My Journey With Cancer

I got news that I have cancer 2 days ago.

It’s a form of lymphoma, but it’s not the worst kind of cancer.  In fact, my lymphoma is not even in my lymph system…it’s very localized to some tissue around my eyes.

I got the official word in a text message.  I asked my doctor about the results of my biopsy in a text message, so, not surprisingly, she responded in a text.  In fairness, at my first office visit, my doctor warned me that my condition was likely cancer, but that was preliminary, only a possibility.  This was the official word.   Big news for me; expected news for my doctor.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I should go back to the beginning of the story, when God graciously interrupted my life.

* * *

Every year in December I visit my Optometrist.  I value my annual vision checkup because I wear glasses.  Usually it’s very routine visit and results in nothing more than a tweak to my glasses Rx.   But 2016 was different.  My doctor was looking more intensely at my right eye.  He told me he was concerned about an indentation in the lower lid of my right eye.  He mentioned the possibility of cancer, but it was so remote that he wondered out loud whether he should refer me to a specialist or not.  He finally decided he would send me to a specialist but it would probably be nothing.   In fact, I think he said, they will probably laugh that I referred you for this.

A combination of issues caused it to take several months to get into a specialist.  First there was the insurance network problem …upon arriving at my appointment and showing my insurance card they said that they don’t accept my particular Anthem health plan.  Then there was the “me” problem.  Since I had no symptoms, I wasn’t open to much trouble or cost.  I walked out of my second appointment when I learned at registration that it would cost $500, all out of my pocket.

In May I saw my primary care doctor for a general matter and he asked about my health.  I told him about my eye referral, and he strongly advised me to follow my optomtetrist’s advice and see a specialist.  He even suggested a specialist who would not charge as much.   So, armed with a little more urgency, I scheduled a visit with the specialist in May.   And I followed through with this one.

The ophthalmologist looked at my eyes… back and forth between my eyes, he kept looking.  Finally he said that he had no concerns about the indentation on my eyelid, the thing I was referred for, BUT…

But what?  It felt like time was slowing down when he said that word.

He said he saw some tissue in my conjunctiva of my right eye that didn’t look normal.   So he referred me to a local eye surgeon.

That visit was in July.  The eye surgeon told me that the tissue was abnormal and would need to be surgically removed.  He said it could be cancer and gave me a choice.  Either he could take some tissue for a biopsy that day or he could refer me to an oncology ophthalmologist in Cincinnati.  Since I would need surgery either way, I chose the referral.

The visit  with the oncology ophthalmologist was scheduled for late August, then rescheduled to mid September.   Things were still feeling very normal to me.  Life and work were very busy, I had zero felt symptoms from whatever it was in my right eye.

I had rushed to get to the oncology ophthalmologist on time, but I had to wait.  I waited and paced so long that I considered bailing and going back to work.  Finally, I was called in.  Blood pressure, pulse, other general testing.   Everything was good.  When the doctor finally saw me, she looked carefully over my right eye, and confirmed that I had tumors.  She described what she thought the tumors were – a form of lymphoma – but we would need a biopsy to be sure.   Then she looked at my left eye and at first seemed to see nothing wrong.  But then she caught herself and said that she saw some tumors in my left eye also.  She said it was unusual for this condition to be in both eyes.   That worried me.

She finished with three recommendations.  Schedule surgery to remove the tumor tissue surrounding my right eye.  Before that, I needed to have a complete oncology oriented physical with labs.  And a CAT scan of my face to make sure the tumors had not invaded other tissue.

I’ve always been slow to appreciate changes happening around me.  Maybe that’s a form of denial.  I should have kept my wife in the loop more and invited her to this visit.  She is much better with reality than I am, and would have had a better grasp of this. But as I drove home that evening, I was beginning to feel my world may had changed.  A cancer testing process had begun.

We asked friends to pray.  We went up front at church every Sunday for prayer.

When the physical, the labs and the CT scan all came back clean, we were grateful.

On Friday October 20, 2017, we checked into the University of Cincinnati Hospital for my outpatient surgery.  The surgery was interesting because I was awake for the entire 2 hour procedure.  More on that later.

I was told that the biopsy results would take about a week, so the following Friday, October 27th, I called the doctor’s office.  I left a voicemail and then I sent her a text: “Good afternoon, Dr —–, Have you received my biopsy results yet?”

Within the hour, she responded: “Yes. Just yesterday.  It was a MALT lymphoma indeed.  I will go over the results during our next appt.”

Indeed…exactly what my doctor expected.  Not exactly what I expected.  I had passed all the previous tests with flying colors, so I was hopeful about the biopsy.

My wife and I did some quick research on MALT lymphoma.  We comforted ourselves with information suggesting that it’s not the worst kind of cancer, and it’s not usually in the lymphatic system.

But unknowns abound.  We may be beginning a significant journey.  Who knows?

I should add that I have never needed a lot of excitement to be happy in life.  I’ve been called boring, but it is who I am.  I prefer living in the land of knowns and normalcy.  But my God doesn’t always accommodate my preference for normalcy.  He loves me too much for that.

There are some knowns and we are hanging on to those.  We know we have a lot to be thankful for.  Like…that my optometrist went with his gut and referred me to a specialist. That, after I gave on in the referral process, my regular doctor urged me to follow through.  I’m grateful for the health care we have in the USA.  The doctors and nurses whose skills exceed my comprehension.   I’m grateful even for my health insurance because I know some of the costs of this treatment that my insurance is paying for my care.

But above all we know this – the One superintending this test has told us what His loving purpose is, “… that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1)

Pas Fini!

(1) I Peter 1:17; Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®



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Cut Off

It’s a bad thing to be cut off.

In the week since Hurricane Harvey brought extreme weather to the gulf coast of Texas, we’ve seen heroic rescues of people cut off by flood waters.  Families have been lifted out of these deep waters by helicopters, boat and monster trucks.  Many owe their lives to the sacrifices of National Guard members, local police and fire personnel, the “Cajun Navy” and countless other volunteers.   

It is a serious thing to be cut off.  The situation is dire.  You may not survive without interventions like these from outside the situation.

I want to talk about what it means to be “cut off.”

I attend a Torah study with some Jewish friends. Recently we were studying Numbers 9, where you can find the 2nd Passover in history.  (The first Passover occurred in Egypt, on the night before the Exodus began.)  This was a year later. Passover is mandatory for the Jewish people.  Unless you were unclean (Numbers 9 cites several men who were unclean and couldn’t participate in this Passover because they had just buried a friend), or on a journey, you were expected to celebrate the Passover.   And if you could, but failed to, observe the Passover, you were to be “cut off” from your people.  “…that person shall be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the Lord at is appointed time.  That man will bear his sin.” (Numbers 9:13, NASB)

I asked the Rabbi, “What if a young man rebelled and sowed his wild oats for a few years, and later felt the emptiness of his choices, could he return?”

The Rabbi said, “No,” he would remain cut off from his people.  I remember a brief silence following.  I wondered if any of my Jewish friends in the room had ever missed a Passover.  I know the Rabbi’s answer jarred me – it was very bad news to hear someone say you are “cut off.”  It’s a permanent thing.

Interestingly, the scripture applies this term to the Messiah.

The prophet Isaiah described a person who, like a Passover lamb, was led to slaughter and “cut off from the land of the living” for the sin of His people. (Isaiah 53:8)

The prophet Daniel foresaw that before the Messiah would reign in victory, he would be “cut off and have nothing.”  Interestingly, Daniel saw that a short while later the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed. (Daniel 9:26)

The Messiah was “cut off.” But it was in our place.

Jesus is that Messiah who rescues all those who have been “cut off.”

The gospel of Matthew cites another prophecy of Isaiah that is fulfilled by Jesus.  “The people who were sitting in darkness [cut off] have seen a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and the shadow of death [i.e., cut off], upon them a light dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)

All who are cut off can now be restored and brought near again.  They can be grafted back into the olive tree, adopted back into the family, welcomed back in the household, the garden of God.

I was once cut off but no longer.  I received this mercy.  And I did not deserve any of it.

You do not have to remain cut off.  Rescue is available.   That is why we say that the Messiah is also our Savior.

There is nothing quite so glorious as a rescue.  Snatched from an impossible situation and placed on firm footing.

That is the glory of the Cross of Jesus.

Pas Fini!


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What’s Wrong About “Black Lives Matter”

For a constructive answer to this question, read this article, The “Black Lives Matter” Slogan Ignores Self-Destructive Behavior, by Derryck Green, Project 21. (Project 21 is an initiative of the National Leadership Network of Conservative African Americans.)

A few quotes from the article:

“Activism advocating that black lives matter could have much more moral authority, and could be taken much more seriously, if it focused on actions devaluing black lives. These have very little to do with white cops and everything to do with self-destructive black behavior.”

“We are killing our own at an alarming rate.”

“If we don’t take our own lives seriously, why should we expect or demand that anyone else do so?”

Find the full article here:



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Why Give Thanks?

Why give thanks?

When we daily enjoy the fruits of heaven.

Wonderful created blessings showered upon,

Food, music, beauty, life, consciousness, skills, love.

Every good thing comes from the Giver.

But they are tastes, mere shadows.

We are designed to enjoy God, restless until we find Him.

Each path to God must come to Jesus, sooner or later.

Because only Jesus could pay what we could not.

His death for ours.  Raised to life, also ours.

Do you know Him? Are you right with Him?

He is good to you, calling to you, waiting for you.

Will you stop and listen?

Will you invite Him in.

Doubts? Ask Him for light.

What reason is sufficient for ignoring His goodness?

Give thanks to God!

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Trying to Make Sense of the Islamic Terrorists’ Carnage: Not Just a Political and Military Battle

The following post is from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous.  Written, January 25, 2015.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts his voice, the earth melts.  The Lord Almighty is with us;   the God of Jacob is our fortress.  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.   He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;   he burns the chariots with fire.  He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the Nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear… [1]

Trying to make sense of Islamic terrorists’ war against the freedoms and values we adhere to and enjoy is a formidable challenge.  It is confusing; especially when Islamic terrorists make no delineation between the Body of Christ and Western civilization.

When it is plain that Islamic terrorists will not compromise, there leaves no room for peaceful negotiations without an exchange of money which just provides more fuel for their fire.  So when political means to bring an enemy to the table to negotiate a solution fails, then military measures are employed.

Islamic terrorists’ plans, values and vision are so intensely held by the adherents that they are willing to die for their cause.  Nation states’ military means to eradicate their damnable aspirations are simply a strategy that cannot prevail by itself. By no means am I saying nation states should not employ military options.  However, it cannot be the only means to defeat such an insidious, horrific belief system which is an antithesis to God’s Kingdom.  The Church has the greatest role. [2]

Evil ideals have worn Nazi uniforms, informed Stalinists purges, fostered Congo’s culture of rape, banished Africans to slave traders’ death ships, strapped bombs on vests of eight year-old girls, etc. all throughout history and will continue as long as Jesus Christ tarries.

Islamic terrorists’ ideals embody the forces and values of the hordes of Hell.  Their ideals are voiced by Satan as the ventriloquist. Satan took the form of a serpent in God’s garden Eden.  In this Day, the god of this age [3] among a myriad of his evils is riding herd among Islamic terrorists – puppeteered-dummies.  I am not saying Islamic terrorists are robots without the culpability for their behavior and doctrine; unless they repent and turn to Christ, they will die in their sins. [4]

How do you defeat such evil and monstrous plans, values and vision?  You defeat it with the Gospel.

God and His Word will defeat Islamic terrorists and their ideology.  “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” [5]   That is the future and something that is developing, but we live in the meantime.

In the meantime, the Church is emboldened and commissioned by Jesus Christ to pray “your Kingdom Come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” [6]

God implores us not to fear: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. [7]

The Church has been commissioned to send its Body to where Christ has not yet been proclaimed. [8]

Carnage brings spiritual confusion and questions.  I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. [9]   First things first for the Church are our Father’s glory to be manifested among all the Peoples of the earth and His Name to be known among all Nations [10] .    We are to send workers to the most difficult places on earth.  Jesus told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. [11]

A Christian serving the Syrian refugees in the Middle East could count on one hand the number of Syrians who came to Christ within his midst prior to the civil war in all the years he and his family served.  Since the war’s inception a few years ago, he has seen and heard about hundreds of Syrians who have come to Christ.  (That is only what he has seen and heard.  May the number be in the thousands, Lord?)

Mao’s diabolical regime in China was a major impetus to probably greatest harvest in God’s history to date.    Islamic terrorists’ ideology might never die in our life time; but we have absolute certainty that its ideals will be crushed and vanquished by God by the End of this Age.  The things that will prevail are God, His Word, His love, and His purposes to defeat Satan, and sin altogether. [12]    Then…

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. [13]

Peace to you…


[1] Psalm 46:6-7, 9-10, 1-2b

[2] Ephesians 3:10 – His intent was that now, through the Church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.

[3] 2 Corinthian 4:4 – The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  Ephesians 2:1-2 – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

[4] John 8:24

[5] Revelation 11:15

[6] Matthew 6:10

[7] Isaiah 41:10

[8] Matthew 24:14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

[9] John 4:35b

[10] Habakkuk 2:14  For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

[11] Luke 10:2-3

[12] John 12:31  Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

[13] Revelation 21:3

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Show Your Faces ISIS

ISIS murder proudly with masks over their faces.

Boys, not men.  Never grew up.

Real men own their actions, show their face.


If God is on your side, show your face.

If your God is great, he can protect you.

If your God is great.


You dole out momentary suffering to others,

to earn everlasting torment for yourselves.

That’s not smart.


You’re in over your heads.

Mohammed can’t help you.

Only Jesus can.




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Washington Didn’t Deserve This

When the capital of the United States was named after our first president, it was intended to be an honor for the man known as the “father of our country.”

That was then.

Now the name “Washington” is a byword.   I won’t even waste the effort to cite examples of the corruption, dishonesty and excess.  They are legendary.

We, the people, have let our national government become a disgrace to its good name.

George Washington doesn’t deserve this.

We should spare further abuse of this name by renaming our capital city something more fitting to its character.

What do you think?


Note: I’m fed up with the moral bankruptcy of our federal government.  Certainly not every representative is individually so, but the “tone at the top” of the USA is evidently morally deficient.  I wrote this piece after hearing the news that Harry Reid said on an interview today that he is not sorry he spread lies about Mitt Romney’s taxes during the 2012 presidential campaign.  All that matters to him is that Mitt Romney lost.   But Harry Reid is just one in a seemingly endless parade of such things.   Source: Washington Examiner


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