Hi, this is Leslie Jordan, a long time friend of Misty Dove’s.

Many of you may have heard already, but for those of you who have not, Alan passed away at 1:30am on Wed. May, 26.  We will be celebrating Alan’s life on this Saturday May 29, 2010. Arrangements are as follows:

To Be Held at The Cove Church in Mooresville, NC

The Cove Church
197 Langtree Road
Mooresville NC, 28117
704-655-3000

Visitation: Saturday, May29, 2010 from 10:00AM -11:00 AM
Celebration of Life Service: Saturday May 29, 2010 @ 11:00 AM

Graveside Service will be held the following day Sunday May 30, 2010 @ 3PM
Location: Greenlawn Cemetary 1252 HWY 57 South Dillon, SC 29536

Much love to you all!

Misty

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Hello everyone,

Its Misty, Alan’s wife.  I have been trying to figure out the username and password for a week so that I could update  you all on our sweet Alan.  I finally figured it out today.  Wouldn’t you know it, his password was the name of one of his favorite superheroes.  That is so my Alan :-).  I don’t have a lot of time to post, so please forgive me for just copying and pasting what I had posted on my Facebook page over the past 10 days.  Alan has been moved from palliative care to inpatient hospice care.  I will try and update this blog and my FB page as much as possible.  Thank you all for your continued love, prayers and support.

Love,

Misty

Posts below:

May 11. 2010

Hello my friends,

I would like to thank each of you for your calls, emails, posts, continued prayers and support. I am so sorry that Alan and I have been so out of touch. We simply haven’t had a spare moment to update you all. I also apologize for this mass email approach, but it the best I could do with such limited time. As you all know from Alan’s last blog entry, we received some pretty devastating news on our last visit to UNC and to our oncologist here in Mooresville. For those of you who don’t know, Alan and I were told that his cancer had progressed significantly and that his treatments were no longer working. Alan was given the choice to “do nothing” and focus on palliative care or to continue on with the original chemo that he had in hopes that it might make a difference. The doctors were very clear that if he opted to do the chemo again, that he might not recover. Those of you who know my amazing hubby know that Alan is a fighter and so I fully supported him in his decision to continue the chemo in hopes it would work.

Alan had his chemo last Tuesday and his health has taken a significant turn for the worse. This is why we haven’t been able to update. We are focusing on trying to keep Alan hydrated and comfortable and praying that his health will improve. Alan is in a significant amount of pain, so we called in a palliative care nurse today that is helping us to better manage the pain. She was wonderful and we are so thankful for her. Please pray that we can get Alan’s pain under control. Alan is still on the schedule for chemo again next Tuesday, but if his health does not improve, he will not be a candidate.

If you have been calling Alan’s cell phone or emailing him, he hasn’t received your calls. His phone is dead and he isn’t up to checking email. He is sleeping most of the day. When he is awake, he isn’t lucid a great deal of the time. The doctors say that this is most likely from toxins building up in his bloodstream :-(.

Many of you have called and asked to visit. We really appreciate that! However, Alan has requested that he just have time with the immediate family now as he is not really up for visitors. He loves you all, but just doesn’t have the energy for visits at this time.

Over the past two weeks I have consulted numerous child psychologists, play therapists and pediatricians for guidance on how to best communicate the news to our children. Per the child psychologist’s suggestion, Alan’s parents will be going home today to give us a few days alone as a family. Alan and I have planned to use this time to tell the kids that “Daddy’s medicine is not working” and wait for them to ask questions over a few days and answer them tactfully, but honestly. Alan very much wants to be a part of this conversation, so please pray that he will have the strength to do this. We respectfully ask that no comments be made to or in front of the children regarding Alan’s illness. We want to have the opportunity to try and answer all of their questions first. The children are both showing signs of emotional stress in different ways. As much as we try to keep them sheltered, they are still picking up on things at home. Children sense everything!

My heart is broken but my faith is still strong. Please pray for God to give our entire family to continue on this journey. I am so thankful that God has placed each one of you in my life for a reason. You all may never know how much of a difference you have made and continue to make in my life. I love you all and I will try to keep you posted when I can grab a spare moment. Please remember, if I do not pick up your call it isn’t because I don’t want to talk to you. It just means I have little ears with me at the time and I simply can’t because once I start crying I can’t stop. Some of you have witnessed this first hand. So, I try to keep it all together until night fall and then I am too tired to talk. I love you all!!!

xo

Misty

May 12, 2010
Hi everyone,

Once again, thank you all for your calls, emails and prayers! Well, today was the day. The day that we vowed to tell the kids about the changes in Alan’s prognosis. When I awoke this morning, I literally felt like I was going to throw up. I felt like my nerves were going to consume me. That didn’t last for long because the kids got up and hit the ground running as usual :-). So, I had no time to really think about it. Alan had a much better day in terms of pain management, however, he his mental clarity was much worse. We had hoped that Alan would be able to talk with Aiden directly about his illness, but it just wasn’t possible. So, while Addyson napped today I sat Aiden down for “the talk”. One thing that I have learned from all this is that you cannot keep things from your kids. I asked Aiden to come sit down with because I had something “important to talk with him about”. He seemed very nervous, like he knew what was coming. He listened intently while I recapped what we had originally told him about Alan’s illness. I asked if he reiterated that the illness is called “cancer”. I told him about all the different medicines that Daddy has taken and how some of them worked for a while and then they stopped working and that now there aren’t any more medicines to effectively treat Alan’s illness. I explained to Aiden that “our bodies are like a flower garden and that the flowers represent the healthy cells in our body.” I told him that cancer cells are like weeds that grow in the garden and that when they get out of control it makes Daddy very sick. I explained that the chemo’s job was to try and kill the weeds, but that Daddy’s weeds were too strong for the chemo. Aiden really liked this analogy and being my little problem solver he drew out his own solution on paper. It broke my heart. He said, “I have an idea Mommy, the weeds could just stay but move away from the flowers so they don’t kill them and then Daddy would be ok.” :-(. I explained to him that we are not in control of where the weeds grow. He asked me “Why does Daddy have to get cancer”. I told him I don’t know, but that lots of people get cancer and that some cancers are easier to treat than others. He asked me “Is Daddy going to get better?” I said, I hope so Aiden, but we just don’t know. I told him that some people get better from cancer and other people don’t . I explained that sometimes things happen to us in our lives that we don’t expect or want to happen, but that we just have to take what is given to us and work through it. I assured him that cancer is not contagious and the cannot catch it from Daddy. This seemed to relieve a lot of fears that I did not even know he had. I told him that we would be honest with him with any questions he had today or in the future. I asked him if he had any questions. He had a lot of questions! He immediately asked, “Why is Daddy so skinny?” and “Why isn’t Daddy eating a lot?” I explained that the cancer meds and cancer itself often makes a person lose weight. I explained that Alan’s tumors are on an organ called his liver and that just like when he hits his head on something it swells and gets irritated. I explained that Alan’s liver is swollen and irritated and that it is “smooshing” Daddy’s tummy and making it smaller. Aiden had me repeat that explanation twice, so I ended up getting a leftover plastic easter egg to demonstrate Alan’s stomach and showing him the entire egg and then squeezing it in the middle to show him how it would allow for less food. This seemed to answer his question. I made him pinky promise ( a VERY big deal in our house) that he would come to Mommy or Daddy with ANY questions or concerns that he might have. He promised. Then, Addyson woke up and Aiden immediately switched to protective big brother mode and started explaining to Addyson what was going on with Daddy. It was the sweetest thing I have ever seen. He made Addyson pinkie promise that she too would ask any questions she might have in the future.

So, both kiddos went to bed fine and we will see how things shake out over the next few days. I know there are going to be many more questions. I am so thankful that God gave me the words and the strength to get through the conversation without crying. I am reading a WONDERFUL book entitled “When a Parent Has Cancer”. I picked it up from the library today and was literally skimming it moments before getting Aiden off the bus and praying that God would show me what to say and do. I immediately flipped to the exact page in the book that discussed talking to you children when the prognosis is not good. The first line was so powerful. “Pity is like poison” to children. At first glance I thought this author must be crazy, but then I read on and she explained that when we pity children and excuse their behavior in times of emotional stress, we are teaching them that when they face adversity in life the should just throw up their hands and say ” I cannot be successful due to the cards life has dealt me”. If we take the opposite approach, we can empower the child to overcome adversity, be flexible, compassionate and patient. What an awesome approach! We are still not going to discuss the illness in front of the children unless they bring it up. The counselors say we should shelter the children while at the same time being honest. So, please continue to be discreet in discussing Alan’s illness if the kiddos are with us.

Again, Alan and I are so humbled by your love and support. I had complete stranger that lives in my neighborhood come by tonight and offer to clean my house once a week and do my laundry!!!! Can you believe that?!? This is GOD’s love and mercy at it’s finest.

Ok folks, am beat and it is 11PM. I am heading to bed. I typed this in a rush and had no time to proof-read, so please excuse typos and grammatical errors 🙂

Much love to you all….
xo

May 16, 2010
Hello friends,

Once again, thank you all for the outpouring of love and support for our family. I wanted to give you all a quick update on what has been going on for the past four days.

Unfortunately, Alan isn’t any better. His health has deteriorated greatly over the last few days, particularly his mental state. Today has been the most difficult day of my life :-(. I don’t use those words lightly. I have been through many hardships in my life, but nothing compared to this. Over the past few days, Alan has had many episodes of extreme dementia caused by the build of ammonia in his system due to his liver failure. Each time Alan experiences one of these episodes that can last for minutes or hours, it is so heartbreaking. We do everything we can to keep him calm, because some of the episodes can be very scary for him as well. Alan has been getting up all throughout the night with hallucinations and pain. Last night, he slept all through the night and I was so thankful. I thought he would wake up well rested and doing much better. Instead, I heard words this morning that I never wanted to hear or ever want to hear again. I said “Good morning baby, how was your night?” He said, with a scared look on his face, “Who are you?” and “Where is our house?” I wanted to fall to pieces right then and there, but I calmly reassured him that I was his wife and that we were in our house and that I loved him very much.

Alan’s parents came in to sit with Alan while I got the kids ready for church. As I was getting Aiden dressed for church, he said “Mommy, what happens if Daddy doesn’t get better?” . I tried to calmly tell Aiden that if the doctors could not make Daddy better here on Earth, that Jesus would give Daddy a new body and make him better in heaven. We also discussed that there might come a point when Daddy might need to go to a place called a Hospice House where nurses and doctors could help Daddy get the hydration he needs and make him feel more comfortable. This was the first time I could not hold back the tears. A single teardrop fell down my face and Aiden looked panicked so I quickly got it together and we continued getting dressed. Next question (5 minutes later). “Mommy, do kids get cancer?” The book I am reading is right on as it mentioned that I would get exactly these questions after giving “the talk”. I answered the question honestly, but reassuringly. I said “Yes, some kids do unfortunately get cancer, but most grow up healthy and that a lot of kids who get cancer have very treatable forms of cancer and some can even be cured.”

I was at my breaking point by the time we made it to church. Now, here is where God show up.. big time! I walked the kids in to their individual classrooms and as I was checking Aiden in to his classroom, the lady taking down the names paused when I told her Aiden’s name. I didn’t think much of it and was walking away. Then, another lady who is a big part of the children’s church program stopped me and said I just want to show you Aiden’s new classroom that will be open in a couple of weeks. As we walked and she was talking about Aiden’s new classroom, I couldn’t even focus on what she was saying. All I could think about was the fact that my husband is so sick he didn’t know who I was and the fact that my son was so worried about his Dad. My eyes started to well up with tears and then I LOST IT! The lady who was with me told me that she and all of the children’s ministry had lifted our entire family up in prayer just that morning and that they wanted to help in any way they could. I was giving her my contact info, because she needed to get back to work and who should show up? My dear friend Amy… thank you GOD! I did NOT need to be alone at that moment and there was no way I could go into the service in hysterics. Amy and I retreated to the ladies room for a good cry and conversation. Hey, at least we had an abundance of tissue .. well toilet paper.. but hey we are in the south and they are one in the same here.. LOL.

Anyway, I had plans to call the hospice nurse while the kids were in church, so they would not hear the conversation. I wanted to arrange for them to come out and check Alan again. So, Amy and I stepped outside to make the call. I got the answering service and I told them our nurses name (we have not met this nurse yet. .. just the admissions nurse). They said they would have another nurse call me and set up a time to come out. I was very nervous because I just knew they were going to call once church was over and I would have the kids and not be able to talk. Now, check this out. I was walking back into the atrium with my friend Amy feeling quite dismayed and the lady who was checking names at Aiden’s classroom stood up and came over to me. This is the lady who paused when I told her Aiden’s name. She said “Are you Misty Dove, Aiden Dove’s mom?” I said yes and she took my hand and said, I am going to be your husband Alan’s Hospice nurse!!!! Ok, we have around 1500 people per service at our church and 3 services per weekend… what are the chances that I would meet this woman?!?!?! I told her what was going on and she took care of it all on the spot. She called the on-call nurse, delayed the appt. and set up a time to come see us tomorrow morning while the kids are at school. What a blessing!!! Amy and I decided we would just sit outside and watch the service on the television screens because we were so late going in. About that time, the on-call nurse from Hospice called me back and I stepped away to take her call. Then, who should I run into, but our pastor’s wife Carey Madding. I have never really met her personally, because our church is so huge. She looked at me and said “Are you doing ok?” By this point, I had stopped crying, but I guess God just told her to ask me. I burst into tears again, and she ushered me in to a room in the back of the church and we sat down to talk. She told me she had heard about us and that she and our pastor had driven around for a long time trying to find where lived so they could stop over to see us. We had such a nice conversation and she told me of a lady in our church that had lost her husband to cancer a year ago this month. I had not met this lady, so Carey told me to hold on and she found her and introduced us to one another. It was such a blessing to meet this young lady. She is my age and we could relate on so many levels. We had a great conversation, exchanged numbers and then church was over. I picked up the kids and we went to our usual Sunday lunch at the local Mexican restaurant, only today Daddy wasn’t with us. The kids were very well-behaved at lunch and our favorite waiter came to the table and unknowingly asked, “Where is your husband today?” I said, “He is at home” and Aiden said, “He is sick. He has cancer!” The waiter said, “Oh, that is really bad.” So, then Aiden burst into tears and said “What if Daddy dies? ” Then we were all in tears, and I told Aiden that if Daddy died, he would go to heaven and be our guardian angel. We left the restaurant and I suggested that we go to the craft store to get some supplies to make some crafts to let Dad know how much we love him. We found beach pails for $1 at Michael’s and we came of with the idea to call them “Buckets of Love” :-). Aiden and Addy both picked out special items to make for Daddy and place in the buckets and we were on our way. This served as a wonderful distraction for the afternoon. Alan’s cousin and her husband came by for a visit also and brought the kids some goodies and they had a great time. My friend Aly stopped over to bring us a yummy dinner and then it was time for bed and more questions from Aiden. Just as we were wrapping up story time, he said,”Mommy, what if all the parents go to heaven and the kids are left behind?” I said, “Aiden are you worried that if Daddy goes to heaven, Mommy will go too and you will be left here with no one to take care of you.” He started to cry and said “Yes”. I assured him that he would always be taken care of and that God takes care of all of his children. I then shared with him my same fears when I was his age, that my grandparents (who were also my guardians at the time) would die and that no one would be there to take care of me. I explained how God had cared for me over the years even though my grandparents did die. This was actually a tremendous comfort to him. See, God uses bad things in your life for good in the end. After many questions and a lot of reassurance, my little bugs are fast asleep and I am about to do the same. I sat with Alan a bit after dinner and he had some wonderful moments of clarity where he knew exactly who I was and told me how much he loved me :-). Aiden was able to give him his bucket of love and Alan told him how much he loved it (Addy did not feel like working on hers today… she painted her nails and toenails with the paints instead LOL). So, the day is ending well, Alan is resting and was coherent before drifting off to sleep, the nurse comes tomorrow and tomorrow is a new day. Please pray that it is a good one. I am posting some pics from the day on my wall. I am sorry this was so long and jumbled, but again it is late and I just wanted to give you all the scoop, since I can’t get to my calls or emails these days. I love you all! xo

(Editor’s (that would be me, Alan) note:  I started this entry Tuesday (nine days ago) as chemo started.  About an hour into it one of the drugs pretty much blinded me.  So I had to hold onto this to finish/publish.  I made a couple other attempts to finish this puppy and publish it and was distracted by this or the other.  Result: Here’s a single posting that has me flavored with either optimism, dismay, or renewed faith.  All this time and difference in attitude make for a confusion for which I apologize.

Hello Friends! Just got my port hooked up and the nice nurses here are rolling the first anti-emetic (anzemet) along with a little juice (steroids) as we get ready to start pumping Round 18 of chemo.

We just returned from our trip to Washington, DC with Aiden on Sunday.  To be brief, I’ll say that every possible category with which the trip could be judged came up as 5/5 stars.  What a great time!  Aiden loved it all…and so did Misty and I.  Our friends that we visited (the Schweikerts) really showed us the town and Aiden fell into formation with their boys and had a grand time.

President Obama asked me to come in to discuss Health Care Policy but I had promised Misty "NO BUSINESS" on this trip.

Aiden and Daddy at our favorite plane at the Udvar Hazy Air & Space Museum. AWESOME!

For some reason I’ve been thinking about “One Hit Wonders” this morning.  So I ran a web search on the “Top” One Hit Wonders.  Here’s what I got:

15.  Rock Me Amadeus Falco, 1985

14.  Spirit in the Sky Doctor and the Medics/Norman Greenbaum, 1969

13.  It’s Raining Men The Weather Girls, 1982

12   Kung Fu Fighting Carl Douglas, 1974

11.  Groove is in the Heart Dee LIte,  1990

10.  Rico Suave Gerardo, 1990

9.    99 Luftballons Nena, 1984

8.    Take On Me A-Ha, 1985

7.    Ice Ice Baby Vanilla Ice, 1990

6.    Who Let the Dogs Out? Baha Men, 2000

5.    Mickey Toni Basil, 1982

4.    I’m Too Sexy Right Said Fred, 1991

3.    Come on Eileen Dexy’s Midnight Runners, 1982

2.    Tainted Love Soft Cell, 1982

1.    The Macarena Los Del Rio, 1996

No doubt, you, like me, recognize and recall a lot of these not so much because they were Led Zeppelin-Level ballads that tell a story of mis-spent youth, but because they are almost-embarrassing songs of that same mis-spent youth (adulthood?).  I guess what I’m getting to is that the “One-Hit Wonder” carries such a tendency for embarrassment.  In most of the examples above, it seems that the songs were just silly and scratch an embarrassing itch that America had at the time.  One hit wonder.  Now they are all as famous (perhaps less) as Gary Coleman.  So, I think you can all agree with me that the One-Hit Wonder category typically produces a song that may need NEVER to be referenced again and artists that are just not taken seriously as they did not MAKE IT despite having A hit.

One Hit Wonder Time in the limelight Breakthrough and/or final piece Album Sales
Soft Cell 3 Years “Tainted Love” No one will admit purchase. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsMz9vIaLwQ
Lee Greenwood 3 Years before gig contracts required play of “God Bless the USA” and US Military involvement in coupe or US holdings defense (preferable in the Middle East) “God Bless the USA” Millions of albums sold.  All at County or State Fairs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oq0t7ZUwzGA
Jesus Christ Entered career at around 30 years old and met with 3-years of escalating critical  disclaim. Water to Wine Miracle 6 Billion Bibles have been sold.  Top selling book…ever.

Here’s a ONE HIT Wonder that played such to his advantage.  Lee Greenwood: I don’t know anything about his business but I’m pretty sure that he could stay as booked as he’d like to be singing “I’m proud to be an American”.  Much less so the case with Mr. Vanilla Ice.  And many on the list above of one-hit wonders.  Most on this list accomplished nothing more substantive than semi-permanent placement on the couples’ skate play list at the local skating rink.

What does this mean?  Why have I let loose of reality enough to ramble about music (mostly bad music)???  I’m not really sure.

I’m fairly positive that I have no Vanilla Ice Fan Club aspirations.  And to be clear, I’m not seriously comparing these questionable-talent clowns to my savior.  What I think does bear some review is the fact that Jesus’ worldly, human interaction (human career?) started when Jesus was thirty and ,as such, ended upon His crucifixion.  Timeframe: about three years.  Similar time in His profession to Vanilla Ice and the “One-Hit Wonders” above.

My savior had a short “career” as a man.  But in that short “career” He managed a ONE-HIT Wonder… a blameless life, healed the sick, raised the dead, communicated a standard by which we should live, stood up to the direct temptations of Satan and this world, started a religion in the shadow of a jealous and insecure Roman Empire, and at the cruel hands of the same, felt the pain of jealousy preparing for the cross to which he was then nailed FOR OUR SINS, died as Man would, and then suffered under Satan as though ALL of OUR SINS were His.  And then he rose from the grave and, before His ascension to heaven, where he watches over and cares for us sitting beside His Father, He introduced us to and gave us access to the Holy Spirit.  One-Hit Wonder.  Three years.  Maybe a short career does not a One-Hit Wonder make.

Back to an admittedly delayed update on me.  As mentioned above, our trip to Washington, DC was a spectacular success in countless categories.  The few days off of chemo really helped me to feel good.

So this week, I had a CT Scan on Monday.  We followed up on Tuesday with Dr. Kuo on Tuesday late morning to review the results.  You’ll recall, this is the third major Chemo Regimen that we’ve done.  It’s called Vectibix and is very similar to Erbitux.  The CT Scans show that while there are no new tumors and ALL of the existing tumors have GROWN.  Yes…grown.  This is not what we want to hear.  Dr. Kuo tells us that we are quickly depleting our types of bullets for this bear and that up to this point he’s followed standard gameplans but that now, he’s really glad that we are tuned in with Dr. Goldberg at UNC.  Towards that effect, tomorrow we go to UNC and meet with Dr. Goldberg.  Dr. Kuo did not sprinkle any sunshine on us yesterday.  In the same paragraph he discussed “clinical trials” AND the “option of relinquishing the fight and seeking a higher quality to life, however long that may be without chemotherapy”.  I have a lot more fight in me.  Please pray hard that stars and whatever else align tomorrow to produce great options for us.

After the devestating news from Dr. Kuo, Misty and I were a weepy mess.  One of those situations where the doctor tells you “you can have as much time in the room as you need”.  You get it.  I had seen my chemo buddies Randolph and Tommy in the back of the clinic getting their meds.  We had the choice to make as to whether we sneak out quickly and avoid painful sharing of our news or going back to chat with my friends and to share the load with them.  Despite feeling like talking to NO ONE, Misty and I chose to go talk to Randolph and Tommy.  Randolph listened and then encouraged us.  While Tommy sat there quietly praying for me to come talk directly to him.  After he prayed this I came over.  Tommy has been through around 42 rounds of chemo.  Tommy had six-months to live when he started this chemo two years ago.  Two years ago Tommy’s CEA cancer marker was 7500.  Today it’s 17.  Tommy’s a legend in the clinic.  There he told me that he wanted me to meet his preacher who prayed on Tommy and opened God’s healing power for Tommy.  Tommy called me this morning and gave me his preacher’s cell phone number.  I called the Reverend Cherry directly.  We met at his church a couple hours ago.  Reverend Cherry prayed over me and challenged the sickness out of my body and the healing power of God into it.  From this morning when my thoughts were, “should I double my depression meds…Again?” to this evening when I’m able to claim God’s hand in my life and my body.  Able to claim healing.  Able to believe that God wants me to have a story to tell.  That’s a good day, isn’t it.

With that, I thank you for your prayers, thoughts, wishes, kind notes and words.  I hope to have some more positive news/direction to you soon.  Misty and I meet with Dr. Goldberg at UNC tomorrow at 11am.  Love,

Alan

Hello Friends!  Alan here….I know, I know…Alan “Who”?  Right.  I’ve been conspicuously absent here as of late.  Some of you (Pat and Robin especially) have given me an ample dose of “sisterly love” with regards to “why aren’t we hearing from you?”  And I’ve honestly just NOT had a good answer until today.  So here it goes…

And, of course, this is not a simple answer.  And it will be hard to follow…because that’s just how I am lately.  Or, maybe, I just like to prolong what I have to say.  (Many may agree with this one!)

I was talking to a friend today with whom I’ve been very angry for several weeks.  We went from talking a couple times a week to talking none in the last month and a half.  To make a long and private story short and veiled despite this public forum, my friend has a self-destructive, bad habit that she fell back into several weeks ago.  I’ve been angry at her for this.  She’s been ashamed about this.  And we’ve just not talked about either of those emotions…until this morning.  We connected by phone and my friend and I had a nice talk.  I expressed my anger and disappointment.  She shared that she was seeking peace and deliverance from her bad habit on a day-by-day basis of providence and dependence on God.  Our talk was nice and I’m moved to pray blessing and comfort and deliverance for my friend against the demons that have had a long-term home in her.  After thirty minutes on the phone, we were talking about “what next” and how to deal with the mess she’s made.  She then shared with me that it had occurred to her (in a quite whisper) that she could escape the dread results of her bad habit by once again revisiting the very same bad habit.  Wow.  How strong is this demon!?!  And, resultantly, how STUPID a reaction to the trouble that the very same vice had brought down on my friend’s head!?!  The demon’s little whispers are hard for her to ignore.

We all want to get a whisper...shhh!

Semi-relevant tangent: This reminds me of a funny friend of mine.  He’s worked for some of the nation’s top PR Firms and before he retired (at maybe 35 years old) he was running operations for a big PR firm in China.  My friend has not admitted this (to me) but I would guess that a couple martinis coupled with the wind blowing just right and it being a day of the week that ends in “Y” and he’d probably take credit for China’s last ten years of financial and productivity success on the world market.  He’s a really funny guy.  Having enjoyed a friendship with him over close to a couple decades now, I’d like to share with you all one of his coolest tricks.  This friend of mine, in EVERY conversation, will get to a point where he’s telling you a secret.  At that point he will lower his voice to a strong whisper.  It makes you feel so GOOD that he’s telling you a secret and that it’s such a good secret that he MUST whisper it!  Lesson learned: if it needs to be whispered, it must be JUICY!  And we LOVE IT!

So, here I am this morning, opening disgusted by the splinter in my friend’s eye and amazingly able to see it despite the telephone pole in my own.  {In case the reader is suffering from literary disorientation, we are now getting back to my conspicuous absence}  Let me pass the ketchup (Catsup, no.  Catch Up, I mean!)  Three weeks ago I had Round 16.  This was the second round of Vectibix and included pretty much all the other drugs from my last regimen.  One of these drugs that we’ve maintained (just for the “fun” of it) is called 5-FU.  None of my doctors have championed the drug but Dr. Kuo decided to leave it in my regimen as it’s a classic drug that has had good effects on colon cancers.  You’ve all probably heard me complain some about liver pain that comes to me after chemo.  I’ve suspected that it really comes from the 5-FU which I get as a push at chemo and then have dripped into me from a portable pump for 48 hours post primary chemo infusion.  After Round 16 and the 5-FU infusion, the liver pain really kicked in.  Pretty much ALL of the 14 days of Round 16 were BOOOOOGUS.  The liver pain was intense and stopped really hurting on the night before I went in for Round 17 (last Wednesday).  Given my suspicions that the 5-FU was the culprit for all this pain, I decided that if none of the docs were GUNG HO about 5-FU, I was going to vote it off the old island.  Such was done and Round 17 (which I’m 7 days into) has been SO MUCH better.    The liver pain has been there, but it’s been so very much more tolerable.  The new drug (Vectibix) continues to give me the Opie Taylor look, so I’m paying extra attention to Jessica Simpson’s TV Infomercial for her Wonder-Magical zip cream.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...or pimply!

{I’m still not really getting to the point of things, am I?}

So, for the last three weeks I’ve been rocked by liver pain, on enough high-end pain killers to satisfy Elvis circa 1973, and generally whooped-up tired during the day and especially by the time we get the kids down to bed.  After Round 16, pretty much everyday was kinda bogus and I just didn’t feel (physically) like blogging or even turning on my computer.  After Round 17, I felt a lot better than the previous cycle, but I just didn’t feel (emotionally) like talking/communicating.

So, like my friend that I’ve been angry with, I heard a whisper from one of my long-term demons.  The one that always tells me to be proud of my self-sufficiency.  The one that tells me that I can handle anything ON MY OWN.  The one that tells me that I talking/writing to friends is unnecessarily burdensome on them and exceedingly tiresome for me.  I don’t like to use absolutes, as I see them broken all the time, but I’ll use one here:   Our demons start with a truth and then ALWAYS wrap a lie around it.  You can tell that they are lying by the fact that you hear them.

“You can’t be an effective witness now because you need to get your own miserable life straight first.”

“You’ve had a horrible day, you deserve to over-eat, over-drink, over-‘whatever’.  It’s your business and it doesn’t hurt anyone else.”

“You’ve been talking about this same illness/challenge for six months.  People are tired of hearing about it.  Plus it only brings you down to discuss the issue.  Better for you and everyone to be reclusive and just not communicate.”

Lies.  Lies.  Lies.  Back to me, a great friend of mine called yesterday and prayed with me and just generally lifted my flagging spirits.  He shined light on the lies that one of my demons was whispering to me.  As stupid as was my vice-ridden friend’s notion to jump back into the vice “just one more time” I find myself laden with that telephone pole in my own eye as God has blessed me with family and friends that care for me and seek to communicate with me…even when I’m sick or I’m tired or I’m scared or if I’m melancholy.  A few friends of mine have have travelled this path of fighting cancer.  They have all brought up the fact that I’m surrounded by the most incredible blanket of support and love.  I can only attribute this blessing to God.  How dare Satan try to rob me of this!?!  But he and his demon captains are good… and they whisper to us…and even when we know they’re lies…we listen to them at least a little bit.  Dang  it!  That’s our nature.  And a big part of which I pray for deliverance.

I’ve got a special treat coming up.  Normally, the next round of chemo would be coming for me a week from today.  We’re going to postpone it for five days and use the “clean” time to take Aiden to Washington, DC at the end of next week and through the weekend.  Having ditched the 5-FU, I’m already feeling better than I have in a long time.  With another week to heal and clean up, I’m really hopeful that I’ll feel good and have good energy to run around at monuments and museums.

Thanks to all of you that are following our battle and sustaining us with prayer and love.  I’m sorry I’ve been listening to whispers, but it’s so hard to shut them out.  I bet you all know that too.  Have a great day.  It seems to be Springtime here in NC.  Love,

Alan


Hello Friends! It’s Wednesday, March 10, 2010, Alan here:  I’m sitting in the puffy chair now.  Some of you know what that means.  Chemo Clinics have the poofy-est recliners known to man for chemo infusion.  My bloodwork was good this morning and now I’m hooked up and getting my anti-nausea drugs before they hit me with the hard stuff.  I’ve got some stuff on my mind and I’m gonna see how fast I can impart it to this page so I can post this now.  If I don’t hurry up, I’ll have to wait a while to post as the chemo drugs mess up my vision.

I wanted to talk about self-perception a little bit today.  Have you ever had doubt?  A little self-doubt or insecurity?  Ever thought, “I can’t do this?” or “I’m insufficient for this task?”  Unless you are within the extreme minority you’ve thought this and either demurred from the task at hand or faced it with a half-defeated attitude.  Most of the time we learn that our estimation of self was overly pessimistic and our estimation of the task or challenge that we faced was overly generous.

Left to our own, when challenged to the point of assessing our selves, we may or may not have the fortitude to meet the task successfully.  Sometimes, the difference is based merely in a word of encouragement.  I used to really enjoy lifting weights.  Pressing yourself to and beyond your limit is how muscles are broken down and stimulated to grow.  In a gym, frequently, you’ll see one meathead “spotting” another so that Meathead #1 can lift at the extreme limits of his capability while having someone  (Meathead #2) stand ready to lift the weight off his chest at a highly potential failure.  One thing that I’ve noticed as I was either Meathead #1 or #2 is that a well-placed “Push it” is as good as grabbing the bar and applying a little bit of assistive force.  I don’t know why, but it works.  It just causes you to dig a little deeper if someone is watching and if they tell you that “you can do it!”

In life we have different mirrors with which we can choose to examine ourselves.  We don’t have to choose one or the other.  We can take a blend.  I think that one mirror is our self-estimation (very much like self-esteem) and the other is the communicated estimation of ourselves from others.  Internal and External.  Somebody telling me “Yeah Baby!  You can do it!!!” can make me lift more weight than I thought I could.  So many of you have reached out to me and given me a “spot” in this battle.  I thank God for you.

My Vectibix just showed up, so I need to hurry or you’ll start to see a lot of errors in my typing.  Getting to the point, I want to mention, in summary, how important the external spot is.  Folks have told me I’m strong when I feel that I’m really weak.  People have told me I’m brave when I’m so very frightened.  People have told me that I can do this when I’ve had terrible doubts running in my head.  It is so important to have that external mirror help describe our capability to meet a task.  An encouraging friend is, indeed, a treasure.  So many of you have reached out to me and all of it has been appreciated.  I’ve been struggling over the last couple of weeks and words of encouragement have helped me get a handle on my bootstraps.

Let’s have a great day and remember that people all around us are estimating themselves against their tasks and probably underestimating their capability.  Encourage them.  Give them a “spot”.  “YOU can do it!”

I can still see, but I’m gonna draw to a close here.  The next couple days will be blotto for me so I’ll talk to you again soon…but not too soon.  Thanks for your encouragement.  I’m lifted by it and all your prayers.  Love!

Alan

PS.  Something funny:  Here in the chemo clinic I just received a huge compliment.  I was just asked, “is that a toupee?”  Yeah Baby, YOU can do it!!!!!

Hello Friends!  Alan here: Although just barely.  Sorry for my absence, but Round 14 has been very tough.  As you’ll recall, we started a new Chemo Regimen last Wednesday which is essentially most of the drugs I’ve been taking with Vectibix substituted for Avastin.  Early indicators on Thursday and Friday seemed to show that this drug cocktail was MUCH more tolerable.  In fact, Friday was AWESOME.  I felt good.  Good like a normal day a year ago.  My energy was up.  I had no pain.  I was out and about and really hopeful that this new regimen was the bee’s knees.  Later on Friday evening, I realized that this was just a GLIMPSE.  But it really cheered my spirit.

In a lot of ways, I WANT my Chemo to be rough and hard to tolerate.  If it were not, I would be under the impression that if it’s easy for me to handle, likewise for the tumors.  On Friday evening, about 60 hours after infusion started I got my wish.  As is common in my treatment, my liver started to hurt at this point.  The liver only has pain receptors along the capsule/envelop of the organ.  A couple of the tumors live here.   They really piped up with intense pain starting on Friday and Saturday.  I’d hoped to be able to post earlier, but, honestly, I’ve either been unable to concentrate long enough or have been too “Fat Elvis” (terminology for being full of drugs) to write an entry.  Likewise, many of you have reached out to me on email or Facebook and I’ve yet to reply.  I’m a little behind on my correspondence and it’s chiefly Fat Elvis’ fault.  I will catch up, and I do SO value hearing your notes of encouragement.

So now it’s Wednesday.  It’s been a week since Round 14 started.  New drug definitely still lights up the liver with some kind of action that is made highly evident to me by the liver pain.  In the Fun Side Effects Department, Vectibix is generally expected to produce an acne-like rash on the face/chest/back/hands and feet.  Good news is, it’s only hit my face.  Bad news, I look like Opie Taylor stopping by the drug store for some Clearasil on the way to the Mayberry junior dance.  So, earlier indicators that cancer and said treatment therefore only make you BETTER looking have been debunked as false.

Round 14 has been ROUGH. I’ve been in a significant amount of pain and on a significant amount of drugs to combat such.  Both of these have a tendency to get you down a little bit.

Also in the dreary department:

  • A friend of mine can’t get his “stuff” together and is torturing himself and his family.
  • Jim in St. Louis got results back:  Not good.  Cancer.
  • Susan, a friend here in Huntersville has been waging a great fight against breast cancer.  Received a clean bill of health.  Felt a lump last week.  Is in surgery about NOW and will go through radiation treatment afterwards.
  • My friend Randolph was taken off Chemo and put on oral drug maintenance, had a not-so-great scan and is now back on Chemo.

So I’m just a regular Shirley Sunshine this morning, huh?  I’m actually NOT sad or depressed now like I was a week or two ago.  I’ve got my winner’s attitude tuned up and ready for business.  I’m hopeful and happy with the prospects that my new drug regimen bring to the table.  I mentioned a GLIMPSE earlier.  God afforded me a reminder.  A recall of what it’s like to feel “normal” or good on Friday.  That was really awesome and cool.  I was driving around and feeling great and felt like I was back in action.  I’ve always thought and regarded that this battle was going to be very hard, with lots of trepidation, disappointment, pruning, and adaptation in store.  Round 14.  14 times two weeks = 28 weeks of chemo.  That’s over half a year.  Gee, time flies when you’re having chemo.  I feel contradicted by a desire to “focus on my battle” and the bulleted reminders above that indicate that life goes on around me and lots of people have challenges.  I don’t know what stage of recovery I’m supposedly in, but I’ll tell you how it all makes me feel:  SAD.  I know that “for everything there is a season” (turn, turn, turn) but it just seems like a lot of SAD stuff to me.  I also understand that nobody promised us a rose garden (why am I thinking in bad lyrics today?).  And then I think back to GLIMPSES.  Like on Friday when I felt really good.  Like when my babies where born and looked at me.  Like when I pushed the junkies out of the way on South Beach to propose to my wife.  The GLIMPSES and the memory of them really help us through this thing called life.

So, I’m back.  Thanks for your prayers.  I know they’ve helped through a tough week.  I thank God for GLIMPSES.  He gives them to us in the form of imagination, of memory, and through sharing joy with others.  Have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon.  Love,

Alan

Hello Friends!  Alan here: I’m up to bat for Round 14.  This will be the second time we’ve changed the chemo-bomb planned for ingestion at clinic.  Results the first time, looked good initially, but then we crashed and burned with mediocre results.  Now we’re throwing a new drug that has reported “miraculous” results on colon and liver cancer.  I’ve been working really hard to move my buttocks off my shoulders as they’ve been situated there for the last week sense the “not so great” report.

I mentioned earlier that faith or not…things start to move and I have a tendency to apply expectation and agenda-building skills to what God is already doing.  I keep thinking back to a moment in 1996.  I was living in Greenville, SC working for the US Oncology.  My office was in a oncology practice setting and one day when I was heading out to lunch, I saw a little man sitting on the curb.  He was a patient and he had a large Tupperware full of maybe 20 bottles of medicine.  He sat there on the curb and I could read him in the moment.  His face was distraught with his situation.  He was visibly perplexed by all the bottles of medicine.  I could see him fumbling through the medicine bottles somewhere between sad, confused, and mad as hell.  I had empathy for him at that moment.  Now, when I open up my Tupperware for drug time, I can see that little man on the curb.  I didn’t know him before he got sick but I know that he’d lost 50+ lbs and that he had that dried up look that I fear so much now.

This forum usually affords me time to write and visit with you on subjects that I hope call on us all to convict and challenge ourselves.  It’s been hard for me to get my keyboard going on this post because I sometimes my tank is dry.  In the midst of last week’s “put you in the fetal position” liver pain episodes, I found some comfort in passing time laid up in bed watching Man v. Wild on Discovery.  This is the show where they drop an EX-British Special Forces guy out of a helicopter into a place very likely to kill anyone that visits.  I watched an episode yesterday where they dropped him into Siberia.  Within 10-minutes, Bear (the star) had urinated on his hand (on purpose), skinned and fashioned a deer hide into a smelly security blanket, eaten same deer’s eyeballs, and demonstrated falling into ice-covered lake water.  I enjoy this show.  But if it’s really about survival, why is he doing all these ridiculous stunts.  The answer:  Ratings.

I don’t really know what, if any, point I’m making here.  I guess I’m interested in survival.  Check. Maybe I like it when one gets to do something that draws slightly weird attention.  Check. Perhaps I like the idea of a cool nickname like Bear’s.  Sure.

Bear talks a lot about core temperature and maintaining moral even if disoriented.  I’ve had a huge amount of problems with that this week.  Mentally, I’ve been trying to destroy my expectations of this battle.  Results are not going to come when I think they SHOULD.  There will be more disappointments.  Through all this I must tie my drive, my motivators, and the promises available to me tightly to my self.

Tomorrow we reenter the Octagon for Round 14.  I’m getting new drugs.  On my agenda I would be planning for them to >>>>>>>>>>>whoa!  Not my agenda, right?  New drugs tomorrow.  An army of nice folks continues to implore God to heal my body.  My butt?  I think I’ve got it off my shoulders and I’m ready to hit this hard…With a positive attitude.  Knowing that my God is bigger than any illness.  Knowing that the grief I’ve felt may feel cathartic for a couple moments, but really only robs the moment.  It’s time to hit the canvas hard and take the battle to the enemy.  I don’t know ALL of what that means, but I do know that rejoicing in my drought is part of it.  Tumor in my colon.  Tumors in my liver.  Family and friends that love me.  A home that is warm and safe.  God moving all around us.  So, into the Octagon.  I enter rejoicing at the blessings that God showers on me and my family.  Bear didn’t mention any of this about surviving in Siberia.

Thanks for your support and prayers friends.  A bunch of you have given me nudges and reminders.  God is good.  Let’s look hard to see what He’s doing in our lives.  Love,

Alan

Hello Friends!  Alan here: Thanks again for all the concern, prayers and support over the last days.  Misty and I visited UNC yesterday and reviewed our CT Scan.  Dr. Goldberg felt the scan to be rather “ambiguous” in its positioning and its illumination of what’s going on in my liver.  “Ambiguous”?  Yeah, you and I are thinking the same thing.  I’m upset if there’s ambiguity involved in my sandwich for lunch or my haircut…certainly I don’t want any of that in my CT of the liver!  Back to point: “ambiguous” or not, what Dr. Goldberg saw didn’t suggest things were shrinking.  As a  result, he and Dr. Kuo have chosen to alter my chemo-therapy again.  For those that unfortunately know about this stuff, here’s what we are doing:  Maintaining FOLFIRI and substituting Vectabix for Avastin.

So the course of treatment has changed again.  We have to look at this as a positive reaction to unsatisfactory results.  I’m very happy that the best the Lake Norman area and UNC have to offer are working together so well to try and benefit my case.  It seems that when you hit tumors with a chemo-therapy drug, they are most drastically stunned initially and then they build a tolerance for the poison.  Such is the concern with cavalierly adding/changing drug regimens.  We should start Vectabix on Wednesday.  Along with use of the word “ambiguous”, Dr. Goldberg used the term “miraculous” as to what he’s seen Vectabix be able to do in cases similar to mine.  Let’s focus on that.  MIRACULOUS.

TV VIEWING REMINDER: My buddy Jerry’s show on Discovery Health airs again on February 19th. @ 8:00 pm. & 11:00 pm.  For DirecTV folks that means channel 279. The name of the program is “I Was Dead”.  This program tells of four folks’ stories of near-death experiences.  Jerry’s is the last and I highly recommend that you watch and/or record the show.  THIS shows TONIGHT!

Thanks to all for your support and reminders you’ve given me.  I’m still fighting.  I’m still rejoicing in a bounty of blessings that God provides.  So many of you have reached out to me and reminded me about God’s presence and His providence.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Don’t forget to watch “I Was Dead” tonight.  Thanks for your prayers and support.  Talk to you soon.  Love,

Alan

Hello Friends:  Alan here! As you may know we had a little disappointment with yesterday’s visit to Dr. Kuo.  To be clear, anything other than, “Hey Alan, did you know that your tumors are disappearing???” is a little bit of a disappointment.  Our visit with Dr. Kuo really was just established that we don’t have additional shrinkage on the tumors.  To that, Dr. Kuo has prepared a note looking to engage Dr. Goldberg at UNC more actively in some more “aggressive” therapies.  To that, we’re officially on the “we’ll see” category.

So many of you are following my progress and disappointment from yesterday.  The context of my disappointment really speaks to the limits of my faith.  “Save me Lord…but hurry up and do it while I know that you can pull me back.”  Pretty weak, huh?  Friends of ours called late last night and coached us to “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently upon Him.”   Patient is hard for us all…all the time.  God blessed us with a good report on December 7 and we start looking for a precise agenda.

So many of you have reached out to us to remind us of a couple things.  Inclusive are:  the fact that God loves us, that so many of you all love us, that so many of you are praying for us and that God has many ways in which He answers prayers with so few of them being understandable to man.

Over the last few days I’ve struggled with significant liver pain, new drugs, new levels of Elvis  (mid 1970s) impersonation and now this disappointment.  I’ve got to work on being still.  Knowing that I am to wait upon the Lord…not vice versa.

We leave for UNC early tomorrow morning.  I’m praying that Dr. Goldberg has a perspective that lightens our path and invigorates our enthusiasm.  He may, or may not do that.  ALL that isn’t Dr. Goldberg’s job.  But he can be empowered to do so.  Please pray for us to have peace in God’s perfect providence.

One of my new best buddies wrote this and gave it to me a few months ago.  I look to it now and share it with you all:

Proclamation Of Faith

Alan’s body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed and sanctified by the blood of Jesus. Alan’s members and parts of his body are instruments of His righteousness. Yielded to God’s service and His glory. The devil has no place in Alan, no power over Alan and no unsettled claims against him. All have been settled by the blood of Jesus, Alan overcame Satan by the word of his testimony. Alan loves not his life unto the death. Alan’s body is for the Lord and the Lord is for his body. Amen.

My friend, Randolph really described our biggest gift with these Spirit-tuned words.  Randolph would be very happy for any of you to use this proclamation as you wait upon the Lord.

Another point: My friend Jerry’s show on Discovery Health airs again on February 19th. @ 8:00 pm. & 11:00 pm.  For DirecTV folks that means channel 279. The name of the program is “I Was Dead”.  Jerry’s story airs last.  He’s the “good old boy” from Georgia.  I’ve gotten to know Jerry as a friend and a big brother in Christ over the last several weeks.  I encourage you to get your friends to watch his story.  It definitely has life-changing potential.  He puts his feet down on the floor every morning knowing that God has work for him to do.  I fully believe that God is using Jerry’s prolonged life and his visit to heaven to encourage us here.

OK.  Off to UNC in the morning.  Will report to y’all tomorrow.  Trying to “still” myself.  Set your Tivo’s for Jerry’s show and don’t take any wooden nickels.  There, that about covers things except for, God is good, thanks for your prayers, and LOVE,

Alan

Hello Friends.  Alan Here: Today was blotto.  Largely in bed with tired body but my mind was racing about.  This process actually started late last night.  My doctor has added some steroids into my list of IV drugs and, positively, I find that it helps with the post-dose nausea and improves my alertness during the hangover period.

During this “alert” period last night it came to me what God was trying to tell me in Five Guys a couple days ago.  (If this is confusing read the previous post)

First off I have a disclaimer: I tumbled and rolled a little bit this afternoon thinking of how best to express this and I decided that a little coarse language was necessary.  As such:

After college at the prestigious College of Charleston, my best beer-drinking buddy John Martin (he’s one of those guys who is seldom regarded as either “John” or “Martin”…”John Martin” does just fine) and I grabbed an apartment in Mt. Pleasant, SC.  As the crow flies, maybe three miles from downtown Charleston.  We apparently still had some childish behavior to flush from our systems.  On a not so unusual Friday afternoon, John and I make it home from work and the following conversation ensues:

“Hey, Dove, whatcha want to do tonight?

“Well, I was thinking we’d go to Arizona’s for a drink.”

“Yeah, Dove, that sounds pretty happening.”

“I’d say so.  It should be pretty cool.  You’ve got that bartender that likes you and gives you free beer and I’ve decided to live a little dangerously and Tammy, Katie, and Catherine will ALL be there (editors note: separately, and unaware that I was dating all of them concurrently).”

“Well, Dove, all I’ve got to say about that is that you’re making yourself a big Shit Sandwich and you’re gonna have to eat the whole thing.”

Noun

shit sandwich (plural shit sandwiches)

Something highly undesirable, such as very bad situation. Phil’s jokes generally go down like a shit sandwich.

So, John, indeed, was right.  The evening was exciting AND did result in a nice Philly Cheesesteak-sized Shit Sandwich (SS) for me to eat.

In this case, I built my own SS.  Constructed by bad behavior and lack of integrity.  Bite by bite, it was mine to eat.

In other cases, I believe that God allows Shit Sandwiches to be placed before us in order to draw us to him or to accomplish things in this world that can further His will.

Lastly, I think that God can also allow Shit Sandwiches to be placed before us a punishment.

I did a database search of the Bible and got 156 results for the word “Rejoice.  These speak to times that the Lord wants us to rejoice.  The first ones are more obvious.  The later speak to times that we might would rather wallow in self-pity.

There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.
Deuteronomy 12:6-8

And you and the Levites and the aliens among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.
Deuteronomy 26:10-12

And you and the Levites and the aliens among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.
Deuteronomy 26:10-12

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:23-25

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:23-25

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11-13

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
John 16:19-21

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
John 16:19-21

But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12-14

That’s were I was the other day.  Medicating a sad mood with a Five Guys Double Cheeseburger….Stat.  I looked around, first critical, then envious of others’ health status.  Then I noticed that mine wasn’t the only Shit Sandwich on the proverbial table (Dear Five Guys, Inc., this is metaphorical speak, I know that your sandwiches are 100% beef).  I now realize that God wants me and you to eat the Shit Sandwich of our making of His allowance onto our table AND REJOICE.  Yep, I’ve got a bunch of tumors I don’t want.  But He expects me to Rejoice.  Sure, you may have financial problems, but He wants you to Rejoice.  Marriage going rough….you guessed in, He wants you to Rejoice.

She might really wish Mom had packed her a Gatorade

And she might not want to walk 5 Miles with the water for the day.

He hates his job.

He should...

This is a worrisome situation...

As much so as this?

Struggling Marriage

Struggling loneliness

God gave us this free will.  I’m guessing he gets a kick out of seeing what we do with it.  He knows and is the source of all joy that we have (whether we recognize it our not).  I think he wants us to Rejoice so that we can share that joy with Him.  Ever give a gift and hear nothing about it?  How much more awesome to hear that the Ronco 5000 you gave me for Christmas has changed my life!!!!!

So, we all have our shit sandwich to eat.  In some cases it’s ALL yours.  In other cases, friends and family hop up to take a big bite.  In all cases, God wants us to praise Him, His Glory, and His Power in the midst of this ignominious ingestion.

I’m glad that the answer to my lunch at Five Guys came to me.  I’m sorry if my choice of words offended any.  Sometimes coarse is accurate.

Thanks for your prayers.  Pump comes off tomorrow.  So far, pretty good round of chemo.  Be good.  Love,

Alan