2009-May

Reminiscing

One day my Dad and I were talking about some things and he told me that it was a good thing to remember the past. During times that are difficult for me I often remember the words my Dad taught me throughout my childhood. Don’t worry about things just take them as they come. He went on to say that most of the things people worry about never happen.

Since that time I have learned that thoughts are not facts. I think that pretty much sums up what really goes on in a person’s life. We all tend to think a lot and believe our thoughts are true. My experience has taught me that many thoughts that cross through my mind are, in fact, not true.


List of events

  1. May 12, 2009 — Different Circumstances
  2. May 21, 2009 — It Only Takes A Few Minutes
  3. May 25, 2009 — Remembering

  1. May 12, 2009 — Different Circumstances
  2. Thank you for stopping by to check in on me and my situation. I cannot say thank you enough for those of you that stick with me through thick and thin. These days I find myself living life in totally different circumstances than I ever thought I would be part of. But don’t despair life is good.

    While I have plenty of experience as a cancer patient and one that has received many different types of chemotherapy treatment regimens, I didn’t experience any problems with those treatments. For the people that have been following my story you will remember that in November, 2007, I had an allergic reaction to Ifosomide.

    The first seizure threw me into a situation that I had no way to understand until it happened. The frustrating part is just when I think I am making progress and getting better I find myself feeling the ora sensation in my right arm and before I can barely get a few words out I am going down. Typically, I have completely passed out for a minute or so. But on one occasion I didn’t and that was a real scary situation. I was aware of everything that went on.

    Last Wednesday evening (May 6, 2009) at about 5:00 p.m. I was standing by my front door right outside my garage door and felt another seizure coming on. I yelled out that I was having a seizure, focused on going to the ground on the concrete courtyard, and was out cold before hitting the ground. Luckily Deborah heard me from the kitchen and came running to my aid.

    This seizure was different, and I was unconscious longer than I had been before. I totally lost control of my bladder and made a disaster of my clothing. And it took me a while to get my mind focused again. This time I landed in a mess from construction work going on at our house, and because I sweat during the seizure and my clothing get soaking wet I was a real mess. After Deborah and a gentleman that was working for us got me into the house she tells me I was a real pain. Her goal was to merely help me get my clothes changed and get me ready to leave so I could go forward with my plans for that evening. But I guess when she undressed me I took off streaking through the house. Thank goodness I didn’t attempt to go outside. I might as well laugh and believe my beautiful bride because I don’t remember one thing about any of this.

    I was scheduled to speak at Antioch Church to their choir. My Aunt Ann is a group leader and they have been studying a book entitled One Month To Live. I was given an opportunity to tell my story about living with the uncertainty of cancer and its treatments. I agreed to be there, and even though I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do as good of job communicating as I would like to, I wanted to go do my best. After all, the situation I found myself in that evening is real life for many of us. And it was only 6:30 p.m. but I was there with God as my strength and I am told I did a good job. Deborah and I both enjoyed sharing with these people and being prayed over for healing and strength in our lives.

    We don’t really have any way of knowing what causes my seizures. But I am told stress and being sleep deprivation are the two main reasons I likely go off into never ever land. I had been under way too much stress and even though I had been doing my best to blow it off I didn’t manage it well and bam! My doctor adjusted my anti-seizure medication. It is trial and error until we find out what is going on. I am told the medication I am using may not be working, but time will tell.

    This seizure fatigued me to the point I decided I had no choice but to take off work for a couple of days. After the weekend of doing my best to rest I went back to work. Monday, I still felt exhausted and today I am feeling a little stronger, but I can tell this one was very stressful on my entire system.

    Let me close by telling you I start my next test routine this week. Its blood tests first, a PET scan and doctor’s visit next week for the results. I pray everything goes well and that I have more time to continue enjoying my life without doing more treatments. My goal is to continue to do my best and help be a patient advocate and a person that encourages people throughout my entire circle of influence. I look forward to giving you that report soon.

    Finally, I must apologize for not being able to respond to anyone that has contacted me recently. I simply don’t have the energy to do so right now. That is the benefit of a blog – I can tell my story in one place – and everyone can check in to keep up-to-date. Please remember you are very important to me and I feel honored that you keep in touch.


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  3. May 21, 2009 — It Only Takes A Few Minutes
  4. How many times during your busy day do you take time to acknowledge another person you come in contact with? I bet many people never stop to think about the importance of just taking time to say hello to that person they come in contact with.

    I have learned over my lifetime that people are the most important part of my day, in my life for that matter. So I always remain sensitive to the circumstances I find myself in and do my best to be there for anyone I come in contact with. I realize how much it means to me to have another human being share their time with me.

    Very often I hear people say that God sends you what you need just in time. As a person that lives with major illness I have seen many cases like that. People who are at their wits end seem to get special peace just when they think they cannot take it anymore. This past week I believe my beautiful bride and I were recipients of a special moment a man took time to share with us to encourage us both in a special way.

    We had a meeting to take care of some business one evening this week. After being totally exhausted and worn to a frazzle we trekked off to the meeting. While sitting in a couple of chairs, waiting on paperwork to get completed, a very kind man just happened by and stopped to say hello. I wasn’t at all surprised by his kind approach, but it was what he said as our conversation played out that impressed me. After we visited for a while he mentioned that he could see I was pretty peaceful, but that Deborah was very distraught looking. The words he said then made everything fall into place for me.

    During our short visit he told about his health situation and we learned he was a cancer survivor like me. We also learned there was a miracle standing in front of us because of the type of cancer he had been dealing with. The details aren’t important but let me just say he spoke of his faith in Christ and how many people’s prayers had been answered so he could even speak.

    That night Deborah and I were recipients of what may have been a visit from an angel. The man so eloquently mentioned several things I tell people over and over and he encourage my heart and soul. More importantly he lifted my beautiful bride’s spirit as well. He helped her see through all the problems and find the good we all shared there that evening as we talked about the important things in life and how blessed we were.

    As we finished our business and walked out of that place that evening we crossed paths with that man again. He shared with us how special our little meeting was that night and how God had nudged him to stop and visit with us. I was impressed that he would share that with us because he said he walked by us two times before he found the courage to stop and speak to us. It was on the third time he passed by that he agreed with God to do his bidding and that he finally stopped for a moment to speak to us and offer us some encouraging words. Then he mentioned how much of a blessing it was to share our lives for those few short moments.

    I got to hear a daddy talk about his daughter and his wife and how his life was going post treatment. I saw a picture of that beautiful young lady and the gleam in her daddy’s eye as he showed us his teenage girl. I got to see the zeal for life this man had and hear how he was being used of God to minister to people in his everyday life. Deborah and I were both blessed that night. Thank you Father God for sending that wonderful man our way and for letting us share our blessings with each other that night.

    Perhaps you will let me take a few more minutes to mention another way of sharing that I have been blessed to experience this past week. I got to watch a television program titled Farrah’s Story last week that really spoke to my heart. Farrah Fawcett used her success and celebrity to reach out to the world and show people what living with cancer is really all about. It was heart-wrenching for me to watch, but I appreciated everything that lady had to say. Those of us that live with the uncertainty of a deadly incurable cancer have a lot in common. I pray God blesses this lady for sharing her most private moments with the world.

    Another friend contacted me by email this week and shared how the economic times were dealing her and her husband a terrible financial blow. Having been there before myself I truly understand what it is like to lose income and have to make major adjustments in life. We have experienced a little of that recently with Deborah’s job being cutback ourselves. You are in my prayers my friend! Then out of the clear blue another close friend I used to work with called me for a short visit this week. I loved hearing an update on his new life as a retired person. My friend Ted taught me a lot as we worked together back in 1994-95.

    A couple of my other buddies have shared their distress with life situations recently and how aging parents and other things we all have to deal with as we get older play out. And a few of my friends have simply dropped me a short encouraging note or an update on their projects as well. It is nice to hear from the people I care about.

    Let me close by saying thank you to everyone that reaches out to people in any way to encourage them. I have a goal in life to offer encouragement to people every time I get a chance and I love seeing other people doing that as well. Remember people are the most important thing in life – not money or stuff – but relationships with people will be important today and tomorrow, and I believe one-hundred years from now. Thank you everyone for being there for those special people in your lives. Thank you for being there for Deborah and me!

    For those of you that follow my health issues I had blood tests drawn earlier and the PET scan run yesterday. I am in that dreaded waiting period between the tests and seeing the doctor for results. Only other patients who have experienced this phenomenon will understand why I use the word dreaded. But I look for the good in everything and it is good to have to all important tests to keep people like me alive and doing well. The doctor’s appointment is late Friday afternoon. It would be a blessing if those tests showed Daryl doesn’t have any sign of NHL in his body. Yes, I believe that could happen. Faith and hope are the two things that keep me going and I do believe in miracles. How about you?


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  5. May 25, 2009 — Remembering
  6. It only seems fitting to take a moment this morning to celebrate in words, to the best of my ability, what this day is all about. I pray you, too, will see the importance in doing so. As daylight overtook the darkness, and the birds started chirping outside my bedroom window this morning, I awoke remembering how special today is for me. I felt compelled to make my first action a prayer to thank God for today. Then, as I woke up more, I decided it was of utter importance for me to take a few minutes to write a special tribute to celebrate today.

    I plan to accomplish several things in this essay to honor the people that have impacted me and my life. Remember people are the most important part of our lives! But first, let me begin by clarifying what today is for those who may not remember. I went to the Internet and visited Wikipedia for a brief explanation.

    Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25 in 2009). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

    Memorial Day. (2009, May 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:01, May 25, 2009, from http:// en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Memorial_Day&oldid=292181607

    With that brief explanation I want to say thank you to all the women and men who have served in the past, the ones who are serving today, and the people who will take literally the need for servicing to their country in the future. My friend, as I was taught at a very early age, and contrary to what many people will tell you, the freedom we enjoy in the United States of America is not free. It has cost many lives over the years. I am blessed to enjoy all the privileges and benefits of being an American citizen and I am proud of my heritage.

    I must tell you that I personally subscribe to the words President John F. Kennedy said one day “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” Many of us have lived our lives following that motto. I am blessed even today to serve as an employee of our country along side of many other women and men who take seriously their responsibilities.

    Using that backdrop I want to celebrate the lives of several people who truly have made a difference in my life. I want to start with my Uncle Garland Sprague. He gets the credit for giving me my first pair of Cowboy boots – and still today you will most likely find me wearing a pair of them. I believe he was also responsible for my desire to build things out of metal because I used to love hanging out with him at his Blacksmith shop when I was a boy. I took welding in high school and my first job was as a welder.

    The next person who truly touched my life was my Uncle Kenny Creek. I have fond memories of spending time fishing with him and working in his garage. He taught me many lessons over the years. I also have a heritage from Uncle Kenny of working with metal as he was and still is quite handy with a torch or welder. It’s always fun to talk with Ken and to visit his farm when I can get up there.

    There are a couple of other men from work that mentored me through some tough times. One of them is Dr. Ed Skaggs who was the Civil Rights Division Manager for many years. I learned to share my thoughts and then listen to the advice Doc gave me. Before he retired he inspired confidence in me and helped me learn and mature. (Thanks Doc!) The other man was Harry Heflin who was the Accounting Division Manger. Before he retired Harry would always encourage me by giving me a tidbit of an idea when I needed it. One of the things I learned from this very successful man was that it was alright for a man to care about things and especially people. He also taught me to make adjustments to my life based on the lessons I learned. One little thing was that it was OK for me to smile once in a while and not to always look so serious. (Thanks Colonel!)

    I cannot let this opportunity pass to brag about my father Marvin Wilford Sprague who gave me life then prepared me for the long-haul. One day he told me that no matter what happened to him (I was very close to my daddy) life must go on. The legacy he gave me was serving our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ and our country. He taught me the importance of people and the need to serve them.

    My daddy served God and was well known for his faith being in line with his actions. He had a servant’s heart and was a true leader in every since of the word. Daddy was also a man’s man and didn’t stand back and let things go by that needed to be addressed. He knew when to watch and listen, and he knew what needed to be done and how and when to do it. And he taught his boys well so we could be men like he was.

    Memorial Day brings back many memories for me, but perhaps the most important one is of my daddy going on to be with our Lord. You see on May 27, 2000, he was called on to glory to live out eternity with God and those who had gone on before him.

    I found out a lot I didn’t know about my dad after he was gone and I am going to share those facts with you here today. Daddy believed in serving his country and he set an example for me by doing so. I am so proud of the military decorations he received and I think you will see why as you read on.

    In my father’s papers he left instructions that he wanted to have a military funeral. I am glad we were able to give that to him as a legacy. Daddy hand wrote a note telling us he didn’t want to be considered a bragger so he didn’t talk much about his military service. But when he was gone he wanted his family to know what he had done in World War II.

    I was able to do some research and build a poster to stand beside my father’s American Flag draped coffin at his funeral. Let me list my father’s decorations for you here: I was told by the Army soldier that gave me this information, that my father being alive after the battles he fought in, was a miracle. I can also tell you that when the call went out for daddy’s graveside ceremony they told the funeral home that made the arrangements that they would send a full honor guard because of the stature of this soldier who had passed away.

    It was amazing for this first-born son, who had followed in his daddy’s footsteps and served in the U.S. Air Force, to sit there is awe of the ceremony that was done to honor my father’s service to his country. I am truly blessed to have had a father who loved me and was not ashamed to tell me so.

    During this ceremony I was sad that my father was gone but I was so proud of his accomplishments and that I got to see him honored in this special way.

    My Father’s World War II Accomplishments

  1. American Campaign Medal
  2. Criteria was that Dad serviced within the American Theater between 7 December 1941 and 2 March 1946.

  3. European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
  4. Criteria was that Dad served on permanent assignment within the EAME Theater between 7 December 1941 and 8 November 1945. Dad had three bronze stars for this ribbon to indicate that he had served in the following campaigns:

  1. Rome Arno 22 January 1944 to 9 September 1944
  2. Northern Apennines 10 September 1944 to 4 April 1945
  3. Po Valley 5 April 1945 to 8 May 1945

  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Criteria was that Dady served between 7 December 1941 and 31 December 1946.

  • Good Conduct Medal (Army)
  • Criteria states: The Good Conduct Medal is awarded for exemplary behavior, efficiency, and fidelity in active Federal Military service. It is awarded on a selective basis to each soldier who distinguishes himself from among his/her fellow soldiers by their exemplary conduct, efficiency, and fidelity throughout a specified period of continuous enlisted active Federal military service. Qualifying periods of service include each three years completed after 27 August 1940 or, for first award only, upon completion of at least one year upon termination if separated prior to three years. The immediate commander must approve the award and the award must be announced in permanent orders.

    I am truly blessed to have had a father who loved me and was not ashamed to tell me so. During this ceremony I was sad that my father was gone, but I was so proud of his accomplishments and that I got to see him honored in this special way. I was proud to remember that I am his first born son and that I loved him for everything he had provided me throughout my entire lifetime. I miss my father!

    Now, as I am literally crying because of the memories of my father, I want to mention one other very special person in my life. If you look at his life and his accomplishments of service you will see that I have kind of followed along behind him.

    My Uncle Gary Creek served as an aircraft mechanic in the U.S. Air Force. While I worked on a different airplane than my uncle I was also an aircraft mechanic (he got to work on the bombers and I got to work on the smaller jet aircraft in Air Training Command). Then my uncle came home to serve as a firefighter retiring at the Battalion Chief level with many responsibilities. I am most proud that he was over the paramedics and that he trained other people to follow in his footsteps.

    When I got out of the service I took a different route and chose to serve in federal government in the Civil Service. I am still blessed to be working in Information Technology. Both Gary and I went to college at the same schools after we had served our country and started our careers. We have always been very close and I am blessed to have him as my uncle. I continue today to learn from this wonderful man.

    I also have to mention both my Aunt Ann (Uncle Gary’s wife) and my beautiful bride Deborah here too, because everyone that will admit it will tell you behind every successful man there is a strong supportive woman. My aunt has been there for my uncle, and for Deborah and me over the years. I am blessed that she is the wonderful lady she is. Recently she has given Deborah and me the opportunity to participate in a Bible study group she leads.

    Now that I have taken time to remember with you what today is all about, and to mention the people that have contributed to making me who I am today, I had better tell you the good news from my doctor’s visit on Friday May 29, 2009. My blood counts are not all that good, but there is nothing critical. However, my PET scan shows good news.

    PET scan Results as Written by the Doctor

    1. Decrease in size and metabolic activity within the upper periaortic lymphadenopathy since March 10, 2009.
    2. The other areas of metabolically active lymphadenopathy are stable to slightly decreased in activity since the prior exam.
    3. No new areas of metabolically active lymphadenopathy are identified. Dr. Ganguly assured Deborah and me this is a good report. However, we do have to take all the precautions because of my blood test results.

    I know this has been long and I want to thank you for taking time to remember today with me. I would also like to use my test results to help us all remember that prayers do work. Please remember you are the most important person in the world and that God loves you and me more than we will ever know. Enjoy today and celebrate the wonderful things we all have to be grateful for. Thank you for your continued encouragement and support!


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