The Blog of Pastor Mike Wilkins
"The long run" referred to in the title of this blog is, in the first place, the many years Mike Wilkins served as West London's solo pastor, and then its Senior Pastor, since he and his wife Deb moved to London (and this church) in 1984.
In these past few years (beginning November 2011,) Mike's various health challenges, particularly a serious and ongoing case of cancer, has added another layer to the "long run" metaphor, and lots to blog about. Mike is currently on an extended Sick Leave, but generally worships with the church family on Sunday mornings.
With the publication of a book he wrote in 2016 entitled "Glory in the Face" (now available electronically and in paperback from Amazon.ca, and other online venders), Mike has just launched a new website, which will serve as a sort of scrapbook for readers of the book, with relevant background photos, for example, of That Last Final Solo Canoe Trip in May, 2011, as well as additional information about the book, and--coming soon--a new set of blog posts, mostly about the peace of God and the joy of the Lord and the face of Christ and the strength to face anything. You'll find the new website now at www.gloryintheface.com.
Oct24ThuOctober 24, 2013
We met with the surgeon this week. He was quite encouraged and so quite encouraging. On the basis of the good results of Thing #1 (the Summer Radiation) and Thing #2 (my September Surgery), he calls me "an excellent candidate" for a Liver Resection (which will be Thing #4, in March 2014, with the likelihood of a second Liver Surgery, which would be Thing #5, later that year). Thing #4 is set for four weeks or so after Thing #3, which will be six biweekly courses of Intensive Chemotherapy beginning on November 15th. On a related note, this very skilful surgeon, who Deb and I admire and appreciate very much, raised my odds of survival to 30%, explaining that, of course, it all depends upon me being "very very lucky."
So here I sit, three weeks prior to the beginning of Thing #3, with an estimated one-in-three chance of making it alive through this whole experience. One in three. I am now only twice as likely to die of this cancer as to survive it. (Well, ALMOST one in three. I now dream of being declared "33 1/3," which would both be a further improvement of my chances AND would make me feel like an old, long-playing record.)
And what do I do with these new odds? There are two things I DON'T do. I don't trust in them, which I have explained already. And I also don't ignore them. What I DO is attempt to grasp them, in order to avoid moving into the Land of Denial.
I have two principal reasons for this. Firstly, I am striving to grasp this estimation of my odds so that if, at any time in the months ahead, things begin to go bad for me -- and continue to do so -- and I really do begin to die of cancer, I won't be at all surprised to find myself doing so. I'm guessing I will deal better with the whole thing if I'm not in some state of shock at the time.
Secondly, if Things #3 and #4 (and possibly #5) also all go well, and I emerge from all of this as a Cancer Survivor, I would like to be clear about what a great thing God has done for me. And if it happens, it will come as the answer to many hundreds and maybe even thousands of prayers from many wonderfully caring people located all over the world, and I do intend to be appropriately appreciative to them as well.
Meanwhile, the excellent and caring surgeon waits to have another surgical go at me next March, and hopes that I do turn out to be "really, really lucky." In his professional skills and his devotion to his patients, this man really is a prince among men, which brings me to the psalm I read this morning.
Psalm 146:3-5 ESV
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation… Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God...