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I believe I can accurately say that these last few days have been most physically arduous of my life. I do not drop those words lightly, because they are packed with quite a punch. This last 5-day treatment was excruciating. First and foremost they were filled with debilitating nausea – the worst yet. It is a form of nausea that takes no prisoners and won’t let me concentrate on anything for too long of a time (reason for my lack of blogging, by the way). I always find it difficult to accurately gauge pain, because at any point the game can change, but this was some of the worst I’ve ever experienced. I clung to the pills and they offered some relief, but it wasn’t enough.

I found myself clinging to something altogether higher: positivity. Make no mistake, this exercise was absolutely ludicrous at times; doubled over in pain, trying to “think happy thoughts”. Amazing it is though, that we can still grab at that goodness, amidst such pain. It can be done.

I thought about the love that I have from so, so many people. A love that I never even knew surrounded me. I thought about all of the experiences I’ve had, the places I’ve been, the things I’ve done. My achievements and what I’m most proud of in life. I thought about all of the comments that give me energy every day as I read them on this blog. The courage and strength that support shines on me. I thought about God – How I feel I am in His arms throughout this.

I thought about Jesus. How he suffered. I thought about those who suffer like this, daily. Knowing my suffering is temporary offers such consolation, but I can’t imagine the unknowing. So many people face it, every day. I tried to suffer with them. In solidarity. But I don’t feel strong enough for that kind of suffering and I am just awe-struck by it. Perhaps a newfound respect for that suffering is one of the many lessons I can learn from this experience. Perhaps what I have to learn is that I still have so much to learn.

Today I feel as though I’m coming out the other end, starting to feel better and having more control. Tomorrow I’ll face another short dose of chemo, which will set me back a bit, but it will be much more temporary. Then I’ll have a week off, which I am totally psyched for. Big sigh of relief.

Thank you all for your continued prayers, words of encouragement, support, love and care. I hope I’ve been able to convey how much of a difference it really does make.



Author: John Abdulla

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  1. We love you John!

  2. I love you more than anything and I pray for you every night and think about you all day/everyday. I'm soo sorry that it's been so tough lately! It will get better, I promise! I'm so glad you are again remaining so positive and we will watch Uncle Buck again soon too! Props to Professor Burns for promoting that movie! haha! He is too funny! We all need to hangout again when you are feeling up to it! I'm looking forward to hearing more of his funny stories and I'm sure you are as well! =) Love you bunches!
    Love always,

  3. John,

    I want to write more, but I know how the brain fog and exhaustion makes it hard to concentrate. There is no need for you to think about this now; it is more a reflection on my way of being with you in this wretched state.

    The word suffering and passion are the same meaning in Latin: "passio"(n) = suffering and "passior"(v) = to suffer. This is why the death of Jesus on the cross is often called "The Passion of Christ." It is the suffering of Jesus.

    You don't need a lession in etymology John. But I want you to see that we often talk about passion as a good thing like a passionate love affair or a passion for justice. This is not a full enough picture of what those passions mean.

    What is missing is that there is suffering involved in our passions, as in trying to overcome separation in love or the lengths one will go to suffer for justice.

    You, John, are a passionate man. This is your drive, your commitment and your passion leads to much of your success. It is unlikely that you think of your passions as a form of suffering, yet I find it helps me to understand myself better when I do.

    For example: Why am I so passionate about "X"? Why can't I just let it go? Why am I going to such effort when it seems futile?

    This is a form of suffering you know better than most persons I know. It is because you are able to suffer with (compassion) others in need that makes you so admirable to so many.

    Now you suffer in body. The passion of the body is so hard and unlike any other suffering we know, until we are ill.

    It is your turn to receive the compassion that you share so well with others. This is the cloud of witnesses that surround you with love and well-wishes and words of support.

    No one knows your suffering but you, but all the love of those around you attempts to overcome that physical separation and join in the burden of suffering with you.

    Let the compassion that is yours sink deeply into your spirit in a whole new level. It is a well of love that never runs dry; it is a well from which you may drink even when nausea overtakes you; it is a well that YOU have created by living with passion and compassion.

    Drink deeply from your well. And when thought is too hard and words cannot come, I try to say with Julian of Norwich: "all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well."

    I believe you shall be well.

    Blessings, Bette

  4. "I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-shirt, because it says, I want to be formal, but I'm here to party."

  5. John,

    Truly it is a measure of what a remarkable man you are that so many people write to and about you with such passion and love and knowing encouragement. I hope that gives you some comfort as you face these challenging days. (Yes, "challenging" is medical-speak … like when they say, "You may feel some discomfort.")

    I'm so, so sorry you have to go through this. It just really stinks. The only consolation is that the treatment is helping you beat this damned disease, and that you'll be done soon … even if it doesn't feel like it right now. Just hang in there. Just do it.

    Take care, and try to stay strong, knowing that so many are sending you their love and support and, of course, lots of good karma.

  6. Larry and I send all of our love and deep respect.

    Pope Pat is praying…

    I pray too ~ in between "WTF!!!!"

    I know what you mean about courage in thinking about people willing to sacrifice for others, but I think your thinking that you don't have it probably means you got it!

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