Thursday, August 31, 2006

August 31 Final Update

I did pretty well today. I was rather tired, but I was able to persevere. I got quite a bit of billable time in today and that’s good.

I slept well last night. The bed even felt more comfortable than usual.

Tonight I have noticed some swelling in my calves and ankles. My ankles almost look like I’ve sprained them. The chemo is doing this. I’m going to contact the oncologist office and see what they recommend.

I went out and did a 1-mile walk tonight while the Vorlon Wife cut the grass. I thought the exercise might help reduce the swelling.

A friend suggested ice. Although that’s probably a good suggestion, I just don’t relish sticking both legs into a deep bucket of ice water.

I’m going to put a pillow at the foot of the bed tonight in an effort to raise my feet and let the fluid run downhill. It’ll probably give me a swelled head. Just what I need.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/31/06 8:58 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (4)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

August 30 Final Update

The chemo caught up with me late today. I had to leave the office about 3:40 this afternoon to get my Neulasta shot at about 4:00 pm. By the time, I got to the oncologist’s office I was feeling pretty badly.

You know that all over body ache you get when you have the flu. Well that’s how I felt. They took my temperature when I was in the oncologist’s office and it was 97 something. When I got home, I took some ibuprofen and that helped.

I’m feeling really wiped out tonight and am heading to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/30/06 8:27 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

August 29 Final Update

I had my treatment today and it went well. I was out of the oncologist’s office by about 11:00 am and went to the office.

I did well today. In fact, when I left about 5:00 pm, I felt better than I have felt in many days. However, I’m sagging quite a bit now. As you can tell, it is WAY past my bedtime.

The Vorlon Brother called tonight and we had an extended conversation. I’m going to have to train him to call on weekends. But it was good to talk to him nonetheless.

During my treatment, I mentioned to the nurse that I have a small ear infection in my right ear. When I sleep on my right side, the ear weeps. She suggested I put some cotton in it to absorb any liquid. I suggested that I take a disposable diaper (unused) and insert some of the material from that. After all, it absorbs more that 200 times its own weight in liquid. Much more that cotton.

She gave me a strange look as if to say, “He’s not right.” She said, “You can put whatever you want in your ear. I would just suggest you use something to absorb the liquid.”

These people just can’t think outside the box.

I’m off to bed – FINALLY!

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/29/06 11:02 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Monday, August 28, 2006

August 28 Final Update

I guess I did OK today. I stayed home as almost any movement really tired me out.

I had my last Neupogen shot this morning. Tomorrow I go in for my abbreviated chemo treatment – if my white cell count is high enough. It should last about 90 minutes.

Wednesday, I get my Neulasta shot and then I’m free for about two weeks – Yeah! They’re letting me out of jail, but it’s difficult to walk away.

On an unrelated note, I watched a program about Richard Branson of Virgin Records and Virgin Airlines fame. He dropped out of high school and is now worth billions of dollars. Programs like this torture me. I think to myself, “Why am I so stupid that I can’t put together even a 1,000th of this man’s success?”

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/28/06 8:35 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (5)

A New Cancer Treatment

A friend sends this article.

Scientists have found a way to trick cancer cells into committing suicide. The new synthetic compound, which removes a molecular safety catch that activates a natural executioner in the body's cells, could lead to better treatments of cancers including those affecting the lung, skin, breast, kidney and colon.

The body has several defences against cells growing out of control and into tumours - one is to cause defective or dangerous cells to commit suicide. This natural process of cell death, called apoptosis, involves a protein called procaspase-3. When activated, procaspase-3 changes into an enzyme called caspase-3, which begins the cell death. In cancers, this mechanism is often faulty and cells can grow unchecked. Many types of cancer are resistant not only to the body's own signals for cell death but also to the chemotherapy drugs that try to mimic it.

But Paul Hergenrother, a chemist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has found a way around the natural biological process that kickstarts apoptosis - a synthetic molecule that directly activates procaspase-3. "This is the first in what could be a host of organic compounds with the ability to directly activate executioner enzymes."

His team screened more than 20,000 different compounds, looking for the one with the ability to turn procaspase-3 into caspase-3. The researchers called the successful molecule "procaspase activating compound number one" (PAC-1). The results are published today in Nature Chemical Biology.

The scientists found that PAC-1 killed many types of cancer cells, but how well it worked depended on the body's natural levels of procaspase-3. In lung cancer cells, for example, where levels of procaspase-3 were five times higher than normal, the new molecule worked well.

"It is now clear that many cancers have elevated concentrations of procaspase-3," wrote Prof Hergenrother in the Nature paper. "Others have heightened or reduced concentrations of procaspase-3 depending on the cancer subtype." He added that a systematic analysis of procaspase-3 concentrations in a variety of cancer types was needed to determine which cancers would be most amenable to treatment with a molecule such as PAC-1.

Testing cancers for procaspase-3 would lead to personalised treatments for cancer patients. "As such, the potential effectiveness of a compound such as PAC-1 could be assessed ... with a high degree of accuracy, and people with cancer could be pre-selected for treatment with a procaspase-3 activator based on the concentration of procaspase-3 in their tumour cells," said Prof Hergenrother. This personalised treatment is preferred to more general therapies because the amounts of drugs can be tailored to a person's condition, reducing the risk of side-effects often caused by chemotherapy.

Thanks, Tom. I think I'll look further into this.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/28/06 11:14 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

August 27 Final Update

I did pretty well today until shortly after lunch. That’s when I seemed run out of steam. So I lay down and took a nap. That helped a bit, but I’m feeling pretty tired tonight.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/27/06 7:55 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

August 27 Morning Update

We awoke this morning to some badly needed pouring down rain. I have not yet checked, but I’ll bet we have already gotten as least an inch and will likely get more before the storm abates.

I’m feeling quite a bit better this morning. I feel like I slept well last night. However, I frequently feel good up awakening and then degrade so we’ll see.

UPDATE: I just dumped 6" out of my rain gauge.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/27/06 7:36 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

August 26 Final Update

The Neupogen is hammering me. I spent most of the day doing nothing. I DID get up occasionally to move the hose for watering the lawn and then went back for my recovery.

I feel pretty good – as long as I just sit. I expect the next two days to be about the same.

As for now, I’m off to bed. I am really tired.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/26/06 8:24 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Friday, August 25, 2006

August 25 Final Update

I stayed home today and took a morning nap after my Neupogen shot. Then I got a little work done on client systems. I’m feeling tired, but not exhausted.

I’ll need to get up a little early tomorrow to get my Neupogen shot.

For now, I’m getting ready for bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/25/06 8:22 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thoughts from The Belmont Club on Iraq

If you have any interest in world affairs, you should be reading The Belmont Club. He recently takes up the attempts to quell the violence in Iraq.

No one can pretend the problems in Iraq are over and the fact that no one can confidently predict when they will ever be solved lies at the bottom of the public dissatisfaction with the war. About all the Administration can convincingly argue is the awfulness of the alternative. For Marine Lt Gen James Mattis the endpoint has become fundamentally psychological.

"It is mostly a matter of wills. Whose will is going to break first? Ours or the enemy's?" ... Mattis, who led the Marines in the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and led the 1st Marine Division in the invasion of Iraq and march to Baghdad in early 2003, said he was once asked by an Iraqi when he would leave that country. "I said I am never going to leave. I told him I had found a little piece of property down on the Euphrates River and I was going to have a retirement home built there. I did that because I wanted to disabuse him of any sense that he could wait me out. ... Wars like this are winnable but you have got to have a sophisticated approach and you've got to have very sturdy and spiritually sturdy Marines who can keep their balance in the face of an extremely complex fight. It's not a small issue to wave to kids after just seeing your buddies blown up, but that shows on the most pedestrian level the kind of sturdiness that is needed in what is just a morally bruising environment where the enemy hides among the people."
Posted by The Vorlon on 08/24/06 8:38 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

August 24 Final Update

I failed to get my chemo today. It turns out my white cell count was too low. This is spite have having a Neupogen shot three days preceding today. My white cell count was 1,800. It needed to be well over 3,500 to get treatment.

I was a VERY unhappy camper. I will now continue to have a Neupogen shot every day and try to get treatment next Tuesday. I shudder to think of what it would have been like, had I not had the three days of Neupogen.

The nurse who gave me the bad news said, “Don’t beat yourself up. There’s nothing you could have done.”

I don’t buy that. If we knew ahead of time this would happen, would we have done something differently?

I suspect we would.

My oncologist was walking through the room and I expressed my frustration with the results. He said this happens. I told him he knows how I don’t like to change the schedule.

He said he knew that, but that I was not Superman. He said I am not a computer I just play with them.

Although the Neupogen doesn’t initially whack you, I have previously found it fatiguing after being on it for several days.

Ironically, I don’t feel as tired tonight as I have on previous nights. Although I have some redness and a little ache on the arm that got the IV last week. I think I’m getting closer to the point of having a mediport installed. Although this would make my treatments easier, I resist it.

Still, I’m going to bed early. I don’t know if I’ll go into the office tomorrow or not. With a very low white cell count, it is probably better if I stay home. Still my office should not be too much strange when it comes to bacteria.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/24/06 8:15 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Another New Link

I've added another link that looks promosing. It a blog called The Cheerful Oncologist. I have only perused it briefly, but I already like the upbeat tone. You'll find the link down on the right had side. Give it a look and see what you think.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/24/06 1:30 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

New Link

If you scroll down on this site the "Sites I Like to Read" on the right-hand side, you'll see a link called "Cute Overload". I recommend you visit that site almost every day. I think it'll brighten your day.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/24/06 9:47 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

A Letter from Afghanistan

I came across this letter from a battalion commander to his troops' families. He relates their experiences in Afghanistan. I found it quite a moving letter and thought I'd share with with you.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/24/06 9:39 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

August 23 Final Update

I’m still suffering from the chemo and tomorrow afternoon I get another treatment – well half a treatment actually. Last week they gave me two chemicals. Tomorrow I get just one. They expect my treatment to take only about an hour. I’ll take my iPod and my laptop to keep myself entertained.

I succumbed to my chaise lounge and blankey in my office this morning. Then I came home early and took another nap just before supper. I feel like I’m sleeping my life away – but I’m just so tired.

My weight this morning was down another Lb to 149. I’m trying to eat as much as I can, but it’s not easy.

I went out for a brief walk with the Vorlon Wife again tonight. I want to get SOME kind of exercise.

As for now, you guessed it, I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/23/06 8:03 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

August 22 Final Update

I did OK today, but ran out of gas late in the afternoon. I went to a client site today for several hours. I took the Vorlon Wife along as my backup driver in case I did not have the energy to drive home. I think I did pretty well and even drove the whole distance both ways.

But when I got back in the office, I sat in my chair for about five minutes and just felt the fatigue rush in on me. I told the Vorlon Wife, “Take me home.”

My weight was down to 150 Lbs this morning. That’s not particularly unusual at this point in my chemo treatment. Now I just need to eat everything in sight.

When I got home about 4:00, I took a 1-hour nap and felt a little better. I even went out for a short walk with the Vorlon Wife for a few hundred yards.

Now, I’m ready for bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/22/06 8:41 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Jet Beetle

Here’s a car I’d love to have, but would rather not pay the fuel bills for. The amazing thing, to me, is what a magnificent job he has done putting this together. Excellent attention to detail.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/22/06 8:11 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Monday, August 21, 2006

August 21 Final Update

If you’re wondering why I didn’t post an update last night, I was just too wiped. Last night I went to bed at about 6:30 pm and got up about 6:00 in the morning.

I stayed home today and got very little done. I took a nap this morning and another nap in the afternoon.

Although I don’t really have any nausea, my stomach is still a little uneasy. I find it hard to find food appetizing.

The Vorlon parents and brother left this morning. I just called them and they’re about 45 minutes away from the Vorlon Brother’s house. The Vorlon Parents will stay there overnight and the drive the last two hours home.

It was nice see everyone, even though I was not the best host. My current schedule is a Neupogen shot Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Then I get a reduced poisoning on Thursday and then a Neulasta shot on Friday.

As for now, I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/21/06 8:28 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

August 19 Final Update

All things considered, I did pretty well today. The Vorlon Parents and Brother showed up as expected. They left for the shore about 4:00 pm. I figured if they came all this way from Michigan, they might as well take another 40 minutes and make it to the ocean.

They have not yet returned, but I am fading. I’m off to bed with the hope they will not wake me up upon their return.

My taste buds are starting to recover and the nausea is greatly reduced.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/19/06 8:27 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Friday, August 18, 2006

August 18 Final Update

I did OK today. I saw a client this morning came back to my office, succumbed to the chase lounge in my office, and took a nap.

I woke up, drank my Boost Plus and slowly got back to work. I held up pretty well through the afternoon until about 4:00 pm. Then I went home.

I’ve been take a ginger capsule about every hour to keep my stomach together. From my prior experience, my stomach should be better tomorrow.

I’m really wiped tonight and am headed off to a very early bedtime.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/18/06 7:19 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

August 17 Final Update

I had my treatment today. It’s a 4-hour long boring process. I’m not feeling too badly tonight – just tired. If this treatment is like the one 3-weeks ago, I expect my stomach to be uneasy tomorrow. I’ll be taking my ginger capsules. They seem to help. I also have my Kytril to fall back on, but I’m stubborn and would rather use a more natural chemical.

My weight is still good and my legs feel better. I still have some residual soreness, but they are better. When I look at my calves, it looks like the swelling has gone down.

I’m supposed to have some visitors for a few days. The Vorlon parents and brother are expected to come out some time tomorrow.

I better get to bed and rest up.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/17/06 9:53 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

August 16 Final Update

I went to my Toastmasters meeting tonight and now I’m paying for it a bit. I should have been in bed quite a bit ago. I’m feeling pretty tired.

I saw the oncologist today and he said soreness in my calves was from the chemo. When we examined my calves, they seemed a bit swollen that I hadn’t noticed before.

Tomorrow is a four or five hour poisoning. I’m got my laptop computer ready as well as my iPod. It’s a pretty boring thing so you have to go prepared.

Now I just have to update my timesheet and then I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/16/06 9:31 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

August 15 Final Update

I did pretty well today. Although I felt tired, I persevered and got some things done.

Right after supper tonight we went out for a one-mile walk, or rather it was a one-mile hobble. Although my calves are better than they were, they’re still sore and when I walk, I hobble.

But I still got a whole mile in.

Now I’m ready for bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/15/06 8:47 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Spicy Foods Help Diabetics

My Science News had this interesting article.

Eating cayenne pepper with meals may mitigate a hormonal response that's linked to diabetes, a trial of two diets suggests.

To compare the effects on insulin of different patterns of chili pepper consumption, researchers at the University of Tasmania in Launceston, Australia, conducted a study in 36 healthy adults who didn't typically eat chili peppers. Excess insulin production can presage diabetes.

For 4 weeks of the study, each volunteer ate his or her usual bland diet, except for one chili-laden meal at the end of the period. For another 4 weeks, each person ate 30 grams per day of a condiment that was 55 percent cayenne pepper.

At three points—once during the bland diet, once during the spicy diet, and once at the transition—researchers took blood samples from the volunteers. The scientists measured concentrations of insulin and other substances in the samples.

In metabolizing their meals, the study participants produced about one-third less insulin while they were on a spicy diet than on a bland diet. A stand-alone spicy meal had an intermediate effect on insulin, Madeleine Ball and her colleagues report in the July American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Obese volunteers benefited the most, the study revealed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/15/06 8:41 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Monday, August 14, 2006

August 14 Final Update

I did well today. The client upgrade went well. The trouble is, I got so busy, lunch never came. I got back about 4:00 pm.

I was really hungry so I had some potato chips and a small bit of cheese. Later I had a more traditional meal.

My calves remained sore, but they seem to have improved a smidgeon.

Now I’m feeling really tired. I’m a little disappointed that I’m STILL feeling tired.

Alright already, I’m ready to feel normal!

But for now, I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/14/06 8:31 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

August 13 Final Update

I did well today. I even went outside and ran the power edger around the yard. Then the Vorlon Wife and I cleaned up the debris from the edging.

It felt good to do some physical work. I huffed and puffed, but kept going.

While working outside I didn’t really suffer from the tightness and soreness in my calves. I will tell you, it really makes going up and down stairs a challenge. It’s bad enough that I hobble when I walk. The pain seem worst, when I’m been sitting for while and I get up to walk.

My weight is good, so are my taste buds and appetite.

But now I’m off to bed. I have a busy day scheduled for tomorrow.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/13/06 8:42 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Precious Lord, Take My Hand

In church this morning, we sang a hymn that spoke to my heart. I found it difficult to sing wihtout tearing up. I did a little digging on the net and came up with this history on the hymn.

Out of a broken heart after his wife and newly born son had both died, Thomas Dorsey cried to his Lord to lead him 'through the storm, through the night'. In doing so, he created lines that have since ministered to others in an unusual way. This tender song, written by a black gospel musician in 1932, has since been a favorite with Christians everywhere.

Thomas A. Dorsey grew up in Georgia as a preacher's kid. As he began to be successful as a composer of jazz and blues songs, however, he drifted away from God. After it seemed to him that he was miraculously spared in brushes with death, Dorsey came back to the Lord. As his life dramatically changed, he began to write gospel songs and to sing in church services. It was during a revival meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, that he received a telegram telling the tragic news of his wife and infant son. Stunned and grief-stricken, Dorsey cried, 'God, you aren't worth a dime to me right now!'

A few weeks later, however, as Dorsey fingered the keyboard of a piano, he created the lines of 'Precious Lord' to fit a tune that was familiar to him. The following Sunday the choir of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in South Chicago, Illinois, sang the new song with Dorsey playing the accompaniment. It tore up the church!

God continued to lead Thomas Dorsey by the hand until he had written more than 250 gospel songs. He once stated: "My business is to try to bring people to Christ instead of leaving them where they are. I write for all of God's people. All people are my people. What I share with people is love. I try to lift their spirits and let them know that God still loves them. He's still saving, and He can still give that power."

Here’s the hymn.

Precious lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious lord, lead me home

When my way grows drear precious lord linger near
When my light is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious lord, lead me home

When the darkness appears and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious lord, lead me home

Click here to listen to it being sung. Extra points if you can tell me who the vocalist is.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/13/06 4:19 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

August 12 Final Update

I felt pretty tired most of today, but kept going nonetheless. We went to a wedding this afternoon. She is 81 and he is 85. She was a widow and he was a widower.

Our pastor lost his wife to cancer a few weeks ago. He called me to ask me to do a Bible reading tomorrow.

I would walk a lot better if my calves didn’t hurt so much. I have no idea why the calves in my legs are so tight and sore. But it makes me hobble, when I walk.

Food is still good and my weight is good.

Now I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/12/06 8:16 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Friday, August 11, 2006

August 11 Final Update

I did pretty well today. My back seemed better with only the occasional spasm. I find walking unpleasant. My feet bother me from the chemo and my calves are very tight and sore.

I’m doing an upgrade this weekend and must be a the client’s site early Monday morning.

I’m feeling pretty tired tonight, but I can sleep in tomorrow. Yeah!

As a matter of fact, I’m off to bed now.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/11/06 8:39 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

August 11 Morning Update

I woke up about 12:00 last night with quite a bit of back pain. I finally got up, took 400 mg of ibuprofen, and went back to bed. After about 20 minutes I fell back to sleep.

This morning I feel a LOT better. I feel, well, rested. My blood pressure has even dropped slightly from 124/65 to 113/66. I don’t know how long this feeling will last, but I’ll take it for now.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/11/06 6:57 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

August 10 Final Update

My recovery continues to be slow. I was pretty tired all day, but at least I did not succumb to my blankey. Although I’m pretty unproductive in the morning.

I’m a little frustrated in that I seem to recovering so slowly. I am mentally ready to rock and roll, but my body isn’t.

I’ve picked up some back pain. It came upon me late in the afternoon. It’s like the muscles in my lower back go into spasm and it really hurts. It comes and goes.

I’m hoping it will fade away overnight.

For now, I’m heading off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/10/06 8:24 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

August 9 Final Update

I was pretty tired today. After lunch, I gave in. I laid down on the chase lounge in my office with my blankey and took a nap.

I woke up after about an hour and felt quite a bit better.

My weight is good, so is my appetite and my taste buds. My sleeping patterns are still a little whacked. I zonk out almost as fast as my head hit the pillow. But then I wake up about 1:00 or 2:00 am and have trouble getting back to sleep.

I’m off to bed to try it again.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/09/06 8:25 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

10 Tips to Help Your Prayer Life

I came across this 10 points on improving your prayer life on the Stand To Reason website.

For a few hardy prayer warriors, talking with God is as easy as breathing; it happens almost effortlessly. When you ask them how they do it, they simply shrug and reply, "I just pray." Unfortunately, that's about as helpful as John McEnroe saying "I just hit the ball," when asked for some tips on more effective tennis. It may be easy for him to "just hit the ball", but most of us hackers need a little more fundamental instruction to get the job done. With that in mind, we've included here some practical guidelines that might make your time with the Lord more fruitful. Not all of the suggestions will apply to your particular situation, but if you begin by incorporating a few of them, I'm confident your prayer life will improve.

1. Choose a specific place to pray away from distractions so you can concentrate. Ringing phones and crying children will sabotage your "quiet time" before it gets started.

2. Pray at the same time every day, if at all possible. Make it part of your regular routine and it will become habit. Write it into your schedule and then treat it just like a daily appointment.

3. Pray out loud. Many people can pray under their breath or in their minds for long periods and still maintain intensity, but for most of us, it's a quick ticket to dreamland. When we pray out loud, we have to form intelligent sentences. We have to concentrate more on what we're praying about.

4. Keep a note pad handy so you can jot down different things that come to mind while you're before the Lord. Sometimes you'll get great ideas totally unrelated to what you've been praying about. If you jot them down you can quickly get back to the topic at hand without being too distracted.

5. Make a list to keep track of your prayer needs. This can be done several ways. Prayer needs can be listed by category like "Church," "Family," or "Unsaved friends." Or they may be listed by the days of the week. Each day you pray for a different set of needs. You may want to include prayer everyday for a different area of society that has a tremendous influence on the direction of our nation. These seven categories include 1) the church and religion, 2) the family and the home, 3) the media, 4) government, 5) education, 6) business and commerce, and 7) the arts and entertainment.

6. Redeem time for praying out of unused corners of your schedule. Those who have to drive to work can use the time talking with the Lord instead of screaming at traffic (just don't close your eyes!). Busy homemakers can combine prayer with housework, especially if the task doesn't require a lot of concentration. Joggers, swimmers and cyclists can use their workout time for prayer. Sometimes my best times with the Lord have been chats during long, early morning walks or jogs along the beach.

7. Change the pace during your prayer time. Include praise, thanksgiving and singing as well as petition. Spend some of your time reflecting on the Scripture, meditating on it and digesting its meaning.

8. Keep a prayer journal. Here are two variations of this idea. The first is to keep track of what you prayed for and when you prayed for it. Leave a space to jot down the answer when it comes. This will help you to keep alert to God's answer so you can thank Him promptly. Sometimes prayer answers come in the back door and you don't want them to slip by you. The second variation is to write the entire prayer in your journal. Make it a personal letter to the Lord on a daily basis. Just write "Dear Lord" instead of "Dear Diary."

9. Pray with someone else. Though some prayers can only be said in solitude, there will be times when you'll want to join hearts with another person in prayer. If you commit to meet on a regular basis, the accountability can really help build consistency. Such prayer trysts can become powerful, life-changing events.

10. Pray one-sentence prayers. If the thought of laboring over a topic wears you out, pray short, sincere prayers instead. A sentence or two may be all that's needed to exhaust the topic for you for the time being. If so, just move on to the next item without feeling guilty for your brevity.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/09/06 8:11 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Cool Photo

I came across this photo that I thought was very cool. If you want to know how big the sun is in relation to the earth, this is a dramatic portrayal.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/09/06 8:05 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

August 9 Morning Update

I’m feeling pretty tired this morning. I’m doing a lot of huffing and puffing as I move around. I MAY take nap today if I get too tired. We’ll see.

Very shortly I’m off to see a client.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/09/06 8:49 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

August 8 Final Update

My meeting with the client tired me out. Three hours in front of a client doing, training is relatively stressful. It just took more energy than I had.

I stopped for some pizza on the way back to the office. After lunch, I felt really tired. I was tempted to curl up with my blankey and take a nap. But I had work to do so I toughed it out. I sent the Vorlon Wife out for a 16 oz Wawa coffee and that helped.

But I’m feeling pretty wiped tonight.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/08/06 8:31 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

August 8 Morning Update

I seem to be doing better today. Although moving causes much huffing and puffing, I don’t feel exhausted after walking across the room or moving the hose from on spot on the lawn to another.

I’m off to see a client.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/08/06 9:04 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Monday, August 7, 2006

August 7 Final Update

I know I’m sounding like a broken record here. I did OK today. I was rather tired today and I’m quite tired tonight.

My weight is doing well and food continues to taste good.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/07/06 9:04 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Sharing Your Faith

One of my favorite apologetic web sites has a letter to the web site readers. He discusses sharing your faith.

We talked a little last time about what it means to be an ambassador for Christ (remember 2 Corinthians 5:20?). You might have wondered how this works out in the nuts and bolts of daily life. It occurred to me that sometimes being a good representative of the Kingdom hinges on the simplest things, almost trivial.

Let me give you an example from my own life.

I have had some of the most interesting conversations about spiritual matters with ordinary people who serve my table in restaurants. Since any contact with others is an opportunity to be an ambassador, I try to keep an eye open for what might turn out to be a "divine appointment."

This is something you can do, too. Here are some ways to set the stage to engage them in a friendly way.

First, find out the server's name.

This is simple if they're wearing a nametag. If not, simply ask. If it's a unique name or suggests some ethnic history, ask about it. It's a friendly thing to do even flattering and will help you remember their name better.

Begin to use their name immediately. If you're like me, it's difficult to keep track of names, especially of people you encounter for the short duration of a quick meal. But there are a few things that help.

First, just the conscious effort itself may be enough to help you remember. Another way is to associate something new with something old. When you tie the new thing to something you already know, the job is much easier. In my case, if the waiter's name is Mike I immediately think of Mike, my good friend and former tennis partner. That alone will temporarily fix the waiter's name in my mind.

The second thing to do: Leave a decent tip.

My own standard is between 15% on the low end to 20% for really good service. Sure, sometimes they don't even deserve 15%. But if they get shorted by me on the tip, I think they're less likely to attribute it to their poor service than they are to associate bad tipping with stingy Christian patrons. (The after-church crowd is notorious for stiffing the restaurant help.)

There's one last thing I do, and it may be the most important. As I'm walking out, I make a point to find the waiter or waitress and simply say, "Thank you." It's a small gesture, but I want their last impression of me to be as pleasant as their first.

What's the real goal behind this modest effort? Simply this: People are important to the Lord, and if they are important to Him, they should be important to you and me.

Addressing a person by their name and showing genuine appreciation for service are simple ways to show that they are valued. This speaks volumes about the One you represent. Never underestimate the role of simply being warm and pleasant.

How do they know I'm a Christian? Maybe they don't. I don't always have a Bible with me, and I don't personally wear religious jewelry or shirts with Christian slogans.

However, since we always bow our heads to give thanks at our table, and the server may overhear snatches of conversation about spiritual things, it's certainly possible they'll make the connection. The last thing I want anyone to do is associate my prayer or my Bible or my Christian tract with rudeness, stinginess, or a demanding, high-maintenance customer.

It may be that we never get around to spiritual matters in point of fact, we usually don't. Even so, I still want to leave behind a "fragrant aroma" for the sake of Christ. That's one of the reasons Paul says in Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus that is, as His representative and consistent with His wishes.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/07/06 9:00 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

August 7 Morning Update

I’m feeling tired this morning, but I’m in the office and working.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/07/06 10:19 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Sunday, August 6, 2006

August 6 Update

I did OK today – but I’m very tired now. It just seemed hit me when I went outside to move the hose to water a different part of our yard. The physical effort really tired me out.

The good news is, my weight is good, I’m eating well and all foods seem to go down well.

But now I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/06/06 8:20 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Saturday, August 5, 2006

August 5 Update

Today was better than expected. Although I felt tired all day, I was still ambulatory. All foods continue to go down well.

I’m hoping tomorrow is the same or better. Now I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/05/06 9:10 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Friday, August 4, 2006

August 4 Final Update

I’m doing OK tonight. I’m just tired.

On the good news side, I think my taste buds are recovering quicker than before. Fresh fruit is tough to get down, when the chemo has whacked my taste buds. But I had some fresh watermelon tonight and it went down very well.

I think we’ll go to the local farmers market tomorrow and stock up on fresh veggies.

Now, it past my bedtime. I hope I sleep better than last night.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/04/06 8:55 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

August 4 Morning Update

I’m a little tired this morning, but not too bad. I did not sleep well at all last night. I think the chemo is messing with my sleep patterns so I may fade fast this afternoon. At least I have my chase lounge and my blankey in my office if I really succumb to the fatigue.

Right now I’m in the office sipping a 16 oz Wawa coffee with my two scoops of Nestlé Instant Cocoa mix. It’s the way I like my coffee. I prefer Nestlé to other brands.

I’m scheduled for a Neulasta shot at 11:30 and then I don’t revisit the oncologist office for about 10 whole days – Yea!

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/04/06 9:06 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (4)

Thursday, August 3, 2006

August 3 Final Update

All things considered, I’m not doing to badly tonight. I felt really tired earlier today, but I managed to stay fairly vertical (sitting, not horizontal). Tomorrow is my Neulasta shot. Between the Neulasta and the chemo today, the weekend will likely not be fun. But, with a little luck, I might be workable on Monday.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/03/06 8:36 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Sharing Your Faith

I was streaming an archived radio Stand to Reason program from Greg Koukl. He talked about sharing his faith with someone and then giving them a copy of the Gospel of John. You can listen to his story by clicking here. It only runs about 7 minutes.

The recipient seemed delighted to receive his copy of The Gospel of John.

He referenced The Pocket Testament League. You can order multiple copies and have them ready, when you need them. You can order them in a variety of attractive covers.

You can order them free or pay for them or the shipping.

As Mark 16 says:

Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/03/06 7:35 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

August 3 Midday Update

I had my chemo this morning. They did the blood test first and the only problem was my platelet count is low. They reduced my chemo by 20%.

It only took a couple of hours. Now I’ve had lunch and am in the office. I’m feeling somewhat tired, but I was feeling tired when I woke up this morning. I may be tempted to curl up with my blankey and take a nap this afternoon.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/03/06 1:17 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

August 2 Update

I’m doing OK tonight. I’m not nearly was wiped as I was last night. Last night I slept from about 8:30 pm to 6:45 am. Although I got up maybe two or three times during the night, I slept quite well.

I did four hours onsite with a client right after my Neupogen shot this morning. It was a bit of a struggle to stay up, but I did it. I felt I was as sharp as the client was, even though I certainly didn't FEEL very sharp.

As for now, I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/02/06 8:24 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Pain Relief?

I saw this advertised on TV and thought I’d pass it on. It supposed to help people that suffer from chronic pain. The problem is I have no idea if it’s any good or not.

I’m dubious but it may very well be effective. If you’ve had experience with this, can you please let me know?

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/02/06 8:03 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

August 1 Update

I’m feeling really wipe tonight. I really wanted to curl up with my blankey and take a nap, but I’ve got commitments to fill. I’m still not quite catching up, but I made a little progress today.

I just paid a physical price, but I’m off to bed early tonight.

I spoke to the nursed this morning when I went in for my Neupogen shot. They told me whereas in my previous poisoning I got both Navelbine and Cisplatin, this time I’m only getting Navelbine. I’m hoping it won’t whack me too badly as I’m still trying to recover from the last poisoning.

It’s a little weird. When I first wake up, I feel pretty good. But a couple of hours later, I feel really tired.

My taste buds are doing pretty well and my weight seems to be holding steady at 154 Lbs. I just cannot seem to eat a lot at one sitting.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 08/01/06 8:21 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (6)