J Walking

J Walking

And then I went to NIH

Yesterday was verdict day for me after a year of chemo.
Three times a year, I drive to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where I lie in a whiny, clanky, buzzing, whirring, pulsating machine that stretches and pulls and squishes my brain cells. Out of this process pictures get sent to my doctors and they review them and tell me what’s up in my noggin.
Going to NIH and lying in the MRI and seeing other patients – many of whom are very, very sick – and waiting for doctors to pronounce their latest verdict on my health is always a humbling – that isn’t quite the right word but it is close – experience. Hospitals are great equalizers. Disease is a great equalizer.
Monday night when I was waiting to get some tests taken I saw a child almost entombed in blankets and sheets wheeled out of the MRI area in a stretcher, face covered with a mask. I couldn’t tell whether the child was a boy or a girl. There was no hair, no distinguishing characteristics. There was just a tragically, horribly sick child.
The heartache of seeing that child was too great to approach too intimately. The memories of being in stretchers four-and-a-half years ago after my 10 hours of brain surgery and recovery are still near. The fear that I might find myself in that situation again isn’t foreign to me. All I know how to do is to throw myself at/on/near God and remind myself that he is good and that somehow, someway, someday, all of this will be made right.
My news was good.
The new MRIs revealed a significant decrease in the tumor size. Even our doctor was a little bit surprised by just how noticeable the change was. The kind of tumor I have is very, very slow growing. Therefore change, if it occurs, occurs over extended periods of time. MRIs in March and July showed the tumor was steady – it wasn’t growing. That was good. Now it is shrinking. That is better. Smaller is better. Think about that, a guy saying smaller is better. Anything is possible.
What this means is that I’ll continue having “my periods” for at least another four months and probably longer than that. They aren’t ideal but I haven’t been given ideal… at least in this way.


On the other hand though, I have been given ideal. There is blessing in all of this. And one of those blessings is that I can’t ever drift too far from God. I am continually reminded of my dependence upon him and upon friends and upon family. It is hard for me to suffer from the delusion of independence. That is actually a blessing
There are many, many others….
But yesterday there is this one – that things are going in the right direction.
I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve the good news. I don’t know why I received it when others didn’t. I don’t know when my bad news will come. I don’t know what happened to that child. I don’t know far more than I know.
But through it all I trust the one who does know.

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posted November 1, 2007 at 4:23 am

It’s 3:00 a.m. and I can’t sleep even though I have way too much to do tomorrow (today). I am so happy for your good news, David, and also
thankful for your reminder that our “blessings” keep us from drifting too far from God. Your last paragraphs reminded me of an old Gospel song that says, “…I don’t know about tomorrow, but I know who holds my hand.”

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posted November 1, 2007 at 7:02 am

Great news, David. May you have many more happy years on this earth.

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posted November 1, 2007 at 8:56 am

Wow, hang in there David. My spouse is an RN and worked in chemo for four years, it was not a happy assignment for her. Thanks for the perspective adjustment.

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posted November 1, 2007 at 9:00 am

Good news, indeed, David! We continue to pray for you and for those precious children like you saw….

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posted November 1, 2007 at 9:45 am

Terrific news about you, and sad to hear about the child. We tremble while we celebrate, don’t we?

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Elvis Elvisberg

posted November 1, 2007 at 10:51 am

Great, great news. And a very thoughtful post.

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posted November 1, 2007 at 12:20 pm

My desire to be forthright about Christian issues melts into my emotions of caring for a person I don’t know, but have come to have feelings of great concern for as a Christian brother. I do not agree with the political and social directions you want to head America in, but my heart was pounding with worry until you said you were OK. And now I’ll head off to work (with young people in residential treatment) worrying about the little child you saw wheeled by you.
“Monday night when I was waiting to get some tests taken I saw a child almost entombed in blankets and sheets wheeled out of the MRI area in a stretcher, face covered with a mask. I couldn’t tell whether the child was a boy or a girl. There was no hair, no distinguishing characteristics. There was just a tragically, horribly sick child.
The heartache of seeing that child was too great to approach too intimately.”
You know how to break a man’s heart faster than anyone I’ve ever read.
I’m very happy you are well.

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posted November 1, 2007 at 3:56 pm

Heard from my youngest today. She spent 5 years being that very sick child on the guerney. Bald and thin, tube fed, wearing a mask. She also spent five years being prayed for by everyone we know or have ever known. She’s 22, working for a campaign – and yes, Donny, it is a progressive one. She is the most prayerful person I know and the most generous. I know those little kids – some of them get well – even when it seems impossible. I have one of those. The gratitude is immense. When David said that his tumor has shrunk, I felt the same way I did when we heard that they couldn’t find any evidence of tumor in my daughter- just scars. God always tell us the same thing – “Be Not Afraid”. It’s harder than it looks.

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Lowell Browning

posted November 1, 2007 at 5:43 pm

Thank you David,for opening the eyes of this nation.Prayers for your healing.You have work to do,blessings to you.

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posted November 1, 2007 at 5:52 pm

God is amazingly good isn’t he? It’s amazing that we can know this yet still ask “Why?” The best about this inquisitive part of ourselves is that when we ask this question God always has an answer. The answer is his continuous extension of grace in our lives. I am so thankful that your report is nothing but good and I will pray that it continues to be so. I also want to share with you what I learned in Bible Study this week. We are learning about the “Exchanged Life” meaning Christ laid down his life for us and we are listing the benefits that come with such a love as this. One of them is that he took his sickness in exchange for our health and because of this God’s got it all covered. But the most interesting part of this is our teacher asked us if we realized that Christ never prayed for people to get well, he just spoke it. He spoke vision to the blind, walking to the lame, hearing to the deaf, life to the dead, all because he believed that much in the power of his father. How much more should we believe in his power and just speak to our illness victoriously. Speak those things…

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Chris M.

posted November 1, 2007 at 8:42 pm

Good to hear, David.

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posted November 1, 2007 at 10:15 pm

I’m glad to hear that you have received such good news, David.

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posted November 2, 2007 at 11:28 am

Wonderful news!

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posted November 2, 2007 at 1:58 pm

That’s wonderful, David! I’m sending you a virtual (((hug))). I hope and pray that my mom gets equally good news this week when her MRI results come in.

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posted November 2, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Keep the faith David. By Jesus strips you were healed. To hear a bad report can set you back sometimes,but when you hear a good report,you know that the great,Loving God we serves,cares about our ever beign. Even in the mist of bad times,God will walk us through with healing.There is nothing too hard for our God. He spoke the world into existance,and you know He can speak healing. Stand on the word David.

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marcia erickson

posted November 2, 2007 at 6:35 pm

thanks for sharing david! bless you!

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Larry Parker

posted November 3, 2007 at 4:39 am

One gets the sense you would have also reacted with equanimity even if your news had been bad (we’re all glad it wasn’t, of course) and the sick child’s news had been good.
That’s called grace. No wonder it’s called “amazing” …

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