Sunday, December 27, 2009

the color of urine
(2009 year in review)
((the curse of dcd))

this might not be as relevant a topic for my female readers (at least those that pee sitting down, wipe and never inspect their urine the way that men, by nature, are accustomed to doing), and for that, i apologize. but the question is this. how often do you pay attention, when going number one, to the liquid waste that is coming out of your body? if you are anything like me, pre-june, not very much. if it comes/came out extraordinarily yellow, one might think to themself, "man, i should drink more water." if it comes/came out extraordinarily clear, one might think to themself, "man, i've been drinking a lot of water." and that's about it, right? it was for me. for 32 and a half years, going to the bathroom standing up was about as unexciting a part of my day as it would be for any other human being.

and then, i peed blood.

the night in question was rather unremarkable. a pretty normal monday night as monday nights go. i played softball. have zero recollection as to whether or not we won (the trauma that would follow has rendered those events rather meaningless). i was probably dehydrated as i always was and had been before that night. i never drank water. always drank coke. probably quenched my thirst, post-game, with something carbonated. i half-way cleaned up. was ready for bed. went to the bathroom.

and then, i peed blood.

having never done so before, you can imagine my surprise. i went and got sarah, we went downstairs and started to google. i didn't even know what to be afraid of, but i was wishing that it was a one time thing. a figment of my imagination. we saw several options online, i calmed down enough to go to bed and sleep for a bit. i got up, nervously walked into the bathroom...

and then, i peed blood. again.

so, you are saying that something was off?

i called the doctor and you've heard the story since then. i was treated for an infection. i drank tons of water. things seemed to clear up. maybe they were right. maybe it was just "a really bad infection." several days passed. i started to feel better. one day remaining of my antibiotics. woke up six days after the initial incident thinking i had dodged a bullet.

and then i peed blood.


"normal sized..."

"this is not."


"come back monday with your wife, and we'll talk about a plan."

"am i going to die?"


"you're sure??? i'm gonna make it?"

"we've got some work to do, but you are going to make it."


day after.

"it was what we thought it was."

"renal cell carcinoma."

"completely isolated."

"totally contained."

"you can celebrate."

what the fuck just happened?





getting stronger.

start to go crazy.

i am crazy.

seeing spots.

vision exam.

glasses (that i don't wear).

no eye tumors.

have a brainscan.

no tumor.

still feel crazy.

chest x-ray.


get medicine.

start feeling a little better.

my elbow hurts.

what's that thing in my neck?

"it's a gland. or a lymph node."

"you are fine."

i don't believe you.

"you are going to be fine."

we'll see.

back to the original question. how often do you pay attention, when going number one, to the liquid waste that is coming out of your body? since that night in mid-june, i do every time.

every. single. time.

the intensity with which i anticipate going to the bathroom is knee-buckling at times. what if i pee blood again??? i only have one kidney now. i don't have a safety net. i am too young. i don't want to lose my family. i am not ready to die. I AM NOT READY TO DIE!!! WHY AM I SHAKING AGAIN? WHY AM I YELLING AT MY DAUGHTERS?

snap out of it, kevin...

please. chill the fuck out.

ok. i'll try. god help me. let 2010 be different. let 2010 be something else. let it be a celebration of the life i was taking for granted. let it be the first step in being prepared to handle something like this in a healthier fashion (for all involved) than i was able to this year.

let's rewind.

1) be a serviceable lay leader - well, serviceable was about as good as i can rank myself here. many pastors claim that the first year in their congregation isn't about doing as much as it is learning and getting to know their congregation. i tried to take the same approach, myself. i made all but one sprc meeting. i didn't miss a finance meeting. co-chaired a relatively smooth nominating process. took in a whole lot. didn't speak out of turn once. offered several opinions on things i thought important. didn't pick any fights. left some on the table. got through a fairly easy pastor transition. set my eyes upon being more proactive and visible in the coming year. all of which leaves me with what? a passing grade? yeah, i would think so. there are probably some that would still argue that i and my sunday school class had way too much to do with a pastor and some "key" members tucking tail, but i would argue that no one makes you leave a church. if there is a problem, it's a "you" problem as colin cowherd would put it. that's for another post. now, if my sunday school class and i can just shake this damned curse. more on that later.

2) don't die - i have shuddered every time i've gone back and read this since june. for each time this has made the list the last few years, it's been with tongue planted firmly in cheek. it will be number one with a bullet next year, but for very different reasons and with very different thought behind it. not that not dying was never important. it was. it just wasn't until this year that it sunk it that is was going to happen to me sometime. and maybe if i hadn't peed blood, it would have happened a lot sooner than later. shudder. nevertheless, if i am lucky enough to claim this as my second chance, things will be different moving forward in a major way. "don't die"??? check. goodness.

3) buy a motorcycle - in an ironic twist of fate attached to my losing a kidney, my doctor only set two limitations on my life moving forward when i asked him what i would have to change. "no motorcycles. no trampolines." if that means not meeting my maker for a long time, you just tell me where to sign, dr. wade. anybody got a pen?

4) speaking of my brother... - this one resolved to spend more time with brian, because my life is a better place when he is close and in it. unfortunately, the only time i saw him was when he made the trip to see me through my surgery. i am not sure if he or i imagined that he'd be helping me out of a hospital bed in 2009, but he never thought twice about coming. and i love him for that, even if i couldn't make this resolution happen.

5) don't get fat - mostly thanks to the extreme amounts of weight that i lost worrying about my condition and not eating for three days after the surgery, this one gets a check in the "success" column. i am hopeful that next year weighs more on my healthy habits (better diet, continued exercise) moreso than another trip to the operating table.

6) handle hannah's transition to kindergarten with dignity and respect - really, i handled this quite well. in truth, her going to school fell victim to my selfish state of mind when it came around at the beginning of august. i was only beginning to lose my mind, and, while it seemed sad and wonderful at the same time that she would be going to school, i didn't have it in me to shed vast amounts of time and energy worrying about her being ok. or mommy being ok. or my being ok. truth be told, she handled it better than anybody, and that's the way it was always going to be.

7) handle alabama's growing pains in 2009 with dignity and respect - lost a senior quarterback? starting running back? three starters off the offensive line, including two all-americans? who cares, right? i am so glad i was wrong on this one. this alabama football season has meant more to my mental healing than i probably even know. jan. 7th is very close now.

8) be more intentional about finding time for my friends - for the most part, an unfortunate fail must be registered on this one. sure, i saw kiker at softball and on several occasions outside of that, but circumstances dealt my want to see andy more a cruel blow and chris perry and i never hooked up. i found and find them on facebook now and the temptation to let that be good enough will be hard to fight. as i mentioned in january, i know we are "busy", but jeez. i saw one football game with the boys all together this year??? one??? one can hope that the national championship game will provide the means to make up for lost time. i will say, though, that there are and were beautiful exceptions to this rule. i feel like i got to spend a lot of good time with amy and katie, and let me be brutally honest for a second. i could not have made it through the year without my sunday school class. to kathy, brad, donald, tanya, chris, melinda, kim and deb...thank you for inviting me and sarah into your fold. thanks for putting up with all my sarcastic and inappropriate comments and language. thank you for your support. and thank you for your friendship. i would have always done anything for you if you had asked, but now i look forward to those opportunities. i love you all. now if we could only get past that curse. more on that later.

9) introduce other voices to HACAM - this started off with a bang. i appreciate rebecca and kiker's contributions. things waned heavily in my making it a priority, though, in the latter 3/4ths of the year, but this is still going to happen. this blog is going to feel a lot different next year. and that's a first glimpse of one resolution for 2010.

10) don't let the church consume me - you know. i made this work. i do feel like we are there every time the doors open again. and i was at a lot of meetings, events, etc. maybe because we did it more as a family than when i was on staff, but this year will provide a good template for next year and hopefully many years after that.

and now...saying good-bye to the curse of dcd.

i am not very well versed on being the victim of a curse. perhaps, you don't know that you are, in fact, cursed until you come out the other side. let's take a look at certain proverbial stones that struck the heads of the weeds class in 2009.


the death of a husband/father/friend.

the celebration of a newborn child tempered by the realization that something is amiss.

the passing of the mother of one of our emeritus members.

why did all of this happen to us? was it because we didn't get along very well with the previous pastor and he has used his black magic, upon leaving, to ruin our lives? well, that's my theory, but i am rarely (and by "rarely" i mean usually) right about anything.

were we just unlucky? maybe in some terms. in others, though...

i lost a kidney, but not my life.

our class was blessed with healthy twins and a fighter in the mighty noah that will make all of us, most especially his incredible parents, better human beings.

one of us was a serviceable lay leader.

one of us rejoined our church's staff.

one of us will manage our facility with a strong, yet humble, hand.

one of us (with the help of the rest of us) will always make vbs rock even if she says this year is her last year.

one of us is now a city councilperson and can get me free stuff (oh yeah, and change her church AND her city for the better)

one of us continues to make our daycare a place worthy of a waiting list.

one of us championed our children, challenged our council and then led the way by shepherding our many faces of our future, herself.

one of us will bring our worship technology into the current millenia.

one of us will set an example for all our of church's mothers through the trials she has and will continue to overcome at home.

one of us, with his "questions", got this ball rolling.

were we cursed after june? as far as this blog was concerned, um, yes. absolutely.

in reality, crappy things happened, but lessons in perspective through the victories that we enjoyed together will forge, for us, a brighter tomorrow. that's a promise.

good riddance, 2009. don't let propaghandi hit you on the way out. because they will hit you. hit you in the face with my best record of the year.


the end of my world as i knew it.


donnag said...

re: #8 - are you saying I saw Chris Perry more than you did?

Chris P said...

Donna, unfortunately, yes. Can you believe we live an hour apart and saw each other face to face exactly 0 times during 2009? Totally unacceptable. We'll have to fix that for 2010. However, I'm glad I got to see you this fall and you got to see how much Caleb has grown. :-)

Chris G said...

One of us despite his fussing, cursing and being scared totally shitless (you wouldnt be human if you werent, i was scared shitless for you) handled what is a life altering event with as much dignity and grace as humanly possible, and in the process you showed everyone how tough and dedicated you really are. life isnt about living without fear, its about learning how to go on anyway whether you really want to or not. ive had a lesson in this myself this year. 2009 for me will be one of the best years of my life and one of the hardest. its tough to believe that those two things can happen at the same time but they do. Bring on 2010 and may it be less traumatic, i'd like a vacation.

Deb said...

Okay, you made me cry. I knew that I was associated with an awesome group of people but looking at the past year is humbling. God is good. His plan is better for us than ours could ever be even when we don't understand. Thanks Kev, I need your example.

HUMC Kids said...

Thanks for reminding me how awesome we all are- including you :)

Here's to friends and family- bring on 2010!

melinda said...

What a year for the weeds! Although times were tough, I think it brought us closer together. We are a tough bunch and "weeds" thrive everywhere, even in the worst conditions. Thanks guys for being there for us in our most difficult time. Thanks Kevin for this great blog. This latest one reminds me of the Breakfast Club. :) Love you guys.