It’s been a while since I’ve written a serious update. I’m amazed at how God grants blessings amidst burdens. That’s how our lives are right now—lots of blessings and lots of burdens, but the blessings always outweigh the burdens. I guess it boils down to living in the blessings while enduring the burdens with patience and grace. Either way, God sure is good.
Let me begin with our trip last week. The greatest blessing was that our best friends in the world were able to join us for five days away. Ray and Melinda Cazis came all the way from New York just to spend some time with us. And God gave us a week of great memories and encouragement together.
We spent five days at the beautiful central California coast—Pismo Beach and north to Big Sur. After two years in a row to this area, I’m in love with it. I’m convinced that this is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Every morning included a walk in the beach with the Lord, every day was filled with God’s awesome creation, collecting shells and sand dollars, and every evening brought a beautiful sunset and great fellowship. We filled the week with unforgettable memories and cherished moments—one of them pictured above.
The week past too quickly, and Monday came too soon—treatment #5. The routine was the same, but my stomach and mind had a tougher time with the anticipatory nausea. I was sick most of the evening. After a good night’s sleep, God gave me strength to work and enjoy the day, but this evening has brought with it more weakness and nausea. Hopefully medications will kick in here soon. So far treatment #5 is just like #4 in terms of physical response. The best news from the doctor was that my blood counts were high enough for me to drop my neupogen shots to five instead of seven—that’s like a Christmas gift! I have a lot of bad side effects from neupogen, plus I really hate giving myself those shots!
Hair is leaving rapidly these days. What’s left is starting to look pretty patchy. I’m ready to shave it completely—probably tomorrow morning. I’m ready to be bald, but I’m a bit bothered that I will be a greater distraction in public ministry. I guess people will get use to it soon enough.
The highlight of this week is another visit from my Mom who has been a big blessing and encouragement to all of us. Also, some great friends—the Neyers—brought us a few gifts yesterday during chemo. They brought the all important “treatment-donuts” and also gave me a gift bag of “head-shaving” equipment including bandaids, and cut repair stuff. (I can imagine the first go could get bloody for sure.) I’m thankful for the love and kindness!
As of now, I have 5 treatments done, 7 left to go and then radiation—approaching the half way point. My doctor is still reading DONE, and told me he was embarrassed to see me yesterday because he hadn’t read more. My mid-treatment PET scan will be in mid-February and should show significant results. Please pray for this!
I had lunch with a pastor and his daughter today who were visiting our campus. It was a great time of fellowship and a special blessing. Carmen had read several of my books and we had a good time talking about her desire to write. It was a delight to have the strength to spend some time with them.
I’ve started doing a little writing about all of these experiences and the biblical principles God has reminded me of—off blog—maybe eventually a book. We’ll see. All I know is, I want God to get all the glory I can give Him through this trial. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement! Have a great week.