Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cancer Can Ki$$ my @$$

There, I said it!  It is something I had to say.  I don't usually say stuff like that, but today I just had to come right out and say it.  Heck, let me say it again, "Cancer, ki$$ my...."  Okay, I've said it, but I don't feel any better.

As a cancer survivor, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about cancer.  My thoughts aren't the type that throw me into a pity party.  They don't depress me, scare me or anything negative.  More over, they encourage me, astound me and leave me in disbelief that I have actually gone through a fight and come out on the other side ahead and better than I was.  I stand in awe of how God has taken this disease, allowed me to endure what I have and used it to somehow encourage others.  I don't get it, and probably never will.  Typically, these thoughts stay in the background as I carry on through each day.  Some days they are more prevalent, but I try to limit those days (simply to keep my sanity).

Today, my thoughts took front and center stage.  Usually, I accept cancer news with grief, but as a part of life.  I have to in my line of work.  With the number of patients I see diagnosed with cancer, or fighting it, I can't let cancer toy with my emotions like a cat with a ball of yarn.  Yet, today I let cancer defeat me.  No, not my own cancer, or that of a patient.  Rather, news from a friend.

Jim is a great guy.  He and his wife became very dear friends during the time Janda and I were in Jacksonville.  While I was in my treatment room, strapped to the table like a convict awaiting a death cocktail, Jim and his wife would sit in the waiting room chatting with Janda.  Jim would go receive his treatment at some point in time during their conversation and return within 15 minutes to continue where he left off (he was battling prostate cancer and didn't have to spend 60ish minutes on the treatment table like I did).  It wasn't long before we started going to a meal here and there with Jim and his wife.  I went on the Budweiser Brewery with Jim, his wife and a couple other friends.  Janda and I were both excited and disappointed when his graduation date came and they went back home to Georgia.  BUT, when we went back to J-ville for my 1 year follow up, we stopped there in Georgia and enjoyed a great BBQ meal with them.

Since then, Janda has done a great job of keeping in touch with them.  The bond between care takers (ACS and the treatment center calls them) is a beautiful thing and one that can't be explained.  Jim's wife usually keeps Janda up to speed, and Janda reciprocates regarding me.  We looked forward to seeing Jim and wife last summer, but a flare up of cancer caused them to postpone their trip out here for Frontier Days.  This year, we were hoping to see them out here.  But, Frontier Days came and went.  Then, today happened.

Today Janda received an email from Jim himself.  Usually, Janda will just relay news while we are talking in the evening.  Not today.  Today, she sent me the email from Jim.  It has returned...again....and worse....with unbearable pain.  He had to return to J-ville again...for more treatment - 10 rounds this time...with new meds that might help.  Sure, he has noticed minimal relief, but isn't assured of success.  And, he also confirmed that he believes prayer works as he prayed for strength to go to church.  Not only did he go, but he sat through the service without pain.

Today, my thoughts of cancer haunted me.  I wound up in tears at work.  I sit here now, in tears.  The pain of cancer has made this day a very long day.  I hurt for Jim and his wife.  Yet, in true Jim fashion, despite the grim outlook in his email, I saw a glimmer of hope.  He was positive.  It is something that I respect in him the most - being positive for his friends and family.  It is something I strive to do, be positive for my friends and family.

So tonight, I'm okay with the tears.  Heck, if Jimmy V championed it and Stuart Scott encouraged it, and Christ can shed them, then cry I will.  If you think of it, or remember to, please join me in prayer for Jim and his wife.

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