Finally Home

John 14: 1-3 ESV       “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Christmas Eve we got the terrible news that there was nothing more medically that could be done for him. The doctor said that he just had too much going on. There were no chemo or clinical trials that could help.  The cancer had moved to his spinal cord, in his bone marrow and bones.  We were devastated but still thanked Dr. Randolph for everything he had done for Alan.

After more than a year and a half of fighting this beast called cancer, Alan is finally healed. January 19th, God called Alan home to be with Him.  I know there was a huge celebration when he finally got to see the face of Jesus.  I’m sure that when he walked through the gates of Heaven and stood before his master, He said, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’   A man that through all of the pain, sickness, and suffering NEVER once did he complain or ask God “why me.”  He stayed true and faithful until the end praying that through his journey, he would be a witness for his Heavenly Father.  He had talked many times wondering what angels really looked like.  He was so looking forward to seeing them.  Now that he knows, I wish he could share it with me.

He fought a good fight, long and hard, and now it is time for him to rest and be made perfect and whole. I love my husband with all my heart and there was a mixture of joy and sadness all at the same time when he took that last breath. BUT, I will see him again and so will our children and until that day I will hold him in my heart and honor him for what a great, faithful christian man he was.  He was my strength, my rock.  I was so blessed to have known him, to have shared my life with him as husband & wife, to have two beautiful children with him.

He loved God.  He loved his family.  He loved do mission work.  He loved life.  He loved his friends.  He loved people in general.  He loved CTCA (Cancer Treatment Centers of America) and everyone there including patients and workers.  He loved to duck hunt with his buddies and had missed it the last couple of seasons.  I was told by several of his close friends that if God liked to duck hunt, he had just gained the best partner there to enjoy it with. 😉

Words from my brother Bob…
Our God is a merciful God. My brother-in-law Alan Black is with his Lord…a young prince of a man, dedicated to his family and a servant of his Lord. As he was dying all these months, he showed me an example of how to live. Throughout it all, he honored Christ and met the trials with faith that God could somehow use him in all of this as an example. HE did. God can change a curse into a blessing and take a tragedy and turn it to rejoicing! God is GOOD….ALWAYS!    Sadness and joy mixed. Kinda like rain and sunshine at the same time……

This became Alan’s favorite verse James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Just wanted to say thank you for all who followed him on his blog.  He enjoyed doing it.  Thank you for the prayers, he felt everyone of them.

Thank you to Dr. Randolph’s team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Newnan, GA. and everyone else there that became our family.  We know that God led us there so he could get the care he needed and be treated as a person and not a number.  The love and compassion you guys show to EVERYONE that walks through your door there is such a blessing in a time of need.  We love you ALL very much.

Thank you to Dr. Lawrence’s team.  I will never forget Dr. Lawrence praying with us and so thankful for what an incredible team you have.

Thank you to Dr. Knaak’s team for taking such good care of him and all the prayers said.

Thank you to our PVN church family and all our brothers and sisters in Christ for the many prayers and support.

I posted some pictures of Alan on Random Thoughts if you would like to check it out.

Karen Baldwin and Robert Smith

Karen has been diagnosed with Kidney cancer. Today she was having a surgery to remove part of the infected kidney. Robert is her Dad and caretaker. Robert has a plethora (10) of kids, (65) grandkids, and, oodles of (45) great grandkids. We pray for her speedy recovery and ultimate healing from surgery today.

Amanda W.

Amanda works at CTCA infusion. She was one of the first techs to give me my chemo here. Now she is Manager of Infusion. She has a brother who is married and has given her a nephew that she is so proud of. You can just see her eyes light up talking about him. She was able to give us our chemo today because they were swamped. It was like old time. W  O  W  at the growing pains ! !

Amanda has such a sweet heart and God fills that heart. May she walk and work forever in basking in the glory of God’s grace.

Too Long To Respond

I had to look back at previous blogs to see how long it has been since I had posted anything. Two weeks!!! Way too long! Let’s see, let’s talk about health first and get that out of the way. Last we spoke I was having a lot of problems with the gabapentin and Lyrica side effects. Those have now passed but I continued to have problems with dizziness, my stamina was gone, and pain was still an issue. After visits with Dr. N and Dr. S I have really shaken a lot of the side effect and can say that I really do feel better. I was very concerned that I may miss chemo this past week but my blood count looked acceptable so I got my chemo as planned and came home and missed Thanksgiving.

Let’s see who I missed that I am really thankful for… Most importantly, Lori as a wonderful and understanding caregiver, Christopher and Ashley as troopers, through this whole ordeal, Judy for all she has done, Dad and Sally for prayer and support, Bob and his family, The Johnson’s and the William’s. We will have to get together soon and call it Thanksgiving.

What did I miss sharing while at Thanksgiving this year… In the coarse of treatments this year I have met so many nice people I can’t mention them all. Good fortune is coming our way with this cocktail of chemo. Most recently, The surgery that I will have to have soon to repair my chyle leak will be orthoscopic, is very successful, and will have a very short recovery time. Next, an MRI that I had to help diagnose some of my side effects showed NO growth in my brain, ie, NO cancer in my brain.

Another story for Thanksgiving. I had been doing some research on a dog to replace the two fireballs I had to give up the year before. The labs were 170 lbs. total, 220 volts, and regardless of age combined their age was only 6 months. They were much more than I could handle at my present condition at the time. Well a Boykin Spaniel kept coming up. They have the right temperament trainable to hunt, but they are excellent inside dogs. Through the Boykin club I found a Boykin Rescue site that was affiliate. I was amazed at the amount of information I had to forfeit to become approved to adopt a dog. However, after seeing the quality of animals that they adopt, I understand. 1441203_10200754515681081_1389486235_n_editedI ran across Abby, a 2 year old female that was relinquished by her former owners at the veterinarian’s office. She had been living with her foster parents for a week. The rules for Boykin Rescue was a minimum of 14 days. I had planned on making the trip to Hattiesburg, MS and this was right in the midst of the worst of my side effects from that stupid medicine. I was crying because I knew this was going to throw off all the timing and was God’s way of passing us up on a dog that I felt attached to. 1467196_10200754516321097_620359865_n_editedWhen you have friends stepping up for you in the Boykin Rescue and a friend like Lucy that “volunteered” to drive 12 hours, 1 day to pick her up. Only by the grace of God, and the help of numerous friends did Abby make it from Hattiesburg, MS to Rome, GA.1476325_10200756351326971_1194788242_n_edited

Getting Back To Normal

Well, Lori and I had a talk with my pain management doctor and we got off the nerve pain medicine. I really feel for people that suffer from fibromyalgia, diabetic nerve pain, etc…The side effects of gabapentin and Lyrica is awful. My doctor put me back on my old regimen and I have felt better literally hour by hour.

Now this does not include the chemo effects, they still suck. I have felt like a heavily warmed over …. well you know. Today was a tough afternoon, I slept this afternoon which is a vast improvement over the early days where I was sleeping 2 days after each dose.

old coupleGod reached out to Lori and I this week. We passed a couple in the main hall of CTCA, both pushing walkers, both laughing and smiling each laughing and each pausing as the other needed the break.. The gentleman, probably in his later 70’s, was the cancer patient and the lady, also in her 70’s seemed to have something like cerebral palsy. While there were many things about this couple that were not evident to us as we met in the main hall, somethings were significantly evident. Like the smile on their face, the love in their heart, the great relation that they had. God had given them a long and happy relationship with each other. I can imagine a couple of kids some grandkids, the holidays and traditions made at the home. Houseful of friends at times, warm stories and memories made with best friends. A home like that filled with the love of God should be the goal of every new couple as they enter their life together in marriage. I see the fruit of marriages like this in my life. I was fortunate to live out this type of marriage through the Boyd’s, Black’s, Roger’s just to mention family. Not to say we don’t see it in numerous friends, too. And to imagine all the trials and tribulations that thesevlives have had to pss to get where where they are now makes you realize how they had to count it all joy to face these trials. God loves us tremendously to give great families. I posted the following on Fb on Nov 1 (mine and Lori’s 16th Anniversary).

“Do you want proof in God? Well, hear it is, 16 years ago Lori Black stood before friends and family and said “I do.” There is no way I could have found and married such an angel here on earth. No way our union could have been engineered here on earth without God’s divine intervention.

Happy Anniversary to my Angel here on earth. I love you Lori. More each day.”

I posted this because I belive that God has huge plans for Lori as our lives continue progress. We’ve already got the two kids, no hurry for the grandkids, good friends, got ’em.

Enough babbling, and that is what I am doing thanks to the reduced effects of Lyrica. I guess I’m just showing off that I can make a coherent sentence. Haha