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Tuesday, October 6, 2009 ( 10/6/09 )     Kevin's Blog by Cyndi (his wife)

. . . . . 
Dear friends and family,

I wanted to take this time to thank all of you for your love and support for our family.

I remember about three years ago, when Kevin and I flew to California for Myndi Clarkís funeral.  I just cried as I watched those three sweet little girls sit on the front row at their mommyís funeral.  I remember telling God in that moment, ďLord, please donít ever do anything like that to me because I know that I could never handle it.Ē  It was almost exactly one year later that Kevin was diagnosed.

I also remember the evening Kevin came home to tell me what the doctors had found.  All of my worst fears flashed in front of my eyes immediately.  To be honest, in the end most of them came true.  I remember Kevin saying, ďCyndi no matter what happens, we will never waiver from our faithĒ.  Within a week or so he started this web site [www.ReflectingHisGrace.com], determined to touch others along the way.

When Kevin and I moved to Dunnellon about eleven years ago, we did not know another person except for my parents.  I can now look back and see Godís hand directing us even then.  It was really not where I would have chosen, but Kevin was so certain that it was where we needed to be.

The night of the funeral, when I finally got into bed, I thought to myself, today was the most amazing day of my life.  I was married to the most honorable man that I know and now the rest of the world knows it.

The night after the funeral I went back to the gravesite a little before sunset.  I knelt down on the freshly pounded dirt and wept.  I wept because my children do not have their daddy.  I wept because I had lost my best friend, I wept because my heart hurts so badly that I hardly know what to do with myself, and I wept because a community of family and friends came together to make the worst day of my life the most amazing day ever.

While my heart is broken, I am so happy for Kevin.  Most of you have no real idea what Kevin really went through throughout this ordeal.  The only thing worse than watching the love of your life die is to watch them suffer.  God knew that my soul could not bare it one more day.  I was married to Kevin for twelve years.  He was just so real.  He made me laugh every day.  I miss him dearly.

Several weeks before Kevin died, I overheard my three children having a conversation.  Abbey Grace (4) was asking her brothers, ďIf God is the only one who can heal daddy, Why wonít he just do it?Ē I listened in the hallway as they sat on the floor in the boyís room trying to make sense of all of this.  My eyes filled with tears because in my heart I knew that I had all of the same questions, and yet no answers.

I feel just like Abbey Grace.  God was the only one who could have healed Kevin, and He didnít.  He broke our hearts.  And somehow in the aftermath of all of this, I am convinced that He is the only one that will ever be able to restore our lives.  I have promised my children that I will be the best mommy that I can be.  My heart breaks for them because I canít even imagine what it is like to not have a Dad.  I couldnít have gotten through the past two years without my Dad.  I know that I can never be what Kevin would have been to them, but I know that my only hope for getting through this is to totally immerse myself in Godís word in hopes that the joy that God will bring to me, will spill over into their lives, and that they will know our Savior who has held onto us so tightly through this journey.

We prayed for a miracle.  God did not answer our prayers the way we asked him to.  Although I am still struggling, the real miracle right now is that God is allowing me to get up in the morning and to sense His presence every day.  I believed God could heal Kevin, I donít know if I believed that I could live without him.  He is showing me that, ďHis mercies are new every morning.Ē  Thank God for the mornings, because my nights seem so long.

Last week God gave me the verse, ďFor I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God.Ē Rom 8:38-39.

I am so thankful to serve a Savior that encompasses us with His love even when He is not answering our prayers the way we expect Him to.

What all of you have done for our family is remarkable!  To those of you who have sent cards, emails, flowers, cleaned my house, watched my children, brought food, given money, mowed my lawn, had fundraisers, the police department donating almost six months worth of sick leave to carry Kevin to his 10yr. retirement, and especially those who have, and continue to stay on their knees for my family, I am so humbled.

I will continue to use this web site to encourage those of you who are facing the impossible in your life.

Thank you for being a part of the story that God has written for my life.

Love,
Cyndi


Tuesday, July 28, 2009 ( 7/28/09 )     Kevin's Blog by Cyndi (his wife)

          Dear friends and family.  This is Cyndi reporting on our family.  Before I tell you about our most recent events, I would like to back up a little first.  As many of you may know back in April Our Oncologist gave Kevin three months to live.  That was also the day before we were suppose to take our Disney Cruise.  Happy sailing right?  Well anyways we had to postpone our cruise due to the edema in Kevinís legs and feet.  I canít quite explain the emotions you feel after someone tells you that.  Kevin and I are pretty tough but that was still hard to swallow.  We decided not long after that to send Kevin back to Arizona since was the only place we had really seen any success.  The next eight weeks were terrible.  Kevin and I knew his body was not responding the way it did before.  What were we going to do?  The situation just seems to keep getting worse.  Long story short, Kevin ended up in ICU on June 9.  When I arrived at the hospital in Az., I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I could not believe the toll that all of this had taken on Kevinís body.  He was in bad shape.  I must admit for the first five days I just cried constantly.  I began to cry out to the Lord in a way that I never had before.  I know now that there was a tremendous amount of spiritual warfare taking place.  As a Christian, I believe the spirit world is very real.  I believe God is real.  I believe Satan is real.  God was getting ready to show me just how real all of this is.  As the week went on the doctors were doing everything they could to get Kevin prepared for the flight home.  A couple of nights before we left the hospital the oncologist came through and asked if she could speak with me in the hall.  I knew what was getting ready to take place.  It is that dreaded conversation that you never want to have with a doctor about your loved one.  She began to tell me, ĒI hope that you two are not going home thinking that they can do anything for your husband.  You need to take him home and make him as comfortable as possible.Ē Now keep in mind that I had already been an emotional wreck for about 5 days.  Here is the exciting part.  As soon as the doctor started to tell me this I began to have this tingling feeling start at my head and work its way to the bottom of my feet.  At the same time I started noticing that I was not affected at all by what she was saying.  As a matter a fact I was so overwhelmed by what was happening to myself on the inside that the doctor though I had totally ďchecked outĒ.  She began to rub my arm and tell me how sorry she was.  I looked at her and said,Ē Kevin and I Have a very strong and we will never give up.Ē That moment has changed my life.  I know the Holy Spirit chose that very second to cover me and tell me that it does not matter what man says and donít waste your time dwelling on it.  From that moment on the fear disappeared and I began to gain a new confidence that I have never had.  A confidence that God truly is in control and that it is time to both spiritually fight and to rest in Him.

          On the plane ride home I prayed that God would give us just one or two nights at home with our children before Kevin had to go back to the hospital in FL.  Our children had not seen Kevin In 8 weeks.  Also keep in mind that The doctors in AZ were concerned that Kevin would not even be able to make the plane trip home.  God is good though and he gave us three weeks at home together.  Almost like a ďnormalĒ family.  I have never been more thrilled to be doing laundry, cooking dinner, and all of the other things that I once dreaded.  I was just so thrilled to have us all in one place.  Kevin did have to go into the hospital for a week due to pneumonia, however, it cleared and he is back at home.  So when you ask me, How is Kevin doing?, I guess heís doing great considering he shouldnít even be with us anymore.  But I know Kevin longs for the day that he has his strength back.

          I know that to some of you this may all sound crazy.  But I felt led to share exactly what has been going on in our family.  I know there are many that have given up and at this point simply feel very sorry for us.  But there are a handful that God is stretching their faith and are saying to us that they are willing to pray and believe for a miracle.  That is more exciting than anything else right now.  When God looks at this situation His greatest concern is not Kevinís cancer.  His greatest concern is that our intimacy and faith in Him is strengthened deeply.  Do we really trust Him with our lives?  Do we really believe that He has the power to do the impossible in our lives?  Please join as we battle on our knees during this intense time of spiritual warfare.  I believe we are winning.

          If there is someone reading this that has never entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ, I want to encourage you.  God is a patient and loving God that longs for a relationship with you.  As a matter a fact that is why he created you.  Salvation is free.  It simply takes a sinner that is in need of a Savior.  Call out to Him today.  Ask Him to forgive you of all of your sins and turn from them.  Ask Him to be the Lord of your Life and to consume you.  You will never regret that you did.

          Many of you have asked about how our children have handled this.  Some days, the boys will be wrestling and playing so loudly, and when I tell them to settle down, that Daddy is sick and needs his rest, they will say, ďHe isĒ?  On the other hand, I overheard Abbey Grace, while cuddled up on the bed with Kevin the other day say, ďDaddy are you going to dieĒ?  I heard Kevin telling her that everyone will die one day.  I guess these are just opportunities to share with our children lessons of life.

          As for what is next, I really do not know.  We are waiting on God to show us what is next.  I believe that God is already at work and that it may be our job to actively (prayerfully) wait.  Kevinís retirement party for the police Dept. is tomorrow.  This has been exceptionally hard for Kevin.  This was a chapter in Kevinís life that he felt God had led him to and a very hard one to close.  We just keep believing that Godís plans are so much bigger than ours.

          We love all of you.  Thank you for your faithfulness to pray and to leave notes on the guest list.  These are always encouraging to us.  Do me a favor.  Let others know that I have blogged.  I promise to report more often.

You may also want to check out

        http://www.BeliefBits.com/y1011-108-30.htm

Love,

Cyndi


Saturday, June 20th, 2009 ( 6/20/09 )     Kevin's Blog by Kathy (a friend)

          The rumors are true - Kevinís Home!!!!!!!  Praise the Lord!  Hallelujah!  Yep, itís me again (Kathy Jane here - to report).  Iíve found that I can be very long-winded (I thought that just my husband was long winded Ė Ha!Ha! Ė but I guess when you talk about something that you love and feel very strong about Ėthen you could go on for days.  And I love the Brinson family dearly and feel very strongly that God is manifesting Himself now more than ever in their lives.)  Dana Barrett picked us up from the airport, yesterday.  It felt so good to be headed home.  Karen Tidwell and Joyce Romano had the house spic and span.  A big thanks to everyone who helped get Kevin back home.  Thank you to all of you who searched and searched and provided websites and phone #ís for us.  Know that your time was not spent in vain.  God sees everything.  And you all had a part in this.  A special ďThank you!Ē to the one who God did use to provide the financial assistance to get us home.  You know who you are.  (I donít want to mention any names because Iím not sure if they want to remain anonymous or not - I forgot to ask).  But God knows who they are and I pray a special blessing for that person.  Thank you for being that willing vessel.  I apologize for the delay in the blogging, but- we had quite a day trying to pack up the apartment and tie up loose ends (plus - we were all exhausted by the time we got home).

          Kevin is resting up Ė his children are headed home today (they have been at the beach).  It will be an exciting reunion Ė Iím sure.  Dixie (Kevinís dog) sure was happy to see him.  Everyone is welcome to come see Kevin (just remember Ė his immune system is still a little weak Ė so if you are sick or feel like you are getting sick, well - then a phone call would be much more appreciated).  Kevin had a good night last night.  He got lots of rest.  What a privilege it was to have spent these last 9 days with this wonderful family.  My prayers continue to go up for them.  Continue to ask God for His healing and remember to praise Him for the miracles that have already taken place. ďFor with God nothing shall be impossible.Ē Luke 1:37.  Well enough from me Ė because tomorrow Ė Iím hopping on another plane and heading out to Texas, with my boy Ė Joshua Ė and since Kevin has such a big audience of strong believers here, Iím going to ask that you pray, also, for a miracle and total healing of my son, Joshua.  (Josh has autism and his father and I are off to Texas for some God-given answers).  Thank you Romeo Baptist Church for being such a loving and caring church.  What you have done for Kevinís family over that last 2 years and what you have done for Joshua will always be remembered.  God bless you all!  When Kevin is healed, Iím going to hack into his webpage and start my own journey Ė blogging about the healing and miracle of my Joshua.  It is true though, everything happens for a reason.  Iím excited about what God has done and is going to do.  Oh and just kidding, Kevin, about hacking into your computer website Ė but not kidding about the journey.

          God has opened my eyes through all of this.  Iím sure that this family will have much more to say as God continues to move - because He truly does have a plan for all of us.  God is good Ė yes, all the time.  And we will continue to pray for the miracle of total healing, but until then we will flesh out what the rest of that verse at the top of Kevinís website says, ď9 continued Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10?  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christís sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.  1 Corinthians 12:9-10.  Kevin will send out a blog as soon as he gets settled at home.  Thank you God for the miracles that have already taken place (itís a miracle to go from intensive care to recovery and then home, itís a miracle when we step off of an airplane and are safe, itís a miracle to see the lives that have been changed (even just from reading this blog), and there are so many more to come.  Pray, pray, and pray some more for that miracle of total healing of Kevinís body.  Thank you once again for all of your prayers.  Thank you, Jesus, for the Victory!  Amen!

In His Service,

Kathy<><


Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 ( 6/16/09 )     Kevin's Blog by Kathy (a friend)

      Hello there!  Itís me again (Kathy).  Itís time for an update.  I just thought that I would try to keep you posted on how Kevin and Cyndi are doing and give you some info on what will be taking place over the next couple of days.  Tomorrow (Wednesday), Kevin will have more fluid removed from around his lungs.  This will help him to be able to breathe a little better on our trip home.  By morning, they will have discontinued all fluids via IV and Kevin will be on his way outta there.  Thank Goodness.  He is so ready to get out of that hospital.  By the way, the plan -as of now- is that Kevin will have his procedure (fluid removed) in the morning (Wednesday) and will then be discharged from the hospital (that same day).  He will come back home to the apartment - where he will spend Wednesday night and Thursday to let his body rest and recuperate a little more.  Then Friday, we will be flying Kevin and Cyndi back home - hopefully first class.  (I will also be flying back on the same flight.)  We feel that Kevin will definitely need first class so that he would have plenty of room to stretch and move about.  Kevinís parents left for home today and landed safely.  We miss them so much already.  We thank God for safe travel! - which brings me to my next point ---

       We have a few requests that we ask you to be in prayer for.  The first prayer request is - the fluid from the lungs procedure.  Please pray that this will go well with no complications.  The second request is for travel and safety.  We have not booked a flight to go home yet for a few reasons.  We have to be prepared before buying the tickets.  We have to make sure that the flight will allow for Kevin to bring his oxygen on the plane and we also need 2 seats first class and 1 economy all on the same flight.  (I am looking for a non-stop flight so that we can get Kevin home as soon as possible).  So, please bring all of those requests before the Lord for us.  Also, if there is anyone who has any affiliation with any airline or anything that maybe would help us - please inform us as soon as possible.  (Does anyone know anybody with a private jet? - hey, if you know John Travoltaís phone number, please let me know and Iíll give him a call - you might chuckle at this - I know I am - but seriously, my GOD is just that BIG.)  You can sign the guestbook with any information that will help - I will be checking it on and off all day.  Pray for peace of mind, guidance, and strength for Cyndi.  Kevin has some edema - swelling in his stomach, legs, and feet (fluid retention).  Continue to pray for total healing of Kevinís body.  Pray that his levels remain stable for the flight and that we get home quickly and safely.  Pray that God move on the hearts of His people to help us as we pray for direction in choosing our flight and pray for Godís timing in all of this.  Remember what I said before - God is so much more than we can even imagine.  We pray His grace and mercy upon us.

       ďWhat is grace and mercy?  It is God's provision for our every need when we need it.  There is never a shortage of grace.  If God's grace is sufficient to save us, surely it is sufficient to keep us and strengthen us in our times of suffering.Ē -a quote from the Bible Exposition Commentary.  Cyndi and I drew strength from the Word of God and this yesterday, as we read from the Bible Exposition Commentary.  Here are some bits and pieces that Iíd like to share with you. ďIn the Christian life, we get many of our blessings through transformation, not substitution.  When Paul prayed three times for the removal of his pain, he was asking God for a substitution: "Give me health instead of sickness, deliverance instead of pain and weakness." --(Yes, we are asking for healing and we are praying for a miracle, but we wonder why God has not answered us yet.)-- ďSometimes God does meet the need by substitution; but other times He meets the need by transformation.  He does not remove the affliction, but He gives us His grace so that the affliction works for us and not against usÖGod always has a special message for His children when they are afflicted.Ē

       God did not give Paul any explanations; instead, He gave him a promise: "My grace is sufficient for thee." --(the same scripture from the top of this very page)-- We do not live on explanations; we live on promises.  Our feelings change, but God's promises never change.  Promises generate faith, and faith strengthens hope.

       No matter how we look at it, God is adequate for every need that we have.

But God does not give us His grace simply that we might "endure" our sufferings...God wants to build our character so that we are more like our Saviour.

       From Paulís experience, we may learn several practical lessons.

-God knows how to balance burdens and blessings, suffering and glory.

-Not all sickness is caused by sin.  The argument of Job's comforters was that Job had sinned, and that was why he was suffering.  But their argument was wrong in Job's case, as well as in Paul's case.  There are times when God permits Satan to afflict us so that God might accomplish a great purpose in our lives.

-There is something worse than sickness, and that is sin, and the worst sin of all is pride.  The healthy person who is rebelling against God is in worse shape than the suffering person who is submitting to God and enjoying God's grace.  Paul knew about that power, because he trusted the will of God and depended on the grace of God.

That same power can be yours today.Ē

(excerpts from The Bible Exposition Commentary.  Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.)

Put your faith and trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ - And continue to pray for Kevinís healing.  Remember that God is a miracle-maker.  Pray, pray, and pray some more.  God hears our prayers.  AMEN.

In His Service,

Kathy<><


Friday, June 12, 2009 ( 6/12/09 )     Kevin's Blog by Kathy (a friend)

Hello to all from Arizona.  Let me take a moment to introduce myself.  My name is Kathy Cutshall.  My husband is the pastor at Romeo Baptist Church of Dunnellon where Kevin and Cyndi serve as Youth Ministers.  So what am I doing here on Kevinís blog?  Well, Kevin has just informed me that I am now his new designated blogger - just for a little while Ė so donít you all worry Ė heíll be back soon Ė we just had a little ďbump in the roadĒ as Kevin and his mom would say.  Anyway, I will be keeping you informed on Kevinís current condition.  Cyndi and I flew out here on Thursday.  The children are still in Florida with Cyndiís sister, Lynette.  She and Cyndiís Mom are going to keep them good and busy until Cyndi returns.  Kevin was so happy to see Cyndi.  You could see it on his face.  So, how is Kevin?  Well, he is okay.  Let me explain.  Just to sort of get you up to speed, let me tell you about this week.  Monday, Kevin was sent to the emergency room where he was admitted due to low platelet levels.  He was sent to the intensive care unit where he was given a platelet transfusion.  He also had a high fever and was very tired.  While there in ICU, the staff began to work.  He had bottles upon bottles of ďstuffĒ brought in and they began to get Kevin everything that he needed to stabilize him, hydrate him, and bring his vitals up to par.  They are taking very good care of Kevin.

Kevinís mom and dad have been here with him and I must say that they have truly been dedicated.  I have so enjoyed the time that Iíve had to spend with Kevinís parents.  Kevinís mom, we feel, missed her calling.  She is a massage maniac Ė which brings much needed relief for Kevinís itching.  And Bert, well, he keeps my spirit up Ė heís got a great sense of humor and I love to hear him tell stories about the family.  My husband had the opportunity to fly out here last week and spend some time with Kevin and his family.  (He and Kevinís dad really hit it off.)  What a blessing they all were to each other.  Brenda and Bert have been right there by Kevinís side making sure that he has had everything he has needed.  Presently, Kevin is still in ICU and they are still watching and working.  Yesterday, Kevin had about a liter (a little more than a liter) of fluid drained from his lungs.  Fluid had built up around his lungs and this was causing Kevin some shortness of breath and also some swelling, I think.  We are thankful that the procedure went well, being that it was a very dangerous procedure.  Praise God for His protection.  Kevin is still tired, but in good spirits.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because we covet your prayers.  He needs your prayers - and while Kevin is getting stronger, I want you to know the seriousness of this situation.  We ask that you continue to pray for a miracle.  God is a miracle-maker.  Kevin has sought the Lord in every single decision that he has made and he has been so tender to the Holy Spiritís leading.  We need to stand with him and stand in the gap and pray for healing, but not only that Ė we need to pray for direction, clear direction.  We need to kneel before God and beg him for a miracle, a total healing of Kevinís body.  What a testimony this family has been!  What a light in this dark world!  They will never know how much this whole ordeal has impacted my life and the lives of many others.  The Lord has used them to strengthen my faith and Iím sure yours also.  Please understand Ė we know that God is at work and that His ways are higher than our ways and as I look around and feel the presence of the Lord in this situation, I also look around and see this family and my heart is breaking as I see what they are going through.  But Kevin, himself, said that God would never put anything on him that he couldnít handle.  Iím humbled by his words.  And while I know that God has a plan, it is still hard on the family.  As I sit here feeling helpless, I do not sit here feeling hopeless.  We serve a God that is so much more Ė more than what we can even imagine, bigger than we could ever know and He has placed Kevin exactly where He wants him.

God has orchestrated all of these events and is even now working all of the details out in the heavenlies and we can be certain that He will never leave Kevinís side.  It is our responsibility, however, to lift him up in prayer.  I believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  We are standing on His promises.  God has a plan, but Satan has a plan also and his plan is in total opposition to God and he is going to throw everything he possibly can at Kevin and his family.  Therefore, we have to take Kevin and his family to the foot of the cross where there is victory and stand there in belief knowing that God is going to deliver Kevin.  Lift up a prayer right now.  Pause and pray.  Donít wait to finish reading this blog.  Pray right now - Please pray for Kevin, but also not only him Ė pray for Cyndi, Brenda, Bert and the children.  Please pray for strength and courage for Cyndi.  She draws strength from those who encourage her with the Word of God.  Her father is such a great encourager.  Whenever life throws her a curve ball, Don always puts it in perspective using the Word of God.  She puts her trust in the Lord and she relies on God to give her that strength that she needs.  That is what brings that peace that surpasseth all understanding.  Pray, pray, and pray some more.  We give all the Praise and Glory to God for what He is going to do for He is worthy to be praised.  Itís about 11 PM here in Arizona.  Cyndi is spending the night at the hospital with Kevin tonight.  Sheíll keep him company while Brenda and Bert get some good needed rest tonight.  Good night!  Sleep Tight!  Donít let the bedbugs bite!

In His Service,

Kathy <><


Friday, May 22, 2009 ( 5/22/09 )     Kevin's Blog

            I hope this finds everyone doing well.  Iím still hanging in there day-by-day.  Not much has changed except for the weather.  Weíre having an Arizona version of an artic blast.  The high today is only about 85.  Mom and I weíre laughing at all the people walking around wearing coats and sweaters this morning.  The weather must have been a little too chilly for them but it felt great to us.  Otherwise, as I said earlier, things are still about the same.

            Most of you probably didnít know this but I had to have another blood transfusion on Wednesday.  Plus they were having issues with my port so they scheduled me for a port study that determines what is wrong with the port.  Well, I missed my appointment for the port study because I spent two hours at the rental car agency turning in one car and renting another.  So that meant that I was going to have to come back to the hospital the next day at 7:30 a.m.  But luckily, the nurse doing the blood transfusion on Wednesday suggested a drug called Cath-flo that cleans the tip of the port tube.  She put that in my port and now it works like a charm.  So that saved me an early morning trip to the hospital.

            Michelle Standridgeís funeral was on Tuesday and Cyndi attended with Caleb.  She said that the funeral was very nice but packed.  She also attended the viewing and the opportunity to meet Michelleís family.  She said that they were all very sweet and mentioned that they had been praying for our family as well through this whole ordeal.

            Well, Iím going to go for now but continue to keep us in your prayers.  We definitely need Godís guidance and wisdom.  Oh, and His healing touch would be nice as well.  Take care and I hope to see all you soon enough.

 

Sunday, May 17, 2009 ( 5/17/09 )     Kevin's Blog

Well, itís been a rough weekend here.  Not necessarily because of the cancer on my body but because of the loss of a dear person.  Many of you know this already but Michelle Standridge passed away on Friday after a long and hard-fought battle with breast cancer.  Michelle was one of the first ones to rush to my side for support when I was diagnosed with cancer.  In spite of her own battle she still managed to offer support and encouragement to me.  The one thing that I remember most about Michelle is when she told me one day that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain.  She will never know how much that little saying meant to me.  She leaves behind a husband, Craig, two sons, Angus and Flynt, and a host of friends and family members who are happy that her battle and pain is finally over but miss her like crazy and long to see her smiling face just once again.  But the thing about Michelle is that she had put her faith and trust in Jesus Christ as her Savior and those of us who have done likewise will see her again one day in Heaven.  If you would like to know more about how to put your faith and trust in Jesus (itís the easiest thing in the world to do), please email me and I would love to talk with you more.  It truly is the most important decision you can make.  And please remember the Standridge family in your prayers during this difficult time.

As far as me, I am hanging in there.  I still have the itching but the coughing has let up a lot.  I started sleeping with an oxygen machine hooked up to me and that really seems to have helped.  Thereís nothing like falling asleep with two little tubes up your nose blowing fresh oxygen.  For anyone who hasnít experienced this, I highly recommend it.  And of course Iím being a little sarcastic but it is working and I sleep like a baby most nights.  Iíve learned to avoid certain foods that trigger the itching but it still hits me hard in the morning when I first wake up and in the evening.  I donít know why but it does and unfortunately I have no control over the time of day.  But Mom is here and has done a great job of caring for me.  Dad tries but being Florence Nightingale just isnít his gift.  But I know he loves me and would do anything in the world for me.  And thatís all that matters.  Other than that, weíre trying to adapt to the heat.  I think that it has been twelve days straight of triple digit temperatures.  Everyday it seems that the weatherman is saying that weíre setting new records for the heat.  I told Dad today that you couldnít pay me to live out here.  It is so unbearable.  And unfortunately there doesnít appear to be any relief in sight.

Iím still continuing with my treatments.  They seem to wear me out more this time-around though.  But Iím hanging in there and doing what the doctor recommends.  The IPT (chemotherapy treatment) seems to hit me the hardest.  Dr. Lodi is supposed to be doing some research to see if there might be a different chemo protocol out there that might give me faster results.  So that is obviously a prayer request.  It sure would be nice to be a little more energetic and to have some more visible progress by the time Cyndi and the kids come out here in June.  But of course that is all in Godís hands and I have to take each day that Iím alive and breathing as a blessing.

Iím going to close for now.  I have to make some phone calls before it gets too late back in the Eastern Time zone.  But please remember these prayer requests:  the Standridge family, wisdom for Dr. Lodi concerning my treatments, and my healing.  I love each and every one of you and canít wait to see you soon.

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 ( 5/12/09 )     Kevin's Blog

            Well, I wonít keep you in suspense any longer than necessary.   I met with Dr. Lodi today to discuss the results of my PET scan.  The results did not look good on the report but that was only because the radiologist had to compare the scan to the PET scan that they did back in October of last year when I was out here.  And of course that scan showed the cancer to almost be totally gone.  The radiologist would need the disc from my CAT scan in February to make an accurate comparison to see any results.  So that will be our next task.  But overall, the scan results were good.  They did not show that the cancer had spread and the SUV rating (the measure of how active the cancer is) was pretty low for all of the tumors.  As far as how much the tumors have decreased will be calculated once the radiologist gets the other disc.  But Dr. Lodi was pleased with the results and said that he could definitely tell that the treatments were working and wanted to keep everything the same but he would still continue to research my cancer to see if anything new was available.  Continue to keep me in your prayers in regards to the itching and coughing which are still plaguing me.  And pray for Cyndi and the kids as they continue to cope without me being there.  But theyíre hanging in there.  Also be in prayer for Michelle Standridge.  Many of you know her personally or through my mentioning of her in previous blogs and her long struggle with breast cancer.  Well, they had to admit her to the hospital yesterday.  I donít really have any other info but that should be enough to get other Christians praying for a fellow believer.

            Iíll close for now but remember how much God loves you and cares for you.  I love you and pray for Godís blessing on you.  I hope to see you all soon.

 

Monday, May 11, 2009 ( 5/11/09 )     Kevin's Blog

            I am so sorry that it has been this long between blogs but the path to recovery this go-around has been a little rougher.  In fact, this will be a short blog just to update everybody.  Cyndi and Abbey Grace left to go back home two weeks ago and my Mom and Dad flew in the same day.  Which was a good thing because I am still in need of assistance throughout the day.  They (Mom and Dad) have been great to have around.  Mom takes care of me and Dad provides the comic relief just by being himself.  Cyndi and the kids will more than likely come back when school is out.  Until then, Mom and Dad are stuck with my occasional grouchiness and me.

            In regards to an update on how I am doing, itís about the same.  I still have the itchiness but I have learned that certain things trigger it so I avoid those things.   But even with that, there are still some days when it just doesnít make sense why.  I also still have the cough but they did a chest X-ray on me and it did not show any signs of infection.  So it is quite possible that what I am coughing up part of the tumor in my lungs.  I know that is gross but Iíll take the gross factor if it is true.  Which brings me to my prayer request.  I had a PET scan today and will hopefully get the results back tomorrow (Tuesday the 12).  The PET scan will show how much improvement has been made inside me since Iíve been out here.  And it will more than likely be a factor in further decisions concerning what route we are to take.  So please pray for good results and wisdom concerning what we are to do with these results.

            Well, Iím going to close for now but thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support of my family and me.  You will never know how much it means to Cyndi and I.  We love you and hope to see you soon.

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 ( 4/21/09 )     Kevin's Blog

A big hello to everyone from Arizona.  Unfortunately you get stuck with a blog from Kevin today (actually Tuesday night but most people wonít read this until Wednesday).  Things are going relatively good so far.  I still have the dreaded itching from you know where.  But the lymph node on the right side of my neck is going down.  For those that hadnít seen me in a while, that particular lymph node had swollen pretty bad and was pretty obvious.  So that is a good sign that the treatments are working.  And the coughing is pretty much still there but itís not that bad.  So as far as symptoms go, the itching is still the number one area that causes me the most grief.  I honestly believe that I could live with the cancer if it werenít for the itching.  The itching causes me to scratch to the point that I break open the skin and sores form, which cause further problems.  And it is an all-over itch literally from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.  So please pray that the itching goes away as soon as possible.

Well, it certainly has been different this time with Cyndi and Abbey Grace being out here.  I cannot even begin to fathom how I would have made it through these past two weeks without Cyndi.  She is definitely the epitome of the righteous wife described in Proverbs 31.  She has taken care of me and catered to me without ever complaining once.  She is truly amazing.  And no, she is not standing over my shoulder as I write this.  Actually Iíll probably get into trouble by her for bragging on her so much.  Thatís OK though because she deserves every accolade I can possibly give her.

But alas everything must come to an end and she and Abbey Grace are flying home next Tuesday for a couple of weeks.  She really wants to be home for Motherís Day and Caleb and Jesse are really missing their Mommy and little sister.  But my Mom and Dad are planning on flying out here to be with me while Cyndi is gone.  So the babying of Kevin should continue.  And when Cyndi comes back sheíll bring Caleb back with her and leave Abbey Grace with her sister Lynette and Mom and Dad.  Which brings me to another point.

Cyndi and I would like to thank everyone for all that they have done for us before and during this time.  So many people have stepped out during these difficult financial times and have given so generously.  From the car show in Ocala to the 5K race that the church sponsored to the many who have just given, we thank you.  We also want to thank those who have offered words of encouragement and all those prayers.  Please donít stop and remember not just me but our entire family as well in your prayers.  And a special thanks to those who have watched the kids, taken care of the house, and done other things to make sure that Cyndi and I have not had to worry about.  All of you (and the things that you have done) have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.  Thank you again.

Well, Iím going to close for now.  Iíll try to write soon and update everyone in the next blog on the treatments that Iím having out here.  Take care and God bless you.  We love you and hope to see you soon.

 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 ( 4/14/09 )     Kevin's Blog by Cyndi (his wife)

Dear friends and family,

In case you do not already know Kevin,myself,and our youngest(Abbey Grace) flew back to Arizona last Monday (April 6).  Kevinís symptoms were becoming unbearable and we felt we needed to do something.  The only time Kevin has made any progress during this whole ordeal was in Arizona.  There are so many unknowns right now, and as frustrating as it is ,we are realizing we can only take one day at a time.  Kevin had to have a blood transfusion last week and he may have to have another one today.  We are asking you  to join us as we pray for a total healing as only God can give.  It seems like every morning we get up and all of our circumstances seem worse.  We are learning that Faith is really easy to have when tumors are shrinking and symptoms are getting better.  Itís a whole different story when things keep getting worse.  Sometimes when we think we should feel God so close, and sometimes those are the times that we do not feel Him at all.  That is when Faith comes in.  We know, that we know, that we know ,that God is real.  When we cannot feel him we cling to His promises and trust.  I know to many of you it may not make sense why God has not removed this from Kevin.  While I do not have all of the answers, I do know that God is more concerned with intimacy with us than us beingĒcomftorableĒ.  I keep giving God suggestions of how He could heal Kevin and  finally bring this trial to an end.  Until He does we are reminded that God never makes a mistake and that even as much as all of us love Kevin, no one loves him like our Savior.  That is why it is so much easier to trust God to heal instead of a doctor.  No one has Kevinís best interest in mind like God.  There are so many others struggling right now with disease.  While God may have allowed disease to occur , I do not believe disease is from God.  I believe it is from satan and more than anything right now Kevin believes that this is a spiritual battle.  If you are a fellow believer we are asking that you specifically pray  for  this spiritual warfare that we believe is so real.

Other things to pray for:

That God would comfort our boys while we are away from them.

Edema in Kevinís legs

Kevinís sores(from scratching) would heal

Wisdom for our doctors here

Financial needs during this time
 

Our new temporary address is  1920 W.Lindner Ave.  Apt# 168  Mesa, AZ 85202

We cannot thank all of you enough for your support through this journey.We will try to update every couple of days.

Love,

Cyndi


Wednesday, March 11, 2009 ( 3/11/09 )     Kevin's Blog

Well, it looks like itís time for my monthly blog.  It seems like so much changes between these blogs.  And I guess that all of these changes are what is keeping me from updating more frequently.  Iíll be honest.  This past month has been one of the hardest.  Cyndi and I have struggled with this candida diet only to find out recently that the majority (or the severity) of my symptoms have not been candida-related.  Meanwhile, my energy level and sleep had not improved.  It had gotten to the point that it was all I could do to make it through the day.  I had hoped that the month of February would be the turn-around month for me as we prepared to go on a Disney cruise at the beginning of this month.  God obviously saw different.  The month really didnít get any better for me physically.  Then two nights before the cruise, my left foot and ankle began to swell up.  I had a CAT scan the next day that showed that the tumor in my left lung had grown quite considerably.  I also met that day with my oncologist, Dr. Rama.  She saw my swollen leg and the sores that covered both of my legs.  She then did a biopsy on one of the sores to see how much infection was in my leg.

That night (the night before the cruise) my entire left leg had swollen up to the point that I could barely walk.  To add insult to injury, we also could not find Jesse or Abbey Graceís birth certificate that they would need for the cruise.  Needless to say, we cancelled the cruise that night.  Luckily we had travel insurance so we should be getting most of the money back to save more a better time to cruise.  Well, the next day (this past Friday), Cyndi and I were driving to my other doctor, Dr. Lemire, for a checkup when Dr. Rama called to say that they had the results of the biopsy and it showed strep.  She wanted me immediately hospitalized due to the fact that the strep could be in my bloodstream which could be fatal.  We consulted with Dr. Lemire who agreed and that night I went to the hospital.  They began me on some very high dose IV antibiotics as a precaution while they took blood cultures to be tested for strep.  I stayed in the hospital until Monday afternoon.  The doctor came back with the blood tests that showed that the strep had not reached my bloodstream yet but was just topical at that point.  The strep was deep enough into the sores to warrant concern but the doctor released me with a prescription for an oral antibiotic.

The good news about the whole ordeal is that I do feel better.  I guess that there had been a lot of infection inside of me and the antibiotics knocked it out and my energy level is much higher now.  The bad part is that this was not the answer we were really hoping for.  Dr. Rama had previously ordered a blood culture to check for fungus (candida), which came back negative.  Or to the point that it also was not in my bloodstream causing a lot of my symptoms.  And when the other blood culture came back that my blood was clear of any bacteria (strep) it also eliminated that as a possible reason for my symptoms.  It really comes down to the fact that my symptoms are being caused by the cancer that has become active.  And this leaves Cyndi and I at a crossroads of which we have no idea of which direction to proceed down.

I have trusted God throughout this whole ordeal.  And I still do.  I can honestly say that I havenít made a decision based on what I wanted.  Why would I choose to endure the nausea of the chemotherapy and all of its side effects?  Why would I choose to leave my family and friends for eight long weeks in another state to do treatment that most people couldnít comprehend?  And why would I choose such a rigid diet that eliminated so many of the foods that I love?  The answer is that is wasnít me making these choices.  I was simply following Godís leading in every step.  And now Cyndi and I must wait for the next step.  We are still trusting that God is going to heal me completely.  Itís just a matter of how Heís going to do it.

Last night Cyndi shared with me the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea with Moses.  She pointed out that as they stood on the bank of the Red Sea with Pharaohís army pursuing them, they had no idea of how God was going to save them.  And then God did something that He had never done before, He parted the sea.  And as a result, the Israelitesí lives were spared.  And then Cyndi brought the message home when she said that we were like the Israelites waiting.  We have no idea of how God is going to heal me but we must simply wait on Him and His timing and expect God to do something extraordinary.

Well I wonít keep you any longer.  I do thank you for taking the time to read this and to commit to praying for our family and my healing.  Please also remember to pray for Michelle Standridge and her family.  They are part of the Dunnellon Christian Academy circle and she has been suffering with breast cancer for about three years now.  On a brighter note, there is a new addition to the Tyra (Cyndiís side) family.  My sister-in-law, Chrissie Tyra gave birth Monday to a beautiful little girl, Alyssa (?) Hope Tyra.  She was taken two months prematurely but is doing great so far.  So please keep Mommy and baby in your prayers as well.  I love all of you so much and wish I could give all of you a great big hug and teary-eyed thank you for all that you have done for us.  I know that I canít now but as I see each of you I hope to be able to fulfill my wish.  Until then, take care and know that we love you so very much.

 

Friday, February 6, 2009 ( 2/6/09 )     Kevin's Blog

I am sorry that itís taken so long to blog again.  I guess I just got away from blogging there for a while.  Things are going good though.  Iím still sticking to my plan of allowing God to have complete control of my body and to give Him all of the credit for the healing that I expect Him to bring about.  Thatís not to say that there havenít been some rough spots here and there.  Two weeks ago I went to the doctor and found out that I had bronchitis.  That explained the fatigue, chills, and fever that I had during that time.  Things are much better now though.  Since my last blog, Iíve also discovered that I have an overgrowth of Candida yeast in my body.  This also explains the excessive itching that has plagued me.  Iím on a very strict diet and some supplements to try and get rid of the Candida.  I honestly believe that if I could get rid of the itching, I could live with the cancer for the rest of my life.  But I donít think that is Godís plan for me.  Since Iíve been on the diet, the symptoms have improved somewhat but the nights have been extremely hard.  It has affected my sleep severely to the point that I average about 4-5 hours of sleep a night.  So please keep this in your prayers.

Other than that, things are going good.  The kids are all doing well.  And Cyndi has been so awesome through all of this.  I know that it is a huge burden on her but she has confronted this thing head on and is winning the battle.  She does so much for our family and especially me.  I truly donít think our family could survive all of this with anyone other than her.  On a side note, my parents have been staying with us off and on for the past couple of months.  They brought the motor home down and stay out there when they need to regain their sanity from being with our family.  Dad seems to stay out there more so I donít know if that means his sanity is much shorter than Momís or if Mom is becoming more and more like us.  Anyways, it has been such a blessing to have them here.  They have done so much and we appreciate all of their sacrifices.

Well, Iím going to go for now.  I know that I have probably forgotten to mention something important and will hopefully blog againÖsooner.  Take care and stay warm.  And please continue to keep us in your daily prayers.  We love you and hope to see you soon.

 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 ( 12/23/08 )     Kevin's Blog

Wow.  I canít believe that it has been this long since I last blogged.  A lot has happened in the three weeks since my last entry.  The kids have all had their Christmas programs at school.  All three did great and made it through the program without embarrassing our family or doing something to make it on Americaís Funniest Homevideos.  Cyndi finished school and is enjoying her time off.  My parents came down last week with the motor home and have set up camp at our house.  Everyone is enjoying having them down, especially the kids.  Every morning around 7 they go over to Ma-Ma and Pa-País and knock on the door wanting to be let in for their daily ritual of hot chocolate and grits (yes, our Southern children eat grits).  Of course, during school itís like pulling teeth to get them up that early but they willing jump out of bed at the crack of dawn for Ma-Ma and Pa-Pa.  I guess thatís the magic of grandparents.  We are looking forward to having Mom and Dad stay for a while though to help out around the house with things.

As far as I go, things have changed as well.  The symptoms (itching and coughing) have returned.  This prompted Cyndi and I to really start exploring the treatment options down here.  We found a doctor in Tampa who did the IPT treatment (Dr. Lee) and met with him to discuss treatments.  We really liked Dr. Lee and found him to be a great and thorough doctor.  However, I never really had a peace about doing the IPT treatments there.  In the meantime, we also went up to Shands hospital in Gainesville to discuss the stem cell transplant option.  The doctor that met with us was also very good and forthcoming with information.  He basically said that the success rate (meaning that the cancer has gone and stays in remission) was around 40% for my type of cancer.  He also went over the side effects of the stem cell transplant procedure.  None of this scared Cyndi or me but it did solidify our decision to not do the transplant.  Also during this time, God had been speaking to Cyndi and I about our faith in Him.  During this whole experience, it seems that we had been putting our faith in the treatments and the doctors that God had led us to.  But we never really put our faith in God, just the ďvesselsĒ that He was using to heal me.  One night Cyndi awoke with a verse in her head.  The verse was, ďGo in peace.  Thy faith hath made thee whole.Ē  Cyndi told me this the next morning and wasnít sure of where the verse was in the Bible.  I told her that it was from the story of the woman with the issue of blood who touched Jesusí garment and was healed.  He (Jesus) told her afterwards, ďGo in peace.  Thy faith hath made thee whole.Ē  The interesting thing about that story of healing is that the gospel of Luke tells us that she made spent her life savings for twelve years trying to be cured and she had sought all the doctors but none could cure her.  It was only when she sought out Jesus and had faith in Him alone for healing that she was healed.  I donít know about you, but when Cyndi and I read that passage in Luke chapter 9, we saw many similarities between the womanís story and my story.  All of that plus much prayer has led us to a major decision.  And that decision is to not do any treatments but rather allow God to be the sole one behind my healing (which I still believe wholeheartedly that He is going to do).  I feel that if we still believe that God heals people, than He doesnít need the help from any doctor or drug to accomplish His healing.  This, by no means, is an indication that Cyndi and I are anti-doctor.  We still feel that God uses doctors and medicine to heal people and we have no problem going to the doctor ourselves.  We simply feel that in my condition, God has told us that He alone would be the one to heal me without the help from any doctors.  This has been a major leap of faith for us but also very exciting at the same time.  Weíre excited to see what God is going to do in our lives as a result of this decision.  And, honestly, since making this decision our lives have been great.  I have such a peace about this and feel closer to God now than I have ever felt in my whole life.  I donít expect everyone to understand this decision.  And I donít expect everyone to agree with it.  But what Cyndi and I would like is for your continued prayers.  This is the path that we feel God is leading us down and we are going to stay on this path until God heals me or He changes the path.

Well, Iíll close for now.  Iíll try to blog some more soon, but if I donít before ThursdayÖhave a wonderful Christmas and remember to take some time out to thank God for the wonderful gift that He gave us 2000 years ago on a wintry night in Bethlehem.  We love you and thank you for all of your love and support.  Keep us in your prayers.

 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 ( 12/3/08 )     Kevin's Blog

I hope this finds everyone doing well.  I also hope that you had a good Thanksgiving weekend.  Mine had its share of ups and downs.  The good part was that I was able to see many of my family members.  Many of whom I had not seen in several years.  We had a great time visiting and catching up with what has happened in everyoneís lives.  The bad part of the weekend was that I came down sick Thanksgiving evening.  It continued the entire weekend and Iím still trying to rebound from it.  The kids had all been sick the week before and I guess it was inevitable that I come down with what they had.  Luckily it was just a little sinus and chest sickness.  It did give everyone a little bit of a scare though.  But Iím back and starting to feel better with each new day.  As far as Thanksgiving dinner went, Cyndi and I made a couple of dishes that turned out pretty good.  The important thing to remember with these recipes is that they are generally not going to turn out exactly like the non-vegan recipes.  But our stuffing turned out pretty good and the sweet potato pie wasnít too bad.  All in all, it was a very good Thanksgiving.

As far as my situation goes, I am in the process of trying to get some treatments lined up in Tampa and the surrounding area.  I have an appointment with a Dr. Lee in Tampa to see about resuming the IPT treatments.  There is also a doctor in Mt. Dora (near Orlando) who does the vitamin C treatments.  So keep me in your prayers as I try to get these things scheduled.  Other than that, things are going well.  This is going to be a busy December.  It seems like something is going on every night of the month.  But weíll get through it and make some memories along the way.

Well, I just wanted to give out a quick little update.  Oh, by the way, the SWAT calendars come out this Friday.  Most of you know about them but for those that donítÖone of the guys on the SWAT team, Roger Wissinger, wanted to do a fundraiser for our family and came up with this idea.  The calendar features various pictures of the team in action and getting ready for action.  It was done in a very professional way and looks great.  Tammy Griffin in Ocala was the photographer and she did an awesome job.  The cost for the calendars is $20 and all the proceeds go to our family in helping to cover the medical expenses.  Iíll let you know more as I find out.  Take care and Iíll continue to keep you posted on what happens.

 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 ( 11/25/08 )     Kevin's Blog

Today everyone gets a two-for-one special.  I havenít had a chance to post the blog from the day that I flew home.  And so much has happened since then that I felt that I should blog on those things as well.  First of all, it feels so good to be home again.  I have enjoyed seeing everyone and sharing with them about what God has done in my life.  I know that Cyndi and the kids are pretty happy to have me home again.  It has been a little bit of an adjustment coming home and trying to adopt this new healthy lifestyle.  But weíre doing good and everyone seems to be pretty receptive to it.  Weíve even found some things that Jesse will eat.

I met with my doctor, Dr. Rama, and had a CT scan last Wednesday.  The results did show improvement since the scan in Arizona.  However, there does appear to be some cancer still inside my body.  So that leaves me with a decision to make as to what type of treatment to pursue.  Dr. Rama still wants me to proceed with the stem cell transplant.  But I still donít have a peace about that.  I did find a doctor in Tampa who does the IPT like I had out in Arizona.  I will probably go down that path.  Please continue to pray for us as we make these and other important decisions.

In other news, we are leaving tomorrow night, Wednesday, to head to South Carolina for the Thanksgiving weekend.  We are excited about going there and seeing some more friends and family members.  Cyndi is excited about shopping on Friday with my mom and the kids are excited about Mamaís cooking on Thursday.  And Iím just excited about being with the ones that I love the most.  It should be fun even though my brother, Bert, has already begun the picking on me about my food.  He is merciless and still plans on eating everything that I stand against.  It should be interesting.

Well, Iíll close for now.  Iíve got a lot to try and get done in a short amount of time.  Please remember to continue to pray for us and I hope to see you soon.

 

Saturday, November 8, 2008 ( 11/8/08 )     Kevin's Blog

            Wow.  I canít believe that I am actually writing this on the plane coming home.  It really doesnít seem like it was eight weeks ago that I boarded a plane to come out to Phoenix.  I know that Cyndi will disagree with that.  Ha ha!  It has been quite an experience though.  Yesterday was a little hard with saying goodbye to everyone.  The staff was sad to see me go and I was sad to leave them.  I told them that it was not personal but I hoped to not see them again.  They understood that I said that because to not see them would mean that everything was going well with me.  But to see me again would possibly mean that there were new problems.  I left today feeling great about the progress that I have made.  I donít know how much cancer (if any) is left but feel confident that if I keep up with the diet and nutrition aspect of this and couple it with a few treatments in Florida then I can definitely get past this.  I have an appointment with my oncologist in Ocala (Dr Rama) next Thursday.  I donít know what will transpire but hopefully weíll get some more info.  I have also found a doctor in Tampa who does the IPT and a doctor in Gainesville who does the vitamin C.  My treatments in Florida will be based on the next set of scan results (which I have not had as of yet).  Obviously, if the scan shows no sign of cancer then I wonít be doing any IPT treatments.  But if the scans do show some residual cancer then I will start as soon as possible.  Weíll just have to wait and see for now.  Keep us in your prayers though.  We want to know this as soon as possible but Iím not too keen on the whole PET scan procedure due to the scan itself involving injecting my body with radioactive sugar (something that I have spent the past eight weeks avoiding like the plague).

            As I write this I canít help but to reflect on what God has done in and through my life these past eight weeks.  My spiritual walk with God has grown by leaps and bounds.  I donít mean that to sound in the least little bit like Iím bragging.  On the contrary, I am ashamed to see how much work God has had to do in my life to bring me to this point (which is nothing to be proud of).  But I can tell you that my outlook on so many things has changed and I feel so close to God and I absolutely love that feeling of knowing Him in a deep personal way.  Iíve told God and others that if nothing else changed in my life during these past eight weeks other than my spiritual walk, then it would still be worth it.  I can honestly say that I would rather leave this world closer to God than to live for another eighty years and feel so distant from the one true God who loves me more than words can describe.  How ironic is it that as I write those words, the song ďBetter is One DayĒ is playing on the computer?  Doesnít God have a great sense of humor?  For those not familiar, the song lyrics say, ďBetter is one day in your house than a thousand elsewhere.Ē  Itís based on the verse Psalms 84:10.  God is so good though.  And as much as I would love to share with others about my new healthy lifestyle, I want to share with others about a life-changing spiritual lifestyle found in Godís Word.

            But God didnítí just strengthen my spiritual walk these past few weeks.  Praise Him for the physical change as well.  I cannot describe how good I feel now.  I am pretty good at hiding my true condition and not complaining too much.  The weeks and months leading up to my coming out to Phoenix was rough.  I felt horrible and only wanted to stay at home in bed.  To get dressed and come to work was an accomplishment in and of itself.  By 3:30 I was already shutting things down and focusing on coming home.  I had no energy and constantly felt the lingering effects of my cancer and I didnít want to let too many people know just how bad I felt.  But thatís not the case now.  I feel so much better and have more energy than I know what to do with.  And in addition to the energy level, I donít feel any effects of the cancer.  There could very well be some left inside of my body but it isnít affecting me and my body is going to get rid of it.  God is so good!

            And I thank each one of you for your love and support.  For every prayer.  For every card.  For every gift.  For every kind and encouraging word.  For every little kind act done for Cyndi and the kids.  For the visits out here.  For the phone calls.  And for the very thought of you as I think of how wonderful you are.  You have been wonderful and I love you so much.  Please try to know how much Cyndi and I thank you for all that you have done for us.  I also want to take this time to thank Dr. Lodi and his wonderful staff.  They were great and made my treatments enjoyable.  They became my surrogate family and gave me someone to talk to everyday those first few weeks.  They truly took care of me and made sure that I was on the path to healing.  I will never forget them and thank God for their caring and support.

            In closing, I do have a praise report.  Little Cassidy Clark is in remission.  That means that she is clear to continue onto the next phase of treatment, which is going to be long and hard.  But her options are still open and she is still fighting a good fight (for a princess wearing a pink wig).  Also, several of the patients at the clinic have been receiving good reports.  Some to the degree that they too are going home soon.  I feel that Godís hand is on Dr. Lodi and his clinic and God is using them to bring healing to many people.  If anyone reading this is curious to know more about Dr. Lodi or his clinic, please contact me, I would love to take the time to talk with you or someone you know and to share with them what God has done in my physical life through the clinic here.  The fact is that we donít have to be sick.  There are options other than what your doctor tells you.  We just have to be made aware of them and to follow Godís leading.  Please take care and pass on to others what God has done in my life so that they too can see how good our God is.  I love you and hope to see you all soon.

 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 ( 11/5/08 )     Kevin's Blog

Well, by the time that most of you read this, you will be aware of you our new president is.  I know that this particular election has generated more controversy and electrified the political sides like no other election in recent years.  It has been exciting to say the least and more people have become involved in the electoral process than ever before.  And regardless of how you may have voted, two things are evident tonight.  One, it is such a privilege to live in a country where we can cast our votes and know that our votes are counted and we are in no fear of retaliation for our particular vote.  God has blessed us with our democracy and though it may not be the perfect government, it is still the best out there.  Secondly, it is still true that God is in control.  That may or may not be more evident now based on how you voted but it is still true.  Our job now is to pray for President Obama and our new congressmen and other elected officials.  Our country is in for some serious changes real soon and those ultimately making those changes need Godís leadership regardless of their political ideologies.  I encourage you to put aside your own political ideologies and remember this and your loyalties to our God and country.  On a side note, though, wonít it be nice now to not hear any more political commercials or receive any more political phone calls during supper?  At least for four more years, that is.

            Things are continuing to go well out here in Arizona.  Mom and Dad brought some beautiful weather with them.  The high has been about 75 here with the low in the 40s.  Couple those temperatures with no humidity and it is absolutely perfect out here.  It should continue to be this way the rest of the week also.  The treatments are going well and I am counting down the number of treatments left.  I have my last ozone treatment tomorrow and I am a little concerned.  I have had a little problem with my port this week.  The nurses have had a little trouble getting the blood flow started.  Theyíve done a great job of getting it going but tomorrow the ozone is primarily just them drawing blood and mixing it with the ozone.  So this has me a little concerned with them being able to draw enough blood from my port and then getting the blood back into my veins.  Other than that, things are pretty much the same.  My friend, Karen from Texas, is also leaving this Friday to head home.  Remember her in your prayers.  She is still having a rough go at it with her colon cancer.  The IPT treatment seems to be taking a toll on her physically and she feels that she has exhausted the treatments here in Arizona and will go back to Texas and continue some treatments closer to home.  I have really enjoyed getting to know her and her mom and the rest of her family that has visited.  She has been such an inspiration and great encouragement to me and Iíll miss her smiling face.  The other patients seem to be doing well as a whole and are well on their way to leaving soon as well.  Iíll list their first names and ask that you pray for them as you remember:  Mary from Arizona, Maureen, Iris, Karen from Texas, Pablo, John, Tom, Andrea, Roger, Danelle, Vida, Mary from Wisconsin, and Karen from California.   Iím sure that they would not mind having more people praying for them.  Also, little Cassie is still awaiting the results from her bone marrow biopsy that she had today.  They should get the results on Thursday.  Please remember her in your prayers constantly.  It is essential for the results to show her leukemia in remission for her to continue with the next step, which is a bone marrow transplant.  If the results do not show it to be in remission, then her options diminish greatly.  I will let you know the results as soon as I find out but please pray until then.

     Thank you in closing for all that you guys have done for my family and me during this time.  I have appreciated all of the phone calls (even though I have not been the best at returning them), the cards (your faithfulness has amazed me each day), the emails, and the kind acts for my family and me.  God has truly used each and every one of you to encourage me and to make my time out here bearable through your thoughtfulness.  I cannot express my gratefulness and hope to see you all soon.  We  (Cyndi, the kids, and I) have tentative (key word there) plans to visit South Carolina for Thanksgiving weekend.  I hope to find the time to see as many of my friends, family, and supporters as possible.  Until then, know that I love you so much and appreciate your love and support.  You have been and continue to be amazing.  I love you and keep me in your prayers.

 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 ( 11/4/08 )     Kevin's Blog

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Sunday, November 2, 2008 ( 11/2/08 )     Kevin's Blog

I hope this finds everyone doing well.  Things could not be going much better.  I am starting my last week here in Arizona.  Yes, you heard me right.  I am leaving this Saturday to head home.  I have my airline ticket and there is no turning back.  I will be sleeping in my own bed this time next week.  I canít believe that it has been eight weeks.  This has been such a special time in my life and now itís time for this phase of my life to be over and to move on to the next phase.  I was talking to Mom and Dad today (they flew in Friday night and are staying with me till the end of the week) about the past eight weeks and how hard it was to be out here by myself those first four or so weeks.  But like I told them, it was during that time that God showed me how much I needed Him and to rely solely on Him during that time.  And as much as I would have loved to have had some company during that time, I would have never drawn as close to God then as I have now.  So I can definitely see how Godís hand moved during that time and can also see the results of my strengthened relationship with God.  And now my time here is drawing to a close and I am excited to see everyone and to share with them what I have learned while out here.

            The treatments are going good out here and I have not had any problems.  I am still trying to find providers of these treatments back home.  I think I may have found a doctor who does the IPT (insulin and chemotherapy) therapy.  He is in Tampa, which isnít too far away.  I also think there is a doctor nearby who does the Vitamin C treatments.  So my goal this week is to try and get all of this scheduled as soon as possible.  I am really going to miss everyone at the clinic though.  I have made so many friends there and have bonded with so many people.   Hopefully we can stay in touch some way.

             I donít think that I blogged since returning from Florida last week.  Anyways, I had a great time.  It was so good to see everyone and Sunday was so special.  The baseball field looks great and we had a great time being with everyone.  I heard the food was really good also.  I wouldnít really know being that all I had time to eat was a little bit of salad.  I stayed pretty busy visiting with everyone but that was OK.  I had plenty of time to eat at home that night.  Cyndi and I also took time to see that new movie ďFireproofĒ Saturday night.  Thatís the Christian film with Kirk Cameron in which he plays a firefighter who is having marital problems.  It was a really good film and really made me realize how lucky I am to have Cyndi by my side.  I am encouraging everyone to see it.

            Well, Iím going to close for now.  Itís getting late and Iím about to fall asleep here.  But remember little Cassidy Clark.  She has her bone marrow biopsy tomorrow.  In addition to needing your prayers because the biopsy hurts, itís very important because a good reading means that she will be eligible for a bone marrow transplant.  A bad reading means that the chemo hasnít worked as it should.  But that is tomorrow and I know that Chad and the whole family would appreciate and welcome your prayers.  Well, I will keep you posted on what happens.  Take care and weíll see you soon.

 

Thursday, October 23, 2008 ( 10/23/08 )     Kevin's Blog

Sorry that I havenít blogged in a while.  Iíve just been a little busy lately.  Not much has changed since my last entry.  I am still planning to come home on Saturday the 8 of November.  I canít wait to finally be home for good.  Dr. Lodi would like for me to continue some treatments at home and to find a doctor who does the IPT (insulin and chemotherapy) locally or to come back to Arizona once a month for about 6 months to do it there.  So please pray that I can find a good doctor in the Ocala area who does one or all three of the treatments (ozone, high dose Vitamin C, and IPT).  I admit that Iím a little scared to leave here now.  My fear tells me to stay here indefinitely.  It tells me that as long as I am receiving treatments then I am safe.  But I truly feel and have felt since the beginning) that God wanted me to stay out here for eight weeks.  What happens after that is up to God.  So my decision to come home is based on how I feel God is leading me and I canít argue that and still have a leg to stand on.

On a different note, Iím sure many of you are wondering how our weekend at the Grand Canyon went.  WellÖit was awesome!  I highly recommend everyone try to take a trip out there at least once in their lifetime to experience it.  No picture or video can do it justice.  And nothing can really prepare you for the first time that you lay eyes on this amazing wonder of the world.  As I stood there on the rim, the hymn, ďHow Great Thou ArtĒ, came to mind as I thought on the Creator of this magnificent site.  But I was also a little saddened as the tour guide chalked up its creation to a few million of years of erosion.  I felt as if he was slapping God in the face as he denied credit to God for creating the Grand Canyon.  But the kids truly enjoyed it as well and we got some great pictures.  I have put some of those pictures on the picture page of the website so check them out.  We stayed in Williams, Arizona which is home to the Grand Canyon Railway train depot.  We rode the train to and from the Grand Canyon.  The hotel was very nice and our package included all of our meals from Friday through Sunday.  Everything went perfect and we made some great memories.  Coming back we drove through Sedona and really enjoyed that as well.  Sedona is absolutely beautiful as well.  It is famous for its red rock formations and the beautiful striations in the rocks.  There is also a state park there called Slide Rock State Park where the Oak Creek runs through and over some smooth rock formations that makes huge water slide.  I told that kids that it was Godís Water Park.  The water was too cold for Cyndi, Abbey Grace, and I but the boys jumped in and really enjoyed it.  All in all, our weekend together was great and I wouldnít have traded it for a million dollars.  It was sad to drop them off at the airport Monday but I am so looking forward to seeing them tomorrow night.  Speaking of whichÖ

I am looking forward to coming home this weekend and seeing as many people as possible.  Iíve heard that the baseball field is looking great.  I canít wait to see it.  Please come on out Sunday if youíre able to.  I would love to see everyone and to share my wonderful church family with you.  Just as a reminder, our services begin at 11 a.m. and all of the food and activities will follow directly afterwards.  And everything is free.  So come out to Romero Baptist Church this Sunday and have a great time with me and my family.

Well, Iím going to go for now.  Iíve felt a little tired today and probably need a little extra sleep.  But please continue to pray for little Cassie Clark.  She is continuing to improve but is still not out of the forest just yet.  Thank you for your prayers though and I love and miss each of you.

 

Friday, October 17, 2008 ( 10/17/08 )     Kevin's Blog

Things couldnít be better.  Iím here in Mesa with my beautiful family and weíre having a great time.  The kids are feeling a little under the weather (fighting off a little cold) but otherwise are enjoying it out here.  Cyndi and I took them to a huge play area/restaurant last night.  It was called Amazing Jakeís and it was amazing.  Everything was inside and they had go-carts, bumper cars, miniature golf, bowling, laser tag, tons of games, and rides for Abbey Grace.  They also had a huge pizza buffet (I know what youíre thinking.  No I didnít indulge in any pizza.  They had a huge salad bar for Cyndi and I.)  The boys were impressed with the old manís driving skills on the go-carts.  I really showed those twelve-year-old girls how to drive.  Of course I got yelled at by the sixteen-year-old employee for bumping the cars too much but it was worth it.  After my treatment today we are heading north to the Grand Canyon.  We are so excited that God has made it possible for us to experience that.  That reminds me to charge the camera battery so we can take lots of pictures and hopefully get one or two up here on the website soon afterwards.  I have found myself just staring at Cyndi and the kids.  I still canít believe that they are actually here.  Except for the messy apartment.  The kids have definitely ďde-batchelorizedĒ it.  But I have time to get it back to its sterile condition when they leave.  Iím going to miss them but at least Iíll be coming home for the weekend soon.  Which brings me to paragraph two.

Our church, Romeo Baptist, is currently in a building program (like any other good Baptist Church ;) ).  Phase 1 of the program included construction of a baseball field on site.  That field is near completion and the building committee has decided to dedicate the field in my honor.  My family and I will be there for this special day.  The dedication will fall on Sunday October 26 following the morning service.  That date is also the date for our annual Homecoming Sunday, which is an awesome day of food, fun, and fellowship.  We have tons of games and activities planned for the kids and adults and lots of good home cooked food.  And everything is absolutely free.  I would love for anyone reading this to come out if youíre able to.  Our services start at 11:00 and the dress is casual or western if you have anything along those lines.  For more info, call our church office at 489-1788.  Hope to see you there!

In other news, I met with Dr. Lodi yesterday and he has given me a tentative release date of November 7.  That will be the 8-week mark and he fells confident that I should be fine after that based on how I have responded to the treatments so far and how aggressive and dedicated I have been to the juicing and diet portion of the program.  Dr. Lodi would like for me to continue some of the treatments (high dose Vitamin C and ozone) back home if possible for a couple of months for maintenance.  He also put me on that new drug, DCA, that I blogged about yesterday.  So I am very excited to start that and that is something that I can continue back home as well.  He was very pleased though with how my treatments have been going and very optimistic about getting me well again.

Well, I better go for now and enjoy my time with the family.  But I love each and every one of you and hope that you have a great day.  Continue to pray for little Cassie Clark and myself.  She is doing better but still has a long road ahead of her.  But at least her granny and grandpa, Ron and Diane Clark, are here with her now giving her everything she wants (including a beautiful pink wig to wear in the hospital).  Also remember mom and day, Chad and Jennifer, as they try to juggle taking care of Cassie and the other girls.

 

Thursday, October 16, 2008 ( 10/16/08 )     Kevin's Blog

The family has arrived!  The family has arrived!  I have been walking on cloud 9 this week.  With the good news from the Pet scan still fresh and the realization that Cyndi and the kids were coming soon, this has been a great week.  And now they are here.  They arrived last night without any problems.  I think Cyndi deserves a round of applause for bravely taking three children on a plane by herself and traveling across the country.  And on top of that, she arrived with all three of them still alive and in tact!  She was a little worn out from the trip but they had a good flight.  I would have loved to have seen their faces when the plane took off and they were flying above the clouds (this was their first flight).  It is 6 am and I have daddy duty again.  Cyndi is sleeping in (if you call sleeping at 6am sleeping it) and I got breakfast for the kids who woke up at a very early 5 am.  And I am loving it!  I have missed doing the routine things and am eating it up.  Just pray for the kids as they all are fighting a little cold right now.  Hopefully they get better soon.

As far as the treatments are going, everything is going great.  After the last scan, I am so excited each day to go to my treatments.  The scan results have renewed my desire to get as much out of the treatments as possible.  Dr. Lodi is very close to getting all of the patients on another treatment.  Itís called dichloro acetate or DCA for short.  Researchers in Canada just finished a trial with it and had phenomenal results with several different types of cancer.  It basically targets how the cancer cells produce energy and prevents them from manufacturing energy.  The cancer cells then die from a lack of energy.  And since cancer cells produce energy in a way that is unique to cancer cells, the DCA only affects them and no other cells in the body.  Dr. Lodi has managed to get a shipment of it and wants to get all of the patients on it.  So that is on the near horizon.  The clinic is getting more and more new patients it seems every day.  An Amish couple from Wisconsin arrived this week with their 21-year-old daughter, Mary, who is diagnosed with Hodgkinís Lymphoma.  They are a really sweet family.  They also brought their youngest of thirteen children (yes, thirteen children), baby Lydia who is one year old and is stealing everyoneís heart.  I canít wait for Abbey Grace to see baby Lydia.

God has been so good to me, guys.  I cannot thank Him enough for all that He has done for me and my family.  He truly is merciful.  And I thank Him so much for each of you.  You will never realize how much of a blessing you have been to me.  I love checking my mail and seeing the constant flow of cards that you have sent me.  I now know how our soldiers must feel when mail call rolls around and they get a letter or card from back home.  My prayer is that each of you would realize just how much God does truly love you.  Even in spite of the struggles that you might be going through right now, He loves you so much and is right there beside you.  All He wants is for you to stop and run towards \Him so that He can wrap His loving arms around you and you can feel the strength and safety of His powerful arms.  But this relationship is unique to God and His children.  He doesnít go around hugging on just anybody.  But on the same token, He welcomes anyone into His family as a child.  The only requirement is to ask Jesus into your heart after realizing that we all are sinners and believing that Jesus died on a cross to pay for those sins.  By accepting this and praying a simple prayer asking God for forgiveness and inviting Jesus into your heart, you become part of Godís family and are entitled to all the benefits of being a child of God.  Please let me know if you would like to talk more about making this decision.  That would be the least that I could do for any of you who have supported me through all of this.

I hope this finds you doing well and remember that I love you guys so much and thank you for all that you have done for my family.

 

Monday, October 13, 2008 ( 10/13/08 )     Kevin's Blog

Well, I wonít keep anyone in suspense any longer.  I did get the PET scan results today.  AndÖthey were great!  The results show that the tumors have shrunk by about fifty percent and they have not spread anymore.  The key word in the report was decrease.  All of the tumors and the activity level had decreased since I began my treatment here in Mesa.  I have not had a chance to speak with Dr. Lodi about what the next step will be but he was excited to give me the report.  As he left he commented that he had nothing to do with the results.  Instead, he said that the results were the result of God and what I had done in regards to the treatments.  So, thank you for all of your prayers.  I hope that the next scan results will be even better than this one.  But I have some more treatments to go through first.  Of course having a report like this one makes me even more anxious to continue the treatments.

Today the guys from the police department left.  We had a great time this past weekend.  It was a guysí weekend of sports.  I canít remember the last time that I watched that many baseball and football games in one weekend.  We had a good time being with one another and they did a good job of keeping me laughing.  I was really sad to see them go and wished that I were going home with them.  We definitely made some memories and it meant so much to me to have them come all the way out here to visit.

Speaking of the police departmentÖsome of you may not know this but I have been on the departmentís SWAT team for the past eight years.  We are a tight bunch and have a special bond that transcends the normal bond between police officers.  I guess that because of the type of work that we do, we rely on each other more and trust each other with our lives every time we get called out.  Well, one of the guys, Roger Wissinger, decided that he wanted to help my family and myself out with the financial burden associated with getting me well.  So he had heard of another department that did a calendar as a fundraiser.  Roger contacted Tammy Griffin (one of, if not the top, photographers in the Ocala area) who agreed to get on board and do the photos of the SWAT team.  We had several photo shoots (getting a bunch of SWAT guys to pose for pictures is a huge undertaking in and of itself!) and the photos turned out awesome.  The calendar is in the final stages of prep and should be ready for sale soon.  Roger already has several pre-orders and they are selling well.  Iíll try to get some more info on the prices and post that when I get it.

Everything is going well out here.  Iím so excited for Cyndi and the kids to come out here on Wednesday.  Please pray that they have a safe trip out here and there are not problems.  I have a great time planned for them and it looks like the weather will be really nice and cool.  Yes, I said cool.  Thereís a cold front here and it should stick around for them.  But whatever happens, I canít wait to see them.

Iíll close for now but I do appreciate all of the cards that everyone has sent.  I read them all and appreciate the love and support written in them.  Thank you again and keep me in your prayers.

 

Thursday, October 9, 2008 ( 10/9/08 )     Kevin's Blog

Howís everyone doing?  Things are still going good here in Mesa.  Iíve been busy lately.  I found some more baseball games to go to here.  It seems that the minor league players have a fall league here and thereís a team here in Mesa.  They had their home-opener the other night.  It was a nice evening with good weather and great baseball.  I hope to try and make some more games and hopefully catch a foul ball or two.  I also had lunch with Audrey Sexton today.  Audrey goes to Romeo and is out here taking care of her mother.  We had a great time talking about a lot of things and enjoying some good vegan food in Scottsdale.  It was really good seeing someone from back home.  And tomorrow my buddies from the police department fly in for the weekend.  So Iím doing pretty good on visitors and company.  Of course I still miss everyone and everything back home though.

Well, this will be short tonight seeing that I have to get into bed shortly because I have to get up early for my PET scan.  I have to be there at 6:30 a.m my time.  So all of you early blog checkers should hopefully get this and I covet your prayers.  I am a little nervous about the scan.  I havenít the best of luck with scans lately.  Seems like theyíve all said that the cancer is pretty much still there, itís moved, or itís spread.  So Iím hoping for a little better news with this one.  Iíll probably get the results Monday or Tuesday.  And of course I will keep you posted.  I told you that this one would be short so Iíll close for tonight.  Take care and keep God first.

 

Monday, October 6, 2008 ( 10/6/08 )     Kevin's Blog

I hope this finds everyone doing great.  I certainly feel great.  Not too sure about looking great but Iíll settle for feeling great any day.  God is so good.  And Heís good all the time.  Being out here with all this time alone has shown me how much I need to rely on God.  Not only has He met my physical and financial needs, but Heís also met my conversational needs.  God and I have had some pretty good conversations out here.  And that is something that I would not trade for anything in the world.

Health wise, I am doing great.  Still no sign of the coughing or itching.  I have a PET scan scheduled for this Friday (October 10).  That should give us some idea of what exactly has been going on inside my body for the past 4 weeks.  I obviously feel that something good is going on but donít know for sure.  Please be in prayer this Friday.  I started another week of the green juice fast this week.  I know what youíre thinking, ďAre you crazy?!Ē  It is going to be hard but I also realize just how important and beneficial the green juice is, especially on a juice fast.  So I will stay on it until this Friday and hopefully give my body some added nutrients to fight off this cancer.

I would like to thank all of you for the cards and notes of encouragement that you have sent to me out here.  I wonder what the mailman must be thinking when he delivers all those cards every day.  They do mean so much and I look forward to getting them though.  And the really neat thing is that I know that those cards and notes are accompanied by hundreds of prayers.  So thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and gifts that you have sent my way.

Well, the visitors have started to file in.  I had a really good weekend with my college roommate, Drew Lister.  He flew in Thursday from Indiana and we spent the weekend together.  We had a great time and made some really good memories.  This Friday (I know.  A lot is happening on Friday) my buddies from the police department come in to town for the weekend.  Iím sure weíll have a good time also.  But Iím really excited about the visitors coming next Wednesday.  Cyndi and the kids are flying in and I am so excited to see them.  I am already planning on things to do with them.   I canít wait.  I miss them so much.  But itís like I told Cyndi tonight.  I can almost feel Godís loneliness when He sent Jesus to earth and lost that physical connection with Him while Jesus was here on earth.  I know that what I am feeling is small in comparison but I still feel that I have captured a bit of what God felt.  But God is good and I will see Cyndi and the kids next week.

Well, Iím going to go for now.  Please continue to pray, not only for me but for little Cassie Clark as well.  She has started her chemo and is doing well so far but still needs our prayers.  Also, you may remember Jeff Knox.  He was the husband of one of the teachers that Cyndi worked with.  He just had a scan and it came back clear.  So the family and friends are rejoicing in Godís healing.  I will try to keep in touch and I hope to see you soon.  P.S.  How about them Rays?!  Only the Boston Red Soxs stand in their way of going to the World Series.  If youíre not a fan yet, start being a Rays fan today.   They start playing the Red Soxs this Friday.  Oh, and Carolina looked really good last Saturday too.  Hopefully theyíve got everything figured out by now and the rest of the season will be enjoyable.

Howís everyone doing?  Things are still going good in Arizona.  While everyone else is starting to enjoy some cool fall weather, it was 103 today.  Iím not saying that Iím getting used to the heat but I am beginning to understand when to go outside and when to stay inside.  And the key to that is to stay inside 24 hours a day.

            Well, this week was another good week of treatments.  I finished with no side effects and feeling great.  I talked with the doctor this week and weíve tentatively set up a date for a scan on October 10.  That will be the four-week mark and the doctor says that there should be some indication of progress at that point.  I donít know if itís the treatments, the lack of stress, or my quiet time with God (or a combination of all three) but Iíve felt so good lately.  As hard as all of this has been being away from the family, I can definitely say that I feel closer to God through all of this.  And if nothing else comes as a result of me being out here, I can honestly say that it will be worth it all.

            Iíve met a lot of super nice people out here.  I had the opportunity to meet Barbara Hackathornís sister, her husband, and her father.  Barbara is the secretary at Dunnellon Christian Academy where Cyndi teaches.  Her sister, Deanna and her husband, Steve, took me out to eat last week and we had a really good time.  Her father, Trenton, invited me to the church where he attends today (Scottsdale Baptist Church).  I really had a good time there worshipping with Trenton.  Everyone at the church was so friendly.  Afterwards, the church had a dinner with the pastor and his wife for any new members or visitors.  Trenton and I stayed and I had the chance to meet some more really nice people.  I can definitely see where Barbara and Deanna get their kindness from.

            On a different front, I am so excited for my Tampa Rays baseball team.  Most of you know that I am a HUGE Rays fan and have stuck by them through the really bad years.  And now they are in the playoffs for the first time ever.  And my Gamecocks arenít doing too bad either in college football.  They still have some things to work on but I think theyíll end up doing OK this season.  Iíve been trying to stay up with my teams but it stinks not being able to watch them on TV.  At least the baseball playoffs will be on TV.

      Well, itís getting a little late so Iíll go for now.  Keep those prayers coming.  And remember little Cassidy Clark in your prayers also.  Most of you remember my friend Chad Clark who lost his wife, Myndi, to cancer two years ago.  His little girl, Cassie, has been fighting leukemia since Myndiís death and her recent prognosis is that the leukemia has come back and it is a rare and aggressive form.  She is currently undergoing chemo in California where they live.  She is quite the little inspiration.  According to Chad, she is being so brave and strong through all of this.  But I know that Chad and his family (including his new bride, Jenn) would appreciate your prayers.

            Sorry for the delay in blogging.  I have no excuse other than I am finally getting settled in here and making new friends at the clinic, which is taking me away from blogging.  I guess that is a nice trade-off seeing how I can still blog at night.  Everything is going fine here in Mesa, Arizona.  The weather is still unbelievably hot.  I checked the 10 outlook and it is expected to top out at 106 with every day being above 100.  Of course there is no humidity but go and stick your head in your oven (0% humidity also) for a couple of minutes and tell me if itís still not hot.  Of course this little experiment is for the adults reading this and not my little kiddie readers.But other than the heat, itís not that bad here.

            As far as the treatments go, I am still doing fine.  I had another insulin therapy today without any problems.  I think that itís still a little too early to say if I am starting to feel the benefits of the treatments.  I have some days with hardly any itching at all and other days where the itching is about the same as it was before I got here.  Just a refresher, the itching is a classic symptom of Non Hodgkinís and I have suffered from it since day one.  It got better after the chemo (last year) and the radiation, but it came back with a vengeance in July.  Itís an all-over itching (like having really bad poison ivy all over) that nothing seems to be able to relieve.  But I think that it is a good sign that the itching has subsided on some day.  Oh, by the way, my other symptom (the coughing) has also seemed to go away as well since being out here.  But like I said earlier, I still think itís a little too early to say what is causing these changes but I am keeping a good attitude and believe in all of the treatments that they are administering here.   I will say that everyone here has been awesome.  The entire staff has been so good.  For an example, I am on a juice fast (I have only had green vegetable juice for the past ten day) and needed my juice for the weekend since it has to be made and drank on the same day.  So on Saturday and Sunday morning, two of the employees came in to make my juice.  I thought that was so awesome that they would come in on their weekend to do that.  So everyone has been really good out here.

            I also found a really good church here.  Itís called College View Baptist Church and itís only a mile away from my apartment.  I missed the morning service but went to the evening service and it was awesome.  It was more of a contemporary service and the speaker, Josh, was really good.  I really enjoyed it and everyone there was so friendly.  They made sure to invite me back for the other services and also asked if there was anything they could do to minister to me while I was staying here.  I could definitely tell that they had a heart for service.  Iím looking forward to going back.

            In closing, I will tell you that my personal time with God has gotten so strong since Iíve been out here.  God is really speaking to me through His Word as well as through two other books that Iím reading.  One of them is called, Crazy Love by Frances Chan.  In todayís reading the author talked about having love for others.  He said that it is commendable but easy to care for those less fortunate than us.  But to have love and concern for those who have more than us is rare.  He pointed out that it is so hard at times to be excited and not envious of those who do better than us.  And it is even more rare and more difficult to have love for those who hurt us intentionally.  And we all have these people in our lives.  So the question remains, How are you responding to these people?  Does your heart break for the poor and less fortunate?  Are you truly excited for those you excel over you?  And can you react with love to those who act out against us in hate?  This really spoke to me because I know that I encounter these people on a regular basis and I know that I donít always respond in the way that I know God would have me to respond.  And I just wanted to pass this on to you because I am no different than you.  Well, thanks again for your prayers and Iíll continue to keep you posted on whatís going on here.

 

Sunday, September 28, 2008 ( 9/28/08 )     Kevin's Blog

            Howís everyone doing?  Things are still going good in Arizona.  While everyone else is starting to enjoy some cool fall weather, it was 103 today.  Iím not saying that Iím getting used to the heat but I am beginning to understand when to go outside and when to stay inside.  And the key to that is to stay inside 24 hours a day.

            Well, this week was another good week of treatments.  I finished with no side effects and feeling great.  I talked with the doctor this week and weíve tentatively set up a date for a scan on October 10.  That will be the four-week mark and the doctor says that there should be some indication of progress at that point.  I donít know if itís the treatments, the lack of stress, or my quiet time with God (or a combination of all three) but Iíve felt so good lately.  As hard as all of this has been being away from the family, I can definitely say that I feel closer to God through all of this.  And if nothing else comes as a result of me being out here, I can honestly say that it will be worth it all.

            Iíve met a lot of super nice people out here.  I had the opportunity to meet Barbara Hackathornís sister, her husband, and her father.  Barbara is the secretary at Dunnellon Christian Academy where Cyndi teaches.  Her sister, Deanna and her husband, Steve, took me out to eat last week and we had a really good time.  Her father, Trenton, invited me to the church where he attends today (Scottsdale Baptist Church).  I really had a good time there worshipping with Trenton.  Everyone at the church was so friendly.  Afterwards, the church had a dinner with the pastor and his wife for any new members or visitors.  Trenton and I stayed and I had the chance to meet some more really nice people.  I can definitely see where Barbara and Deanna get their kindness from.

            On a different front, I am so excited for my Tampa Rays baseball team.  Most of you know that I am a HUGE Rays fan and have stuck by them through the really bad years.  And now they are in the playoffs for the first time ever.  And my Gamecocks arenít doing too bad either in college football.  They still have some things to work on but I think theyíll end up doing OK this season.  Iíve been trying to stay up with my teams but it stinks not being able to watch them on TV.  At least the baseball playoffs will be on TV.

      Well, itís getting a little late so Iíll go for now.  Keep those prayers coming.  And remember little Cassidy Clark in your prayers also.  Most of you remember my friend Chad Clark who lost his wife, Myndi, to cancer two years ago.  His little girl, Cassie, has been fighting leukemia since Myndiís death and her recent prognosis is that the leukemia has come back and it is a rare and aggressive form.  She is currently undergoing chemo in California where they live.  She is quite the little inspiration.  According to Chad, she is being so brave and strong through all of this.  But I know that Chad and his family (including his new bride, Jenn) would appreciate your prayers.

 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 ( 9/23/08 )     Kevin's Blog

            Sorry for the delay in blogging.  I have no excuse other than I am finally getting settled in here and making new friends at the clinic, which is taking me away from blogging.  I guess that is a nice trade-off seeing how I can still blog at night.  Everything is going fine here in Mesa, Arizona.  The weather is still unbelievably hot.  I checked the 10 outlook and it is expected to top out at 106 with every day being above 100.  Of course there is no humidity but go and stick your head in your oven (0% humidity also) for a couple of minutes and tell me if itís still not hot.  Of course this little experiment is for the adults reading this and not my little kiddie readers.  But other than the heat, itís not that bad here.

            As far as the treatments go, I am still doing fine.  I had another insulin therapy today without any problems.  I think that itís still a little too early to say if I am starting to feel the benefits of the treatments.  I have some days with hardly any itching at all and other days where the itching is about the same as it was before I got here.  Just a refresher, the itching is a classic symptom of Non Hodgkinís and I have suffered from it since day one.  It got better after the chemo (last year) and the radiation, but it came back with a vengeance in July.  Itís an all-over itching (like having really bad poison ivy all over) that nothing seems to be able to relieve.  But I think that it is a good sign that the itching has subsided on some day.  Oh, by the way, my other symptom (the coughing) has also seemed to go away as well since being out here.  But like I said earlier, I still think itís a little too early to say what is causing these changes but I am keeping a good attitude and believe in all of the treatments that they are administering here.   I will say that everyone here has been awesome.  The entire staff has been so good.  For an example, I am on a juice fast (I have only had green vegetable juice for the past ten day) and needed my juice for the weekend since it has to be made and drank on the same day.  So on Saturday and Sunday morning, two of the employees came in to make my juice.  I thought that was so awesome that they would come in on their weekend to do that.  So everyone has been really good out here.

            I also found a really good church here.  Itís called College View Baptist Church and itís only a mile away from my apartment.  I missed the morning service but went to the evening service and it was awesome.  It was more of a contemporary service and the speaker, Josh, was really good.  I really enjoyed it and everyone there was so friendly.  They made sure to invite me back for the other services and also asked if there was anything they could do to minister to me while I was staying here.  I could definitely tell that they had a heart for service.  Iím looking forward to going back.

            In closing, I will tell you that my personal time with God has gotten so strong since Iíve been out here.  God is really speaking to me through His Word as well as through two other books that Iím reading.  One of them is called, Crazy Love by Frances Chan.  In todayís reading the author talked about having love for others.  He said that it is commendable but easy to care for those less fortunate than us.  But to have love and concern for those who have more than us is rare.  He pointed out that it is so hard at times to be excited and not envious of those who do better than us.  And it is even more rare and more difficult to have love for those who hurt us intentionally.  And we all have these people in our lives.  So the question remains, How are you responding to these people?  Does your heart break for the poor and less fortunate?  Are you truly excited for those you excel over you?  And can you react with love to those who act out against us in hate?  This really spoke to me because I know that I encounter these people on a regular basis and I know that I donít always respond in the way that I know God would have me to respond.  And I just wanted to pass this on to you because I am no different than you.  Well, thanks again for your prayers and Iíll continue to keep you posted on whatís going on here.

 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 ( 9/17/08 )     Kevin's Blog

Greetings from sunny and HOT Phoenix, Arizona!  Yeah, I knowÖbut itís a DRY heat.  Well, Iím here to tell you that it doesnít matter if itís a dry heat, damp heat, or soaking wet heatÖ106 degrees is still 106 degrees!  The locals say that it should start cooling in October.  Down to 90 degrees.  But in spite of the heat, I am counting myself as being so blessed to be here.  As you can tell, God moved in a miraculous way by providing enough of the finances for me to get out here and start my treatments.  Not all of the funding is here but we are trusting in my extremely loaded Heavenly Father to provide the rest as He sees fit to do so.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have given so far and to let them know that I have personally prayed for Godís grace and blessing on you and your families for your generosity.  I would especially like to thank my church family at Romeo for your awesome support during all of this.  You never cease to amaze me with your love for my family and me.  I want to also thank my police family.  You, too, amaze me.  Not a day has gone by that one of you has not approached me to ask how the family or me were doing or to tell me that youíre still praying for me.  Thank you Chief Williams for making this experience as bearable as possible and giving your employees the liberty to minister to me during this time.  I also want to thank Russ Randall and the staff and church family at Dunnellon Christian Academy (this is where Cyndi has taught at off and on for the past ten years) and First Baptist Church of Dunnellon.  You really surprised, amazed, and blessed me last Wednesday.  It was truly amazing to see the people giving and committing to pray for someone that they only met a few minutes earlier.  And last but certainly not least, thank you to mine and Cyndiís family.  If for nothing else, this experience has taught me what family is really about and has drawn us so much closer to many of you who have opened up to us during this time and shared your struggles as we have shared ours.  On behalf of Cyndi and myself, we want to tell each and every one of you how much we love and appreciate you.  Each of you has such a special place in our hearts.

            Now that the mushy stuff is over, I can get down to whatís going on with me out here.  I have had two treatments so fat.  I had an ozone therapy on Monday.  During that, they draw out a small pint or so of my blood and infuse it with ozone, which is O3.  Once the blood is infused, they inject it back into my bloodstream.  In there the O3 breaks down into usable oxygen (O2) and a free radical atom (the other O).  This extra oxygen causes the cancer cells to be oxygenated, which they cannot survive in.  But the free radical oxygen atom goes on a killing spree in the body seeking out any cancer, viruses, fungus, or bacteria.  Yet it leaves the ďgoodĒ cells alone.  The treatment was totally painless with no side effects.  On Tuesday, I had the IPT therapy.  Thatís where they injected me with about 30 units of insulin to bring my blood sugar down.  This causes the cancer cells to open up thinking that they are about to receive sugar (which always follows insulin in our bodies).  Once the cells are open, they then inject me with low doses of chemo which go directly to the cancer cells which are wide open.  Again, there were no side effects to this and it was painless.

            The staff there has been so awesome.  Not only are they providing great care, but also they take so much time to sit down and explain everything and to offer tips and help to make the whole experience as beneficial as possible.  I cannot thank God enough for leading me to An Oasis of Healing.  As Iíve said before, I donít know if this will be the final step in my path to healing but, nonetheless, I am blessed to be here.

            On the home front, Cyndi says sheís doing fine so far.  Other than missing their daddy, I think the kids are coping well.  Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to the plate to help her out.  Sheís tough but still needs a little help here and there with the little things that add up.  Like I said last Sunday, if you feel like helping her out but donít know what to do, ask or just do what God may have already laid on your heart to do.

            Well, I better go for now.  I have to be at the doctorís office in a few.  But I will try to keep you posted on what is going on.  I do have an address out here if anyone wants to send me a card, letter, or even junk mail.  I donít promise to pay any bills that you send me though.  My address is

1920 W. Lindner Ave.

Apt#168

Mesa, AZ 85202

Thank you again for all that everyone has done so far and keep those prayers going up.

Love always,

Kevin and Cyndi

 

Saturday, August 30, 2008 ( 8/30/08 )     Kevin's Blog

     Greetings from Phoenix, Arizona.  Yes, I said Phoenix.  A lot has happened since my last blog and many may not realize why I am writing from here.  I had another PET scan at the end of July and it showed that the tumor has grown inside of my left lung.  This was no real surprise to Cyndi and I so the doctorís visit wasnít as devastating as the last one when this caught us off-guard.  I could tell that the cancer was back by the symptoms that had returned with a vengeance (coughing and itching all over).  But the family has come to my rescue by scratching daddyís back whenever itís needed.  Iím like a big Ďol brown bear looking for a tree to scratch against.  When we met with Dr. Rama (our cancer doctor in Florida), she still says that the only option open is a stem cell transplant at Shands hospital in Gainesville, Florida.  This would require me to be in the hospital non-stop for at least four months.  There are also many other issues associated with stem cell transplants that we (Cyndi and I) just werenít at peace with.  Among those issues is the possibility of a lifelong disease known as Graft versus host disease and the likelihood of being on immune suppressing drugs for the rest of my life.  All this coupled with no guarantee that this would even work obviously left us looking for other options.

     Thatís when God stepped in.  Cyndi called Sherry from the Hallelujah Acres center in Plant City where we stayed in July.   Sherry sent us a video that we watched and one particular doctor on the video stood out.  His name is Dr. Thomas Lodi.  After watching the video, I looked him up on the internet the next day.  I was drawn to his approach and some of his treatment options.  I called him and spoke with him for about one hour.  Dr. Lodi has had great success with treating many types of cancer including Non Hodgkin Lymphoma.  I told Cyndi that night that I really wanted to go out to his practice in Phoenix for a consultation.  Cyndi later told me that she had prayed that God would show ME what the next step would be.  So believing that God was directing us in this path, we scheduled an appointment with Dr. Lodi and met with him yesterday.

     The appointment was great.  We met with Dr. Lodi for about two and a half hours during which time we discussed my situation and the possible options.  Among the treatments discussed was high dose Vitamin C injections, ozone therapy, and a treatment called Insulin Potentiation Therapy where they give you insulin to open up the cancer cells (since cancer cells have 19 times more insulin receptors than a normal cell) and then bombard the cells with low dose chemotherapy.  Itís like a Trojan horse attack.  All in all we had a great visit and loved his whole staff that was so friendly and helpful.  It was also very encouraging to find out that Dr. Lodi is a Christian and believes in using what God has already given us in order to treat disease.

     So that leaves Cyndi and I with some decisions to make in a relatively short time.   The treatment plan prescribed is a six-week program meaning that I would stay in Phoenix for the entire time (this is still better than four months in a hospital).  We can do this part but the real trial is going to be financing the treatments.  Dr. Lodi does not accept insurance and payment is due at the time of service.  Our insurance MAY reimburse us for some of the cost but it will still entail a great deal of money out of pocket.  We donít know where the money will come from physically but we do believe that God will somehow provide if this is truly the path that He has laid out for us.  I serve a God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

     Well, thatís where weíre at right now.  Obviously we still covet your prayers.  Please pray specifically that God would give us wisdom in knowing what His plan is for us.  And pray that He gives us the courage to take the next stepÖwhatever that may be.  I will try to keep you posted on what is going on.  Until then, keep eating your veggies (ALL the veggies on your plate).

 

Thursday, July 3, 2008 ( 7/3/08 )     Kevin's Blog

     I know that it has been quite a while since I last blogged.  And a lot has happened during that time.  I think that when I left off last, Cyndi and I were awaiting the results of the biopsy.  Well, just before we left for our family vacation in West Virginia, we went for the results and the doctor told us that the initial report did not show the biopsy sample to be cancerous.  But, they had sent the sample off to Dr. Banks in North Carolina for further examination (you might remember that they sent my first biopsy sample last August to him as well).  While we were in West Virginia, we got the results from Dr. Banks.  He also said that the sample was not cancerous but rather some sort of ďauto-immune reactionĒ.  We asked several medical persons about what that term meant and they all said that it could be one of a million things.  When we got back home, I called Dr. Rama and she said that yes, the report did come back negative for cancer.  However, the question is, Did they get a good enough sample of what they were trying to biopsy?  Based on my symptoms (coughing and itching came back, and the high SUV reading on the last PET scan) she still feels that the cancer is still inside my chest.  And the only way to know would be to go back in and try to get another sample, either by the last procedure or by going back in and doing the same procedure that they did in the beginning and that is to go in through my chest.  I told Dr. Rama that I was not comfortable with either procedure and she has agreed to wait and do another PET scan on July 31.  I am praying that this diet will show some results on that PET scan.  Speaking of whichÖ

     Cyndi and I are currently in Plant City, Florida at a Hallelujah Acres Lifestyle Center.  You might be asking, What in the world is that?  Well, there are about four or five couples around the country who have opened their homes to people who want to learn more about the Hallelujah Acres lifestyle.  We arrived here this past Sunday and were immediately greeted by one of the sweetest ladies known to man, Sherry Orcutt.  Her charm and hospitality was only rivaled by the graciousness and helpfulness of her husband, David.  We are with six other people (2 ladies and a family of four).  We have learned so much.  Not only have we learned the principles behind the HA lifestyle but also how to make it work in the ďrealĒ world.  Part of the training actually involved going out to eat and to the grocery store to learn what is appropriate and how to read the ingredient labels.  We have also learned how to make some of the most delicious meals.  Many of the meals would surprise you if you tasted them.  This week has given Cyndi and I the encouragement that we needed to make this lifestyle work.  I truly feel that this is the path that God is leading us down.  I encourage any of you who have questions to go to the HA website (www.hacres.com ) or to call us.  I would love to talk with you about what God is teaching me about my health and His plan for my cure.

     Well, thank you for the time that you took to read this.  I hope that God is blessing you and your families as He is with ours.  Again, we hope to see all of you soon but please continue to keep us in your prayers.  We are still coveting them.  And also, please pray that God will give me the dedication and resolve needed to stay on this diet.  This is not the type of diet where a little cheating here in there might result in a few added pounds.  It is vital that I stay on this diet 100%.  And I need your prayers.  We love you all and hope you have a great fourth of July.  Weíll also be celebrating our Jesseís sixth birthday (yes, heís our little firecracker).  Take care and keep God first.

 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 ( 6/11/08 )     Kevin's Blog

Just wanted to give everyone an update on how everything is going.  I had my biopsy yesterday.  If for nothing else, I have been exposed to a wide variety of medical procedures since this whole thing started.  For the biopsy, they had to go in through my nose and down my windpipe.  From there, they entered into my lung to get the samples that they needed.  Let me tell you, that was quite the experience.  They started out by giving me an anesthesia through a breathing mask to numb my nose and throat.  From there they squirted lidocaine down my nose and made me swallow it to numb my nose and throat more.  After that I was pretty numb.  It felt like I was swallowing through a coffee stirrer.  Then the nurse inserted these two tubes down my nose into my throat.  All this while I was awake, mind you.  After seeing them insert the tubes down my throat, they put a cloth over my eyes so I didnít have to see the doctor do his thing.  Even though I could feel it.  And then, wouldnít you know it, I feel asleep in the recovery room for about an hour and a half.  But itís all over and they got some good samples though.  Weíll get the results tomorrow (Thursday) around 12:45.  Iíll try to keep everyone posted on the results.  Weíre still hoping for the best but planning for the worst.  I started a special diet last week to try and help my bodyís immune system.  Some of you may have heard of it.  Itís called the Hallelujah diet.  Itís pretty much all fruits and vegetables with the majority of the foods being raw.  Only 15% of my diet can be cooked.  The diet also involves drinking a lot of carrot juice and eliminating all meats and dairy products.  I donít eat it if it has a face or came from something with a face.  We have spoken with many people who have been on the diet and have had great results.  This diet is extremely hard for someone like me who loves a good steak or omelet.  So please keep me in your prayers that I have the dedication and perseverance to stay on this diet.

Well, I have to go for now.  Work demands it.  But thank you so much for all of the words of encouragement from so many of you and the prayers also.  As Iíve said before, none of those things goes unappreciated or unnoticed.  We love all of you and hope to see you soon.

 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 ( 6/3/08 )     Kevin's Blog

    Well, it wasnít the report that we had hoped to have.  But God is still in control and He knows much more about my condition than any other person here on earth.  The mass that they treated with the radiation is gone.  However, a new area has surfaced.  Inside of my left lung there appears to be an area of concern.  It showed up on the PET scan and Dr. Rama said that it could be one of two possibilities.  It could be where the radiation over-penetrated and caused scar tissue to build up in my lung and now that area is infected.  In that case, we treat it with antibiotics and everything is fine.  The other possibility is that the area is cancer.  The doctor is leaning more to the cancer side due to some of my earlier symptoms having returned, i.e. the coughing and itching as well as the aggressive nature of the cancer.  The next step is to do a biopsy of the area inside my lung.  Once they do this then they will know which of the two scenarios is the case.   I should have the biopsy sometime by the first of next week.  But Cyndi and I refuse to give up and have already started researching some other options if it turns out that this thing is cancer.  Just keep us in your prayers.  I know that this wasnít the type of report we all wanted to hear but like I said earlier, God is still in control.  I still feel that He will heal me from thisÖjust not yet.  I thought of the story of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness today.  Remember that God promised to give them the Promised Land, but it took 40 years for it to finally happen.  But God still kept His promise and delivered them.  And I feel that way today.  God will heal me; itís just not in His timing yet.

    In other news, remember I mentioned Dr. Hawk in my earlier blog?  Well, she did outstanding.  Not only did she finish all 26.2 miles, but also she did it in five hours and thirty-three minutes.  Not too bad for someone with a stress fracture in their foot, huh?  I know she appreciates all of your prayers this past Sunday.  Also, Cyndiís class ended up raising $4225 for the Knox family on Friday with the fundraiser dinner.  They thought they only raised around $2000 (which was awesome) but the final total was over four thousand dollars.  Trish was so excited when Cyndi told her.  I know that the money will go a long ways in taking some extra stress off of their family.  Log onto www.riverlandnews.com before Thursday to see the article.

    Well, Iíll close for now.  Itís been a long day and Iím pretty tired.  But please keep us in your prayers as we seek Godís guidance through all of this.  We donít really care about doing what is ďbestĒ but rather what is ďrightĒ in the eyes of the Lord.  We love all of you and wish the best for each and every one of you.

 

Friday, May 30, 2008 ( 5/30/08 )     Kevin's Blog

            Just to let everyone know, yesterday went well.  I had my PET scan yesterday morning.  Other than a nasty taste from the drink beforehand, nothing else to really note.  I will find out the results next Tuesday.  Cyndi and I are a little apprehensive to say the least.  I still believe that God is going to take this from me.  I just donít know if that time will be now or later.  Weíre all hoping for now.  As Iím sure all of you are hoping as well.  Itís amazing to think that this episode of my life has lasted all school year.  I attended a local high school graduation today and met the teacher, Kerri Bowman, whose class did a fundraiser for our family this past year.  It was a great moment and Iím glad that I had the opportunity to finally meet her as well as some of the students.  My hope for them is that they will have been forever changed by what they did for a complete stranger.  All of the hard work and long hours spent organizing and running a fundraiser for myself and my family means so much to us.  And I hope and pray that they take the lessons learned through this and carry them for the rest of their lives.

            Well, this wonít be a long blog.  But I do want to report that Michelle Standridge just got her PET scan results back and she is doing great.  Please continue to keep her and her family in your prayers as well as Trish Knoxís husband, Jeff.  I know I originally blogged that I thought his first name was Dan.  Well itís Jeff and I do apologize.  But please continue to keep him in your prayers also.  He is having a rough time and recently had to have a feeding tube inserted to help due to the radiation making too painful to eat normally.  Speaking of which, Cyndiís class is doing a BBQ dinner for their family.  They sold over 300 tickets for the dinner which will go to the Knox family.  Also please remember Dr. Cheryl Hawk in your prayers.  Most of you know her as our pediatrician who is running in a marathon this Sunday in my honor.  She has a stress fracture in her foot and probably should not be running but feels like sheís come too far now to not run.  The marathon will start at 9 am our time (6 am in California).  So please try to remember her in your prayers as you get ready to head to church this Sunday.

            Iíll go for now but will try to blog again as soon as I find out some more news.  Keep us in your prayers and know that weíre praying for you as you continue to pray for us.  We love you all.

Thursday May 15, 2008

I hope this finds everyone doing well.  The family and I are doing well.  Itís allergy season here in Florida as Iím sure it is elsewhere also.  Iím finding myself wishing for the drab and dreary fall season more and more lately.  Iím wishing for anything to get rid of all this pollen everywhere.  It would sure help if it would rain once in a while also.  But I know that this too shall pass and we will soon be out of allergy season.  Other than that, I have been doing great.  Perhaps a little tired lately but doing fine otherwise.  Most of you know that I have adopted the Tampa Bay Rays as my hometown baseball team that I pull for down here.  I still pull for the Braves but I have become quite the Rays fan.  And they have been playing some great baseball lately and I just canít seem to pull myself away from the games at night to go to bed at a decent hour.  On the bright side, baseball season ends in September so that means only five more months of being a zombie.  And then college football starts up J  Keep Cyndi in your prayers though.  She has a throat infection that is causing her quite a bit of pain and discomfort lately.  The antibiotics donít seem to be working that quickly.

            As far as the cancer goes, there is no new news.  I met with the radiation doctor yesterday for a check-up.  That went well and they donít want to see me back until August.  It does seem that more and more people are being diagnosed with cancer.  I donít know if it really is more people or if I am just more attuned to hearing of people being diagnosed.  But the husband of one of the teachers at Cyndiís school has been diagnosed as well.  I donít know what type of cancer it is but his name is Dan [?] Knox and his wife is Trish.  They just adopted their second child from China recently.  They are an awesome family and definitely need to be lifted up during these times.

            Well, Iíll close for now but please continue the faithful vigil.  I know that my prayer life has definitely been strengthened during this ordeal.  I try to be more faithful to lift up those whose name I am given that are struggling with different issues.  With that being said, please let me know of any requests for prayer.  Unless it is a private matter, donít feel embarrassed to post it on the guestbook for others to see.  Knowing my readers the way I do, I can assure you that by posting it on the guestbook, you will only get many more faithful Christians praying for you.  Take care and we love you.

Thursday May 8, 2008

I hope that this finds everyone doing well.  I am hanging in there.  I feel great and am finally getting back to ďnormalĒ.  Some of you may be thinking, ďKevinÖnormal?  Yeah, right.Ē  And to that I would have to agree.  But getting back to my state of ďunnormalcyĒ is normal for me.  I found out yesterday that I am scheduled for a PET scan on Thursday May 29th at 10:00 am.  I will find out the results on Tuesday June 3rd at 11:00 am.  The funny thing about that is that I found out that I had cancer two days before school started.  And my appointment on the 3rd is two days before school lets out for the summer.  I donít know, maybe thatís some sort of sign.  All I know is that this has been one of the most memorable school years of my life.  And Iím not even in school.  I will keep everyone posted on the results but still keep me in your prayers (I know that goes without saying J ).

The Relay for Life rally that I spoke at on the 25th of last month was great.  I was really impressed by all of the people who came out to support it.  For those not familiar, people enter it as individuals or teams and begin to walk starting that evening and continue to walk until the next morning.  All of this is done to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  But people come out and make it into a big party that lasts all night with tons of food and fun.  This yearís event was held at the Dunnellon High School football field and people walked around the track surrounding the field.  This year was the largest turnout so far and they crushed their fundraising goal.  Speaking of fundraising, our doctor, Dr. Hawk sent many of you a letter asking for support for her as she prepares to run in the marathon in San Diego this summer.  On behalf of her, I thank you for supporting her with your finances, words of encouragement, and prayers.  Please continue to pray for her though.  Running a marathon is difficult enough but preparing for one is much worse.  You battle many things from physical injuries to emotionally wanting to quit.  I realize that most of you donít know her nor will you ever meet her this side of heaven.  But I can attest that she is an awesome lady and she has since inspired me to get back to running again.  But if you still want to support her efforts financially, please get in touch with me and Iíll let you know how to get in touch with her.

Have you ever truly viewed a day as if it might be your last day on this earth?  That was a question posed in a book that Iím reading by Francis Chan titled Crazy Love.  Chan states that so often we talk about life being as a vapor but we donít really live as if we could be snatched out of this life at any given second.  I donít want anyone going around too scared to even walk outside but I do think that we need to live our lives with more respect for the sanctity of life.

Friday April 25,2008

A lot has changed since I last blogged.  I have finished my radiation and am waiting to do a PET  scan in about five weeks or so.  They want to wait that long because the radiation is still working in my body.  I guess itís like a smoldering log.  Even though it may not be on fire, itís still burning on the inside.  But I feel great.  I was telling someone today that I havenít felt this good since about a year or so.  I have started back running and it feels like it used to feel.  I donít feel like I have a gorilla sitting on my chest anymore and Iím slowly getting back to my old form.  And I thank all of you for your prayers and support.  Itís amazing to think of how far I have been brought since my diagnosis back in August of last year.  Cyndi and I do truly appreciate all that has been done for us.

Well, I hate to make this short but I have to speak tonight at the Relay for Life event at Dunnellon High School.  I will try to blog again soon to tell everyone how it went.  I do hope this finds all of you doing well.  Take care and we love each and everyone of you.

Wednesday April 2, 2008

Iím still alive.  Iím sorry about not blogging more often but I lost my password to get on the website to post the blogs.  I guess if I was more regular in posting the blogs then I wouldnít forget the password.  But I do apologize for not updating all of you sooner.

Where do I begin?  Well I guess I can start with my radiation.  I am currently halfway through my radiation treatments.  I go every day Monday through Friday in Oxford.  So far I have not had any complications or side effects since starting the treatments.  The doctors looked at one the recent scans (I get a scan each day when I go for the treatment) and said that it appeared to show progress.  So Iíll just keep on trucking thirty minutes each way to Oxford for my treatments till Iím done.  The doctors expect it to take about twenty treatments to get rid of the mass.  I told the doctor the other day that the port in my chest has a pop up timer feature like a turkey.  So when they see my chest pop up then thatís the signal that Iím well done.  He seemed to get a kick out of that.

I had the opportunity to meet with another lymphoma patient yesterday.  Her name is Kathy and Iíve referred to her in my past blogs.  Kathy has always been just ahead of me in her diagnosis and treatments.  She recently finished her treatments and is waiting to have a PET scan later this month.  It was so neat to talk with her and to see so many similarities in our cases.  She is doing great though and was really encouraging.  She let me see the light at the end of the tunnel and to know that Iím right there behind her.

Cyndi and I had the opportunity to attend a youth pastor meeting a couple of weeks ago.  It was really good for me and I definitely got a lot out of the sessions.  But the one main thing that I came away with was the realization that so much of our lives is about us and what we can get out of it for ourselves.  But as Christians, our example should be Christ.  And if you look at the Scriptures, most of the recorded events in Christís life were about His service to others.  There are more recorded miracles than there are of His preaching.  And if you look at His miracles, Christ allowed His miracles to preach for Him.  He did something wonderful for a person and then just simply moved on.  There were times when He preached but He preferred to share the gospel with His actions.  And I think that we need to get back to this idea.  Iím not opposed to telling others about Godís love but I think that we could be a lot more effective if we did random acts of service for people out of our love for them and then let them see Christ in us.  It doesnít take much but the possibility is great.

                                   Monday, March 03, 2008

Well, first of all, Cyndi and I would like to thank all of you for being there for us through thick and thin.  When I started this website, I thought that it would be a ministry to others.  Little did I know how much it would minister to myself.  In the past few days, I have gone back and looked at the entries with all of the encouraging words and the prayers lifted up on my behalf.  I canít begin to tell you how uplifting it all has been.  And I thank each and every one of you for those entries and prayers.

Now for the news.  As many of you know, I had a scan last week to see how much, if any, of the cancer was left after the chemo treatments.  Well, the results werenít exactly what we were expecting.  There is still some residual cancer left in the mass.  The best analogy I have been able to come up with is that of a jelly doughnut (I know.  Isnít that funny that a cop comes up with a jelly doughnut as an illustration?).  As with the doughnut, not all of it is jelly inside but itís still called a jelly doughnut.  And thatís the way it is with the mass.  Not all of it is cancerous inside of it but it is still a mass (or a tumor if you will).  This really is not a bad report.  The cancer had not spread and the amount left is residual.  Itís just hard to take when you have your expectations set so high and to find out that they have not been met.  Hence, the delay in writing this.  It has taken me a while to come to grips with this news.  But God is good and sends the right person, or song, along to remind us of who we are and, more importantly, who He is.  I realized Sunday that He just is not ready to give me the complete healing that I feel He will give to me.  My work with this episode of my life is not done yet.  There are still people to share this with and experiences that I must endure so that I can relate to others.  I just feel bad to have to share this with you.  I wish more than anything that I could tell you that I had a complete healing and that I can end this part of my life.  But God is still in control and knows what tomorrow holds.

But what does all this mean?  I meet with a radiologist doctor tomorrow to go over radiation treatment.  The tentative schedule now is for 5 weeks of treatment.  The treatments will be Monday through Friday for a total of 25 sessions.  The sessions will last approximately 15 minutes and will be in The Villages.  Yes, that is the same Villages that they advertise on TV as the happiest place in the world to retire.  Just donít expect to see me on any of their commercials.  Number 1, Iím much too young.  Of course, with the gray hair that came back in, I could blend in.  I would just have to get a pair of Bermuda shorts to wear with my dark dress socks.  And secondly, I donít think they shoot too many advertisements in the doctorsí offices.  But anyways, I will have some more info hopefully by tomorrow afternoon.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.  We still need Godís guidance in our lives and His loving hand to protect us.  Also, if you could remember my Aunt Linda in your prayers.  She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is starting treatment soon.  Her name is Linda Johnson and she lives in Graniteville, SC.  Also, a 16 year old here in Ocala has been diagnosed with the same type of cancer that I have.  His name is Josh Dippel.  If you could, please add these two names to your prayer lists.  One thing that Iíve learned through this whole experience is to pray for others.  In closing, thank you again for all of your support through all of this.  Words will never express our thanks.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Stop the presses!  Yes, it is true.  This makes it two days in a row for a blog.  I can't make any promises but I am trying to be a little more faithful.  Well, I don't know what the weather is like for ya'll but I'm sure that it's probably just as, if not colder there than it is here.  We were in the 30's this morning.  And though that may not seem to cold to some, it is when you only have a little bit of peach fuzz keeping your scalp warm.  But I am thankful that my hair does seem to be coming back in.  I don't know what this next chemo will do to my hair but I'm enjoying the little sprouts that have decided to come up.

Well, on the spiritual side, I'll share with you what I shared with my youth on Wednesday night.  I told them that I was going to write a book and call it, "Things that I've learned from Dixie".  For those that don't know, Dixie is our golden retriever that we've had since Caleb was a baby.  Well, the other night we were sitting at the kitchen table eating and I noticed Dixie was lying down under the table at my feet.  I took my foot and stroked her back and she instinctively rolled over exposing her belly.  She obviously wanted not only her back rubbed but her belly also.  And of course I obliged her.  But I thought of that and came up with this.  A dog's belly is its most protected part.  Dogs will lie down on their bellies to protect them and will roll over on their backs as a sign of submission.  Then the analogy hit me.  We also have protected areas of our lives.  Little compartments in our souls that we protect from everyone.  Including God.  We have been hurt and don't want anyone to see, let only touch, these areas.  Maybe it was someone we trusted who violated that trust.  Or maybe it was a bad experience with a church that turned us off of the whole church scene.  Perhaps it was God himself that we blame.  Something happened to someone or something and we feel that God could have stopped it but out of His downright meanness, He chose not to.  So we cover these areas and snarl and growl when we feel they are being threatened.  But we don't realize that God doesn't want to hurt these areas of our lives.  He only wants to extend His healing touch to these areas that hurt us.  But He can't do this until we stop covering these areas and, out of a step of faithful trust, roll over and allow our Master to help us.

Well, I hope that everyone has a great weekend and hopefully you'll hear from me soon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So, this is what a blog looks like, huh?  I guess I wouldn't know since it's been so long since I last wrote.  Trust me though.  It has not been because of a decline in my love for all of you.  It has just been due to a busy schedule mixed with a little lazy streak in me that I can't seem to get rid of.  But I do appreciate all of the prayers that have gone up on my behalf in spite of my not blogging here on a regular basis.

I seem to be doing better.  I had a bad spell right after my last dose on January 11th.  I was in bed the whole weekend with something that I couldn't seem to shake.  But I feel much better now and am looking foreward (somewhat) to my last...yes you heard that right...dose on next Friday the 1st.  About 4 week later (the end of February) I should have another scan to see the results of the past four chemos that I have had since the last scan right before Thanksgiving.  I expect everything to be completely gone but I know that God is the one in control and we'll just have to see what He has in store for us.  I am trying to hang in there as much as possible.  The urge to try and go back to my "normal life" is great but I know that I'm just not physically ready to do so just yet.  But I take peace in knowing that one day I will be able to do so.

Well, unfortunately I have to make this short.  There's plenty of stuff around for me to do that is screaming my name.  but Cyndi did point out that maybe keeping the blogs short will increase the frequencies of the blogs.  We'll just have to see.  Anyways, I hope everyone is doing well and please keep those prayers going up.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope this letter finds each of you having a wonderful Christmas season.  By the way, this is Cyndi writing, not Kevin.  Although I am not a writer, I really felt led to share my heart about what God has done in our home this year.  2007 has been quite a year packed full of memories.  January was the first time that we did not take our annual trip to the mountains with our youth group.  We decided, instead, to plan and save for our first international missions trip to Greece that would take place in July.  Caleb (age 8) finished his first year of playing soccer.  This was our introduction to having one of our children play in a sports league.  It looks like all those years of playing soccer in the backyard with his brother and sister paid off.  He did great and Kevin enjoyed his first year as ďhead coachĒ of the team.

I finished my first year of co-teaching at Dunnellon Christian Academy.  I had been a stay-at-home mom for many years and had the opportunity to teach a couple of days a week and share the class with another teacher (and a dear friend).  In May we had the fortune of traveling to Pensacola and visiting with my Dadís side of the family.  We always have the best time with all of them and laugh constantly while there.

In June, we were off to the beach with my Momís side of the family and all of my cousins.  We continued a tradition of making memories that started when we were young children.  Our children are now fish.  From early morning till late evening, all three swam continuously until we had to drag them out of the pool.  Meanwhile, I was able to catch up with my cousins and share stories with them.

July was the big event of the year.  On July 10, Kevin, myself, Stan and Joyce Romano, and five teenagers (Will Young, Nicole Young, Celia Scott, Amy Scott, and Cassie Waldron) boarded a plane bound for Athens, Greece.  This was somewhat of a bittersweet day for me as I left our three small children despite the anticipation of sharing the gospel with the people of Athens.  Of course, the agenda that Kevinís parents had announced for the children while we were gone almost made me want to stay!  These 12 days in Greece were filled with learning, worshipping, making new friends, and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The whole time I kept thinking, ďIf God could make it possible for 9 people from a growing country church to travel thousands of miles to a foreign country to share the gospel, then He could provide for anything.Ē  I would like to give a special thank you to all of you who had the opportunity to support us financially and with your prayers.  Many souls were saved and the lives of our group were forever changed.

I know that God had been preparing me for August for a long time.  Several years ago, I started attending a Bible study with a group of ladies from my church.  My faith has been so strengthened through this intense time of Bible study.  All of the truths God had been teaching me were going to be what I would hold on to in the months to come.  Then on August 20, we took our middle child, Jesse (age 5), to his first day of kindergarten, and then raced over to a visit with our doctor to discuss the results of Kevinís CAT scan from the previous Friday.  Although I was devastated, I remembered something Kevin said to me shortly after his diagnosis.  He said, ďThis is the same God that we served last week, the week before that, and the week before that.  His principles have not changed and we are not wavering from anything we believe.Ē  I think that this is what I have taken the most comfort in.  Godís Word never changes.  People change, circumstances change, and this world will change Ö but God never changes.

On the night that we received the news that Kevinís diagnosis was much worse than what we originally thought, God led someone special to call our home.  Pastor Fred Mann (who also led Kevin to Christ when he was 14) shared something with me that I will never forget.  He said to me that God is not shocked nor surprised with this ďnew diagnosisĒ.  He is not panicking.  Pastor Mann has no idea what a comfort he was to me that night.  I guess I just needed to know that God was not panicking.

In the weeks to come I began reading everything that I could get my hands on.  Every time I would read about someone who had overcome something like this and was stronger because of it, it left me unsettled.  I finally realized that my biggest fear was not that Kevin would die.  My biggest fear was that God would have sent me this opportunity for my faith to be strengthened and somehow with all of the distractions that would come along with it that I would miss out.  I was determined that I was not going to miss out on one single thing God wanted to teach me through this ordeal.

After we got through the early days of deciding on a treatment plan (which was truly the hardest thing that we have ever done), God has truly given me a peace that passes all understanding.  We are sleeping at night and doing very well.  Someone said, ďIf God is going to stay up anyway, Iíll go on to sleep and let Him take care of us.Ē  I cannot begin to thank all of you for the kindness you have shown to our family.  Abbey Grace (age 3) looked at all of the cards strung on the wall in our hallway one day and said to Kevin, ďDaddy, can you believe all of these people are praying for us?Ē

To all of our friends at the Police Department, I am overwhelmed at your generosity.  The kindness you have shown to our family is unbelievable.  Please know that all of your efforts have not gone unnoticed.  Thank you also to our church family that has taken care of us just as God intended for the church to do.  We knew we had a wonderful church family but you have truly amazed us.  And there are so many more of you that have babysat, cleaned, written, given financially, and most of allÖprayed.  We are forever grateful.

Merry Christmas,
The Brinson Family

P.S.  Kevin had his fourth treatment on Friday.  Please continue to pray, as I know that this one will probably be the hardest one yet.

Wednesday December 5, 2007

Well, Iím sure that most of you know by now that I had a pretty rough week last week.  I guess the chemo on last Monday was a little rough.  But, thankfully, I am feeling much better this week.  Itís hard to describe what the feeling was like.  It wasnít a feeling of nausea or anything like that.  It was more like a painful sinus pressure that just made life miserable.  Couple that with a pretty bad case of fatigue and you can start to describe how I felt last week.  But again, that has passed and I am back to my old self.

Isnít it great, though, when God sends the right person at the right time?  He did that for me last week on Friday.  I really donít know why I went in to work last week.  Lord knows hindsight that I should not have gone in.  But I did and I had my divine appointment.  God put someone there who gave me just the right words.  She (and she knows who she is) told me something that changed my outlook.  She told me that I would never be the same person again.  Even when the cancer is gone and I am in remission, I will never be the same.  I will always be ďKevin Brinson, cancer survivorĒ.  I will have passed through the fiery trials and will be changed forever.  That is not necessarily a bad thing.  We know that ďthat which does not kill us only makes us strongerĒ.  I know that I am not in control of this whole situation.  But I also know that I do have a say in the matter though.  I may not be able to stop myself from going through this trial, but I can definitely control (to an extent) how I come out of it.  And instead of getting down in the dumps or bitter about this, I can come out stronger like a piece of steel that has been hardened or tempered by the forge.  So I thank you-know-who for that little revelation.  And as I think about that, I believe that this applies to each of us as well.  Each day we are changed by the things in our lives.  At the close of each day, we have seen new things, learned new things, and said new things.  But how are we changing ourselves?  Is it for the better or for the worse?  Are we learning things that will help to mold ourselves into people that we are proud of?  Or do we lay our heads down at night and think of our regrets of the day?  Either way, one thing is for certain.  We have changed and we canít go back and change any of our days.  With that thought, I think we should embrace each day and strive to make changes that bring honor and glory to God.  And that it the attitude that I hope to have.

November 30, 2007

First of all, I want to apologize for my lapse in blogging here recently.  I had fully intended on updating the website when I was in South Carolina over the weekend.  But with all that good food coming out of Momís kitchen, it was hard to break free long enough to make it to the computer to update everyone.  So now that Iím back home in Florida and most of the leftovers are gone, I can give you some new information.

I did have my CAT scan on last Tuesday to see how the mass had responded to two rounds of chemo.  The results showed that the mass has shrunk by 75%.  Which simple math shows that there is only 25% of the mass remaining in my chest.  The scan also showed that there was a patch of questionable area inside of one of my lungs.  This was indicated by the very first CAT scan back in August.  However, this last scan showed that even that area had disappeared leaving the doctors to believe that the ďquestionable areaĒ was actually cancerous and the chemo has taken care of that as well.  Dr. Rama was extremely pleased with the results and said that she couldnít have asked for a better report.  Cyndi and I left the doctorís office walking on cloud nine.  And that euphoria carried over all the way to South Carolina where I indulged in some delicious meals (hence the lack of blogging).  But we did have a tremendous time in Aiken with our family.  It was good to have everyone together and to endure some ribbing from my older brothers about the glare from my chrome dome.

We came home on Sunday and I had my third round of chemo on Monday morning.  This round of chemo hit me like a ton of bricks.  I havenít felt nauseous but itís still hard for me to put my finger on exactly how I feel.  Iíve noticed that I get more fatigued lately and Iíve had problems with my head just feeling funny (thatís FEELING funny, not looking funny mind you).  Itís kind of like a combination of sinus pressure, a headache, and a cloudy feeling.  The doctors say that this is normal and it will wear down with time.  So as a result of this, Iíve felt a little down.  I guess I thought I was going to be one of the cancer patients with minimal effects from the chemo.  And I guess I have been spared a lot of other terrible side effects.  But this is the first time that Iíve felt something strange that can only be attributed to the chemo.  I actually stayed home from work on Tuesday through Thursday thinking that this might give me a chance to recuperate.  And it did help but I still feel the same way for the most part.  Itís not so much of having good days and bad days.  Itís more like having good moments and bad moments right now.  So keep me and the family in your prayers.  And I do mean the family as well.  They can attest to the fact that I am not the best sick patient to care for and they need your prayers in putting up with me.

Other than that, everything is going well.  The Police Department had a pancake breakfast this morning as a fundraiser for me.  That turned out really well and they had a tremendous turnout.  You would think that I would be used to seeing all the support from so many people but it still amazes me.  I hope that everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving as well and are looking forward to the Christmas season.  As many of you know, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  Even if it is 85 degrees outside, I still find myself loving every minute of it.  Iím sure that Iím preaching to the choir here but I was wondering if I could talk you into doing something special this Christmas.  As I started this website, I didnít know what type of response I would get from it.  But I soon began to see the hearts and the compassion from my readers.  And as the website continued, not only did I see this tremendous outpouring of love, but I also saw perseverance as you have stayed with me over the last few months (in spite of my lapses in blogging).  To me, that means that my readers are not only loyal but also full of love and compassion.  So, having said that, I have a proposition for you this holiday season.  Would you be willing to share this love and compassion with someone else in a special way?  I know that many of you probably already give to some charities or help out the less fortunate in some way during the holidays.  But would you be willing to go the extra mile this season?  Step out of the normal giving regimen and do something spectacular that will leave you with the true meaning of Christmas which goes far deeper than just the giving of a gift.  No, to truly appreciate the gift of Christmas you have to look to the giver and the value of the gift to the giver.  Yes, God did give us His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins.  But Jesus was more than just a sacrificial lamb or even an angel to be offered up as a propitiation for your sins.  He was Godís one and only Son.  And God willingly gave His pride and joy to a group of unworthy sinful reprobates to have them scorn, mock, torture, and kill Him.  And though God knew this would happen, He still willingly gave us Jesus on that blessed Christmas night.  Having this in mind, what type of gift can you give this season to show God that you truly understand the meaning of ChristmasÖfrom His viewpoint?  If this does inspire you, please let me know.  You donít necessarily have to post it on the guestbook if you want it broadcast.  And you donít have to let me know.  But I would love to hear some of the stories though as your gift to me.

Thank you for your love and support and we hope to see you soon.

Thursday November 8, 2007

Thank you to all who prayed (and continue to do so) for Timís funeral yesterday.  It was evident that many were praying.  The funeral was as ďniceĒ as a funeral can be.  The family is doing extremely well under the circumstances.  But please remember them in your prayers as they have many decisions to make in the coming days and weeks ahead.  I couldnít help but think of Heaven while at the funeral yesterday.  As someone so beautifully sang ďBeulah LandĒ I thought about how that song expressed my desires.  I can honestly say that I ďlongĒ for the day when the trumpet sounds and we, as Godís children, are taken to Heaven to never suffer or cry again.  The thought of no more chemo, tears, death, worries, and other heartbreaking events excites me.  Donít get me wrong, I want to live.  I just want to live in my city, Heaven.  And I want my family and friends to be there with me.

            Other than that, everything is going fine.  I think I may have caught a little cold so Iím watching that pretty closely right now.  The local newspaper wrote a very nice article about me in todayís paper.  Here is the link http://www.chronicleonline.com/riverland_news/

I guess that sounds kind of vain.  I mean that the article is very niceÖand it just happens to be about me.  Iím sure the article would have been just as nice about someone else.  Anyways, Iím starting to ramble.  Must be the combination of chemo and cough syrup.

            I do want to thank everyone for the cards that you continue to send, though.  Cyndi and I have saved every one of them and proudly display them to all who come into our home.  I especially want to thank my family for your support.  I only pray that the closeness that we have experienced continues to grow.  I especially appreciate all of the references to Grandma Brinson that yaíll have sent.  I canít wait to meet her (and Grandma White) in Heaven.  And I canít wait to see again all those godly Brinsons and Whites who have already gone home.

            Well, I better go for now.  I will try to continue this blogging streak (hey 2 days in a row should count as a streak).  Again, thank you again for your support and we will see you soon.

November 6, 2007

I am still alive!  Just to let everyone know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  We have been extremely busy lately.  Not too mention, I have been in mourning over my South Carolina Gamecocks here lately.  But seriously, the last few weeks have been unreal.  As an update, our friend Tim Powell (he was involved in the motorcycle accident in Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago) passed away on November 1.  The funeral is in Orlando tomorrow.  Please remember the family in your prayers.  His wife, Amanda, and their son, Bryant, are taking it amazingly well.  If some of you have been surprised by my faith, you should meet with Amanda.  Her faith through this has been a real blessing to behold.  Tim is also leaving behind a wonderful set of parents, a loving brother, and countless friends and relatives.  Please pray for Godís hand to move during the service and for the travels of several people coming into town.

As far as my situation goes, I did have my second treatment on the 31st.  They had quite the little Halloween party going on with lots of good food (obviously you can tell I havenít lost my appetite).  We also met with Dr. Rama who was very pleased to hear that the coughing and itching has subsided.  She scheduled me for a CAT scan on Tuesday the 20th of November.  We will meet with her the next day for the results.  And my third treatment will be on Monday the 26th.  Throw in a trip to Aiken in between all that and you have a very busy week!  Hopefully we will have some good news to celebrate on Thanksgiving.  And we are looking forward to seeing a lot of people over that weekend.  I am definitely looking forward to our much-needed trip.

The next time that many of you see me, I will be a few ounces lighter on the top.  My hair began to fall out last weekend and I decided to speed up the process on Halloween.  I allowed our pastor, Shawn, to shave my head since I had been quite insensitive to his current hair (or lack thereof) situation.  But I got my revenge.  This past Sunday we had our annual Homecoming festival at church.  The church wanted to help out with some fundraising so they had a cake auction in my benefit.  They then had volunteers willing to have their head shaved when we reached certain levels.  All in all, they raised over $3000 and I had the privilege to shave seven heads, including Shawnís.  I canít wait to see the looks on the faces of the visitors on Sunday when they walk in and see all the bald heads around.  It has been really touching to see all the support lately.  From giving financially or just telling me that I donít look that bad with no hair.  It really has been uplifting.  I will post some pictures soon of the "chrome dome" that Iím sporting.

Well, I hate to make this so brief but I have to get ready to meet Cyndi so we can head out to Orlando because of the funeral.  Again, please keep the Powell family in your prayers.  Thank you again to all who have written and not given up on me.  You have our love and prayers.

Thursday October 18, 2007-

Today has been a good day.  I am still doing great with no obvious side effects from the chemo.  My appetite has gotten under control somewhat with fewer cravings.  Iím still taking it easy and learning to be more conscious of health precautions such as staying away from sick people and washing my hands more often throughout the day.  And with the settling down of my appetite, I have started back on some of the supplements and carrot juice.  Please keep the Light the Night Walk in mind.  It is scheduled for next Thursday the 25th at 5:30 p.m. in downtown Ocala.  We are still looking for several walkers and supporters.  I have a donation page if anyone is interested in helping out the Leukemia and Lymphoma Societywith a donation.  Here's the link  http://www.active.com/donate/ltnJackso/2219_kbrinsonLTN

            On a different note, Cyndi and I learned Tuesday morning that a friend of ours, Tim Powell, was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in Myrtle Beach where he and his wife, Amanda, live with their son, Bryant.  Tim was coming home from work Monday night when he was in the accident.  Right now he is still in the hospital and they have had to remove his spleen, one eye, and perform several other surgeries to stabilize him.  They have not even begun to treat some of the other injuries yet as the doctors are more concerned with the internal injuries at this point.  Please pray for the Powells.  Amanda was Cyndiís best friend growing up.  I spoke to Amanda last night and she is doing amazingly well but I know how hard it is to be the ďstrongĒ one for everyone else.  I will keep everyone posted here on Timís progress as I find out more information.

            It amazes me how cruel the devil is.  He tries to tear families apart and to destroy lives on a continual basis.  He is the master of twisting words around and pitting brother against brother.  Nothing pleases him more than to see us with our lives in shambles cursing God.  We were talking about how powerful Satan is at our youth meeting last night.  It is amazing how busy and determined he is.  No Christian is safe from his attacks.  But as discouraging as that is, hereís an encouraging word.  I know the One who is ďmore powerful than he that is in this worldĒ.  And I have learned that half of the battle against Satan is in just recognizing him as the attacker.  So much evil is attributed to a hateful God or just human nature.  But once we realize how much Satan truly hates us and loves to try and destroy us, we can see more clearly who is responsible for all of the evil and heartache in the world.  And when we do this, we can pray for the victory and rely on Godís strength and love to carry us through.  So take heart in knowing that you are not alone in this battle.  We will be victorious.  We just have to persevere and rely on God to help us in the fight.

Tuesday October 16, 2007-

What will today hold for us?  Iím learning that every day is a mystery.  What we think tomorrow will be like may not always be the case.  For instance, I thought that I would feel fine last Thursday and Friday following the chemo treatment.  I mean, the doctor and nurses all said that it would take about 4-5 days for the chemo side effects to start appearing.  But I felt pretty bad on those days.  And then on Saturday morning I think I heard death knocking on the front door.  But luckily I felt too bad to get up and answer the door.  But Cyndi came back from Wal-Mart with my magic pills which took away the nauseous feeling almost instantaneously.  So as a result, I feel that there might actually be a Wal-Mart in Heaven somewhere.  When I get there, I expect to see Saint Peter wearing a blue vest with a yellow smiley face on it as he welcomes me through the pearly gates.  But in all seriousness, I do thank Cyndi for getting me those pills which made me feel a hundred times better.  Getting back to my topic, though, I would have thought that by today, I should be feeling awful.  But on the contrary, I feel great.  My appetite is wonderful.  Maybe a little too wonderful.  This idea that chemo kills your appetite is a bunch of baloney.  I canít stop eating.  I told some of you about my craving last Friday for lasagna.  Well, I finally got it Saturday night and it was delicious.  And if that wasnít enough, we had some more last night.  And then to top it off, I went back for some more at about eleven last night (and I know that I just got myself into some trouble with that confession.  But they say that confession is good for the soul.  So I guess my soul and stomach both feel good now).  But as good as I feel today, I donít know what tomorrow holds.  So I have vowed to enjoy each day to its fullest.  I want to have long dinners and enjoy the food and company of my family.  I want to laugh a little more and cry a little less.  I want to give more and take less.  I want to relax more and worry less.  In short, I want to live.  And though I didnít set out to have this good attitude with the intention of helping my situation, I know that it does do just that.  I know that there are some people reading this and you worry about me having my bad days.  You worry about how Iíll handle those days and if Iíll have the same upbeat attitude.  My answer to that isÖI donít know.  But I do know that today is a great day and Iím going to enjoy it.  And thatís all that Iím concerned about today.

Thursday October 11, 2007-

       Today I went back to work today.  Other than feeling nauseous pretty much all day, I did fine.  I donít have any pain from the port installation which is good.  I just didnít feel like eating anything today.  And that didnít help my stomach with not eating anything.  And I guess I was a little down in the dumps today also.  Pastor Shawn hit the nail on the head, though.  I let it slip out in talking with him that I was worried because I felt bad today and couldnít imagine how I would feel next week when the chemo really started kicking in.  He told me to not worry about tomorrow (as the Bible tells us) but to think on the day that is at hand.  And that made a big difference in my outlook.  Even though Iím trying not to think about tomorrow, I do wonder if this is the worst of the chemo or if it will get worse before it gets better.

            Well, thereís not much else to report on.  Things are going well.  I am still amazed at how God has blessed me and my family.  We are doing well.  The kids are finally getting over their little sicknesses and Cyndi is hanging in there.  I canít even begin to tell you how much she has meant to me through this.  She has never complained about any of the many appointments or my lack of energy around the house.  You would think she has been through this before with her attitude and compassion.  I know that I have all of you for support, but donít take this the wrong way when I say that no one could replace her.  So please keep her in your prayers just as much as you pray for me.

            Well, Iíll close for now.  But I do hope that this finds all of you doing well and hopefully weíll be able to visit with some of you soon.  With this little cold front coming in, it definitely gets me in the mood to travel to South Carolina.

Wednesday October 10, 2007-

            I  have officially entered the world of chemotherapy.  I had my first treatment this morning.  God definitely gave us some added blessings today.  When we had talked with Dr. Rama before, the treatment included a drug called Rituxin.  The CHOP treatment with the Rituxin would have been seven hours long.  But Dr. Rama decided that the Rituxin would not be beneficial at this time so she scrapped that particular drug from the CHOP.  So, when we arrived for my treatment, the nurse, Barbara, told us that the treatment would only last about 1 ½ hours.  Cyndi and I hardly got started reading out of our portable library before it was over.  But, hey, Iím not complaining.  Barbara was excellent today in explaining a lot about the CHOP treatment and what to expect in the next couple of days.  She said that I shouldnít feel too many of the side effects until some time next week.  The main side effect (other than the hair loss) will be the fatigue.  She also said that my taste buds would take a hit and that I am in the last days of having everything taste normal.  So I have been trying to balance enjoying my last days of food enjoyment with trying to eat sensibly.  Itís rough but I think Iím up to the challenge.  As long as I have my friends at Smoothie King making my Mangosteen Madness smoothie, I think Iíll be OK.

            Oh, some may be wondering about the port procedure from Tuesday.  That went fine.  The doctor installed it without any complications and it worked fine today.  I was a little sore yesterday evening but woke up this morning with no pain or discomfort.  Cyndi thought the kids would get a kick out of seeing it this morning (they placed the IV tubes into the port yesterday that connect to the IV bags).  I guess kids donít enjoy seeing tubes hanging out of their dadís chest.  I even offered to let Caleb give me a shot of coffee through the tube to give me a jumpstart this morning, but he turned me down.  Kids just donít know how to have good wholesome fun these days.  But Barbara the nurse removed the tube today so looking at my chest you canít see the port, only a lump where itís just under the skin.  It just looks like I only work out the right side of my chest at the gym.

            We had an interesting conversation today in the chemo room.  As we were sitting there, a lady sat down in the chemo chair next to me.  Shortly after sitting down, she leaned over and asked me if I had a blog.   I smiled and said yes.  The lady, Betty, said that her daughter attended a Bible study in Ocala and had heard about my website and read the blog.  When she found out that I was scheduled for chemo today, she told her mom, Betty, who was also scheduled for chemo today.  Betty said that she had looked for me in the main waiting room but didnít see me but got quite a surprise when she rounded the corner with her IVís to see me sitting there.  She told Cyndi and I how inspired she and her daughter had been by the website and then shared with us a little of her story.  And then it was my turn to be inspired.  From what I heard from speaking with her, Betty is an incredibly strong and beautiful lady with an intense desire to live.  I just ask that you be in prayer for Betty and her sister-in-law, Joyce, who is also battling cancer (they were both diagnosed within a couple of weeks of one another).

            As I sat in the chemo session, I was hit with the thought that cancer is no respecter of persons.  It doesnít matter how old you are (even though I was clearly young enough to pass as a son of any of the other patients), where youíre from, or how much money is in your bank account.  Anyone can be stricken at anytime.  And I thought of how many people there must be that feel betrayed by life and by God.  How many of these people donít see cancer the way I see it?  How many did feel that they should be exempt from cancer due to their status in life?  And I wondered how many of those would survive.  But then I looked at Betty and others around and saw hope.  Even though Bettyís doctors said it would be a rough road, her face revealed a determination that she was going to get through this and that she was ready to do her part and to keep a positive attitude.  And thatís what life is about.  Itís about not giving up but instead digging in.  Donít listen to those around who fill your ears with negative thoughts.  Weíve got to keep pressing on in spite of the rocky mountains we climb or the muddy swamps we cross.  Life is more than just a final destination (though our final destination should motivate us to press on).  Itís about the journey.  And as long as we have breath, we are on that journey.  Life is hard and I obviously am not blind to that fact.  But we have to keep pressing on.  Standing still as we wallow in our misery does nothing to remove the misery from our lives.  It simply sticks with us longer and weighs us down when we do try to move forward.  So, in closing, I encourage you to ignore the negativity and to not ďdoubt in the darkness what you knew in the lightĒ.  Weíve got to keep pressing on.  For ourselves but also for those around us who love us and look up to us.

       Also, please think about participating in the Light the Night Walk.  This is the Leukemia and Lymophoma Society annual fundraiser.  Teams composed of walkers raise money to help in finding a cure for these diseases.  The walk will be on Thursday October 25 at 5:30 p.m. in Ocala.  For my non-local readers, there are similar walks throughout the country during this same timeframe.  Here is the link for those interested in joining or donating to this worthy cause.  And, Lord willing, I will be out there walking with the family.   http://teams.lightthenight.org/opdwalker

Sunday October 7, 2007-

            Contrary to popular opinion, I am alive and doing fine.  I am sorry for not updating the blog lately but itís been hard lately to find the time.  But I will try to give you as much information as possible.

            My cancer doctor, Dr. Rama, has scheduled me for a port installation for this coming  Tuesday.  This procedure involves surgically installing  a half dollar sized device with a long tube connected into the top right side of my chest.  The tube will hook into the jugular vein in my neck.  When they go to give me the chemo, they will stick the needle into the top of the port which will be just under the skin.  From there, the chemo will flow into the tube and  directly into my bloodstream.  This port will speed up the chemo process and also save my veins from all the IV needles.  The port installation is about a 30 minute out-pateint procedure.  And on this coming Wednesday, I enter the prestigious, by-invitation-only world of chemotherapy (well, not everybody gets to do it).  I have to be at the doctorís office on Wednesday morning at 8:30.  The session will last about 7 hours.  Cyndi will be there to keep me company and we are filling slots as well for Kevin-sitting duty.  Letís face it.  Not even I could stand to be around myself for that long while they pour chemo down my gas cap (as I affectionately call my port).  So all of the testing and waiting is finally over.  Now comes the actual treatment.  And I have to admit, I do have mixed emotions.  On the one hand, I am excited about starting the treatment which I feel God is going to use to help cure me.  But on the other hand, I am a little scared in wondering if this particular chemo  is going to work or if they are going to have to experiment a little bit in trying to find the right mixture.  So please just pray that this particular chemo and the treatment plan is successful.

            Other than that, things are going pretty good.  I felt a little under the weather pretty much all of last week and took off from work.  But I am feeling much better and just pray that my immune system gets back up to normal soon.  Cyndi and the kids have been doing fine.  Caleb had a sinus infection last week so we both stayed home and slept all day.  But heís doing better and the sickness seems to have stopped with him which is another blessing.  Please remember the family in your prayers.  This thing is not just about me.  It is affecting so many others each day.  And as I pray for you, I ask that you pray for the other friends and family members who are also being affected.

            Lastly, in closing, I want you to know that Cyndi and I read each and every one of the personal emails and guestbook entries.  They are so inspiring and God-sent.  So many have scripture or just the right word at the right time.  And I thank you for your time in sending them and for Godís guidance in telling you what to say (even if you didnít know it was God leading you).

Monday, October 1, 2007-

     I hope that you didnít think anything bad happened to me in my absence from the blog page.  But it has been a pretty busy weekend.  A lot has happened since my last blog on Thursday.  We finally found out the diagnosis from Houston late Friday afternoon.  The doctors agree that it is a peripheral T-cell lymphoma.  That was good because it gave us a strong second opinion and confidence that we know what we are dealing with.  Once we had the diagnosis, Dr. Pro in Houston gave us her recommendation of what we treatment she recommended.  In the meantime, Cyndi and I had begun planning a trip to North Carolina to attend a nutrition seminar to learn nutrition principles that would help with my cancer battle.  We were excited about going and learning more about the right foods to eat and the benefits of juicing fruits and vegetables.  But as we planned the trip over the weekend, we felt that, for some reason, we just didnít have a peace about going.  All the details just didnít seem to be falling in place.  But this afternoon, Cyndi spoke with two doctors at a natural foods treatment center in Mexico.  Both doctors recommended that I immediately begin chemo.  With that, we made a doctorís appointment today in Ocala.

     Speaking with Dr. Rama today, she went over her recommended treatment plan that started out with the less potent chemo called CHOP.  She said that if, after 6 weeks, the cancer does not seem to be responding then she would switch me to another more potent chemo called Hyper CVAD.  This was exactly the approach Cyndi and I had prayed for.  We would rather start out small and progress to the more potent chemo if needed.  Also, with the CHOP treatment, the chemo sessions will be administered at the clinic as opposed to the hospital (which is where the Hyper CVAD has to be administered).  The CHOP also enables me to go to work for the most part and does not cause the nauseous that other chemos cause.  So we are praying (and invite you to join us) that the less potent CHOP will be highly effective and that there are no long term side effects as a result of its use.  As far as a start date goes, Dr. Rama wants to speak by phone with Dr. Pro to finalize the treatment plan for me.  In the meantime, they will schedule me for a procedure to install my chemo port in my chest, which will be how the chemo is administered.  Basically Iíll have a gas cap installed in my chest.  No date has been set but I would guess that by this time next week, I should have already started or be very close to starting.  In the meantime, Iím hanging in there.

     As far as what God is teaching me goes, He has shown me how He controls even the minutest details in our lives.  I was talking with Crystal Clark (the wife of my friend Andy from Breezy Hill Baptist Church) today after we had our appointment.  And as we talked I saw how God was preparing us for this many months ago.  And as I told Crystal, it is amazing to see Godís hand as he moves the chess pieces (us) on the chess board called "His perfect will".  But the most awesome thing is that God absolutely cannot lose this game.  Itís impossible because Heís just thatÖGod.  So our job as the chess pieces is to simply let the Chess master move us around the board.  Even if that means moving from one side of the board to the other.  In closing, I do want to thank everyone for his or her prayers and help during this time.  Our family loves each and every one of you and prays for Godís peace to come upon your life.

Thursday September 27, 2007-
     We sort of got some news today.  The doctor from Houston called but we missed the call.  However, her message said that the pathologists were fairly certain that it is T-cell lymphoma.  But they want to do a few more tests on the samples first.  Cyndi talked to the nurse who said that Dr. Pro has been extremely concerned with us and would ďbet her paycheckĒ that Dr. Pro will call us sometime tomorrow.
     I guess that itís somewhat good for the diagnosis to be T-cell.  I would have loved to of had the pathologists tell me that the mass was actually a Skittle that I swallowed and went down the wrong pipe.  But at least it gives us two similar diagnoses from which we can evaluate treatment plans.  Now we will talk with Dr. Pro and hear her suggestions for treatment and compare those options with Dr. Ramaís suggestions here in Ocala.  I will tell you that our plans are to have the treatments here in Ocala unless Dr. Pro tells us of a treatment that is highly beneficial but only available in Houston.  And then we will have to make some big decisions.
     Today I was talking with our pastor, Shawn Cutshall, on the phone today.  We were talking about growing closer to God through trials.  And as I think back on that conversation, I also think of my family.  And of how my family has grown noticeably closer to God as well, including the children.  Just before I sat down to write this, I had devotion time with Caleb and Jesse.  After our devotions we each prayed.  And I canít tell you how moving it was to hear my boys praying for their sick daddy.  They have seen the need in my life and are taking it to God.  That, my friends, is spiritual growth.  And I am so excited to see it extending down to my children.
      The quote of the day comes from a book that I just finished reading.  It is called When Itís Fourth and Long and was written by Josh Bidwell who is the punter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team and is also a devout Christian who survived testicular cancer.  After learning that at age 23, he has just been diagnosed with cancer, Bidwell says, ďI resolved deep inside to accept that God allowed this to happen to me for a reason.  He trusted me enough to use this situation for His glory, and if I were to lose my life to this disease, I would go to my last breath sharing the reality of eternity and the truth that my faith in Jesus Christ would get me to Heaven.Ē
     Well thatís all for tonight.  Itís almost 9:30 here and Cyndi tells me that she read somewhere that 9:30 needs to be my bedtime.  And as much as I love sleep, Iím not complaining.  But please continue to pray and we will keep you posted.

Tuesday September 25, 2007-
     Nothing much too really report on.  Still no news from the doctors but we expect a call any day.  Physically I am doing fine.  I still sometimes find it hard to believe that I actually have cancer inside of my body.  Looking at me you would never know.  And with the way I feel, I would never know either.  So God has been really good to me in that I donít have any other symptoms.  And emotionally I am doing fine as well.  Once again I thank God for my laid-back personality.  I canít imagine going through something serious like this being a high-strung person or one who constantly worries.  And spiritually I am doing fine also.  I feel that my relationship with God has grown so strong and I donít think that I have hit a plateau yet.  I feel that there is room for a lot more spiritual growth in my life.
     The rest of the family is doing well also.  Cyndi is hanging in there and being a tower of strength for me.  I so admire her faith and strength and thank God for her.  The kids are adjusting well.  The other night, Cyndi asked me to do something and Caleb overheard and responded, ďMom, give Dad a break.  He has cancer.Ē I laughed and slipped him a 10 dollar bill for the help.  But having family and friends around has been some of the best therapy.

     God always seems to bring the right person along at the right time with the right thing to say.  Whether itís an encouraging word, a relevant scripture, or just a hug and an ďI love youĒ.  God does take care of His children.  I think that so many times, God tries to wrap us in His arms when heartache hits.  But we get so busy trying to ďfixĒ our lives that we donít take the time to stop and let Him hug us and to tell us that He will take care of everything.  And during this trying time, I donít think that I have ever felt more loved by God.  And let me tell you, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that God loves you is the best feeling in the world you could have.
     As far as the tip of the day goes, did you know that cinnamon is an extremely effective antioxidant that also improves the blood sugar and cholesterol levels?  So with fall right around the corner, take advantage of all the fall recipes that call for cinnamon and help your body and taste buds at the same time.

Monday September 24, 2007-
     Well, today was the first day back to work.  It was good to see everyone but it wasnít good to see my desk full of paperwork and cases.  But I did say that I wanted to have everything back to normal as soon as possible, so here I am.  We did get some information from MD Anderson today.  The nurse called to say that the samples have arrived and they are being examined.  She said that it would take no less than three days to come up with a result.  So please pray for the pathologists now.  Other than that, we have no more information.
     As I have been doing my devotions, I have been reading the book of Job.  As I read it, I am absolutely amazed by Jobís faith.  If you read Job, take note of Job 1: 20-22.  Job has just lost every worldly possession he owned including his 10 children.  And we see Job mourn over his loss.  But the key is in verse 21 when Job looks up to heaven and simply states, ďblessed be the name of the LordĒ.  So many people have wondered about my faith and stated how strong it appears.  But my faith is as a grain of sand compared to Jobís faith.  As I read that, I became very humble as I realized just how far I have to go in my walk with God to have even a portion of Jobís faith.  And Iím going to present a challenge to my readers.  And that is to grow in your faith as well.  We do not have to wait until a huge cataclysmic (thank goodness for spell check) event comes in our life to begin strengthening and growing our faith.  God gives us events and trails each day to shape our faith and to strengthen it.  Just as a bodybuilder does not start out lifting large amounts of weight, God does not try our faith with huge trials at first.  He wants us to be strong in Him so that we can stand in the day of evil when it comes.  But if we donít embrace the challenges before us we will never grow spiritually.  So I challenge you to embrace the trials in your life and as you overcome them (and you will) take heart in the fact that you are growing stronger in the Lord.
     The tip of the day comes from Jordan Rubinís book, The Great Physicianís Rx Book for Cancer.  Rubin says that in a study researchers believe that omega-3 fatty acids interfere with functions of omega-6, which cancer cells may use as a source of energy, and prevent them from spreading beyond the prostate gland.  So Rubin (and several others) believe that we should eat more foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as cold water fish (salmon and halibut).

Sunday September 23, 2007-
     Sorry about the delay in updating the blog but Iíve had some technical difficulties with our computer at home lately.  But thankfully Cyndiís dad came down and he helped me get back on track.
     Well, what a weekend this has been!  I guess our weekend home started on Friday and we enjoyed getting to spend time with the kids.  The kids are currently in detox from excessive spoiling from my parents who graciously (and courageously!) watched them here while Cyndi and I were in Houston.  You know they have been spoiled when they ask for Skittles candy for breakfast.  Wait, that just proves that they are mine.  Saturday was unbelievable.  For those who donít know, my brothers and sisters in blue at the Ocala Police Department held a benefit carwash and cookout on my behalf to help raise money for the medical and other expenses associated with my cancer.  As our family pulled into the parking lot, I was in absolute awe.  I had no idea it would have that type of turnout.  I have to give a few thank yous out.  First I want to thank Greg Martin, Mark Hoover, and those who helped organize the whole event.  I also want to thank Gregís brother, Dr. David Martin, for bringing out his team from Downtown Chiropractic to help massage all those tired car-washing muscles.  Next, thank you to Cheney Brothers for donating AND cooking some outstanding BBQ chicken dinners.  Thank you especially to all the volunteers who took time out of their busy weekends to come out and serve food, wash cars, and pick up trash after everything was done.  You will never know how much this meant to our family.  And thank you to everyone who supported the event by stopping in to grab a bite to eat or to have your car washed.  You kept everyone busyÖ which is exactly what they wanted!
     Looking back, the one thing that has stood out from this whole experience has been the amount of love shown to my family and myself.  It is true love that would make a person come out on their off day to wash cars for free.  And I know it is true love to make some of you part with some of your money, you stingy things!  And speaking to some, I know that you had to go to work later on Saturday which makes it all the more special.  I know that I am going to be all right through this storm.  I have the faith and confidence in God that He will bring me through it.  But I also know that going through the storm will be easier with the love from my friends and family.  I donít know what I ever did to deserve such true and loyal friends, but I thank God for each and everyone of you.  You have truly amazed me and I love you guys so much.  And thank you so much for being there for Cyndi and I.
     As far as cancer updates go, thereís nothing new.  We have not heard from MD Anderson yet but hope to hear something this week.  Pray that the news is good.
     Well, Iíll close for now but before I go, Cyndi and I wanted leave you with something from one of the many books we have started to read onÖyou guessed it, cancer!  We have read some really informative and inspirational books and wanted you to be a part of our little book club (be very afraid of MY book club, Oprah).  The first Tip of the Day is:
1.) When in doubt, eat a plant.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are the food of choice.  God gave us these plants not just for their beauty and fragrance.  Many believe the keys to health lie not at GNC or Vitamin World but in the produce aisle of your grocery store.
     And the quote of the day comes from Dr. David Jeremiahís book, When Your World Falls Apart where he says, ďWhen God permits His children to go through the furnace, He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat.  His loving heart knows how much and how long.Ē

Thursday September 20, 2007-
Sorry about not blogging last night but Cyndi and I got back in a little late from our last dinner in Houston.  Yes, as I am writing this, we are flying back home.  There was nothing left, medically, for us to do in Houston.  All of the tests had been performed and we were simply waiting for the biopsy report from the pathologists.  And we felt that we could just as easily wait back home in Romeo, Florida as we could in a hotel room in Houston.  As far as the lymph node removal goes, Cyndi spoke with Dr. Pro who said that, if necessary, that procedure could be performed in Ocala and sent to Houston for analysis.  But we are hoping that the pathologists will be able to make their diagnosis based on the other biopsy samples when they arrive courtesy of US snail mail (sorry about that comment, Butch Rollins).
As I write this, I definitely have mixed emotions.  I had hoped to return with more information and I do feel a little discouraged in that fact.  However, I do not feel that the trip was in vain.  I know that God arranged the trip and made it possible.  Now this does not mean that we wonít get our second opinion.  It just means that we will receive the doctorís opinion by phone and not in person.  And from there the three of us (I, Cyndi, and God) will have to make some decisions.  Actually, God will make the decision and we just have to be willing to follow His lead.  But the other side of the emotion is that I feel that this trip benefitted Cyndi and I so much.  It gave us a lot of time together (obviously) and being the sentimental type that I am, I will be able to reflect on these times when the going gets rough in a couple of weeks or months.  This trip also taught me to rely so much on God and to open my eyes and see His hand at work as e arranged all of the details even down to the smallest ones.  And the trip also allowed us to visit with Freddy, Janet, Jerry, and Cora.  And I will put my plug in for Freddyís tour guide services.  If you want to see San Antonio and be treated like royalty, get in touch with Fred Lambert.  So, all in all, the trip was great and we appreciate everyone who had a part in making it possible.  As I stated earlier in another blog, we hope to one day be able to repay the kindness you have shown to our family.
This will also be posted on the prayer request page but please pray for the pathology report to come back quickly and conclusively without the need for the removal of my lymph node (Iíve kind of grown attached to them in these 32 years together).  Also please continue to pray for wisdom concerning the path of treatment we should go down.  There are a number of avenues to choose from and we want to make the right choice.  In closing, we hope to see everyone soon.  Our plane should touch down in Orlando around 3:10 p.m. today.  Also, donít forget about the carwash and cookout at the Ocala Police Department this Saturday at 10.

Tuesday September 18, 2007-
Well, today wasnít too good of a day.  At around 9:30 this morning, the doctor called to see if we could be at the hospital as fast as possible because she had spoken to one of the surgeons working today and he was willing to work me into his schedule to do the removal of the lymph node.  So we got ready as fast as we could and arrived at the hospital around 10:45.  We checked in and went to wait in one of the examining rooms.  About one and a half hours later, the nurse came in to tell us that we would have to come back another day (Thursday) to meet with the doctor and then they would try to reschedule the procedure which could be as soon as next Monday or as far away as the first of October.  Apparently while we were waiting in the examining room, the doctor called looking for me but no one knew where we were.  So we missed our window of opportunity today.  And to top it all off, we found out today that the biopsy samples from Ocala were not mailed out until yesterday.  And they were put in the regular mail and not overnighted.  Makes you wonder about the kind of stuff the mail in your mailbox has brushed up against before it gets to your box, huh?  So instead of packing our bags and heading back home to see our friends and family, we are still here in Houston with no set return date.  You can probably tell the frustration that we are feeling now.
What has God shown me through this?  That He is in control of my life and His timing is what matters.  As much as I would love to go home to see our children, God also knows this.  And as much as I would love to go ahead and start the treatments, God knows this as well.  But what God knows that I donít is when I will find out the results of the biopsy and when I will get to go home.  He also knows what tomorrow holds.  But most importantly, He knows how much I can bear and what is best for me.  And knowing this, I know that I can carry on.  So itís time to pick my head up and keep plugging away.  We will keep you posted on what each day holds.

Monday September 17, 2007-
Today we had our appointment with Dr. Pro.  She did give us some good information in that the bone marrow biopsy came back negative.  The cancer is not in my bone marrow which is good.  Also, the mass has not grown in size since I had my first CAT scan about a month ago and it does not appear to be in my spleen as previouslly thought.  All this indicates that the cancer is probably in Stage 2 which is much better than Stage 4.  However, she was unable to clearly tell us exactly what type of cancer I have.  All of the pathologists here at MD Anderson have been unable to conclusively say what it is that I have.  They still think that it is T-cell lymphoma, but no one has been able to look at the biopsy samples and say for certain because the DNA of my mass does not match up with what the DNA of a T-cell lymphoma should look like.  They have ordered some larger samples of the biopsy to be shipped to them from Ocala but these have not arrived yet.  One possible alternative to this is to remove one of the lymph nodes in my neck which is showing some cancer activity.  With this lymph node, the pathologists would be able to give a conclusive diagnosis.  We should find out tomorrow if this is the route we will take.
Every time the doctor comes in the room to meet with us, she brings in a couple more doctors with her.  I guess our doctor is trying to get as many opinions as possible about my condition.  When the doctor left the room, Cyndi asked me why I thought God had given me such an extremely rare cancer.  I laughed and said because God deals in the dramatic.  My example to her was in Him giving us beautiful sunsets just to end the day.  And to signal the end of summer and the start of fall, He gives us the changing of the leaves.  All this to say that when God gets ready to show off His strength and power, He does it with a flair for the dramatic.  And I feel that this is why God has given me such an unusual form of cancer.  I feel that God is getting ready to show that it doesnít matter if it is a normal type of cancer or something that the experts have never seen, He has the power to heal.
Well, I guess this means that we will spend a couple more days in Houston.  Pray that we find something out tomorrow.  Thank you to everyone who has prayed and helped us out in so many ways.  We really do appreciate all that people have done for us.  We love you so much and hope to be able to repay all the favors shown to us one day.

Sunday September 16, 2007-
Well, weíre back in Houston.  Cyndi and I had an awesome time visiting her Uncle Freddy and Aunt Janet and family in San Antonio this weekend.  On Friday night we went to Cora Bethís football game and watched her get tossed up in the air several times.  Luckily she came down safely in the arms of her fellow cheerleaders every time.  On Saturday we visited the town of Bandera which is the ďCowboy Capital of the WorldĒ.  If I ever needed a pair of blue jeans and cowboy hat to fit in anywhere, it was there.  They still had places to tie your horse up on Main Street and we actually saw a cowboy do this.  We had some true Texas BBQ beef brisket for lunch that was delicious.
Today we went to church at Northwest Hills Baptist Church with Freddy and the family.  We had a great time with them today and it was hard to leave.  But we have some visits with the hospital staff before our appointment at 2:30 tomorrow and felt that we should come back to Houston to be a little closer.  But we will always remember this weekend and the love shown to us by Freddy and his family.
This experience, if for nothing else, has shown us what true love is all about.  Reading the guestbook entries, the emails, receiving special gifts here and there, the favors done to help us out, all of these have shown us that people care for and love us greatly.  As I think of this, I remember the verse in I Corinthians 13:13 which says, ďAnd now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is loveĒ.  As you read this, I donít know what stage of life youíre in or what blows life has dealt you.  But I do know that you are not alone.  If you begin to think that your life is empty, remember the words of this verse and know that your life as a christian is never empty because you will always have faith, hope, and love remaining inside your heart.  And with these three things, we can weather any storm that life throws at us.  And that is what the world should know us by.  And as much as we appreciate all the love that has been shown to us, it is my prayer that those reading this will reach out to others that are facing storms in their lives as well and show them this same love which you have shown to myself and my family.

September 14, 2007
One wordÖwow.  Cyndi and I just read all of the new guestbook entries.  It is absolutely overwhelming to read each of these entries and to see all of the love and support from so many.  I never thought in my wildest dreams that this website would catch on the way that it has.  I am excited to see so many reading the website and I hope that people do realize that cancer does not have to steal a personís joy and strength.  I know that God is hearing your prayers and He is answering them according to His perfect will.  Please continue to pray and check out the prayer request page for some specific prayer requests.
Now for the daily report.  Yesterday was the last day of testing here at MD Anderson.  I had a CAT scan from my knees to the top of my head.  With all of the prep and the actual scan, we were there for about 5 hours.  We return to Houston on Monday to see Dr. Pro and find out the results.
We left Houston at around 5 p.m. and arrived in San Antonio, Texas around 10 that night.  Driving in Houston rush hour traffic has not been one of my highlights of this trip.  I put it up there with the bone marrow biopsy.  But Cyndiís Uncle Freddy and Aunt Janet have made our trip to San Antonio worth the drive.
Today Freddy took us to Lack land Air Force Base (where he served most of his time in the Air Force) and gave us the royal tour.  Afterwards, all four of us went to downtown San Antonio and had the ABSOLUTELY BEST Mexican food I have ever had at a restaurant called Mi Tierra.  We then toured the Alamo and the downtown Riverwalk area.  In just a few minutes, we will regroup and head to a high school football game to see their daughter, Cora Beth, cheer as the co-captain of the cheerleaders.  Well, we will update everyone later on what is going on.  Stay tuned.

September 12, 2007
Today was the big bone marrow biopsy.  For those not familiar, the biopsy consists of sticking a very large needle in both sides of my hip and drawing out a sample of bone marrow and bone marrow fluid.  As I sit here I think of all my fears concerning this procedure.  Most may not know this but I absolutely HATE needles.  So you can only imagine my fears about this procedure.  But God is so good.  The procedure was not bad at all.  Other than a little pressure, the only pain I felt was a ďTexas-sized bee stingĒ as the technician called the lidocaine shot to numb the area first.

It shouldnít amaze me at how good and protective God is to His children.  But it still does.  I feel like a small child in a thunderstorm being held in the arms of their daddy.  As the small child doesnít fear when being held, so is the feeling inside of me.  I know that I am in the middle of a huge storm in my life right now.  There are so many uncertainities right now.  But I can honestly say that I only feel a peace in my life that many cannot fathom.  But I thank God for this peace and for not having to worry about the things in my life that are out of my control.  If anyone reads this entry and wants to know about this peace and where it comes from, please email or call me.  I would love to share this little ďsecretĒ with you.

September 11, 2007

The first day of testing here at MD Anderson began today.  The first half of the day was spent on new patient registration.  But after lunch we had our meeting with Dr. Pro.  She seems to be very receptive to our situation and willing to work with us on any treatment plans.  However, we have to wait until next Monday to discuss these plans.  That is when all the test results should be completed and she has a better idea of what we are up against.  They have scheduled me for a bone marrow test tomorrow morning at 9:30.  And on Thursday I have another CAT scan.  Those are all of the tests scheduled at this point.

Walking around the hospital today was almost surreal.  There were so many times that I could not believe that we were actually there for me.  The hospital is amazing but sad at the same time.  I could not help but to look around at all of the cancer patients and wonder about their eternity.  I wondered if they had come to the "Number One Cancer Center in America" expecting a miracle and put all of their faith and hope in the doctors and treatments.  And I wondered of those, how many would leave broken and hopeless having heard that their condition was terminal or untreatable.  But as sad as this thought was, it did inspire me to not be as one of these.  Instead deciding to put ALL of my faith and hope in Almighty God.  Please continue to pray for us to remain upbeat and optimistic.  I know there are people watching to see how we handle this situation.

P.S.  God did bless us tonight with free tickets to the Houston Astros baseball game and dinner courtesy of a very loving couple.  So we are managing in a little Kevin and Cyndi time as well.

September 10, 2007

The blogging has begun!  Cyndi and I arrived in Houston, Texas today.  Fortunataly for us, we arrived at 5 o'clock rush hour.  While driving in the Houston 500, Cyndi wondered if we would even make my appointment tomorrow at MD Anderson.  But God is good and allowed us to arrive safely and then rewarded us with showing us a Taco Cabana restaurant which was only a mile away from our hotel (Eat your heart out Rick and Danielle! :) ).  I have to agree with Rick, Danielle, and Laura Wright's recommendation.  The food was awesome and just what I needed to put a little lost weight back on.

You can imagine the thoughts going through mine and Cyndi's head right now.  And we ask that you pray that we will be able to ask the right questions tomorrow and then receive the right answers.  Our appointment is at 11:00 a.m CST.  For those wondering, I am doing great.  God has blessed me in that I do not show any normal symptoms of having cancer.  The only symptom that I have that serves as a reminder is the itching in my legs and feet.  But compared to the other symptoms, I can only say how great and merciful God is to His children.

Today as I read the first chapter of James, I was challenged to not just ask God for wisdom as one who asks expecting nothing in return(1:5).  But rather to ask God KNOWING that He will give me the wisdom that I desire.  I also realized that through this, God was trying my patience.  If the doctors in Ocala had had their way, I would already be in my chemo treatments.  But God is in control and His timing is perfect.  And that just further solidifies the decision we made to come out to Houston for the second opinion.

Well, enough blogging for one day.  Continue to keep us in your prayers and look for God's grace in your own life.

A lot has changed since I last blogged.  I have finished my radiation and am waiting to do a PET  scan in about five weeks or so.  They want to wait that long because the radiation is still working in my body.  I guess itís like a smoldering log.  Even though it may not be on fire, itís still burning on the inside.  But I feel great.  I was telling someone today that I havenít felt this good since about a year or so.  I have started back running and it feels like it used to feel.  I donít feel like I have a gorilla sitting on my chest anymore and Iím slowly getting back to my old form.  And I thank all of you for your prayers and support.  Itís amazing to think of how far I have been brought since my diagnosis back in August of last year.  Cyndi and I do truly appreciate all that has been done for us.

Well, I hate to make this short but I have to speak tonight at the Relay for Life event at Dunnellon High School.  I will try to blog again soon to tell everyone how it went.  I do hope this finds all of you doing well.  Take care and we love each and everyone of you.

Tuesday November 25, 2008 (duplicate)

Today everyone gets a two-for-one special.  I havenít had a chance to post the blog from the day that I flew home.  And so much has happened since then that I felt that I should blog on those things as well.  First of all, it feels so good to be home again.  I have enjoyed seeing everyone and sharing with them about what God has done in my life.  I know that Cyndi and the kids are pretty happy to have me home again.  It has been a little bit of an adjustment coming home and trying to adopt this new healthy lifestyle.  But weíre doing good and everyone seems to be pretty receptive to it.  Weíve even found some things that Jesse will eat.

I met with my doctor, Dr. Rama, and had a CT scan last Wednesday.  The results did show improvement since the scan in Arizona.  However, there does appear to be some cancer still inside my body.  So that leaves me with a decision to make as to what type of treatment to pursue.  Dr. Rama still wants me to proceed with the stem cell transplant.  But I still donít have a peace about that.  I did find a doctor in Tampa who does the IPT like I had out in Arizona.  I will probably go down that path.  Please continue to pray for us as we make these and other important decisions.

In other news, we are leaving tomorrow night, Wednesday, to head to South Carolina for the Thanksgiving weekend.  We are excited about going there and seeing some more friends and family members.  Cyndi is excited about shopping on Friday with my mom and the kids are excited about Mamaís cooking on Thursday.  And Iím just excited about being with the ones that I love the most.  It should be fun even though my brother, Bert, has already begun the picking on me about my food.  He is merciless and still plans on eating everything that I stand against.  It should be interesting.

Well, Iíll close for now.  Iíve got a lot to try and get done in a short amount of time.  Please remember to continue to pray for us and I hope to see you soon.


Saturday November 8, 2008 (duplicate)

Wow.  I canít believe that I am actually writing this on the plane coming home.  It really doesnít seem like it was eight weeks ago that I boarded a plane to come out to Phoenix.  I know that Cyndi will disagree with that.  Ha ha!  It has been quite an experience though.  Yesterday was a little hard with saying goodbye to everyone.  The staff was sad to see me go and I was sad to leave them.  I told them that it was not personal but I hoped to not see them again.  They understood that I said that because to not see them would mean that everything was going well with me.  But to see me again would possibly mean that there were new problems.  I left today feeling great about the progress that I have made.  I donít know how much cancer (if any) is left but feel confident that if I keep up with the diet and nutrition aspect of this and couple it with a few treatments in Florida then I can definitely get past this.  I have an appointment with my oncologist in Ocala (Dr Rama) next Thursday.  I donít know what will transpire but hopefully weíll get some more info.  I have also found a doctor in Tampa who does the IPT and a doctor in Gainesville who does the vitamin C.  My treatments in Florida will be based on the next set of scan results (which I have not had as of yet).  Obviously, if the scan shows no sign of cancer then I wonít be doing any IPT treatments.  But if the scans do show some residual cancer then I will start as soon as possible.  Weíll just have to wait and see for now.  Keep us in your prayers though.  We want to know this as soon as possible but Iím not too keen on the whole PET scan procedure due to the scan itself involving injecting my body with radioactive sugar (something that I have spent the past eight weeks avoiding like the plague).

            As I write this I canít help but to reflect on what God has done in and through my life these past eight weeks.  My spiritual walk with God has grown by leaps and bounds.  I donít mean that to sound in the least little bit like Iím bragging.  On the contrary, I am ashamed to see how much work God has had to do in my life to bring me to this point (which is nothing to be proud of).  But I can tell you that my outlook on so many things has changed and I feel so close to God and I absolutely love that feeling of knowing Him in a deep personal way.  Iíve told God and others that if nothing else changed in my life during these past eight weeks other than my spiritual walk, then it would still be worth it.  I can honestly say that I would rather leave this world closer to God than to live for another eighty years and feel so distant from the one true God who loves me more than words can describe.  How ironic is it that as I write those words, the song ďBetter is One DayĒ is playing on the computer?  Doesnít God have a great sense of humor?  For those not familiar, the song lyrics say, ďBetter is one day in your house than a thousand elsewhere.Ē  Itís based on the verse Psalms 84:10.  God is so good though.  And as much as I would love to share with others about my new healthy lifestyle, I want to share with others about a life-changing spiritual lifestyle found in Godís Word.

            But God didnítí just strengthen my spiritual walk these past few weeks.  Praise Him for the physical change as well.  I cannot describe how good I feel now.  I am pretty good at hiding my true condition and not complaining too much.  The weeks and months leading up to my coming out to Phoenix was rough.  I felt horrible and only wanted to stay at home in bed.  To get dressed and come to work was an accomplishment in and of itself.  By 3:30 I was already shutting things down and focusing on coming home.  I had no energy and constantly felt the lingering effects of my cancer and I didnít want to let too many people know just how bad I felt.  But thatís not the case now.  I feel so much better and have more energy than I know what to do with.  And in addition to the energy level, I donít feel any effects of the cancer.  There could very well be some left inside of my body but it isnít affecting me and my body is going to get rid of it.  God is so good!

            And I thank each one of you for your love and support.  For every prayer.  For every card.  For every gift.  For every kind and encouraging word.  For every little kind act done for Cyndi and the kids.  For the visits out here.  For the phone calls.  And for the very thought of you as I think of how wonderful you are.  You have been wonderful and I love you so much.  Please try to know how much Cyndi and I thank you for all that you have done for us.  I also want to take this time to thank Dr. Lodi and his wonderful staff.  They were great and made my treatments enjoyable.  They became my surrogate family and gave me someone to talk to everyday those first few weeks.  They truly took care of me and made sure that I was on the path to healing.  I will never forget them and thank God for their caring and support.

            In closing, I do have a praise report.  Little Cassidy Clark is in remission.  That means that she is clear to continue onto the next phase of treatment, which is going to be long and hard.  But her options are still open and she is still fighting a good fight (for a princess wearing a pink wig).  Also, several of the patients at the clinic have been receiving good reports.  Some to the degree that they too are going home soon.  I feel that Godís hand is on Dr. Lodi and his clinic and God is using them to bring healing to many people.  If anyone reading this is curious to know more about Dr. Lodi or his clinic, please contact me, I would love to take the time to talk with you or someone you know and to share with them what God has done in my physical life through the clinic here.  The fact is that we donít have to be sick.  There are options other than what your doctor tells you.  We just have to be made aware of them and to follow Godís leading.  Please take care and pass on to others what God has done in my life so that they too can see how good our God is.  I love you and hope to see you all soon.