Sunday, May 31, 2009

Clearing the air

We've been miserable with allergies lately. My son's seasonal allergies led to a nasty sinus infection, which kept him home from school and benched him from some of his favorite activities for a while.

'Tis the season for allergies, but I remember the weather forecast describing higher than usual pollution levels this weekend, mostly due to the number of recent hot, dry days.

And then I remembered another comment from several weeks earlier, when some heavy storms came through. The meteorologist seemed to welcome the approaching storms, mentioning that they would be coming through and cleaning up the air.

I naturally considered the storms of life, and the opportunities they provide to clear away the polluting elements that seem to thrive in times of ease. I also realized that storms are often feared for their damaging potential. But unlike the weather -- which we cannot control -- we can control whether the metaphoric storms of life will damage us or purify us. I think they key to that control is knowing where to find refuge from these storms.

"For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall...He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it." Isaiah 25:4,8

Faith drives out fear, just like fear drives out faith. Faith, which is rooted in hope, anticipates the positive in any circumstance. Fear, which results from the absence of faith, anticipates the worst in any circumstance. Fear clouds our perspective, while faith keeps us anchored during the storms of life so that our vision becomes increasingly clear.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

...and FORTY-ONE!

I even remembered it before anyone reminded me!

Forty-one months of survival. This is fun, because I'm still forty-one years old for a couple more months. I'm looking forward to watching my survival-month tally climb past my age in years.

It's also delightful to realize that if you switch the numbers around you get 14, which was a hopeful prognosis (in months) at the time I was diagnosed. Back then, if someone would have predicted that I would not only survive fourteen months, but would also be doing fine at forty-one months, I would have merely smiled in appreciation at their hopeful thinking.

The other cool thing is that my "graduation day" from chemotherapy was a little over fourteen months ago. So not only did I zing by fourteen months past diagnosis all the way to forty-one months past diagnosis, but I have survived fourteen months after stopping all treatments.

Good times like these breed sick humor. I was joking with some family members about ways to have some fun with my neuro tests. Things like making a face instead of sticking out my tongue. Responding to "What day is it?" with a deliberate nod and a confident answer..."Blue." We remembered Bill Murray faking Tourette Syndrome in What About Bob, explaining that "If you can fake it, you don't have it." As offensive as that probably was to people who know firsthand about Tourette Syndrome, we couldn't resist considering the concept. If I have the ability to fake a bad neuro test...maybe it means I'm still okay...

...or at least a little healthier than my sense of humor...

Maybe I'll be done with sick humor when I'm celebrating fourteen YEARS of post-treatment survival.