Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Faith Honored

I believe. With all my heart and soul, I believe. I believe in God's plan for me.

These past days I have been preparing for the possible journey again through the valley of the devil. I have been very comfortable thinking that if I have to go there, I will willingly walk in faith....and walk....and walk...and walk until I can't walk any further. And then, He will carry me the rest of the way. Its His promise to me, and I believe Him.

I have been hoping for the best, while preparing for the worst, and no matter what the outcome, would be accepting of the future as perfect because its His plan. No matter what the outcome.

My day started early today, not able to sleep too well. In an odd but calm way, the day played out.....just waiting for my plan, His plan, to play out. Trying not to remember the events of the first battle, but having been there once, realistically understanding what the next one could be like. But also embracing the comfort that comes with fully trusting in His promise not to ever give me any more than I can handle.

I was quite ready for the news..........

My petscan test results just came in. I'm healthy. God must still have a need for me here. :)

Thanks for all your prayers, no doubt they were heard.

Now let's all go do good.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bring it on......if you must........just bring it!

There are probably several words, or phrases, that when heard or read, give one a slight chill.

"pull over" broadcasted on a police car loudspeaker following right behind you.....

"you are being audited" is another I would prefer never to read....again.........

I could think of more, but this is a family blog site.... :)

My monthly check up was today, and I have another one to add to the list...... "I feel a lump"...... calmly stated by my doctor as he felt my neck. I have always wondered if I would hear those words, and if I did, how I would react. Now I know. Amazing how quickly life can be put into perspective.

I truly believe that God places challenges in our path to give us the opportunity to show just how much we trust Him. Anyone can profess to have Faith when the going is smooth and easy. But when the road gets a little bumpy, how "unshakable" is one's faith then? I am thankful for the chance to show mine.

This may very likely prove to be nothing. We are scheduling a petscan to figure out what it is, but I am counting on it being nothing serious. And definitely not round 2 with the demon. A positive attitude may not be the cure all, but it sure is better than the alternative.

And prayers help too, so any extra you might have just looking for a target would be appreciated.

Can't wait to share with you that this was just a false alarm.....and in the meantime....I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe.....and my fingers are crossed too... :)

Now go be nice to someone today. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Milestones....Unexpected, Life Changing Milestones...

August 4. August 25. October 13.........

Insignificant dates to most. Up until my 51st birthday last summer, they were relatively insignificant to me too.

August 4, 2009. The day I learned I had the dreaded "C" word. Cancer.

August 25, 2009. The day I started my battle with my Nemesis.

October 13, 2009. The day I ended my battle and declared victory over my powerful adversary.

The first anniversary of these now forever significant dates is fast approaching. Simultaneously seeming like just yesterday for each of them, and yet like many anniversaries ago they first became part of the rest of my life. Honestly, happily, thankfully, I don't remember a lot of the actual day to day experience of fighting the battles. If I really think about it, I can recall much of the detail, but I expend very little effort transporting back to those days. I do think often of the love and support I received from so many though. I will always gladly expend the energy to remember the many blessings I experienced during those days. Truthfully, it doesn't take much energy...God blessed me far more than I deserved with such loving concern from so many.

I do think about how much life has changed since those milestone dates. Physically, I feel great. Still about 40 pounds lighter than before the journey, but this is now a welcome change as I feel in better physical condition than I have in many years....and I thought I was in fairly decent shape before! My work, the significant travel that is part of my profession, has been handled easily. Ability to taste, produce saliva, sleep...all are well on their way to returning to normal. Sure, a ways to go yet, but all headed in the right direction. Again, blessings so undeserved but greatly appreciated.

I have been fortunate to share in many experiences with family such as hiking half dome and participating again in road bike races. I love my family. Feeling physically strong enough to share in these experiences is such a precious gift. Never again will I take for granted my health.

I still go back to see my doctors once a month. Once I make it to the one year anniversary of defeating my Nemesis, I will advance to bi-monthly visits, and then on the second anniversary, will be deemed to have fully won my battle and won't need to see them anymore. I won't miss seeing them....but I also won't ever forget how they helped me.
A permanent part of my memory will also be the many faces I saw and continue to see while waiting to see my doctors. So many suffering far worse than I ever did, and many recovering so much slower......I know I keep referring to my blessings, but there are just so many. I am so very lucky. Just so very lucky.

You know....I think everyone could benefit from taking a little time regularly to stop, and think about just how blessed we all are.... Glass half full rather than half empty. Its easy to get caught up in thinking about how work is hard, money doesn't go far enough, relationships have too many struggles, all the things we want but don't have.....but not only does dwelling not change any of those realities, we also miss out on so much joy to be derived from recognizing just how much we do have....and should be thankful for. I guarantee there is someone out there who would gladly fill our shoes....exactly as they are...and fell like they had just won life's lottery if they had your life. I know even when I was sick, as soon as I started to think my road was all uphill, it didn't take much of a wandering eye to see someone who was far worse off than me and would have willingly traded me burdens. Focusing on what we do have, what we have been given, is actually quite liberating. Recognizing all that we do have can produce such a positive outlook....and really, that is our reality.

Anyway, life goes on. Amazingly blessed at that. Take a moment to reflect on all that you have and be thankful for it. And be kind to someone today. :)

Ok, time to go hiking with my buddy Tommy. Cute shoes, huh? :) Hope to see you all soon. And thanks again for being there, one of my greatest blessings .

Sunday, May 2, 2010

God said yes....and so did she

Fast approaching seven months since I finished my treatment. Still got a ways to go before I hit the magic milestone of 24 months, but I feel great. Weight is stuck around 174 pounds, still almost 40 pounds less than when I first took on the demon, but this is probably closer to where I should be anyway. So God's blessings just keep

on presenting themselves....

Speaking of blessings, one I have been seeking for so long has been in the form of an answer to a question that has danced elusively in my path for many years. I have been single my entire life. Often the simplicity of single life in itself seemed like a blessing. Heck, it worked quite well for the first 50 years of my life. But more and more in recent times I have been more unsettled with the autonomous path I had grown accustomed to walking. I prayed to God to give me insight into His plan for me. I know, without question, that His plan is perfect. I just want a clue as to what it is. Why was I single? If my story line was supposed to be that as a faithful follower and to do it alone, ok, but please give me peace about that. Or, as I had done at various times in my life journey, I had to revisit the possibility that God was planning a spot for me on his Priest team. That would sure explain why I had avoided the alter for half a century. And if I could just find peace in that honorable and simultaneously humbling life choice, I was certainly open to it. Honestly, I really was open to it. But there was a third option that kept begging to get in the game...and that was as a husband.

How was I going to figure this one out? If I become a Priest, I can't ever be a husband. If I become a husband, I can't ever become a Priest. And if I do nothing and stay single, well, I could do that and leave the other two options alive and well......but that just really didn't feel like the right path any longer. So, I did the only thing I could think of.....pray. And along with a huge amount of prayer, probably at least 10X my fair share of God's bandwidth (fortunately He has the unlimited family plan), I took a very deep dive into my own personal discernment process. Chopping, slicing, dicing, role playing.....deciding, then second guessing......this was a huge decision. But eventually, I just went back to seek the answer from the one source of wisdom I could really trust......and that was to pray even more about it. I was confident God would provide the answer, in His time, but I just needed to be open and really listen.

Only God knows why He does what he does and when He chooses to bless one with enlightenment. Maybe He will share his strategy with me one day....but for now, all I know is one morning I awoke and all seemed clear. I seemed to finally have my long sought after answer..... but just to be safe, I asked God if this peace I was feeling about my apparently new life path was really His intended message to me. I asked Him if he really intended for me to take the husband path.....and He said yes.....yes.....and it just felt so right. Such a wonderful blessing...again.....thank you God.

So, with my path now clearly identified, step two in the process needed to unfold. Next, I had to get Carol to agree that after two years of enjoying my most affable self, my extremely easy-going nature and constant joy to be around personality (yeah, yeah, I know, you don't have to say it....), maybe it was time to take the next step in making me an honest man. I thought the discernment process was challenging, but this was going to be a huge uphill trek, requiring the most skillful sales job.....ok, not really....well, hopefully not really. Fortunately I had a sense that she just might say yes. After all, this was God's will, right? Had to go through her Dad first, which was surprisingly comfortable, so, with his blessing, next had to figure out when and where to give Carol an opportunity to allow me to enjoy my latest amazing blessing. I live in San Jose and Carol lives in Phoenix (where she is hard at work growing her medical practice), and since I am not that familiar with the Phoenix area, I really didn't have much of a clue how to make "the moment" somewhat out of the ordinary....heck, I didn't even know how to make it ordinary! But, with a few calls to some local friends, and the power and insight of the Internet, I was able to find a relatively unexpected scenario.....remember now, Arizona is a desert for the most, how about going to a Hawaiian like atmosphere, complete with pools and palm trees....and taking an Italian Gondola out onto the water, complete with a large Italian (ok, I don't think he was really Italian) gondola pilot singing Italian love songs? I would have preferred an Irish steersman, and Irish love songs, but he would have just crashed the boat and all the songs would sound like Guinness drinking songs...... Anyway, long story short, it all worked out. Especially the most important part......Carol's answer. :) (If you aren't sure what that was, see the title of this entry....)

This is our "jolly" almost Italian, gondola-piloting troubadour. He really helped keep the occasion cactus free and made it feel like a special place for a very special occasion.

So now, Carol and I start the next phase of our journey. Not sure of timing just yet, but the path feels very right.....

Your prayers for our successful journey together are much desired and very welcome.

This past year has been an amazing journey. Going from almost not a care in the world, to the most difficult but rewarding life threatening challenge of my life, to a , knock on wood, successful recovery, and now starting on a completely new journey..... all of which clearly has God's palm prints all over them.

I am a very lucky man. Thank you all for being part of my blessed life. But don't go away, the fun is just getting started.......

Oh, and be kind to someone today. :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kevin 1, Cancer Devil 0

Yeeehawwww, love that can of whup ass! Opened one on my nemesis a while back and it seems to still be doing the trick.

Got my much anticipated Petscan results back and its "hip hip hooray" all around. No sign of the devil to be found, which is a big sigh of relief. The last scan left some doubt whether progress was really occurring, but this time the results were quite comforting.

So, next month will be 6 months since treatment ended. For head & neck cancer, need to be cancer free for 2 years to feel comfortable that its gone, so almost 25% of the way home.

Kind of surreal when I think back through the journey. Seems like so long ago that I was going through my treatment, longing for the day to come when I was finished, but trying not to think about it since it seemed forever away. I have to think about it, but I remember most days moved along so slowly. Actually, I don't really want to remember those days, so moving on....

I know it hasn't even been 6 months yet, but thanks to all your prayers, and God's blessings, I have been blessed with such great progress. Not completely there yet, but almost nothing I can't do again so the journey has been truly amazing..... and happy. And blessed. I think about the support I received from so many, in so many ways...... I will never forget the kindness, so much of it, so freely and sincerely offered. While, of course, I would rather have avoided the ride all together, in a way, I am thankful for getting the opportunity to go through an experience that allowed me to see just how lucky I was to have family and friends who care so much. Very, very special. And, lucky that the story has a happy ending!!!

And the lesson for all...... Everyone should keep a can of Whup Ass around just in case, its pretty cool stuff. :)

Have a great week everyone!! We all have much to be thankful for.....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

random musings a long way from home....

Greetings. Sorry, been away a while....but doing well.

Sitting in an airport in Singapore, waiting to come home. Have been in Kuala Lumpur for the past week on business. Good trip. Very friendly people. Great food I think...but not for me....not yet. Too spicy too soon. Interesting because I recently spent time in Taipei and Singapore and had no trouble eating. This time though it was hard to find anything that wasn't at least a little spicy, and most too spicy. Counting on that simply being a case of a culture with a palate trending more to the spicy side of the menu than there being anything wrong with my recovery.

I am scheduled for another petscan this coming week. Supposed to be Monday, but I have been recovering from a cold so it may get delayed a few days. But really looking forward to this one as it should be clean this time. It better be. The alternative isn't so good, but I am not really allowing any other thoughts other than it will be just fine. Still cant seem to gain weight, in fact, still losing some. Was down to 171 recently, that's a long ways from 210. Feel good though, so maybe this is just where I should be. And once I can eat freely, I'm sure it will go back up. Not too much I hope. :)

Interesting being in Kuala Lumpur. Very friendly people. First time I have spent a lot of time in such a Muslim influenced area. Different culture, different dress, different rules for interacting with one another. But like anywhere, same desire to be happy. And although there may be different rules for behavior and language obstacles, the universal smile and nod of the head still works the same way. Its amazing how such a simple gesture can be so disarming. Young and old, works the same way.

Traveling on foot, my boss and I stumbled onto a random Catholic Church. It was a Friday afternoon, but Mass was just beginning. We didn't plan it, but found ourselves right on time to join in, so we did. Coincidence?......doubt it. Part was said in English, and part in the local language. Same mass though, so felt at home, even though we were the only two foreigners in attendance. Again, the smile and the nod was all we needed to be welcomed warmly. Plus, after all, it was church, so likely didn't even need the nod or the smile.....

Life really can be simple. Treat people with kindness, and a smile is somewhere to be found close by. Doesn't really matter what the surface differences might be, everyone, everywhere, responds to kindness. And a smile. And a nod of the head.

I enjoy getting to experience different cultures, different people around the world. Glad to be going home though. I love being an American. Proud to be one. Lucky and blessed to be one.

Ok, getting the boarding call, got to run. Have a great week. Prayers for a clean petscan would be appreciated.

Talk again soon. (said with a smile and a nod)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

There but for the grace of God.......

Getting better everyday! I am making it through my week here in Taipei, Taiwan....first business trip since I have been back at work. Very happy to report, its business as usual. Well, except that I don't pig out at the awesome breakfast buffet each morning like I normally would since most of the food is still a bit difficult to eat. But that's a blessing in itself and actually lets my daily session in the gym contribute to progress and not just make up for my gluttony. :)

As is the case in so many parts of the world, it isn't safe to drink tap water here. I was thinking how lucky we Americans are to be one of the few places where we can safely drink from our faucets. For most in America, this is such a given that I don't think many even think about how blessed we are. We take it for granted...but it would be an unthinkable luxury for most around the world. (and most in the world still don't appreciate saliva like they should...but that's another story...).

And anyone watching TV or listening to any news program lately can't help but see the devastation resulting from the earthquake in Haiti. The tremendous death rates, homeless victims, newly orphaned....... but did you realize that we recently had a similar sized earthquake in Northern California and while there was damage and even some lost their lives, the numbers paled in comparison. Why? Well, mainly because we have such a superior infrastructure and construction methods and life safety measures to rely on.

Ok, but why are any one of us here versus being one of the many living (or dying) in Haiti? Or living in a land where its not safe to drink the tap water. Or protest the government. Or be a women and want equal treatment as a man..... how often do we really contemplate that it is only because God decided that this would be the hand we were dealt. We didn't earn it. We could have just as easily been "created" in a third world country and have no access to the endless blessings of our country. We don't deserve to be here any more than any of the people in Haiti....we are just very lucky that we are. Very blessed that we have it so easy. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely no reason to feel guilty because we are blessed... but we certainly shouldn't feel entitled because it is truly just a gift that we are here. And we should be thankful for this gift each and every day.

ok, ok......there is one advantage to not being able to drink the tap water.....i have to drink more Guinness while I am here. Guinness in Taipei.......actually not a bad combination. :)

Have a great week everyone. And be thankful for the hand we have been dealt. No matter what the hand, it could easily be a lot worse and is for so many people. We are blessed.