THE PASTOR'S KEYBOARD
I get asked on a regular basis: “How is Mark F. doing.” So a month or so ago I asked Mark if he would write something about that and what he has been through. Below are his words.
Recently, Bill and I were talking on the phone and the subject of my health came up. I said, “Oh, I’m hanging in there. I’m taking it day by day”. Well with that Bill proposed that maybe I should share my medical journey with the congregation. So with that I have dusted off my PC and commenced to put my thoughts to paper.
I’m not sure how many in the congregation are aware that I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma over eleven years ago. With that being said, on one hand it has been a battle all along the way, but on the other hand what a blessing to still be alive and enjoy the many joys of life. Seeing my son and daughter grow up, having a career that lasted 35 years, and celebrating over 30 years of marriage to the woman I love.
Through the years I have faced many challenges and fought them with words of encouragement from members of Mt Vernon church. Many thanks to the Deacons, Dot, Sandy, Lu Ann, Bob and Lee Ann and so many others. Relatives who knew I had cancer tried to encourage me as well. I knew they meant well. Like them I grew up hearing that having cancer was a “battle”. Something you “beat” if you have enough “fight” in you. For me, cancer never felt like a war. Cancer wasn't something I “had,” but a process my body was going through. I am no warrior. I just show up to my medical appointments, do what I’m told, pray and live as best I can.
Over a period of months I remained in remission, but in 2017 increasing fatigue and shortness of breath led to a diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I was informed that the drugs I had taken over the past eleven years to curb the Lymphoma had altered my genetic profile and had left me now with Leukemia. I went through a one month inpatient induction round of a mild chemotherapy and, without the rotating menu of unpleasant side effects and big time fatigue, went into remission—and there, by the grace of God, I remain. This, however, is only a stepping stone for more treatments to come. I continue to live that long and lonely journey that has been marked with a milestone of changes within myself. Most of them good while others I'm learning to accept or to work around.
We don't know how any cancer patient's life will unfold. What will become of any one of us is not ours to know. All that any of us can do is try to live today as best we can.
DECEMBER 24 CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES
No Sunday School
10:00 a.m. Worship
7:00 p.m. Family and Children service
9:00 p.m. Contemplative/contemporary service with candle lighting.
11:00 p.m. Traditional Christmas Eve with candle lighting/Communion
(Come at 10:30 p.m. for our Hymn Sing)
DECEMBER 31 NEW YEAR’S EVE
No Sunday School
10:00 a.m. Worship with Hymn Sing
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