Skip to main content

Disease free . . .

I haven't felt like writing about it until today.

Last week on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 3:20 PM or so . . . my oncologist told me that I was disease free according to the scans and blood work tests I had 2 weeks previous.

He kept saying . . .

"That reading was zero . . . and so was that one . . . and so was that one."

"These two readings indicated "benign."

"Your cancer is in remission."

Then he shared that the only thing wrong with my scans and blood tests was that my body was wanting more thyroid hormone replacement than I was getting, so he gave me a new prescription. 

I will be "re-staged" in April or May every year for the next 5 years.  If those scans are all negative, then I can say I'm cancer free in 2018.

But . . . I can use words like "remission" or "disease free."  Both of which are big relief.

And now . . . I am caught between a rock and a hard place.

I've postponed getting ready for the upcoming VBS season in June, and also have delayed preparations for being at Philmont Scout Ranch in July as a chaplain.  I have a lot to do in 2 months, which also includes our Annual Conference meetings in Fort Worth, as well as a new list of "to-do's" as long as my arm.

I just couldn't get myself to start planning for some of these things until after I received some sort of an "all clear" from my oncologist.   I didn't want to say "yes" to people, and then have to say "no" if I had to go through another treatment.

Oh well . . . life is about responses.  I've learned a lot since we first found the lump in my throat back in late July of 2012.

I came out of this experience with a better singing voice . . . remarkably enough, after having had two neck surgeries, although their was a month or so I couldn't sing a note.

I have a better understanding now of some of the mental/ emotional aspects of cancer that I had no clue about earlier.  I will be a better pastor to those in cancer treatment as a result.

I'm know talking about, thinking about and doing more of the important things in life that really matter to me. 

About time.

I would still give myself a C- grade for how I handled it all.  But then again, that's still a passing grade, and I don't see anybody burning me in effigy just yet.

I never truly realized how much my family has gone through during my diagnosis, surgery and treatment.

My sweet wife of 37 years . . . what can I say?  I've fallen in love with her again and again and again these past months. 

My daughters and son-in-laws, my mom, my sister and her husband, my friends . . . all seemed to call me exactly when I needed them to.  Being able to call my friend Joe, a victor against cancer in a much longer battle than I went through, gave me some good info along the way.  My friend Floyd let me vent.  Jim Newton . . . my musical mentor . . . taught me some vocal exercises that made all the difference in how fast my voice recovered. Sean let me hide in the Grapevine Guitar Works back room whenever I needed to.

And, what can I say about the church staff and members of the First United Methodist Church of Grapevine??? 

Only that they are the greatest. 

John Mollet, Cindy Ryan, Nathan Firmin, Armando Alvarado, Amelia Beasley, Trudy Hughes, Wren Robinson . . . . all carried me a lot these past months . . . not an easy thing since I out-weighed several of them by 150 pounds!!!

All the support staff helped as well. And then there is Katherine Hunter, our Assistant to the Pastors. Thank you, Katherine!

People here in the community of Grapevine like Sharron Spencer and Martin Thompson, and so many others . . . always checking up on me.  

Whatever announcement I made about how things were going, the first call or card I received afterward from Carole Lee and the good people of our church cancer support group.

And then, there was Annette Sowell . . . thank you my dear friend!!!!  You were always there at exactly the right moment to listen.  It is amazing how much care you gave me without saying much in the process.  Liz and I love you so much!

I was well cared for during this process.  I am thankful.  I am blessed.

I will be a better person because of it.

And, I will live life better as well.

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


Popular posts from this blog

Glen Hansard talks about his well-worn Takamine Guitar

There is little doubt that the most famous guitar in the world, or at least the most famous Martin guitar, is Willie Nelson's guitar, "Trigger."

Another famous guitar is Glen Hansard's Takamine guitar, which he has played so much, on a daily basis, that it is even more worn than "Trigger" is.

The relationships certain performers form with their favorite instruments is truly fascinating to me.

Please enjoy the video!

BTW - CLICK HERE to go to Glens website!

If you have a favorite guitar, uke, bass, flute, trumpet, violin or any other instrument, and would love to share you story, then please contact me by email at

God's grace, and favorite insturments, amaze me greatly! ><>

Tuning a baritone uke to G-C-E-A ??

Well I'll be . . . it can be done.
If you didn't know, I use Aquila Nylgut Ukulele strings on my tenor and baritone ukes. Best sounding uke strings out there in my humble opinion.
I love my Kala tenor uke . . . but I've got such big bo-honking fingers, and the frets on a tenor uke are not exactly large . . . I can really only play chords on the first 5 frets.
Then one day a while back, I noticed on the package that Aquila makes a Baritone set tuned to G-C-E-A, just like my tenor. A baritone uke is usually tuned like the bottom 4 strings of a guitar . . . D-G-B-E.
Well, I jumped in and ordered a couple of sets. And . . . they work . . . at least to me. Now, I am not by any means a uke "purist." They are the "tools" I use as instruments when I sing certain songs. Restrung with the new strings, the Kala baritone is about as loud as my tenor . . . but with a little deeper sound. Some may not like it . . . but I do, especially as I work to learn the names of…

Goodbye Tom Petty . . ..

It was confirmed last night that Tom Petty died after being found in his home unresponsive and in full cardiac arrest.  Tom and the Heartbreakers has just finished up their 40th anniversary tour.  Tom was planning to spend more time at home with his new grandchild. 

Everyday is precious.  Live each day as if it is your last.

RIP Tom.  Thank you for the music!

God's grace, and cherished memories of people that made great music, still amaze me . . . ><>