Strong Medicine.

Posted: July 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

The belly bully was pretty angry last night.

I think he knows that his days are numbered so he made some noise. 

I had a PET Scan this morning, which as it turns out, has nothing to do with our beagle. I think she was pretty relieved that she didn’t have to get tested. She was ready to take one for the team though. 

In the last few weeks every part of me has been scanned and studied. I’ve seen my lungs and my kidneys. One report said that my spleen was unremarkable. 

That was a little hurtful. 

I always thought that, surely, I must have a special or even extraordinary spleen. But, nope…it’s unremarkable. 

Anyhow, we showed up at the hospital bright and early, can I just say that my wife is amazing. She has already spent way too much time in waiting rooms. 

I got called back by a man in scrubs, I think EVERYONE should wear scrubs, they seem like a pretty comfortable fashion choice. 

I got poked and they put a splurt of radioactive sugar water into my veins. It is basically nuclear Kool-Aid (which would be a great name for a punk band!) that lights up the bad stuff. It exposes the junk. I became a big glow stick. After getting the magic glow juice, I waited for an hour in a sterile orange vinyl chair and watched the morning news. It takes a while for the sweet radiation to kick in. Once it did, the tech took me into the back of a semi truck trailer. This is where the PET scanner is. I like getting treated in the back of a truck, it kind of makes it seem apocalyptic in a fun way.

I dropped my pants…AGAIN, laid down on a thing that looked like a modified ironing board and went back and forth though a big tube. The machine was very quiet, I just laid there listening to a local station playing Ariana Grande songs. (I wonder what size drink Ariana Grande gets at Starbucks?)

And then, just like that it was over, another notch off the medical to do list. This test will show us exactly where the belly bully is hanging out and if he has any buddies. 

His days are numbered. 

During this process, I’ve encountered some truly lovely health professionals from doctors and nurses to receptionists, technicians, and physicians assistants. They have been compassionate, real, human and hospitable. I appreciate them so much. It reminds me how completely therapeutic the simple act of kindness is. 

It has made a huge difference.

I’ve learned that kindness glows in the dark more than radioactive sugar water. 

It is strong medicine and you don’t need a prescription or a pair of scrubs to administer it.

The man on the mat.

Posted: July 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

I remembered an incredible story this morning…

It’s a story of a man being carried by his friends to Jesus.
He is broken, he is helpless.
So his four friends pick him up, put him on a mat, and literally carry him to Jesus, where he finds wholeness.
It’s a beautiful story of courageous friendship and bold belief.
Today, I find that I am the man on the mat.
I find myself being carried to wholeness.
I peek over the edge of the mat and I see so many beautiful and bold friends who have grabbed part of the mat.
I’ve never felt safer in my life because of the amount of people holding me up.
I also notice that it’s a big mat! If you are hurting or facing your own fight, there’s room for you.
To my family and friends…
Thank you for carrying the mat.

A New Semester…

Posted: July 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

We got a plan to beat the belly bully today.

We are still trying to figure out timing and when this rumble is going to start.

There are a lot of moving pieces, It depends on when the hospital can insert the port and do an echocardiogram.

But then it’s on!

The cancer chump is going down.

Once treatment starts it will happen every three weeks six times. I will get a delightful cocktail of super aggressive chemo, steroids, and fluids every day during treatment week. I also get to wear a pump all the time for a few days during treatment week, I will carry the pump in a tasteful man purse.

In another fun fashion choice, I will be occasionally wearing a paper mask…pretty much anytime I want to go outside. My immunity will be very low throughout the entire process so I have to live a germ free lifestyle, that will be interesting. Most of my favorite things are germy.

So…18 weeks of treatment…

What is 18 weeks in the span of a lifetime?

It’s basically a semester! I’m ready to see what I learn and how I grow during this semester.

Many people have asked me about my chullet:  is it safe? Is it endangered chin fruit? Well…pending some kind of beard miracle, I will lose the chullet.

That’s going to be tough, the chullet has been my fuzzy constant companion for years. It has proclaimed that there is a party on my face. It has served as a scarf in the winter. I’ve hidden food in it. I’ve carried my car keys in it.

I’m going to miss it.

I will probably also lose my eyebrows too, so I’m going to be one freaky looking little dude. You’ve been warned!! Picture Uncle Fester in cargo shorts.

I’m thinking about using a sharpie to draw on eyebrows and facial hair. My look can change daily depending on mood…”these are my angry eyebrows, these are my confused brows. Today I have a Frito Bandido mustache, today I’m Burt Reynolds, today I’ve got a hipster soul patch.” The possibilities for self expression are endless. The chullet will grow back after treatment, but it might grow back different. I’m hoping it grows back red! I’ve always secretly wanted to be a ginger.

I’m ready to step into the octagon, or the infusion room as the case may be.

Let’s do this thing!

The Lord fights for me.

I’m ready to come out on the other side of this semester…smarter, whole, more in love with my Savior, my family, and friends.

Look for me, I will be the hairless, masked little dude with the man purse doing a very undignified happy dance.

 

It is well.

Posted: July 11, 2018 in Uncategorized
When peace like bubble wrap surrounds my soul and I find myself surrounded by an army of amazing friends who pray, love, and share stories of hope…
I know that it is well.
When goodness and mercy are my traveling companions, tucked away in my fanny pack along with some twizzlers and a Yoda PEZ dispenser…
I know that it is well.
When I consider the precious and priceless gift that is my wife, I’m empowered by her hand in mine. Her strength, support, and smile give me life. When I look at my family and their fighting spirit. My Mom, who is fighting her own bully, yet stands with me, together we are stronger.
I know that it is well.
When I climb up into the lap of my Daddy, and I lose myself in his arms and I listen as He softly sings a song over me…
I know that is well.
IT IS WELL.

The Name.

Posted: July 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

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So today is the day that we get some answers…
What?
What now?
We head to the oncologist to find out the results of the biopsy.
It’s like a really messed up gender reveal. There are no pink or blue balloons, just a piece of paper revealing the legal name of my belly bully.
We go into a little room that smells brand new. I give blood again and we wait a few minutes for my oncologist (a week ago I didn’t have an oncologist, a lot can happen in a week!)
I really like my oncologist, he likes to laugh out loud at all of the right things. That’s a trait I highly value in people. He also is a bit of a cowboy, he takes the bull by the horns and wrestles it to the ground. I like that too.
He gives me a hug and wastes no time…
The legal name of the belly bully is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Word on the street is that it’s VERY curable and it didn’t take long to form. We have a plan of attack, I start chemotherapy treatment next week, it’s not gonna be pretty.
In the meantime, I get prepped this week, which means a lot of tests, poking, prodding, and some exciting new meds.
I also get a port this week, which makes me feels like Tony Stark without the iron suit.
I will also be taking some powerful steroids, which I hope give me a six pack and don’t give me a unibrow. The doctor said they might make me angry, so if I yell at you “YOU KIDS, GET OFF MY LAWN!” It’s not me, it’s the drugs talking.
SOOOO, We have some answers.
We know the name.
So I officially, hereby serve an eviction notice…
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I know your name.
I don’t fear your name because I know a name that is bigger…
“God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Growing up I had a friend who watched out for me, I would mouth off to someone, or say something goofy and start a fight. People would want to punch me in the head, we would face off, I would brace myself for a beating, but then they would back down!
What?
Surely, they weren’t scared of me?
My bodyguard buddy would slide in behind me, stand and stare down my would be attacker in a very intimidating manner.
That’s happening again.
My Lord, King, Hope, and Friend stands with me. He fights for me.
So Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, We are evicting you. Get out and don’t come back in the name that is bigger than you.