Cry About Everything

What is it about the last few years?  I seem to cry about everything:  Good news, bad news, in-between news.  Is this a function of getting older?  Is it because I allow myself to feel and experience emotions?  Is it because I live from the heart instead of the brain?  Maybe it is all these things.

This week I got my 3 year scan and it was all clear.  For my type of cancer, this means I can now extend my visits to every 6 months from every 3 months because the chances of this cancer coming back drop materially.  As I walked out of the clinic, I just starting crying.  People around me might have thought I just received some bad news.  Going into these appointments, I don’t think that I am carrying more than my usual amount of worry, but there are likely some pent-up emotions that are released after they are done.  I don’t know for sure.

I do know that I don’t take good health for granted.  But it is not just that.  I have been practicing a speech I am doing  in front of 400 plus donors (money, not organs) at the university where I have been teaching and mentoring students.  I have finally gone through it enough that I don’t cry at three or four different points of the speech.  The speech is from the heart, it is from my journey, from my interaction with students, and from what God is using me for right now.  It is still new.  To rely on God’s plan rather than my own.

I still have too many flaws to count.  I am still a morning person.  I still go to bed at 8pm.  I still worry too much. I am still judgmental.  I still want to follow my own path.  I still think too much about me rather than others.  The difference is that God can use me in spite of these and many other flaws.  In the Bible, God uses primarily highly flawed people to do his work.

This is what is on my mind this morning as I wipe tears away from the keyboard.

Dean

A Boomer In Transition

Thankful

This morning I am thankful for many things.  It was my birthday yesterday and I was able to enjoy the 78 degree sunny weather by walking the fields behind our house.  I had a nice lunch with my wife at one of our favorite restaurants.  Our son signed a lease to become an apartment renter and was offered and accepted a job.  Our windows got cleaned, and someone else did it.  I was part of a panel at the university and did not sound stupid (my opinion) and received more confirmation that God has me there for a reason.  Friends sent in some generous contributions to the bladder cancer walk in May.  I feel good this morning- and I have learned that this is not something to be taken for granted.  I have an overwhelming sense that God continues to guide my path and that generally I listen.

I am simply thankful.

Dean

A Boomer In Transition

Happy Birthday Bladder

Three years ago today, I got a new bladder.  Cancer in the lining and muscle of the bladder and nearly 4 months of chemo that did not help meant that it would have to go.  I would arrive at the hospital at 5:00 am (usually my favorite time of day) and after a couple hours of prep and 10 hours of surgery, I would have a new bladder constructed from about two feet of my small intestine.

This is how I looked shortly after surgery:

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Because I had a catheter in for 4 weeks, it would still be a while until I would know if the new bladder really worked correctly.  Fortunately, it did.  And then getting control of it after a lot of physical therapy and core strengthening.  Never was I so motivated to work my core.

These cancer anniversaries are very emotional for me.  Each represented  a major step in the cancer journey and each represented a leap of transformational change in my life.  As it says in James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you go through trials of many kinds.”  It was not pure joy in this picture, I am shocked at how pale I look.  The pure joy came later when I learned to rely on God’s strength and not my own, among many other lessons, which I have chronicled on this blog.

I get another CT scan and checkup in less than 3 weeks.  If this scan is all clear, the probability of the cancer returning drops significantly and I can extend the time between scans to at least 6 months from my current 3 months.

Thanks for being with me on this journey.  I believe the three year old birthday will be called the “terrific three’s rather than the terrible three’s.”

Dean

A Boomer In Transition

 

 

37th on Upgrade List

I made a trip to our nation’s capital this past week to attend an independent director’s conference.  I must say, as dysfunctional as our government seems to be these days, there is still something almost inspiring to go to Washington DC, to drive by the memorials, and to think about the courage and the sacrifices to create our still great country.

Since my conference started Monday afternoon, I took the early flight to Washington Reagan airport and knew by the throngs of business travelers or lobbyists, or whoever was going to DC that early, that there would be no chance of an upgrade.  I used to fly so much that I was almost treated like royalty at the airport (ok, royalty is really a stretch here).  I started seeing the same flight attendants, even the same TSA agents at the airport, which is definitely a sign you are traveling too much!  I was still curious if my name was even on the upgrade monitor.  Sure enough, I was 37th for upgrade to first class with 1 seat available.  I smiled, because this is exactly the amount of time I want to be spending in the airport, enough to be 37th on the upgrade list!

In another couple of months I will lose my Delta club membership as more trappings of life-lived-in-an-airport melt away.  But don’t feel sorry for me.  It is a blessing to be able to retire, create a second act, and be on an entirely different upgrade list.

Dean

A Boomer In Transition