It is Memorial Day weekend and we are enjoying ourselves at Whidbey along with our neighbors Al & Kris Hodge. As you know I had a new port-a-cath placed in my chest a week ago Friday. Unfortunately after a few days I began to get evening temperatures 103 F plus. Dr Doug Lee decided to take blood cultures and port-a cath cultures on Tuesday and Wednesday. I began to feel weak, like I did when I had the gram negative bacteria infection I had a few weeks ago. On Friday Dr Moore removed my second port-a-cath. I felt totally wiped out last night and am just beginning to feel my strength come back now.

So now that word from my heart. As you might suspect our lives have changed dramatically since I was diagnosed with cancer. Now I don’t mean the obvious changes associated with fighting the disease, I’m talking about the more subtle changes in our family. For example, since our boys were born I have always made a habit of telling them I love them. I don’t think I heard that much as a child so I always want them to know I love them. To this day with Johnny 16 and Bo 14 I can say “You know what?” and they will answer “you love me!” So what’s changed since I was diagnosed- when I tell them I love them they always say “I love you too dad”. Now that might seem like a little thing. But to me, every time they say it, it’s a sacred moment.

Both of the boys have taken a lot more initiative around the house (at Heather’s prodding) but nonetheless they have stepped up much more than in months past. They have also stepped up in other areas of their lives.

Johnny applied and was accepted as an exchange student to Marienschule High School in Germany- Hildesheim, 20 minutes south of Hanover by train. He will be leaving the end of August and returning in February. That is the ultimate statement of confidence that I will beat this cancer. I am amazed how much he has matured in the last year. He flew to LA, stayed with cousin Art and toured USC, Chapman, and Loyola, attended classes and really got to know the film schools. Then he flew to NYC staying with a friend Micah and navigated New York City by subway to visit NYU and Pratt.

As you have seen in the blogs Bo has really developed a passion for track. He has also grown about 4 inches and his voice is now lower than mine or Johnny’s.

Heather has just been amazing- not only in the care giving to me and the boys but in the way she has been running the household. With the help of her sister Gail she paid off mortgages, met with our accountant Bob and investment executive Bill and made some amazing decisions to simplify the finances in our house and to improve the return on investments. She also has mastered electronic bill-pay at US Bank and is just on top of everything. There is not a day that goes by that I am not amazed and thankful for the way she has stepped up to the challenge of managing some pretty complex finances. It is wonderful to see her pride in learning and managing the finances.

Now I am not saying that Johnny would not be going to Germany or Bo would not be in track if I didn’t develop cancer, but I can say that Heather never would have taken charge of our finances. There is also a greater sense of compassion that has filled the house. Heather tells me I have been teaching the family how to live differently but I don’t know what I consciously do. I am just trying to be strong in fighting the cancer, appreciating every day loving my family and friends. I find that I do a lot less talking and a lot more listening.

The last thing I have to share with you is astonishing to me and it will sound odd when I tell you- nevertheless it’s true. If I were given the chance to go back to September 2006 with no cancer or to be where we are today, I would not go back. The changes both obvious and subtle are too significant and positive for the family to miss. I know that the family is at a much better place to accept either outcome of my disease. I might have mentioned in an earlier blog that I asked Johnny if he ever worried about me. He said “No, Dad!”. I asked him why and he said “I know you will be happy either place. You will be happy with us and you will be happy with Jesus. I would miss you if you died but I know you would be happy”.

The most important thing is I have a greater capacity to love- family, friends, and strangers.

Tuesday at 11AM we meet with Dr Reyes at UW to hear the results of the liver panel and his recomendations. You know we are hoping for surgery. Your prayers are coveted.

God is Good, All the Time, Good is Good.

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2 Comments so far

  1. jennygiles on May 29, 2007 9:32 am

    Lord Jesus,
    You are our Peace. You are this family’s Peace. Thank You for faithfulness.
    Pain does not change the truth. Fatique does not change the truth.


  2. matthewmazzoncini on May 29, 2007 9:57 am


    Skip and i will be praying for your 11:00 appointment today.

    It has truly been amazing to experience the love and joy in your house lately. Thank you for loving and trusting Jesus. You consistently inspire me to do the same.


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