Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's an Adventure! And an Unusual One at That!

Last night someone was praying for me in a prayer meeting. She prayed for God to take care of me through my ...

She paused when she had to come up with a word for what I'm going through. I have to suppose that "disease" was somehow disquieting to her. I debated whether to pipe up in the middle of a twenty-person prayer meeting to finish her sentence: "Adventure!"

Someone else referred to my "trial," or something like that, when grace was being said before a meal today. I wanted to shout, "Adventure! It's an adventure!"

Earlier today, I was riding to WalMart. My daughter, who just turned 16 and only has a permit, not a license, was driving. It dawned on me that on December 24 it will be six months since I was diagnosed.

"It's been a great six months, hasn't it?" I asked.

My daughter was horrified. "No!" she retorted. "It has not been great."

"What?" I asked. "You haven't enjoyed our time in Nashville?"

"Nashville has been great," she replied. "I just don't like wondering whether my dad is going to be sick every day."

We talked some about trusting God. There's a great line in a movie called The Thirteenth Warrior, when Antonia Bandera tells one of the Norse warriors that it would be better to avoid a conflict.

"Hide in a hole if you want," the Norse warrior tells him, "You won't live one second longer."

That line reminds me of the story in the Bible in which an evil king of Israel (Ahaziah?) went to war accompanied by the godly King Jehoshaphat of Judah. A prophet had prophesied that the wicked king would be killed in the battle, yet somehow Jehoshaphat allowed that king to convince him to masquerade as the king of Israel while the real king of Israel disguised himself among his army. (Good grief.)

A random archer shot an arrow into the midst of the Israelite army, it found a chink in the king of Israel's armor, and he bled to death during the course of the battle.

Basically, he hid in a hole, and he didn't live one second longer.

I believe there may be a lot of randomness in the world, but not for the people of God. All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purposes, and the death of the saints is precious in the sight of God. We can trust him.

On the other hand, my daughter's sixteen. I watched Christmas Shoes (I think that's the name of the movie) the other night, and I thought about what it would be like to see my wife dying like the wife dies in the movie. That would be awful! Then I thought, "Gosh, my wife is going through something similar!"

It's a good thing God is giving us grace.

Earlier in the day, my daughter told me that her friends sometimes know what's happening with me before she does because they read my blog, and she can't.

"You can't?" I asked in wonder. "You have a computer."

She then explained to me that my blog is more blunt than she can handle. She prefers the softened, in-person versions from me or from her friends.


Well, having said all that, here's the current news!

Current News

I'm back home visiting friends and family for a week.

I did tests on Monday. They checked my bone marrow, my spinal fluid, and did a CT scan of my chest. All were good.

Tuesday, I came down with a head cold.

It's seeming better already today (Thursday), so I guess we'll be good to go. I told the nurse back at Vanderbilt, by email, about it, and she prescribed me an antibiotic, which I picked up locally. She is just ensuring I don't wind up something more severe. Also, I have to get better. She told me we can't start if I'm sick.

Despite the head cold, I did a mile on the treadmill today and ran most of it. That's improvement! I get less than two weeks to continue improving, and then we take a big step backwards again.

I'm back to juicing, and I'm being pretty radical about trying to heal the head cold. I'm eating well, except one cookie after dinner tonight, resting a lot, and getting some exercise.

The Unusual Adventure

This is week old news, but I was remembering this today.

Every now and then I hear the word "unusual" concerning my case. I always wonder how unusual (and I still do).

Last week, I saw the "infectious disease" doctor. Dr. Jagasia, the transplant doctor, wanted me to see him about my rash just to be thorough. I mentioned that in one of the last couple blog posts.

I didn't mention the start of the appointment with him, though.

He walked in and said, "I've been reading your chart." He spoke slowly and very calmly, like nothing is a big deal to him. The whole appointment was rather matter-of-fact. "I've noticed that everything in it seems unusual. You have an unusual form of leukemia. You've had a couple fevers, both of them with the same unusual bacteria. You had an unusual heart episode. Now your liver function is unusual, too."

That word gets used a lot about me at Vanderbilt, but no doctor had used it as much as Dr. Dummer, and I'd just met him.

By the way, that's really his name. I have to admit, I would consider changing it if I were him.

So this is an adventure I'm on, but it appears it is an unusual one. I understand my daughter's worry; I've done my fair share of worrying over things a lot less important than the severe illness of someone close to me. But outside the worry, it's been fun. This really has been a gift, a blessing.

Don't let worry steal the joy that's in front of you.

Don't let guilt steal it, either.

You are where you are. It may or may not have been your fault, but God's on your side if you're willing to get on his side. He's not wasting time blaming you for the situation. He's just waiting for to join him so he can help you out of it. He's waiting to prove to you that "in his presence there is fullness of joy and at his right hand there are pleasures forevermore."

And Finally ...

Some of you read my blogs, and you've never heard me teach. I made a bunch of Youtube videos that I call "The Leukemia Tapes." Here's one (from back when I had hair):

If you see it at Youtube, then you'll see the rest of my videos in the suggested list to the right.

I have longer teachings that are podcasts rather than videos. "Podcast" just means that they're audio files. Most browsers will simply play the podcasts, but you can also download them and put them on mp3 players and smart phones. Those are here.

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