Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Friday, February 6, 2015


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©

Today I am a 25 year cancer survivor.

I sometimes say my survivorship started on my birthday, Feb. 4, for that was when I first really felt the pains that led to the surgery that revealed the cancer. It was a Sunday. I felt so bad that retired pastor Max White had to come do the worship service for me. Daughter Katie, then a grad student at the U of IL but, like I, a B.A. graduate of Indiana U, had gotten tickets for us to go the UIL-IU basketball game that afternoon. Helen said she didn’t worry when I missed church, but when I was unable to go to the basketball game, she knew something was wrong.

It was at midnight, the first minutes of Feb. 6, however, that they actually cut me open from Los Angeles to Boston and took out a third of my colon, including a malignant tumor that was penetrating the bowel wall and causing the pain.

My first oncologist said “a year or two.”

I tell this story now to give new patients hope. Back then, cancer was really equated with death. The best thing for Helen and me was when we began to hear stories of 20 year survivors. I didn’t have to settle for a year or two. That sustained us also during the cancers of Helen and daughter Mary Beth and grandson Joe.

John Robert McFarland

The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]

I used to keep a careful index of all the things I told in this blog so that I would not repeat. That has become unwieldy. Now I just trust to… what’s it called… oh, yes, memory. Sorry about repeats.

I have also started an author blog, about writing and reading, in preparation for the publication, by Black Opal Books, of my novel, VETS, about four handicapped and homeless Iraqistan veterans who are accused of murdering a VA doctor, in 2015.

I tweet as yooper1721. 

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