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The Good, the frustrating, and the “Really that is where I am at Comment”

January 12, 2012

So this past weekend, I attended a men’s retreat near White Pass.  It was lots of fun.  I lift skied for the first time since my surgery.  I was a little worried about my vision processing of objects (mainly other skiers) as the couple of weeks after surgery that was an issue.  However I felt great and no issues.  It was a big step for me to feel like I am for sure moving towards being “normal.”  I had great support and folks watching out for me on the slopes in Brain, Jason and Sean.   Brian was the keynote speaker for the event – it is always fun to hear his Everest story and miracle on the mountain.  I was also able to speak about preparation.  I think it went well and I was able to get my point across, however I felt like I was talking too fast, but was emotional and still couldn’t slow myself down.  Good to have time away to pray, relax, hear some great messages and hang with some good buds.  That was the good.  The frustrating was dealing with insurance trying to get my chemo meds for round two.   On 1/1/12 there was a legislative change that now has oral chemo treated like a medical procedure – meaning subject to your co-insurance, where in 2011, it was covered under pharmacy.  The difference paying $30 versus my 80/20 split – granted I will hit my max out of pocket for the year, so I will pay that amount regardless.  But sort of a shocker when you are expecting to only pay $30.     It just left me feeling pretty frustrated Monday night.  After getting everything worked out on Tuesday I sent off an email to Jess, my sister and my mom, giving them an update on what I had found out.  My comment was “well this is sort of good news”.  I thought to myself, really is this where I am at?  Happy about “sort of good news”  I decided I am ready for some “real” good news, not “sort of” good news.  Like the tumor is gone – not just that it is “only” a stage II tumor.  (Granted I do think it could be lots worse, so I am thankful and greatful!)  But still I am ready for just some Great, Happy, Wonderful news!

This type of news and celebration:

1 Samuel 18:6

New International Version (NIV)

 6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres.

Here are the notes from my short talk on preparation:


Quick timeline on history of events, etc. history of what has happened. The thought that honestly there are some things that you just can’t really prepare for – for me this is one of them, however now that the process has started, here are some things that I have tried to do to be prepared for this next big obstacle in my life.

“Success occurs at the crossroads of opportunity and preparation.” You need both in order to have success.

Opportunity is a little bit more challenging as we do not always have control of when it comes. But Preparation we do. We should always be ready so that when opportunity comes knocking we can capitalize on it. Here are some things that we can do and items that I have been focusing on, since my journey began:

  1. Plan for the worst, but hope for the best: Make sure the you are ready for the worst case scenario, so that you are always prepared for everything, but don’t dwell on the negatives, remain hopeful that you will not need to worry about the bad stuff. When I first got the call after my MRI, saying that I need to see the doctor immediately, my heart sank, I knew it was bad news, When I went to the Neurologist, I expected to hear bad news, which it was. Then I was schedule for the Neuro – Surgery, again I at least went mentally through the worst possible things, which was cancer somewhere else in my body that moved to my brain. Though the doctor could not guarantee this until the biopsy, he felt strongly that it was indeed just a brain tumor. Then I came to surgery, I got all of my legal affairs, will, etc. in order so that things were set in case something happened. The next meeting was the results of the biopsy. I prepared myself mentally to hear that I had an aggressive late stage tumor and would only have a year or two to live. When the results came in that I have a slow growing, type 2 of 4 tumor I was ecstatic – the average life expectancy of my type of tumor is 12 years (which doesn’t factor in health, age, etc.) Plus my tumor is chromosome deficient, which means that therapy works much better on my type of tumor. In the end I felt like hope prevailed as everything came out much better than the worst case scenario.
  2. Know what you know, know what you don’t know:
  1. Know what you know: It is important to know what you know as you don’t want to change everything just because a new challenge is there. Thus I have continued to get out hike, bike, ski, etc. Granted I have made a few modifications – such as wearing a helmet more. However I plan on doing the same things I did before. 1Samual – the story of David and Saul’s gear, prior to defeating Goliath. He choose to stick with what he knew, not use armor that he had no idea how to use.  By sticking with the sling shot, some stones and his trust in God, he was able to take down the giant.
  2. Know what you don’t know; The key here is to ask questions and do the research. Don’t pretend to know – go find the answer. I have reached out to other neurologists and surgeons to make sure that my treatment is on track. I had my cousin who is a nurse pull all of the standard procedural information on people with my tumor. All of this to gather as much information as possible and explore my options. Proper planning can save you. Story about Chair Peak. Basically it was early in my climbing career, I did not bring the proper gear, the weather was not good and I got over my head, however my love of maps and pre-planing saved me as I was able to know that I had another option to get down the mountain and it worked, we descended a different route down that was doable, rather than risk a major fall on the route we took up the mountain.
  1. Push, Recover: It is good to push, but you also need to recover, thus the times I have pushed myself, I have also built in recovery time so that I don’t push too hard. For example a week ago I did a 23 mile bike ride, but then planed for a 2 hour nap the next day. Recovery time is just as critical as workout time.  But for some reason it can be hard to make time for rest and recovery.
  2. Make it reasonable: I have had to adjust my standards so that my expectations are reasonable. If you have only climbed Mt. Si. I would not recommend booking a trip to Everest.
  3. Get a headlamp: If you want to make everything work you need to be creative and move your schedule around to make things fit and work.  At my high school, the weight room used to have this quote: “Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” Find the time. It might be going early or late and in the dark by headlamp, but you need to make it happen.  It needs to be a priority in your life.
  4. Keep the Faith: Things get hard, the obstacles seem to grow, but you faith will get you through. God has carried me through many things in my life and I believe he will bring me through this a well. If faith were easy, then everyone would have it. Sort of a version of my earlier post on faith, Jesus said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains, not just climb them.

Round two of Temador is in motion…one day down, four to go…  DEH

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Julia permalink
    January 12, 2012 8:37 am

    I truly hope you get the fabulous news you need! If you do, we will all be singing and dancing, even if just in our hearts! I don’t think you want the live version!

  2. Heather Hall permalink
    January 15, 2012 9:35 pm

    David, I like your comment, “plan for the worst but, hope for the best”. I sometimes get hung up on planning for the worst and not remembering to hope for the best. I’ll have to keep this thought in mind.

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