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,