Seeing it

Yesterdays blood draw showed substantial improvement. I remain quite anemic (and therefore very easily cold and fatigued), but the remainder of my blood levels are at or near normal values! No more salt pills or water restriction (which I was beginning to fail at anyway). It will be much easier to eat normally and hopefully abundantly to regain some strength.

The progress has been so slow, and there are absolutely daily challenges, but I actually FEEL like I’m climbing out of zombie land. I’m so thankful, praising God for this immunotherapy combo that seems to be “working.” Much credit due to the team of local oncology docs, as well as some in-the-know professional friends who really helped me through the recent valley. Absolute credit to Merck. But are you hearing this? OUR PRAYERS ARE BEING ANSWERED! Seriously – praise unto God!

Still, I’m reserved to say or feel too much. I’m shocked and it’s truly difficult for me to believe that any treatment can be this effective with only relatively minor side effects (so far), and without leaving me throwing up and in a heap for four days. I suspect there may be more valleys to come. I continue to pray and hope for the best, and I hope you will continue as well. For now, it just feels good to be on my way out of a pretty deep valley.

– – – – thoughts – – – –

Yesterday one of the kids saw me leaning on a sycamore tree struggling to breath after carrying an armload of random leaves and brush to the side of the yard. “You really don’t deserve this, dad. Life is just rough sometimes.” I caught my breath and said something to the effect of “Thanks. Yeah it’s rough.”

You may expect that this was followed with some semi-noble words wrapped up in a Bible verse and further clarified in a life lesson. Nope. That was the life lesson. We are living it daily. Rough. And again, while I would wish what we are going through on nobody, we are all undoubtedly growing from it in ways…important and previously unforeseen (to me).

The roughness of life is an undeniable fact. But that’s “On one hand.” On the other hand lies all the beauty and goodness and highly complex systems operating as intended. Your very own cerebellum may have quietly been doing it’s job of smoothing out and fine-tuning the coordination of every single voluntary movement that you have made FOR DECADES, with little to no acknowledgment.

Of course I have seen the explanations for how all of this has arisen from random interaction between simple systems. But to me they sound rather flimsy. (I promised myself not to get into the “origins debate.” But just for the record I’m a huge fan of physician-geneticist Frances Collins who writes and references others extensively from the standpoint of evolution being a nearly unfathomable process for life to have the ability to adapt and adjust to inevitable major and minor changes in the environment. I will not argue with anyone about the extent to which this occurs. But I -think- that evolution is a good and even God-given means for life and systems of life to…persist!

Life is good and actually strange and quite amazing. For example, how do I explain my own 44 years of good health and physical abilities and people and adventures far too numerous to count? What do we do now, just forget all that?? At this point, I have a major glitch in the system, and am slowly trying to break free of it and all the sitting in the living room. I feel content with what I had been doing with life prior to this. I always thought that my job as a physical therapist and sports performance trainer was far more than “lets do 3 sets of 6” or whatever in terms of diagnosis and exercise prescription. Apparently it was.

“Those who seek good find the goodwill of others. and those who look for evil are sure to find it.”

-Principles for life laid out in Proverbs sure seem to ring true.

I loved my work but was far from committing it all to a professional life. That causes some friction, but I have always simply been too hungry for other pursuits. Adventures! And we were happy to live with the consequences. Of course I mostly took my health for granted. In a relatively healthy state, it’s nearly impossible not to.

You who are functioning mostly “as intended,” I urge you to have gratitude DAILY. Reflect on your cerebellum if you need to ; ). Those who are…not so healthy or struggling, what I have found that helps me the most is…the absolute same thing. Look for the people, places and things to be thankful for. You have probably heard this before, but it’s true! Sometimes it’s not easy. Ask God for a daily measure of grace and resilience. Seek the hand that holds beauty and goodness, peace and capability.

Life is rough. Life is real, and good.

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