First Cancer Treatment in Over 16 Years

I was originally diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back in 2004. You can read that whole story here. We got it into remission for 16 years, but it came back last December. I had to wait to get my other vaccines (pneumonia, shingles, and COVID) because the medicine we are using will render all vaccines worthless. Fortunately, it is a slow-growing form of cancer so I had time to do that. So today, I went to the Infusion center in the Huntsman Cancer Institute for my first cancer treatment in over 16 years.

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The PET Scan – Good News

From the biopsy last week, I learned that the little red mark on my head is, indeed, the return of my Follicular B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It had been in remission for 16 years. But now it’s back. Yesterday (Dec 14), I underwent a PET scan. Now, a PET scan has nothing to do with dogs, cats, or gerbils. It is a type of scan similar to an MRI or CT scan (aka “cat scan”). It just uses a different technology. The purpose of the PET scan was to try to determine where else, in my body, this cancer is living, so they did a full-body scan. The whole process took about 90 minutes.

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It’s Baaack!

On December 1, 2004, my life was forever changed by a diagnosis of 4th stage Follicular B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. A couple of harrowing months later, I was “in remission” (no sign of cancer in my body). For sixteen years, I have always attributed that success to the many prayers of friends, family, and strangers; a great oncologist who prescribed an amazing drug called Rituxin; and the amazing grace of my Lord and Saviour who (for reasons unknown to me) loves me way more than I deserve.

For a disease that is measured by “5-year survival rate”, sixteen years of remission is pretty darn good. I have been blessed indeed.

Sixteen years ago, they did say that my form of cancer was not curable. They said that they it would return someday. Well, I guess “someday” is today.

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How I Stopped Being Angry All the Time

One of the best “life lessons” I’ve ever learned came out of my divorce in 1996.  Back then, I was angry a lot!  I was told that it was a primary reason that my wife left me.  She thought it was just a matter of time before my anger turned into physical abuse.  Now, that would have never happened.  But looking back, I can see why she felt that way.  I made her fearful; and fear is fear, whether I think the reasons for it are rational or not.

Now Anger is not necessarily a bad thing. Even Jesus got angry when he flipped over the tables of the money-changers in the temple  (Matthew 21:12-13).  But His was a purposeful, meaningful anger; and more importantly, He knew exactly what he was doing.  Me?  I was out of control.   When I say I was angry, I don’t mean just being a little grouchy or ornery.  I certainly didn’t have a righteous anger like Jesus.  No, I was out-of-control, yelling at the top of my lungs, stomping around, pounding the table, and breaking things angry.  I was like this on a very regular basis (especially at home).  That kind of anger (was) is a problem.  And it usually ended with me coming back later feeling shame or guilt.

So I did some soul-searching.  I asked myself the most important question:  Continue reading “How I Stopped Being Angry All the Time”