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Showing posts from October, 2012
Friends,

I believe that I still have about 100 or so copies of my Children's Worship music CD which I recorded several years ago.  I'd like to get them sold before the coming holidays, as 100% of the proceeds go toward the support of Hugworks and Kenya Kid's Can food project in Kenya.

Send me word by email or give me a call at the church if you are interested.  $10.00 each or $2 for $15.00.   People tell me this CD has been a blessing to their children.  It includes a lot of the songs we have sung together with the children who have come down for the Children's Time during morning worship services and Vacation Bible School these almost seven-and-a-half years together here at the First United Methodist Church in Grapevine, Texas.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Update: Radioactive Rev. Rick . . .

Visited my radiology oncologist yesterday.  A great guy who was very positive from the get-go.

I start my low-iodine diet on November 6 . . . which is only a little more restrictive than the counting calorie diet I've been on for almost a year.  Shouldn't be any problem at all.

I will have my radioactive iodine ablation on Nov. 13, and then be at home for a week.  Even signed a couple of forms from the "State of Texas" acknowledging I won't be around small children or mingling in crowds from November 13-18. 

Sure don't plan to be.

Call me Radioactive Rev. Rick!!!

All this is really good news, because it means the schedule is a bit expidited.  I was under the impression the diet lasted for 2-3 weeks, which again would have been no big deal.   That I can stay at home, with appropriate precautions (have to sleep by myself, have a bathroom for my use only, etc.) it's going to all be OK.   We can host family Thanksgiving this year and as of November 19th,  I…

Update: Fatigue - Phase #2

I went to the doctor today ... As a result of 3 dizziness episodes on Monday when I arose from a seated position. I also had an episode while driving. My doctor took me off one of my BP meds, and halved the other ... which is a good thing for me in the long run.

She also confirmed, based on her experience, as others and my wife have have told me, that I am to that point post-surgery where my daily fatigue is lasting longer, and will continue to do so until hormone replacement therapy starts.

Her advice ... the same as others have advised who have gone through thyroid cancer ... It is going to get better.

So, another month at least of increasing fatigue, along with an expected increase in appetite, and all I can do is rest when I need to.

As a result, I'm getting a little nervous about driving. So, if tired, I don't drive, or get home as quickly as possible before the fatigue headache and backache start.

It's all more than a bit frustrating. I don't feel at all like …

Update: A full morning of worship ... Well almost ...

The picture here is my view of the sunrise this morning coming east on Mustang Drive toward S. Main Street. Pretty awesome.

Helped lead worship at 8:50 am, sang and helped at 10:10 am, but only made it through the Children's Time and hearing the kids sing before I ran out of gas at the 11:15 am service.

This fatigue thing has no rhyme or reason to it. It hits you when it hits you, and I don't like to be driving when it does! I made it home to my recliner in time. I'll make my class tonight at 6 pm at the church.

Didn't realize until today how much I have missed working with and beside John Mollet. John has become a good friend and ministry partner, and it's a challenge to keep up with him. As much as he and I joke about each other in public, there is a deep inner and personal respect we have for one another. It's my honor and privilege to work with him.

His sermon this morning was a great start to our new "Split-Ticket" sermon series.

God's g…

A special thanks to Butch Hall ...

I had the honor and privilege of meeting and talking to Butch Hall of Butch Hall Native American Flutes this afternoon in Weatherford. Butch was kind enough to receive Liz and I on an early Saturday afternoon, and gave us a personal tour of his wood shop, and let me share my hopes and dreams about furthering my understanding and appreciation about music that heals, as well as exploring if Native American flutes could be part of this journey.

I'm now approaching therapeutic/healing music more from a clinical perspective, which is how Jim Newton and Paul Hill have developed the songs they have written in their work through Hugworks for 30+ years.

It became apparent in just a few moments that Butch was the man I needed to talk to about Native American flutes and this dream of mine.

Butch showed and even let me play 6 of his flutes, but guided me toward the lower toned flutes he makes. I will be getting the Dm and Cm bass flutes from him very soon, and probably an E as well at some p…

Reconnections . . .

I blogged recently about "reconnecting" to something spiritual during my recent 2 week stay in New Mexico. That reconnection has changed me, and my understanding of it continues to develop, almost to the point where I hope to put it down into words.

I've experienced several additional reconnections since, two in just the past few days. How this has all happened is pretty amazing to me.

The first new reconnection ...

On Wednesday morning, a church member who recently experienced an accident came to see me. It was the year anniversary of the accident itself. During our conversation, she presented me with a small guardian angel medallion that she had worn every day during the past year of her recovery. It had been given to her by another church member. That member received it from me. I presented it to her when she began a very long period of rehab as the result of a stroke.

This little pendant is showing its age! It's tarnished, a bit pitted, and the edges are a bit …

Update: A "new" normal is my goal ...

I facilitated session #1 of our new "Questions People Ask About Death and Dying" class last evening. Today I was back in my office, and actually got several pastoral care items taken care of. It all felt good.

The number of get-well cards that Liz and I have received continues to grow (and we are so thankful to all who have sent then with Facebook "likes," texts, emails and calls). However, seeing, greeting and talking to people "live" and one-on-one today was a blessing. I relished every single personal contact today!

I worked until a little after 2:30 PM, including time for a healthy lunch at Old West Cafe. I knew I was starting to push it a bit, so I headed home. It's sort of interesting and yet annoying, that you "feel" the fatigue coming on, or it blindsides you.

Focusing mentally was a bit of an issue today, perhaps because of fatigue, or from being away a lot during September and part of October. My main focus remains on pastoral…

Moving into Native American flutes . . .

Part of the stuff I started to plan for when I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, was to accelerate my efforts around learning to play the Native American flute.

If you have ever gone to a massage therapist's office, that flute based meditation music you probably heard in the background during the massage is usually from a Native American flute.

I've been researching wooden flutes for several years now.  Why?  I just love the sound they make.
They are soothing and calming, something I can always do with more of.  With the prospect of losing my singing speaking voice during two thyroid / throat surgeries, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge.  In case I lost my voice, I wanted to start learning another instument that might have to become a new music voice for me.

Well, all is going good with the voice, it's getting stronger . . . and it will be back to full strength after I start some voice lessons soon.  But I am far enough along now in learning how to play th…

Update: Phase #3 begins

Phase #1 - Was diagnosis
Phase #2 - Was 2 surgeries
Phase #3 - Radioactive iodine treatment

Got word yesterday that we will go see the radiological oncologist on October 30. They will let us know of any cancellations between now and then, as we are not far from their office while either at home or work.

Initial visit, start the low iodine diet, and weekly blood tests until levels show I'm ready for the radioactive iodine treatments.

God's grace still amazes me ... ><>

Update: Post-Op update

Released today, referred to next doctor (radiology oncologist??) and stitches are out. I will take a glorious shower soon.

I am, and will be for the time being, on driving restrictions because fatigue issues until I start taking hormone therapy, which is after the radioactive iodine treatments. My doctors orders are to only drive short distances, if I feel up to it, basically 10 miles or less ... No driving to Dallas or Ft. Worth yet. Due to my larger than normal body size (really?) it looks like my fatigue will be ongoing throughout the day, and will gradually worsen over the next few weeks.

I slept great last night, but was in my recliner just a few minutes after getting up. The bad episode I had Sunday, according to the doctor, was probably due to having had 2 surgeries in a month, and staying out to long. Sunday was my first time out since the surgery.

I'm happy to be released, and forcing myself to be realistic about the restrictions, which I need to admit isn't,…

Update: Post-Op visit is tomorrow

All things considered, it's all good.

I got the attend our staff worship planning meeting this morning at the Heritage campus, my first "more than a couple hour" venture from home. It was an awesome meeting, and I'm very, very (did I say "very?" Can I get an "Amen!") excited what will come our of our frank, open, and honest discussion about worship. As of today, I just can't wait to get back into the ebb and flow of daily ministry. I very much miss working with John, Cindy, Armando, Nathan, Wren, Jenny, Trudy, Melissia and all the rest.

I was also blessed today by my barber, Joe Sheppard. He bought me lunch, gave me a haircut and a shave, and then drove me home (I'm still on driving restrictions). Joe has been my friend for almost 8 years. Floyd Diehm told me about Joe's shop, and no one else has cut my hair since. A good Christian man who counsels and mentors many in his daily walk. And, it's a "Barber Shop." Not a…

Update: I'm home!

I'm in my recliner with my fleece Indian "God's Eye" decorated blanket and my "Hope" pillow. I feel a long quiet nap coming on.

I'll update again in a few days. I think I'll take the next few days for rest, reading, writing, and visiting with family who are planning to come over.

God's grace still amazes me ... ><>

Update: Surgery #2

Surgery yesterday went well. The rest of my thyroid was removed, and it is expected that they will find a tumor in it as well. After healing up a bit, I anticipate being referred to a nuclear medicine doctor in a couple of weeks to begin prep for radioactive iodine treatments.

My voice is raspy, and tired after just speaking a few words. "No singing for a month" says the doctor. Irritation to the vocal chords is the culprit. Two surgeries on your neck in less than a month near your throat will cause that I guess. But, it's not vocal chord paralysis, which is good.

Pain this time is a lot less, and perhaps that is due to my being less anxious, since I've been through this surgery before. I can only speak of my complete and total satisfaction with the care I have received from Dr. Charles Railsback, he is a fine man and a wonderful doctor, and from everyone at Texas Health Harris Methodist HEB Hospital. The care here is exemplary!!

Hopefully leaving for home later th…

Update: Surgery #2 is tomorrow

Dr. Cindy Ryan, fellow pastor, ministry team partner and friend, stopped me as I was leaving the office this afternoon, and tells me that she has a gift for me from a secret ministry group in our church that "even you don't know about."

My reply to her was, "but you know about it, right?"

Cindy replies, "we'll of course!"

It was the very cute, yet quite masculine little pillow you see below.

Surgery #2 is at 10 am tomorrow, to remove the remainder of my thyroid. A week or so after my post-op visit with my doctor, I will be referred to a nuclear medicine doctor to begin all that needs to be done in preparation for radioactive iodine treatment.

No time table yet on all that. But that's how it usually works with any kind of illness requiring surgery and treatments. The process of it all is just that ... a process. The journey takes as long as it has to and the road meanders a lot along the way. All I know to do is keep going forward, one step at…

Time to write about music stuff again . . .

Surgery #2 is this coming Thursday.  I would appreciate as many morning prayers as possible.  Thanks again for all the prayers so far.  

The only negative note about all this is my decision to cancel my October nursing home gigs, mostly due to my probably having a raspy-after-surgery voice for the next few weeks. My voice is much better, but still a bit more "nasal" than normal, and my voice tires easily it seems after just a couple songs, or speaking for more than 5 minutes.  Some vocal lessons with Jim Newton in a month or so will fix all that up, I am sure.

I am blessed that the relationships I have with my nursing home folks are long-term, so the folks there understand and know I will be back, hopefullly in time for my Christmas music stuff, which often includes the families of the nursing home residents. 

Now . . . for some music stuff . . . and it's good to be writing about music again.

First, I've today discovered, thanks to an email from the Americana Music Ass…