Monday, February 13, 2017

Old People's Diseases

My oncologist's assistant called today with the results of my bone density scan last week. As expected, I have what they call "significant bone thinning" from my last year and a half on Lupron. In other words, osteporosis. It's an expected side effect from Lupron, and we're already doing what's recommended for it.

The comedian in me wants to say, "Oh yeah, that's not the only bone loss I've experienced from Lupron!" Thank you very much. I'll be here all week. Be sure to tip your waitresses.

But seriously, folks, there are concerns that go along with this, of course. I haven't had a chance to ask how at risk I am for falling and breaking something. My oncologist wants me to come in for a blood draw to test my Vitamin D level and my TSH level, which has to do with my thyroid. But I don't expect to see him when I go in for that tomorrow morning.

When his assistant called to give me the news, she said that the Xgeva shots I'm getting are the recommended treatment for it. She had dosages of Vitamin D and calcium they want me to take every day, and I'm already exceeding those amounts. So it seems we're doing all we can do, except for one thing.

When I was having the scan done last week, the tech who did it said I should be doing "weight bearing exercise." I've been meaning to do that, but it's been hard to find the motivation. We have a gym in our basement, and I intended to work out this morning, but today was one of those "black cloud" days for me, for at least the first part of the day. Working out is not in the cards when I feel that way. But I intend to start working out again, at least three times a week, starting soon.

It's almost funny. First, I get what's considered an old man's disease, prostate cancer. That perception is no longer true, by the way, if it ever was. But the perception is still there. So I get treatment for my old man's disease, and it gives me an old woman's disease! Talk about getting in touch with your feminine side.

But the perception that osteoporosis is an old woman's disease is not true anymore either, if it ever was. Both my sister, who is younger than I am, and my mom have it. My sister's case is worse than my mom's. I'm sure my sister can refute the false perception about her disease as well as I can about mine. But doing that would ruin the joke, which she would never do.

And thin men can get osteoporosis too, which I definitely am. Lupron just makes it a sure thing.

But I didn't only get bad news today. I also got some exciting news. I've been asked to speak in church this Sunday. It won't be a sermon, per se, but I'll be telling my story, and talking about how God has been revealing himself to me since my diagnosis. Our pastor is in the middle of a sermon series about living in the Spirit, which I take to mean being aware of God's presence in our lives, and acting accordingly.

That's been happening for me since God woke me up with his 2 by 4 upside my head, and I have to admit, it has little or nothing to do with me. I think that's the point, and it will be the point of my "speech," as my friend Amber would call it. So my big assignment for this week is to write my first sermon! It's a challenge I'm very excited about.

We saw some dear friends this past weekend, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Friday, we had lunch with a couple we haven't seen for years, but they were great friends and ministry partners for fourteen years with my wife and me at our old church. I had a very important question to ask, and I got the answer I was hoping to get. It was a very meaningful time. Plans are in motion.

On Saturday, while I was at rehearsal with the kids, I got a Facebook message from one of the members of my favorite band, The Neal Morse Band. He was very touched by what I said about how God is using their music in my life, and said he would be praying for me. I don't need to tell you that his message made my day. As I said in my last post, Neal also has told me he and his family pray for me every day. To me, this is a little like Paul McCartney saying he's praying for me every day.

Of course, I know that the prayers of rock stars don't count any more than anyone else's. I'm eternally grateful for everyone who prays for me. So you now have two more things to pray about when you're praying for me. Please pray that God will give me the words to say when I speak this Sunday. I don't want it to just be me talking about me. I want the Spirit of God to come through with every word. And please also pray that I won't fall off the stage and break my hip! #waroncancer

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