Video Blog: Ch Ch Ch Changes

This was already posted via facebook and referenced in this blog; but because I was in the hospital I was unable to upload it to youtube nor post it to my blog.* So here she is, though all my facebook friends have already seen it.


*  I want you to realize that I used a semicolon in this sentence. I have no idea if I used it correctly, but I like to imagine that I did. Please don’t tell me otherwise.


A video blog on this is/was coming, but I’m having the hardest time uploading from the hospital.


Well here’s the idea–things change so incredibly fast. Have I blogged about this already? Well they do. On Tuesday I may tell you that I’m doing great, that my body is feeling good, and you might even see me up and doing dishes or something like that. AND THEN on Wednesday things can totally switch and I’m sick and miserable and deathly ill. The worst is when I tell you I’m doing terrible and then the next day things get better and you see me weeding the garden or something.

I often feel like a liar. And I promise you that I am. Just not about this.

The last week provides a great example. Following my first new chemo treatment on Thursday had you spent time at our house for our Sunday community meal you would have been part of the group teasing me because I was constantly falling asleep. Seriously, for about four days I could not possibly stay awake for longer than an hour at a time. In very awkward ways I would fall asleep in the middle of sentences, during conversations, or while eating. I was always tired and pretty much out of it for nearly a week. And then on Tuesday things got better. My brain worked again, I had a huge amount of energy, and I was up and around playing with my kids and helping my wife just like I’d prefer. It felt great and I felt great. This carried on into Wednesday as well. Wednesday was a great day…until  four o’clock. At four everything immediately switched. I took a short nap (’cause even when a guy feels like a million bucks that doesn’t mean he sleeps at night. You can’t have everything right?) and when I woke up I felt like I had a terrible flu. Fever, chills, body aches, headaches, numbness in extremities, etc. I felt absolutely terrible and within a few hours had to be admitted to the hospital.

Things change so quickly. One moment I’m fine and the next I’m in bad shape. And you just never know what to expect.

It’s disconcerting to say the least because it is a constant reminder of how quickly things may potentially turn as my body continues to digress from tumor growth. It’s very possible that in one weekend I could go from my current walking functionality to being permanently stuck in a wheelchair. We just don’t know.


And that’s just how things are, it’s just what we must get used to, and yet it is something that I’m not certain we ever will grow accustomed to.

So as you listen to me, as you watch our story both from near and far, and as you peer into our lives through the windows that we’ve readily opened up please be fully aware of the ch ch ch-changes that happen not only over night but often times almost instantaneously. Things are not always as they seem…at least not for long!


As a quick update to my health. They are keeping me in the hospital for a second night. I feel relatively good now but they don’t want to take any chances with regard to an infection (infections are kind of a big deal when you’re on chemo I guess) and in order to make sure they treat it right they need to wait for some specific tests that take 24 hours. So here I sit. But don’t fret ’cause I think i’m doing pretty good. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers!!!

And as another quick update. Here is a link to the video blog that I referenced and was attempting to upload in the hospital. 

The Myth of the Toy Story

All of Pixar’s Toy Story movies capture the same narrative that many of my kids’ books tell. It’s a story told and retold again and again in children’s literature–and I bet that if I was more of a student I could find evidence that it’s told in other genre’s and realms of literature as well.

Here’s the theme: who care’s about Mr. Potato Head? Who cares about Slinky? It’s all about Woody. It’s all about the important doll or toy that has lost his position of prominence. Who cares about the fact that Woody has been dominating the toy pyramid for years, that Mr. Potato Head has never had a prominent place in the hierarchy of Andy’s love–the fact of the matter is that we absolutely do not want Woody to lose HIS place. When Woody loses HIS place we all grieve and seek proper restitution. It’s all about getting the top toy/doll back into it’s place of prominence. Only then do we feel like the story has its proper ending.


I could list you title after title of children’s books that tell this same story. We hate when loss is experienced…even if it is loss that does nothing more than allow that character to experience what virtually every single other character in the narrative is, has, and will experience. Everyone else knows what it feels like to be kicked off the bed. All the other toys get it…and we don’t care. We only care that the dominate toy is now experiencing pain in a new way…and we grieve with him/her through their pain. No body was grieiving the fact that the Slinky dog wasn’t on Andy’s bed at the end of the day. Nope. We grieve Woody’s loss. Slinky had so little to lose…so who really cares right?

What is this phenomenon? Is it that we don’t like watching people experience loss? Is it that we’re simply uncomfortable with it, with the grief and pain it brings? Is there truth to the idea that we don’t like the implications it might have for ourselves–that those of us with control or power in our world fear losing it? Because what intrigues me most is that this is a storyline that in many areas we adamantly stand up against. We tend to love the traditional Disney storyline of a down-and-out sports team that overcomes all obstacles and becomes a winner. We love underdogs, we love rags to riches stories, we love that narrative because it gives us hope. Right?

But, strangely, I’m realizing (and attempting to articulate) that we also love this alternative narrative that itches that spot in the middle of our back that we can rarely reach. There’s a secret tickle back there of which we rarely speak of–a tickle that we crave to be itched even if it’s no good for us (clearly my itchy metaphor doesn’t work so well). We love underdogs because we want to be the underdog that overcomes…but more often than not we are NOT the underdog. More often than not we are Woody, we’re the toy with privilege and power who is terrified of losing it. And virtually all of us hate change!

because change always brings loss

and loss always brings some level of pain

and pain reminds us of our brokenness

and brokenness reminds us of our vulnerability

and vulnerability reminds me that I don’t have control

Is this why at church we sing “praise and worship” songs so readily while avoiding songs of grief and lament? Is this why we celebrate the young instead of the old? Is this why we have so little room to talk about brokenness less it cheapen our conversation on health?

Is it because we want to avoid anything that reminds us that we just might not be the underdog–we may, God forbid, be Woody–we may be living in fear of losing the system or structures of power that have long given us the identity that we need desperately desire. And if we lose that…well…if we lose that then we just might have to face a level of pain, discomfort, and change that…God forbid, will bring us face to face with our vulnerability, our brokenness, and the actual truth that we do not have control over our lives as we once thought we did…and that freaks me…no, wait, I mean you out.