Thursday, October 30, 2003

October 30, 2003

6:02 PM Happy news on the health front. Back in February I got sick about the time my mother died. The resulting infection took several months to clear up. I went in for a complete physical in April (my first physical in 10-12 years). Everything fine except my PSA was moving up into prostate cancer territory. So we went through four months of re-testing until it finally dropped down to normal levels—the higher numbers were apparently related to the earlier infection. Got my cholesterol checked and it was fine. So we scheduled the one remaining item from my physical exam—a colonoscopy. Since it wasn’t urgent, I had to wait two months. Had the test last Monday. My only comment: Before and after was worse than the test itself. They found a few polyps. The doctor said he thought they were benign (i.e., non-cancerous). Sent them off to be sure. He called this afternoon with good news. All clear, the polyps were “nicely benign.” Clean bill of health, and I will re-take the test in three years. So that brings to a close a long chapter that started last February, and in various ways hung over my head until today.

You may wonder why I would share these things in a public forum. Above everything else, to encourage others to do what I did—get a physical, get yourself tested for whatever applies to you personally, don’t put it off. The doctor told me on Monday that nearly all colon cancer is either preventable or curable if people get the test done. He gave me some fantastic number, which if I got it right, is that each year there are something like 135,000 new cases of colon cancer in the US, and he said if everyone took the screening test, they could drop that number to 1000. Maybe that’s optimistic, I don’t know. But the difference was huge. They say the same about prostate cancer—and heart disease, and other cancers, etc. I’m no doctor, but my father, who died 29 years ago next week, was a surgeon. He was only 56 when he died. I’m 51. That’s a five-year difference. My Mom lived to be 81. That’s 30 years. I do not feel the least bit fatalistic or morbid, but having passed my 50th birthday, I want to do what I can to stay in good health.

The Lord knows when my time is up. All my days are already numbered in his book (Psalm 139:16). I’ve been trying to get a peek into the “Ray Pritchard” file, but it keeps coming up “Access Denied.” That means I’m “day to day” just like everyone else on planet earth. I’m happy to report that I’m in good health as far as all the medical tests go, and I’m perfectly content to trust the Lord with all my tomorrows. Through all that has happened in the last few years, I’ve learned not to take anything for granted. The words of a James Taylor song come to mind, “The purpose of life is to enjoy the passage of time.” From a biblical point of view, the purpose of life is more than that, but it’s not less than that. We ought to enjoy the passage of time and give thanks to God always for all his blessings.

10:51 AM A note from Joanne Hale in Whittier, CA:

Man these fires are as bad as they are reporting. I’m so thankful my folks sold their house last year. They have evacuated all of Big Bear. Please pray that the storm that is supposed to get here Friday night, it is supposed to bring snow to the fire area.

10:47 AM Oops! I was supposed to be on the air at this very hour on WGRC radio in Lewisburg, PA to talk about “He’s God and We’re Not.” But I’m not because when I checked the interview confirmation sheet the other day, it clearly said 11 AM. Of course, I doubly misread it because I thought it said 11:15 AM. So I wasn’t even close. Upon further inspection, it does indeed say 11 AM EASTERN TIME!!!! Under it in bold letters, it says 10 AM CENTRAL TIME. That’s a bad mistake, especially since it was a live interview—not taped for later broadcast. But they were incredibly kind about it and glad to reschedule. Said it happens all the time. We’ll do the interview at 10 AM CENTRAL TIME on Wednesday, November 12.

9:08 AM President Bush delivered an inspirational speech yesterday at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, the church pastored by Tony Evans. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s hard to be a faith-based program when you’re forbidden from practicing your faith. It’s hard to change hearts when you can’t use the power you’ve got to change the hearts. Government action like this is pure discrimination. And when government discriminates against religious groups, it is not the groups who suffer. The real loss is felt by the hungry who do not get fed, by the addicts who don’t get help and treatment, by the children who drift toward self-destruction. For the sake of so many people in need, this country must support the armies of compassion… . You’ve got to understand that sometimes, and a lot of times, the best way to help the addict, a person who is stuck on drugs and alcohol, is to change their heart. See, if you change their heart, then they change their behavior. I know.

7:26 AM Wayne Lewis tipped me off to the good work being done by Advocates International, a worldwide ministry dedicated to “doing justice with compassion.” They are leaders in defending religious freedom and speaking up for persecuted believers around the world. 

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