Week of September 14th, 2020

Though not a certified party animal; I am always looking for an occasion to party-down and celebrate.
Looking at the September calendar and considering all the craziness that’s going on in the world; I see that there are just not a lot of things to celebrate this month. 
            NOT!
            I plan to do some big time celebrating this month and I just want to invite you to join the party!
            I’ll be celebrating an anniversary this month—a one year anniversary.
            Let me explain:
            In August of 2019 I had a CT scan to determine how my fight with cancer was going. I was also undergoing a devastating round of chemotherapy. The CT scan confirmed a steady progression of the growth of numerous tumors in my lungs. The chemotherapy was brutal! I was not willing to live the rest of my life suffering to that extent! So, in my September 2019 visit with my oncologist at University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, I informed the doctor that I was no longer willing to continue with the chemotherapy! We discussed the consequences of the decision.
            The consequences of the decision were described with these words: “…overall prognosis is expected to be somewhere between 3-6 months life expectancy…”
            That fateful announcement was made on September 16, 2019.
            I didn’t get a calendar and start marking through the dates with a large red “X.”
            But, I did think about the date of December 16, 2019. That would be the end of three months! Would I see another Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day with my family?
            I did!
            I made it through three months!
            I celebrated the arrival of a New Year!
            Still going pretty strong!
            Counting my blessings!
            Enjoying life!
            But as the six month date (March 16, 2020) was growing closer and closer I wondered if I would live to celebrate Easter.
            I did!
            Would Gale and I be able to celebrate another wedding anniversary?
            We did!
            It was announced at our Christmas Dinner that Gale and I would become great grandparents.
            Would I live to see her?
            I did!
            Last Sunday I held that little precious gift from God in my arms and was overwhelmed with the miracle she was.
            Well, here it is—soon to be one year ago since I was told: “…overall prognosis is expected to be somewhere between 3-6 months life expectancy…”
            On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, I’ll be celebrating. Not three months, not six months, not nine months, TWELVE MONTHS!
            The latest scan says the lung tumors continue to increase in size. They still continue to grow.
            I have the best caregivers that have ever existed! The hundreds of people at the University of Kentucky         Markey Cancer Center are world class! They are the best!
            I have the best wife, children, and other family members who have stood by my side in every step I have traveled in this journey! They are the best!
            I have the best circle of friends and acquaintances who have lifted me up with their encouraging words and deeds. They are the best!
            I have the best family of faith—my brothers and sisters in Christ—who have prayed thousands of prayers on my behalf and showed me every kindness and act of compassion. They are the best!
            But, above all; I have a loving and merciful God Who has kept every promise He has ever made to strengthen, protect, and inspire me! He’s the best!
            So, LET’S PARTY!
            LET’S CELEBRATE!
            LET THE HALLELUJAHS ROLL!
            I want you to know that “I may not want to die, but when death comes for me, I shall go with a smile on my face, a Hallelujah on my lips and no fear in my heart as my God will be coming for me and where I will be going no more troubles will I ever see!”
            HALLELUJAH, ANYWAY!
                                                                                                                        -Harlan
                                                                                                                        September 1, 2020