The best of all seasons

We’ve had one full year of the pandemic, encompassing the last few days of winter 2020 and the other three seasons of the year. With most of us being sequestered in our homes, the seasons of the year had little chance to work their magic on us. A couple of days ago, March 15, I jumped into the family SUV and took a ride into the country. I had no location in mind. I simply wanted to roam the countryside with iPhone in hand, looking for some early signs of spring to photograph.  Spring, as usual, has already begun to awaken in Arkansas. As far as I’m concerned it is the best all seasons.

Spring looks for the earliest opportunity to open its eyes and stretch its limbs to all four corners, anxious to revive all that winter has shocked into a form of cardiac arrest. I’m convinced that spring never leaves us; it simply waits quietly, not revealing itself until the nights start to get a little warmer. I’ve seen spring reveal itself in Arkansas as early as mid-February. Of course, it places the flora at risk whenever it jumps the gun too early. If memory serve me well, back in March 2007, after we had moved into our new home the December before, spring couldn’t wait for its time. Our new lawn had turned a beautiful green by the end of March. I was excited at the prospect of giving the grass its first mowing. My excitement was dashed when we had a heavy frost on the first of April. Jack Frost performed his job well, the early, tender green quickly turned to brown. Oh, but spring was still there, and in a few days, it reemerged with its usual vigor.

As I’ve gotten older, spring has come to have greater significance for me. Because it’s a time of quickening, I have begun to wonder how many more of this magical season I will be a witness to. Summer has its heat and humidity, but spring simply moves to stage right, waiting patiently. Fall has its appeal, almost as alluring as spring, but it lacks many of the soothing attributes (temped nights, blossoming landscapes…) of spring. Spring is still there, if only in my mind, waiting patiently. Winter, as I’ve gotten older, seems to present a gray lifelessness to it, that can only add color with wintry, inhospitable frozen stuff from the sky. Spring waits patiently. Spring sees its turn to rise in full force after the new year enters center stage, in Arkansas anyway. I find myself rooting for it by the end of January.

Oh, by the way, I did get a few shots while roaming the countryside the other day. I’ve attached them here. I hope you enjoy these representations of what I saw in their natural state. Spring a most enjoyable time of year, in Arkansas anyway. Father, I pray that I ill enjoy many more of its magical effects.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

Another one of my cancer stories

In my oncologist’s waiting room

I often find myself motivated to write about my journey with multiple myeloma; however, I wonder if people tire of hearing about my experience with this disease. This past Tuesday, I had another of my semi-annual visits with my oncologist. These little updates/friendly chats on my health status follow a battery of tests I must suffer to determined how I’m doing. I have a great doctor, who spends more than enough time with me during these little visits. He has a great bedside manner, and we talk just as much or more about topics outside of my cancer. Although we talked about a wide range of topics during this visit, the most important topic was, of course, that my cancer is still at bay. Although I’m not in remission, I’m doing just fine.

I often rib my doctor about the fact that I used to hear a lot about finding a cure for multiple myeloma, especially at the time I was diagnosed. Now, it seems most of the conversations he and I have are about managing the disease. I’m certainly glad and thankful that I’m living a rewarding and relatively healthy life with multiple myeloma. I can’t help but to ask him occasionally what happened to the cure. He always offers this comeback: People with high blood pressure are managing their disease and living long, productive lives. The situation with multiple myeloma has reached that level for many patients, and I’m one of them. I’m still trying to align multiple myeloma with high blood pressure, but I can’t argue with twenty-one years of survival.

After visiting with my doctor, I had to sit in the examination room for a short while, waiting on the nurse to finish up a few things: answering any lingering questions, clarifying my orders for the following six months, arranging lab appointments to collect blood. While waiting, it occurred to me that I should provide an update to my Facebook friends. I’m active on several Facebook pages. The ones most important to share information about my health are my personal page, a church related page I set up for chronic illness support and one called Myeloma Patients. The latter functions much like a support group, with patients ranging from recently diagnosed to old warriors like me. The new patients are usually fearful of their situation, trying to latch onto any amount of hope they can find. Responses to my post started to come in immediately. Some were amazed at the length of time I’ve survived with this disease. Others expressed the hope my experience gives them. A few even asked me what I’m doing to be experiencing such good fortune. Within thirty minutes of the post, there were over fifty responses; likes, positive comments, etc.

I’m at my laptop composing this blog on Sunday afternoon, five days after my post to Facebook made in my doctor’s examination room. Responses are still coming in, at last count over 800 hundred. I used to be hesitant to share the good news of my survival. For some reason, I felt it brought too much attention to me. The longer I live, the longer good fortune surrounding multiple myeloma comes my way, the more I realize my story must be shared. God is amid it all! That’s a situation you just have to roll with.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.