Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Take Me Back to Texas...

It's a fascinating thing--and a great gift & blessing--to be forced to live life in 3-month increments. 

As both of my regular readers will know (*wink*), I have to journey out to Houston every three months for another P.E.T. scan & bloodwork.  When one has (had?) metastatic melanoma, long-range planning means "until my next P.E.T. scan."  This gives one a VERY unique situation, which while crushingly fearsome, is also a great blessing.

The current window of "clean" ends Wednesday when I roll out to Houston for Thursday's scan & bloodwork.  Followed, of course, by the latest most-important-Dr.-appt-of-my-life Friday morning to get the results of the scan & bloodwork.

Here's the thing: every single one of us is only around for a short time.  The gift & blessing of metastatic melanoma is that I am forced to deal with this reality.  (Very Important Note: I am not planning to punch out any time soon, and have had amazingly good treatment/surgery results these 3+ years, and so far have NO indications that the time of my departure is at hand.  Don't read more despair here than I intend!)

Do NOT misunderstand: I absolutely HATE metastatic melanoma & its accompanying scans & surgeries & fears & such.  But at the same time, I thank God for the great gift of realizing that my days are numbered.  Just like everyone else's days.  Because realizing that makes me often mindful of Moses' prayer in Psalm 90:12: "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." 

"Numbering my days" means some things to me that took me a while to realize:
--I should turn off the cell phone & football game & computer & spend time chatting with my wife.
--And my children. 
--And my Mom.
--And my brother.
--And my friends.
--I should be prayerful about & mindful of ministry opportunities the Lord sends my way.
--I should spend time in Praise & Worship & Thanksgiving & in the Word, for those are things that will still be done in Heaven.
--I should be ever mindful that every one of us faces numbered days.  We are ALL under a death sentence.  Thus, I should endeavor mightily by the grace of God through the power of the Holy Spirit to impact lives for the Gospel's sake and for the eternal sake of others.

Again, the fear that will show up some time this afternoon around, oh, Lake Charles, LA would overpower, but for the grace of God.  But that same grace of God keeps the fear at bay (most of the time) between scans.  And thus, I'm free to celebrate the days, even while facing the reality that there aren't many of them.  For any of us.

Here's the sched for this trip, for your prayers:
Wed, 9/14 - Drive to Houston when class ends ~1:00
Thurs, 9:15 - P.E.T. scan ~ 8-10 a.m. (Prep, mandatory nap,scan itself,...)
Fri, 9/16 - Appt. w/ Dr. Homsi at 9:30 a.m. to get scan results; drive back to H'burg

On the plus side, I'll get to eat LOTS of wonderful Mediterranean food @ Dimassi's, one of our fave restaurants anywhere after the P.E.T. scan.  Also Thursday, I'll get to hang out w/ friends I knew when they were in jr. high & high school here in Hburg--now they're married w/ kids & in ministry (I'm getting old! *grin*)

Thankful for your prayers & for the grace of God that helps my "number my days,"
Romans 15:13

p.s. - I've had this great Jimmy Buffett lyric from "Nautical Wheelers" in my head for a week now: "Everyone here is just more than contented to be living and dying in three-quarter time..." Not sure what that means @ the moment, but I've been humming it & singing it...;-{)}

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