We Got Lucky

We are up here Mom.

We only notice you only when you’re not around to help.

We seldom listen.

We expect without showing gratitude.

We take for granted what we need most.

We show our affection in our own inadequate way.  fullsizerender

But that is not the way I feel, we feel;

We need you, we love you.

You have been great, especially during my cancer ordeal.

You have always been there for us.

I want you to know, I want the world to know, how lucky we are.

A Nichol for my Thougths

Maybe it is chemo-brain, my daughter swears I have it, although I think she is mistaken. There are side effects, such as ringing in the ears, but seeing people  and hearing voices have not been a symptom. That is why I was somewhat surprised the other night at church. It was our version of midnight mass in our little one horse church. I was particularly enjoying myself since it was one of the few times my white blood cells had let me go out in public (for those unfamiliar with my condition I have cancer). I was listening to George, Dale and Pastor Carl play a few tunes when I closed my eyes and let the music carry me away. Has I drifted off, an image and a voice became clear. It was my friend John who I have heard sing here many times before. John and his wife Penny are very good friends who moved to Alabama. I would like to say I open my eyes and we went and had a root beer, but I didn’t. I didn’t open my eyes because I wasn’t ready for the image to fade. I was in a good place and to quote John, the aforementioned friend, “Things were simply wonderful”. I have not visited John and Penny since I have been diagnosed, but they have never been far from me. Tonight was special and this was not the first time I have seen their faces and felt their well meaning prayers. Space and Time are just mental concepts not limiting cages for some friendships. This is one of those. So hello, god bless and be well, you are in my thoughts. To all you who do not know John Nichols and his wife Penny, I am sorry for your loss.

What is a Life Well Lived?

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Dec 15, 2016, NBA broadcaster Craig Sager dies at 65. Sager, known for his colorful outfits and personality, died after a long battle with cancer. Craig had received his start in K.C. and never lost his love for baseball or life; at least that is the consensus of everyone who talked about him.What I want to discuss this morning is a comment made by Steve Kerr before the Golden State game, Instead of asking for a moment of silence he ask asked everyone at the auditorium for a moment of joy. He said he was making this request  because what was remarkable about Craig was he had a life well lived. What I have been asking myself and I think you should ask yourself is ,”has my life been well lived or even more importantly is it being well lived.” I find it a lot easier to ask the question than answer.

I would like to take a little time to differentiate myself from Craig. You always hear about what a heroic fight  he fought against cancer and how he never lost his lust for life. What I can say with a clear conscious is that I have continue to want to live. There are no signs of bravery in these actions; in fact, I have on more than one occasion asked not to be left alone. This experience has taught me that we are all going to die and sometimes it won’t be pretty. This is what awaits us all, but it doesn’t answer the question what it means to have lived a life well. I am a Christian so many of many my answers come from it’s traditions and sacred texts. I also believe what family and close friends think of you is not only very important but can help gain great insight into us has a person, a friend, a spouse, and a parent. The answers may vary, few of us can be all things to all people. In addition, we must realize that relationships requires the interactions of at least two people. It’s not all about you. Can the other person receive and appreciate what you have to offer.

In my case, let’s start with my wife. In a relationship that has endured more than four decades there has been many ups and downs. I can honestly say I have been more than surprised, by the way she has stuck by side. There are no words of appreciation adequate to express my gratitude. Still yet, I am not sure what she thinks of me as a person and what she thinks she owes her husband. These are questions for the warmth of the sunlight because on a cold, dark winter night a memory gives off little heat. Being there  to fill the loneliness is most important. What about my Kids? My first-born, Stephanie, the one I didn’t teach as much, mostly I just expected. Stephanie has made sure I felt needed and loved, without ever speaking the words. She made the 1200 + round trip to Mayo like it was a jaunt to the grocery store. She makes me feel I did something right. William, my 18 yr. Old son has been great, he has CP and it affects every area of his life. I am proud of the progress he has made since my cancer has changed his world, but I also know in the long run he would be better off with me around. So Will makes me feel needed. My third child is 16, I have spent more time with this child because I home schooled. This is the one child who I wonder if they even realize I have cancer. I thought that we shared the most in common, when he was really young, one neighbor used to call him mini me; but in truth I seldom know where his head is anymore or even less about what he thinks is important. I have no idea what he thinks of me, there is no sense of animosity, no real sense of anything. I hope he knows I love him and I will reach out my hand has far as I can. At some point, however he has to grab it  and accept me and my values. Maybe I wouldn’t, but I think I would like to know what he thinks. I put forth the effort because I thought I could make a difference, I planned on looking back on this experience with a sense of pride, something I did right. So in the end I did what I did; some good, some not so much and some I just really don’t know. I know this, I am not going to spend time on regrets or worrying needlessly on things that haven’t happened yet. I am not trying to be a hero, just a man who understands his wife, kids, and his friends have all been much better than he could have expected.

wade

Mask, Momentum, Uncertainity

Hello sports fan I’m back. Right when victory was within my grasp, I was one treatment away from teaching this cancer bug that it pick on the wrong guy; just too many good people in his corner .Then out of nowhere, bam, the punch that laid him down, but not out. I remember Anglo Dundee ( famous boxing manager) saying, “you find out what kind of fighter you have when they taste their own blood.There are two basic strategies a person can employ when that happens; they can duck and cover or come out swinging.” While there may be only two strategies they are .manifested differently in each individual. Although I am not sure what kind of strategy I used I do know up until this point the fight has went according to plan;.I mean my plan, which I assumed was God’s plan, not the doctors plan  because my plan was to make the doctors say wow. All was working fine when my white blood cells decided to crashed, I spiked a fever, and ended up in ICU for day. From there they transferred me to the oncology (cancer) unit of the hospital. Judging by the looks on the faces of the people around me I was in pretty bad shape. It was even rumored that I was a tad grouchy. I personally find it difficult to believe that I wasn’t my kind mild manner self, but my wife swears it is true.

Something happened emotionally as well as physically .  I don’t know exactly how to explain it, I always new things could go wrong, I have been scared, so what was different, why was it so hard to have a good attitude.