Newsletter – Volume 29


Newsletter – Volume 29

January 15, 2024

This Week

Updates from the back of the clinic
Cancer Update

I am going to take a little detour from our usual Black Sheep testimonial this week and give a quick update on my visit to the Hope4Cancer clinic in Tijuana last week.

First off, thank you for the many prayers, texts and Facebook messages inquiring about my health and treatment. Thank you for your care. I cannot express how much that has meant to me and Carol. We had a productive trip with a very positive report. If you know anyone battling cancer you know it is an up/down journey. There are good days and bad days, and this last trip happened to include a very good day indeed! Here are the details:

When I arrived, I had 4 blood draws (to test for various cancer related markers), plus a urine test, vitality scan, ultrasound, and thermography. It took 24 hours to get the results – I did some journaling to pass the time and I reminded myself that no matter the results, I could trust in God’s ultimate care. But, when I got the report, I was elated with the results! Almost every number is headed in the right direction!

  • PSA is down from 11 to 9.75
  • Prostrate tumor size has shrunk by 10%
  • Lymph system is clear
  • Circulation system is healthy
  • Kidney/liver functioning normal
  • Stress management (measured via cortisol levels) is better/healthier
  • Cholesterol and triglycerides are lower
  • Colon has shrunk (good news)
  • I shaved 2 years off my biological age (54-52). I started this journey at +4, now at -14


The report also included three (minor) concerns:

  • My white blood count was depressed (most likely a product of cancer fighting)
  • I need to increase protein intake (which I’ve already been trying to do)
  • There were also signs of metal toxicity (most likely related to dental work)

Needless to say, the tears fell freely after hearing the report! In reflecting on this experience, I am reminded that there are many factors that go into any positive report. It’s difficult to point to any one thing being the ‘key factor’ but I will say that, there are several things I am committed to continuing now that I am home:

1. Prayer (my own and those of others) is essential. Our God is the ultimate healer, and we can’t underestimate how powerful it is for our healing and wholeness. Gotta keep on praying!
2. Being vulnerable and sharing the journey is part of what allows others to do their part to help. Early on I heard that givers can’t give unless those in need are open to receive – which sounds so easy when looking from the outside in. But, when it’s you, it’s a very different deal. But gotta do it! Be open and vulnerable with the good and the hard.
3. Health and fitness must remain a top priority. I’m ashamed to say that for most of my life it hasn’t been. Ugh! In the past I had good intentions, but my follow-through was weak. No more. Our body is a gift and a temple. I need to treat it as such. This includes good nutrition, faithful exercise, healthy sleep habits, and diligence with my protocols.

Lord help me, and thanks again for caring about it all.

Word of the Week


Noun: the quality or state of being different or diverse; the absence of uniformity, sameness, or monotony

Beauty is enhanced by variety.  This is a law of nature.  But increasingly it is seen as a dividing point relationally.  If someone thinks differently, votes differently, or looks differently we tend to ostracize and dismiss. How unfortunate, for it is in the sharing from different perspectives that allows for synergy and creativity.  There is so much polarization these days. Looking around it also seems impossible to do anything about it.  However, let us never underestimate the power of individual choices.  How we choose to relate in our tone, our approach, and willingness to listen and understand, this will do more than legislation ever can.  Let it begin with us. How might you facilitate such a conversation this week?

A Book I’m Reading

The Shoe Dog

Review: Shoe Dog is an extraordinary hero’s journey, an epic tale of faith, unparalleled determination, excellence, failure, triumph, hard-earned wisdom, and love. ~ Lisa Genova

My kids gave me this book, and said, “Dad, you’ll love this. Read it on one of your plane rides.” My kids know me reasonably well, so I took their advice. They were right. I don’t typically read biographies, but I do love a good story, and this was certainly that. I’m about a third of the way through the book, but I’ve already drawn a few valuable lessons from it. First, most people (even those who end up building great companies like Nike) must constantly battle doubt about themselves and their ideas. No one goes into a thing with 100% assurance that this thing will work. It’s always a crapshoot for everyone. It certainly was for Philip, he spent a good portion of the book fretting about the inevitable demise of his fanciful dream… know that feeling! Second, I was reminded that success is ALWAYS a team effort (whether or not the founder/leader wants to admit it). In this case, Philip acknowledges the other key players, and he was honest enough to admit that there were some who believed in the dream more than he did. This is a great gift some leaders are given. I have had that experience, and it is more than a little humbling and amazing. Worthwhile read! Thanks for the recommendation kids!

A personal request

Healing Prayer

Pocket Prayer: What is impossible to us is not impossible to you O God!

Please meet my friend Cindy Thomas. She is an artist and a warrior. Our families have known each other since I was in Junior High. Cindy started some aggressive treatment for a rare cancer that requires her to be totally isolated. She has been diagnosed with CMML2 (Chronic Myelomonocystic Leukemia). This week she is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant at Mass General Brigham in Boston. She will need to remain in isolation (at the hospital) for 3-6 weeks. As she hits her milestones, she’ll be able to have face-to-face contact with her loved ones. She has a great support team around her, and she has asked if I might include her on the prayer list here. Thank you for remembering her in your prayers.

A personal testimony about the

Pocket Prayers Devotional

It was a year ago this week that I first met Piet. We were both thousands of miles from home in an IV room at Hope4Cancer in Mexico – both of us grappling with a myriad of mixed emotions as we began treatments for healing our Prostate cancer. There was no doubt in my mind after our first meeting that we would become instant friends. Intuition told me this was a man who had been well seasoned by life with wisdom rooted in humility.  His forearm tattoo stating, “Judas ate too!” piqued my curiosity. I said, “Piet I can’t wait to hear the story behind that.” 

We stay in touch through texts and conversation (I just sent him a text a few minutes ago), and also through his daily Pocket Prayers texts. They are short, on point with practical insights based on a Scripture passage. 

And now it’s in book form. Finally!

I think I was first in line to order it and now, with book in hand, I read a Pocket Prayer each day while sweating profusely while receiving hyperthermia therapy in my personal sauna. There’s nothing like words on the printed page to help me connect with an author’s heart. I take a word or a phrase and hold on to it for the day. 

His book gets my five star review!  Get one today and start 2024 with a great new habit.

Subscribe to comments
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Newsletter – Volume 50

This Week Confessions From the Back of the Pen Meet Carol… Harrison Butker, the kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, created quite a stir by

Newsletter – Volume 49

This Week Confessions From the Back of the Pen A Dark Night… For much of my experience at Mayo, I felt bolstered in spirit by

Newsletter – Volume 48

This Week Confessions From the Back of the Pen Meet Dawn… It struck me so odd – even unnecessary – I was doing so well

Newsletter – Volume 47

This Week Confessions From the Back of the Pen Meet Aaron… I’m an avid Yankee fan, and I came by it honestly. My mom raised

Newsletter – Volume 46

This Week Confessions From the Back of the Pen Meet Joel… Joel Salabarria and I have done several ministry projects together. He is an extremely

Newsletter – Volume 45

This Week Confessions From the Back of the Pen Meet Mike… Mike Orenstein has been one of my closer friends here in Austin. He is

Newsletter – Volume 44

This Week Confessions From the Back of the Pen Meet Kelly… My wife Carol will tell you that I often have difficulty listening to speakers,

Newsletter – Volume 43

This Week Confessions From the Back of the Pen Meet Kim… Kim Zanting is part of the congregation I served in Pella, IA. She is

Newsletter – Volume 42

This Week Confessions From the Back of the Pen Meet Kristalyn… Kristi Barnes is kinda a local superstar, but she would vehemently argue that point.