Monday, September 5, 2016

Dark Clouds And Silver Linings

Since my last post, I've been under a dark cloud most of the time. If I have something else to occupy my mind, I'm fine. But even a moment of reflection or stillness brings back the cloud that hangs over me. It will be there until I know the results of my next two scans. But there are silver linings, too.

It's unusual for me to feel this way. It goes against my usual optimistic, happy-go-lucky nature. But when you're waiting for scans that will show if you're Stage 4, it tends to occupy your mind.

I now have my schedule for the bone scan and CT scan that will take place this week. They both happen this Wednesday, September 7th. I check in at Porter Cancer Care in Denver, Colorado at 7:45 AM that morning. At 8:00 AM, I get an injection for the bone scan, which happens at 11:00 AM. Immediately thereafter, at noon, I have to drink contrast for the CT scan. I'm sure that's yummy. Then I have the CT scan at 1:00 PM.

The difficult part of all of this is that I'm not allowed any food or water that day until after the CAT scan at 1:00 PM. I can handle not eating for that long, but no water for that long will be torture. I'm thirsty when I get up in the morning. But the only thing I'll be allowed to drink until we're done is the contrast at noon. I'm not sure how I'll do it.

When we were attempting to schedule all of this with the oncologist's office, these were the time slots that were available. I could have scheduled one of the scans for Saturday the 10th, but that's too late to get the results in time for the consultation with my oncologist the following week. I'm tempted to put it off, but my oncologist is in a hurry. He thinks time is of the essence. So much for the supposedly slow-growing cancer.

My next Lupron shot, which was supposed to happen tomorrow, September 6th, has been postponed until this Friday, the 9th. Apparently the shot is being shipped from the hurricane zone in the Southeastern U.S., and they were concerned that the shot may not arrive by tomorrow. That's fine with me. It's great, actually, because of a huge silver lining in this dark cloud. More on that later.

I had a phone conversation with my friend Nicki last Saturday, who I've mentioned many times before in this blog. I call her "the daughter I never had," but that's not really true. Though she's not my biological daughter, and I had no hand in raising her, it's not true that I never had her. In reality, I've had her and she's had me since she was two years old. That's especially true now.

Anyway, during our conversation, we were laughing about something, and Nicki said that she was glad that I still have my sense of humor, in spite of "this time of utter crud" that I'm going through. That's a direct quote. This time of utter crud. That made me laugh, and it was almost the title of this post. I wanted her to draw it in one of her beautiful hand lettering pieces that have adorned several of my posts, with a "scripture" reference: Nicki 3:16. I thought that would be really funny, but it didn't seem right. Because while there is a lot of crud, there's also a lot of good. There are silver linings, and she is one of them.

Also last Saturday, my wife and I hosted an annual barbecue for the "music club" that I referred to in my post, The Gift In The Wound. It was a wonderful time with dear friends. We discussed a performance that I have coming up in November, which I'm very excited about. But, inevitably, some conversations turned to my cancer. Not all of my friends read this blog, so there were some who needed to be updated. So the dark cloud was there, but the silver lining of friendship and support was too.

But the biggest silver lining for my wife and me happens tomorrow. Our long time friend Jan will be visiting. She's Nicki's mom. This is the family that I paid tribute to in Introducing The Kochs, and also talked about in Heart On My Sleeve. Jan hasn't been to our house since my 60th birthday party in May of last year. It will be wonderful to see her again. Another silver lining. She's only staying for a day, but she's bringing the best gift she could possibly bring.

Jan is accompanying her best friend and ours, Nikki, (not to be confused with Nicki) on this trip. She's helping Nikki move back to Denver from California, where she's lived for the past 15 years. Jan is going back home to Fort Worth, Texas, but Nikki is staying here. This is the best silver lining my wife and I could have asked for. Nikki is our dear sister, colleague, friend, and our favorite singer. She's moving up in the world, taking her place as worship leader at a large church in the area. We are incredibly proud of her, and so thankful that she's finally coming home. Just when we really need her. Talk about your silver linings!

This is what Christians call a God Thing. Recently, I was feeling sorry for myself because of circumstances beyond my control. As I moped around the house, I asked myself what could possibly make me feel better. I realized that one thing that could definitely cheer me up is if Nikki called to say that she was moving back to Denver. At that time, it seemed like a pipe dream. But within the hour, Nikki called me to say she was coming home. That's what we call a God Thing. That's a real silver lining in this dark cloud.

Nikki and Jan are coming to our house tomorrow, Tuesday. We'll hang out for a while, eat some food and have some fun. Love will abound. I will probably cry. That's why I'm so glad that I won't get my Lupron shot tomorrow. That could put a damper on the festivities.

On Tuesday, I'll still be dreading Wednesday. But the silver lining of a long-awaited homecoming will outshine the dark cloud. Through it all, and in it all, God is good. Cancer is the dark cloud, but love is the silver lining. It's the gift in the wound. #waroncancer


  1. Wednesday will be a interesting day for both of us, as I meet with my oncologist at Hopkins for the first time. May God be with you to offer hope and encouragement as you go to receive your new. Prayers are being sent. God bless!

  2. Thank you for your post Mark. I appreciate being able to read them.

  3. Been thinking about you recently.....Just focus on the silver lining, and let us pray about the dark cloud for you.....we will carry your cloud. Enjoy your visit, say hey to Jan. Miss you all bunches. Some days I wish we were all still in our sunday school class in DFC. Hugs my friend.

  4. We love you and are praying today is exactly the soul enriching day you and Sharon need!