I am now a year older having celebrating my 55th birthday last night. I think there were about 25 close neighbors and friends here. Heather prepared an amazing selection of desserts. I had been feeling weak all day and actually had been to Dr. Lee’s office for more testing. We also had the first visit of our home nurse specializing in wound and ostomy care. This is a huge relief for Heather and me to have a nurse on call.

As you might expect I had a number of presents waiting to be opened at my birthday. It was pretty emotional for me- is this my last one I will celebrate or one of many to come? I did open a couple of presents- a zero gravity lounger from Heather’s parents Jack and Mary Ann-totally cool. I also opened a gift from Heather- a pair of Patagonia shorts I had been lusting over-yes I am wearing them now. Then I just ran out of energy. As I sat there listening to everyone talk and laugh it reminded me that the gifts will get old, wear out and be discarded, but the relationships represented in the room will only grow with time.

At the beginning of this journey, before even being diagnosed with cancer I was struck by a thought while driving on Whidbey Island: “The most important thing in life is to love and be loved“. While that thought seemed like a cute Hallmark card at the time- it has been an anchor of truth throughout this journey.

The relationships I have experienced during this battle have been a wonderful source of strength. Whether it is a voice-mail, an e-mail, a card or note, a comment on the Blog, or a personal visit, they all lift my spirits. I am amazed to also hear from people I have never met that are friends of friends. What a gift to have so many people praying for my health and the health of our family. As hard as some days can be I know that the prayers ease the pain and bring hope in the midst of discouragement.

Today I feel pretty strong, pretty normal. Al and Doris prayed for me in my room last night and my pain was gone by the time they left. I had a good night’s sleep and woke up feeling like a new man. It’s really amazing how I can feel great one day and wiped out the next.

We’ll take every day as it comes.

God is Good, all the time, God is good!

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4 Comments so far

  1. vpaselk on July 12, 2007 4:32 pm

    Feliz Cumpleaños Don! Just wanted to send a quick note from San Francisco to say thank you so much! Your past encouragment and generosity, and your current honesty and positive spirit are amazing gifts to soo many of us. By sharing so much of your life you absolutely help me (and I’m sure countless others) keep life in perspective. Keep reminding us to count each day as a precious gift from God. May you truly feel the prayers and encouragment of your brothers and sisters surrounding you and carrying you through the good days and the bad.

    Dios es bueno, siempre, Dios es bueno!

    Un abrazo,

  2. TerriCrowell on July 12, 2007 5:31 pm

    Don and Heather –

    Amen to Vyria’s comments. You truly do put life in perspective. Jim is struggling trying to get home on my airline passes today, having to take a very circuatous route CLE-ORD-IAD-SMF-SFO-PDX. Your posts make us realize how insignificant these little re-routings of our life really are.

    God Bless you both and happy 55th birthday. We are praying for many more to come.

    Jim & Terri Crowell


  3. tarman on July 12, 2007 7:56 pm

    Don- I finally made it to your blog. Wow. Now I have to say only nice things cause others are reading. Linda and I send our love to you both and the boys in a be-lated Happy Birthday.


    Bart and Linda Tarman

  4. paul goeller on July 13, 2007 4:37 pm

    hey Bro…paul here–back in Mukilteo after spending part of the day on Whidbey Island! Our Navy kids Andi and Glenn are considering relocating in the Northwest again when he finishes this current assignment in the Pentagon…we have just completed a week-long road trip with them through eastern Washington, driving from Portland where we picked them up last Friday…we spent time in Walla Walla, Yakima Valley area, Spokane and now yesterday and today here in the greater Seattle area…Glenn is doing the STP (Seattle To Portland) bike ride tomorrow and Sunday so we get up at 4:00am in the morning to take him and his buddy, another Prowler pilot, to Husky Stadium where they start the ride…we meet them tomorrow night in Centralia and the next afternoon in Portland…we’ll spend Monday with Andi and Glenn, take them to the Portland airport at around 9:00 and then drive all night back to Chico…

    i wish i could have seen you this trip but it was too tightly packed with stuff…we all thought of you as we came around Useless Bay on the Island…Andi and Glenn are still so grateful for the wonderful stay at your place after their wedding in 2003…they were very concerned as i told them about your arduous battle…

    i pray for God’s continuing strength, comfort and grace–and wish you a happy birthday! with great care and affection…and still learning from you that God is good ALL the time!


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