From a statement I made to my friends at First Baptist Church
in Asheville today:
I need your prayers for wisdom and for courage as I deal with
some hard news I have recently received.
Over the last week or so, following an array of tests, I have
learned that I have multiple myeloma, a cancer that, as best I understand it,
is bound up with the bone marrow and the blood, causing blood cells to carry
too much of an unhelpful protein.  On
this past Thursday, I learned that I will need to enter a season of assertive
treatment, involving drug therapy here in Asheville and a stem-cell transplant
at Duke.  While there is currently no
cure for this kind of cancer, there are many reasons to hope for a strong
Damage to bones and to kidneys are part of the corrosive
effect of this cancer.  I have neither,
for which I am so grateful.    My leading
symptom is extreme fatigue, related to the anemia which the bad blood cells
cause.  I am young to have this disease;
its onset is typically in people about 10 years older than I. I am fortunate to
be in pretty good shape otherwise, so I enter treatment with anxiety but not
without resources on which to draw.
I have a really fine doctor, Ron Friedman. I am in good
hands.  I have the loving support of
family, friends, and this wonderful church.  
And, I am finding that the words which I have used to offer
encouragement to others ring true to me in this hard place. 
My colleagues on this church staff have been amazingly
gracious in their support.  They and I
are working to put plans in place to cover my responsibilities when I cannot
fulfill them and for that season of several weeks when I will be at Duke and
then recovering from the stem cell transplant. 
We will have more to say about those plans as they get settled.
I met with Scott Hughes, our Deacon Chair, on Friday, and he
could not have been a better friend to me or representative of you than he
So, just as I am in good hands, you are too.
I have set up a Caring Bridge site ( That is where I will update you on treatment as I know
details.  It is linked to our church
website.  The Caring Bridge site is where
I will also want to receive any of your digital messages. 
Pray that I will be wise and courageous—wise in
decision-making about treatment and about my use of time and energy.  Courageous in my willingness to love and be loved.  I am not used to being in the position I am
now in.  I get to learn many lessons
about myself, about God, and about the mysteries of mercy and the power of
weakness and about the joy of vulnerability. 
I want to be curious, open, hopeful and humble.  I am on an adventure I didn’t expect would
begin now.  As I take this journey, I am
sustained by my conviction that God does not cause our trouble and pain, but
God loves us too much to waste them. 
There is a lot to learn