Monday, April 30, 2012

Reflections from the Home Team April 30, 2012

"I've had my share of "falls" in the past few years and I know that cancer has introduced me to real suffering. In turn, suffering is what has truly strengthened my faith. I need to remain focused, determined and rely on my faith so that I can recover as I experience those falls."

Greetings from Cedar Falls,

Just getting back from Iowa City where I had my 3 month labs and scans done today.
I’ve had an upper respiratory problem that has been impacting me for about a month
and the side effects of treatments continue to be persistent. I have been successfully
managing those side effects through my bio-feedback and daily exercise routines each
morning. Typically, the thought lurks in my mind that my “opponent” has returned to go
extra innings. That makes the journey a continuing challenge from an emotional and
physical standpoint. The respiratory concerns were addressed today by my team of
doctors and the very good news is that my lungs are clear as the labs and scans have
shown that my cancer has not returned, and, just as importantly, I have been referred to
the “SURVIVORS CLINIC”! I will continue to work with my oncologist, Dr. Claman, but
the rest of my treatments and follow up will be processed through the survivor’s clinic on
a regular basis until I successfully reach my 5 year anniversary. That has been a goal
of mine for the past two years, and I’m excited to have attained it!

As often happens when in Iowa City, I get to visit with people who are experiencing
difficult circumstances and I always appreciate the opportunity to interact. As I was
sitting in the waiting area between tests today, I had a chance to visit with a young lady
who had lost both her legs in a motorcycle-car accident about two years ago. As she
was riding with her fiancee, a drunk driver hit them while crossing the center line and
her fiancee was killed and she lost both her legs. I was amazed at her upbeat attitude
as she talked through the accident. I asked her what she found to be her source of
strength as she recovered from the accident. Her reply was simply, “God has always
been with me and I’m not alone”. Her positive and upbeat approach while we discussed
her accident and the trials that followed inspired and challenged me to remain focused,
determined and positive as I move forward on my own journey. It seems God always
puts someone in my life just as I need them to keep me upbeat and moving forward. We
shared a prayer together for others in the waiting area who were waiting to be treated
and went about our appointments.

I continue to read to find comfort and inspiration as my journey moves on, and a thought
by Richard Rohr in his book Falling Upward really sticks with me; "There will always be
at least one situation in our lives that we cannot fix, control, explain, change, or even
understand... and in turn we learn how to recover from falling by falling”
. I've had my
share of "falls" in the past few years and I know that cancer has introduced me to real
suffering. In turn, suffering is what has truly strengthened my faith. I need to remain
focused, determined and rely on my faith so that I can recover as I experience those

I've also found comfort in reading Dave Dravecy's books When you can’t Comeback
and Called Up which target the focus, determination and faith it takes to “come back”
from a journey with cancer. In his seventh year in Major League Baseball while pitching
for the San Francisco Giants, a cancerous tumor was discovered in Dave’s pitching
arm. The next years were a whirlwind of surgery, radiation, pain and depression.
Eventually, Dave’s arm was amputated to stop the spread of the cancer and save his

I heard Dave speak a couple years ago at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes rally I
attended, and some words he shared that evening have truly stuck with me. “When
God wants to do an impossible thing, He takes an impossible man and crushes him.”

I've experienced this, and witnessed it in Iowa City on numerous occasions as I visit
with others who are facing challenges in their lives, including the young lady I had the
privilege of visiting with today. When facing these challenges, our mindset needs to be
what Dave talks about during his comeback from cancer surgery to professional

“God doesn't promise us a life full of mountain-top experiences. There will be valleys to
go through, too. Dark valleys. Disorienting valleys. Valleys of depression and despair.
What He promises is not a road map that will give us a detour around those valleys, but
that He will walk through those valleys with us. When we emerge from those
experiences, we look back and realize that that is where the growth is. It isn't on the
mountaintops, above the timberlines; it's in the valleys.”

Sometimes it's hard to visualize growth opportunities in the midst of challenges facing
us, but that is where our faith, mindset, and supportive friends and family enter the
picture. I continue to thank each of you for being part of my journey and wish you and
your families good health as we stay focused, determined and true to our faith as we
face each of our own lives’ challenges!



Link to: Reflections from the Home Team BLOG

Link to Youtube: Reflections from the "Home Team"... Go the Distance

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Link to: Tommy Emmanuel and "Angelina"