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The Best Part About a Political Comment Moratorium

January 15, 2012

There are three of us “boys;” I’m the oldest. There are two years between each of us. I’ve always been the class clown with a passion for art and music. My middle brother, Kelly, was the serious student and athlete. Chris, the youngest, was the party-guy, everybody’s friend and had a heart as big as the moon.

We were typical boys growing up. Plenty of sibling squabbles, but for the most part, we got along rather well. I can’t say we were close. We had fairly diverse interests and friends, so we really didn’t hang around each other as we got older. I left home after High School and kinda lost track of what Kelly and Chris were doing. A few years later, I was out of college thinking of marriage; Kelly was finishing up college and looking at a career with Lockheed Martin (formerly Martin-Marrietta); and Chris was headed to basic training having joined the Navy.

Over the past 30+ years, we’ve gotten married, settled in Oklahoma (me), Texas (Kelly) and Alabama (Chris), had a few kids, and spent our time hunting, fishing, playing golf, cycling, serving in our churches, and lots of other stuff in between. Along the way we’ve managed to get together for a few of the major holidays, but it’s never been a yearly event. There’s the occasional phone call and/or email on birthdays and Christmas. Since this Facebook thing hit, we’ve done a little better at keeping in touch, but nothing regular.

So, a couple of days before Christmas, my phone rings and the caller ID tells me it’s Kelly. I said “hello,” he said “hey, what’s goin’ on?” and I said “not much. What’s up?” And then it was his turn again…”well, I’ve got something I’ve gotta tell ya,” he started.

“I had a physical today. Our company changed insurance a while back and now they pay for a yearly physical.”

“Yeah, our insurance is like that,” I commented.

“Well, I’ve been having some problems…” I won’t go into all the detail he did, but his final comment was “…and I’ve got colon cancer.”

I sat there for a few seconds as what he said sank in. Cancer….CANCER! That’s not good. He’s only 51. My grandmother died of colon cancer. My dad has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (it’s in remission). I guess the odds were against one of us.

“How bad is it?” I asked. Kelly began to fill me in–they were sure he had cancer. They were pretty confident it was operable. If they could get it all, they were pretty sure he’d get back to life “as normal.” They didn’t know if there would be any chemotherapy. “I’m not scared,” Kelly said. “God’s in control.”

Kelly’s not only a great husband, father, and employee, he’s also a man with a very strong faith. “Yes, He is,” I replied. Kelly was to meet with an oncologist in a couple of days and they’d see where things went after that. In the meantime, I promised Dana and I would pray.

In a few days, Kelly called back to let me know the surgery was scheduled. The mass was bigger than they thought, but he was very upbeat. The surgeon was a Christian man that was a friend of a friend. He was on staff at a University hospital in the area and was regarded as “one of the best.” The surgery was as routine as a cancer surgery can be. They removed 40 per cent of Kelly’s colon along with 60 lymph nodes since the cancer had begun to grow outside the colon. The concern now was that other organs may be infected, but the surgeon kept up the positive outlook. “We believe we got it in time.”  Kelly, in the meantime, went from surgery to recovery with no problems. He was alert, feeling good the next morning , and even managed to sit up and walk a bit–less than 24 hours after the surgery.

We had been praying since the night Kelly called–and we continued to pray. Kelly’s church prayed. Dana and I prayed. I contacted my fellow Board members of the Pregnancy Resource Center and they prayed. High School friends prayed and co-workers prayed. On Saturday morning, I got a text message from Kelly’s wife, Amy.  The lab report had come back on the lymph nodes and EVERY ONE OF THEM WAS CLEAN! No cancer out of 60 nodes!! I’ve been told that in itself is a miracle. I believe it.

Kelly continued to feel good. The doctor originally told him he’d probably be in the hospital for a week, but only 4 days after the surgery, they discharged him! He was walking, having no pain, and was ready to get home to his own bed. A few days later he even had his oldest daughter drive him to the golf course so he could knock a few golf balls around the putting green.

A little over a week after the surgery, Kelly began to run a fever and that evening he was re-admitted to the hospital. The doctors feared an infection and immediately began pumping him full of antibiotics. At some point the fever broke and they determined his problem wasn’t infection, but dehydration and malnutrition. He hadn’t had a decent meal in over a week! SO…they hooked him up to some electrolytes and what Kelly described as a “bag of fat” (whatever that was) and 24 hours later, he was on his way home with instructions to drink lots of water and EAT!

Kelly’s doctor released him to drive this past week and he’s going back to work tomorrow! He was told he probably wouldn’t be able to go back to work for a month! I talked to him this evening and he sounded great. He meets with the oncologist this week to determine the chemo regimen. He thinks there will be only 4 treatments. They are confident they got all the cancer; the chemo is preventive insurance.

So what does all of this have to do with the title of this post? A day before Kelly called with the news of his cancer, a Facebook friend and I who love to talk/argue/discuss/dissect politics decided we were going to self-impose a moratorium on all FB posts related to politics. She told me (paraphrased), “I just want to focus on family, Christmas, feeling good about my fellow man and not be caught up in all the political stuff right now.” I thought it was a great idea…and so we vowed NO POLITICS until after Christmas…and through a series of challenges and conversations the goal became January 15. We made it by the way…and it’s kinda funny, but neither of us has posted anything political yet.

The best thing the moratorium did for me? It freed up some time…time I didn’t know when I accepted the challenge I would use to pray for my brother. I realized when Kelly called, that I spend too much time worrying about stuff I can’t change or fix. I makes me sad that it took something like my brother having cancer to kick me in the butt.

Since Christmas, I’ve been more aware of the time I pray and the things I pray for. I’ve become more aware of God’s goodness to me, my family, and especially Kelly. These past weeks have been a good lesson for me. They’ve also been a blessing. It’s been amazing to know that people who’ve never met Kelly have been praying for him. They’ve checked with me daily. Tons of text messages have been sent back and forth as Kelly’s surgery and recovery have been pleaded before the Throne of God. And God in His mercy has been gracious. We have rejoiced together at the good reports from the doctors and we’ve praised God for His healing hand.

Maybe we all need to take moratorium from time to time to remember and focus on the things that are really important.

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 15, 2012 10:54 PM


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