Cycle 1, Day 8

Dear friends and family,

I hope you are staying dry and warm and are having a smooth start to the holiday season. Kim and I are in the car again, heading to Nashville for the third visit to a clinic to be treated as a human guinea pig. It has been a week since our initial trip to begin participation in a Phase 1 clinical trial. All is going pretty well so far. I take 8 pills a day, and the worst side effect is being tired, queasy (which I tell Kim differs from nauseous) and a little loopy. I suspect the painkillers are exacerbating this feeling. Personally, I don’t need to go to Nashville to take pills, but the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute Drug Development Unit wants to draw many, many vials of my blood, so I-75 and I-24 here we come!

Since I last updated y’all, I have had an epiphany. As many of you are aware, the number 26 has had some significance in my life over the past few years. I can’t remember how it started, and neither can my family, but at some point, starting around 2014 after the diagnosis of my recurrence, I started noticing the number 26 so frequently that I began to think God was somehow talking to me. Okay, not really, but its appearance was, and still is, regarded as extraordinary, if not supernatural, coincidence. If you didn’t before, you should now understand my logo…

Anyway, we have observed, contemplated, and waited for the mystical moment when the secret behind the number would be revealed, but that moment has never come. And yet, 26 continues to pop-up in surprising and unexplainable ways. It was during my 10 hour stay in the clinic on day 1 of treatment that I had a profound realization, at least to me. The occurrence of 26 may be totally random or it may be some sort of encouragement from the Lord, but it probably does not point to some future event, like a cure from cancer like my family and I wish, but is instead an obvious and ideal reminder to focus on the present, to stay in the moment. Taking this interpretation to its fullest implication as a Christian, I now consider the observation of the number 26, in any form (e.g. 2.6), as a reminder to pray. Seriously, as someone fighting for their life and someone who believes that we have a loving and listening God, what one thing should I do as often as I can, and for as many people as I can, than pray?

I really can’t believe it took me over 4 years to come to this realization. It is more evidence that my tendency, and I suspect that of many others, is to only pray when efforts to resolve problems with my own strength have failed. Finding myself taking a drug that Eli Lilly hasn’t even named yet and which had not been administered to humans until very recent research, I guess that’s where I find myself.

So, I’m praying pretty often these days, and so is Kim, and I’ve encouraged my children to also pray whenever they see the number 26. And we pray together, too, when we see it as a family. I now invite you to do the same, not just for me, but for whatever and whoever needs it. And maybe 26 isn’t your number, maybe it’s something else. But why not set yourself a reminder of sorts to send some words skyward? What do we have to lose?

Thanks for everything. I mean it.

–Brent (26)

** Note: that’s our Christmas tree, which has old-school colored lights. We cut it down in North Carolina after Thanksgiving, and it then took us 2 weeks to finish decorating it. But now we can enjoy it. Merry Christmas!


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Kathy Deets Sponsler says:

    Continued prayers for you Brent!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony Dittmeier says:

    “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

    Thomas Merton
    Thoughts In Solitude

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dbrentw26 says:

      That is awesome. And helpful


  3. Hal Farnsworth says:

    Hey Brent. I just read your blog. I looked at my clock when I finish reading and the tim me was ………..10:26. So, I am praying right now. I will look for the number 26 and add to the prayers already made on your behalf . Great having lunch with you recently. Maybe our next lunch should be on the 26th

    Liked by 1 person

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