Monday, March 9, 2009

Living Life by the Slice

"Give us this day our daily bread..." Matthew 6:11

My wife makes the most delicious homemade breads. Mmmm… Just writing about it makes my mouth water: the fresh-baked aroma, steam wafting from a warm loaf as I sunder through the delectable crust and render that first slice. At times Linda would urge me to continue paring the loaf until it was thoroughly divided into nice even slices, ready to be packaged and placed in the freezer for later consumption. But I prefer to sever and savor one slice at a time, while it is still oven-fresh, moist and delicious.

Now that is the way we are living life – one slice at a time.

To catch you up, on Wednesday, February 25, my local surgeon, Dr Randy Gould, removed a subcutaneous nodule from my left posterior shoulder, about the size of a small grape. This appeared for the first time on the PET-CT done at UVA on February 11 and proved to be an isolated recurrent melanoma. Then on Thursday, March 5, we traveled to Charlottesville to consult with Dr Grosh once more. At that time he thoroughly reviewed the recent imaging studies, biopsy results, and treatment options.

Because of subtle, inconclusive findings on the last MRI of the brain, the appearance of this new lesion of the left posterior shoulder (now removed), my stable physical condition, and the lack any laboratory abnormalities, it was decided to simply arrange another series of studies at the end of this month. If at that time there is evidence of progression of the cancer, Dr Grosh is considering a tertiary referral for entry into a clinical trial that uses the monoclonal antibody, ipilimumab. If there are limited brain metastases and no new systemic metastases, repeat gamma knife surgery may be considered.

But you notice the sentence begins with ‘if’ – that is a slice we have not yet sampled. And so it is for all of us, is it not? "If I finish this course as planned... If the economy turns around... If my 401K doesn't completely tank..." Life revolves around 'if'!

Knowing our penchant to want the whole loaf divided for us in clearly defined slices, Jesus urges us to trust the Father for each portion on a daily basis: “Give us this day our daily bread… your heavenly Father knows… So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mat 6:11, 32, 34) This caution is not just an accommodation to the harsh reality of life – rather He is advocating a healthy diet, a way of living that nourishes and satisfies our soul’s deepest hunger pangs.

So these days we mark our calendar in pencil. We consciously live life one slice at a time and savor each morsel. Though we may not know what the future holds, we know who holds the future and are truly satisfied.

The Bread of Life is right – it’s fresher by the slice!


PS – To complete this thought, consider an earlier blog entry that includes a poem “To End with ‘And’”


  1. Our thoughts and prayers are still with you!

    Sam and Jenny Richards

  2. Dr. Dan...

    Thanks for the good read....enjoyed your blog. Very creative, thoughtful writing. I agree, too much to be thankful for...He always provides.

    I am also treated at UVA by Geoffrey Weiss MD and Johns Hopkins by Charles Balch MD.

    Wishing you well on your journey, may God continue to bless you.

    Debbie Hennessy Stage 4 MM NED

  3. Our thoughts and prayers are with you! Cameron misses coming to see you!

    Doug, Beci & Cameron Freeze

  4. Dear Dr. Dan,
    Our meeting finally could certainly have been under much better circumstances but I am glad for the opportunity. I appreciated your presence at my father's funeral very much. There are many things I read in your blog and hear from your daughters that remind me of my relationship with my own dad. They are as blessed as I to have an earthly father to be such an amazing example of what are Heavenly Father is. A priceless glimpse of home. Thank you for taking the time to come
    Emily Arters