On June 20, 2017, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Since that time I have undergone radiation treatments and chemotherapy. In all, I remain blessed - the outpouring from family and friends has been overwhelming. I am fighting and have learned to accept the gift of each day. God's grace and patience has been with me every step of the way. In the faces of my friends, the daily texts I receive, and the assistance that neighbors and friends have offered to my family (meals, rides to treatment, etc.) I am reminded daily of God's eternal presence and never-ending love.
My daily prayers are (1) to be able to reach out to and encourage at least one person ; and (2) gain some insight as I travel this journey so that I am better equipped to encourage or reach someone. This isn't about me. I don''t want it to be - I want it to be a constant reminder that God is with us no matter the circumstances. And, we should be thankful and appreciative no matter what we face. The simple truth - the eternal comfort - is that He is always with us. Nothing can separate us from His love.
God's timing is perfect. Did I expect this diagnosis? No, of course not. There have been tears and moments of weakness- no doubt - but there is also peace and comfort in knowing that He is in control. One of my favorite verses during the past few months is from a Psalm: "My times are in your hand, Oh Lord." It's a humbling feeling to realize that your days are numbered. Yet, each one of us faces this reality. My simple wish is that God's light is reflected in some small way through my interaction with each of you. We are His hands on this earth. And the past month has shown me that His love and care are expressed in a thousand ways a thousand times a day. You have reflected His light toward me through your actions, prayers and words. For that, I say "thank you".
I am thankful for today. I am thankful for each and everyone of you who has touched my life. Words, I have found, are often inadequate. It's just a hug, a gentle touch or a smile across the room that expresses more than I can ever put down on paper. But, I want to use this venue to update you on my status and keep you posted.
I sent out a long e-mail to several friends and then posted the same of Facebook after my diagnosis. I had one request - Please don't say, "I'm sorry" - that still holds true. I am surrounded by my beautiful family, blessed with giving friends and supported by an outstanding group of faith-based men from my Church. Instead of pity, please stay in touch - offer encouragement, pray for my girls, laugh with me, send me stupid messages, and remember that although this is taking it's toll on my body - I'm still the same Jimmy. I will still take the Cowboys too seriously (Mudbugs hockey too), I will still enjoy listening to my music (Anne and I have been to dozens of concerts!), I will quietly pray and be thankful for each and every blessing.
Cancer is brutal enemy. It attempts to rob you of your physical self - and the treatment can also take its toll. As I look in the mirror I see a different "physical" person that I was 60 days ago - thinner, weaker and more prone to fatigue. But, it cannot - will not - take my soul, my faith, my love or my thankfulness. I refuse to let it do so. Period.
If you're reading this, we must have crossed paths for some reason or some "why" over the intervening years. You are important to me. Thank you for being my friend and for reaching out to me during this phase of my life. I'm not done yet.
God's timing is perfect. My times are in His hands.