The privilege of meaty prayer…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2011 by danielgharper

I have become meat. I don’t just eat meat. I AM meat. Chicken Liver. Lamb Chops. Ahi Tuna. Halibut. Wild-caught Alaskan Salmon. Top Sirloin. Grilled Steak. Medium. Dark. Baked Chicken. Turkey slices.  Hamburgers. Chicken Thigh.

Mayonnaise, coconut oil, flax oil/cottage cheese, and a couple limited vegetables are also allowed on my ever so strict ketogenic diet. The pastor’s wife told me about it: eating meat, that is. To prevent seizures. However, turns out there are quite a few studies that getting into ketosis can also starve brain cancer: Boston College, M.D.s, Time/CNN, Reuters.

The diet is not exactly pleasant, even for those with carnivorous cravings. Zero spices or herbs makes it no easier. The spice  that has made things easier in my life the past few weeks is my ever loyal brother. Wiping vomit off my pants on the side of the road (VEGANS-don’t start on the keto-diet too fast!), pretending to be me when doctors call, frying new meats, and trying to get me in new clinical trials, is all in Jeff’s cup ‘o tea.

Visiting nieces also spice things up. But the geese wouldn’t eat their gluten-free bread. I don’t blame them.

And so I am blessed, even if all I eat is restricted carbs, calories, and animals. I’m going to be blunt.  I pray for my GBM friends every day. But I don’t have too many of them. Because glioblastoma multiforme tumors to many other cancers is like black widows are to most spiders.

I’ve heard it said that the reason so many prayers go unanswered is too many people let go of God’s hand too soon. This means (as Jeff says) not treating God like a vending machine or a Burger King. But fervently seeking the Sovereign King without trying to jump in of His presence and out as fast as you can.

I strongly believe one of the biggest reasons I am four years out from a tumor that leaves most in a coffin one year after diagnosis is the massive amount of people I’ve been privileged enough to have pray for me. And my latest privilege has been the youth class I hang out with at my church creating prayfordaniel.com.

One of my favorite qoutes is also by one of my favorite authors:

“Right now we are on the wrong side of the door. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. One day, we will get in! The term will be over and the holidays will have begun!” ~C.S. Lewis

Thanks again Madison for http://prayfordaniel.com!

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Please send with urgent delivery…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 10, 2011 by danielgharper

Dear God,

There seems to be a lot of people who need to hear about You. I believe I can help. However, I need to stay alive in order to do so. You know how scared and incredibly weak I am.  How easily fear and anxiety chain me to  darkness and despair.  I need you. I hope You feel the same about me.

The view ahead is getting foggier and foggier. I have no idea what to do, how to get through, or how much longer I can last. I feel pulled in so many directions; everyone has a different idea for what is best. Please throw a rope and pull me to shore.

I’ll admit, my candle is flickering. I’m so tired. So sick of suffering. But “I will not die but live, and will proclaim the good works of the LORD. You have chastened me severely but have not given me over to death.” ~Psalms 118:17-18

Yours Truly,

Daniel

PS If you see the devil, can you tell him he really sucks? Tell him I get the ‘lets be greater than God‘ deal, but did he really have to go and ruin everyone else’s lives??? Tell him to read the bible, recognize who wins, and go to hell early.

All that she truly is…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2011 by danielgharper

I  took this picture of Tom Cruise in his red Ferrari on Sunset Blvd. in Beverly Hills almost  one year go.

I took this photo of the Red Bull ‘Jump a Motorcycle onto a building’ New Years Event in Las Vegas a little over two years ago.

A little over three years ago I was lucky enough to lean up against a garage wall in Savannah, GA and stare at this beautiful thing I’d somehow found myself engaged to.

A little over three days ago the stunning girl above captured the not-so-stunning, head-on-fire, chemo-ridden, seizure-prone boy below. If only she’d known! (The amazing part is that she did knowI’d already had one surgery!)

Fortunately for me she’s brilliant. but unfortunately for us, her brilliant discovery this week was that the replacement of our furnace last weekend is now blowing out some sort of toxin that is causing ALL of our health issues to totally flare up. Since I could barely move without going into a seizure, my wonder woman hauled me and my stuff to the Holiday Inn across the street.

I caught her off gaurd with this photo just over two days ago.

Just over a day ago, we utilized my Amex Hilton Honors Points to move to Hampton Inn.

With my seizurish activity increasing and ability to function as an independent adult decreasing, my beautiful wife’s workload is tripling or quadupling.

I personally don’t know how she is so strong and manages such a juggling act: slaving away as my caretaker, attitude coach, juicer, cook, medicine coordinator, seizure stopper, enema cleaner upper, driver, baggage handler (I think you get the point). Basically my everything.

And somehow she goes to work five days a week and pretends like things are normal enough to hold down a quality, salaried job with status and plenty of potential.

I have no idea how she does it. Just that I am blessed.

And so I’m asking for one simple thing. Help me tell Logan what she means. Leave a comment below for her. E-mail her, facebook her, just show her somehow, some way, how incredibly much she means and how incredibly amazing all that she truly is.

Georgene’s 44 cent Facebook Messages…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2011 by danielgharper

Dear, Mr. Daniel and Mrs. Logan, I hope the Daniel feels Better because I feel bad for him. if Daniel feels better I will feel so much happy! We hope you feel better. Amen. ~Da-Cia Cooper

For Logan

I know how it feels to have someone in danger Well the only thing to do is to pray Well bye take care ~Kevin

I am amused by the heart-warming wisdom of these 3rd and 4th graders, but even more amazed by the heart of gold held by their teacher, Veronyka Perez.

We’ve never met Veronyka, but she’s met us. Through the updates section in our college alumni magazine, Columns, that is. Something about our situation (and I don’t know what) sprung off the page and struck a chord on her golden heart.

Gathering her 3-4 graders around her in what was possibly the greatest ‘I don’t know you-but I’d like to help you‘ act since The Good Samaritan, they frenzied like mad scientists to splash crayon, marker, bible verses, and personal messages onto 12 pages of creativity, hope, and love.Daniel-Logan Harper. I hope you know God is a God of second chances. I know God will give a second chance to you. : ) God Bless ~Izabel    P.S. God thinks your special! : )

I actually did know God is a God of second chances, but I did not know that Michael Andrew Valdez Perez could draw such a stunning portate of myself on my knees asking for one (how could he have known my hair looks like that??)

My friend Georgene also has a heart of gold. Only I’ve met her. We’ve even been to her house. Georgene prays for us, just like Miss Perez’s class. She sends notes, too. More 44 cent masterpieces of penmanship than even my own family could ever produce. Amazes me, really.

A friend from the start, Georgene has more class than a medical student trying to finish in two years.  Reminds me exactly of my grandmother. Elegant, soft-spoken ladies who bake pies, send cards, and make people feel loved.  Something tells me future generations will produce no such effect.

And while Georgene doesn’t have the wisdom of a Da-Cia, Kevin, Izabel, or Michael, she does know how to connect. To let you know you are on her mind. She does it for your sake, not hers. I never asked Georgene to send me cards, she simply does it because she cares.

I also never actually asked her if I could put her picture on the world wide web, slo I’ve taken the liberty of almost completely blocking out their eyes to keep their identity protected. However, if you look hard enough you might be able to see them (criminals/identity thieves have poor eyesight, for the record).

I don’t think she has facebook, and I’m kinda glad, because a farmtown invite from Georgene would not be the same as a  “Thinking of you” set against Thomas Kinkade, Save the Species, or Hallmark stock. It wouldn’t compare to a “We’re praying for you” alongside a homemade hymn stanza cutout tucked gently inside a Utah photographer’s best-selling snapshot.

This last weekend was Easter, and for those of you who don’t know, Easter represents something much sweeter than the chocolate bunnies 3rd and 4th graders smear all over their faces (as the video at church so aptly showed us). I was lucky enough to connect to the meaning of this weekend in some very special ways.

#1 Agnus Dei was sung as a closing song at our church with some very talented vocalists leading out. There’s something awe-inspiring about adding your voice to the rich harmonies of that song. The song that crescendos upwards to an everlasting and almighty God who decided that we were worthy enough to induce the sacrifice of His lamb.

#2 I watched Passion of the Christ (the full movie is on youtube!) until I accidentally killed our internet for a day. Note: don’t go to 192.168.1.1, and turn off  Netgear’s wireless radio feature unless you know exactly what you are doing and are prepared to be schooled by a well-trained female technician in the Philippines.

I became a huge fan of  bible movies last year after watching The Nativity Story. It really brings the stories to life in ways that just reading alone cannot. The Passion is a bit gruesome, but defitinely etched into my mind what a tremendous sacrifice was made on my behalf.

#3 I read chapter 5 in a book called Ministry of Healing. It retells and brings to life the stories of Christ healing a leper, man with palsy, man who’d been withered on a mat for 38 years, an adultress, and a demoniac. What forgiveness and restoration!

I suppose we all have our different ways of connecting. With God. With His Son. With each other. I once heard it said that we should consider connecting with God, for God’s sake. And while I can’t really wrap my mind around why Christ and the Father are looking for friends, I can understand the love shown me by Veronyka, her class, and Georgene.~ christianpoints.com

To ponder upon…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2011 by danielgharper

Enough normalcy trickled in and out of my life the last six days, that I actually had time to think. To ponder upon whatever aspect of life needed my pondering upon.

Let me borrow from my African preacher friends: after meandering in the maze of mediocrity for so long, one of my pit stops was to ponder at the pool of popularity.

So I might have taken that famous sermon quote slightly out of context, but I did not do my pondering by the largest pool in the world (which happens to be in Chile). No, I did it by the pool of popularity. Should you ever find yourself in an audience with a speaker advocating these words audaciously, do not attempt to answer with your own articulate alliteration; simply applaud in astonishment.

After spending two entire days in my bed to avoid having more seizures, I emerged from my sheets of terror to enjoy a few of my favorite things. Which happen to be music. Popular music. For some.

Pondered upon Point #1 ~ I really admire talented musicians such as Owl City  and Lights. I wish I could make music as well as they do, and I wish I got to live their lifestyle of studio recording and touring. It’d be cool to be so good at what you do that you are actually quite popular for it.

My preoccupation with myself ended quite abruptly the next day as normalcy trickled back on out: all my fiendish computer stalking left my brain too stimulated to do much else but read if I wanted to avoid the ever-dreaded seizure-a common foe these days. So read I did.

Pondered upon Point #2 ~ I seriously have a messed up taste of interests. Please compare my musical pursuits to this short snippet of a book I’m currently reading, First Pulse: “This is an exciting report because carbonic anyhydrase converts carbon dioxide to the liquid soluble carbonic acid. This would empty the gas ports and allow oxygen to flood in. So this deficiency in tumors would allow carbon dioxide gas to keep out oxygen. This sounds like a primary malignant deficiency and explains the Warburg defect in colo-rectal tumors.

I’m a total nerd. The book is about cancer research done by a chemist! Maybe it’s so fascinating because I totally forgot there even was a periodic table of elements until last week. He used Mendeleev’s.

Pondered upon Point #3 ~What was the difference between my intense focus on music entertainment and dreams of fame early last week, and my intense focus on Christ and dwelling on/promoting His Second Coming the week before??

Seriously?!?? What changed in those few days?

And what makes the  difference between these two kinds of people I inconspicuously snapped photos of in the Chicago airport? Okay, so I didn’t actually take the second picture, and I’m pretty sure she’s not reading a bible. I think its a google-pulled image of a girl doing homework. The only person  I’ve ever seen reading a bible in an airport was this old lady in Salt Lake City. Go figure. I failed to snap a photo.

My point in taking the top picture, however, was to capture how completely consumed everyone was with some various form of entertainment. Total distraction for all it was worth. People magazine. The sports game on TV. Some book about a dragon vampire boy. iPods. iPads. Makeup. Trying to make sure no one sees you snap their photo.

And now I know it. The difference, that is. It’s simple, really, and can be surmised in one word. The difference between myself over those few days and the people in the airport: need. The majority of us have easy-going, fun-filled, super-busy lives. Distracting lives. Lives that have no need or room for a Savior. The second my life took a “What About Bob-sized” baby step towards the normal/fun section, my priority antennas tuned out my desperate need of a Savior and tuned in on myself.

Even though I’d been listening to Lights, I’d forgotten her song, I need a Saviour.

Fortunately I stumbled across this vital realization in time. Just in time for when the normalcy would trickle completely out. Just in time to make room for yet another unexpected, scary, and confidence-dashing seizure to end my Friday evening with a bang.

If it weren’t for my incredible, God-fearing, and simply courageous wife, I think these seizures would kill me. But they don’t, and so I’d like to end this post with a letter I stole from her facebook that she sent to a friend.“We all have our trials…just in different forms. I’m not going to lie….the past year and a half have been extremely difficult yet at the same time uplifting in that I have been able to experience a more intimate relationship with God.

There have been many times when I think….God why me? Why us? Look at all of our friends…they don’t have problems like this…they are all living blissfully happy and content lives…not too many problems. I look at friends’ pictures and dream of having a normal life. Free of cancer…free of worry and troubles.

I have found that I have wasted a lot of energy and time grieving about my problems and feeling sorry for myself. I wonder why God has put me in this place where I am at. But God has shown me through my trials to have complete trust and faith in Him. I have realized that we don’t understand why something that we consider bad is happening to us…but we must keep our faith and trust in God. He only wants the best for us and He WILL be right beside us all of the way.”

Need I say any more? I’m pretty pleased to have such a profound ponderer as my partner.



*I also stole this picture from my wife. I found it on the coffee table this morning, ripped out of a magazine…

and it broke my heart. I’ll be there soon, babe. “Stand firm in the faith. Be strong and of courage.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

Post-cancer…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2011 by danielgharper

I totally lost it last Friday. I had worked so hard all day on  upping my positive attitude: a crucial companion when questioning one’s purpose in life. I’d received a pep talk from my wife and mother, compared myself to the struggling Japanese, and even reviewed Liz Murray’s homeless upbringing in NYC.

But the floodgates broke that evening. After a stressful phone call with my oncologist, I felt the all-too-familiar strangeness. The beginnings of  seizure terror. Trying to ignore it, I nonchalantly put just one Ativan underneath my tongue to calm the brain. As my jaw began to freeze I screamed for two more, which my mom quickly provided. Every nerve in my left hand began to freeze up as my eyes twitched uncontrollably. I felt like they might pop out of my head.

My episode miraculously ended as unexpectedly as it began, but as I lay face down on the carpet with my pants down (rectal valium syringe ready), I couldn’t take it anymore. I’d lost it. The after-shock tremors and anxiety shivers ended with a new grand finale: tears and more tears.

I feel slightly foolish telling hundreds of people that a grown man cried because of a stupid little seizure. But it was more like my water broke, which is nothing to laugh at. The dam collapsed, and out flowed my frustrations, all my anxiety, all the horrific memories of being stuck inside a convulsing body I cannot control.  Built up inside of me were the countless afternoons I’ve spent curled up in bed trying to avoid seizing while home alone, alongside the constant irritant that comes with my inability to drive or even walk away from my condo without the risk of someone calling 911, and it all broke loose as I tried to hold it back.

After I’d pulled myself up (pants too) and dusted off,I thought to myself,  ‘You big pansy, what happened to your positive attitude?!? You need to go back and read some of your own blog posts!’

And while I didn’t do that, I did go to my site’s administrator section. And I was reminded of two things: (1) the privilege of impact …

(2) Acts 5:41. Which says, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin,  rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Christ.”

Now…I’m no apostle before the Sanhedrin and I certainly don’t rejoice over cancer or seizures, but I suppose I should wipe off some of my frustration because of the disgrace I’ve been allowed. If not for it,  my impact for Christ would probably not be even a quarter of what I’ve had the opportunity to have had.

This time last year I barely knew what blogging was…I still don’t really know what it is. And I certainly have no idea how to do it. Or why this site gets the traffic it does. I used to try and write cleverly; but lately I just struggle to get something written each week.

A few weeks back I thought I needed to quit having seizures and make my tumor disappear so I could be an example for this quote from a March 18th USA Today article:

Many in the general public have noticed Adventists tend to be superstars of good health and longevity; research shows they tend to live 10 years longer than the average American.

I thought I needed to pull it together if I wanted to be a fair representation of my church. The article: Adventists’ back-to-basics faith is fastest growing U.S. Church , excites me that my bible-based Christianity is leading the pack, but saddens me that 2.5% is the number that earned us the spot. I think God is ready for bigger and better returns, and if I want to be a part of that, maybe pulling it together isn’t the best way to get that done. Maybe I should recognize that having cancer is a part of my story, and without it, who would care what some 25 year old snowboarder kid working a job has to say?

But then again, what do I know? Maybe when brain tumors and seizures in my life are long forgotten, http://christianpoints.com will be too. But hopefully when I’m back to snowboarding and working a job, God will give me enough cleverness to continue sharing His soon return.

Another place in life….

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2011 by danielgharper

I figured it out last Wednesday. Not everything of course. Just the key for me. The key that I need to move on.

It was a blatant realization that struck me in the middle of writing  a page and a half letter for my wife’s April 1st birthday: brownies with candles, lunch with a friend, and an indoor picnic reminiscent of our first picnic/kiss 7 years ago is not exactly a class act, but those days are long gone; I’ll just pull the cancer card for my lack of birthday grandeur.

Besides, I COMPLETELY screwed myself over for the rest of my life when I proposed to my wife. Not a  pun. I simply made a minor mistake. Went slightly overboard.  I  may never be able to come up with anything more fantastical.  My mistake was a complete surprise for her: the two of us flying  from Chattanooga, TN to Orlando, FL where we picked up a friends car and drove to West Palm Beach, FL to walk along the ocean, eat at the Ritz Carlton, and board a friend’s private catamaran yacht where soft blue lights, candles, roses, and a guitar awaited us. Feel free to visit myspace.com/danielharper to listen to my engagement song (complete me) if you are looking for an excuse out of work for another 3 minutes….for those interested in some terrible rap music, listen to the first song  and laugh your head off (at me).  Oh, for the college days again…sigh

Now, my key to moving on. It can be best described by my past. I’ve been lucky enough to do some cool stuff in my life which has made it harder to accept where I’m at now; this is a huge part of my discovery. High-school was a little crazy being in a “Christian punk-rock band” and all that:It normalized out a little bit  during and after this phase with the introduction of mountainboarding into my life. My parents and girlfriend were highly pleased at this new endeavor as it was obviously much safer than playing rock music for rotary club events!But unfortunately for my wife (and my body), I never quite made it past that stage.

My favorite commercial on TV is not the black man with old spice who switches locations every few seconds. Its not  the darth vader kid with the volkswagon magic or the ex-girlfriend guy on a ski lift who throws the cell phone off into the mountains.

My favorite is that middle-aged dude standing next to a lake with a rope swing, who says “I sure did make some foolish decisions as a teenager, swinging out over those rocks…” He then goes on to sell us the latest and greatest pharmaceutical.  I, however, somehow made it past my teenage years continuing to making foolish decisions jumping over rocks.And this is exactly how I discovered the key. Well, not exactly. I figured out my problem while reminiscing on the Amway business I poured my entire college experience into and failed at. All because I was convinced that happiness was found in having all the time and money one could ever want.  It sucked the life out of me: I put 25,000 miles on my car in 2006, and the stress of complete failure/intense overwork is a major factor in what I believe contributed to my cancer development.*

Night after night I was either forcing myself to go make contacts (prospecting) at gas stations, grocery stores, and anywhere else I could meet people. After burning most of my friend and family contacts that was the only option. My “business mentors” spent hours on the phone with me each evening encouraging me to keep it up, work harder, and focus on my small successes. While I did manage to “go Eagle”, “go 2500 PV”, attend business conventions all across the country, and learn tremendous amounts about sales and positive thinking,  I also went broke and quite keenly embedded my problem into my mind. So what is this problem and the key for moving beyond it you might ask? It’s quite simple, really. I’ve spent much of my life constantly wishing I was at another place in life. Always wanting to get to the next best thing. Perpetual dissatisfaction with life circumstances. Always thinking the next set of circumstances will be better.

My wife and I rushed through college so we could get married and “make it.”  When I got cancer I wanted to forget about it and pretend like it would never come back. After moving to Las Vegas we just had to leave ASAP to get to a ski town, cuz that was the dream. When tourism/income slowed down during the summer we were off to Maui. But our living conditions and income potential in Maui were pretty bad, so we just focused on getting back!! Then, after driving to and spending 2.5 months making $$$$ in Branson, MO, I just had to get back to Park City for snowboarding.

I made it back just in time for my cancer to return with a raging vengeance. And I spent all last year wishing my cancer was gone. Now that my cancer is dying, I immediately assume life should be back to “normal.” Whatever that means. And such were the thoughts I wrote out last Wednesday to the wonderful women that has stuck with me through all of the craziness I’ve just shared with you.

And that’s the key. Super simple; nothing profound. I’ve got to enjoy every stage in life instead of rushing onto the next or constantly trying to relive my past.

But it’s not easy. It’s not easy when I compare my former life of fun, current life, and when I’d like “my future life” to start happening. Whatever that means. The key to solving my problem is becoming content with wherever I’m at in life-even if that means being stuck in a condo all day with a juicer and anti-seizure meds in my pocket at all times.

It means being okay with the fact that yesterday afternoon while walking with my mom, I had to sit down in the street sucking desperately on Ativan to try and stop the soon-coming and without-warning seizure. It means being thankful for the man who helped us get in his car, drove us home, and stood next to me while I involuntarily groaned and convulsed in his back seat.  Poor guy probably about had a heart attack while my mom ran to go get the valium.

Not always wanting to be at another place in life means being thankful for the many blessings that we do have. The number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States is medical costs and 78% of those filers have insurance.** One of my blessings I too soon forget are the the friends and family who care so much about us and give of themselves to make sure we are okay.

Not everyone is blessed with that, and I’m well aware of this truth. Neither words nor tears can possibly express the gratitude and surprise I felt after being sent this 2.5 minute video on Logan’s birthday.

And that’s it. But it’s not easy. However, always wishing I was at a future place in life just isn’t going to cut it anymore. So please pray. For me. For yourself. For us all. And I’ll pray that whatever your current place in life is – even if its not seizures or tumors – I’ll pray that we’ll both be perfectly content with wherever we are at lin life.

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