Monday, March 1, 2010

Treatment 1

Neither of us slept very much last night in anticipation of the events of this day. I officially became a cancer patient today and began my first day of treatment. Overall, things went very well. Patti was right by my side the entire day. We arrived at 8:45 a.m. and were greeted in the waiting room by a friend of Patti’s dad who was there with his son for a CAT Scan. We never even sat down, but went straight to the lab and then on to the infusion room. After picking out a chair, we set up shop for the day. A wonderful lady who was a former member of TPC was one of my main attendants for the day. She took lots of time to explain to us every step in the process. There were a total of about 10 medicines that made up my “cocktail.” I referred to it on Twitter as “Happy Hour at the Chemo Bar,” and I had mine shaken, not stirred.

First, were the anti-nausea drugs, which seem to have been very effective. Soon after, I was given “the red devil.” This one had to be pushed slowly, and we were told this was the one that would take the hair around day 17. To be honest, I really do dread this part. My mom was always proud of my blonde hair. I know it will come back, but it really is one of those things that I will struggle with. Oh, one more thing about the “red devil…” They told us to be prepared when I went to urinate because it would be red or pink. So today’s slogan is “real men pee pink.” That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Our dear friends Ken and Jan Marler brought us some lunch and provided great support for us. Unfortunately, I had just had a strong dose of Benadryl and slept through most of the visit. Ken has been my close friend for more than 20 years and has been like a brother to me. He will walk this journey with me, and I will be better for it.

Pat Justice from our church was also in the infusion room for treatment, and we had a good visit together about her treatment. We really need to keep Pat in our prayers as she goes through additional treatment for ovarian cancer. Her spirits were high, and she was certainly an encouragement to me.

It was interesting looking around the infusion room and looking into the faces of people all fighting the same or similar battles against cancer. Most appeared to be hopeful, but a few had the look of hopelessness. I hope I can bring some hope to them as I get to know them. Patti and I are overwhelmed with the support system provided to us through family, friends and our extended church family. We have been contacted by thousands of people from all over the world who are praying for us. Again, I am so thankful for God’s church across the world and blessed to be part of it.

Well, the journey has started, and we are on our way. I can tell you from personal experience that God’s mercies are new every morning. We have a peace of His presence unlike we have ever known. We are expecting to be transformed by this whole experience. This we know, God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. Thanks for walking the journey with us. I am going to have some extra time on my hands, so I will be happy to share in your prayers needs as they arise.




  1. Praying for you continually throughout each day since your journey began. I love the prayer bracelet.. that is a constant reminder! As I (Liz) ended my day at 4 a.m. on Monday morning and was about to turn in, I was wondering if you had been able to sleep because of the anticipation of the day. Well, your first statement answered that one!

    Thank you for sharing your journey. We will all be strengthened by the "sermon" of your life. I have enjoyed reading the blog esp from the girls as each of you honestly share your feelings.

    May God refresh you today, strengthen your body and your soul, and may you feel His presence in a personal touch through the love of your family and friends.

    Much joy to have you as a pastor for 22+ years,
    David & Liz

  2. I love your new definition that real men pee pink!!!

    You truly are a blessing Rick!


  3. Your courage and humor are an inspiration! You wouldn't know me from Adam, but you are in my prayers daily. You are a blessing!! My husband and I recently went thru the same journey that you and your wife are embarking upon. I know we totally appreciated the humor and love found in the chemo "bar". May your journey be blessed and event free. Just a note for you, my husband did not lose his hair! We were told that not everyone does. So I hope you can keep your blond mane!! If not,it'll come back.


  4. Rick, Mary and I thought about you and prayed throughout the day yesterday. Thank you for keeping us updated. Seeing the computer in your lap reminded me to request to follow you on Twitter. Tweet away, brother! We'll pray over each one!

  5. Rick,

    We are praying for you daily and we know the Lord is going to see you through this and use the experience to increase your passion for Him evermore! I can't wait to hear about what He reveals to you during this time. About the hair loss, my husband's already half way there buddy, no worries! Haven't you ever heard that bald is beautiful!

    To God Be The Glory!


  6. Rock on Preacher Rick! What a gift for all of us to join you on the journey. Thank you.
    Tamara & Mike Lister

  7. The O'Leary FamilyMarch 2, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    Humor is the best medicine of all. My father thought he would beat the docs to the punch and shave his head before treatment. The doc then informed him that the treatment he was going to give wouldn't take away his hair. We couldn't do anything but laugh....God gives us a tremendous gift via humor.
    Love you Pastor Rick!!

  8. Pastor Rick,
    You are amazing.Thank you. When you mentioned seeing Gods Mercy every day, it reminds me of Isaiah 43:18-19.“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
    I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland"

    Praying for you always.

  9. Dear Pastor Rick,
    I am praying for you and your family. You have been such an inspiration to me and I know that God is right there with you. Many blessings to you.
    Lisa Gundy

  10. We're praying for you, Rick and Patti! Lee and I both went through cancer in 2007 and 2008. He had thyroid cancer...I had breast cancer. Our daughter, Katherine, also had breast cancer at the same time. Her's was stage 4 before it was found and she died in 2008. However, Lee and I were blessed with a clear report. God was with us every step of the way! He is still with us!

    Rick, losing your hair is really not that bad. It was great not to have to shampoo and style!

    Please know you will continue to be in our prayers. Lee and Olivia Wood, Shades Mt. Baptist

  11. Praying for you Pastor Rick! What an inspiration you continue to be even through your struggles. May God have his hand upon you and your family during this time!

  12. So you and Patti didn't get sleep the night before? Me either maybe I should have called we could have done tea or something. All of you were on my mind! As scary as all this new technology is its really great to be able to follow along someone's daily path. Sort of Gladys Kravitz-ish but in a good way. I really admire the way you've chosen to expose this thing called 'cancer' a little humor is like salve for the soul. We all know as believer's that we are gonna get called home one day but staring into the face of that at such a young age (I'm not much older than you are)is a little daunting! You are a brave man that can throw out the one liners....... I believe its your 'Armor of God'. I pray you will be able to get up every day put in on. I am over here in my corner peeking into your new world of needles and disinfectant please let your women know that I am here (waiting) if they need anything. Anything at all! Oh, and your hair? 'its only hair'(at least that's a line that has served me well in my profession) it'll grow back. In the meantime think Yul Brenner he was very handsome and he didn't even have peach fuzz. Take care and I love that your my paster!

  13. Pastor Rick,
    It has been almost 3 years since our family has been transferred to Ohio from TPC. We have missed seeing your wonderful family (tell tori i said hello) and hearing your sermons. You have a wonderful staff (say hi to dana C for me, too) and congregation who will be there for you over these next few milestones. We wish we were there physically to help but I hope you know that we are there for you in prayer. Hope to see you on our next visit to Franklin, giving a sermon at the front of TPC! With much love, The Boardman Family

  14. Dear Rick,
    Thanks for the privilege of sharing this journey with you. I will be praying for you every step of the way. I do want to reassure you (as a proud chrome dome) that bald is beautiful! The next step will be getting a motorcycle to go along with the new look. When you're ready, let me know...I'll help you pick one out! You are my brother and my pastor and I love you.
    Dave Bauder

  15. Rick, this is the time to get and proudly wear an Alabama hat!

  16. Rick--
    When you have a Shepherd's heart, I know it must be hard to be the sheep. But I am encouraged by your determination to allow God to go before you every step along the way:

    "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart." Is. 40:10-11

  17. Psalm 34:15, 17-20, 22

    The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry...The righteous cry our, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken....The LORD redeems his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

  18. You said..."I hope I can bring some hope to them as I get to know them."

    I want to share this prayer with you...

    Father: You surround me with Your comfort and overwhelm me with Your tenderness. Thank you for Your gentle love, which calms, soothes, and reassures me. I know that whatever happens in my life, I can rest in the shelter of Your loving arms. Now, Lord, please use me to comfort others. Help me to be sensitive to those around me who need Your consoling touch.
    Help me reach out to them with the same loving comfort I have received from You. Amen.

  19. Pastor Rick you are my modern day hero. The love you and so many at TPC have shown me through some of life's most difficult times has been amazing. Your courage in this latest battle is to be commended. Keep looking up Pastor. God is still in the miracle business, as you know, I am living proof.
    With much love, Jimmy Bloss and family

  20. Thank you for the detailed updates we are keeping you in our family prayers every day.

  21. Rick- We love you and are thankful for you - and you sharing this expereince wiht us-
    We are praying for you- YOU are inspiring!
    Teddi @ Greg Janese

  22. Hey Pastor Rick, you said we could write anything so here goes...Someone once said, "The only thing we have to fear is FEAR itself." Well, I recently heard that Janet wait, she aint ALL bad... once said she never wanted to let her life be run by fears. When she notices a fear she RUNS RIGHT AT IT. Soooo, rather then wait for that day when the meds take your hair and you feel anxious and stressed, give it over. Just shave it off...Say, "There, now you can't take it cause I'm given it."

    Who knows, it may grow back super curly. No, I just got this picture of you in tight size 30 jeans and a huge strawberry blonde AFRO. I may not recover from that vision. Hugs and Prayers, Darlene

  23. I won't send scripture your way because you know far more about Bible verses than me. I can tell you this; my husband is cancer free. You were there when he was soooo sick. You will be there again; but his time it will be your journey and it is YOU who will be cancer free.
    Our prayers and love are yours.

  24. Spiritual advice quoting Mother Teresa, "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much." :)

  25. As a cancer survivor I believe that sometimes we are allowed to have cancer to 1)slow us down so we can take in everything around us 2)to allow us to find out how many people truly care about us. Pastor Rick, you have NEVER nor will you EVER feel more loved than during this time. May God and others continue to show you how much they love and appreciate you. Now is our time to minister to you as you have to so many of us who have walked this road. You and your family are in our family's constant prayers. You will NEVER be the same! Trusting Him with you, Sharon Baldwin Proverbs 3:5-6

  26. Rick,
    Praying for you and your family my friend. You remain special to us in so many ways. Admire your strength and openness.

  27. Dear Pastor Rick,

    My 74-year-old mother is fighting the good fight just like you. We found out about her Leukemia New Year's day, and must say, we were all "blind-sided" by the news. Not long before you announced your diagnosis, we prayed on her behalf with someone there from your church. It brought me great comfort to do so.
    We just want to tell you, that you are in our thoughts and prayers daily and we appreciate you and your wonderful church! We've been attending for almost three years now and our young children love their Sunday school classes!
    Praying for a speedy recovery!
    ~The Nosser Family

  28. "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength" Ephesians 1:18 (NIV) Reba

  29. Pastor Rick—
    This has been on my heart lately...the Lord keeps bringing this scripture to my mind in his subtle and not so subtle ways:) It involves our friends whose story is told in Daniel 3—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego...

    “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:17-18

    Our God is certainly mighty to save, and He is more than able to deliver us from the fire; but sometimes, he will deliver us through the fire. I am always encouraged by their confidence in their God. So "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." I remember 2 weeks ago you said this could be a process of refining for you. I believe God will be exalted in ways you could not even imagine on this journey, whether he delivers you from it, or sees you through it.
    Rejoicing in the fact that we serve a God who delivers…

    Love & Blessings for the journey…
    to God be the glory.

    “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” Psalm 119:50

  30. Rick,
    I know that we don't realize what it took for you to preach this morning.
    Thank you for your words and your spirit. We lift you up daily.
    Your Sister in Christ,