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Fortnights and Haircuts


A lot can happen in a fortnight.

Two weeks ago today we found out my diagnosis of cancer, and to be honest, I am not sure we have fully wrapped our heads around the significance of it all. Everything had to happen so quickly with starting the intense chemo treatment almost immediately, that now it seems crazy that it was only 14 days ago that all of this began.

The two weeks have been filled with anxiety, discomfort, sickness, the chemo room, and an overwhelming sense of community and love that I will spend the rest of my days retelling. Stories of love, grace and compassion that have come from people near and far have blown us away. Allison and I knew that we were going to need people to be beside us if we were going to make it through this and the way people responded has been extremely humbling and borderline overwhelming in the best way possible.

Thank you for your support, for your encouragement, for your prayers, for your messages, for your stories of conquering, for your cards, for your meals, for your gifts, for your texts and visits. Thank you for your understanding when responses have been slow or we’ve indicated that we need a quiet day of no visitors. Thank you for the graciousness with which you have walked beside us as we deal with the physical and emotional effects of treating cancer.

One of the side effects no one prepared me for was hiccups. And not just hiccups, but “remember that girl who was on the Today Show because of her hiccups” hiccups. Hours of annoying “chemo” hiccups. Turns out it’s an uncommon side effect. So glad that we are keeping the uncommon going. Ever see a grown man hiccup for hours? It’s uncomfortable for everyone. I sound like a disney character that swallowed a bunch of bubbles. Who knew.

One of the other side effects has been my hair. The anxiety and waiting for it fall out in clumps this week has been one of the harder aspects emotionally for me, so instead of just waiting, we went ahead and buzzed it. My glorious locks hit the ground rendering me to the look of a naked sheep, freshly shorn from his wool coat – cold, confused, and slightly exposed. We tried to make a video of it but it didn’t turn out that great, but even still, you can see it here.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the seasons changing as October has finally relented into autumn in Nashville, with the temperatures dropping and the leaves falling, cascading in their wayward manner to the hardening ground. If I had to pick a season to be diagnosed and begin treatment, I think it would be the start of fall. Fall has always been a symbol of change, and while the beauty of the season is not lost, we know that fall leads to winter and in the season of winter is where deep roots are entrenched, where trees and plants regroup, where healing can take place so that when the time comes they can grow stronger and more vibrant than before.

Winter is a necessary season, and we don’t want to hibernate through this. So that has been one of my prayers – that during this time that deep roots would go further, that healing would take place in every aspect of life and that when the time has come at the first hint of spring and new life that there will be such an overwhelming joy and expectation and understanding as we look back on what could be seen as a barren season, we will see the depth of life that is fully life.

(For more updated and tangible ways that you can help out or stay connected, feel free to check up consistently here. Thanks!)

12 Comments leave one →
  1. October.16.2014 12:09 pm

    your words, and your heart, are so beautiful, strong, and brave.

    here with you through autumn straight into spring…

  2. October.16.2014 12:17 pm

    Deep Roots. Thats great stuff man. Thanks for writing this and helping us cheer and think and pray.
    You are so much more than cancer. I just read your blog for like an hour. Keep writing. About everything…

  3. Rachel Smith permalink
    October.16.2014 12:25 pm

    Adam, thank you for your vulnerability and inspiring perspective. May we all seek such inner workings of hope and healing within and around each of our lives. I was at a board meeting this morning here in Chattanooga at the Memorial Cancer Resource Center, and saw a simple yet deeply meaningful poem on a bookmark I think I’ll send your way. Peace be with you, dear one.

  4. Rachel Smith permalink
    October.16.2014 12:44 pm

    In other news, here are some hiccup ideas:

    Natural Home Remedies for Hiccups

    Following are some of the effective home remedies for hiccups:

    1. Suck on a small pieces of fresh ginger.
    2. Drink pineapple juice. It is also a common home remedy for hiccups
    3. Eat some sugar. It is very effective natural cure for hiccups.
    4. Add 2 tsp common salt in a cup of plain yogurt (curd, yoghurt). Eat this mixture for hiccups treatment.
    5. Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds with 1/2 tsp pure ghee. Swallow this mixture. It is also effective cure for hiccups.
    6. Boil 1/2 tsp of cardamom fresh powder in 2 cup water till it decreases to half, Sieve it and drink a glassful of this warm water.
    7. Ingest or diffuse fennel essential oil

    Even in the present day, there are numerous people who use fennel essential oil to avail relief from numerous medical problems. Some of the specific medical problems for which this oil is used even to this day include:
    • Anorexia (malnutrition);
    • Colic (stomach ache);
    • Constipation;
    • Dyspepsia (upset stomach);
    • Flatulence or intestinal gas;
    • Hiccups;
    • Vomiting.
    This herb has an exceptional property that can be obtained only by vaporizing the essential oil extracted from its seeds. Fennel essential oil has the aptitude to enhance appetite and hunger when it is added to a vaporizer. As aforesaid, ingestion of fennel essential oil also works as a diuretic in the body and increases urine outflow, thereby also helping in elimination toxic wastes from the body.

  5. Karen permalink
    October.16.2014 12:54 pm

    read a beautiful post from ann voskamp the other day that touched on fall, and i loved the words she chose: “all through the woods, the trees are letting go. i told the farmer on the way home from sunday chapel that it was brave, the way the trees made dying look glorious.” love how the trees keep on shining in all their radiant glory – keep on breathing, waving in the wind, rustling their edges – even as loss and an inevitable dry season is on the horizon. it is brave; ann was right. and yet, spring always faithful comes again. the connection of nature’s seasons and our life seasons has always been beautiful to me.

  6. Deb permalink
    October.16.2014 12:56 pm


    This made me think a little about the story of Narnia. In terms of the significance of seasons…my favorite line when it seemed like they couldn’t handle winter a day longer, “Spring is coming…”

    You will have quite the story to tell when this chapter is in the rear-view.

  7. Matt Niehoff permalink
    October.16.2014 12:57 pm

    My friend. Thank you for sharing this – what a beautiful perspective on the changing of seasons. I cannot wait until Spring.

  8. October.16.2014 1:34 pm

    Love you friend. So grateful to know you. Love your heart. Thank you for your boldness and courage.

  9. October.16.2014 4:39 pm

    You make a beautiful connection to the cycles of nature and life. Adam, you already show tremendous wisdom and strength. I can only guess how much those gifts will increase as you walk through your winter. There is a passage from a book that has helped me with dark times and I hope it can be an encouragement to you. “Disasters may well change us deeply, but they will pass. We must keep to our deeper convictions and remember our goals. Whether we remain in ash or become the phoenix is up to us.”

  10. October.16.2014 5:48 pm

    I am continuing to pray for you! Thank you for allowing us to join you on this journey. I have been praying that God will use you through this trial and I can already see him answering that prayer.

  11. Kim Peterson permalink
    October.18.2014 2:05 am

    Hi, Adam –
    Oh, the hiccups! I forgot about that fun side effect:( My girlfriend had those too – we used to laugh about their timing sometimes:)
    I am in a bible study with other women who have known you and your Mom and Dad for a long time. We are praying for you and Allison. Some of our kids grew up with you at Covenant. You have a community of prayer warriors lifting you before the Lord every day. Hugs and love, Kim

  12. Joyce Mallon permalink
    October.18.2014 8:29 am

    You have a beautiful soul Adam. I will pray for your health and recovery. God bless you, Joyce

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