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Steve’s Story

During Easter weekend I began to feel out of sorts and experienced some unusual symptoms. On Monday morning I went to the doctor, who did tests and made a preliminary diagnoses that I was having gall bladder issues. He sent me for a ultrasound, which turned out to be negative for gall stones, and then a CT scan, which revealed a small mass on the head of my pancreas. On Wednesday I was able to get in to see a wonderful surgeon at Emory who was 95% certain that I had a malignant tumor. Because of the location, the tumor was blocking the bile duct and causing me to become jaundiced, but it is also operable. The decision was made to do a Whipple procedure  which is a complex, but effective surgery.  That surgery is now scheduled for Tuesday, May 6.

My wife, Sharol or I will be posting updates under the "Journal" tab of this page on a regular basis. We will also be monitoring comments in the the "Guestbook" section.

Latest Journal Update

October 20 - Facing fears

Steve here:

I feel a little embarrassed talking about a fear that I have just identified. There are are so many ultimate fears that I could have right now, and this one seems so petty. Nevertheless it has emerged, and like most fears needs to be faced. 

My fear has to do with security in my day to day living. For over five months now I have been generally house bound. It's not that I don't go out of the house. I go over to the campus; I go for walks; I go to the hospital and and doctor's office (though these excursions are not generally happy); and I have occasionally gone out for a meal. But my place of security is at home -- close to Sharol, close to my bed, tethered to my familiar life patterns, my medications and all the things that give me comfort. When I'm sick I just want to be home and close to the familiar. 

As the days have progressed I now recognize that I've grown dependent. And with this dependence has come a fear of being away from home for too long.  Thinking about travel for more than a few hours makes me anxious.

I've done a lot of travelling over the years so these are new feelings and they have come quite unexpectedly. I feel foolish even admitting this reality. 

But there it is. And like any fear it's important that it be faced. 

I realized how afraid I was when I planned a whole day away with special friends this past Saturday. I looked forward to the day,  I really enjoy these friends. But as the day approached I felt a growing anxiety. What if something happened?  What if I got half through the day and didn't feel good? I felt a little out of control and more than a little dependent. 

There are many little ways that life changes when you are facing sickness and death. I've now learned that new fears can pop up, along with a myriad of other challenges to the daily faithfulness to which I feel so strongly called. Things that have never bothered me much before may now feel like enemies.

So Saturday I faced a new fear. I spent all day with my friends and I stared my fear in the face a number of times. When I returned home late in the evening, I realized that I had healed a little.  My dear friends didn't know it, but their tender and thoughtful care was the love that was casting out my fear.

I wonder what other new surprises and fears I will discover in the weeks ahead, or how God will guide these unexpected bits of my complex journey. I want to come to the end with strength and courage. But life isn't always linear. There can be a jumble of twists and turns. I realize that maintaining my balance depends on my willingness to face the unexpected with humility and transparency, as well as endurance and fortitude. Stubborn pride is never a good companion. It only reinforces my anxieties.

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Comments

35 Comments

belinda curry
By Belinda M. Curry
Thanks for sharing this wonderful lesson on facing fear.
Pamela Oldham
By Pamela Oldham
Steve, I appreciate what you are learning, and sharing with us. Pamela
April Love-Fordham
By April
You may be the bravest person I know Steve Hayner!! You have taught me so much. Much love to you and Sharol.
Ian Docherty
By Ian Docherty
Dear Steve, Still trying to alk with you daily. You are so faithful in your sharing. May our God continue to give you the strength to face your fears.
john griffith
By John Griffith
Thank you for sharing this and having the wisdom to help us all how to engage the fears. That come our way!
Gary Veurink
By Gary Veurink
Thank you for your openness about the journey you are on! You are an inspiration and encouragement for so many who admire you and your faithfulness to God. Thank you!
We prayed for you, Sharol and your family today at IJM's 11:00 Prayer time.
jim dice
By Carol & Jim Dice
Dear Steve

Thank you for your openness about your walk with cancer. Carol and I pray for the God of the Universe to take away any fear that you may have and give you His Peace. You are a strong example of what it means when we speak of the greater family of God that surrounds us all.
Alison Siewert
By Alison Siewert
It's funny how many times the disciples' fear shows up when they are on their way with Jesus. Maybe illness is a less obvious displacement than some, but it is the shattering of normalcy.
Peace to you! May Jesus continue meet your fears with his secure Word, with friends' care and great moments of joy, and may the Spirit continue to fill you with hope, that you may abound in it.
 Barbara Exley
By Barbara Exley
Prayers that we all cast out our fears dear Steve.
Nancy Livengood
By Nancy Livengood ( Tom Livengood's mom)
Dear Steve,
I can understand your fear of leaving home especially when you are not feeling well. The comfort of having your bed close by is reassuring and the comfort of having Sharol close by to help you with whatever you might need is also reassuring. Going out with friends is a wonderful, refreshing piece of medicine. True friends are a comfort to be around. They understand your needs and want to put your mind and body at ease for the time you all are together. Being with friends helps take your mind off your troubles. You are so sweet to open up to all of us with your fears. This lets us know that when we have fears, we are not the only ones with such concerns. It is healthy to express your fears rather than keeping them to yourself. I am glad you had a good time with your friends. You are in my prayers everyday and so is Sharol.