View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

God's plan

Well folks, we have a plan!  Or rather God has a Plan.  I Met with the radiologist and talked about the incessant nose bleeding that I have.  Dr. Hung thinks that 5 sessions spaced out over 10 days, will  stun the cancer and stop the bleeding for 4 to 6 months.  But, and there is always a big but, he wants to wait until the after the 3rd or 4th round of Keytruda to see if the Immunotherapy is working.  If it is working there is a chance the bleeding will have already stopped.   The Keytruda treatments will be every three weeks for a year, with scanning done every three months.  If there are indications the cancer is still growing they will stop the infusions and go to the non-existent plan B.  

After that meeting, we rode the tram down to the OHSU facility on the water front for a meeting with Dr. Taylor’s oncology nurse for a mandatory pre-infusion meeting where she informs me of ALL the possible side effects and what to do if any of them show up. Interestingly, I had done some research on the internet to see just what this Keytruda stuff was.  There is a long list of possible side effects, the last being death.  That is just what you do not want to see. 

  She was very encouraging claiming that they have had very few patients react to the Keytruda.   She said that they are more than willing to work with the Kona hospital’s oncology unit so that I am able to have the second and third round of infusions done there.
 
Each session starts out with a blood draw which takes 30-45 min. to get the results back, then the actual infusion only takes an hour vs. the 4 or 5 hours the regular chemotherapy takes.   Piece of cake!!
I have booked a return flight back to Hawaii on Saturday the third of September.  Jeri and Kris have already started to box stuff up that Jeri wants to bring to our new home.  Returning to Portland will depend on when the house sells. 

I have a dilemma concerning our two cars.  One is the bright red Mercedes 4 door sedan which I dearly love and gets 35+ mpg on the highway.  We no longer have need for two cars as Jeri has quit driving because of her Parkinson’s.   Our other car is my bright yellow Camaro, with black racing strips which hauls my golf clubs and is the car that I drive most of the time.   This is my baby!   “Please don’t let the dingoes take my Baaaaby!” Details at 11 on how this turns out. 

There is no doubt that God was behind us in this move to Hawaii.  For things to work out the way they did had all the ear marks of God’s Divine hand being in control.  Of the almost five years we have “technically” lived there I have spent almost 2 years being in Portland, mostly undergoing cancer treatment.


Obviously God has a reason and a plan for us to be back in the Portland area.   I have not a clue what that could be but I know God is in control, He has a plan, and I am just along for the ride.  My goal now is to enjoy the ride and try not to be a back-seat driver.     

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Encouragement

Over the last decade dealing with various forms of cancer, I have received ton of notes, letters, emails, texts, phone calls and visits that all been encouraging.  Recently they have been even more conforting and encouraging.  Some have been special, and deserve to shared for others to perhaps be encouraged.  I felt it was being shelfish if I kept them to myself.  So I contacted the individuals of the notes I wanted to share and they have graciously concented to my posting them in this blog.  I truely hope they are as encouraging to you as they have been to me.  

Please do not assume that yours was not included because they were less encouraging.  Just the fact that you took time to wish me well, that you were praying for Jeri and me, maybe shared a scripture or quote was tremendously encouraging.   Thank you all.

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Dear Mike & Jeri,

I've been praying for your family and remembering the very stressful time when Bob had his aortic dissection.  There were weeks that I didn't know if he would live or die. During those dark days where I had absolutely no control, I remember clinging to Jesus' feet. He gave me peace knowing that He was in control.

One night I cried and prayed until dawn.  I started out telling God that  Bob was His.  Then I'd take him back.  Again I told God that He could have Bob....I knew that He loved Bob even more that I did.  Then I'd take him back.  This went on for hours.  When the dawn broke I finally gave Bob over into God's hands with one caution.  Lord you can have Bob, he belongs to you...however, if you take him you are going to have your hands full taking care of me because I will be a big mess.  

God was gracious to me and healed Bob. I've often thought that God put us through a "dress rehearsal" for what would happen 9 years later.   Those bonus years were precious but hard.  After Bob went to his heavenly home I realized that God had taught me to have confidence that He would be my husband and father, my provider and lover. 

What lies ahead of you won't be easy. There will be dark days.  But God will walk with you through the valley. He is dependable, loving, caring, trustworthy,   He knows and loves both of you (and your family) deeply,

Psalm 73:23-26

Yet I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And being with you, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Love....Beth

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Mike, the battle is already won.  Satan is long vanquished. You are a sweet aroma of Jesus Christ as you join in His victorious parade.  There will be earthly skirmishes  until you leave the shell of an earthly body we all must live in, but you will receive the ultimate healing the Lord provides all of us. All of us will continue to pray for your strength and comfort, and healing should the Lord choose to do so.

I love this quote I read recently: “We do not always get the life we want, but we receive the strength to love the life we get.”
You have made some hard, wise decisions.  May all continue to be well with your soul.  Blessings, Eric
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Bless your little pea-pickin heart, as my mother would have said. You have just confirmed the lesson that God was teaching me this last week. I started out by questioning the path He has chosen for me - single mom of a drug addicted son, still working and living payday to payday at age 66, house and yard falling down around me - you get the picture. But I worked through it and arrived at the correct conclusion that this is my path to walk, and I can trust that God has His own mysterious reasons for the twists and turns it has taken over the years. I can walk it humbly with peace and joy, or I can walk it in fear and anger and envy - that choice is mine and a part of my sanctification process. Sigh.
Love you two.

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Hello My Friend,

Mikey, read your latest Blog, as always your courage brings encouragement to so many. Some people may be believers and others may not.  That is why I am waiting for your book “View from the Ridge” to be published.  All people need to know that hope (good or bad) comes from the Lord. That He alone is  our strong tower. We hold onto to Him just like he holds on to us. Many times I have prayed “wrap me in your wings Lord, hold me, carry me through”. When He revels His presence, there is no comfort ever known.  Love you Mikey, love Jeri too. You have already written the book. Does that mean God is done with you? Absolutely not!  God gave you and Jeri an amazing literary talent. Please publish the  book. Love you both so much, Debra

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Mike, your most recent post needs to go viral.  Thank you for your deep, deep insights. I am keeping you constantly in prayer.  May all be well.  Obviously, you are deeply in God’s hands.  Whatever His will, you are completely loved and comforted, by Him, and by your many, many friends.  Blessings and Love, Eric

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Dear Mike and Jeri, people have come into our lives over the years that have had an impact on our lives. You are two of those people that we admire so much. I am fairly certain you don't have a clue how much of an impact you have on our lives, even from Hawaii you do without saying a word to us. How does that happen? I can say with confidence it is because of your strong commitment to Christ over the many years you have been His. You have worked out your salvation and weren't afraid to admit you were not always good at it. You weren't perfect, but you held the course, you still are holding the course even though it's difficult. Christ bears you up and you aren't ashamed to say it. This is a fact, there have been many times these past few years when I (Karen) have been ready to throw in the towel and the Lord brings you both to mind. Your strong commitment to each other now that is stronger than ever is because of hard things you both have walked through and continue to walk through. Because of your testimony I know Christ in me can help me stay the course.
I just wanted to let you both know we love you dearly and you are in our prayers. Our prayer of course is that your cancer is not back and that the eye surgery goes well and that you have good strength through the days ahead. As you have impacted our lives, may you continue to impact those you will be meeting again and those who you have yet to meet. You both have blessed our lives! Our love and prayers, Bob and Karen         Isaiah 40:31    Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the Lord will be renewed.  They will soar on wings like eagles.  They will run and won't become weary.  They will walk and won't grow tired.  


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Mike I want to thank you for your brutal honesty.  Not often does someone like me (and not a relative) get to peek inside the head or thinking of someone going through cancer and see and hear your thoughts on the subject.  I grieve with you that you don’t think you will see the 80s and 90s.  That is such a startling thought to think about let alone verbalize.  But can I even say that?  Is it morbid to suggest that with you?  I’ve never engaged in such a conversation before.  I am thankful and say with biblical hope that you believe in the sovereignty of God.  But having answers?  there are none from this corner.  We always wish we had answers, some of us more than others.  

I had an interesting conversation today with my non Christian friend about assisted dying and that whole power of attorney at end of life—sheesh, I can’t think of the name of it.  Anyway, she asked if I believed calling your own end to your life was ok.  I said, first, I would hope that I would and could sit with the person I loved and hold his or her hand the last couple weeks of his/her life.  (compassion is needed)  And talk about it!  And also, I would want to still be having a vertical relationship with my Lord even if I couldn’t talk.  But that’s easy to say when I have no pain.  

Well, I ramble.  But thank you for your honesty, your sharing of such deep thoughts, and your walk with the Lord.  It encourages the rest of us.  Love to you both and will continue to pray for you both and the family as you walk this difficult path with Him,  A fellow walker,  Jo Anne

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Dear Mike & Jeri,
After reading your recent blog post, it sparked a conversation between us about La Grande. As we have looked back on our lives together our time in La Grande stands out as our favorite time. To have had the opportunity to raise our kids there was marvelous. Granted there were some challenges but the good absolutely beat out the bad. We wanted you to know how happy we are that you asked us to join you there. We believe that God had his hand in that as He always does. As we grow older our memories are what we have. Our memories of La Grande will always be great.

Our memories of you both will always be special to both of us as well. None of us know what the future will bring but this we know for certain, we are not in charge. Our days were decided well before we ever showed up. Today we also know that you both are in Good Hands and we are comforted by that fact. Take care and keep us updated.
Love,
Ron & Linda

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The news we read is not what we hoped to hear from you. It's such a hard thing to put a time to a person's life who you dearly love and care about. We know God is good and He still has a plan for your life. The doctor may have an approximation, but the Lord has the exact number of your days. Keep on with the fight, you have so much more to give to others! It is so admirable that you are thinking of what's the best in the days ahead, I pray you will be able to enjoy many more days in Hawaii waiting for the house to sell, even going back as a visitor instead of a resident. You are on many hearts, in many prayers, ours included. This verse reminds me of what you have done through your blog year after year, "But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works."  Psalm 73:28  Keep posting! You have had a mighty witness through this. We love you, Bob and Karen 

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Mike;  I read your last blog today regarding your decision as to how to proceed with medical treatment.  I know this had to be very difficult, especially  with what you have already been through.  I thought I would share some encouraging thoughts from our brother Spurgeon, and hope you find them comforting during this difficult providence.
Jeremiah 17:17  Thou art my hope in the day of evil

“No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows.  Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path because you were weak an timid.  He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual, you must enter the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children.  We need wind and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self dependence and to root us more firmly in Christ.  The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.”

Psalm 139:17   How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God.
“In our sorrows He observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes Him; in our toils He marks all our weariness, and writes in His book all the struggles of His faithful ones.  Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for, all the littles of our little world are thought upon by the Great God.”

Matt. 12:20  A bruised reed shall He not break, or smoking flax shall He not quench. 

“What is weaker than the bruised reed or the smoking flax?  Look at the smoking flax----what is it?  It has a spark within it, it is true, but it is almost smothered.  Yet, weak as they are, and because they are so weak, they have this promise made especially to them. 
Herein is grace and graciousness!  Herein is love and loving-kindness!  How it opens to us the compassion of Jesus, so gentle, tender, considerate!  We need never shrink back from His touch.  We need never fear a harsh word from Him;  though He might well chide us for our weakness, He rebukes not.  Bruised reeds shall have no blows from Him, and smoking flax no damping frowns.”

Mike, I want you to KNOW that you & Jeri are being continually uplifted before the throne of grace.  We will especially be praying for you on Friday.

 Heb. 13:5  I will NEVER leave thee nor forsake thee. 
And NEVER means NEVER!!


Hang in there brother!    Ron

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Adversity - good or bad?



VIEW FROM THE RIDGE

-We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of god- Acts 14:22

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us form the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38, 39

There is a game in poker called seven card no-peek.  You receive seven cards face down and you don’t get to look at any of them until it is your turn.  The first player turns up a card and bets.  The next player turns up cards until he beats the first player and then has to stop until it comes around again to his turn. So it goes around the table until the winner is determined.  Sometimes you start out with a good hand and end up with nothing; sometimes you start out with nothing and end up being the winner; other times you start out with garbage and end up with more garbage.  You never know what your hand is until the last card is turned up.

I have lately looked at life like the game of poker.  You are dealt the cards of life and you play them as they are.  You don’t get to look ahead and see what God is going to send your way, or allow, and you do not get to toss cards back and draw new ones.  You take them as they come - the good and the bad - and deal with them the best you can.  During the years that I have been dealt hard times it was always my faith in God, my church family, my family and friends that helped me get through it in one piece.   

I have been dealt many more good cards than bad.  Why God has chosen to bless me the way he has is beyond me.  Many of my friends have been dealt the cancer, MS and ALS cards and some have lost the battle.  They may have lost the battle of life, but they won the war for eternity and are enjoying the fellowship of Christ.  They made that decision to trust Christ with their life and were faithful to the end. 

The interesting thing about life is you never know when the cards are going to show up.  Sometimes they come in quick succession, other times they are years apart - but they keep coming.

This year I have been dealt two cancer cards in quick succession.  Apparently Satan is tired of waiting 4 years between cancers and decided to up the ante by doubling up.  A March MRI showed cancer in my right sinus, which necessitated surgery in April and May.  A routine follow up MRI in August showed signs that the cancer may have returned. 

The Radiologist in Kona indicated that based on past history of cancer in that area, the mass detected is most likely cancer.  The Surgeon in Portland is not as sure and has ordered a PET-Scan for Monday the 22nd at 11a.m. in Portland followed by an appointment with him the next day at 9 a.m.   So I have booked the redeye out of Kona this Sunday at 9:30 at night so as to arrive in Portland at 8 a.m.  

Just to make things interesting, Jeri has eye surgery in Honolulu on the same day to repair a swelling on her retina caused by a leaking blood vessel.  Most of you know that I have trouble being in one place at a time, let alone two.  So our daughter Kris is flying in from Boise on Saturday to stay with Jeri while I am gone and will accompany Jeri to Honolulu for her surgery.  Jeri’s procedure is just(?) day surgery and she and Kris will be able to fly back to Kona that late afternoon.     

Because of the uncertainty of my situation, Kris and I booked one way tickets.  Hopefully whatever is going on will be quickly resolved. Hasn’t happened before but there is always a first time. 

Whoever said these were the golden years was totally delusional or 100% lying through their teeth.  I retired in 2001 and had 5 good years before cancer struck.  Jeri was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the Mid-90’s and I am so glad we decided to start traveling then because we would not have done much after 2006.  For Jeri traveling is difficult and we do as little as possible. 

Yet, as I have said more times than I care to remember, in every adversity there are blessings if we will just look for them.  I.E., (1) I will have a ton of medical deductions that will leave me with no taxable income for the 15th consecutive year.  In your face IRS!!  (2) God has blessed  me with being able to live in Hawaii, which I never thought would happen, and a 400 hp Camaro (which may or may not be a blessing).  Some have suggested that the Camaro maybe  an answer to their prayers that God would take me quickly rather than a lingering death by cancer.   

(3.)  I have been blessed with so many great and compassionate friends who are nothing like Job’s friends.  Just last Wednesday the young man that does our yard care asked me how my week was, and I said “not good.”  We talked a few minutes and then he said “Can I pray with you?”  Seriously, how do you turn that down.  So we prayed for a few minutes and it was a great time of fellowshipping with a fellow believer, a time that probably would not have happened if not for the adversity of cancer.  I have had complete strangers, some that were visiting our church while on vacation in Hawaii, come up to me with tears in their eyes and claim what an inspiration I have been to them and that they would include Jeri and I in their prayers and get their church, Sunday school class, care group and/or Bible study group to pray also.  Every Sunday in church so many people give Jeri and me big Hawaiian hugs and ask us how we are doing and was there anything they could do for us.  I cannot count the number of cards, letters, e-mails, texts, phone calls, all with words of encouragement and sharing scripture, all great God-given blessings that come out of adversity.  I would not trade any of the blessings over the last 10 years to have been cancer free.  He has proven to me that His love is so enormous that no matter what we are facing, God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit will be there with us every step of the way.   

(4)  I have had the privilege of watching God work in my life and others, how He can block the path I think will work best and then have Him show me a better Path.  How am I able to call Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital on a Thursday and tell them that I need a PET-scan as soon as possible and they answer do you want an 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. appointment on Monday?  Hawaiian airlines is booked but Delta has a flight that gets in there at 8 a.m. with just two seats available.  Shoot, I only need one.  I can’t make this stuff up, folks!  God     is    in    Control!  Period!!  The sooner we realize this, the easier life will be.  It will not be adversity free, but it will be less stressful.  The ability to realize that when an adversity strikes, you cannot fix it, so you are better able to concentrate on the other problems at hand.  We cannot fix cancer, a heart attack or a stroke or whatever comes your way.  Your job is to hang on and follow instructions.  Pray for Wisdom, Pray for healing, pray for insight, pray for strength and stamina because you will need every bit you can get.  But most of all Pray for God’s will in your life to be fulfilled.  That is what each of us has to do from day one; accept and submit to God’s will.  Nothing more, nothing less.  

As soon as I know something concrete I will let you all know.  Please pray for good results, but most of all that I will accept whatever the results are, good or bad, with grace.

 "There comes a time when we all must realize that life is short, and in the end the only thing that really counts is not how others see us, but how God sees us. For the believer there is hope beyond the grave, because Jesus Christ has opened the door to heaven for us by His death and resurrection." - Billy Graham, speaking at Richard Nixon's funeral 

To God be the glory forever and ever. 


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Mile Stones plus update

This was originally written March of 2004.

I wanted to write this article for the February news letter, but I had to wait until the after the 28th of January which is way too late for Cindy Whitmore’s deadline.  Why the 28th ?   It was my 65th birthday and a milestone and I wanted to make sure I had made it before I wrote about it. 

All my life I have been looking forward to these various milestones in my life.  It started with 6 and being able to go to school since there was not any kindergarten back in those days.  Then there was age10, just to be in double digits in age; 13 and being a teenager; 16 and being legally able to drive (although I had been driving back in Indiana for 4 years between my uncle’s two farms and town with cars, pick-ups and grain trucks).   Eighteen was eagerly anticipated because I would be out of high school and hopefully on my own; 21 and I would be legally of age and considered an adult. 

At each of these stages of my life I wondered what I would be doing at the next stage, where I would be and what my life would be like.  At 21, I had already earned my wings as a navigator in the USAF guiding KC-97’s involved in air refueling with B-47’s and B-52’s.  The following April Jeri and I were married and moved to Kansas. 

By age 30 we had moved from Kansas to Newfoundland to California to Oregon. I was out of the Air Force because I learned my stomach did not enjoy flying near as much as I did.  I had gone to college, earned a degree, God had blessed us with Chuck and Kris, I went to work for Fleetwood and we were now living in La Grande on the corner of 2nd and N. 

By age 40, I was out of Fleetwood, we had moved from La Grande to the Mount Glen area under Mount Emily, and then to our beloved farm in Summerville.  I was farming full-time and enjoying it less.  Then it was full- time farming, part-time working, and Jeri worked first at the post office, then for Grande Ronde Hospital. God was using this time to teach me about Himself and myself, and most of the lessons were not enjoyable. God had surprised us with Andy and then we adopted Lani. 

By age 50 I was out of farming.  God allowed us to keep the farm, I just had to turn it over to a neighbor to farm and I went back to college, added an accounting major, and God performed a miracle and opened a position with the IRS in Pendleton just for me.  We were blessed that we were able to stay in this valley and not have to move to another city to find work as some of our friends have had to do. 

Turning 60 was the difficult one mentally.  Up until then I still felt young, but 60 sounded old.  There is just something about that age that connects you with the elderly.  I didn’t feel any different, but there was that number that I did not want to accept.  My dad retired at 60 as that was the mandatory age for flight personnel in those days.  I was only 40 at the time, but it seemed reasonable that he would be able to retire.  It did not seem so when I turned 60. 

It was also the first time I had progressed through a decade working for the same outfit.  My dad worked 35 years as a Flight Engineer for TWA. By the time I was 60, I had worked for the IRS 11 years, twice as long as I  had worked for any other employer. 

Now I have reached age 65, a year more than my mom lived.  Even at the time I knew 64 was a young age to die, it is even more so now.  Yet over the last year or so I have seen several of my friends die in their 50’s, and a couple have had heart attacks.  As I write this, my dad will turn 85 tomorrow on the 20th of February.  He is in great shape for 85, still lives alone and drives, keeps himself and the house clean.  My goal is now to live as long as he has. 

When I was in the emergency room earlier this month, with what turned out to be Diverticulitis, the doctor who examined me was looking at my chart and asked me if I was 55 or 65.  I replied I was 65.  He said that I didn’t look 65 and that I must be taking good care of myself.  That made me feel good, until I asked myself why I was in his emergency room if I was in such good shape. 

I don’t feel 65.  I feel like 20 something trapped in an old man’s body.  I don’t know the number of days that God as allotted me, don’t care to know.  But my real goal is to be as healthy and active as I can be the remaining days that he allows me and that I can accomplish what ever His will desires of me.  I have good genes on my side, so that is a plus.  I try and eat right, keep my weight down, walk everyday that we are down here in the land of sunshine, and work hard on the farm when we get home in-between golf and what ever else God chooses for me to do.

The length of our life is controlled by God, but the quality of those days is mostly in our hands.  My father-in-law lived to be 91, and all but the last three months were of good quality.  My in-laws stayed active, traveled frequently, visited others when ever possible, just plain stayed busy and it paid dividends in spades.  I pray that Jeri and I will be able to emulate that life style. 

This winter has been a time of ministering to parents.  It has made us acutely aware of our mortality and how quickly our health can fail, and how important it is to make each day count and give God thanks for it.  It has also meant being really flexible in our scheduling and relying on the following scripture.  Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matt. 6:34

Update as of 8/13/2016

Since I wrote this back in March of 2004, much has transpired and the statement of “How quickly our health can fail, and how important it is to make each day count” turned out to be eerily prophetic.  2006 was the year of Prostate cancer and 8 weeks of radiation.  Four years later I am 71 and  being treated for Mucosal Melanoma with two surgeries and another 6 weeks of radiation.  Four years later in 2014 I am diagnosed with Lymphoma, most likely because of the 14 weeks of radiation for the first two cancers. 

Now we are into 2016, just two years from the Lymphoma, and in March they find a golf ball size tumor in my left maxillary sinus.  They remove that and then in May do further major surgery to clean out the sinus of any remaining cancer.  Various oncologists and surgeons gave me estimates on when the cancer would return and it ranges from three months to two years.  Congratulations to Dr. Curti at Providence Cancer Center for the winning estimate of ----- three months. 

I had a MRI on Monday the 8th and it showed something in my left maxillary sinus that was suspicious.  I visited with an ENT here  on Thursday and he confirmed that what was up there is not normal tissue and very likely the return of the Mucosal Melanoma. I visited with an Oncologist on Wednesday expecting the diagnosis of cancer since the bleeding in the nose was consistent with the two previous bouts.  Picked to wrong time to be finally right about something.  This oncologist recommended a Immunotherapy drug called Keytruda.

I am now on the downhill side of 77 awaiting a call from the surgeon on what to do next.  Do we remove surgically what cancer they can and then start treatment with Keytruda or go straight to Immunotherapy?  If surgery is required it will be done in Portland.  The Keytruda treatments can be done in the Oncology unit at the North Hawaii Hospital in Waimea.  A very nice hospital built by the doctor who invented the pace maker. 

I am reminded of the old movie prison scenes on death row where an inmate is served his last meal, given last rights and then the warden comes to get him.  As they walk out of the cell and head down the long corridor of cells to the execution room, the other inmates sing out “Dead man walking, dead man walking.”   Reality is starting to settle in that I am not going to beat this cancer.  Forget about living to 85, I’ll be lucky to make it to 78.  I guess what I am trying to do is buy time so that I might die of a heart attack, maybe a stroke, a terrorist attack, or maybe someone driving head on into my Camaro.   Anything but a long drawn out ordeal wasting away from cancer, while hard on me it is even harder on my family and friends.  Wait, maybe I could try sky diving and forget to open the chute?   

So we are again facing decisions and trying to discern what God’s will is.  He has a plan, I am sure of that because of the way He has guided and controlled events in the four previous bouts.  Why has He allowed me to survive through 4 times with cancer, only to have a fifth go around? 

Any normal person with any common sense would throw up their hands and tell God “OK, you win, come get me and take me home to heaven.”  I have to be honest, I am really tired of fighting cancer.  But there is something in me that refuses to let me say the words “I quit, or I give up”  Most people who really know me know that I am not normal and with questionable common sense.  So I am left to lean on scripture and pray that God will reveal His will sooner than later. 

As I finish writing this, it is now the afternoon of August 13 and no word from the Surgeon.  In his defense I am aware of the tremendous number of surgeries he performs on Wednesday through Friday, often late into the night.  His thoughts probably are that 2 more days is not going to make a difference so maybe he will call Monday.  I have no idea how long it will take for this cancer to kill me, but at the rate that it has progressed in the last three months, it probably will not be long. 

The one thing that I know to be true is that I cannot change the day of my departure.  That was decided before the foundations of the earth were formed and cannot be shortened or lengthened.  Job14:5  If the number of his days and the number of his months are determined by you, and you set his limit, then he cannot go past it.
Therefore I cannot make a wrong decision, the only thing it will effect is the quality of my remaining days. 

On a lighter note, the good news is the ranch is sold for all practical purposes. Both the FSA and lending institutions have approved the buyers loan application and so we are just waiting for final closure.  Knowing the government all too well, it could take awhile.  Hopefully we can get this done before Cancer kills me.  I am hoping to be able to close the Corporation’s books and file the final tax return, then pay off the Hawaii house loan and we will once again be debt free.    

Our next major decision will be how long we stay in Hawaii.  Jeri and I both agree we want to stay as long as possible.  Again I know that God has a plan and will direct us accordingly.  I would be super nice to have an inkling as to what that schedule is, but He has not been very forthcoming in the past and I figure the same will hold for the future.  In the long run health issues will ultimately dictate the time schedule.  Of course our kids will vote for sooner than later.  As always we covet your prayers and we will keep you informed as best we can.

Love to all,


Mike and Jeri.