Today, I turn 62. When you get to be my age, you’re hard to buy gifts for. I pretty much have everything I need. I don’t even want cake. I’m not much of a cake fan. So this isn’t a gift wish list. But it is a wish list. There isn’t a thing on this list that money can buy.
I’m already getting the best gift I could receive; Retirement. At the end of this month. I’m counting the days. Not really, but I’m pretty excited. So that doesn’t even make the list. It’s already in the works.
I’m going to limit my list to the “possible.” Meaning things that don’t require a miracle. So I’m not asking God, or medicine, or the Birthday Bunny for a cure for my cancer. I’m not asking any other time, so why would my birthday be different?
I’ll start with something more modest. I get my next PSA test tomorrow. I want my number to stay the same or go down. It can’t go down much further than .06, where it was four months ago. If it stays the same, I’ll be happy with that. That would make an excellent birthday present. If it’s up, even a little, it could be big trouble. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
I want another year without pain. This is entirely out of my hands, but it’s definitely possible. No miracle required. When my wife and I were with our friends in Santa Fe, it became clear to me what a blessing it is at Stage 4 to have no pain. I’ll take as much of that as I can get, and I’m thankful for every day I have without pain.
I want to keep my medical team. This may prove the most difficult of all my requests, but it’s of vital importance to me. I’m not one to seek treatment in different places. I’m not gonna travel to Mexico or the Mayo Clinic, or even the Cancer Center Of America for treatment. I like my doctor, my nurse, my nutritionist, my therapist, and every other member of my team. I trust them. I’m comfortable with them. That’s an incredible blessing that many of my brothers don’t have. On my 63rd birthday, I want to still be seeing this team.
I want the readership of this blog to continue to grow. The more people we have here, the better. There is strength in numbers. And there are many thousands who are affected by this disease who I believe could benefit from my testimony.
This is one area where you can help by sharing posts on your Facebook timeline and Twitter feed. A dream I have is for a post to go viral. Not to make me feel good, but to encourage as many as possible. To bring awareness of what this disease is like to as many as possible. To share the story of how God is using cancer to transform one patient’s life with as many as possible.
I told a friend and cancer brother this week that I’d write whether I had ten readers or ten thousand. That’s absolutely true, but it has so much more meaning when I know it’s helping my brothers and their loved ones. So I want it to grow. I want to see a quantum leap in readership this year. Totally achievable, and I believe, inevitable.
Of course, I make no money from this blog whatsoever. I don’t put advertising banners on it or use Google AdSense. That’s not what this is about. It never has been.
I want more time with my loved ones this year. With each day that goes by, the fleeting nature of time becomes more plain to me. Every moment that passes is gone forever. So I don’t want to miss a moment with those who are closest to me. If we are friends, and you want to know what I want for my birthday, the answer is time with you. There is nothing more precious than time. I’ve said for many years that time is more expensive than money. We can always get more money, but we can never get more time. That’s especially true for me now. Remember, I don’t know how much time I have, but neither do you. Let’s not let too much time pass without contact. I need it desperately.
Tomorrow afternoon, we have our weekly Monday get-together with our close friend Nikki. This time, we’ll be joined by our friends Deanna, (My Comedy Partner In Another Life and the one who introduced me to the supplement 5-HTP) and Margo, a friend and musical colleague for many years. Deanna calls it Mondays With Mark. I love that. This is the very definition of precious time. It also has the added benefit for me of being surrounded by four beautiful women for a few hours. Happy birthday to me.
I want to continue to feel good enough and strong enough to do the things I’m passionate about; Invest in the kids in the rock band school, turn this blog into a book, and contribute as much as I can to our new ice cream business. And while I’m at it, I want to continue to feel good enough and strong enough to enjoy my first year of retirement.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) Since my diagnosis, I’ve learned how to take delight in the Lord. Actually, there wasn’t much of a learning curve. When God starts showering you with his presence like he has been for me, delight is putting it mildly. But even as I take delight in the presence of Almighty God, I don’t think that verse means God has to grant my birthday wish list.
That verse is true because when we really take delight in him on a daily, moment by moment basis, our desires have a way of changing to match his. Mine have. So even if he chooses not to grant any of my birthday wishes; even if, this time next year, I’m in much worse shape than I am now, I’m okay with that. After experiencing him the way I have been for the last year and a half, I’m hungry for more. I know it’s just a taste of what’s to come. Because what I really want for my birthday is more of him.
So other than all of that, I don’t want much for my birthday. Just a low PSA number, a continuation of feeling good, time with my loved ones, and more of God’s presence in my life. And a Denver Broncos Super Bowl win. Oh wait, I’m only asking for things that don’t require a miracle. Never mind. #waroncancer