A normal wish…

My wife’s mom’s naturopath’s mentor’s friend’s partner’s friend is a new friend of mine, but not of my cancer. These folks hail from Utah, Tennessee, North Carolina, Quebec, Ontario, and Utah (in that order). And as I sat by a frequency generator at my new friend’s house, I realized that the route taken by my cancer treatment has been about as normal as a Tim Burton film with Johnny Depp in it. From a grandmother’s prophetic dream foretelling my brain tumor to our discovery of how governmental mining for the atomic bomb led to the tumor’s origin, Edward Scissorhands and Willy Wonka look like a couple of guys walking around in the Truman Show.I recently tried to apply for the Make-A-Wish Foundation because I meet most of their criteria. I am medically eligible for a wish, I have not received a wish from another wish-granting organization, and I could use a trip to Disney World….I’m just a little bit over their 18-max age limit. Bummer.Thomas Hollenbach, a friend of our church members’ in salt lake, is a courageous 9-year old and diagnosed with the same cancer as me. Only mine is a glioblastoma multiforme, and his is a brainstem glioma (worse). He meets all of the criteria, and his wish was to meet Billy Graham, which is pretty noble for a 9-year old.What faith!

The waterslide on those Disney Cruise commercial’s gets my wife every time, so I think I’d pick the Disney wish. Besides, I already met Billy Graham around the age of 9. Sure, it was through some binoculars with about 50,000+ other people, but that’s beside the point (as is the fact that DC Talk & Jars of Clay were headlining the free show).National Cancer Institute‘s website linked me to American Cancer Society’s resources page, which had a number for the National Patient Travel Center, who told me about Miracle Flights for Kids, who’s name prompted my wife to laugh at me when I gave her the application to be faxed. She cut her cackle when I told her Miracle Flights for Kids still considers me a kid.You can consider yourself stuck when 7 bad news MRIs in a year prompt you to start every cancer therapy in the book, and then your 8th MRI shows a tumor shrinkage. Was it the $4,000 chemotherapy pills I pay $35/month for? Or the tri-weekly flights to Las Vegas for Avastin infusions? The daily enemas and 100 ounces of fruit/vegetable juice? Or the homeopathics and naturopath appointments in Canada? Is it the $115 bottles of Poly-MVA, who’s clinical studies have been too few to warrant FDA/insurance approval? Or is it a combination of these? And now that I’ve added 3 frequency treatments a week at my new friend’s house in Salt Lake, what role is that playing?

It would be sheer stupidity to cut any of the lines that could be the thread your life is hanging by. Even Edward wouldn’t do that, although it is tempting to assume the most expensive or time consuming therapy is the least effective and has nothing to do with your current success.

A doctor at Duke University told me 3 years ago that this type of cancer always comes back. He said its not a question of if, but when. I didn’t believe him, and with a few more years/brain surgeries underneath my belt, I think I’ll stick with the preventative mode for the rest of my life, regardless of how costly, burdening, or abnormal it may be.

And while I wish I knew the exact plans God has for me, I do know about Jeremiah 29:11 and James 1:2….“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And I also know that Miracle Flights for Kids is the exact miracle that a 25-year old kid from Utah has been praying for. Especially since they actually bought me a plane ticket for my next treatment.

On January 22, 2010, my reign on life ended. I shudder at my keyboard as I recall that terrifying day my wife found me twitching without control in the lift line at Park City Mountain Resort. Any control I thought I had on my health, time, or finances was promptly passed over to God as ski patrol carried me down the hill on their emergency sled.

As seizures, doctors, and life-changing medical decisions flooded back into my life, insurance bills and 6-hour drives for treatment were a new addition. However, I learned to take it one step at a time and make the best possible decisions with the information God had given me. And boy did He show up in some incredible ways.

But it’s never been normal. From the way I find out about treatments to the way that we somehow manage to pay for them, God directs the production in no ordinary manner. I made 20 grand in 2 months booking timeshare tours in Branson, Missouri during the fall of 2009. Not your typical October/November sorta gig, but it provided a cushion for the few shifts I was able to work between seizures and medical trips once we were back home. Less than 10,000 year-round residents reside in Park City, UT, which had forced my wife to spend over 6 months without a job. Within 3 months of me losing mine due to brain surgery, Logan got a salaried position out of 85 applicants as the executive assistant for the CEO of Keller Williams (a prominent real estate company with over 250 local agents).I might not be able to tell you what normal looks like, what therapies exactly are accomplishing what, or just how this whole thing called life will go down, but I do wish for enough faith to get through the abnormalities that it takes for God to work a miracle.
“He never leads them otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose they are fulfilling.” —Prophets and Kings, 578

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6 Responses to “A normal wish…”

  1. allison harper Says:

    Wow… thanks, Daniel. God has been so amazing, hasn’t He? And He’ll continue the miracles, I have no doubt. Thanks for blessing me this morning with good writing, pointing me to faith in God. Also, I am floored AND praising Him for your wbc miracle! Love, Mom

  2. Matthew Smith Says:

    Hey man! I’m choking down the lump in my throat as I sit in the Seminary at Andrews watching the snow fall. Bro, you know Jenn and I have been praying for you! Thanks for being vulnerable enough to blog your journey and to encourage those of us that might take life for granted. Give Logan a hug for us, and you’ll be in our prayers.

  3. I used to work with your sister {SUCH a CUTE girl she is!} and so thru her I have found your “blog”. WOW!!! Your writing is awesome….your faith is awesome…your outlook on life {even thru cancer} is awesome!! Very encouraging!! Know someone in TN is holding you and your wife and family up in prayer! What a witness you are for the AMAZING God we serve! Courage!

  4. Jennifer Henderson Says:

    Daniel and Logan,
    I know it’s a long time since our days at GCA but know that you’re in my prayers. I teach now and you can be sure that 24 prayers will go up for you and Logan eveyday. May God just give ya’ll strength.

  5. Ralph and Mary Lou Bresee Says:

    Awesome faith Daniel and Logan! Thank you so much for your vulnerablity in sharing your journey with us! You will continue in our prayers – hugs for you both!!!

  6. joan kristensen Says:

    Dear Daniel,
    You don’t know me.. but your mom does. We were nurses together at Weimar Institute years ago. Her and I recently reconnected on Facebook and I looked at her pictures.. saw her and her wonderful family, and smiled big! Then I read this today.. your amazing journey! I sit totally quiet here by my keyboard, amazed! So, although I only know you from this your writing, I must write and wishing you all the courage and healing possibly!
    I am a former cancer nurse at Loma Linda Medical Centre and I have seen many a fight against this challenging foe, cancer. You are doing all the right things, Daniel, I want you to know that! Your daily fight, your search and turning of every stone for healing agents, your faith in God and your willingness to share your thoughts and story! I send you my deepest wishes for strength and healing , and you will for sure be in my prayers! Keep up your faith in God.. no matter what, remembering the little saying: ” Life without God is a hopeless end, but life WITH God is an endless hope! Many greetings from Joan Kristensen, am old friend of your mom’s

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