Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29: News from God

It's 4:42 a.m. Probably too early for news from Dr. Strickland.

Since I've created a situation, on purpose, where I'm living in a fishbowl, here's how I think: As stuff happens, sort the most interesting stuff out (how well I do that is up to you to determine), and then tell you about; try not to let anything be too personal to share, but do avoid the really gross stuff.

So this morning qualifies as pretty major, so I'm writing it up while I'm still pretty emotional about it.

At 4 a.m. I woke up for the second time tonight bathed in sweat. This time the nurse was waking me for vital signs. At 2:30 a.m. I woke from a bad dream about kids being trapped in some huge farm machine. I got up with a light headache, feeling chilled, tongue and hemorrhoids burning, sure I was running a fever, and thinking, "This is what I get for saying on Facebook that my body was beginning to heal."

I covered in my wife's shawl, went to the bathroom (so sorry that I have to talk about stuff like this), just urine, no hemorrhoids involved, then got out, rinsed my mouth with the salt & soda mix, and checked my temperature.


I was fine.

"Oh," I thought.

I put a second blanket on my slightly wet bed, covered that with my wife's shawl, got under those covers with my somewhat wet shirt, curled up in a ball trying to stay warm, and went to sleep.

The nurse woke me at 4; I jerked awake. She apologized for scaring me. I felt soaked. My tongue really hurt, and I'd been having another horrible dream, though I couldn't remember what it was.

After she took my vital signs, all of which were good by my current standards. (Pulse in the 90's is normal??? For me it has been for about 7 or 8 days.)

All the dark parts are sweat, including my belly
I got up and realized I was only cold because I really was pretty wet from sweat.

I went to the bathroom (just #1 again)--without the shawl, now aware that I was not in a feverish chill--but the salt & soda mix didn't do the job for my tongue like it has for two days. I had to dab "miracle mouthwash" on the sore to stop it from throbbing painfully.

I'm going backwards!

Then I realized I was able to dab miracle mouthwash on the sore.

For days my tongue has been so swollen that I couldn't much turn it left or right. I couldn't lick the outside of my teeth to clear my cheek of food debris when I chew. (That is a really nice talent to have that I have sadly taken for granted all my life.) Now, though, I had my tongue out of my mouth, turned completely sideways, the sore in plain view!

I'm pretty sure this second one is a face from my nightmare and not me.

A few days ago I had to force my finger down between the floor of my mouth and tongue to reach the sore, rubbing off all the miracle mouthwash in the process, so I ended up just gargling with it to reach the sore.

Miracle Mouthwash has Mylanta in it, so swallowing it after gargling was nice.

For the record the sore is visible in the 1st picture above almost exactly below the gap between my front teeth, right in the middle of mound of swollen flesh. It's hard to see only because my tongue, wet with new-found saliva, glistened in the flash of my iPhone.

If you didn't know the iPhone has a flash in its front camera, it doesn't. I used the normal camera, and I used the mirror to see what the face of the iPhone was showing. That was very challenging at 5 a.m., like learning to back a car using mirrors for the first time.

So, anyway, there really is a point to all this.

I get back to my bed, realizing that I might really be getting better. The doctor might really come back in and tell me that my biopsy is clear, and I could be going home in a couple weeks feeling--and actually being--completely normal; just happening to need a bone marrow transplant to know that I'll stay normal.

When I thought about going back to real life, I started thinking about all the things I worry about. I don't think people would consider me a worrier, but there's a certain amount of tension in my life, and since I'm trying to pull a business out of what was once terrible debt--and is now just bad debt--there's been a fair amount of money worry for sure.

I felt a tension rise up in me that I haven't felt in weeks. Really, in here I basically never worry. I just give myself to the moment, and I try to bless the people I'm with, even when they're doctors driving something like an ice pick into my pelvis, then poking around to suck marrow out. (They're obviously blessing me, so I'm trying to give something back, and these doctors are a blast.)

I realized there's been a problem with the way I view life.

Let me tell you again that I've known all along that this is just the preparation for the second half my life, to be lived, most likely, with someone else's blood and immune system (there's got to be an analogy there). I've just been trying to pay attention and learn what I'm supposed to learn.

As I stood there, looking at my pillow, feeling the tension of life drift away as I came back to the moment, I heard God whisper, "I just want you to believe I'm for you."

I did know that. I just didn't really know that. And I certainly didn't know what that meant.

Being who I am, I long to explain what that means to me now, but there's no way to explain it. I sobbed an hour ago, and it's 5:30 now, and I'm sobbing again.

Probably just exhausted; I should really go back to sleep and get myself under control. (No sense giving up all my manliness!)

I guess I'll get a clean biopsy today. Maybe not, but somehow I think I got what I was supposed to get.

Thanks to all of you who played a part in that.

Oh, by the way, Sue Johnson told me she didn't lose any hair till a couple weeks after her chemo, so I still have some time. (Yippee, right?)


  1. Glory hallelujah, brother! God gives us the blessing in the midst of tribulations - and so often only BECAUSE of tribulation can we recognise it! I am so happy for you, and praying rivers of blessing for you in and through all this (and for Jerry bye the bye as well). Love in Christ to you and all your family,
    Sister Karen

  2. Thanks for the update. Praying for you and yours.

  3. 1) my pulse is always in the 90's, even when I'm resting. i don't think dr's would say that that's "normal," esp considering my age, but neither does it (necessarily) mean anything needs to be done. i had a stress test done about 4 years ago - after they made me wear a heart monitor for a month - and i only had to walk for about 10-15 mins before my heart rate was high enough for them to get what they needed to look at. i never got to the point of jogging/running. :-D

    2) i'm so glad God is showing up for you exactly when and how you need Him. it's hard to describe our personal encounters with Him. they just sound like words to other people. but i get it. and i'm glad. :)

    love you!

  4. What you just described reminds me a lot of what I got from Much Afraid in the book "Hind's feet on High Places," when she finally climbed up on the altar and completely gave herself over to God and His will for her life forever. I don't remember exactly what transpired in the book, but I do know it left me with this incredible feeling of peace and joy, that a relationship with God like that might actually be possible!

    Now, I'm getting that exact same feeling reading this post, and I believe I understand the tears of joy and the uncontrollable sobbing over the realization that God really does love us and He, above all other beings in the universe, is FOR us! That's wow moment!

    It makes me want to cry too... but you already know what kind of big baby I am! But even more, it makes me crave a relationship with God like that in my life too!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing that! We're all believing for you that the biopsy will be clear.

    Praying for Jerry too!

    Love to all,

  5. Thanks to all you. On computer this morning for first time in 2 days. Hopefully, it will be less busy by tomorrow, and I can do some more updates.