Saturday, May 05, 2007

Journey Through a Dark Valley

Some time ago, I don’t know when, I started a journey through a dark valley. I started to become aware that something wasn’t quite right back in late January. No more hunger or thirst and funny feeling down my stomach.

My wife and I had planned a driving trip along the Atlantic coast and took off early in February. It was a good trip but the symptoms persisted. I made an appointment with the doctor as soon as we got back and the process started. It turned out to be stage IV Esophageal cancer and we became aware that the journey had started. I’d like to journal some of this travel and share feelings, thoughts and experiences.

As with most, I Googled the dark combination of words and read some of the results. The statistics are abysmal. My wife and I new that in one major way nothing had changed—we are only given a day at a time to experience life. As cliché as it sounds, no one is promised tomorrow. I can say that I was at peace with this situation from the beginning and handed the details and outcomes over to God.

Most days are different than before in the sense of spending more time in medical facilities and battling things that were not issues before like fatigue and fever and loss of energy—so far, no pain.

Shortly after starting radiation, I couldn’t swallow effectively and required a feeding tube. And medically that’s where I am right now.

I’ve had a range of experiences with other people, both relatives and chance encounters in the hospital. I realized many were experiencing a profound fear of loss because some loved one was going through a similar experience. I shared with each and sometimes cried with them trying to assure them that they must concentrate on what they have and not the fear of what may be. With each encounter I had a growing respect of the “…lives of quiet desperation…”

My first deep sobbing experience came when it dawned on my that my wife might be left alone. I can’t tell you how deeply that hurt. God brought us together over forty years ago and she has been everything anyone could want of a mate. I had glibly assumed that we would care for one another all the days of our lives. Now I could see that may not be the outcome and I grieved deeply.

We also have five wonderful boys, all Christian and good fathers and husbands. I could hear and see the pain they were suffering and, again, I grieved. We have been entirely open with this so all of the children explained to all of the grandchildren. The oldest, a precious young teenager had her mom bring her to see us. The crying started as soon as the door opened and we cried through to some peace.

You know, right now, peace is a key word. I’ve derived some satisfaction from having each of my boy’s express that they’ve now achieved peace.

This travel will be disjointed and if your interested, stop back now a then for other experiences and updates.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Food for Fuel

Castro has spoken out out on US plans for using biofuel.

Though there’s not much meat in the article, I find myself in general agreement with his complaint. We do, indeed, face a multifaceted energy crisis. Some of the paths traveled to this crisis were not very well thought out. For example, we decided to use natural gas to generate a portion of our electricity. This was to green-up our generation system. This resulted in using as much natural gas for generation as people use for heating and, thus, undue hardships in paying for the heat.

Now we are thinking about using food as a fuel source. Castro’s right, diverting food to fuel can only result in not having it available for those in need. In addition, there is considerable scientific skepticism about the overall efficiency of biofuels. This emphasizes the point that we must have a well thought out program to improve our energy supply system from both the standpoints of efficiency and environmental protection.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I became interested in the Libby trial about the time the case was given to the jury. I started reading previously published articles as the days in deliberation grew. The thing that began to dawn on me is that these high profile prosecutions often seem to create crimes rather than getting to the bottom of their original objectives.

President Clinton was taken to task about lying, so was the case with Martha Stewart and now the same with Libby. The Clinton case was, of course, the most notable because of the excessive time, extraordinary cost and the involvement of a sitting president. I get the sense that the prosecutors grow to think of themselves as more important than the tasks they were given. In all of these cases, the original charges disappeared and were replaced by a crime created during the investigation.

Jury interviews I’ve seen and read about following trials have been somewhat disturbing. From their own admissions, it would seem that the juries tend to go somewhat beyond the evidence when they deliberate. The first press conference following the Libby verdict was no different. Denis Collins referred to:

“…the defense "badgering" Judy Miller may have hurt them as some jurors developed "sympathy" for her. Even though she admitted having a "bad memory," the fact that she had notes counted a lot in her favor, he said. Despite the badgering, some jurors thought Miller was "nice."

He also made reference to the sympathy that the jury had for Libby and that they felt that he was a “fall guy” and so on.

It would seem to me that our justice system may no work very well during these high profile cases. It may be advisable to seek immunity from prosecution of lying before ever offering any information to investigators.

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