Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 18: Adapting to Home

So I'm home. Now I have to figure out what to do with my life.

The birds that showed up to watch my marrow biopsy
It would be easy to get to rushing and worrying. There's medical bills and insurance issues to address. There's some loose accounting issues at work that I wasn't able to finish or turn over before I went in the hospital. There's a couple work issues that I both can and want to help with, and I have to figure out where to put that in my schedule.

Further, one of the goals I have for the second half of my life is to let writing become my career. If that's going to happen, there's some work involved. I have to make a habit of writing articles for magazines. I have to get skilled at preparing submissions for those articles. I have to write a book proposal for Thrilled to Death, find out how much of the book has to be written, and then determine whether to submit it to a literary agent or directly to a publisher or both.

I want to expand the web sites I started for the purpose of making money ( and and add a couple articles to the web site I do as ministry ( I also want to help with my kids' home schooling. In fact, I already did a class with them yesterday to get started.

It would be easy to turn all of this into a very busy schedule, return to being a hard worker, and forget about being a people person. I've already had so many people in and out of the RV this morning that I thought about putting a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door.

That is not where I want to go with my life.

Sevierville, TN (has nothing to do with this blog post)
I'm sure there will be times I'll need to get off alone to finish a book or article, and taxes and insurances are part of all of our lives. Nonetheless, there are only so many hours in a day and packing work into all of them is a poor way to live unless it's temporary and for a specific purpose. (I have to admit, though, in my mind I can already come up with possible exceptions; not for me, but for others: The Thomas Edisons of this world and those like them.)

We must never forget—in my opinion, anyway—that Jesus Christ said the two greatest commandments were to love God with everything you are and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Both those commands have to do with relationships.

Life is about relationships. There is nothing as satisfying as knowing that you have enriched the lives of those around you, whether by some service or by just being friendly.

Health News

I add this part for two reasons. There are actually people who are caring enough to be interested in how I'm doing day by day; their care amazes me, and I'm not sure I could duplicate it were our roles reversed (I'm embarrassed to say). But the other reason is that there are others who might just be interested in what it's like to go through at least this type of chemotherapy.

Also in Sevierville, TN
I got out of the hospital yesterday, and I was very excited just to run.

The problem is, between a very fast two-mile walk in the square corridor of the hospital the morning I left and the lingering effects of the neupogen shot, my legs were as wobbly as I ever remember them being.

On top of that, I've been on absolutely level ground for almost five weeks. Outside of a building, nothing in nature is absolutely level. It took a little adaptation to get used to stairs and humps and hills.

We left the hospital to cover the whole 3 hours back to Rose Creek Village, but we did stop at the apartment in Nashville, which is being provided for free by a cancer organization. There I got out, despite my wobbly legs, and trotted along the sidewalk. I went a grand total of about 200 yards, with a walk in the middle, which was somewhat hard.

So there's a lot of work to do.

Yesterday, I could still feel the weakness in my legs, so I didn't run at all. I was also exhausted a lot of the day. I took two naps, one of them for a couple hours, and I still went to bed at around 9 pm and slept all night.

I really think the neupogen shot has my body working overtime producing blood cells. I'm very curious what my blood counts are now, but there are no morning blood draws now. It's weird not knowing my hematocrit percentage and my white blood cell counts.

Today, I felt better. I ran most of half a mile. My legs didn't want to work real well, but the running wasn't hard. I should be in shouting range of a normal amount of red blood cells, and thus a normal amount of oxygen, so there seems to be hope for improvement.

Publicly Speaking About Leukemia

Last night we had a meeting at town hall so people could hear about what was happening with me. Some of them were getting their first glimpse of my shiny, white cranium. (I'm spending a few minutes each day out in the hot sun, trying to rectify the odd whiteness.)

I spent most of the first part of the message talking about things God has put in front of our community. We've got people spread all over the world, some in Mexico, some in Africa, and some in California and Memphis. One young man's getting involved in Teen Challenge locally, and I've been reading about a young lady doing volunteer work in Memphis.

I have to add that two of my sons are saving up for an extended trip to India this winter to be trained for missionary work, personally invited by Pastor K.V. Daniel. That's very exciting to me, of course.

There are a lot of exciting things happening with us here at Rose Creek Village, but part of the reason for talking about those things was to remind myself of something God keeps showing me over and over: It's not about me.

One more from Sevierville
It's so easy to talk about what's going on with me. That's fine for a blog that's about what's going on with me and what I'm learning. In person, though, there are people, and it serves no one at all for me to be focused on myself and on what's happening with me.

Finally, I talked to everyone there about what I say to everyone everywhere about going through this rather minor trial of mine. (I not only know of people, but I have friends who are going through much worse.) There is only one route to preparing for the big things that come in your life, and that is by making good choices in the small things. God gives you a chance to prepare every day for what's going to come your way later in life. You can embrace that, or you can grumble and complain.

Your choice.

There is a pretty interesting book that first put in my mind that everything that comes my way is preparation for becoming a godly man. It's called The Inward Journey by Gene Edwards. It's from a Christian perspective, written by a guy who's a very creative but a little looney. So, I love and recommend the book as real helpful, but you'll definitely have "What in the world is this guy saying?" moments.

I think there's a law now requiring me to let you know that I have an Amazon associates account that will earn me a small commission if you use that link to buy the book :-).


  1. Paul! Congrats on getting out. It really doesn't take long to become Institutionalized, and adjusting to life On The Street again is tiring lol. All the blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ to you, your family, and friends as you embark on the next stage of this exciting journey He has you on.

  2. Dear Paul
    I stumbled across your blog quite by accident and I must say your faith and bravery are truly inspiring. I wish I had your attitude and pray that God will help me get there. I hope and pray you settle in back at home and rest and recuperate with your family. Christ is truly at work in you. God is so powerful and mighty and yet we worry about such trivial things. Thank you so much, and thank the Lord for bringing me to your blog. X

  3. I'm glad the blog can be an encouragement to you. Thank you very much.

  4. Hi Paul, I believe you would really enjoy reading the story in the following link. Love Teri

  5. Hi Teri. I did enjoy reading that article. I looked up his Philadelphia-positive ALL--the Philadelphia Chromosome is something I'm familiar with--and the prognosis for his disease is very similar to the prognosis for mine.

    It was interesting to read the way he describes what he went through. Being a writer, I'm planning on continuing to use what I'm going through as a stage to talk about the Gospel as well. His style is not something I could mimic, but it is something I can learn from.