Wednesday, March 22, 2017

RE: Hockey Trip

I look forward to laughing about this someday, but right now I’m not quite sure how God will work this one out for us.  Our trip is starting out a little more adventurous than planned.  Did you know you can’t rent a car with an expired driver’s license?  And, of course, Brodie isn’t old enough to rent a car yet.  Ain’t life grand?  :-)

Stay tuned.

Hockey Trip

So I’m sitting in an airport, past security, feeling like the luckiest man alive!  You see, I live my life in three month windows, so I wondered if this trip would ever happen.

A number of years ago, I was lucky enough to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.  I loved it and was quite sure my son Brodie would as well.  I immediately began hoping I’d get a chance to take him there someday.  Also, years ago Brodie and I agreed that we’d love to make a tour of NHL rinks and try to make it to all of them in my lifetime.  It was kind-of an unofficial bucket list item.  Of course, that was all pre-cancer.

Well, it looks like the opportunity has finally presented itself.  I have no immediate treatments on the horizon (just another test in early April), and Brodie has over a week off school (mid-term break).  AND, Brodie is graduating this year, so the trip will be a bit of a grad gift as well.  With much encouraging from Sue (both to take the time to make memories with Brodie and to go ahead and spend the money), we made the leap and bought plane tickets and a bunch of hockey tickets.  Hey – if my income tax refund doesn’t cover enough of it, I guess our RRSPs will.

So, here’s our tentative schedule for the next few days.
  • March 22 – fly to Toronto
  • March 23 – Ottawa hosting Pittsburgh
  • March 25 – Montreal hosting Ottawa
  • March 26 – Detroit hosting Minnesota
  • March 27 – Buffalo hosting Florida
  • March 28 – Toronto hosting Florida
  • March 29 – Pittsburgh hosting Chicago
  • April 2 – Columbus hosting Washington
  • April 3 – flying back to Calgary
In case you’re worried about my treating kids equally, I’m desperately trying to do something similar with Amy, but we haven’t nailed anything down yet.  Still, stay tuned for that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Another day, another medical procedure

Last Thursday it was another colonoscopy, and I’m happy to say that my posterior is clean as a whistle.  :-)

Friday, January 06, 2017

Ringing in 2017


I feel like I should be sending out an update, since I’ve had two important doctor visits since my last update, but I also feel like I have nothing interesting or clever to say.  Maybe this is what Sue calls “writers’ block”.  Oh, well, I guess I’ll just send a factual update.

My last surgery, including the recovery, was the easiest one yet.  I think I’ve been quoted as saying something like “I’ve had colds that hit me worse!”  A couple of weeks after that surgery, I had a follow-up meeting with the surgeon.  The most memorable quotes I have from that meeting are “jeez you heal nicely” (hey – it’s nice to be good at something, though I don’t think it’s to the point of super-power J) and “you’re all clear – we don’t see any more cancer in your lungs”.  That was good news, though given my history it sadly doesn’t mean it will last.

Tuesday I had a follow-up with the oncologist for the PET scan I had just before Christmas.  Again the news was good:  the PET scan was clear!  But this was my oncologist so, of course, he had to add a bit of gloominess about how my prospects were still not very good, statistically speaking, in the longer term.  And so life goes:  always a mix of good news and bad.  Still, we rejoice in the clear PET scan, and today’s blue skies.  “Do not worry about tomorrow….” (Matt. 6:34)

There.  Now you’re up-to-date.  If you’d like a more detailed update about my family, other aspects of my life, etc., send me yours first.  Then, if you request that kind of update, Sue and/or I will reply.  J

God bless you!
Brad.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Home for the feast!

Neither the surgeon nor the medical staff disappointed me this Thanksgiving.  OK, so I didn’t get to have Thanksgiving in Manitoba, but 48 hours after slicing me open, they were sending me home!  I teased the doctor that soon he’d have it perfected to an out-patient surgery.  :-)

And, to top off the weekend, my wife (with some help from the kids), put on an awesome spread for Thanksgiving.

Now I’m sleeping my way back to health, and the best part is I’m doing it at home.  Life is good.  God is good!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Thanksgiving

I admit that I had hoped for a trip to a concert in California or at least a road trip to Manitoba for Thanksgiving, but it seems I’m destined to take another trip to the Foothills hospital, instead, to spend the long weekend being thankful for our wonderful medical system.  Yep, more cherry-picking is at hand, so the plan is that they’ll take another piece of my lung this Friday (October 7).  Hopefully it will go as smoothly as last time, but there are no guarantees.  Still, given the most recent doctors’ visits, I believe we have cause for confidence and optimism.  :-)

A pastor friend of mine recently quoted a Bill Gaither song to me:  “Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God.”  Yep, I’d like to think I’m learning to trust Him more every day.  That also reminded me of another song by the Gaithers.  A lot of the performances I’ve found on the internet don’t do much for me, but I LOVE the lyrics, particularly the chorus!  I think they describe my feelings fairly accurately.
God sent his son, they called him Jesus,
He came to love, heal and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my savior lives.
[Chorus]
Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because I know he holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives


Until next time,
Brad.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September, 2016

Well, we’ve had a very nice summer (weather notwithstanding), including numerous road trips and activities.  We’ve all managed to keep our minds mostly off of the big “C”.  But, now it’s September and time for three of the four people in our home to go back to school and for all of to resume our “more normal” lives and schedules.  For me this new normal now includes check-ups at least every three months.  Whereas I’d had a PET scan approximately three months ago, it was too soon after the surgery, so there was nothing really to report.  So, last week I had another PET scan, and today was the day of the follow-up doctor visit.

Those of you that know me well enough know that decision making is not my strong suit.  Sue often describes it as non-committal.  Well, apparently I can’t really commit to cancer, either.  I can’t get rid of it, but I can’t get a full-blown case going either.  I suppose, in this case, that may be a good thing. :-)

The oncologist said that there was another tumour in the lungs.  It was small and still not lighting up the scan in any alarming way.  However, considering how healthy I seem and how easily I handled the last lung surgery, he suggested we follow it up (i.e. probably more cherry picking).  So, I now have a follow-up appointment with a thoracic surgeon next Monday.

The more interesting aspect of the visit with the oncologist today was something both Sue and I sensed:  somewhat of a change in tone.  First of all he was downplaying the tumour, and then he said “we’re nowhere near the point of needing more chemo” (or something to that effect).  Before today he always sounded like more chemo was either imminent or not worth it.  Then Sue said something about how we were happy for a bit more time, to which he replied something to the effect of “I still think we can hope for a long, healthy life”.  Well, given our previous experience with this oncologist, those were pretty amazing statements – he’s just always been much more pessimistic.

So, whereas the news is not all good, it certainly isn’t bad, either.

Anyway, now you’re all caught up. :-)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

OK, God, Back To You

When I started this cancer fight nearly three years ago, I said there were three possible outcomes:  1) God heals me “naturally” (i.e. through the medical process), 2) God heals me miraculously, or 3) God takes me home to be with him.  Well, the likelihood of #1 seems to be decreasing.

As you likely know, I had surgery two weeks ago in which the surgeon removed a piece of my lung and subsequently reported that it was cancerous.  Yesterday we spoke with the oncologist.  I’ll do my best to relate the way he put it, without making it sound too good nor too bad.  Basically he said that the cancer is back, as demonstrated by the piece they removed.  That means that the medical attempts to cure me seem to have failed.  Going forward, the medical attempts would simply be to lengthen my life or improve the quality of it.  If another tumor appears anywhere within a year, that would be particularly bad and there might not be anything worth doing.  If it takes longer than that, then more chemo and/or more cherry-picking might still be an option.

So, the news is not really as good as we’d have liked, but I don’t see it limiting God in any way. :-)

Besides, after the Christmas our family had, I had been thinking of Luke 2:29-30 back in January.  Yesterday I was reminded of that, and perhaps that is His plan for me. :-)