God bless you.
Today (Nov. 27) begins what I call the triple crown of holidays: Thanksgiving,
Christmas and New Year's Day. Is there a better trilogy of holidays? I don't think so. So
get out of my way and let me run, shout and dance because the Lord's sure been good to
me and I'm extremely thankful.
I'm going to enjoy these three holidays, my favorites, with special relish because of
all I've been through this year health-wise and am still going through.
There were times last spring, sisters and brothers, when I did not think I'd live to
celebrate my 40th wedding anniversary with my wife Joyce in late July.
I had gotten the diagnosis in late March that I was suffering end-stage congestive
heart failure and needed a heart transplant to save my life because my left ventricle and
defective mitral valve were damaged beyond repair. So I underwent a series of tests at
the University of Chicago Hospital to qualify me for a heart transplant. At that time, I could
not walk 10 steps without being out of breath and I was constantly tired.
But further comprehensive tests then revealed that I had brain cancer in the form
of a tumor on my pituitary gland and prostate cancer. This thus disqualified me from heart
So there I stood in the valley of the shadows of death. On one hand, I was dying
from end-stage congestive heart failure unless I could get a miracle of a new heart or a
miracle of my old heart being healed. On the other hand, I was facing the lethal threats of
brain and prostate cancer.
Rather than cast my fate to the wind, I cast my fate with the Lord in prayer and
started this blog to chronicle what I believed would be a successful healing journey.
Many of you beautiful people, some of you suffering health issues worse than mine,
became fellow passengers on this trust train. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise
shall continually be in my mouth.
You joined me in praying for your own healings as well as my own. Yes, we
are occasionally interrupted and assaulted with comments from atheists and sarcastic
cynics, who try to demean and discourage us. But greater is He that is within us than he
that is within the world. If God be for us--Hallelujah!--He's more than the world against us.
Never has a minority been so great as the Lord, you and me.
Immediately upon receiving my triple dose of tragic diagnoses, the Lord set out
assuring me that His grace is sufficient by making His strength perfect in the weakness of
In my darkest hours, His grace shone brightest.
The first beam of heavenly sunshine came when my brain tumor was ruled benign by
Dr. Allison Harh of Northwestern Hospital.
My second ray of light came when the prostate cancer was determined by UCMC
urologist Dr. Glenn Gerber to be early-stage and localized and treatable by a minimal
invasive procedure called brachytherapy. So on May 21, Dr. Brian Moran implanted 89
medical smart weapons called radiation seeds into my prostate to dissolve the cancer.
My third burst of light came when UCMC cardiologist Dr. Allen Anderson added new
medicines to my menu that helped stabilize my failing heart while I was able to regain
stamina and strength to decrease my becoming short of breath and tired.
By the grace of God and through the help my physicians, who include Dr. Valluvan
Jeevanandam of UCMC and Dr. Jim Flaherty and Dr. Jeffrey Trunsky of Northwestern, Dr.
Kenneth Cline of Ingalls Hospital in Harvey, I've enjoyed sufficient recovery to enjoy an
anniversary vacation with my wife and then return to work a couple of months ago.
Two weeks ago, I suffered a setback when I allowed a bad cold to mutate into
pneumonia and then I had to battle some apparent gout or rheumatoid arthritis that had
me unable to walk.
In the process, I have known pains and period of deep despair worse than ever since
last March. But through it all, the Lord remained my refuge and strength and a very
present help in the time of trouble.
Through it all, God never left me alone. He prepared a table before me in the very
presence of my enemies and He anointed my head with oil.
Through it all, God even had grace and mercy upon our nation and gave us a new,
young, intelligent, competent and compassionate President up from the people in the form
of Barack Obama.
Sure, he is the first black President in American history. But most important, he's the
best of the candidates to lead this country at its most trouble time when millions of
Americans have lost their homes, their jobs, their pensions, their health insurance and
much of their peace, their joy and hope.
So on this Thanksgiving Day, I got a right to shout Hallelujah!
I got a right to praise God's name.
I got a right to cry tears of joy.
I got a right to sing my song.
I got a right to dance my dance.
I got a right to testify because I am a living testimony.
I got a right to pray a prayer of supreme thanksgiving. Fo I could have been dead,
sleeping in my grave. But the Lord God Almighty had mercy and grace on me and made
ol' death behave.
So on this blessed Thanksgiving Day, I'd just like to say
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. For the
Lord hath done great things for me, whereas I am glad. So, please, Lord, let the words of
my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my
strength and my redeemer.
May the Good Lord bless and keep and prosper us all on this Thanksgiving Day.