After everything being cancelled because of Covid, we are making progress on treatment being scheduled. Thursday the 25th I will have the gold markers and spacing gel put in. This is a relatively simple surgical procedure, but I will have an IV anesthetic. I am glad that I will not be awake for this, but neither am I looking forward to this as I am concerned that it will increase the fogginess that my mind has to deal with. The following Thursday March 4th is what they call a preliminary radiation consultation. This is when they will make the mold for holding me in place and make final decisions regarding the actual radiation therapy. The. radiation therapy will start sometime in the following week. In preparation for this Thursday, I have to stop taking vitamins, supplements, and pain medications. This has made life a little uncomfortable.
I added a new song to be used at my memorial service. It hasn’t been scheduled yet and I hope it won’t be for awhile, but I am planning ahead. It’s sung by a group of five South African men and called ‘I could sing about heaven for a million years and never get the story told’. It is kind of upbeat and not real theologically deep, but it makes a powerful point.
Because my thyroid was totally removed, I must take a pill to replace stuff the thyroid used to make. To avoid interactions with other stuff, I have to take it between 1:00 and 2:30 AM. I am fairly good at waking up to take it, but sometimes it is hard to get back to sleep. Saturday night could not get back to sleep and my mind went to thinking about many of the times I failed in the past. Often when I have this sleeplessness, I am able to turn my thoughts to blessings I’m thankful for, but not that night. I must have dozed off a little bit because the next thing I remember is being very disturbed about dying-the uncertainty and the unknown of the process. Of all things, I thought of the Elvis Presley song ‘Softly as I leave you’. This song recounts a letter written by a seriously ill man to his wife explaining why he was going to let her sleep while he died. Softly, I will leave you softly, for my heart would break If you should wake and see me go. So, I leave you softly, long before you miss me, long before your arms can beg me stay for one more hour, for one more day. After all the years I can’t bear the tears to fall, so softly, I will leave youthere.
I confess I have a soft spot for Elvis’ ballads, and this always moves me. Saturday night went beyond just music appreciation. I liked the sentiment of sparing Karen having to watch me die. But I also thought don’t I want to hold her hand and talk while I pass on. I was moved to sadness as I thought about dying alone.
I was really pretty disturbed and disheartened by this point. I began to pray and thank God for the reality of forgiveness, confessed my lack of faith, and ended up with the words of Mark 9:24 “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”. Then I fell asleep until we got up at 5:45.
I was well rested now, but still trying to process the sleeplessness and disturbing thoughts I had during the night. Looking at my phone, I saw I had a message from our Iranian daughter in London. It was justa bunch of hearts and Psalm 91. What a great Psalm, as I read it, I enjoyed the reminder of God’s love, care, and protection. What really struck me though was verse 5 ’you will not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day’. God used that verse and the whole Psalm to make sense out of the previous night. I learned or was reminded, that God gives grace and comfort as we need it. Also, our times are in God’s hands and He will be merciful to both Karen and I and give grace as it is needed. The key is to remember and trust in His promises and commit ourselves into His care when life gets really messy or scary.