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Thursday, June 23, 2016

To hear the whisper of God...

"To hear the whisper of God
you must turn down the volume of the world.
Find time to disconnect from everything around you
and be still in His presence today.
He is waiting for you to draw near."
                                     ~ daughterbydesign blog

"Come near to God and He will come near to you..."
James 4:8

Praying your day is filled with "Be Still" moments
that are soft with the whisper of God.

My Love,

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Father's Day Float...

As in a lazy, hazy, kayak-trip float down Brushy Creek...

... a Happy day for this Farmer-Husband.  And yes, that's his happy face :-)

With the busy, hectic life we seem to be living, it was joy indeed to spend a few hours floating down our muddy Brushy Creek.  The rains are coming to an end, the creek is up, and the sun is out... perfect day to spend together.

With just a little imagination we felt as though we had landed in the middle of the Amazon... the sights, the sounds, the muddy water, the piranhas....oh, wait, no piranhas, thank goodness!

Just a snake or two slithering away from our intruding presence.
Nothing like a little Texas creek in the summer time.

Interesting trees around every bend, and sometimes when the sun hit them just right, they became part of the watery world that swirled by...

Peace for this day...
a welcome respite from the cares that attend our way.

Happy Father's Day to the Farmer...
You touch my heart sweet with each passing year

Love you Always and Forever,

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Being Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer...

Through the years I have had the privilege of "meeting" so many amazing souls along this cancer road, and today it is an honor to welcome just one of those amazing warriors to this place.  Ted Kern's diagnosis with pancreatic cancer changed his life and that of his family.  And what he has done with that life inspires. 

From the beautiful north woods state of Maine to this southern front porch in Texas...

... so glad that Ted is sharing his story.  It is an encouragement for all who are walking this road, for it is hope, it is perseverance, it is joy...

Thank you Ted, you are a light in the dark, and I am blessed to call you friend.

                                                                            by Ted Kern

My cancer story began in July 2014 when I was admitted to my local hospital with acute diverticulitis. This was my second bout. I knew the drill. After three days of IV antibiotics my infection appeared to have cleared. The morning I was scheduled to go home, I had a CT scan to make sure.

The infection was gone, but the doctor blindsided me when he said the MRI picked up what looked like a mass on the tail of my pancreas. He referred me to Maine Medical Center, where they performed what seemed like a whirlwind of biopsies and diagnostic tests.

The diagnosis was stage 2-B adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. I was in shock. The only thing that might have been a warning sign that something was wrong was some slight back pain I’d been experiencing. Nothing else. It truly is a silent disease. I had surgery in late August to remove one-third of my pancreas, as well as my spleen and 26 lymph nodes surrounding the pancreatic region. All lymph nodes were reported as clean with no sign of any cancer spreading to other organs. 

It was recommended that I start chemotherapy in early October 2014. A combination of Gemsar and Abraxane was administered twice a month over six months. My next CT scan in early Nov 2014 showed six very small spots less than .5 millimeters on my liver. A liver biopsy a few weeks later tagged  them as “ill defined” versus malignant cancer cells. Although I was concerned about it at the time, I had to move forward to get my health and business back in order. I finished round one of chemo in early April 2015 and started to feel great again. I regained my strength, appetite and hair!

From May through August 2015 I continued to have monthly blood tests. Please note: I never reported a pancreatic tumor marker above 50 from the time my tumor was diagnosed in August 2014 thru August 2015. I thought I had truly dodged this deadly PC cancer bullet — a health miracle. 
Unfortunately, in September 2015 my blood test revealed an elevated tumor marker count of 250. It was very concerning to hear this a year after my tumor was removed.

My oncologist recommended I move my next CT scan up to Nov 1st instead of Dec 1st 2015. The results described a rapid spreading of pancreatic cancer to my liver with a new tumor count of 2500! In less than 60 days the six tiny liver spots turned into 10-15 tumors ranging in size from a green pea to a quarter.

I was devastated when my oncologist confirmed I officially have metastatic pancreatic cancer. I was told it was now stage 4 and non-curable.

Once I regained my senses and took a deep breath I asked the inevitable question “How much time do I have left?” Rather than provide a specific timeline my oncologist recommended I start a much more aggressive chemotherapy regimen immediately. I was prescribed 5-FU every two weeks for up to six months assuming my body could handle this  toxic chemo program.

The good news is my tumor markers started to drop by early January 2016. They went from a high of 2,500 to 1,100 and again in February from 1,100 to 250 until I hit the 5-FU wall mid-February 2016. I developed an acute infection in my small intestine and was back in the hospital for four days with intravenous IV therapy again. Please note 5-FU typically can destroy healthy cells in your GI tract, which was the case for me after three months of treatment.

I took a 5-FU chemotherapy break and then finished up with two more lower dose rounds in March and early April 2016.

My tumor markers are now at an all-time low of 71 and I feel great again post chemo regimen round two.

I also radically changed my diet to remove all red meats and most dairy products and I greatly reduced my sugar intake. In addition I power walk 5K every morning between 6-7 AM.  I feel a  combination of healthy eating and exercise is vital while doing chemo. I also pray every day and participate in Reiki and therapeutic massages as my schedule permits.  I recently started attending a “Living with Metastatic Cancer Support Group” thru the Cancer Community Center. All are very helpful in the healing process.

In closing, I promised my family and myself two very important action items moving forward.

1)    Choose my top three bucket list action items, then do them as soon as possible.

2)   Choose not to be blindsided by round three of chemo if there is another resurgence of pancreatic cancer.

 Regarding #1. I am well on my way after a wonderful Florida vacation getaway with my wife.

Regarding #2. I had the good fortune to learn about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (Pan Can) from my brother, who attended a Pan Can fundraiser in Massachusetts in February 2015. I am urging all readers who have pancreatic cancer or know of anyone with it to register with The Pancreatic Cancer Network “Know Your Tumor Program” at www. It is an incredible resource for anyone diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.

Another helpful resource is the Pancreatic Cancer Journey blog at  Jane Schraceo, who writes the blog, has been extremely supportive and a huge advocate in helping folks diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Many people think that if you’ve been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you’ve been handed a death sentence. I don’t. I made the decision to learn as much as I could about my cancer and all available resources. I try to keep a positive attitude and not sit around and stew on negative thoughts.

Every day I make sure I get out and do a healthy activity.  Sometimes it’s meditation and sometimes it’s a body massage. Most days it’s a nice long walk. As I mentioned, I start every morning with a 5-K walk. I call it my minimum daily walk. It does wonders for the body, mind, and spirit.

Good Health & God Bless

Ted Kern

P.S.  Scan Results as of 6-3-16 show Ted's liver Tumors have shrunk 50%  🏀

Monday, June 13, 2016

When Love Weeps...

It is a hurting world we live in.

And tonight in Orlando, the hurt is immense.  And so is the grief...

Unimaginable Grief...

We pray for those touched so deeply and intimately with a pain born of evil.  And we weep, for sometimes there are just no words for this kind of hurt.

God knows.

His words touch our hearts sore and kindle unity where there is strife...

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another..."
                 ~ Romans 12:15-16

Grief can just bring us to our knees. It can.  Perhaps it is the best place to be as our hearts cry out.

God knows.

And tonight Love weeps... 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Something Beautiful...

Sometimes a song has the power to put life's hurt and pain and grief into perspective...

Thank you Steven Curtis Chapman for a glimpse into the Uplifting Hope that comes when we give God all the broken pieces of our lives...

Would you take a moment and listen to these powerful words?  And find some of that Hope to hang on to?

"And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose."
             Romans 8:27-28

Trusting in the God who can make Something Beautiful and good from the mess life's made of our best laid plans...

...for truly His Grace has just begun.