Monday, January 19, 2015

The Dark Side of The Moon.........

If you googled "dark side of the moon", arrived at my blog, and expect to read anything about Pink Floyd, you may leave now. (But it was a killer album!

One of my favorite movies is "Apollo 13" and I recently was able to watch it again with family in a time between my chemotherapy treatments.  There is a face of the moon that we do not see; the side of the moon where the sun does not shine at any given time. When the Apollo craft orbited the moon to slingshot back to earth, there was a time of darkness and complete radio silence - no contact with earth, no control of their craft and no audible encouragement from others. I just finished five days of intense chemo, a day of (rest??), and an auto-stem cell transplant.  Darkness and silence have filled the last few days. For two of the days, medication lulled me to sleep and I don't remember much.  Nausea ruled. Transplant day was mainly sleep. But yesterday I saw the sun.  I survived the "dark side."

To answer a few common questions:  *Does it hurt? Yes, mostly in the forms of nausea and muscle pain, but the transfusion itself is painless.  *How long will you be in hospital?  The typical stay is 14-18 days after Day 0, the actual transfusion.  *Is chemo fog a real thing?  Oh yes, I struggle with names, dates, and all other simple facts.  *Any interesting facts?  Yes. After my transplant, my beautiful wife leaned over to kiss me on the forehead and said, "What's that smell?" Well, when you have frozen cells pumped into your blood stream, the preservative smells like cream corn. Yep, of all the aromas......cream corn! Guess it could have been worse.

My awakening was not as dramatic as the scene in Apollo 13, but for me the world was present again.  It is not a perfect world. There are constant reminders for us that this is not our eternal home.  Cancer is certainly one of those reminders for me.

In Hebrews 11:13-16 it says:

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. 

Hold Fast, my friends!   II Timothy 1:13

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Morning Sermon

From the Mouths of Grandsons

Chris and I awakened at Medical City this morning.  Yesterday was pretty tough with 5 types of chemo and lots of nausea.  After our quiet time and prayer together I know we were both wondering about another Sunday in a hospital.  We always miss being with our church family, Chris helping lead us to worship with the most incredible praise team in Texas, and hearing Brother Rodney preach.

But what a surprise.................Our grandsons led us to worship!  They are in Maryland with our sons and daughters in law, who are pastors at Remedy Church in Salsibury.  Enjoy!

Matthew 18:1-4 says:
AT about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, "Who gets the highest rank in God's kingdom?" For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood int he middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom.

Eating good food & watching games!
Cooking with Lolly
More cooking with Lolly!
Thank you Ryland Von and Rance D for leading us in worship this morning.  Your Lolly and Pops miss you and we will beat this cancer with Jesus and have many more adventures.
Cleaning the woods!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

No Heroes, No Capes, No Veils

No Heroes, No Capes, No Veils

 I treasure some special memories of my childhood.  I know it will shock you, but I loved to play!  G.I. Joes (not the little, wimpy ones), a Scat car (I even tied a wagon to it), BB Guns (to my Mom's surprise, I kept both of my eyes), model airplanes (Dad had as much fun as I did)...........but I have a confession.  At the age of 5 or 6 years, my favorite game was being Batman.  I never had a mask; just a cape, a towel or one of Mom's aprons, but that was enough.  Mom clipped it with a clothespin, but my younger sister, Karen (the evil villain), pulled my "cape" and it would pop off.  A superhero CANNOT lose his cape!!  Then it was back to Mom for two large safety pins and "Shazam!" - the wardrobe issue was fixed.  Batman was back!  Bam!  Pow!  Invincible again, a superhero must have his cape!

Our grandchildren, Ryland & Rance
Reflecting on this fun, I do see some truth in the pretending. We share a common flaw........we want to appear stronger than we are.  A hero is a person acclaimed for unusual deeds.  So we, as limited and broken individuals, create fictitious"super heroes," bestowing magical powers or strengths.  Humans have done this for years, in every culture, many years before comic books.  Many times we want to appear stronger than we are. But we also need to believe that there are others who have powers or strengths that we lack, and we will go so far as to create these characters to deal with our weaknesses and flaws.

The number one fear in a recent poll was speaking in public.  Number two on this list was the fear of death and dying.  Fears are real. If we try to maintain our images as heroes, we lose the chance to connect and form personal relationships with others through humility, honesty, and transparency of our fears and challenges.  My quote of the weekend on humility is from legendary Coach Robert Hughes.  Coach Hughes won 1333 high school games (a national record) and won five state championships, and now ESPN is creating a movie about his life. Hughes was interviewed and asked what it was like to be a basketball hero. The interviewer commented that people might see him in public and not know who he was, now retired, living his normal life, going to the grocery store.  Hughes' reply was, "If you gotta say who you is, you aint."  

Even Biblical heroes struggled with the desire to show no weakness.  Moses, a well known Biblical character,  has movies about his life, The Ten Commandments and Prince of Egypt. After Moses would meet with God, he was instructed to cover his face with a veil to protect Israelites from the shining of his face from standing in the presence of the glory of God.  The glory would then fade. In II Corinthians 1:13 (The Message) we learn:
"Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide. Everything is out in the open with us. He wore a veil so the children of Israel wouldn’t notice that the glory was fading away—and they didn’t notice. They didn’t notice it then and they don’t notice it now, don’t notice that there’s nothing left behind that veil. " 
     Moses wanted to keep on wearing the veil, like a hero's cape, maybe to give the illusion of strength or to hide his fears and weaknesses. Sometimes, we do, too.
One month ago while doing blood work at Medical City, my stem cell team saw a drastic rise in my cancer blood markers.  A PET scan and bone marrow biopsy came back normal, but one week ago Chris noticed a knot at the base of my neck. So we returned to the doctor's office. After a biopsy, we received a call Wednesday evening, learning that the "monster" is back.  You can read about my last autologous transplant in previous blogs, but for now, the plan is extensive chemo and another transplant; this time an analogous with a matching donor.

On Thursday, there was an assembly at Whitewright High School.  The gathering was not regarding school safety, drugs, or campus issues.  Chris and I wanted to make sure that everyone, students and staff, knew that we have no capes or veils.  As their principal, I wanted my staff and students to know that this tough journey begins again for us. Everyone was extremely loving and supportive.

People in these tough conditions ask, "Why?"  There are no answers for us. However, there is our faith. We believe that just as important as student test scores, grades, and future plans........our students need to learn how to deal with inevitable adversity. As disciples of Christ, this is our calling.

We are are now at Medical City.  Please text or e-mail.  Please share this blog with others.  Please follow this blog to get updates. And above all, please pray. Pray for strength for the journey and courage to show weakness and vulnerability.  Pray for the students of Whitewright High School.  Pray for our four children and their spouses.  Pray for our parents, brothers and sisters.

Hold Fast!!   (II Timothy 1:13)

school e-mail  
school twitter   @WWHSPrincipal
school cell        (903) 271-2450  

Time with Tigers before leaving for hospital!  Hold Fast!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Seventeen years ago the most beautiful woman in the world chose me!  She is the most incredible person I have ever met.  Christine Dawn.................and she is the love of my life!

I could share many reasons why, but we share a passion.  We want to love people, especially young people, and to leave this world a better place.  Chris and I have been a part of the Honey Grove ISD family for seventeen years, that is right, we married in July of 1997 & began to work in Honey Grove in August of 1997.  This year God called us to another school district.  As of July 1st, I am the high school principal at Whitewright High School.  Chris will serve Whitewright as the district test coordinator and instructional technologist integrator.

Why is this woman the most incredible person I have ever met?  I asked Chris how we should spend our anniversary, and she quickly answered......." I want to say goodbye to our students of Honey Grove!"  Last night we had approximately thirty five students from Honey Grove at our house.  We ate hamburgers, chips, and homemade ice cream.  We played croquet, ping-pong, and monkey balls.  We sat on the patio until the mosquitoes drove us in. Dreams were shared and tears were cried.  A new chapter begins.

Of all the things that my wife could have asked for, she wanted to spend time with students.

Seventeen years ago I promised this beautiful woman that I would love her and love our children.

In 2008 I was diagnosed with cancer.  We found out that Chris had breast cancer in 2010.  The cancer monster attacked me again in 2012 and I had a stem cell transplant.  Chris was beside me through it all.  Happy anniversary, Chris!  Life is good & I am blessed for every moment with you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Brother's Keeper

     There have been many studies on birth order of siblings and the impact it has on personality.  The Weaver clan consists of four children.  Sharon is the oldest and I was born four years later.  Our sister, Karen, entered the world three years later than me.  Brother Paul crashed the party ten years after Karen and he will be discussed at another time, if there is enough space on Google and the WWW to discuss Paul!
     Sharon is the consummate oldest child.  She is an over-achieving perfectionist, highly motivated to please others while constantly worrying about her younger brother (and everyone else) as a rule-abiding mother hen.  I say this in jest. I adore my sister Sharon. But we don't understand each other.  Sharon is a LIFELONG straight A student.  I was always a good student, but I reiterate, my sister never experienced a B.  Not in grade school, junior high, high school, as an undergraduate, or even in her masters program.  That just can't be healthy. I have memories of walking home from Ben Milam Elementary in Grand Prairie, with my sister as my protector.  After a few minutes of meandering, the interrogation would begin.  "Where are your books?  What happened to your knee?  Should we go back to get anything?"  Sharon was my keeper.
     I still remember a Meet the Teacher night when I was bragging to my parents that I was sitting by the teacher again, for the third year in a row as the "helper."  Sharon explained to me that it was because I couldn't be quiet, not because I was special.  Mom agreed as she reminded me of the box always checked on my report cards....talks too much.  Yeah, so much for being the "helper."
Aunt VA holding me while Sharon watches.
(Virginia has the look as if she is about to throw me & shouldn't my neck be supported?)
       My early years of high school were littered with the scholastic footprints of Sharon.  Each term paper or essay would always begin with these words, "I would like to read an example of this paper. It was written by a former student, Sharon Weaver. Kevin, that's your sister, right?"  The bar was set high and I was already stumbling.  In college it continued, as I attended the same university as Sharon.  Sitting in freshmen English, I reluctantly heard one of Sharon's papers.  I slumped in my desk hoping that at roll call Dr. Andrews would never put two and two together, but alas, "Are you Sharon's brother? I heard you might be coming here."  During Sharon's first visit with me at college, I told her how I was experimenting with how many classes I could make an A or B in and not buy the textbook.  I was appalled at what textbooks were going to cost and well, it was a challenge. Who doesn't like a challenge? Sharon was mortified! She feared that I would fail. Still hovering, trying to take care of me.
     So six months ago when all of my siblings were tested for bone marrow compatibility, who do you think would be the match?  You know already. It was Sharon -  a perfect match.  Once again, my sister was ready to take care of me.  By the way, Karen & Paul were perfect matches and I told them that explained a lot - poor Karen!
     Sharon married Don Hendrix in 1977.  They were truly made for each other.  They began a life of education and serving others -  Don coaching football, teaching math & physics;  Sharon teaching high school English.  In 2008 Don and Sharon began building their retirement "dream home" - a log cabin that they had planned for most of their married lives. We lost Don in March of 2009 to a heart attack. Our family has not been the same since. Nor will it.
     I know Sharon has struggled with my fight with cancer, there being no way she could really help.  I have agonized with her suffering since the loss of her best friend and husband.  She continues to teach English and Composition at a junior college and lives in their log cabin that she chose to complete on her own.  But two weeks ago, Sharon was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Tomorrow, March 5th, she will have surgery, chemotherapy to follow.
     My heart feels broken.  Last Sunday, Chris and I met Sharon at my parent's house.  We drank coffee, cried, drank more coffee, and laughed.  In so many ways, my sister and Don blazed a path for me to follow in this crazy life -  how to be a loving spouse, best friend, student, teacher, parent, and friend.  I hope I have been an example of fighting cancer for Sharon.  And I would take it from her, if I could. Love you, Sis!

Baby of the Family

      Stem cell transplants are amazing, medical procedures.  Whether allogenic, requiring the healthy stem cells from a donor, or autologous, taking cells from the patient - it's a miraculous process.  With the allogenic, the search for a donor begins with immediate family members, with siblings having the highest probability of being a match.  After that the search goes national and sometimes even global through the registry. If you want more information, go to
     I had the autologous transplant.  Healthy cells are "harvested" from the patient; treated, tested, and then frozen to be transfused back into the cancer patient.  Both of these transfusions have similarities before the transplant. Cancer cells must be killed through several sessions of intense chemotherapy, which of course, destroys healthy red cells, white cells and platelets in the process. The last session before "Day Zero," the treatment reaches a "reverse pinnacle," and almost complete annihilation of blood cells. One of my doctors called the process "draining the pond." This was the toughest "marathon" I had ever run. But I will write about that later.

Saturday, Chris and I, with our daughter, Callie, and boyfriend, Timothy, joined transplant doctors, nurses, stem cell transplant patients, donors and others as Team Match Makers. We raised funds for Be the Match Foundation and had our own tent for the celebration of healing and life. Several donors were present. One patient met her donor for the first time.
Dr. Jennifer Potter introduced each stem cell patient that was present. What a unique group! Some young, some older, working, retired, some with family, some alone. Even a former Olympic gold medalist joined as a survivor. Jennifer presented the medical staff to cheers from all: Dr. Bhushan, Eddie, Brenda, Jodi, Leah, Patricia, Jennifer, Katy and more. She presented from oldest patient to youngest, according to our "new birthday." The first, a woman who was seven years from her transplant. Cheers, hugs...shared pain unites us. A healthy man, six years old...more cheers, more hugs. Shared pain unites us. Hannah, from England, Shannon, from Frisco. A daughter accepts her father's card; with tears as he could not be there to celebrate. Shared pain unites us.

I have read accounts of POW soldiers. Even years after their captivity, they still share an unexplainable common bond. The torture and the pain that they endured united them forever. I remember during the years when I used to run marathons, I would come across someone with a T-shirt or a bumper sticker that read "26.2." We would begin to talk as complete strangers, while not strangers, as we told of the races we had run. Why? The pain and the common experience united us.

 As I continued to listen to the announced birthdays, I realized that the name list must be nearing an end. And then it occurred to me. I must be the "youngest patient" here.  As I stood with Chris, who had been beside me through the entire journey, Jennifer called my name.  Kevin Weaver was the baby of this new family!  4 months old, no immunizations, baby hair on my head.  Through cheers and tears, Dr. Bhushan stood at the perimeter of the group, smiling as he looked on each of his patients.  Such an humble man, content to be on the outside, looking in.  And the first day I met him flashed into my mind - that day in July he gave us an hour lesson, teaching me about my cancer and suggesting the pathway to remission.  So naturally, when Jennifer called my name, I walked to Dr. Bhushan, the man who helped save my life, to give him a hug of gratitude.

     In his book, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years", Donald Miller describes the effect of adversity on the story of our lives, "But in that place, I remembered about story, about how every conflict, no matter how hard, comes back to bless the protagonist if he will face his fate with courage.  There is no conflict man can endure that will not produce a blessing.  And I smiled.  I'm not saying I was happy, but for some reason I smiled.  It hurts now, but I'll love this memory, I thought to myself.  And I do."

     Thank you, Chris, for enduring the pain with me and continuing this chapter of our story.  Thank you, Jennifer Potter, for organizing our team and celebrating with us.  Thank you, Dr. Bhushan, for leaving your home country to share your gifts with us.  Thank you, Medical City staff!

     Ultimately, God is my healer, but here are some of his helper-angels!
Dr. Bhushan

Jennifer Potter
Eddie (one of my nurses)
Brenda (one of my stem cell transplant coordinators)
Jodi (one of my nurses)

Timothy & Callie (Callie is in green!)


My best friend, Chris & me (She's the pretty one!)          
Leah Atwood ( stem cell coordinator)

Monday, February 11, 2013

No More Sea (I Had A Dream!)

     On December 1, 2012 there was a race in Bonham, Texas.  It was a 5K and it was called the "Hold Fast" 5K.  It was held on a beautiful, winter morning.  While in training I used to always do my long runs on Saturday mornings.  I remember many a Saturday morning, sitting in the truck with the heat on, waiting for just enough light to get on the road.  This race was held in my honor and I was in a hotel room.  I had been released from the hospital only two days before with the instructions to stay close in my sanitized hotel room (Thank you, Chris!) to make the short half mile trip to the hospital each day for shots, blood-work, and fluids.
     In the book of Revelation, we learn that the disciple John had been banned to the island of Patmos.  It was a volcanic island that was used by the Romans to leave prisoners.  An island, surrounded by water.  Many scholars think that the torture of the island was that the mainland was sometimes in sight.
     The hospital room had been my PRISON for 28 long days.  After only four days in the hospital, I was diagnosed with a bacterial infection.  What did that mean?  I could no longer leave my room, I was quarantined and anyone entering my room was dressed like a commercial for HAZMAT control.  I still remember the feeling when Dr. Bhushan said I could leave the hospital and go to the hotel room.  Instructions?  Don't leave your hotel except to go to the hospital.  Wear your mask, only eat certain foods, and stay in your room as much as possible.  The hotel room became my new prison.  I was staring at the sea.

     Race Day!  How many memories!  I asked the medical team on that Friday, could I go to Bonham with Chris and sit in the car during the race?  NO!  I began to get text messages and e-mails from family, church members, players I had coached, faculty members, and friends that they would be at the race.  I lay in our bed on Friday night thinking of how I always wanted Elizabeth to meet my mom, Bro. Rex to meet Heather, Steve to meet Roger, to see Kathy with Michelle, Lance Shelton to, I didn't want Lance to meet anyone!  Many of these friends and students I had encouraged to begin running.  I sat and wondered..............was it raining, did anyone show up, ........please Chris, let's drive to Bonham!  I love my wife so much.  We normally enjoy every moment together, but that Saturday was strange.  A trip to the hospital, shots in the stomach, blood work, IV bag to replace potassium.  Back to the hotel where Chris' parents, her sister Michelle & children, Tim & Callie would be arriving that evening.  I would stay awake and hear about every minute of the race, supper, and auction.  But night time meds at 7:30 and I was out.  Chris stayed awake to meet family.  And I had a dream....................
     There are a lot of books about heaven.  Paul describes how he received a glance of heaven.  On Saturday night, December 1, 2012, I saw a glimpse of heaven.

     My family lived in Stringtown, Oklahoma while I was in 5th - 9th grades.  My dad was the pastor of  the Baptist church and we lived in the parsonage, which was one block away from the school.  Most evenings I was at the school yard which had an outside basketball court.  We would play basketball until the whistle.  What was the whistle?  My mom could whistle so loud (she still can!), a piercing shriek, somehow produced by this small woman of 5'2".  Everyone would announce, "Kevin, better go, it's your mom."  The whistle meant supper was ready and time to come home.
     In my dream, we were playing basketball.  It was cold, but we were having a great game.  Then there was a whistle.  Not now!  The game was close, but all of my friends began to tell me, "It's your Mom, better go."  I grabbed my jacket and told the other players I would try to come back.  Maybe Mom would let me finish the game.  I ran to my house, where my Mom was waiting at the door, smiling.

     I have tried to share this dream several times, I always begin to sob.  It was so real!

     My mom put her arm around me and said how much fun supper would be.  I begged her to let me go finish my game.  She looked at me and said, " I wish you would stay with us, but finish your game, but you will regret it."  The door closed and I started to run back to the school yard but I stopped.  Our house was filled with people.  Now understand, my mom is very much alive.  I walked to the window and looked through the glass.  My grandfather, Pa-Pa, was there.  My mom & dad and all of the my siblings.  My father-in-law, Danny was standing with his arm on his father, whom I never met.  Friends, family.............everyone eating and laughing.  A strange mixture of people, but I wanted to be in the house.  I began to beat on the window, but no one could hear me.  I went to the door and began to knock, but no one answered.  Chris said she was awakened to me sobbing and screaming, "I don't want to play, I want in, please, let me in."  Sleep escaped me the rest of the night.  I sat with family in the hotel lobby wearing a mask and listened to stories about the race.  My daughter, Callie, sat in my lap and showed me the many photos she took of the race.  I tried to tell about my dream, but I just cried.

     In Revelation chapter 21, John is describing a glimpse of heaven.  He says,
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away.  Also there was no more sea.".................."And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
     So what does this mean?  The Old Testament is filled with descriptions of family and feasts.  We were created for these celebrations.  I have learned that separation can be a cruel punishment.  With my job I live for those solitary moments, but when SOLITARY is required, it is tough.  For John the greatest part of his dream of heaven is "no more sea."  The barriers are gone and he is reunited.

     I do not profess to have any insights of heaven.  From the Bible it is hard to know what is figurative or literal.  But I have no doubt that I will not be worried about how things look.  There will be no death, pain, or tears.....................and there will be no more sea.

Oh yeah, thanks for running!