Tag Archives: chemo

How the Bible sustained me in the dark

Your Word is a lamp is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

I was in the hospital umbilically attached to my bag of cancer-killing chemicals on an IV pole, which takes anywhere from thirty minutes to several hours to empty one of those bags into your blood stream. It’s always been my habit to bring a book wherever I go, but even more so since spending three or four lifetimes in hospital waiting rooms, examination areas, and chemo dispensaries (more attractively known as “Infusion Centers”). Another off-and-on habit of mine is to memorize Scripture from sheets of handwritten passages folded to pocket size. Especially during the first year or two of my dark days, the Spirit pointed out a bunch of passages that were spot-on applicable to me. So, in addition to a Bible and other books I was reading, I carried to the hospital and everywhere I went a sheet of these passages to memorize and meditate on. Of all the things the Lord used to sustain me in those years, this practice is among the top five:  God’s personal presence, Bob and Jean, my precious kids, my faithful friends, and the Word. Continue reading


Self-pity is not my friend (part three)

One day I was at Stanford hooked up to the chemo dispenser and across the room from me was a good-looking young man who was attached to a machine that looked similar to mine with his beautiful young wife at his side. As the hours passed the guy kept fainting as he was being treated. Four or five times his wife called for the nurses, who rushed to prop him back up and revive him. Continue reading

Self-pity is not my friend (part one)

Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God’s purpose and die of self-pity. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it obliterates God and puts self-interest upon the throne. Oswald Chambers

Christians remind me of schoolboys who want to look up the answer to their math problem in the back of the book rather than work them through. Soren Kierkegaard

The “poor, poor me” person, the one wrapped up in his own small package, gets precious few invitations to parties except the pity parties he throws for himself. He’s consumed only with his own pain and is sick with self. In my own pain I decided early on that I didn’t want the “Victim Virus” to take over my mind and my mouth. Though there might be times to give yourself permission to say to yourself, “You poor thing,” it shouldn’t become a habit. But I was tempted. Continue reading

My Darth Vader mask… (part two)

Back to the transplant… It takes three months to go through it and another three months to recuperate from it. It’s really rather grueling. They overdose you with chemo, collect your stem cells and freeze them. Then they chemo you up some more and eventually put the cells back in your bloodstream, hoping they’ll start a whole new colony of healthy cells. It’s not the stem cell part that’s so difficult, but the different cocktails of chemo that really kick your butt. Since you’ve probably seen a friend or family member afflicted in such a way and have no desire to be reminded of it, I won’t go into detail. But I would like to tell you this one part of the process. Don’t worry; it’s not gross. Continue reading

My Darth Vader mask… (part one)

It is not true that God wants to teach us something in our trials:  through every cloud he brings, he wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in the cold is to simplify our belief until our relationship to him is exactly that of a child. Oswald Chambers

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25

Both oncologists consulting on my case agreed, and convinced me that the transplant at Stanford Hospital would be the best next step going forward. They’d already shot me up with a variety of toxic chemicals and prescribed a daily pocketful of pills to take, none of which dented the virulent disease in my bones. One of those drugs had an interesting side effect if you want to hear it. Nausea is not involved; so don’t skip this part if you’re beginning to feel a little queasy. Continue reading

Hell and hilarity in the hospital (part two)

[Here’s another piece from the memoir I’m preparing to publish soonish… Hope you’ll read the whole thing when it’s ready.]

Another time, during the transplant I got pretty sick and was sentenced to a week in an isolation room in the hospital. It wasn’t that I’d been bad, and had to be separated from the rest of the patient population. But with virtually no white blood cells left, like a frail preemie in an incubator, they had to keep watch on me and protect me from the big bad germy world. My essentially germless room was complete with a decontaminate room between it and the hallway. Whoever visited, hospital staff included, had to suit up like the HAZMAT team people in the movies. At least, unless they took me downstairs for tests, it wasn’t me who had to sport all of that annoying garb. There wasn’t even a window in the room for fresh air or a view of the hospital flower garden. I quickly developed a bad case of cabin fever without the comfort or hominess of a cabin. Tough week. Continue reading

Hell and hilarity in the hospital (part one)

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

I have a newfound respect for anyone who works with the sick and infirmed. I can think of about three hundred careers that I would choose before going into the medical field. First of all, sick people are no fun. They bleed and stink and moan and exhibit other objectionable behaviors. Continue reading