Friday, August 31, 2007
Elton John modified the song “A Candle in the Wind” and sang it at her funeral as a personal tribute. A portion of "England's Rose"...
Goodbye England's rose;
may you ever grow in our hearts.
You were the grace that placed itself
where lives were torn apart.
You called out to our country,
and you whispered to those in pain.
Now you belong to heaven,
and the stars spell out your name.
And it seems to me you lived your life
like a candle in the wind:
never fading with the sunset
when the rain set in.
And your footsteps will always fall here,
along England's greenest hills;
your candle's burned out long before
your legend ever will…---Elton John/Bernie Taupin
Part of what I’ve enjoyed in writing this journal is marking the significant milestones that have occurred during my lifetime. This was definitely another big one. There are numerous video’s on the “net” paying tribute to Diana including many to the music “England’s Rose” sung by Elton John. The one I've posted today is to the Simon and Garfunkel song, “The Sounds of Silence”. I found the beautiful pictures of Diana juxtaposed with the lyrics of silence and darkness to be very moving. Diana knew the meaning of darkness and her vulnerability made her more accessible to us all.
Take some time to remember Diana today.
TTFN… Rob; in Vancouver
"Above all we give thanks for the life of a woman I am so proud to be able to call my sister, the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds." Charles, Earl Spencer
August 31, 1957: Elvis Presley performed one song at a packed Empire Stadium, left the stage when fans begin to battle with police. He returned to sing four more songs, none of which could be heard over the screaming. The next day, Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, happily read aloud to the media a local newspaper account of the riot.
The concert was cut short because of fans rushing the stage. The critics were not yet at a point of appreciating Rock & Roll music. Vancouver Province music critic Ida Halpern wrote that Elvis's performance was "an artificial and unhealthy exploitation of the enthusiasm of youth's body and mind . . . One could call it subsidized sex."
Tonight at the PNE they are having an "Elvis Concert" to commemorate the ocassion. There will be Elvis impersonators, the orignal MC, Red Robinson, and some Elvis friends to share memories. Should be fun!
I was in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the time, still enjoying the peace and security of Mom’s belly! Still 5 weeks from launch date! Little did I know what wild things were going on in the world into which I was about to arrive!!
Pushing 50… Rob; in Vancouver
“We were caught up in the crowd that jumped the wall and ran on to the field with thousands of other screaming, out-of-control fans.” Sharon Jones
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Not wanting to let any more moss gather… I’m back in the pulpit this Sunday, September 2nd. I’ve been spending a few days at the church for the last couple of weeks. I performed a marriage service last week and have been getting geared up to start back.
During the couple of days I’ve been working over the last few weeks I’ve been struck with how much I love my life and my vocation! I look forward to getting back into the rhythm of congregational life and the ebb and flow of the church seasons. I especially look forward to getting to know the wonderful folks at St. Stephen’s and spending some “quality time” with them all!!
Yes… it is so very good to be alive!!
I expect that my posting to “A Cancer Journal” will taper off quite a bit now. I’ll post a periodic note of interest and the occasional health update as scan results come in, but mostly I’ll be back to life as usual, and that doesn’t leave much time for “blogging”.
This blog has been lots of fun for me. And very helpful in terms of sharing some of my thoughts and feelings over the past few years. Thank you to all who have visited me here. During long weeks of being mostly “house bound” you have helped me to know that I am not alone. God bless you all!
Peace and blessings… Rob; in Vancouver
"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Frederick Buechner
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
St. Augustine has had a very colorful history. The French, Spanish, and British fought up and down the Florida coast during the colonial period. The Brits finally secured a claim after the Treaty of Paris in 1763. British tenure would be short lived as St. Augustine returned to Spanish control after the American War of Independence. St. Augustine finally came under American control in 1821 when Florida became an American territory.
The railroad came to St. Augustine in the late 19th century. Industrialist and railway magnate Henry Flagler transformed the town into a winter resort for wealthy folks wanting to escape the northern cold. The architecture of this period is truly breathtaking as witnessed by Flagler college and a number of other buildings.
My Mom and Dad have spent the winter in St. Augustine for the past 15 years. Lucky them! It is a great community and has really become a home to them. I like to visit them there as often as possible. Lately I’ve been making it down twice each winter, once in November before the season of Advent begins and again in February before Lent. These are wonderful holidays filled with golf and fun times with Mom & Dad and their wide circle of wild friends. I’ll be down there for about 10 days this November. Looking forward to it!!
TTFN… Rob; in Vancouver
“O Lord, help me to be pure... but not yet.” Saint Augustine
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Dr. Haniuk explained that they had discovered a “mass”, about the size of an egg, in the lower reaches of my sigmoid colon. I was a high risk for a bowel obstruction so Dr. Haniuk recommended that I have an emergency colon resection that day since I was already “cleaned out”. Dr. Chang concurred and explained the risks, including the possibility of a colostomy bag and the possibility that there might be nerve damage which could cause impotency. These were two great doctors who were able to collaborate and get things rolling right away.
It was a long day of waiting and wondering. The surgery was completed that same evening. Pretty good response time! On waking up in the recovery room the first person I saw was Leslie, a recovery room nurse from my congregation. Pam joined me shortly afterwards. The good news is that Dr.Chang was able to do a clean resection with a rejoining of the colon to the rectum. He really saved my butt! This thanks to a new “high-tech” stapling device they had to join the severed ends. Fortunately the other risk was avoided as well!!
I spent the next couple of days in the “close observation” suite of the surgical recovery ward. I was on an “epidural” (pain medication delivered to spine) so the pain management was fairly good. Dr. Chang was concerned about the “join” in my colon and I wasn’t to eat for 7-10 days. I stayed in the hospital awaiting biopsy results, undergoing further scans and tests, and slowly recovering. After a couple of days I was visited be Dr. Klimo, the oncologist. He talked to me about some possible chemo options and asked me to see him after I was discharged. Dr. Klimo is another great doctor and I continue to see him. While still in the hospital I was surgically outfitted with a “port-a-cath”, a port inserted in my chest and connected to the “vena cava” for ease of chemo infusions.
I had regular visitors during my whole stay in the hospital. The congregational response was awesome, tons of cards and lots of support for Pam and I and the family. I even had a visit from some of the Henry’s from Port Simpson!
These are just some of the things I remember on this the 3rd Anniversary. Since then it’s been quite a journey!!
Still trekking… Rob; in Vancouver
“I wake each morning with the thrill of expectation and the joy of being alive.And I'm thankful for this day.” Angela L. Wozniak
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Wow! I’ll bet that was a concert. 43 years ago. Anybody out there who was at the concert?
I’m a great Beatle fan. So is my daughter Morgan I went to a “Rain” (Beatles Tribute Band) concert a couple of years ago and was amazed how many young folks were there. Half the house was under 30… the other half was us old farts like me. It was enjoyed by all.
I’ve posted a video of the Vancouver interview with the “Fab Four” and a cute music clip of “And I Love Her” with photo’s of some of Hollywood’s beautiful stars of the 60’s. How many can you recognize?
Enjoy… Rob; in Vancouver
“There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed. Some forever, not for better, some have gone and some remain.” The Beatles
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
This experience hit me fairly hard after my first diagnosis and treatment. I had very positive results from my surgery and chemo and there was no evidence of cancer when it was all through. Wow! I felt such relief, gratitude and gladness. It was so wonderful to share this time with the family and friends that supported us through the difficult journey.
And yet, at the same time, I was affected by more "afflictive" emotions as well. I was worried about what the future would bring. Would I have a recurrence? What then? I was particularly upset about being sidelined for so long in my ministry and concerned about the implications for my job. I was on disability for a whole year and it took its toll financially (there’s almost always financial concerns for cancer patients!). Pam and I needed to make some important decisions regarding my work life and our living arrangements.
I was very easily moved to tears during this time, tears of relief, gratitude, and joy as well as tears of grief, sadness, and loss. I took an extended period of time off after treatment to recover and enjoy some holiday time. Pam and I finally decided to sell our lovely townhouse in North Van and moved into a sweet little “empty nest” condo in the West End of Downtown Vancouver.
The move freed up enough cash for us to enjoy a wonderful summer with trips to Vancouver Island with the Spirit Singers, Edmonton (to get Robyn set up at university), Shushwap Lake with Dave and Sandra, Kelowna to visit Jack and Gail, and the big East Coast swing with all our girls to Nova Scotia, Ontario, New York City, and Cape Cod to visit family. It was a great celebration of life and we marked the 1 year anniversary of my diagnosis at a Yankee Stadium to see the Blue Jays trounce the Yankees!
Gradually my emotional climate found a place of equilibrium. With each new scan showing “no evidence of cancer” my future horizon began to open up again. And life went on…
TTFN… Rob; in Vancouver
“The great metaphors from all spiritual traditions — grace, liberation, being born again, awakening from illusion — testify that it is possible to transcend the conditioning of my past and do a new thing.” Sam Keen
Monday, August 20, 2007
While you wouldn’t expect it, this stage of recovery presents its own share of problems and issues. In the words of Sam Donaldson… “A cancer diagnosis leaves you feeling sad and scared, overwhelmed and isolated. Treatment can leave you physically devastated… Picking up the pieces during and after recovery presents its own set of physical, emotional, and social challenges.”
I became aware of this first-hand after my first round of surgery and chemo a few years back. I found the period immediately after chemo to be a time of great relief and gladness, but it also had its own challenges. Susan Nessim and Judith Ellis have written a great book called “Can Survive: Reclaiming Your Life After Cancer” . In it they talk about the particular challenges commonly experienced by cancer survivors once the treatment is over. The overall theme of the book is around making the transition from being a patient to a survivor, from being a person with cancer to a person with a history of cancer. A couple of excerpts…
“On leaving the hospital or outpatient clinic, recovering cancer patients are faced with a bumpy transition period as they learn to adjust to life without the intensive medical support they received during treatment. During this particularly vulnerable time, survivors encounter unanticipated difficulties, such as anxiety over ending treatments, fear of recurrence, and a variety of other problems of adjustment… In addition, some must learn to adapt to chronic pain or the loss of a body part, while others are at risk for long-term complications of treatment.”
“As they reenter the mainstream, recovered patients must frequently contend with such formidable cancer related obstacles as employment and insurance discrimination, altered family relationships, loss of friends, and, for some, loss of fertility. In short, cancer creates lifelong physical. Emotional, and psychological changes…”
Chapters that really spoke to me included:
- Making the Transition to the Well World
- The Emotional Aftermath
- Moving Beyond the Fear of a Recurrence
- When the Resume Includes Cancer
BTW… The local community newspaper did a short story on me and my blog last week. Here’s the link… “Minister Battles Cancer”
TTFN… Rob; in Vancouver
“The road to recovery can be pitted with potholes?” Susan Nessim
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Marilla decided that Anne's religious training must be begun at once. Plainly there was no time to be lost.
"I'd do anything to oblige you. But you'll have to tell me what to say for this once. After I get into bed I'll imagine out a real nice prayer to say always. I believe that it will be quite interesting, now that I come to think of it."
"Why, of course, if you want me to," assented Anne cheerfully.
"You must kneel down," said Marilla in embarrassment.
Anne knelt at Marilla's knee and looked up gravely. "Why must people kneel down to pray?" If I really wanted to pray I'll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or into the deep, deep, woods, and I'd look up into the sky--up--up--up--into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just FEEL a prayer. Well, I'm ready. What am I to say?"…
… "You're old enough to pray for yourself, Anne," she said finally. "Just thank God for your blessings and ask Him humbly for the things you want."
"Just thank God for your blessings and ask Him humbly for the things you want.."
Sunday blessings... Rob; in Vancouver
“Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means for getting something for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God.” Oswald Chambers
A fitting closing to a week that has been filled with the sounds and images of Elvis. Gospel was always his first love.
Peace and Blessings... Rob
"I don't know why she had to go so young. But it made me think about death. I don't feel I'll live a long life. That's why I have to get what I can from every day." Elvis
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, August 17, 1977
Elvis Presley, who revolutionized American popular music with his earthy singing style and became a hero to two generations of rock 'n' roll fans, died yesterday in Memphis, Tenn. He was 42...
I was a just 19 year old college kid working in a forestry camp in Nordegg, Alberta on the day that Elvis died. Our crew marked the occasion with a roadtrip into Rocky Mtn. House and an evening at the Mount View Hotel Pub. It’s pretty hard to believe that was 30 years ago!
He was 42… Elvis’s career was really launched with the release of “Heartbreak Hotel” in January 1956. He had a run of about 21 years and left a lot of great music. While he is mostly remembered as the “King of Rock’n Roll” we all know he faired very well in the gospel genre too!!
He’s fondly remembered around the world today. Long Live the King!!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
“Crazy Sexy Cancer is an irreverent and uplifting documentary about a young woman looking for a cure and finding her life.
In 2003, 31-year-old actress/photographer Kris Carr was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer. Weeks later she began filming her story. Taking a seemingly tragic situation and turning it into a creative expression, Kris shares her inspirational story of survival with courage, strength, and lots of humor.
With experimental treatment as her only option, Kris became determined to find answers where there were none. She traveled throughout the country interviewing experts in alternative medicine as she tenaciously dove head first into a fascinating and often hilarious holistic world. Along the way, she met other vivacious young women determined to become survivors. Their stories are as poignant and exciting as the women who tell them. As Kris's amazing journey unfolds, she realizes that healing is about truly living rather than fighting.”
TTFN… Rob: in Vancouver
“As women and men with cancer we live every day with a mind bending weight on our shoulders. We tiptoe on the razor-edge of mortality, one hand touching the heavens, the other grabbing the earth. We juggle dying with living while paying the bills, doing the grocery shopping, picking up the kids, changing the oil, fixing that damn leaky pipe." Kris Carr
Friday, August 10, 2007
On Sunday I’ll finish my 5th chemo cycle of 6. Yeah!! I have one more cycle to go and it will be all over in 3 weeks. After that I’ll be growing my hair back and shifting into “surveillance and prevention” mode, a state of ongoing monitoring on the one hand and prevention actions related to diet and life-style on the other. I’ll have regular CT Scans every 6 months to monitor the liver. The CT results are reviewed with my surgeon. I’ll also have regular check-ups with my oncologist who will review blood-work and generally keep an eye on things.
I will be posting to “A Cancer Journal” occasionally over the next couple of weeks on themes related to “reclaiming your life after treatment”. After September, I anticipate posting less frequently with general updates as needed and brief reflections on the ongoing journey.
I hope you’re having a great summer!!
Rob; in Vancouver
“May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.” John O'Donohue
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Summer memories were filled with music from the car or truck radio. Here’s a few of the hits I remember from that wonderful Summer of Love.
- "I'm a Believer" - The Monkees
- "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" - The Royal Guardsmen
- "Winchester Cathedral" - The New Vaudeville Band
- "Georgy Girl" - The Seekers
- “The Beat Goes On" - Sonny and Cher
- "Penny Lane" - The Beatles
- "There's a Kind of Hush" - Herman's Hermits
- “Groovin'" - The Young Rascals
- "Windy" - The Association
- "San Francisco" - Scott McKenzie
- "Can't Take My Eyes off of You" - Frankie Valli
- "Up, Up and Away" - The Fifth Dimension
- "Light My Fire" - The Doors
- "A Whiter Shade of Pale" - Procol Harum
- "White Rabbit" - Jefferson Airplane
- "All You Need Is Love" - The Beatles
Still groovin'... Rob; in Vancouver
"Love, love, love... love, love, love... love, love, love." The Beatles