Stop and Smell the Orange Trees

I had the pleasure of spending some time with one of my best friend Ashley’s parents Lynn & Cindy yesterday in Arizona.  In a surreal setting with Camelback Mountain in the background I listened to Lynn talk about the past few months of his life, battling and surviving stage 4 lung cancer. To put it minimally, the life lessons and outlook on life that I learned from him over a few drinks is something that I will take with me for the rest of my life.  Ashley and I woke up to Lynn’s caring bridge entry that I wanted to repost.  Not only is he a beautiful man, but a beautiful writer.  He has articulated often times through hilarious words his journey with cancer and his outlook on life and how all of us should spend whatever time we have left on this earth.  Here is his post…

OK Ashley and Murph, this is all your fault.

I want to start off this morning with a little assignment for you to do today.  Here’s 4 more questions for you to answer and, trust me, these are a lot easier than the last 4.

You just walked out of your Doctors office.  He has told you that you literally have 24 hours to live.

What would you do?

Who would you call?

What would you say?

What are you waiting for?

Yea, I know, sometimes I piss myself off too.  Ashley has been here for a visit the last few days and her dear friend Murph, well actually here name is Lauren but she’s been Murph to us every since we met, flew in yesterday.  They’re staying at the Camelback Inn so we stopped for a cocktail yesterday afternoon.  We were sitting on the patio, in beautiful surroundings, with great friends, and beautiful weather.  What more could you ask for?  We got into a discussion of my philosophy and all this stuff just started coming out.  Well I woke up about 1 and couldn’t go back to sleep because I got to thinking about our talk.  So now you’re stuck with me.

Ashley got me a present, a book called Stronger Than Cancer.  It’s a compilation of stories by or about cancer patients.  It was compiled by Connie Payton and it has sure been a light for me.  It’s one of those little books that makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you think, and makes you pray.  Thanks Honey.  I’ll cherish it as long as I live.

Did I tell you I’m a cancer survivor?  Yep.  I was diagnosed on December 10th and I’m still here.  Doesn’t that make me a survivor?  I didn’t say I was cancer free……Just a survivor.  You know, I don’t know if I’ll have 1 more day.  Or a week.  Or a month.  Or a year.  Or ten years.  I do know that I’ll make the most of what ever time I have left.  And do you want to know a secret?  You could have the same amount of time.  Why not make the most of it.  Get rid of all the DRAMA in your life.  Enjoy the moment.  Don’t get so busy you forget to take those little snapshots of life each day.  Remember….It’s not the days we remember.  It’s the moments.

For me it’s like this.  I don’t ask God to cure me anymore.  I ask God to open my heart and mind to His word.  To fill me with His Holy Spirit.  To help me understand His plan and where I fit into it.  I do remind Him that there are some things I would still like to do and I would appreciate some more time.  Gracie Allen once said, “Never place a period where God has placed a comma”.  God may be telling me, “You have cancer, but I have other plans for you”.  See what I mean?  “You are going to die, just not yet”.  I could look at the statistic and think, “I have a 50/50 shot at being dead in 12 months” or I can believe I have pretty good odds of being alive for more than 1 year.  Less than 15% of people with this cancer live longer than 5 years.  I’ll take those odds.  I truly believe God hears all of our prayers.  Sometimes His answer is “Not Yet”.  It’s like, the MegaMillions jackpot is $350,000,000 right now.  You can pray all you like to have the winning numbers.  It doesn’t mean God didn’t hear you.  He just said, “Not Yet”.  “God I want to live 10 more years”.  His answer will probably be something like, “Make the most out of your life right now and then we’ll see”.  Isn’t it funny how Doctors will tell you…you have so much time to live.  I thought that was God’s job.  Right now He’s my Physician.  These other people with MD after their names……They’re just helping.

How am I doing?  Pretty darn good.  I got off the pain med’s again and so far it’s been OK.  I still have a little discomfort in my abdomenn but I can live with it.  I do have another case of Thrush, a yeast infection in your mouth that is usually caused by a weak immuno-system.  So I have another mouthwash and this one has a numbing agent because I have some pretty good sores on my tongue.  Remember, chemo kills fast growing cells and sometimes it really doesn’t care which ones it kills.  This stuff is horrible.  It just tastes like crap and I have to use it 4 times a day.  Oh well.  Maybe my Bacardi and Pepsi will taste good again.  My 2nd round of chemo is next Friday.  Hopefully, I’ll have a good week so I can make the most of it.  I can live with a schedule of chemo, feel like crap for a week, 2 good weeks and then another round of chemo.  I just have to remember, And this too shall pass.

That’s about it for tonight.  I have another big meeting in the morning and I really should try and get some more sleep.

Thomas Chandler once said, “To love a person is to learn the song in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten”.  Thanks for singing with me tonight.

Hugs, Hope, and Light,
Lynn……and the whole Team Voss

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4 Responses to Stop and Smell the Orange Trees

  1. Alyne Murphy says:

    God bless you through this very traumatic time. If we all lived by your words, life would be so clear and so rewarding. Thank you so much for putting my world into perspective and for again, turning to a higher power for the answers and for appreciating the beautiful life that I have been given. I will be sending you, my good thoughts for a complete recovery, that gives you the time, that you need and want.

    Alyne Murphy(Murph’s Mom)

  2. Tim Murphy says:

    Great post. Honestly sitting here some what teared up with great pride to see so many wonderfull words from so many wonderfull people. I am going to forward your post and the wonderfull words to a friend and business associate that is fighting his own battle with the hopes that the plan is to have him with us for a long time.

  3. Oh my goodness. That’s what it was, goodness. Bawling at my computer on a Monday morning not from sadness, but from what wonderful things come out of wonderful people during trying times. I’m so happy to hear you reminded Lynn of his heart-song this weekend. Sounds like it was just what he needed. Love you, and thanks for sharing. It’s so true… WHAT are you waiting for!

  4. Gretchen says:

    I am so glad I got to read that. What an amazing outlook on life. There are so many wonderful points I want to take from that. Such an important reminder to enjoy life and the people we love and to remember that life is a blessing. What an inspiration.

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