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Archive for February, 2010

The $70 Piece of Plastic to Fix My Microwave

February 19th, 2010 Comments off

Broken Part

After getting home yesterday from being out I was informed that the door on our 18 month old microwave would not open. It is a built-in microwave so replacing it was not as easy as running to Walmart and buying another one. Since I knew it was out of warranty I decided to crack it open to see if I could fix it.

inside I found that the part that is in between the button that you push to open the door and the door “claw” was broken. I tried several different combinations of pins and tie straps and got it partially working but I knew it wouldn’t last long.

This morning the wife and I drove to Home Depot, Lowes, Ikea, and a local appliance dealer and nobody had anything even similar to what we had in stock. They could order the same unit or something similar but prices started at the $250′s and went up from there. The soonest that anyone could get one in was 2 weeks. I looked online and I could get one in a week.

New Part: $65

In a stroke of guinness I called a local appliance parts dealer to see if they could order the broken part. To my amazement they had the part in stock. The only catch was it was $65! SIXTY FIVE DOLLARS for a piece of plastic that I am sure cost a whopping $0.15 to make. I swallowed my pride and went and paid $65 for the official piece of plastic from Whirlpool.

The good news is that the part has a lifetime warranty so if it breaks again I am not out any more money. The other plus side to this is that I am only out $65 as opposed to to $250+ for a new microwave. The last piece of good news is that we now have a working microwave and thus everyone is happy.

I tell you, I have felt ripped off before but I think this tops the cake. Thanks Whirlpool, you really know how to stick it the consumer. I have to tell you, I don’t think I will be buying another product from you again :-( .

Bag part came in

Here’s info for anyone else that may find themselves with the same issue:

  • Brand: Whirlpool
  • Model #: GT4175SPB-2
  • Issue: Door won’t open when you push the button
  • Cause: Broken knob on push bracket
  • Replacement part #: 8205451
  • Where you can buy it: www.1stsourceparts.com
  • Price (as of writing):$72.50 w/tax/warranty

P.S. I am going to try and tweet Whirlpool to see if they can explain this crazy pricing.

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Categories: Doh!, From the Network Tags:

A Great Way to Practice Surfing

February 18th, 2010 Comments off

A guy I worked with out in California has come up with a product that lets you practice surfing at home.

It’s called the Goof Board.

Basically it looks like a skate board without wheels sitting on top of a ridged plastic tube. It is supposed to help learn to balance better which would ultimately make you a better surfer.

You can check it out at goofboard.com and/or the video below.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R28HMozivk

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Categories: From the Network, Other Tags:

My First Surgery

February 17th, 2010 Comments off

Previous Post in this Series: The Treatment Plan
Or Start at the beginning: Having Cancer as a Christian

This is where it all got real. I was wheeled into an operating room, a place I had never been before and hoped that I’d never go.

I was scared.

Surgery meant that this cancer thing was real and when I woke up that I would have things in my body that were not there before. These things were meant to help me but at the time I did not see it that way.

The surgery was to implant a mediport and a feeding tube. The mediport was what they would use to give me chemo. The feeding tube was so that I could eat since the chemo and radiation would probably make it even harder to do.

Did I mention I was scared?

I was terrified. I am not trying to be too dramatic but this was a huge deal to me.

This was absolutely huge.

I was in that hospital bed being wheeled into the operating room but everything in me wanted to get up, rip the IV out of my arm, and run without looking back. I have no idea why the thought of surgery scared my so much but it did.

Thank God for anesthesia because the knocked me out just as I got into the room for the procedure.

When I Woke Up

The surgery went without a hitch and I actually felt pretty good that day. They gave me some pain medication and that helped. I felt so good the next morning I actually did laundry. Unfortunately the good feeling did not last as later that day I started to wean myself off the pain meds and began to feel the reality of the surgery.

I wasn’t able to lay down flat on my back due to combination of the locations of the feeding tube and the mediport. This lasted a few days and then I was finally able to sleep better. The combination of the pain meds and lack of sleep made that a pretty difficult week.

God and I Have a Talk

During this time I tried listening to a lot of preaching messages since my body and my spirit were not doing so well.

Up until this time I had not really spent quality time with God to address how I felt about the cancer situation and to get His perspective. I wasn’t running from him or giving Him the cold shoulder but I wasn’t engaging with Him either.

That all changed after “The Message”.

The message was from Pastor Peter Haas of Substance Church in Roseville, MN. I had listened to him on a pretty regular basis since he had spoke once at our church. He is a young guy and I always felt that I connected with his messages.

This particular message was called Mourning into Dancing.

The message was more of a testimony then anything given by his mother-in-law. In that message she shared her story of her husband’s battle with depression, eventual suicide, and how God helped her through it. It is a very emotional message as you can imagine.

The message can be listened to and downloaded here:

Mourning into Dancing – Peter Haas – Substance Church

The part that spoke to me the most is the part where she described how she was angry at God but felt bad about being angry at Him. After a while she expressed this to God and felt like He told her that her anger could not hurt Him. He was bigger then her anger.

See, I was mad at God.

How could He allow this to happen to me? Why didn’t He protect me? Didn’t He Love me?

All these things had been inside of me since the day I was told I had cancer. I was angry but I did not know how to interact with God about it. This message helped me to do it.

I sat there that day in my bed angry, in pain, and in tears telling God exactly how I felt about Him, my life, and the cancer. I cried. I wept.

“Why won’t You heal me? You are able. You are all-powerful. I am a dad and I would never allow my son to go through this if I had the power to heal him.” I told God.

I felt God say “I will heal you through the doctor”.

That was not good enough for me.

“Why would You want me to go through this terrible man-made treatment when You could just say a word and I would be healed.” I asked.

“Because when I heal you I don’t just want to heal your body, I want to heal your heart and soul as well” I felt God say.

I stopped. This meant something to me as my mind went to the past when I was in a men’s Christian rehab home. I had gone to the home after getting in trouble and had nowhere else to go. While I was in there I saw guys come, go, and then come back again, sometimes multiple times. Each time they came back they were ten times worse then they were before.

After seeing this time and time again I made a pledge to God. I promised that I would stay there as long as I needed so I could learn what I needed so I would never have to come back again. I stayed there 6 months. That was 15 years ago and I have never been back. I learned the lesson that God had for me there.

There were lessons to be learned in this situation.

The only way I was going to learn those lessons and not find myself in this place again was to go through this treatment the way that God wanted me to. No shortcuts, no skipping steps. Every doctor’s visit, every treatment, every procedure was there for a reason.

I told God I would do things His way because I knew that when I was done I would not need to go through this again. I was OK with that, I was good.

Disclaimer

Now I want to be clear about something. I am in no way saying that God brought this situation into my life so that He could teach me a lesson. He only brings good things into a person’s life as the bible says:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. – James 1:17

and

Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. – Matthew 4:23

God is a God of healing, not of sickness and disease.

He does help to turn those things that have happened to us into good things if we let Him.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

I believe that God did not create this situation in my life but He did take advantage of it to bring my out better then I was before.

Next Post in this Series: Treatment – The First Week – Coming Soon!
Or Start at the beginning: Having Cancer as a Christian

Categories: From the Network, Health Tags:

My First Surgery

February 17th, 2010 Comments off

Previous Post in this Series: The Treatment Plan
Or Start at the beginning: Having Cancer as a Christian

This is where it all got real. I was wheeled into an operating room, a place I had never been before and hoped that I’d never go.

I was scared.

Surgery meant that this cancer thing was real and when I woke up that I would have things in my body that were not there before. These things were meant to help me but at the time I did not see it that way.

The surgery was to implant a mediport and a feeding tube. The mediport was what they would use to give me chemo. The feeding tube was so that I could eat since the chemo and radiation would probably make it even harder to do.

Did I mention I was scared?

I was terrified. I am not trying to be too dramatic but this was a huge deal to me.

This was absolutely huge.

I was in that hospital bed being wheeled into the operating room but everything in me wanted to get up, rip the IV out of my arm, and run without looking back. I have no idea why the thought of surgery scared my so much but it did.

Thank God for anesthesia because the knocked me out just as I got into the room for the procedure.

When I Woke Up

The surgery went without a hitch and I actually felt pretty good that day. They gave me some pain medication and that helped. I felt so good the next morning I actually did laundry. Unfortunately the good feeling did not last as later that day I started to wean myself off the pain meds and began to feel the reality of the surgery.

I wasn’t able to lay down flat on my back due to combination of the locations of the feeding tube and the mediport. This lasted a few days and then I was finally able to sleep better. The combination of the pain meds and lack of sleep made that a pretty difficult week.

God and I Have a Talk

During this time I tried listening to a lot of preaching messages since my body and my spirit were not doing so well.

Up until this time I had not really spent quality time with God to address how I felt about the cancer situation and to get His perspective. I wasn’t running from him or giving Him the cold shoulder but I wasn’t engaging with Him either.

That all changed after “The Message”.

The message was from Pastor Peter Haas of Substance Church in Roseville, MN. I had listened to him on a pretty regular basis since he had spoke once at our church. He is a young guy and I always felt that I connected with his messages.

This particular message was called Mourning into Dancing.

The message was more of a testimony then anything given by his mother-in-law. In that message she shared her story of her husband’s battle with depression, eventual suicide, and how God helped her through it. It is a very emotional message as you can imagine.

The message can be listened to and downloaded here:

Mourning into Dancing – Peter Haas – Substance Church

The part that spoke to me the most is the part where she described how she was angry at God but felt bad about being angry at Him. After a while she expressed this to God and felt like He told her that her anger could not hurt Him. He was bigger then her anger.

See, I was mad at God.

How could He allow this to happen to me? Why didn’t He protect me? Didn’t He Love me?

All these things had been inside of me since the day I was told I had cancer. I was angry but I did not know how to interact with God about it. This message helped me to do it.

I sat there that day in my bed angry, in pain, and in tears telling God exactly how I felt about Him, my life, and the cancer. I cried. I wept.

“Why won’t You heal me? You are able. You are all-powerful. I am a dad and I would never allow my son to go through this if I had the power to heal him.” I told God.

I felt God say “I will heal you through the doctor”.

That was not good enough for me.

“Why would You want me to go through this terrible man-made treatment when You could just say a word and I would be healed.” I asked.

“Because when I heal you I don’t just want to heal your body, I want to heal your heart and soul as well” I felt God say.

I stopped. This meant something to me as my mind went to the past when I was in a men’s Christian rehab home. I had gone to the home after getting in trouble and had nowhere else to go. While I was in there I saw guys come, go, and then come back again, sometimes multiple times. Each time they came back they were ten times worse then they were before.

After seeing this time and time again I made a pledge to God. I promised that I would stay there as long as I needed so I could learn what I needed so I would never have to come back again. I stayed there 6 months. That was 15 years ago and I have never been back. I learned the lesson that God had for me there.

There were lessons to be learned in this situation.

The only way I was going to learn those lessons and not find myself in this place again was to go through this treatment the way that God wanted me to. No shortcuts, no skipping steps. Every doctor’s visit, every treatment, every procedure was there for a reason.

I told God I would do things His way because I knew that when I was done I would not need to go through this again. I was OK with that, I was good.

Disclaimer

Now I want to be clear about something. I am in no way saying that God brought this situation into my life so that He could teach me a lesson. He only brings good things into a person’s life as the bible says:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. – James 1:17

and

Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. – Matthew 4:23

God is a God of healing, not of sickness and disease.

He does help to turn those things that have happened to us into good things if we let Him.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

I believe that God did not create this situation in my life but He did take advantage of it to bring my out better then I was before.

Next Post in this Series: Treatment – The First Week – Coming Soon!
Or Start at the beginning: Having Cancer as a Christian

Categories: From the Network, Health Tags:

My EDG Went Well and What That Means For Me

February 17th, 2010 Comments off

I had my EDG on Friday to visually inspect my esophagus to see how the treatment did in killing off the cancer. The doctors said that it looked as though I had never had cancer which is very good news. He did take a biopsy since he likes to be cautious but he does not expect to find anything.

So what does this mean for me?

This means that I am done with treatment for cancer. Yeah!

It also means that I do not have the weekly doctor’s appointments that I had before. In fact I do not have an appointment with my oncologist until April. He doesn’t want to see me anymore which is cool. I am assuming the April appointment will be to discuss my follow up plan. I know getting a PET/CT scan and EDG every 3-6 months is pretty standard for the first year so I am sure he will recommend something like that.

Other then that I am doctor free from here on out. Groovy.

What about work?

Good question.

I feel better but I feel like I need to have a couple of months where I do feel well before making a commitment to show up to work everyday. I want to make sure that I am done with the doctors completely and that I have the stamina to show up every day.

The other issue that affects work is health insurance. Currently there may be an issue with returning to work and the health insurance from a company not covering my cancer follow up. The reason for this would be that it is now considered a pre existing condition. I really cannot go without my follow up being covered so we are looking into that.

So how do you feel?

I feel great. 

I am eating well (maybe a little too well now), sleeping well, and have pretty normal energy. As far as I can tell I am back to normal if not a little better. It is hard to believe that it was just 5 months ago that I was diagnosed.

It has been a journey and I am really happy to be at the end of it. I am happy to say that cancer is not the death sentence that I thought it was 5 months ago. Cancer is treatable and you can return to normal life. It may be scary along the way, but you can make it through.

I am so thankful to be sitting here writing that.

Related posts:

  1. The Day I Have Been Waiting For I mentioned earlier in the week that I got the…
  2. I’ve Left My Job in the Name of Treatment The last 24hrs have been a whirlwind of information, decisions,…
  3. The Next Steps – Where Do We Go From Here? As mentioned on my Twitter updates last week we…

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Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

The Treatment Plan

February 10th, 2010 Comments off

Previous Post in this Series: Another Battle – No Health Insurance
Or Start at the beginning: Having Cancer as a Christian

So here I was. Newly diagnosed with cancer, no health insurance, and only 3 weeks into my new job.

The Job

The first thing that needed to happen was that I needed to let my boss know that I had cancer. He was very sympathetic and offered to do anything that was possible through the company. He even looked into health insurance for me but there was just no way to get it enacted to where it would cover the cancer (the cancer was now a preexisting condition). I told him that I would have several doctor’s appointments over the next few weeks and some sort of treatment and he asked that I would just keep him and the rest of our team informed.

The Charity Program

The second item on the list was to go to the cancer center that we had been referred to in order to apply for their charity program since we did not have insurance. Basically we listed all of our assets and they would tell us at what level of charity that we qualified for if any. Thankfully we did qualify for charity even though I was working at the time. I am very thankful that they took us when no one else would.

The PET/CT Scan

The next item was to meet the new doctor and figure out what treatment I needed. The first visit was the worst. I mean I knew I had cancer but being in that little room with him talking about the general procedure just made it all the more real. Basically there would be some sort of chemotherapy and possibly radiation with surgery at the end. Before we could narrow down exactly what I needed he needed to stage the cancer via a PET/CT scan. He must of seen the look of shock and dispare on my face because at the end of his explanation he reached out to me and said “Hey, don’t worry, this is just a bump in the road.” It felt more like a pot hole as opposed to a bump at the time but I appreciated the jesture.

So now I needed a PET/CT scan. The PET/CT scan would measure the activity of the cancer in my body and show if it had spread. The only problem was that the cancer facility that I was now with did not have a PET/CT machine and referred me to another medical facility to get it done. Unfortunately this other facility was not apart of the same medical group and so the charity program did not cover the scan. After talking with the folks there we found out that the scan would cost us $7,000 and that at least 20% of that would need to be paid up front. They did offer the scan at $4,000 if we wanted to pay the whole amount up front.

At this time I had only been working for around 4 weeks and so we did not have $1,400 or let alone $4,000 sitting around. After trying to figure out what to do we sold our van for $4,000 and paid for the scan up front. Just another bump in the road.

The Treatment Plan is Laid Out

A few days after the PET/CT scan we met back with the doctor and he gave us the results. The cancer had not spread to anywhere else. This was good news.

The plan was to hit the cancer hard with 6 weeks of radiation 5 days a week. I would also receive chemotherapy for 6 days the first and last week of the radiation. I would need to be in the hospital for the rounds of chemo because they would be given to me 16 hours a day for 5 days and 8 hours the last day. After that we would do surgery to remove the part of the esophagus and part of the stomach that had the cancer. The radiation and chemo would shrink the tumor so that they would not have to remove any more then necessary. The plan was that I would start treatment in the next couple of weeks.

Before I started treatment though I would need to have a couple of things done. Mainly I needed to have a mediport and a feeding tube put in. The mediport was so the chemo could be administered and the feeding tube was so that I could eat while going through chemo and radiation. As if I wasn’t scared of the cancer enough the sound of both of these things completely freaked me out.

God Where Are You?

Looking back at this period time this was one of the most difficult. It was filled with doctor’s appointments that seemed to get worse and worse every time we went. I had never had anything physically wrong with me ever before. Now I have a deadly disease and was going to have tubes put in me, terrible medicines, radiation, and also a major surgery. I was in utter shock.

It was around this time that we started to reach out to folks that we new were christians to pray for us. I remember feeling so weak, so overwhelmed at this time, that I felt that I could not continue on by myself. We emailed and called everyone we knew from every church that we had been apart of. Everyone was so gracious in their responses and it helped to know that others were standing with us. I really believe it was the prayers of others that really helped us early in this journey and helped us make it through.

God was there. Heaven was bombarded with prayers on our behalf. Every time we came from the doctor we were sad and depressed. We would take the rest of the day to process what was said and attempt to look on the bright side. I believe we were able to see the bright side because of people’s prayers and God helping us to look at things from His perspective. As big and scary as the treatment plan was, God was bigger.

Next Post in this Series: My First Surgery
Or Start at the beginning: Having Cancer as a Christian

Categories: From the Network, Health Tags:

The Treatment Plan

February 10th, 2010 Comments off

Previous Post in this Series: Another Battle – No Health Insurance
Or Start at the beginning: Having Cancer as a Christian

So here I was. Newly diagnosed with cancer, no health insurance, and only 3 weeks into my new job.

The Job

The first thing that needed to happen was that I needed to let my boss know that I had cancer. He was very sympathetic and offered to do anything that was possible through the company. He even looked into health insurance for me but there was just no way to get it enacted to where it would cover the cancer (the cancer was now a preexisting condition). I told him that I would have several doctor’s appointments over the next few weeks and some sort of treatment and he asked that I would just keep him and the rest of our team informed.

The Charity Program

The second item on the list was to go to the cancer center that we had been referred to in order to apply for their charity program since we did not have insurance. Basically we listed all of our assets and they would tell us at what level of charity that we qualified for if any. Thankfully we did qualify for charity even though I was working at the time. I am very thankful that they took us when no one else would.

The PET/CT Scan

The next item was to meet the new doctor and figure out what treatment I needed. The first visit was the worst. I mean I knew I had cancer but being in that little room with him talking about the general procedure just made it all the more real. Basically there would be some sort of chemotherapy and possibly radiation with surgery at the end. Before we could narrow down exactly what I needed he needed to stage the cancer via a PET/CT scan. He must of seen the look of shock and dispare on my face because at the end of his explanation he reached out to me and said “Hey, don’t worry, this is just a bump in the road.” It felt more like a pot hole as opposed to a bump at the time but I appreciated the jesture.

So now I needed a PET/CT scan. The PET/CT scan would measure the activity of the cancer in my body and show if it had spread. The only problem was that the cancer facility that I was now with did not have a PET/CT machine and referred me to another medical facility to get it done. Unfortunately this other facility was not apart of the same medical group and so the charity program did not cover the scan. After talking with the folks there we found out that the scan would cost us $7,000 and that at least 20% of that would need to be paid up front. They did offer the scan at $4,000 if we wanted to pay the whole amount up front.

At this time I had only been working for around 4 weeks and so we did not have $1,400 or let alone $4,000 sitting around. After trying to figure out what to do we sold our van for $4,000 and paid for the scan up front. Just another bump in the road.

The Treatment Plan is Laid Out

A few days after the PET/CT scan we met back with the doctor and he gave us the results. The cancer had not spread to anywhere else. This was good news.

The plan was to hit the cancer hard with 6 weeks of radiation 5 days a week. I would also receive chemotherapy for 6 days the first and last week of the radiation. I would need to be in the hospital for the rounds of chemo because they would be given to me 16 hours a day for 5 days and 8 hours the last day. After that we would do surgery to remove the part of the esophagus and part of the stomach that had the cancer. The radiation and chemo would shrink the tumor so that they would not have to remove any more then necessary. The plan was that I would start treatment in the next couple of weeks.

Before I started treatment though I would need to have a couple of things done. Mainly I needed to have a mediport and a feeding tube put in. The mediport was so the chemo could be administered and the feeding tube was so that I could eat while going through chemo and radiation. As if I wasn’t scared of the cancer enough the sound of both of these things completely freaked me out.

God Where Are You?

Looking back at this period time this was one of the most difficult. It was filled with doctor’s appointments that seemed to get worse and worse every time we went. I had never had anything physically wrong with me ever before. Now I have a deadly disease and was going to have tubes put in me, terrible medicines, radiation, and also a major surgery. I was in utter shock.

It was around this time that we started to reach out to folks that we new were christians to pray for us. I remember feeling so weak, so overwhelmed at this time, that I felt that I could not continue on by myself. We emailed and called everyone we knew from every church that we had been apart of. Everyone was so gracious in their responses and it helped to know that others were standing with us. I really believe it was the prayers of others that really helped us early in this journey and helped us make it through.

God was there. Heaven was bombarded with prayers on our behalf. Every time we came from the doctor we were sad and depressed. We would take the rest of the day to process what was said and attempt to look on the bright side. I believe we were able to see the bright side because of people’s prayers and God helping us to look at things from His perspective. As big and scary as the treatment plan was, God was bigger.

Next Post in this Series: My First Surgery
Or Start at the beginning: Having Cancer as a Christian

Categories: From the Network, Health Tags:

I’ve Decided to Become Social

February 10th, 2010 Comments off

Actually I have been “Social” (Facebook, Twitter, etc) for a while but nowhere on the web could you find be being social all in one place.

Well now you can.

Right over to the right hand side I have a whole bunch of little icons linking me to the rest of the world. So if we are linked up in one place now you can link up with me in other places as well.

See you around the social arena!

P.S. Here are the links also:

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Categories: From the Network, Web Site News Tags:

Whoa. I Gained 10 Pounds

February 10th, 2010 Comments off

So my quest to get my weight up to 150 has been more successful then I had anticipated.

I went to the doctor yesterday and weighed in at 154lbs. I weighed 144lbs about a month ago. My ideal weight is supposed to be in the 150-160 range.

This means that I need to enter the “Maintain Mode” as opposed to the “Gain Mode”. I guess that means no more chocolate doughnuts and possibly a little exercise. Oh the horror!

Related posts:

  1. Post Cancer Treatment of Other Stuff Now that the cancer thing is pretty much over and...
  2. My EDG Went Well and What That Means For Me I had my EDG on Friday to visually inspect my...
  3. The Day I Have Been Waiting For I mentioned earlier in the week that I got the...

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Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

The Day I Have Been Waiting For

February 5th, 2010 Comments off

I mentioned earlier in the week that I got the results back from my PET/CT scan and they looked good – no cancer activity. We were happy about that and still are. Today though a couple of things happened that have pushed us over the edge to extremely happy.

It all started when I went to the doctor to have my blood drawn to check my hemoglobins for my anemia. After they drew my blood they had me wait for the results. The results came back at 11.7 which was up from 10.3. At first I was actually disappointed with the results until I realized that I have more energy at 11.7 then I have had in years. Also, I remember during one of my stays in the hospital that my level got above 12 but I did not have this kid of energy. I can only imagine how I will feel when my level is up to 16 where it should be.

What this tells me is that there are some things that are no longer going on in my body. Those things are the side effects from chemo, radiation, and namely cancer. I have turned the corner on all of these things. It has been a long time in coming :-) .

The other thing that gave me an ah-ha moment is when I was leaving. I checked with the scheduler as to if I had an appointment to go over the scope that I am having next week. The scheduler said no and the nurse that was standing there said no, you will get the results the day of the procedure from that doctor, the oncologist does not need to meet with me.

I then asked the scheduler if I had any appointments in regard to the cancer at all. She told me that I just have a standard follow up appointment in April. That’s it, a follow up appointment. Not a “test this” appointment, or results appointment, or a treatment appointment. It’s a “how are you doing” appointment. Awesome.

The reason that these two things are so significant to me is that I am so used to going to appointments, taking treatment, taking tests, and waiting for results. Now that I don’t have to do all that stuff it means one thing -

I am done with cancer!

I am just in shock. It is not that I never thought this day would come but I guess I just really didn’t think about it. Now all of a sudden Boom! It’s there. It is so crazy. Literally I don’t know what to do with myself.

Related posts:

  1. My EDG Went Well and What That Means For Me I had my EDG on Friday to visually inspect my...
  2. I’ve Left My Job in the Name of Treatment The last 24hrs have been a whirlwind of information, decisions,...
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Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

Not Forgetting Where I Came From

February 2nd, 2010 Comments off

lonely-road This coming Saturday I will be driving up to Gatesville, TX to attend a volunteer training so that I can be a part of our church’s prison ministry. I attended the church’s training a few months back.

That’s a strange and scary ministry to be a part of you may think.

Yes, for most folks it is absolutely terrifying to go inside the walls of a jail or prison. How do you think the inmates feel?

So why would I want to do that?

Well, because I was one of those guys in there. In fact it was 14 years ago that I gave my life to God in a chapel service in jail.

The History

I had a couple of wild years in my teens where breaking the law seemed like the thing to do. I obviously wasn’t very good at it because I got caught, a few times. It was the third time that I realized that if didn’t change that I would be spending a lot of time behind bars.

I didn’t know it at the time but God was setting me up for a divine intervention that would change my life.


The God Encounter

One night I was in my dorm with a hundred or so guys and they called for a chapel service. I really wanted out of the dorm so I went. While I was there I listened to the guys talking, kind of, until I all of a sudden had this overwhelming feeling come upon me. The only way that I can describe it was that I felt like the worst person in the world. In my mind I could see all the wrong things I had done in my life all the way down to little lies I told my mom when I was a kid. I didn’t know it at the time but it as the presence of God coming near me.

Since I was in jail I did all that I could do to fight back the tears that wanted to overtake my being. Shortly after that the service ended and we headed back to our dorms where I followed one of the guys that had been in the service back to his bunk. I asked what this feeling was that I was having because I did not understand it. I honestly do not remember what he said or told me but I do remember praying with him and accept Jesus into my heart. He gave me a New Testament bible and I went back to my bunk.

The Impact that had on My Life

It has been 14 years since I gave my life to God in that Jail.

To say that the people who volunteered their time to minister to me is an understatement. Up until that time, at the age of 19 years old, I thought that my life was over. It was giving my life to God and learning about Him that gave me hope and helped me to change into the person that I am today – A husband of 10 years, a father of 3, a man who serves God.

Now it’s Time for Me to Give Back

In the last 14 years God has done some amazing things in my life and I am happy to say that I live a lifestyle that is totally opposite then the one that got me into jail. Jail is one of the most hopeless places in the world. Life is happening on the outside but is standing still for you. That is how I felt. I lost everything when I was in there.

I want to let guys know that there is hope in Jesus.

When I am done with this training on Saturday then I will need to go to a prayer training session at my church. From there I should be clear to go and minister in any jail or prison in Texas. It will be really different to be on the other side of the fence for once.

Pray for me that I can impact men’s lives that the way that mine was impacted.

Lonely road picture by Greenery via flickr.

Categories: From the Network, Ministry Tags:

Another Battle – No Health Insurance

February 2nd, 2010 Comments off

Previous Post in this Series: The Diagnoses – Esophageal Cancer
Or Start at the beginning: Having Cancer as a Christian

As if being told that you have cancer is not bad enough there was another battle brewing in the midst. We did not have health insurance. I’d like to say that the reason for this was that we were independently wealthy and we had no need of such insurance. The reason was actually the opposite.

I was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2009. Back in January of that year I was laid off of my job of 3 years due to the recession. I was offered Cobra through as apart of my severance package but at nearly $1000/month that was not an option especially with being out of work. Besides, my wife had recently started working and she would qualify for benefits soon after that.

A month or two after I was laid off my wife did receive her benefits so we were once again covered. Unfortunately about a month after she started receiving benefits she was also laid off. Now we were both unemployed and uninsured. My wife applied for Medicaid for us and the kids. The kids were approved but we were denied. At least the kids had insurance.

Cobra to the Rescue, or Not

Shortly after her lay off we actually got some good news in the mail. The president had signed into law that they would extend the qualification period of Cobra insurance and also pay for 66% of the premiums for families. This brought our out-of-pocket cost down to around $350/month. While this would be tight with both of us being unemployed it would be worth it. We filled out the paperwork and sent it in the mail.

A week or so later we got a bill from Cobra for $1000. I thought for sure that this must be a mistake until I looked closer. Cobra was charging us for the three months that we did not have insurance. In the letter it stated that we needed to pay this bill to get up-to-date and then we would be insured. My wife and I were still not employed and did not have $1000 to pay for coverage that we never used in those months. I tossed the letter in the trash. We still did not have insurance.

I Finally Get a Job

After 8 months of being unemployed I finally secured a full time job. It even paid slightly more then I was making at my previous job. The only catch was that I was hired on a temp to hire status. This meant that I would work without benefits for three months and then if all went well I would become a regular full-time employee with benefits. It seemed like a small technicality at the time so I excepted it.

It was 3 weeks into the new job that I went to the doctor and ended up in the hospital with the cancer diagnosis.

At the Hospital

It was at the hospital that we began to realize that not having insurance was going to be an issue. While the hospital took us in and treated me for my anemia and the Oncologist diagnosed the cancer it was treatment of the cancer that became the issue. Unfortunately the doctor and his practice would not treat me without insurance. They tried to to get me qualified for Medicaid and a local county insurance benefit but we were denied for both because I was working and made too much money.

The doctor was nice enough to write us a referral to another cancer center in the area that would take us without insurance.

Where was God in All of This?

In all honesty it is and was really hard for me to see where God was during this time. I was in the initial shock of being diagnosed and having the lack of insurance thrown on top of it did not help. I know initially I thought that it would be better if I was dead then have to fight this without insurance as I actually had a pretty good life insurance policy. Those thoughts faded quickly as we understood that even without insurance there were options available for us.

I know that in those first few days in the hospital that God was with my wife. I do not recall ever seeing her waiver during that time. She did not see cancer as a death sentence, she saw it as something that we were going to need to deal with. She saw the lack of insurance as the same thing, just another item that we were going to have to put effort in to. God was with her giving her strength which in return gave me strength.

They always say that hindsight is 20/20 and I have to say that I see what God was doing at that time in regard to the insurance and even the treatment. I would be a terrible writer though if I gave the ending up right now. Continue reading to find out what God’s plan was and how he did it.

Next Post in this Series: The Treatment Plan
Or Start at the beginning: Having Cancer as a Christian

Categories: From the Network, Health Tags:

Results are in From My PET/CT and CAT Scans

February 2nd, 2010 Comments off

In short – the results are good.

The first indication that the results where good is that they gave them to me over the phone (docs don’t usually give bad news over the phone). The second was that the “activity” level in the area was very low which they are not concerned about at all. They attribute the little bit of activity to the radiation that I received only 8 weeks ago. Usually you need to go at least 3 months if not longer before that activity drops off the scope.

Needless to say I am very happy about the results :-) .

From here I am going to have an EDG done to take a visual inspection of my esophagus. When that comes back clean then I have a clean bill of health. I will probably need to follow up with both tests at 3 or 6 month intervals for a while but that is it.

I have to say that I am breathing a big sigh of relieve and am happy to not have cancer in my body any longer.

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