Hey ya’ll, it’s been a minute!

So, last December I saw my primary care doctor and for the first time in 10 years, made a plan to get all my “50 yr male” tests, checkups, etc completed this year. Thus, we began this journey.

Labs were drawn, tests were ordered, scans completed, and in April I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I’ve never been to a urologist in my entire life, so at age 60 I should not be shocked to hear those words. But, I was, and I am.

I will undergo prostatectomy surgery next week and I believe I am in good hands with one of Birmingham’s best urologists per all the reviews, and per my personal PCP’s expert opinion. Sheryl and I met with him in May, set the surgery date, drove home very quietly holding hands, and prayed. The past six weeks have filled my mind with racing thoughts of every kind, mostly the ‘bucket list’ sorta silly selfish thoughts.

But also, more important life legacy thoughts. Like …

WHY am I here?
Why did God allow me to be born into the family I belong to, into the south Mississippi tribe of old-timey baptist gospel singers and preachers, into the Piney Woods southern culture of homespun storytelling, hard work, praying to Jesus, and granny’s home cooking? Wow, I am so blessed.

WHO am I, really?
Oh, I know my namesake; my family culture; my people. I know the little scared boy who was bullied because I was a “sissy musician” among macho wanna be superbowl athletes; the needy emotional artist-musician trying to find my place in a sea of better musicians; the rising church music PK just trying to please Dad and all the hyper fundamentalist preachers so that I could fill the itinerary and somehow pay the light bill. But, who am I, really … like, way down deep inside of my soul?

HOW did I get to this point in my life — and, now — cancer?
After all that Sheryl and I have pushed through, grieved through, fought through, and put up with from silly and sometimes outright nasty religious folks — how in the hell did we get here? I find that when I ask the “how” questions, my mind drifts almost immediately to thoughts of regret, resentment, and even anger. Not even sure, why — just really negative thoughts.

And that’s why we seek counseling and therapy for our mental health. Because, God created those precious souls with amazing intellect and mental health awareness to help guide wandering little sheep like me and my little family as we push through this next difficult season.

WHAT now?
Well, surgery is next week. The cancer will be removed, analyzed, and a treatment plan, if any, will be prescribed. Based on initial findings, my doctors say the surgery should be 95% successful and I should not face this type of cancer again for at least 10-15 years, if ever. Good news for sure!

But, my logic and reasoning has forced me to dig, to research, to do the work of studying cancer once again. I’m not so naive that I do not realize, there can be other cancer cells in other places in my body. So, I prepare. And, I have intentionally begun to think and act differently, as diligently as possible.

WHERE does this lead to?
None of us are promised tomorrow. No not one. So, today I choose JOY. Oh, I’m filled with anxiety, worry, and stress alright; but, I’m choosing JOY in spite of those negative emotions. As a little church kid, I’ve quoted all the ‘promise’ scriptures all my life, so I’ll continue to do so; and choose JOY. Where this leads me, I have no idea. But along the way — I’m choosing JOY.

WHEN … ?
I know, it’s the only ‘W’ bullet point left in the summary of this little blog post, right? HA! When is such a presumptive word. It’s use in language can take many forms. All my life, I’ve been a dreamer. Most would say I am a pipe dreamer, a utopian, an un-realist. And, they are mostly correct. I have talked in dreamy futuristic conversation with dear friends and confidants most of my adult life. And when those episodes occur, it’s usually mostly to cheer me up, dust me off, set me back on course, and just show me a little love.

So, WHEN … will I beat cancer? When will I stop worrying? When can I breathe a sigh of relief? When will life stop kicking all of us in the gut? When will Jesus come back down here and straighten all this mess out? I do not know. And neither do you.

Until then … I’m choosing JOY. Cancer, you suck. Love, you win! God, you are SO GOOD to me.