Tag Archives: chemotherapy

God’s Kiss

god's kiss

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. J.R.R. Tolkien

How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God and that is what we are. 1 John 3:1

*I’m over sixty now, and I’ve always had plenty of hair—a good foot and a half of it in the 1970s. Barbers often commented, “Wow, what a bush!” I think one actually charged me extra because of it. Well, that’s not really the case these days. The bush has fallen over dead! Chemo killed it. They say it grows back and that sometimes it reappears different than it was before. When I was being marinated with cancer-killing chemicals I said that if it comes back blond I’m gonna start surfing. It didn’t and I didn’t.

Instead of a gradual receding of my hairline over decades of aging, I lost all my hair—right down to my eyebrows and eyelashes—overnight. You just don’t look right without eyebrows––sort of extraterrestrial. The top of my head looked like a clear-cut forest. Though disconcerting, my new look wasn’t a complete shock to me. Among all the other unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy—chemo-brain, nausea, debilitating fatigue—the premature loss of my hair seemed trifling. Some people look better bald—but I wasn’t one of them. Continue reading


What God is Like (Musings on the character of God) #10

He’s a lover…

Of all the ways to describe what God is like, this is the most legendary. He loved the world enough to send his Son, he loved us while we were still sinners, he loves us in our state of paltry sanctification. How great is the vast and fearless love of God! His love endures forever. As long as God lives, God loves. Pardon the double negative, but God will never not love! Continue reading

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