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December 2007 entries

The Conclusion of a Mother's Perspective of "Adam's Story"

Pict0001_3 Here is the final installment of Marilyn's recounting of "Adam's Story."

The surgeon spoke to us immediately following the procedure. His news was truly “music.” He felt that he was able to remove the entire tumor. It was approaching maturity and was beginning to invade the spinal column and ultimately the cord. He told us that in just a few months, Adam’s symptoms would have been paralysis and possibly internal bleeding. At this point, he had no symptoms and the tumor was gone. Our next step was to wait for the Pathology Report to determine the necessity for chemo or radiation. This was the first time we heard that there was a possibility that he would not require either. It was almost too much to hope for!

Pathology reports came back indicating that all was well. What should have been a three month stay in Memphis with 6 – 9 months of chemo ended in a two week stay with no chemo or radiation. There was a definite risk that the tumor would return. Adam would return frequently to St. Jude for close observation. Truly, a small price to pay for such wonderful news.

At that time, I thought that living with the anticipation of the cancer’s return would be like a cloud above us. However, just the opposite happened. God’s mercy is truly a wondrous thing. I do not think you can explain it. We returned to St. Jude for the next 17 years knowing that we could be given less than favorable news. That never happened. I always felt that He could take care of whatever occurred and give us the strength to deal with it as well. He more than proved Himself. Through all of this, God revealed His care for us in numerous ways. He miraculously provided finances for us when we desperately needed them. He provided the best insurance we could get even when everyone was denying Adam coverage due to his diagnosis of cancer. He revealed to me that I, too, appeared to have this same type of cancer as a child which spontaneously disappeared without us ever knowing it existed. He provided me with a new part-time job that allowed me more flexibility and even less hours. Ultimately, he cured our baby. The list goes on and on.

Just recently, Adam had to give a speech at Chattanooga State about a personal situation. He told me that he shared his cancer story with his class and how God miraculously revealed and cured his cancer. I truly wish I could have been a fly on the wall; however, I would have drowned in my own tears, I am sure!

Whether you are celebrating the wonderful health of your family or are facing uncertain issues in the future, know that God is faithful. He sees things as only He can see them. We may never know or understand all that is going on, but you can trust that He does. He loves you and wants to encourage you and bless you through your situation, just let Him. If you do not know Him as your Lord and Saviour, do not go through this situation or your life alone. He wants to be there for you. Just ask Him. His Word tell us that He is faithful to forgive us of our sins when we ask Him, and that He will never leave us nor forsake His own. He’ll see you through. May Christmas 2007 be remembered for the beginning of your special relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

May God richly bless you all! You truly bless us! We love you!

For all of you who have heard me tell about this event in our lives it is amazingly evident how two people can have the same experience and see it from totally different perspectives. I am thankful to my wife for sharing her memories of that Christmas twenty years ago. I will be sharing her story in the morning service on December 23rd at Dallas Bay. I hope to see you there. If you read this from a distance just log on to our website and listen to the mp3. Merry Christmas. 

Marilyn's Perspective Part Deux

If you haven't been keeping up with Marilyn's perspective on Adam's Story I suggest you scroll down a couple of entries before continuing. If have ben reading her story, here is the next installment. People began to pour into the hospital that night. It was late and it all seems a blur today. A midnight meeting confirmed that it was cancer and would require surgery. St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital was mentioned. The oncologist would come by first thing in the morning to discuss our options. My mother and aunt stayed the night to allow us to get our questions together and try to get some bit of sleep. Ken and I went home, fell into bed and cried out for mercy for our baby. Ultimately, as if it was the right thing to do, we also let Adam go that night. We did not know what was to happen, but we knew that we were completely out of control. God knew the desire of our heart and the rest was up to Him. Many times over the days, weeks and months to follow I would find myself asking how people make it through times such as this without the Lord and their church family. There were times I could not pray, but I knew that Adam was being lifted in prayer continually. We headed to Memphis and St. Jude’s one week later and just two days after Christmas. Although we were exhausted, we made it through each of the preliminary tests required: bone marrow aspiration, bone scan, additional C.T., chest x-rays, blood work, etc. Even in the midst of it all, we were allowed moments in the “outside” world including the Memphis Zoo, The Pink Palace Museum, and the mall. The Body of Christ is amazing. It reaches far past our community into cities we have never traveled. Strangers showed up at the hospital in Memphis. Some had connections with people in Hixson or Soddy-Daisy. They received a phone call telling them about Adam and would come to let us know that they cared and were there should we need them. In a split second, life as we knew it had changed. The morning of surgery arrived. I was so ready to get that cancer out of Adam’s little body. Just to know it was gone would mean so much. He was given the pre-operative medication in anticipation of his surgery when we received devastating news. The surgeon had the flu. The surgery would have to be postponed indefinitely. I was in tears. Our St. Jude oncologist saw me at the elevator, took me in her arms and walked me to a room nearby. She told me of a surgeon who was considered one of the best. He was semi-retired but had agreed to perform Adam’s surgery the very next day. We would not have a chance to meet him until time for the actual surgery. It was tough to trust someone you had never met, but the Lord was leading us every step of the way and we had a quiet peace about him. The original surgeon had told us that he would have to go through Adam’s sternum, the “breast bone.” It would be a difficult surgery requiring wiring the bone back together. The “replacement” surgeon preferred to break one rib and go through the side. The healing would be much quicker returning Adam to his lively little self. We were so thankful. What seemed to be a catastrophe was God intervening once again on our behalf. At that time, surgeries were performed at St. Joseph’s Hospital. It was connected to St. Jude via an underground tunnel. Following surgery and recovery, we were lead to the basement where two nurses, with Adam on a stretcher, sprinted through this underground tunnel in order to get Adam to ICU as quickly as possible back at St. Jude. Next time I'll post the conclusion of my wife's story. Pastor Ken

Marilyn's Perspective of "Adam's Story" Part 1

Just a couple of days ago I wrote that my wife Marilyn would be telling "Adam's Story" from her perspective for the first time in twenty years. She quickly went about the task of putting her thoughts and memories on her laptop. What you are about to read is the first of three installments. While I was reading it amazed me how two people can remember the same event from completely two different viewpoints . She remembers things I don't. She knows things about that Christmas, and the years that follow, that I don't know. So for all of you who have heard me tell the story for years please read on. You are going to read about God's intervention into our lives in a way I have never been able to express. For those of you who have never heard the story, please be advised to have a box of tissues nearby. So here is installment number one of Marilyn's perspective of "Adam's Story":

Blogging is not as easy as it looks! It is about

1 a.m.

and I cannot sleep in anticipation of “blogging.” I know that many of you have heard Adam’s story through the years. For this reason, I want to desperately share something new. However, after 20 years, you may have heard it all before, but perhaps I can put a new twist on it for you. In my mind, the story never grows old. I am still amazed some twenty years later how blessed we truly are. Not only did our son survive cancer, but we learned some life lessons that still sustain us today. When I feel overwhelmed, alone or even misunderstood, I take great comfort in knowing, without a doubt, that my Heavenly Father knows the situation better than I. I will not always know all of the “why’s,” nor do I need to know. Most importantly, I know that God loves me more than I can imagine and He loves my family more than I even have the capacity to love. I can trust Him.

In looking back over the events surrounding Adam’s diagnosis, treatment and ultimate cure, I see God’s hand guiding us along…nudging us, providing for us, caring for us and comforting us.

In the days prior to Adam’s diagnosis, God overwhelmed me with a “gut instinct” to get Adam into the hospital.I assumed it was my keen nursing “assessment skills.” I can almost hear my Lord chuckling! What started as a simple ear infection and a stomach “bug” led to dehydration and ultimately a hospital admission. At that time, I knew he needed to be there. Little did I realize that the picture was much larger than what I thought. When Ken met me at Children’s Hospital, a friend of his came along from work. This guy was from a “California-based” denomination and can I say, he was a bit different. Nice enough…just different. He wanted to pray over Adam. That was okay, but Adam was not a happy camper having just had an IV started. Mama was a little stressed, if you know what I mean!? The prayer was long and very, very serious. It caught me a bit off-guard. I soon learned that I would covet those prayers relying on them for my every breath.   God knew that I needed to hear that prayer. I truly feel He was preparing me for the news to come.

On December 17th, one of our pediatricians came by to say that Adam’s chest x-ray was perfectly clear. There had been some concern that he possibly was suffering from pneumonia. This was a relief. In almost the same sentence, he shared that the first x-ray taken was a bit “off” because Adam had wriggled. The radiologist glanced at this x-ray and happened to notice a shadow. “Nothing of concern.” The doctor tossed the preliminary report to me and told me to stick it in Adam’s baby book. Approximately two hours later, our regular pediatrician called me. He informed me of that same “shadow” and wanted to look at it more closely via a C.T. scan. Adam was lightly sedated and the C.T. was performed. Results would hopefully be back later that evening around suppertime.


Supper came and went. I urged Ken to get a bite to eat and return home for the evening. His dad and stepmom were entertaining Adam in the playroom. Ken reluctantly left with my promise to call as soon as the doctor called…if he called that evening.

The call came in at

8:05 p.m.

Adam was still in the playroom with his grandmother while Ken’s dad and I heard the phone ringing back in the room. We both headed for the room and I picked up the phone. Our pediatrician was on the other end. His voice was shaky. He proceeded to talk…words like “tumor,” “1 in 100,000 children,” “surgery,” “oncologist,” etc. None of it made any sense. I remember stopping him and bluntly asking him, “Are you saying that my baby has cancer?” He responded that he was. I ended the conversation because I could not speak. I went straight to the playroom, picked up Adam and began to cry. Out of the mouths of babes, as they say…Adam looked at me and said, “It be alright, Mommy.”

More of the story next time.

Pastor Ken

"Adam's Story" Through His Mother's Eyes

For those of you who have been to Dallas Bay and heard me tell "Adam's Story" you know what it is all about. You know that my attitude toward Christmas changed forever when my wife and I were told that our only son, Adam, had a deadly form of childhood cancer. You know how miracle after miracle occurred over the next few weeks. You have probably heard me tell how I handed our baby over to the nurse at the St. Jude clinic in Memphis to be carried to surgery so that his life might be spared, and how I suddenly realized that God gave His Son for the purpose of dying. I promised the Lord that I would relay our son's remarkable story year after year at Christmas to give others hope in times of personal crisis. What you haven't heard, however, is the story from my wife's perspective. Marilyn shuns the spotlight and leaves the public speaking up to me. (It's a shame too. She's a great speaker and teacher.) Marilyn has agreed to tell "Adam's Story" as she remembers it in this blog. So over the next couple of weeks as we mark the anniversary of the whole ordeal that Christmas, you are going to hear this remarkable story from a mother's perspective. Look for the first installment in the next couple of days. Stay tuned!

Pastor Ken         

Somewhere Between Muddled Thinking and Brilliance

Communicationi This is coming to you from sermon central. That's the office in my home for those who weren't aware. I am taking a couple of days to plan for messages for the next few months. I am not blessed to be bright enough to open my Bible on Saturday night and come up with a "gem" on Sunday morning. No, my messages are a combination of perspiration and inspiration over long hours mixed with muddled thinking and flashes of brilliance. The time of muddled thinking far surpasses the brilliant moments. None the less, when I turn it over to the Lord He usually makes something worthwhile out of my time.

I used to leave town and stay in a bed and breakfast for three days twice a year. It was always time well spent. This year, however, I felt convicted to stay closer to home. The Lord has blessed me with a house that is more comfortable than any B & B in which I have ever stayed. I have a better study in my home than any I have ever found while away and I am already paying for it. The only thing I was concerned with is my quiet time with the Lord during these retreats. So I am forcing myself to get out and ride the motorcycle into the mountains in the afternoon. Already the Spirit has given me some great ideas to pursue over the next couple of days as I study to try and grasp what the "Spirit has to say to the churches." (Revelation 3:6) It's one thing to "write" a message and still another to get the "right" message. So pray for me if you think about it. I could stand all the spiritual support you can muster. You would not believe the spiritual battle that's involved. So please remember to lift me up to the Father. I need the help and I'm sure you need the practice.

In His Shadow,

Pastor Ken