Friday, March 7, 2008

7 Mar 2008

Okay, Gang. This post represents the bits and pieces of items covered before which may need updating, as well as some new stuff too incredible to skip. WARNING: Some have said to let them know when things might get too graphic so they can scan and/or pass. This may be one of those posts.

First, I have discovered a remarkable similarity between throat cancer patients and snakes. Here's a picture of 300+ pound, 18 1/2 foot long Boa Constrictor killed by my Vietnam Cav Troop near the DMZ. At the time (March 1969),it was reported by the Stars and Stripes as being the largest Boa ever found that far north in the country. His carcass was burned after several troopers got the skin that they needed to make wallets and other trophies.

He starts today's post because, like snakes, people also shed their skins. Dandruff, flaking skin, etc. are all common to most. However, unlike most of you, throat 
cancer patients under radio and chemotherapy also shed THEIR TONGUES. I'm not going to show you that, but underneath your tongue and along your cheeks are a spare set of tongue and cheek tissues, just waiting until the burned, treated ones come off and are replaced by the rookies. This is one of the least pleasant experiences you can imagine and has been the "highlight" of week 5. Thankfully, the docs are ready for this set 0f events and an upsurge in pain meds makes this close to tolerable.

Victoria has been providing me with a daily thought on a 3x5 card each morning. For Week 5, they included the following, which reminded me of the snake and my throat.

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." -- Mother Teresa

"If you're going through hell, keep going." -- Winston Churchill

"I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." -- Agatha Christie

"It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: 'And this, too, shall pass away.' " -- Abraham Lincoln

My love and thanks to Victoria for inspiring me each day!

When faced with this kind of adversity, I look for sources of inspiration. Of course, the Lord,  my family and my Country are my first thoughts. And I have found myself praying a lot and know that friends and family are praying too. Thank you.

Second, having come from the Lord, I know now how I got here and where I have been. Below you will see a picture taken by my son Christopher on 8 June 2006, forty years to the day of my graduation from West Point. We were there for an Association of Graduates golf tournament and just managed to be on Trophy Point when a storm blew in. I call it, "A Forty Year Tribute To Fruit and Milk." (My class was the first to get fruit and milk during Beast Barracks because we were losing so much weight.) This vista is one of the most beautiful views in America and for me represents the great challenges during which my class came together.

Lastly, knowing where I've been and what I've accomplished with the help of so many others, also tells me where I am going - hopefully not too soon. The short clip below was recorded at the Cadet Chapel in 2002, on the 200th anniversary of the founding of West Point. The producers of the movie "We Were Soldiers " needed a group singing a song that, in the producer's and author's words, "sounded 200 years old". What a coincidence! This original version was recorded by the Cadet Glee Club and was inserted in the closing credits of the film. You can click here for this inspiring song. The lyrics are also shown.

So, Week 5 , not so good.  But then again 40 years ago in Dahlonega, GA, things weren't exactly a picnic either.  Sorry this post was delayed, but I now know that many of you tune in on Friday.

We will improve!  And we'll see you on the high ground.


Unknown said...

Knowing how hard week 5 was going to be I was amazed that you wrote a blog at all. It reminded me of watching some of your basketball games in high school and the other team was on the foul line. We sat there yelling " see that basket see that ball came on idiot hit the wall." Well the cancer just hit the wall. You will come thru this to the other side. The gang from Mosby Street has your back.

Sue said...

Ken, you are one tough old bird! Love the snake! I think you and my Dad were in Vietnam at the same time.

That song totally made me bawl. Surely you must feel that it's almost more than you can bear at times, but God will bear you up.

Thank you for being such an inspiration. You have helped me keep things in perspective and I often remind myself to be tough, like Ken.

Jim said...


Ephesians 3:20 (The Message) says "God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!" so we're asking Him to do what He does best - perform another miracle!

We continue to pray for you daily.

Anderson Zoo Keepers said...


I'm not sure about that song being as much "inspirational" as downright heart-wrenching. All you people are determined to make me an emotional person aren't you?

Winston Churchill said, "Courage is the first of human qualities, because it is the quality which guarantees all others." And since you've shown courage in spades, you're good to go with everything else!

Lead the way Ranger!!

The Carlsons said...

"The test of success is not what you do when you're on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom." -Patton

Bounce High Papa, Bounce High!

Tobi said...

"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men." JFK

It's just plain rotten what you are going through. We all believe in your courage and your fortitude. GO! FIGHT! WIN!

Matt said...


You will overcome this obstacle as you have others in the past. You have armies of people praying for you around the world. Hang in there buddy!

P.S. - Thank you for comparing your cancer to a snake and not spiders.

The Dragonfly said...

I sure love you dad! And just like your favorite picture shows, there is sun behind the clouds! We're almost to the sun dad - and you have us all with you in the clouds. I know the storm will pass!

Crazy Granny said...

Ken I have collected a lot of snake stories over the years because I find that you can always fill a hole in a conversation with a good snake story. People might think your a little weird but with someone like me that's nothing new. However, your snake story is still the best. Buck-up and know that God is in his heaven, and very aware of you. Love Ya