Sunday, February 26, 2017


I have to tell you that the time in the hospital was so much better than I thought it would be. Everyone at the hospital was so kind, and very professional. But still, it was a hospital!  My experience with hospitals has been visiting people in various hospitals. I know many of the facilities in New England, not just by name, but also because I have been in them at one time or another for a pastoral visit.

Last week the tables were turned. I was the patient. When I woke up from having had a radical prostatectomy I was very groggy, which lasted for the rest of the day.  Even the next day and the trip home were a little surreal as I look back. But I was very glad to be home! We used to have a saying, "Home again, home again! Flinigan-Flanigan!" Not sure what it meant, but I like it.

I'm really grateful for all who prayed for me. I am sure I will still need a lot of prayer going forward, too. (But then, don't we all!?) The  pain level is down some, and I am sure it will continue to diminish. As far as a specific prayer, I would appreciate prayer that I would not get any infection.

So, for right now, I am ensconced in the bedroom upstairs, away from the activity of the kitchen, and the goings and comings through the front door. It is very comfortable, and I can make the room as cool or  as warm as I would like it to be. It makes me happy when I think back to the days when I was building it.

Anyway thank you again and I love you all.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Surgery Success

I'm happy to report that Dad's surgery went exactly as planned!  The surgeon (who we all thought was great!) was very pleased with what he saw and what he was able to do.  No complications, no surprises.  That is answered prayer!

He's resting comfortably and in very capable hands.  Christina will spend the night and they will hopefully head home sometime tomorrow.  Then the work starts of keeping him tied down to rest and recover!

Thank you to all who have been praying today and for your continued support through this journey.  Thank you for loving my Dad.  He's a pretty remarkable guy!

Now our prayers are specific.  We are trusting for his PSA levels to drop to zero (as in no.more.cancer) when they test in a couple of months.  We are trusting in God's goodness and faithfulness.  Tonight we rejoice!  We give God the Glory in all things.


The surgery is all done.
No surprises or complications.
We will be seeing him in an hour or two.
Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


As we ready ourselves for the surgery, I have decided the hardest part of this experience is realizing I am in this hospital because my husband is being treated for CANCER.  It hits me like a boom.  The first time it happened was as we drove into the parking garage of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.   The tears immediately come to my eyes and I wish I could bend over and let the sobs overwhelm me. 
This cancer thing and it happening to Gil takes my breath away.  How could Gil have cancer?  He looks the same, he acts the same.  He still can carry in big bags of groceries and plow and shovel snow.  He can ride his bike for 30 miles.  He talks and walks and smiles and laughs in all the same ways that I have known all these years.  But, there is an invader inside his body that wants to make him sick, that wants to take him from me and our family and friends and church. 
In the beginning the first words in my mind were,”I can’t believe this is happening!”  Over and over, like a broken record.  As soon as my head would say that, then the thought would come, “What is so hard to believe?  People get cancer. “   It is a strange thing how emotion can dictate my thoughts, instead of reason.
Then I am reminded of some words from Lisa-that nothing is happening to him that has not been sifted through God’s loving hands.
Bad things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people, good things happen to bad people, and good things happen to good people.  Jesus said, ”In this world you will have tribulation.  But take heart, I have overcome the world."

When I take Gil to the hospital tomorrow for his surgery, I will keep reminding myself-God is with me, walking beside me, strengthening me, lifting me up, giving me courage.  I am so grateful that I have the Word of God to remind me of His love.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Here's lookin' at me

As the days are getting longer and the temps are warming, I marvel, as I do every year, at how God's faithfulness is shown in nature. People who do any kind of planting (farmers, gardeners, landscapers, etc) count on God's faithfulness.  The really great thing is, though, you don't have to grow a garden to see how faithful He is. I know it's time to tap maple trees, even though I am not going to be able to do so this year.  The key to knowing God's faithfulness is having our eyes open.  In Psalm 23 David recognizes that, saying, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me."  He expected  God to show His faithful care and love, no matter where he was or what he was going through!  Hey, I'm with you, David!

I have a time for my meeting with Mr. da Vinci, the name of the $2M robotics machine that will work on me. It is 7:30am on the 23rd. I will be the first order of the day. I plan to leave the hospital the next day. The procedure should take about two hours. The weather for travel to and from Boston looks good at this time.  Since I won't be allowed to eat solid food from Wednesday morning to Friday noon, I told Christina we might have to stop at Five Guys on the way home! 😀🍔🍟
Thank you all for your prayers for me.  We'll be in touch!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Good Medicine!

Throughout this medical journey I am on, there have been a lot of firsts.  I don’t know how many times I have been asked about my medical condition (none), medications (none), surgeries (none), allergies (none), and implanted metals (none).  I not only know all the answers, I have almost all the questions memorized, too. When I am doing a test and I'm asked if I’m okay with some sort of injection 'for contrast' or whatever, I shrug and say, “I dunno.  I guess so.”  I’ve lived a sheltered life, but I’m getting medical-wise. 
A few days ago Christina wanted to do something special for me and decided to make apple dumplings because she knows I love them!  There was a tiny Rubbermaid container on the counter that she assumed contained a mixture of sugar and cinnamon from the last time she made pies.  She sniffed it and said it smelled “citrus-y”.  “What do you think?  Do you think it's all right to use?” she asked.  I countered, “Could it be something else, like Metamucil?” I asked.  She put it into a glass of water, and sure enough; it was.
I am really glad the treat didn’t get ruined, but the thought did cross my mind that it might have been the most pleasing way I have received medicine in the last two months. Besides, it would have cleaned me out.  I would have been spared the fleet kit or enema or whatever else I might have to do.

By the way, the apple dumplings were really good.

I do not like it in a pie,
I do not like it in my eye.
I do not like it in the snow,
I do not like it! No, no, no!!

Monday, February 6, 2017

We have a plan!

 There is no one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to treatment of medical conditions, because everybody is different. What worked for uncle George or your grandpa may not work for me.  Anyway, knowing that I had to make a decision by Monday helped me think and pray, and talk to people a lot, too. I have decided that I will go with the robotic surgery  which will be on February 23. There may be additional radiation and hormone therapy that follows.

With all of the decisions of life  we try to do what will best fit our lives. This seems to be the best fit for me. Of course, the best would be not to have cancer at all. :-) Oh well.  I do and I need to make the best of it. There have been several bright spots along the road since I was sick, or at least since I knew I was sick. Our quick trip to Florida, a beautiful Christmas time with our family,  and an unbelievable Super Bowl just last night make for some lasting memories in our lives. But none was greater than getting anointed and prayed over by our church on December 18. I appreciate the total support of our church family. We have the best church in the world. I am so thankful I get to be the pastor of such a fine group of people. They know they are going to have to bend and adjust through this time to help get me through. But I have not heard one word of complaining.
 Whatever issue or dilemma you face I can tell you that God has a plan for you, too. Don't just seek the answer to your issue, but seek Him and you will find your answer in that search.  God bless you. Gil

Saturday, February 4, 2017


By the beginning of February many people are getting tired of winter, even though the heating season is only slightly past midpoint.  Groundhog’s day is a silly tradition of hoping winter will be ending soon. 
For me the beginning of February this year marked a special time.  I looked forward to the third because I knew that was the day I would hear the results of the tests, scans, and biopsies that would determine the treatment plan for dealing with this prostrate cancer.  I was presented with two options for treatment and told again that doing nothing was not a third option.  Though the cancer was again referred to as ‘very aggressive,’ I was told it had not escaped the boundary of the prostate; that is very good!
The first plan was robotic surgery, possibly followed by radiation and hormone therapy.  The goal would be to get the PSA number to zero.  If removal of the entire prostate didn’t do the trick, they would have to go after any stray cancer with radiation and hormone therapy. 
The second plan was doing only radiation and hormone therapy, but over a longer period of time.  It would include getting hormones for a couple of months, six weeks of radiation and then continuing to get hormones for several months after radiation.  Again, the goal would be zer-i-oh.

There is a lot to consider.  I believe I will have the answer  by Monday and we will set our sights on dealing with this.  I trust that God will make it clear, and I know He'll see us through.  I’m surrounded by a lot of prayer and love, and I have talked to good doctors and men who have gone through similar things. (Sorry ladies; it's a guy thing!)  I will let you know what is going to happen.