Thursday, April 30, 2009

No transfusion this week!!

Hurray!!   I don’t need a blood transfusion this week.  My levels were such (88) that the doctor figured I could wait a week and so I will.  I am really rather pleased.  It will be nice not to spend 5 1/2 hours in the clinic (although I might miss the little nap I get each Friday). 

Pray that I will be able to maintain the energy levels that I have had this week.  I am so thankful that I have been feeling so well lately.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

“In the Shadow of the Cross” translated into North Korean dialect

itsotc_nkorean This week I was excited to learn that the translation of my book, In the Shadow of the Cross: A Biblical Theology of Persecution and Discipleship, into the North Korean dialect was completed and that copies have been printed to be incorporated into the curriculum taught at Underground University, a joint project of Seoul USA and The Voice of The Martyrs in Canada. Underground University is a new initiative launched this year by Seoul USA in partnership with The Voice of the Martyrs-Canada for the purpose of providing North Korean exiles with the skills and training they need to return to serve and grow the North Korean Church while remaining undetected by Kim Jong Il's regime.  I wrote this book to provide a solid biblical understanding of persecution and to equip believers to know how to remain faithful followers of Christ in the face of hostility and hatred.  It has very well received and I am thankful that God allowed to write this while I was still in the early stages of my cancer. I still would like to update it with additional research that I have done in recent years, but we’ll see.

Since its publication in 2004, In the Shadow of the Cross has been translated into Chinese, Farsi, Tamil, Sinhalese, Russian, Ukrainian, Dutch, German, Spanish, and Tigrinya and broadcast via shortwave into China, Eritrea, and Somalia. 

Home, sweet home

For those of you who will never get a chance to visit, here is a view of our home.  We live in the right half of the semi-detached building on the far left with the deck in the back.  We must have been away that day, because our car isn’t in the drive way. 

Map picture

Try clicking on the picture and you’ll get to see the neighbourhood, plus you can rotate the picture and get a look from all sides. Cool, eh? 

And here is my home away from home. The Cancer Centre of the Credit Valley Hospital:

Map picture

And my other home away from home, our office (on the left half of the building)

Map picture

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Calvin and Karl

I just wrote on a post on Karl Marx and his comment about religion being the “opiate of the people” for our mission weblog and ran across this cartoon.  Loved it and thought I would pass it on.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Don’t waste your cancer

On the eve of undergoing prostrate cancer in February 2006, Pastor Piper wrote an article that has become rather popular (if Google is any  indication).  Entitled “Don’t waste your cancer” Piper reflected on cancer and how to respond to it as a Christian.  I have simply listed the ten main points below. You can read the whole article if you wish. 

1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.

2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.

3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.

4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.

5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.

6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.

7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection.

8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.

9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.

10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.

As I think over the past six years, I agree with Piper entirely and I believe that my cancer has not been wasted.  It has been a time of growth for me on so many levels.  I do confess that I struggle with #7 to some degree, however.  By personality I am more of an introvert and a hermit by nature.  I would much rather stay home than go out (which is the polar opposite of my poor wife).  Now, being on oxygen pretty much all of the time, immuno-compromised, fatigued, and unable to travel too far from home, this makes #6 even more of a challenge.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Latest update from Denita

Here is the latest update from Denita sent out by email to some of our friends earlier today:

It's been quite a while since I've sent out an update.  I know many of you read Glenn's personal blog and so you have been keeping up with how he is feeling.  Not too much has changed in the past 3 weeks.  It's been 3 weeks now since Glenn has been taking the same amount of Prednisone every day and that, along with a long lasting Morphine and some puffers have really been helping him feel much better.  He has been able to work at the office at least 3 1/2 days and is enjoying feeling better.  Since he has been getting weekly blood transfusions, his haemoglobin has been climbing.  It is getting close to the 90 mark which may be the level when they will let him skip a week.  It really all depends on how he is feeling.  Besides that, there isn't much else that is new.

I have been enjoying the sun today.  This morning when I was outside with the dog I noticed at least 8 golden finches chirping away in the trees!  Spring is my favorite time of year.  The daffodils and hyacinth are blooming now and pretty soon my tulips and other spring flowers will be in full bloom.  For some reason Spring seems to have come later this year, but maybe that's just my imagination.  Now I need to get outside and do some yard work and hopefully this year the deck will get painted.  Always something....

Thank you for your continued interest and prayers. 



To be content with God’s approval

O Lord God, grant us always,
Whatever the world may say,
To content ourselves with what you will say,
And to care only for your approval,
Which will outweigh all worlds;
For Jesus Christ’s sake.

General Charles Gordon

We’re tired

Just a quick note asking for prayer for Denita and I. We’re both tired.  I haven’t been sleeping quite as well the last couple of nights (waking up at about 4:3 am). And so ! feel a little dizzy from time to time throughout the day.  But, that’s not really what concerns me.  I am especially concerned about Denita.  It’s been a tough last few months for her.  Can you spare a few minutes today to uphold her in prayer?  Thanks. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can you help me develop a “preachers pack”?

As part of my responsibility with The Voice of the Martyrs, I am working on developing what we are calling a “preachers pack” – a downloadable file containing resources that would help church leaders preach and/or teach on the persecution of Christians around the world.  I am considering including such things as:

  • testimonies of persecuted believers, both historical and contemporary
  • pictures with stories that can be integrated into a Powerpoint presentation
  • a brief biblical theology of persecution
  • suggested passages that can be preached on
  • some basic facts on persecution in the world today
  • a printable prayer map
  • prayer suggestions
  • links to high-res videos that can be shown in a meeting
  • links to various online and downloadable resources

As a former pastor, I know that I rarely ever referred to the persecuted except in a context of being thankful for our freedoms in Canada. I am ashamed of that now and wish that I had been both challenged and equipped to preach on persecution. 

If you are a church leader or teacher, can I ask you to give me some suggestions as to what you think would be helpful?  You can use the comments section on this post or email me using our mission contact form. I am really looking for help with this and would be grateful to hear from some of you.  I posted a similar blog on the mission weblog, but thought that maybe someone who checks out this one might have some ideas too! Thanks!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Economic downturn good for Dilbert’s creator

I don’t know if you are a Dilbert fan like I am (which is why I have the widget at the top of my blog), but I think that this economic downturn has seen Scott Adams, the creator/cartoonist, produce the best work that I have seen him do ever.  I end up visiting my own site every day just to see the daily cartoon and most days I get a good chuckle out of it.  Sure, there is the occasional dud, but some have been brilliant lately.  Adams really seems to have nailed a lot of the issues lately that those of us in leadership and office settings face.  Here’s a good example from a few days ago:

I hope you are enjoying them too.  Feel free to drop by to get your daily Dilbert fix.

Not a good day to go to MissionFest

MissionFest Toronto is taking place this weekend here in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and I had really hoped to go today.  I was scheduled to lead one of the Master Seminars on the “W5 of Persecution” (who, what, where, when, why).  This was the kind of invitation that I had been hoping for for several years.  Sadly, as many of you know, my health has taken a dive over the past couple of months and we had to start making backup plans for the various speaking engagements and trips that I was booked for (including this weekend). 

Greg Musselman, my friend and colleague, graciously agreed to fly in from Edmonton to take the seminar for me and I have complete confidence that he will do a great job.  Greg is a dynamic speaker who has travelled extensively on behalf of the mission as our Chief Communications Officer.  He brings a very personal touch to the issue of Christian persecution, whereas I tend to bring a more academic approach.  We’re a good team that way.

I had hoped that perhaps I might be able to come to the seminar anyway, to provide support for Greg and to be available to make a contribution if I could.  But earlier this week, I had an inkling that I shouldn’t plan on going.  I felt fine but a combination of this uneasy feeling and the knowledge that my immune system wasn’t functioning at its best led me to call Greg and tell him that I would not plan to attend after all. 

I’m glad that I made that decision because I am feeling less that 100% today.  Tired, a little light-headed with a touch of the sniffles….  All in all, it’s best that I stay put and pray for my buddy today rather than venturing out.  I suspect that this is the best way that I can support Greg anyway!

From what I understand from our staff who have been there, MissionFest is going great. So if you live in the GTA, make sure to get out there this weekend and say Hi to our staff.  We are at location P6.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yet another update

Well, time for a health update.  Not much to report, to be honest.  I am still doing pretty well.  I have been able to go to the office each day this week and expect to be in tomorrow and Thursday after I get my blood tested and see the doctor. On Friday, I am scheduled for a transfusion.  I suspect that this will be a weekly thing.  But the doctors have obviously got my meds right because I am able to breath pretty well (though I am still on oxygen most of the time) and have energy for the day.  By night time I am pretty tired and my eyes are quite dry, but praise God for the way I have bounced back in the last couple of weeks.   Thanks to those of you who have been praying for me.

It’s interesting how people respond to me when they learn of my illness. Yesterday an old college friend called out of the blue whom I had not talked to since before my transplant in late December 2006.  He really didn’t know how to respond, I think.  I understand – that’s probably how I would have responded. 

Others, of course, think that they should try to cure me by suggesting some herbal or alternative treatments.  I appreciate their intent but I have been down that path and have probably heard about every possible treatment that worked for some family member or friend.  The fact is, most of them only work on localized cancers, not on cancer like mine that has spread throughout the entire immune system.

And then, of course, there are those who think that I need to understand biblical healing better or that I am either unsaved or don’t have enough faith. I try not to get too irritated with these last folks, not least of all because they ought to know better.  That is why I posted my article on whether healing is in the atonement; to make clear where I stand on the issue.  I do believe that God can heal but it is because of His mercy, grace, and compassion and not because I have some claim on Him or that He owes it to me based on what His Son did on the cross.

Well, that’s it for tonight. Feel free to drop me a line. I have added a contact form to this blog where you can send me a message if you like.  

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Prayer

"Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish." – Michelangelo

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Turning points

A few weeks ago, in response to my post Regrets, my friend Todd Nettleton suggested perhaps I should “follow this one up with a "highlights" post...the things you look back on with the most joy and satisfaction.”

It was a great idea, but I  didn’t take the time to act upon the suggestion. Then Todd went ahead this week and did this for his own life on his blog.  Guess it’s my turn….

As I look back on my 47 years of life, I can identify several turning points, events that changed the course of my life in a way that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  In chronological order, my top ten are:

1. Stockades. From the age of 8-11, I attended Stockades, a program of Christian Service Brigade (kind of a Christian version of Cubs/Scouts).  My hero as a boy was the Stockade leader, Merle Dippel. Under his leadership, I learned to channel my energies into accomplishing something that no one in my unit’s history had ever done - to earn every award that Stockades could offer.  I believe that I still have my Stockades shirt somewhere in storage with it’s eight Blockhouse and eight Sentinel Trails badges.  As I was recognized one Sunday morning at church for my achievement and then had an article and picture of me appear in the local paper, I think I realized for the first time that I really could do something significant in my life.

2. Bowing the knee. While my years in Stockades gave me a solid understanding and acceptance of the truth of Christ and His work on the cross, it was at age 18, after four tumultuous years of teenage rebellion, that I bowed the knee to Christ and acknowledged that He was Lord. Amazingly enough the man that led me to Christ would later become my father-in-law!

3. Going to Europe. During my first semester of Bible college during a presentation by a missionary from European Christian Mission during chapel, I really believed that God was asking me to go a short-term mission to Europe.  I had never traveled much before (just to the States a couple of times on vacation), my father had just had a farming accident that had left him paraplegic, and I was just engaged to Denita.  It made for a summer of dreadful homesickness and culture shock, but my love for eastern Europe and missions was born.

4. Marrying Denita Sherick.  No one on earth (and I mean no one) has impactedSAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503 my life like my wife has. I definitely married up on May 28, 1983!  We were so young (she  was 19 and I was 21, though we did date for four years).  This beautiful lady has been part of my life for 30 years now.  And to think that we started dating by skipping out on a weekday church meeting and I kissed her for the first time in the church parking lot!  Guess we were destined to be involved in Christian ministry!

5. Joining The Voice of the Martyrs. I will always be grateful to The Voice of the Martyrs for taking the risk in the summer of 1997 of hiring me as their Development Director.  I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I guess they saw something in me that I didn’t and my life has never been the same.  I found my calling without a doubt, the ministry that God had prepared me for during my years of theological training and pastoral and mission ministry.  I can only marvel at God’s working all things (even some very bad things) together for good.

6. Sudan. My first taste of ministry with the persecuted with VOMC was to southern Sudan in 1998. My heart was broken at a refugee camp called Camp 10, where I witnessed the desperation of hundreds of men, women and children who were being persecuted by their own government.  I was emotionally crushed by being asked by community elders to choose some of the children with us to the hospital in Yei after it had taken us three days to travel the 40-odd miles to get there due to the virtually impassable roads.  How could I make such a decision as to who would live and who would die?  We also knew, in all likelihood that some of the kids would never survive the trip even if we did take them. Added to that, the supplies we had brought were so insignificant in the face of such need.  As we drove away from the camp, I burst into tears, overwhelmed with the sense of helplessness and frustration of being able to so little.  This was a turning point in that from then on, I was determined that as mission, we would always seek to do one thing well, even if we couldn’t do everything.  This has since become known, informally, in our mission as “The One Thing Philosophy.”

7. Finding Focus.  I was working on my first mission brochure. I thought it was brilliant.  It told the reader all about The Voice of the Martyrs and the work that we were doing on behalf of persecuted Christians.  I thought it was well-written, attractive, and informative without being overly wordy.  I sent it off to Steve Cleary in the US who was overseeing the development work at VOM USA at the time to get his advice, since he had been at this longer than I had.  He gave me a call and gave me advice that I have taken to heart ever since. Focus on the persecuted, not on the mission. People don’t want to support an organization; they want to support people.  Most people could not care less about the organization, but they can and should care about their persecuted brothers and sisters.

8. Diagnosed with Cancer.  Yes, this was admittedly a turning point as I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in October 2002. It as the time when I was forced to apply what I had really learned about suffering from the Scripture and to put my life in God’s hands as I told Him on the evening of my diagnosis that I did not want to dishonour Him through this but to show the same faith as my persecuted brothers and sisters.  He has been faithful!  He has given me the grace to be faithful too.

9. Say Something. It was a spring evening in 2003. I was staying at the home of Dina Paris who, at the time, was working at VOM USA.  She and her husband were terrific hosts and good friends.  I credit them for introducing me to CSI, as we were watching it that evening.  Earlier that day, Tom White and Jim Dau, leaders at our US mission, were telling me about an opportunity they had to establish a persecuted church program at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.  Having had a little teaching experience at a college level and having developed a training program for persecuted church leaders with VOM Canada, I already had a lot of the pieces in place for such a program. But I was busy enough without getting involved in this kind of a program as well, or so I thought. I also wasn’t sure that they would really listen to me and I can’t stand not being taken seriously when I know what I am talking about. I mentioned all of this to Dina who proceed to bawl me out and told me that I had to say something the next day!  She would not accept any of my excuses.  Well, to make a short story long, I did say something the next day and the rest, as they say, is history. I ended up leading the program for three years, teaching as a visiting professor and writing my theology of persecution during my time there.  Without Dina demanding that I say something, I doubt any of that would have happened.

10. Stem cell transplant. On December 20, 2006, I underwent a stem cell transplant (with my brother Jim as a donor) for my CLL.  This procedure undoubtedly extended my life, even though it did not ultimately cure me.  Still, it was a turning point and I have always been grateful to Jim for his gift.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Adventures with the oxygen tube

oxygentube As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I am on oxygen a good deal of the time now. Having oxygen blown into your nose is a lot easier to get used to than you might think. Getting used to having a 50’ hose dragging around behind me from the compressor - well, that is another matter.

You see, I have a compressor set up in the living room, from which a 50’ tube extends. This way I can reach pretty much anywhere in the house that I need to get to without having to drag oxygen tanks around (which get pretty heavy after a while). We also have a lot of stairs in our house and so, this system works pretty good, even though the compressor constantly makes wheezing and breathing sounds like those of Darth Vadar.

But we have had some adventures with this tube in the past few weeks.

First of all, our dog hates it! Mindy is a small, black Shih Tzu-Poodle cross. Quite frankly, she has issues. Nervous, high-strung and hopelessly attached to my wife, this dog seriously needs counselling. She’s about 10 years old and her eyesight is failing some. I suspect that she has also fallen on the stairs from time to time, which has resulted in her being scared to climb up them. Each time she wants to do so, she has to work up the courage to do it. As she prepares, she longingly looks up the stairs, then spins around and runs up a stair or two and then retreats back down again. She does it again and again and again and again. Sometimes she gets up an extra step or two before coming back down. Often we have to cheer her on - “Come on, Mindy! You can do it” or (in my case) threaten her with a swat in the rear end. Eventually she gets up, but what a show she puts on in the process!

Now, that was before the oxygen tube was in the house. It’s even worse now. If the tube is running up the same set of stairs that she wants to go up, she simply won’t even try but sits at the bottom of the stairs and whines. Oh fun!

In a way, you have to feel sorry for the poor dog. The other day, the tube was caught up on the leg of a chair in the living room and so I gave it a flick to free it up. In the process, the tube hit our cat , startling her. She leapt up, spun around and without warning, yowled and attacked the dog who was standing behind her. The poor thing yelped and took off, probably wondering why the whole world hates her so much.

Of course, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, one of the real fun things of having a tube up your nose is accidently stepping on your oxygen line while you are sitting down and then trying to stand up. The feeling of your ears being pulled down to your shoulders is something you never really get used to! Nor do you ever really get used to having your wife’s foot get caught up in the tubing on the floor as she walks by and instantly receiving a free and unexpected neck adjustment. Talk about getting led around by the nose!

Going to the washroom is fun too, especially when you wait too long. Inevitably that will be the time when the tube gets caught on something or under the washroom door. So here you are pulling and flicking the tube, desperately try to get free before you wet yourself. Of course, as the panic rises, it never dawns on you just to take the stupid thing out of your nose, leave it behind and run. At least it never dawns on me at the time. In a turnabout, this morning, I actually couldn’t get out of the washroom, as the hose got caught under the door. It’s hard for me to get down on my knees to free the thing up, so there I was, stranded, mewling for help, caught by the nose and, of course, never even considering that I should take it off and walk away. Duh!

So, as you can see, life at the Penner home is a little entertaining at the moment. Whoever would have thought that breathing problems could present so many unexpected adventures and reveal me to be just a little slow on the uptake?

Cough and congestion under control

I am glad to report that my cough and congestion seem to be under control.  The doctor put me on a longer lasting morphine tab let (no worries, too small to be addictive; VOMC is not about to have a drug addict as CEO!) and the other meds seem to be working.  Had a great sleep last night and so feeling right refreshed today.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Awake and coughing

It's 11:23 pm and I am up with congestion and that cough that just won't go away. The doctor today couldn't find any reason for it, but he gave me an antibiotic just in case and some "puffers" that, while they seem to have loosened up the congestion, continue to make me wheeze whenever I try to lie down.  Feels like I am drowning and I keep coughing as my body tries to move whatever is in there around.  So much fun!

At least my hemoglobin rates hadn't dropped that much (80), but I will still go in for a couple of units of blood tomorrow. 

I just hope that all of these meds that I have been given lately will actually help me get some sleep soon.  I'm tired but it's tough to sleep with my present congestion. 

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for me.  I have been able to go into work each day this week.  It's been great.  Tomorrow, I'll stay home as I have the transfusion from about 8:30 to 2:00 and then at 4:00 home care is bringing a walker for me to try out when I go out.  They needed to get the tallest one they make.  For those of you who don't know, I'm 6'5".  I've kind of resisted getting one; only old folks use those things with the seat and basket, but last week, as I saw someone making there away around the hospital, I realized that it might give me a little more mobility when I am out and about.

Congestion & Cough

Please pray as I go to the doctor today for my weekly checkup. While it is mostly to see how my blood counts are to see if I need a transfusion tomorrow, I have developed over the last couple of days a rather nasty cough and some conjestion in my chest. This is always a concern for me, having had pneumonia twice in the last two years. Hopefully, it's minor, but we do need to kep our eye on it. So your prayers would be appreciated , especially that the doctors would be able to identify exactly what it is and is not.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday in the blogs


Been having fun today blogging (see my two posts today on on intolerance in the name of human rights and the limits of statistics and my earlier post on this blog).  My daughter says that I am on a blogging frenzy.  I think it might be the prenisone.  As I was saying to Denita at dinner, though, there really isn't much else that I can do on a Saturday.  I can't help much around the house given my low stamina levels, even if I were so inclined to.  A walk around the block?  Not likely.  Can't you just see me dragging an oxygen bottle around, with a cane, shuffling to the end of the driveway and then back again because I have run out of energy.  Shopping?  See above, same scenario.

monkey-bloggingI am still feeling pretty good though, for which I am grateful.  I did get another transfusion yesterday.  My blood levels were a bit concerning. My platelets have dropped below normal and my white blood cells levels are above normal, which says that my immunity is lowered and my cancer is on the increase.  Still, I have decided to be more concerned with how I am feeling than on what my blood levels are.  The one effects the other, of course. But fixating on the medical records can be a tad disheartening and tends to make that the centre of my life rather than my real priorities (which is what my earlier blogs reflect).  I know that many of you check this blog more to find out more about how I am doing health-wise. I do appreciate that and I will keep you informed that way.  But please do read my other things too.  They reflect the real me, the things I want to be defined by rather than by cancer and blood levels.

Is Canada becoming less democratic?

Years ago, I remembering visiting a then-Reformed Party member in his Ottawa office who was sympathetic to the plight facing Christians in Sudan at the time.  We must have caught him on a bad day, because he opened to those of us there about his frustration and disillusionment with being a member of parliament.  "Useless" was how he felt.  He had come to Ottawa with the intent of making a difference for his constituency and country but the reality of modern-day Canadian government had crushed those dreams. Increasingly, all effective power to make changes has drifted to the centre; the PMO (Prime Minister's Office). 

At the time, I felt that this concentration of power was simply a mark of the Prime Minister in office at the time.  But James Travers, National Affairs Columnist for the Toronto Star, suggests in his article published today entitled "The quiet unravelling of Canadian democracy", this has been going on for some time and that no single party or prime minister is solely to blame.  Our democracy has, he suggested, become more authoritarian and less accountable to the people. The sad truth is that this has gone pretty much unnoticed by an apathetic electorate who knows little about how our government works and cares less. And so today we have a government with muzzled Members of Parliament, a powerless and often anonymous cabinet members (quick, tell me who the Foreign Affairs Minister is?  Even I had to look it up and it's my business to know this!), politicized unelected senior bureaucrats who hold the real power, parties that no longer hold their members accountable or develop policy (or in the Liberal's case, even elect their own leader), and presidential Prime Ministers.  

Please understand that this is not intend as a criticism of the Conservative Party or the present government. I vote Conservative and still believe them to be Canada's best option.  But the fact is, there is a tendency in this fallen world for leaders to grasp as much power as they are allowed to or can get away with.  We, the people of Canada, have allowed this to happen, with nary a squeak of protest.  We have allowed idealism to be swallowed up by pragmatism in the lives of those we elect to power.  This Member of Parliament that I mentioned earlier in the blog is still in parliament and is today a cabinet member.  Nothing cures disillusionment with unfulfilled idealism better than the taste of power. We have allowed parties to abandon their principles for the sake of gaining or maintaining power.  We keep voting for parties (if we bother to vote at all) more out of loyalty than on platform.  I have to confess, though, as I close this blog to a certain degree of scepticism that the drift towards the centre can be stopped (and I dislike scepticism, believing it to be the refuge of the intellectually lazy).  Any incentive to change requires a critical mass of opinion that makes it not only preferable to change but necessary.  Given the general apathy of the Canadian electorate, this critical mass is unlikely to form anytime soon.  I certainly won't live long enough to see it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fourth good day in a row

Feeling pretty good today.  In fact, it's the fourth good day that I have had in a row.  While I still need to go for another transfusion tomorrow (my hemoglobin counts are only at 73 today), I suspect that my drug regiment must be about right now.  Am now taking 50 mg prednisone daily, plus a small amount (.5 ml) of morphine every four hours (for some reasons they have found that small does of morphine are really helpful for breathing), and regular use of Advair. Altogether, they seem to be doing the trick.  I have also learned a few breathing tricks like not talking and walking at the same time, making sure that the shower is not too hot, and making sure not to scrunch my shoulders up around my ears (a common thing for those who are having problems breathing to do). Of course, one must not count out the goodness of God, who gives strength to the weak.  I resist the temptation to pull the Lord's work in my life separately from the doctor's work.  I think that two work in tandem. 

Does Faith Prolong Suffering for Cancer Patients?

There is a fascinating article online in Christianity Today this month concerning studies that show that while faith can help in coping with cancer, religious cancer patients often tend to opt for aggressive care in their final days, prolonging their own suffering and leaving behind caregivers who have a hard time adjusting to bereavement.  I would really encourage you to read this fascinating article.

As many of you know, Denita and I have had to address this issue for ourselves in the past few months and weeks. We have decided not to pursue any further aggressive treatments for my cancer and have given directions not to resuscitate me should my heart stop or put me on a ventilator if I should stop breathing, or to put me on artificial life support due to medical circumstances related to my cancer.  It was (and is) not an easy decision but I think it is the right one.  I have seen others engage in all sorts of risky, expensive, and questionable treatments in the attempt to extend life, but only cause greater suffering in the process.  For the Christian, there is more to life than life. I am content with what God has given to me. 

Dr. Hawass an anti-Semite?

World-renowned archaeologist and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, Zahi Hawass is a familiar face to many in the West.  He has appeared on numerous television documentaries on ancient Egypt on BBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, the History Channel, PBS, and The Learning Channel. His cheerful demeanour and excellent English has, undoubtedly, popularized ancient Egypt and archaeology as few other individuals have.  I have always enjoyed watching him.

So I was disappointed to see a television interview with Dr. Hawass the aired on Egyptian TV on February 11, 2009 in which he makes statements about the Jews like, "For 18 centuries they were dispersed throughout the world. They went to America and took control of its economy. They have a plan. Although they are few in number, they control the entire world....Look at the control they have over America and the media." 

This is sheer ignorant prejudice that one expects from uneducated militants and not from a well-educated Egyptian who makes much of his reputation from this same media.  You can view the video by clicking here or on the picture below.  Then I would encourage you to contact him and ask him to clarify his views on the Jews publicly and in English on his website to his fan club.  He needs to be challenged on this and asked to be as honest with his fans as he was in Arabic to the Egyptian public.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Went to the office today

As the title of this blogs indicates, I spent the day at the office today and really enjoyed being with that great gang of people I call our staff.  It has been over a week since I was able to.  Had a transfusion yesterday which I am sure is part of the reason I was feeling well enough to go in today. 

Tomorrow I am going in for another blood work to see if I need another transfusion.  As I was so low last time, there is a good chance that I would benefit by another one. 

Starting to move a few of my things from the office to my home office (like my iPod dock). I suspect that one of these days, I will have to move a lot more of it and have to commandeer the family room, especially if I end up moving my library here (which I really should do). I want to remain as vital and effective as I can, wherever I am.