treatment.

9 - the floor that my thoracic oncologist is located on.

30 - how many Tarceva were prescribed for the first round of treatment.

22 - how many Tarceva were sitting at the Tom Thumb pharmacy less than a half mile from our house.  Anyone want to argue God knowing our EVERY need?

7 - the floor that the brain surgeon is located on.

4 - the number of screws that will hold the halo in place for the Gamma Knife procedure.

192 - the number of individual radiation beams that will be focused on my brain tumor Thursday.

20 minutes - the approximate time they expect the Gamma Knife procedure to take. 

15% - this is the percentage of people diagnosed with lung cancer that survive longer than five years.  I plan to be one of them.

100% - the percentage of people who will die.  Unless the Lord comes before then.

100% - the percentage of people who have an eternal life.  I once heard a minister put it this way:  "The question is not whether you have eternal life, the question is, where will you spend it?"

I am confident where I will spend my eternal life.  If you are not sure where you will spend yours, please e-mail me.

Thanks once again to all of the people who are praying for me and the family.  I think I now have a prayer chain that stretches from California to Maine.

Love you all!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


DeLayne came home the other evening and said that she had been asked by a friend what my favorite meal is and she did not no how to answer.  After that the thought occurred to me that to most people I am probably identified as either DeLayne's husband or Chad and Shane's dad.  So, just so everyone can know a little more about me, here is a list of a few of my favorite things.  Now that song is stuck in your head too.

Meal - Spaghetti and meat balls.  Although just about any pasta dish will be eaten.  Good thing with all of the bike riding at our house, there is a lot of pasta consumed.  I also like pounded and smothered steak with mashed potatoes, gravy  and corn like mom use to make.

Pie - coconut cream.  I forgot how good Luby's coconut cream pie is until yesterday when we stopped at Luby's for lunch.  I also like pecan and of course cherry with vanilla ice cream is a good comfort food.

Cake - German chocolate with Carmel/coconut icing.

Ice Cream - Vanilla.  You can do anything with it. 

Pizza - Pepperoni followed by Hawaiian.

Soft drink - I'm a Pepper.

Sport - sorry guys, it's baseball.  I started playing when I was six years old.  This was the first sport I was allowed to play.  I played catcher probably because I was the only kid who could catch a baseball.  The team I was on  did not have any shin guards but I loved it.  We were so bad we got the sportsmanship trophy. 

Hobbies - riding bikes and photography.

Baseball team - the Rangers.  Yes, they are doing well this year but I am still holding my breath.

Football team - the Dallas Cowboys.

Car - my 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger.  The day I bought that car, DeLayne's boss insisted she take a ride in it and that is when I asked her out.  The rest, as they say,  is history.

Vacation - The cruise DeLayne and I took to Alaska for our 25th anniversary.

Family Vacation - any one of the trips we took to Wind River Ranch in Estes Park, Co.  If you are looking for a great place to take a family vacation, I strongly suggest checking this out.

Candy - may parents peanut brittle followed very closely by my sister Joyce's homemade toffee.  However, I have met very few candies I could not learn to like.

Favorite Hymn - The Old Rugged Cross.  That hymn can preach.

Favorite Bible verse - John 3:16.  That verse just sums it all up.

Favorite Bible Passage - Mathew 6:25 - 34.  Any passage that starts with "Why do you worry?" is for me right now.

Favorite son - depends on who is in the room when I need something. 

Well, I hoped you all enjoyed all of that insight.

Thanks again for all of the prayers, support and encouragement.  It means more than you will ever know.