View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Planning the Future

View from the Ridge

James 4:13-15 And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, "Today--at the latest, tomorrow--we're off to such and such a city for the year. We're going to start a business and make a lot of money." You don't know the first thing about tomorrow. You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, "If the Master wills it and we're still alive, we'll do this or that." MSG

Never has this scripture been more relevant in our life than this winter. We had plans to spend January in Southern Californian visiting family and friends, February in Tucson volunteering at Wycliffe Bible Translators with friends from La Grande, and March in Hawaii celebrating 50 years of marriage. As you well know, January was spent partly as planned and the rest having polyps removed and CT-PET scans performed. February found us back in Portland for surgery and recouping. Now March is here and we are back on schedule.

We are at the Waikoloa Beach Resort located 26 miles north of Kona. I have pictures, but unfortunately I just discovered that I brought the wrong dongle that allows me to download pictures from my camera to the lap top. I was so sure that I had the right one. Dumb, dumb, and dumber!

On the bright side, we had arranged for a rental car and went with the smallest, cheapest economy car we could get, a Chevrolet Aveo. What we ended up with was a Bright red Chevrolet HHR, definitely a step up. I have driven it for two days now and it has been a fun car to drive.

And then, while walking on the beach, we saw our first sea turtle. But the most amazing thing I have seen in the short two days we have been here was this morning while watching a one-legged golfer tee off. He was playing in a three-some, was the only one whose ball was in the fairway and was the long drive of the three. I tried a practice swing and that isn’t easy on one leg. I watched him play out the hole and he never came close to falling.

As for excitement, we were treated to a 4.4 earth quake that shook things up a bit the first evening here. But, I digress, so back to the relevance of the above scripture.

During this past year I had started to think that because of the age of my dad, and the long life spans that the males of my ancestors had lived, I might start making sure that all my ducks were in order for a longer life rather than shorter. Silly me. It is amazing how your life can be turned upside down in such a short time. We all know it can happen, we have seen it happen in other peoples lives, but we really don’t expect it to happen to us. And yet, when it happens, it catches every one of us off guard.

When I was born in 1939, life expectancy was 62.8 years. Those of us who made it to 70 could expect to live another 9 years. I have never liked statistics because it’s just numbers, and I never fit into the boxes that it tries to put me in. Throw in mucosal melanoma and statistics now say I have probably another 3 to 5 years. The catch here is those statistics are based on case studies of 50 or 60 individuals over 25 to 50 years due to the rarity of the beast. It does not – and can not – take into account modern methods of early detection and treatment, nor what is coming down the pike of research, DNA and immune therapy in the next year or two. Both my surgeon and oncologist stated that their goal is to get me through the next 3 years cancer free because of what is being developed. Their goal is to defeat this beast. I like that!

Every day we walk the face of this earth is a privilege. We have no idea whether we will be granted another one. In the back of our mind we know this but we don’t dwell on it for obvious reasons; it is much more positive to believe that we will grow old and enjoy retirement.

So now this cancer beast is trying to burst my bubble and has succeeded. I am having to reevaluate my future plans and have no idea where to begin. Do I plan for the worst case scenario or the best? Or something in between? I know that God has a plan for all of this, but will He let me in on it? Probably not, if past history is any gauge. So for the present time we are doing nothing, praying about everything, seeking wisdom and insight as to what to do next. Do we sell the ranch and downsize? Do we buy a new Fifth wheel and travel more, or keep what we have and travel less or not at all? Or do we hitch up our boots and continue on living as we have, planning on a long life but knowing that each day is precious and could be our last? Who knows, we could wake up tomorrow morning under three feet of lava the way this island is acting. So many questions, so few answers.

As for the immediate future, April will probably bring showers and flowers in Portland and the beginning of radiation treatments. The doctors are encouraged by the pathology reports of no cancer but they also know that melanoma is a sneaky little devil that can and probably will pop up somewhere and they want to try and insure that it doesn’t return in the nasal area so close to the brain.

So there you have it folks. Thank you for your prayers, they mean so much to both of us. As for the near future, the blog will be less about me and more of what is going on out there.  Hopefully.


  1. Proverbs Chapter 3, Verses 5 and 6.

    Ron & Linda

  2. Hey Mike, Your writing in "The View from the Ridge" was meaningful, insightful, and clued us in on what's happening. Thank you for filling us in. You and Geri continue to be daily in my prayers for good health and good works. Glad you were able to vacation in Hawaii and have the special celebration of your 50th Wedding Anniversary....CONGRATULATIONS! Wish you all the best returning to Portland and the process needed to go through. It's like we write our plans in pencil, but give God the eraser. Reminds me of the old hymn, "He leadeth me! O blessed thought! O words with heavenly comfort fraught! Whate'er I do, where'er I be, Still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me." God bless you Mike. Lovingly, Sharon

  3. P.S. Don't know how to post a comment without it getting bounced back, so tried Anonymous and it worked! But, it's just me, Sharon Drake!