Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I felt a 'calling' to reach ultra marathon conditioning after receiving a diagnosis of stage four b cell indolent Lymphoma. I followed through on this after consultation with two oncologists, oncology nurses, a primary care physician, friends, spouse, congregation and the Great Physician. An urge to do things I could not do was present in my consciousness and the general response was laughter, and encouragement that it wouldn't hurt me only help me if and when treatment would begin.
A belief system can include actions of faith following prayer. Following prayer about something, or someone, a person can and should take a step or many steps of faith towards whatever that person could not do before.
The form of cancer I was diagnosed with was not a fast growing cancer, so I wasn't immediately rushed into chemotherapy treatments, but 'watchful waiting' treatments. Not every cancer diagnosis has the luxury of this 'watchful waiting' to prepare oneself for the future. For fast growing cancers whatever physical conditioning one is in at the point of diagnosis is the level they enter chemotherapy. I had the luxury of time to prepare. I had already reached the marathon level of conditioning so continuing to pursue even greater physical conditioning was simply continuing along the same pathway. It is these pathways that each person travels, that are either positive or not so positive. Recovering from cancer and its treatments is enhanced when ones pathways are already positive and continue along a positive path.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Exercise the soul. Some describe the soul as the mental/emotional/will of every human being. All aspects of the soul of a chemo patient will be tested, and if a person will exercise all of the complexities of the human soul before, during and after, one will be quicker in recovery. I found meditation of promises from God found in scripture a much needed mental exercise. Emotional exercise was both refusing negative emotions such as anger/bitterness/discouragement and opening myself up to positive emotions such as love/joy/peace/patience and others. Predetermining to never give up or quit the healing process required strengthening my will to live. I watched positive movies, engaged in life giving activities, resolved human conflicts, and set a goal to live to over a hundred years old.
Scriptures speak in Luke 21: 19 "In your patience possess ye your souls." (KJV) Being patient with the realities of cancer and chemotherapy is most difficult. With energy levels plummeting to 50%-90% and with taste buds rendering all things blah and tasteless and living most days in a continual state of nausea one needs to be patient. Without patience, one can lose ones soul to the ravages of the disease and the affects of its treatments. With this patience, one isn't so easily angered that life is a blur and that one's best days are a mere shadow of what life was before cancer and chemotherapy. Without patience, one misses the simple joys and beauty of life even when life is reduced to 50%-90% less than what it used to be.
While being infused on a treatment day, I was next to another patient, and had a very profound thought I wanted to share, but all that came out was, a mixed up jumble of unintelligent words. The drugs to offset the allergic reactions were so affecting my speech that I couldn't say what was in my head. My fellow patient was patient with me, and I needed to be patient with myself. My profound thoughts couldn't be spoken, so I just layed back, and flowed with it. The human soul is very complex and simple at the same time and being patient keeps a person from losing one's soul in the process of healing the body.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Spiritual exercise is very vital for recovery. What I mean by this is to live by faith, not by sight, Doctor Reports, or what is in the now. I found faith building broadcasts, books, podcasts, pamphlets, and active participation in church the spiritual exercise that built up my spiritual energy and endurance. I spent time and effort in meditation on certain scriptures until they became engrafted into my being. I discovered I wasn't equipped in the discipline of meditation of scripture. My mind would often drift to the now, and stay focused on what is, not what is by faith. Upon a recommendation found in a book "The Pursuit of God", by A.W. Tozer in the chapter, "The Gaze of the Soul", I engaged his recommended life coach. Tozer recommended a Nicholas of Cusa on this topic, so I ordered the book, "The Vision of God" by Nicholas of Cusa and this greatly helped me add this dimension of spirituality to my spiritual disciplines.
Ones imagination can go in the opposite direction if not disciplined by faith, hope and love. Learning to harness ones thoughts following a cancer diagnosis and treatments is a very huge part of recovery.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Do NOT believe the lie, that "I can't do anything about this."
Exercising ones entire being before, during and after chemotherapy will highly increase ones recovery.
Do NOT be like the person I recently met who was told by a doctor they needed to lose weight, and would not even consider it as a possibility. It is true that a doctor will often give news that a person cannot do anything about except take treatment. However, there are hundreds of things every person can do every day to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome of any kind of treatments. Just doing one or two things presses against the disease and spreads hope for another day.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
This series of posts will be a random scattering of how to recover from the effects of Chemotherapy. They will be short and not so sweet.
Go into chemotherapy in as good of conditioning as possible. This is spirit, soul and body. Whatever energy you enter into chemotherapy with it will be reduced to less than half and some days, 90% less. So, building up your spirit, soul and body by specific exercises will both increase energy and endurance for the season of chemotherapy.
Monday, April 19, 2010
May God add his blessings to the thousands upon thousands of marathoners who will be running the Boston Marathon today for causes greater than themselves. If anyone struggles with starting and stopping an exercise program be encouraged to find a cause worth giving yourself to. I found Projectrescue.com that reaches out to victims of sexual slavery , Priority One Missions that builds bible schools, and a transitional center for special needs children motivational missions causes to train and complete distance goals. Everyone needs a 'cause', because some days you won't feel like training. These 'causes' moves you beyond your own 'becauses ' when your own body says 'no'.
FYI: These causes moved my wife and me to take 8 swimming lessons that resulted in Brenda swimming a mile last Thursday night. They also moved me to bike 20 k, run 5k and swim 800 meters on Thursday. For more information, contact me personally @ firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or purchase my book "Constant Forward Motion-the Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series". It is found at various sites or just ask me and I can send you one.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I don't know if it is a good thing, or not, but I always feel led to add a humorous line in public invocations. Sometimes, I even sense the Lord laughing. I always prepare and practice before the Lord ahead of time, and often I sense a chuckle. As of yet, I haven't felt chastised for it, but, I stay open. Today, as is mostly the case, the background music was still playing at the restaurant, and I have grown accustomed to praying with music in the background. (It is also kind of our faith tradition, so it never bothers me, though our church background music is a little different than restaurants.) I met and ministered to some more great friends and reconnected with others. Public invocations (in my view) shouldn't be contentious, political, or judgmental, and not everyone agrees and that is a good thing. The funniest (actually not funny at all), was a restaurant owner who operated a bar and sold lots of liquor, met me at the door when I was leaving and severely chastised me for my style of praying. (It wasn't today.) He said my style of praying is the ruin of America. Seriously, it happened. He blamed me for the ills of America. Meanwhile he was selling and profiting from alcohol sales. I stopped discussing it with him, just chuckled and backed away quietly. Human nature does tend to blame others for whatever is going wrong, but I have a different approach. We all can do better at making our world a better place, and should do all things for the glory of God and the good of the world.
Seriously thinking about trying something 'crazy' for myself and missions today. It is a trinity. Will let you know if what began in my imagination became reality. This I do know, I have never accomplished anything that didn't first start in my renewed 'crazy' mind.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
April is and has been abundantly full in the Burns household. From Cherry Blossoms, friends visiting, striper fishing, turkey hunting, Easter, new furniture shopping (and buying), grand parenting, garden preparation, lawn care, book distributing, multi-faceted ministries, swim lessons, meetings, Spring sprucing up, etc, etc, etc. It's all good, and Brenda and I are loving God, each other, and the abundant life He has brought us into.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
God has a plan for every person. That plan is for every person to know that God loves them and to receive the wonderful life God has for their life.
That wonderful life is hindered by us, our sins, our mistakes, our will, our ways, and our selfishness.
That wonderful life is impossible to receive on anyone's efforts or self will. Certainly most people can have brief moments of a wonderful life while living and breathing, but no one can pass from this life to the next without help from God.
This is why Jesus came, lived, died, and rose again. To provide life to all who would believe in Him.
To those who believe in Him, who receive Him as Lord and Savior and one's life, he gives this eternal, abundant life in his name.
When and if a person says yes to believing and receiving Jesus as Lord and savior and life giver, that person is given life in his name.
The belief system we receive is a life of faith, not a life of sight. We live by faith, not by our senses.
You may or may not get a sign from God as you ask in prayer for some signal for something to be God's will or not.
Some have, but most don't.
A follower of Jesus Christ can receive a belief system, based on not seeing and yet believing.
This belief system will heal any marriage, for one doesn't focus on what is, but what is by faith.
This belief system will conquer any fear, for perfect love casts out all fear.
This belief system will cause any person to break through any barrier and any limitation, for it is not based on what can be seen, but what is unseen.
This belief system is not of works, or merit, but a system of belief that is much less about us, and much more about Jesus.
This belief system is not based on what is, such as a doctor report, or a financial report, or a report card, but what can be because of the power and presence of God.
This belief system is not based on who you are, but who Christ has made you. It is not what you look like in a mirror, but what you are in Christ, and what he can make of you.
This belief system is not about what is seen, or presently experienced, but what is in the heavens, and what is possible once God has moved upon it.
This belief system is not tied to any system of Govt., on planet earth, but is connected to the Heavenly realms of the Govt. of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
This belief system is not to be moved by what one sees, or hears or experiences in the senses. We are to be unmoved by what is seen.
This belief system is tied into the realms of the impossible becoming possible, because it is tied into the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Anytime you are meditating, I recommend, breathing deeply and envisioning you are breathing in the power and person of the Holy Spirit.
Theologically, the moment a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, instantaneously take up residence in that person's soul, however, too many of us, forget the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and need a continual reminder that the Holy Spirit is in and with you.
We forget and need to be reminded of the regular filling of the Holy Spirit by every follower of Jesus.
If you will not let yourself get too theologically hung up, you could pray this prayer.
Lord Jesus, breathe on me your Jesus air, and I will receive the Holy Spirit.
Breathing air that you by faith see Jesus breathing into you, might work for those who struggle with receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Immediately after his bodily resurrection Jesus comes to his followers and says something and someone will be with them. It was suitable then, and even more so now. With this, 90% of illness would be eliminated.
"Peace be with you."
Peace is both a something and a someone.
Where Jesus is, Peace is also.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Part of the blessing of getting chemotherapy is that you have access to some very, very smart, knowledgeable, and experienced nurses on many many topics. I was on a quest to get advice on how to help my granddaughter overcome her fear of needles, so getting my chemotherapy had another purpose. I was on a mission to access the knowledge base of the team of nurses. My own nurse deferred to another, who was quick to acknowledge that she isn't like some mothers and said very matter of factly.
"I don't negotiate with my kids on shots. I look them straight in the eye and say, this is going to hurt. It won't hurt very long, and after it is over you are going to get a sticker".
Bam. I liked it.
I think this is great advice on all types of tests and trials, especially the tests and trials of faith.
I can imagine our heavenly Father wanting to tell us as we are to be tested, "this is going to hurt. It won't hurt very long, and after it is over you are going to get a sticker."
Bam. I am not sure I like it.
1 Peter 1: 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.7 These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (NIV)
So, now I begin to think of things beyond stickers we can prepare for our Granddaughter.
"Becca, this is going to hurt. It won't hurt very long, and after it is over you are going to get a this and a that and a this and a that and a this and a …. and a …. "
I also imagine the Holy Trinity conferring as a test is planned and communicated to me. "This is going to hurt. It won't hurt very long, and after it's over you are going to get an eternal home that you cannot even begin to imagine, and a this and a that and a this and a that while you live and move and have your being on planet earth".
Bam. I am beginning to like it.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
God's presence combined with a cheerful heart is a double whammy that presses (prays) against any and every barrier or limitation. A bummed out heart negates God's presence and power. No one can always be cheerful, but everyone can ask for God's help in receiving this prescription 'medicine'. No one can respond cheerfully in every situation and circumstance of life, but everyone can ask for God's grace to apply a very powerful 'medicine' on all that ails. A bummed out heart crushes one's spirit and it is near impossible to be cheerful in the face of really, really bad news. However, what is impossible is made possible through a relationship with God.
Today when I receive my infusion of chemotherapy I guarantee I will be surrounded by mostly cheerful people also receiving their infusion. I most likely will laugh out loud a few times with the humor only cancer patients and the nurses who treat them are gifted with. I also most likely see those still crushed in their spirit who have just received or still struggling with their diagnosis of cancer. May God help all of us in the chemo ward who have passed through the valley of a crushed spirit provide hope for a better day with a cheerful heart and its resulting 'good medicine'. May God help all of us put the double whammy on any and every limitation and barrier.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22