Good Enough

I’ve never been good at small talk and when someone asks me how I’m doing, I know they probably don’t want the long answer. I’ve learned to say, “good enough.” This month’s treatment has been somewhat of an improvement. The “yuck” was basically Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Then Sunday evening someone flicked the switch and I was normal. By normal, I mean that I feel like myself but I get fatigued doing just about anything. That’s why I say that I’m good enough. There are people going through much worse chemo and treatments and I feel fortunate to be relatively good. A couple of treatments ago I felt a rush of energy and it seemed like I had taken some kind of drug. The oncologist said that when your body starts making white blood cells in order to make up for the chemo, you’ll feel euphoric. This treatment was followed by a shot to induce the production of white blood cells. Sunday night I started feeling that rush and energy and quick recovery from the yuck.  My next treatment will be May 31 and June 1. I will have one more in July and then it’s time to strive for normal normal. I’m told it will take a  couple of months to overcome all the effects of chemo. I have a ridiculous obsession with Summer and I’m trying not to feel cheated. Maybe I’ll take a 2 week vacation in Florida once I’m normal normal.

There are side effects that I haven’t mentioned because they seemed minor early on, but each treatment gets worse. Now I have a constant metallic taste in my mouth. It gets worse each month. I have to drink a lot of water but water is the worst because there’s no flavor to cover the bad taste. I’ve learned to eat foods that are very spicy and flavorful and for some reason I can’t eat Subway. I know that’s weird but Subway was my most regular lunch and now I can’t stand the thought of it.  Pizza still tastes great and my fresh ground coffee still covers the metal for a brief but magical moment every morning.

The other side effect has to do with my skin’s inability to fight infection. I stopped shaving a week ago because I would get little sores that became very problematic. I found a topical antibiotic cream that had to be applied 5-6 times a day in order to heal the infections. Most times it took close to 2 weeks to heal. My doctor said she could give me an antibiotic if I thought I needed it.

Not much deeper

I usually include theological aspects of my journey and they can be really long but I’m tired and I have to get ready to preach tomorrow. I’ll just say for now that I have enjoyed writing. I’ve always wanted to write books but it didn’t come easy. In fact, writing has always been excruciating. I had a hard time in High School and college wasn’t much better. I really struggled at Princeton and I didn’t finish my Doctorate at Austin Seminary partly because writing is so hard for me. Well, I can now say that something good has come from this battle with lymphoma. I’m going to write a book. I’ve felt God’s call to write for a long time, but now I’m finally ready.  I’m not ready to say that God gave me lymphoma in order to get me to write, but I’m thankful for the experience and it definitely put me in the right mindset. God’s ways are mysterious but He can be trusted to bring about good for those who love Him. I want to trust that God brings about good but I know His “good” is different than mine. I try to prepare myself for the fact that God’s “good” probably has little to do with good health, good weather, good treasure or good long life. God’s good has to do with knowing love. It has to do with knowing that my sin has been forgiven. Most of all, it’s good to know God is with me and not against me. That kind of good can be cherished even when health fails or misfortune comes. Paul sang hymns after he had been beaten and chained in prison. He eventually died after being in imprisoned for years. Loving God carries no guarantees that life will turn out the way we want it to. In fact, loving God entails a desire for God’s purpose and outcome rather than our own anyway. Right? I think so.

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revramage

I'm a pastor in Northern Michigan and I've experienced life as a vocation. I've navigated life thus far by a deep sense of calling. I attribute this calling to God but I love to engage in conversations that seek to discover the motivations that drive human beings to do what they do. I told a friend in 8th grade that I would marry Terrie some day. That day was October 27, 1984 and we are still going strong. I was looking for my first call to ministry in 1996 and was considering 3 different churches. A voice deep within my guts said, "There are people filled with my spirit in Traverse City." I served the Presbyterian Church of Traverse City for 16 years as pastor for Youth and Families. My current call had a similar story. So, I see life as a calling or vocation.

2 thoughts on “Good Enough”

  1. Reblogged this on multidenominationalthoughts and commented:
    I continue to marvel at my colleague and friend, Rev. David Ramage, and his ability to process with such vulnerability throughout his chemo treatments. David is an incredible minister serving as the pastor for the church I most recently served before my call to East Lansing. Pray for him, his family, and the amazing congregation he serves in Bellaire, MI. I am blessed to have learned from him, brewed with him, and served in the Mackinac Presbytery with him. Keep writing, David, and keep fighting.

    Like

  2. Pastor David,

    With what you wrote and how you wrote l would like the privilege of reading your first book. Keep up the good fight and my God be with you.

    Like

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