Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What surprises me, moves me, inspires me

Thank you Karen for discovering my condition, supporting me and for introducing me to Dr. Remen. Rachel Naomi Remen, MD., author of "Kitchen Table Widsom" and "My Grandfathers Blessings" blessed me with a way of thinking about the treatment of my cancer as "pruning" in one of her recorded lectures. I had two dwarf peach trees in my yard. Pruning was an essential part of their care. It is the removal of the dead wood and shaping the fruit tree for the purpose of letting light reach the fruit.

I don't know yet all the places where the "light" was not reaching me. What I do know is that the outflowing of prayers, love, support, offers of care, inspirational messages and encouraging stories have been the the most surprising aspect of this experience to me. A Tsunami of compassion has flooded over me. It is still not possible for me to dwell on it with dry eyes.

Are there coincidences? Personally, it has become almost impossible for me to believe in the random. Far easier it is for me to believe that which appears random will actually resolve to a pattern and a purpose when viewed from 10 miles high. After my 40 years in the "wilderness", I had felt a pull to return to my Faith.

I had been drawn to a little Lutheran church in Boulder. I was not a Lutheran, but did consider myself a Christian. I attend Christmas service in 2005 and just started showing up every Sunday after that. I joined the Trinity Lutheran Church the following year. I have prospered there under the encouragement and spiritual guideance of Pastor Mark and the other members of my church community. He has helped my understand much of what had been hidden from my view. My times at Trinity are the high points of that week. I am a blessed man.

Karen and I met in cyberspace in November 07. I was encouraged and surprised to learn that she attended church just across the street from me, though she lived about 30 miles away in Lakewood. Her faith is important to me. We share this faith and the comfort that it brings to us. Since she was in Boulder at least two days a week, it was easy to meet and start getting to know each other, my concern about our "geographic" challenges notwithstanding.

Sometime in January, she discovered my cancer and suggested that I see my Doctor. I did and he told me just to watch it and that it was probably not something that I needed to worry about. You won't be surprised to learn that I was very happy with that diagnosis.

Karen, however was not. She insisted, in her most gentle way, that I return and insist on further diagnosis. I did this. A CT Scan was done in March, then a biopsy in early April, more diagnostics in April and surgery on May 2nd. Surgery was on Friday and they sent me home on Saturday. Karen stayed with me and cared for me through the weekend. By Tuesday I felt well enough to be on my own.

Last Friday, the Dr. removed a drainage tube and I began to feel more human and less a medical experiment. What a relief that procedure delivered. By Saturday my energy had returned and I made the happy discovery that I could eat meatloaf if I put enough gravy on it. Thank you Lord for gravy! By this time I had lost 14 lbs. I really would prefer not to find them and, in all likelyhood will lose more weight. Be prepared for a somewhat sleeker me.

I have found great comfort in Scripture and the writings and lectures of Dr. Ramen. It is very moving for me to read the stories of far larger challenges faced by others and the revelations they were given. I can only glimpse mine.

I invite you to share your stories, readings, scripture and poems with me and with all who visit this blog. If you wish, you are most welcome to invite your friends and family to visit and contribute. I will review all comments before they are posted as a moderator.

As for me, they say "life's a dance". Well if that's true, it must have been a Sadie Hawkins Day dance because I don't remember choosing cancer as a dance partner....but you know, it's beginning to teach me.

Thank you!


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Gerry said...

Thank you for sharing this, Jim. I did hear about your plight, and feel rather horrible that i haven't reached out to you. So, for that, i am sorry. It sounds as though you are on the upswing and i couldn't be happier for you. And, having someone like Karen in your life has also added in your recovery and growth. Faith is an important component in healing. Nothing can possibly replace feeling that "oneness". i would love to catch up with you, real time, whenever you have a chance, as i too, am going through a major life change. it might parallel yours in some ways, and it feels just as inspiring and surprising. Let's stay in touch...

Calvin Dodge said...

Thanks for letting us know about this, Jim. You're in our prayers.

jennifer said...

Your indomitable spirit is a real inspiration. I pray you remain in good spirit throughout this ordeal, and I'm delighted to know you have such a great support network up there with you. Thank God for Karen! It's so hard to get through anything like this alone. Peace be with you, and we send our love from Texas.

Carolyn said...

Jim, Thank you for including me. You will be in my thoughts and prayers always. After just going through the Cancer scare with my Grandson I know that the most wonderful thing we experienced was the constant love and encouragement of our family, friends, co-workers and even people we had never met before. It is truly amazing how we come together in times like this. I will pray for you quick and complete recovery.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your personal struggle Jim. Please accept my and my family's best wishes for a speedy recovery. I'll only really know that you are feeling like your old self when you give me a call and we find a time to get together for a few minutes to catch up. You know my number and you will know when you feel like getting together to sling a little "bull". I'm looking forward to it! All the best.
J.R. Smith

Theresa said...

I am honored that you would share your blog with me. I hope you are up to speed shortly. Your blog is inspiring and I really enjoyed it! I don't have many words of wisdom or anything, I just wish you 100% well.
Thanks again for sharing.

Steven said...

Jim, because you have such deep spiritual experience and a heart the size of Texas, you can see this challenge as more ‘grist for the mill’. I’m inspired by your commitment to soul development. It’s good to hear you have such incredible support. Please count me in as one of your support team. That means sharing good days and bad, days when we remember who we really are and days when we forget and need a reminder. Mary and I send you healing light and love.

Alan said...


Grateful for your sharing this with me. I am embracing my own health challenge and your words, faith, love and fortune give me strength and even help me smile at your LIVING this blessing in your circle of community.

Of course I add my prayers to your full restoration and I include your support in my own circle - as I know you send that to me.

I saw you walking downtown some weeks ago, I presume I met Karen that night - and the joy of Love and friendship carries us farther than we can estimate.

May the circle be unbroken by our Love, lord, my oh my.