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My Top 10 thoughts

One of the most difficult things I have had to do is to write this blog because my emotions and my thoughts have been all over the place since my surgeon stood beside my hospital bed on August 3rd and told me, “I am sorry Mr. Williams; the transplant didn’t happen because your cancer has spread.”  I am sure at one time or another you have been exposed to the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance), but to me it feels like all 5 stages have descended upon me at once.  My struggle in writing this blog comes from a desire not to have one stage overpower another.  Therefore, the times that I am in denial, anger, and depression, feeling like I have been punched in the gut, it is at those times that I do not want to paint a picture of doom and gloom, because that is not the entire picture.  Also, in glimpses of acceptance, peace, and hope, when I am feeling encouraged, this also does not show the extent of my feeling.  Truth be known, it is a combination of these two extremes that I wish to communicate with you.  In an earlier blog, I wrote about the paradoxes of life with cancer. My heart still wrestles to make sense of it all.  Here is a link to that previous blog.

So instead of trying to write that perfect blog that will capture my thoughts completely, in honor of David Letterman’s “Top Ten”, let’s journey through my Top Ten current thoughts.  

THOUGHT #10:  I will still fight this cancer!  I am not dead yet!  Surgery has been taken off the table, but through prayer, hope, chemotherapy, and future clinical trials, I will continue to fight to have as many days as possible here with my family, friends, church, and opportunities to serve and glorify Him.

THOUGHT #9:  I continue to be astonished at how blessed I am through my family, friends, church, and medical surgeons, doctors, and nurses.  While recovering in the hospital, my surgeon stopped in to see how I was doing, and we spent 30 minutes talking about family and our faiths.  I was encouraged when he wept with me as I shared my sadness and grief over the cancer spreading and transplant being cancelled.  

THOUGHT #8:  I have a tremendous desire for normalcy!!  Recently, our church has challenged us to give up something for 40 days to allow more time for Jesus.  As I sat with two of my best friends pondering this question, I simply said that I want to give up dealing with cancer.  Cancer unfortunately is all encompassing, and it consumes my thoughts much of the time.  I am learning that I am not productive today if I live in fear of tomorrow!  

THOUGHT #7:  “Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.”  Tim Keller

THOUGHT #6:  There are 2 songs on this top ten list.  The first song is “Come What May,” which prompts me to draw close to my Savior even amidst unsettling prognoses. 

THOUGHT #5:  I want to share something that can be very disheartening for people facing suffering and death. Be cautious how you use verses such as Matthew 17:20 with those facing a difficult prognosis, which tells us that if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, that we will be able to move mountains.  There can be a sense of “prosperity gospel” where if I only had a little more faith or prayed a little more then God would heal me.  This is counter to God’s theology of suffering which ordains suffering for the discipleship and maturity of His children.  It may not be that God moves a mountain here on earth (healing me from Stage IV cholangiocarcinoma), but what a miracle it is (and mountain moved) that a sinner like me on the day I die would be given access to bow before the throne of God Almighty, as His beloved child.  

THOUGHT #4:  I am still amazed that someone was willing to donate life to me.  My heart hurts for him that he wasn’t given that opportunity to serve God and me in donating his liver.  This humbles me every time I think about it.  John 15:13. I love you Kory!

THOUGHT #3:  The second song on this countdown is “Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call” and reminds me that even during brokenness, I can still call out to Him. 

This was also filmed on the beutiful campus of Southern Seminary in Louisville, which I have many happy memories in my time there.

THOUGHT #2:  I hurt for my family.  If and when the Lord takes me from this earth (this year or in 40 years), I will be perfect with the Lord, however my family will be hurting.  This keeps me up at night.

THOUGHT#1:  My incision, which basically cuts me in half, hurts more when there isn’t a new liver in there.  

If you feel compelled to pray for me, please pray…

  • I was in the hospital for a liver infection (cholangitis) on Thursday and Friday of this week, please pray that these will be kept under control. I will have a procedure this week (ERCP) to try to open up the billiary flow in my liver.
  • I have an appointment with my oncologist on Tuesday to decide on the treatment moving forward.
  • Please pray for my family as they adjust to a new school, plus dealing with all my health issues.
  • Please pray that I can find opportunities to build memories with my family this fall. We have some fun events planned, including our first Steelers game as a family. Pray that my health cooperates.
  • Please pray that I can have the energy and be infection free so that I can serve and work in my church. I so desire for normalcy and “routine” ministry.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers, care, and support of me and my family during this time. We are truly blessed!

Categories: Health Updates, My Journey of Suffering