Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Loving-kind

Many of you have heard my latest news by now, but in case you haven't, I received the results of my MRI and x-rays today. It appears that the cancer has metastasized to my right hip. There is a golf-ball-sized tumor on the socket (acetabulum). Of course, there is always the possibility that this is another primary cancer, but that is highly unlikely. At this point, I haven't had any additional scans, so I cannot tell you if there has been spreading to other areas. What I can tell you is that I am scheduled to have surgery on the hip this Thursday at Vanderbilt. I will be admitted tomorrow for some pre-operative work, and I will probably have some additional scanning at that point. Most additional scanning, however, will be reserved for after I have recovered from hip surgery since it is the most emergent concern.

Dr. Gilbert and Dr. Swartz (the orthopedic surgeon) both stressed that this is not a curative surgery. The goal is pain control and prevention of fracture, which would be almost inevitable if something isn't done very soon.

Dr. Gilbert also stressed that our goal with my treatment in general has now shifted from cure to giving me the best quality of life for the remainder of my life - however long that may be. She does not attempt to give me a time frame, because no human can do that at this point. Medically speaking, I could have weeks, months, even years. No one, but our Great God can give us an answer to that question. As the song Healer says, "He holds my world in His hands."

Indeed, He does hold my world, your world ... the entire world in His loving-kind hands. Of course, there is no adjective that describes adequately what it feels like to be told that
you are dying. There are plenty, however, to describe the God I attempt to serve, and I would prefer to focus on Him. Loving-kind is one of my favorites. It just has a special ring to it, and it is so true of God's character. There is one who never doubted the goodness of God in the most perilous of times. Job pointed out several things that I have discussed before, but I think it is time to revisit them ...

Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. -Job 14:5

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. -Job 13:15

I know that you can do all things. No plan of yours can be thwarted. -Job 42:2

I would love to write more, and I hope to be able to do that soon, but I need rest now. I do want to leave you with some important thoughts, though.

Remember ...

God is my doctor.

God is not frightened by cancer.

God decided how many days I have, and he has known since Before There Was Time (a great song by Caedmon's Call).

God remains undisturbed in the face of news that can rock us to the core.

GOD IS IN CONTROL.

I love you all - even those of you whom I have never met. I love you, because Jesus Christ loved you and me first. We have talked a lot about a personal relationshp with Christ. Because of that relationship, death (though not preferred) represents gain. In death, those of us who have trusted Christ for forgiveness through His sacrifice on the cross, gain the joy of being in His presence! In life, we have the joy of resting (if we will) in communion with Him every day. As I have asked before, if you don't understand this relationship that He offers, please talk with someone who can lead you to a better understanding of Him. Life is too short to wait. We have no guarantee of tomorrow.

Make no mistake, God is cabable of healing me if He so chooses, and I will continue to pray that He heal me if it is in His will. If He chooses otherwise, He is still my loving-kind Father, and I hope, if you haven't already, that you will make Him yours.

Back to tomorrow ... as one of my favorite old hymns says (and, I may be repeating myself), I don't know about tomorrow, but I know who holds my hand.



34 comments:

XieXie said...

Words seem so inadequate right now although I'm not one known as ever being in short supply of them. I've just prayed that his command and promise to you in Philippians 4:4-9 would be true in your life and your family's today. I love you. Shay

Randy Smith said...

Daniel,
Tears fill my eyes......
Randy

Kellie said...

Hey Daniel! I am Ashley Reddick's sister, Kellie. I'm not sure if you remember me, but, I want you to know how hard I am praying for you! Our SS class at church has put you on our prayer list and has become "addicted" to checking your blog. We all strangely feel like part of your family.
I am praying for God's wonderful peace and comfort for you today, as you endure this part of your journey.
Kellie

Mom2rayray&colten said...

MY HEART IS WITH YOU!!!!!!

I LOVE YOU AND CONTINUE TO PRAY!!!

MUH

EVEN THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL, FOR YOU ARE WITH ME;
PSALM 23:4

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
We love you so much. We are praying for you and I wanted to let you know that Buffat Heights is praying for you as well.
Love,
Jonathan, Hannah and Marshall Fant

Kristie Young said...

Psalm 16: 5-6.

"The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, indeed. I have a beautiful inheritance."

I read this verse this morning in another blog and I thought of you. Cancer is ugly, surgery is ugly, death is ugly, but PRAISE OUR LORD HE IS BEAUTY and He has shown His loving-kindness in that He displays His beauty here and then surrounds us with it in the inheritance He has given us as His children. Those are the pleasant lines that have fallen for us who believe among all the ugliness that is also out there.

Praying for you Daniel and sending a computer big ole hug to you!

Love, Kristie

Jo said...

Daniel you are such a warrior, keep working for God!! Your in my thoughts & prayers daily. Me & Shea was talking about you last night - you have always been such a wonderful Christian person. Everyone loves you back home. Keep smiling God will take care of you.

WDCjen said...

Daniel,
I was just sharing about you this morning with a girl I meet to disciple. You are and have been a light, a city on a hill reflecting and glorifying Christ mightily. Thank you for shining that light...focusing on the Father in a time where it would be easy to simply focus on yourself. I am honored to call you friend, and I am honored daily to pray for you. Last night, in the middle of the night, God had you on my mind for a long time to pray for you and your family. Also, I weirdly was remembering when we use to put t's on the end of all our words...
Jen Pinkner

Leah said...

Oh Daniel, I am so sorry to hear that your pain was a tumor. Please know that you are always in my prayers. My heart is so grieved and angry all at the same time...I hate cancer. I know you are in the Lord's hands and He is taking care of you. I pray for peace of mind and heart for you and your family and as always I pray for healing. Keep us posted. You are covered in prayers. I know you will be a blessing to everyone you meet at Vandy. I love you and miss you alot!

Leah

Anonymous said...

Daniel, I have met you in Mississippi through Melissa and Lynette. Just wanted you to know that I have followed your progress, pray for you daily, cry with you often, and am imspired by your faith. God is your refuge! Lean on Him daily. Love in Christ!

Sarah K. said...

Daniel, Thank you for sharing this site with us. I am in Sunday School with Heather & Sam B. and I want you to know that you are lifted up in prayer daily by myself and other members of our Sunday School class and church. You have the most amazing faith and through your site, you have made my faith stronger. Thank you for this. You will remain in our prayers. We are praying for a miracle if that is God's will.

Moran said...

I know you like to reserve the use of the word awesome, but I can't think of many other words to describe your unwavering faith. It is quite obvious by your level of composure that you are confident in who is directing your life. Your inspirational to everyone you meet Daniel.

Anonymous said...

I so admire your faith Daniel. I just heard the news and came to read your blog. If He chooses to take you home, I will see you when we are all with Jesus. I know we will all be saddened if we have to lose you. You have been such an inspiration to us all. However, knowing that you may be spending your days with Jesus must almost be breathtaking at times. He has allowed us this opportunity to get to know the man of God you are and God has definitely gotten glory from your life. I thank you for your life! I thank you for your obedience! I just thank you for loving us enough to share your faith with us. I can't thank you enough. Daniel, I pray that if you go home, that it will be a smooth transition and that He gives all of your family and friends the grace needed to walk whatever valley is necessary for the Glory of God.

With much Love and Admiration,
Staci Dunavant

Allyson Bonner Keller said...

I continue to pray for you and for your family. Your strength and positive attitude continue to amaze me. You always hold a special place in my heart.

StarWitness said...

Daniel, I have thought and prayed for you all day my sweet friend. I love you and keep wishing you and your family peace during this time. Your words continue to minister to us even though we need to be the ones here for you. God is in control, we will not be forsaken. Only words, but we have faith in them. You are such a bright light. We continue to pray and send love to you as my heart aches. Love, Heather

Boyd Christian said...

Hi Daniel,
I'm so terribly sorry to here your most recent news. Tricia and I have been following your situation through the blog and through updates from Lizzy and Randy for sometime now.
Your incredible, vulnerable, honest, and graceful writings have been a true blessing in our lives. I know it's had an overwhelmingly positive impact on your family and friends, but I can only imagine all the people you have touched that you don't even know that get the link and stories passed on to them.
We thank you for taking your trials and turning them into a blessing for others to see what true faith in God looks like lived out even in the midst of a situation that we cannot even fathom outside of your shoes. I only hope to be as brave and faithful in my silly daily struggles.
Keep fighting and believing.
-Boyd

Anonymous said...

God bless you for your unconditional faith! He will certainly take care of you, wherever that may be. Since I have been reading your blog, I have many times thought about Job. We always ask ourselves "why do bad things happen to good people." We have to remember that God never wants to hurt us and that he works EVERYTHING for the good of those who love him. And it is very apparent that you love our Heavenly Father.

I will certainly keep you in my prayers for healing here in this world, because the world needs more witnesses and disciples like you in it. Prayers with you today, throughout your surgery, and always. Love in Christ, Brianne (we've never met, but I was directed to your blog via another one a while back...can't remember whose it was though???)

Wendy Beam said...

Daniel -
I have been following your blog and praying with you, indeed, laughing, amening and tearing up at your openness. Our God is great and holds you always.

Mizpah
Gen 31:49
May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other.

Wendy Beam

Debbie Cagle said...

Daniel,
You keep pressing on !!!!!!!!
Remember we are here to help you go boldly to the throne of God,you keep that amazing faith that has brought you thus far. The gates of heaven are being stormed at this very moment on your behalf!!!!

your friend,
Debbie

robertm1 said...

Daniel, Robert and I want you to know that we pray for you everyday and we pray that Gods will be done but also to heal your pain and give you peace. You have become a corner stone in our lives and you are a testament to our wonderful and loving God. We are praying and love you deeply. May God bless you Daniel for he has truly blessed us with you.

Amy said...

Words fail me. I'm praying continually for you and all those that love you. You're constantly in my thoughts.

Ashley said...

What an even better opportunity for God to show His power!!! Daniel, I am writing this to anyone who reads your comments. Saints, we need to pray, believing that God has a miracle waiting on Daniel! I truly believe it and refuse to accept defeat on Daniel's behalf! He IS a God of miracles and I thank Him and praise him for the miracle He will perform in Daniel!!!!!

Ellen said...

Daniel,
You are so open & vulnerable to all of us. I am praying for your surgery today & for the comfort that you will continue to receive. "Trust & obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus..." Thank you for showing us how to do this.
Love you!
Ellen

pennypeek said...

Daniel, I was overwhelmed with saddness today as I read your last entry. I've never met you but feel like you are my brother and you are in Christ. One of my favorite quotes that I keep written in the back of my Bible say,"Sometimes God takes His choicest servants early so they can enjoy Heaven a little longer!" Brother, if you go early, I believe that quote was meant for you!! Will keep offering up prayers in your behalf.

Anonymous said...

Daniel - I don't know you but I wish I did. Your blog was passed on to me from a mutual friend who asked for prayer for you. While I really don't have time to sit and read through months of someone's blog that I don't even know, I am so glad that I have. Your faith is amazing, and your spirit is encouraging. Somehow (even if it makes NO sense to me), Jesus is glorified through this trial of yours, and that is the only thing that gives me comfort. I am a nurse practitioner here in Nashville and have to deal with these tough diagnoses often with my patients. Your details have helped me to have a little more of an idea of what my patients experience. I am praying for healing, because despite what statistics show, I serve a God who heals and can perform miracles. May you continue to feel His presence. God Bless, Traci

Ayse1Love said...

Daniel,
Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. My son J.J. Mitchell is missing his favorite Doctor. My grandfather - Doc. Mitchell sends his regards as does the rest of the family. You provide strength and courage for so many at a time when you feel your weakest and most vulnerable. Is it selfish to thank you? I thank you for your faith, your courage and for all that you have done for others.
God is with you - always!
Ayse & Chris

Cynthia said...

Daniel,

I am in Terrah's community group and also friends with the Runions. I read your blog regularly but haven't commented until now. I just wanted to let you know how inspiring your faith is. I can't imagine the pain and suffering you are enduring, but it is inspiring to see you hang on to the good hand of our great God.

Cynthia Jones

Sara said...

Oh, Daniel. I don't even know what to say, except that we love you so much and are praying so hard for the comfort that only the Lord can provide you. I got really mad today at someone at Sam's doctors' office, and I lost my temper and said something ugly, and I started thinking that I wish I could hate cancer away. That I could take the nasty things that pop up in my head and heart (and sometimes out my mouth) and direct them toward something that actually deserves it.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
There are just no words to express my emotions. We love you dearly...
Virginia

Kristin said...

Daniel,

It has been a good 13 years since I first met you and nearly that long since I've had the fortune of seeing or talking to you. I'm sure you recall the spring/summer of 1995 at the Univeristy of Tennessee so perhaps you'll remember me too - Womble here. Jerry Becker has been so diligent about trying to keep us all in touch and he sent me the link to your blog.

Ironically I also saw you from afar one day when I visited my sister's church - also yours at the time - Forest Hills Baptist. I was certain I saw you singing in the choir but I never could find you afterwards to say hi.

Anyway, since I learned of your situation, I've sat and read through your blog from beginning to end, completely rivited. I am SO terribly sorry for this ordeal but am even more blown away by your response to it. I, too, am praying for you now and am somewhat obsessive about "refreshing" this page just in case there is an update.

God laid on my heart the following scripture, which I'm sure you're quite familiar with...but since His timing is perfect I will send it anway:

"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
- Isaiah 40:28-31.

With much love,
Kristin (Womble!) Sisemore

melissa grimes smith said...

Daniel-
We came to visit with your brother last night at the hospital. What an army of Christian soldiers waited for you and prayed for you in the hospital lobby! Your faith and attitude are the best! We love you and pray for you!
Melissa Grimes Smith

Sunny B. Ridings said...

Daniel, Your hope and courage in God are truly inspiring. Thank you. First Christian Church Livingston is praying for you.

Jen said...

Daniel, I am so sorry to hear this latest news. You and your family are in my prayers constantly.

Anonymous said...

Hey Daniel, Donnie Williams here; I got the word a few days ago... Keep your chin up, bad things happen to good people and you are one of the best. If He brings you to it, He'll bring you through it! Don't ever quit!!!!