This is a picture of me in April of 2013.
Ten years ago, while living in Vermont, I was diagnosed with stage four tonsillar cancer. I had smoked and abused myself pretty heavily during my youth. I woke up one morning and my neck was asymmetrical. After a needle aspiration was done I was told I didn't have cancer, but during surgery to remove the growth they found it was cancerous. I underwent radiation, chemotherapy and had my first stint with a feeding tube. I was given a fifty percent chance of survival.
It was during this time that the proof of God's existence was given to me. You don't have to believe - it's okay - often these messages are very personal. I had developed a blood clot in my left arm from some hastily administered chemo. I was in the hospital during my recovery after developing a high fever when I was wheeled down to the place where they do sonograms. While sitting in a wheelchair, cold and hopeless I asked God, "Please, give me a sign that I can do this, after all I have two little kids, girls 8 and 4." Fifteen seconds! Not fifteen seconds later I hear a commotion in the corridors adjacent to where I am sitting. I thought: "Who would be so inconsiderate to be disruptive in this place?"
Around the bend came two nurses flanking a child of maybe six with a chemo induced bald head, holding hands, whooping it up and laughing. If this beautiful courageous child dealt this lousy hand and these two beautiful care-givers who face death in the most vulnerable people, day in and day out- can laugh and frolic at this time in this place...then God, I can do it too. Thank You God for the message and the quick turn around!
Three years later, I am chronically hoarse, and the same doctor who saved me from undergoing life-altering surgery in Vermont, missed diagnosing a second primary tumor on my larynx for eleven months. I was operated on by a very gifted, great guy named Dr. Peak Woo and given what's known as a Pearson Sub-total laryngectomy, and, by God's grace, here I stand.
powerful stuff. you are right, Phil – we all get our own messages if we are open to them. keep pulling all of the good stuff into your heart – the smiles, the hugs, the sweet breezes, the laughter of children. keep on keepin’ on.