Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fighting It

When my good friend Greg was having some sort of challenge going on in his life, he’d walk in the room or give me a call and inform me he was “Fighting it”. Greg is from Alabama and stands about six foot six in his socks. With a deep baritone voice that can only come from the depth of a man that size, when he’d utter those words, it had meaning and you knew something was up. He’d state, “I’m in the middle of something I can’t quite figure out and I’m fighting it Randy”. I always thought this a very descriptive phrase as it clearly summed up a challenge one was faced with in two very succinct words. To this day I can always hear Greg’s strong voice summon up the beast.

I am a big fan of Charles M. Russell, the cowboy artist of the last century and Montana fame. Years after being enlightened to the phrase from Greg, I came across a story in Mr. Russell’s memoirs that stated when he couldn’t quite get a painting to come together, he’d be ‘Fighting it’. He was a stickler for details in his work and when he couldn’t get a charging buffalo or a cowboy’s lariat to look the way it does in life, he would state, “I’m fighting it.” Same meaning, different person but again, a catching phrase I have used many times in my life when something wasn’t going the way I expected or presented a test.

The other day I was watching the evening news when the anchor came on towards the end of his broadcast and stated that a famous movie director had died. He was seventy some years old and had lost his ‘fight’ with cancer. I have heard this announcement many times and when doing so prior to having been diagnosed with cancer, never really meant much or paid it much attention. I always thought that someone ‘lost’ the battle as many do with a terminal disease and passed on. With the shoe on the other foot and now having cancer, this analogy has brought about a different view on this terminology.

I don’t believe in fighting cancer in the way people describe and how it comes across. They like to say things like, “He’s in the fight of his life” or “He’s in the midst of a major battle to win the fight against cancer.” To ‘fight’ connotes a struggle, to wrestle, disagree, combat, brawl, go to war, come to blows, etc. None of these terms are positive in my mind and only serve to present negative thoughts in and around having a disease that strives to kill its host. Therefore, I prefer to ‘choose’ cancer over it choosing me and work with over fighting it. This might seem like semantics and perhaps so, but I believe a little reverse psychology is what’s needed to work on what those nasty little cells are attempting to do inside one’s body. I’m of the mindset to embrace and live with it opposed to fighting it and thus walk through life viewing it as a struggle. It does not require effort if you break the disease down to its lowest form. It’s in me but it’s a part of who I am and I can live with it, not be at odds against it.

This does not mean that having a good fight in one’s life is a bad thing. I love a good fight. Especially if you’re competing for business or shooting a good round of golf and tackling the course. That’s a good fight to engage in and welcomes the onslaught. But as far as a ‘fight’ for my life because a bug has entered my body doesn’t seem on par.

As I’ve stated, there are many blessings that have come with having cancer. Am I glad I got it and get to live with it? Not particularly, don’t get me wrong. But one in three people in this country are going to ‘get’ cancer in their lifetime. Those are the statistics in today’s health census. The sooner one begins to think in terms of living with opposed to fighting against, the quicker those numbers will change. At least that’s my thesis on the subject. Live life as though you have cancer and perhaps you’ll remain one of the lucky ones who don’t have to find out.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Latest and greatest

Last week I had my 3 month check. CT, Blood, etc. I'm still amongst the living and intend to be so for at least the next four months as that's the next time Renato wants to see me...that's one extra month than the last interlude so I take that as a good sign.

Renato stressed there are some new drugs on the horizon that are showing some very promising signs with patients in my stage of treatment. I say, let's keep the research coming. The longer I live the better my chances of living longer...another amazingly stupid analogy but hopefully you'll catch my drift.

More to come...mark your calendar for March 17. It'll be a night to remember. If not, I'll refund your money!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Three Trees

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods.
They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, 'Someday I hope to be a great treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with an intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.'

Then the second tree said, 'Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take Kings and Queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. People will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.'

Finally the third tree said, 'I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest Tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill, look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.'

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, 'This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter, and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, 'This looks like a strong tree. I will be able to sell it to the shipyard.' The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the men said, ‘I don't need anything special from my tree, I'll take this one,' and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.

The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying Kings had come to an end.

The third tree was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.

Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said 'Peace' and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, God will give you great gifts.

Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined...

We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His Ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.