Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Life happens in the little things

The lowdown:

1) I feel like an olympic athlete today compared to how I felt on Sunday - you know, in one of the less physical events, like curling or something.

2) Beverly, one of my wonderful nurses, thinks my pain medication might have been responsible for the nausea and vomiting more than the chemo regimen. We are going to do some adjusting to cover both possibilities so that hopefully it won't happen again.

3) I was able to eat quite a bit more yesterday afternoon and evening and have already had substantial nourishment today, as well.

4) I even went for a walk yesterday evening.

5) My PET scan revealed no surprises where the tongue and neck are concerned. It did show a 1.2 cm lymph node in the lungs that might or might not be cancerous. If it is smaller on my next scan, it will be considered cancerous. If it is the same size, it will be considered insignificant. Even if it were known to be cancerous now, it would not alter my treatment plan. The abdomen and pelvis were clear.

6) Still not talking due to the pain, but some of you might consider that a positive.

On to more important matters ...

*** Before reading this section, please understand that I do not think I am going to die - just trying to make a point!

People with life-threatening illnesses are so annoying, aren't they? I mean, just because there is a chance they could die, they all of sudden think they know everything about how everyone else should live! What a drag. Of course, they aren't the only ones preaching. Even people who aren't dying now and have never done so are telling us how we should live. Everywhere we turn - young, old, sick or well - someone is telling us to live like we're dying.

What does that mean exactly? Just what does it look like to live like you're dying? Does it really mean "Rocky Mountain climbing and skydiving?" (I like the song, too - just bear with me.) Does it mean finally going on that big trip you've always dreamed of, but thought you couldn't afford? Does it mean bungee jumping? Does it mean quitting your job and starting that business of your own? Does living like you're dying just mean doing big crazy things that you probably wouldn't do if you were going to go on living? Perhaps that is part of what it means, but I would say it's only a very small part.

(This is the part where the person with the life-threatening illness steps up to the podium pontificating till heart's content, and his audience, though probably annoyed, politely listens because there is a chance he could die and that somehow qualifies him as an instant sage.)

Think about your life. Does it really happen in the big things? I mean, how many moments are taken up by big, spectacular events? Not that many, right? Right. That's because life isn't about the big things. Life happens in the little things. That brings us back to our question. What does it mean to live like you're dying? I think it means savoring the little things. Little things like ...

waking up warm, O.J. and toast, making someone laugh, laughing at yourself, driving to work, getting home safely, talking to someone who really listens, listening to someone who really needs to talk, going for a run, napping when it rains, taking a hot shower, listening to your favorite song, ice cream cones ...

the list could go on forever, but I'll stop there. Some of my more jaded friends are way past nauseated by now. Hear me out, though. Lists of little things like these create the real substance of our lives. Real life isn't found in just-before-death adventures. Real life is found in real life. So, if we are going to live like we're dying, we need to learn to savor the little things that make our real lives so sweet.

You might be thinking I have a point, but you're probably also thinking that no one can maintain such a grounded perspective all the time. Would it hurt to try?

"Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." -Ephesians 5:19-20


Anonymous said...

Daniel - In Sunday School this past weekend, I was telling people about you and asking for their prayers. When we finished praying, our teacher said it was funny that I had mentioned you because the lesson was on sickness and God's plan. It talked about how people always ask why and what they could have done differently. Also, people ask why certain people suffer more than others, etc.

The lesson was from John 11:1-6 (especially verse 4) and John 12:9-11. The whole lesson was on the fact that good does often come from bad and that throughout it all, God will be glorified. Through the death and healing of Lazarus, many came to Christ.

I really felt that this applied to you. I don't know the outcome and what will occur but I do know through your evidenced faith and commitment to Christ that God will be glorified and His name uplifted. You are a true testament of faith.

Please know that you will be in our continued prayers.
Tamara Batson

lizzy said...

preach it, D!!! if it weren't for trying to take joy in the little things in my life, I sometimes think, I'd be totally insane (or at least more totally insane than I am now, to the point of hospitalization, you know(;)
I love it, it's so true... SOO SO GLAD you are feeling better, my friend!

Anonymous said...

Daniel - it is so good to hear you are feeling better!!! Please know we are praying constantly for you! I have a really random question, of course maybe not so random considering the source, but can you taste anything? I was just wondering how much your taste buds had been damaged? It just makes me sad thinking you might not be able to taste anything because that would make eating even more of a chore that it has already become...

The Lee Family said...

The Little Things- Samantha's little giggle when she gets tickled, Resting your head on your loved ones shoulder, Hot gooey pizza that burns the roof of your mouth, Cobbler with melted vanilla ice cream, Crickets chirping, Sound of a waterfall, Smell of the earth on a hike, Color of autumn leaves, Brad and Daniel wrestling and D squealing (sorry D), Randy doing his flip into the pool, Rueben's mispronouncing of words, Crazy legs at the ball park...I could go on all night! Thanks for the laugh and the smile! Hope you smiled to D! We love you

jenpinkner said...

Thank you for your writing, Daniel. True and funny and beautiful. Sometimes I get it but oft time forget the thankfulness for all the small blessings and experiences. I am glad that you have gotten some nourishment and even a walk. Continuing to pray!

lizzy said...

"The things that make God dear to us are not so much His great big blessings as the tiny things, becasue they show His amazing intimacy with us; He knows every detail of our individual lives. -Oswald C.

Read this this am, so perfect for you and the little blessings He's giving you so far!!!

Anonymous said...


Just wanted to drop a note saying that Kelly and myself are praying for you and that you are in our thoughts. I've really enjoyed your blog. You are correct, it's the little things that matter.

Biter said...

Danny Boy, I appreciate your sermon on "... Rocky Mountain climbin'..." more than you know... Real life IS found in real life. More profound than The Secret. Take that, Oprah-Nation! When is your next scan? I'm praying all the way,

LaurieT said...

Daniel-- You are such a wonderful example of true faith. I'm praying for you always. Can you send me your address? We have a card from my Sunday School Class that I want to send on to you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel-
Jenny Orth and I were talking yesterday when she mentioned you and cancer in the same sentence. It was the first I had heard of it. Needless to say, I was shocked- I am, however, glad to have checked out your blog for the first time on a day that you are feeling better...and waxing inspirational, no less...which by they way I TOTALLY agree with your premise! :)
You are in my thoughts and prayers and am so glad you qualified for the curls today! Kerry Loy

Anne @ Karen said...

Daniel, Karen and I have just read
your blog. WOW, what an inspiration! Your faith is tremendous, and the passages you have chosen are perfect. Thank you for your specialness...because you are! Will pray for your whole family. Love to you, Anne @ Karen