I have kidney cancer.
It’s a cancer that has spread well beyond the point of origin. So, at the time I was first diagnosed, we knew that I had it in several places in my body, and it’s gone even other places since then. So, I’ve got a healthy dose of it, I guess I could say.
Since I went on hospice care and we discontinued any kind of active treatment, you kind of have good days and bad because you’re no longer trying to monitor, really, what is going on with the disease. So, you just get up every day and take what comes. But some days, I need more rest. Especially if I’ve had an active day the day before.
God gives me what I need each day. It’s what he’s been doing from the get-go. He has walked through this with me, all the way, with his hand on my shoulder. I felt it. And the prayers of a lot of good people uplift me. I don’t know what the plan is, but I know he has a plan. And he’s going to make this all turn out for good. One of those good things was given to me during the holidays.
My oldest grandson, Brandon, was attending a vacation Bible school and they were talking about different ceremonies in the church. And so, they had done a session on baptism. He was interested, but he’s a little on the shy side, so the idea of doing it as part of a bigger service with lots and lots of people there, I think that scared him a little bit. And he was talking to his mother, our daughter, afterward and she asked him, “Well, how would you want to do it?” And he said, “Well, maybe Papaw could do it.” And she said, “Well, maybe you ought to talk to him about it.” So he did.
We weren’t sure exactly when or how it would work out, but we were coming up on Christmas and knew that they would be here then. And especially since I’m kind of on an unknown time schedule, it made even more sense to go ahead and try to get it done if we could. So we happened to have a pastoral visit with our pastor [Chris Wann of Community Church, Decatur] going on, and I brought this up to him and said, “I want to see if you could help me out with this.”
He was very honored to be a part of it and wanted to help any way he could. He offered some suggestions on different ways that we could set it up. The one that seemed to work best was for us to come in after church on that coming Sunday. We were going to have, of course, our daughter and her family, and then our son and his family, and us. And then, our pastor and his wife agreed to come in and do all the set up and everything for us. So, we came in, everything was ready, and I stood on one side; I had his daddy stand on the other side. Had his daddy kind of helping me brace him in the back, so we didn’t lose him because that was his main fear. He thought I’d take him back there and leave him under.
I assured him that that wasn’t the case. He just had to keep his eyes on me and I’d take care of everything. We talked a little bit about it beforehand. I wanted to be sure he was comfortable and be sure that he understood what was going on, and not only what would be happening at the time, physically, but also the spiritual ramifications of it. Time came, and we leaned him back, set him under, brought him up. Everybody cheered and clapped. All just went fine.
When you open yourself up to God saying, “Here’s where I need you,” well, you get a whole lot of good experiences. It’s not about what we want to do or what we think we should be doing. It’s God’s plan, so people need to follow wherever he leads us.
So what’s my story? I’m following God wherever he leads—even when his path leads me to a terminal diagnosis.