Hi yíall! Well, itís been over three years since I last
composed a year-end newsletter, so for those of you whom I havenít
been in contact with throughout the last year or more, this is especially
for you! Incidentally, if I donít have your current email address, how about
sending me an
My, my, what a year this has been! This time last year
I was in rough shape but the doctors didnít know what my problem was.
Since Spring of last year I had been having an unexplained persistent
cough. Doctors blamed it on a bad case of allergies, and when the coughing
subsided while on a
west-coast vacation with my brother Jonathan in August of last year,
it convinced me that the coughing was being caused by an allergen in East
Texas. In fact, within an hour or two of landing back in Texas the
coughing started up again. By Fall I was
having high fevers, night sweats, was losing weight and feeling worse than
ever. Oddly enough the doctors still blamed allergies until the weekend
before Christmas when I wound up in a Tyler hospital Emergency Room after
having had a terrible night with a 104ļ(F) temperature. We found out how
seriously ill I was when X-Rays and a CT-scan revealed an enlarged spleen
and enlarged lymph nodes around my bronchial tubes (thatís what was
causing the coughing). On Dec. 28th a surgical biopsy was performed which
revealed that I had Hodgkinís Lymphoma, cancer of the lymphatic system,
and it had spread into my lungs, kidneys, liver and bones. Surprisingly, I never experienced any fear at all
with "the C word", obviously due to the grace of
My family and many friends were a tremendous support to me throughout this
year of battling the cancer. Literally thousands of people worldwide began
praying for me, and I received scores of phone calls, cards & e-mails from
family and friends in more than 30 countries as word spread. In order to
keep people updated on my
progress I set up a webpage at
http://rheddins.tripod.com, posting updates about once a week. In late
December & early January I spent a few weeks at my parentsí place, and
then my long-time friend
from Maryland came down to Texas for five weeks to help me at my place.
Jim was a real servant & a source of encouragement. What a Godsend he was!
Being knowledgeable in fighting cancer with nutrition, Jim got me started
on a healthier diet and a variety of nutritional supplements. I also began
some alternative cancer treatments, including
ozone sauna &
DC magnetic field
treatments. However, by February I was much weaker, couldnít hold down food and had
lost 45 pounds. My
kidneys started shutting down and the doctor told me I would soon die if I
didnít start chemotherapy right away. I had really wanted to avoid chemo,
but I gave in to pressure. In retrospect there was evidence that the ozone
sauna treatments were already beginning to kill the cancer, but the chemo
finished it off. My parents and friends faithfully took me to
Tyler every other week for six months to receive the chemotherapy
treatments. Friends from church constantly brought me meals, and I
experienced such an outpouring of love & support from so many in my time
of need. Thank you Lord...and thank you all!
In May a PET scan showed that there was no longer any sign of cancer in my
body; a real answer to prayer!! But they made me continue chemo through July
to be sure. In June I came down with pneumonia which I fought with
antibiotics for several months. Iím still experiencing some minor
side-effects of the chemo and of just plain gettiní older! But praise be to God, the
latest tests show my blood to be back to normal, and I've gained back all
the weight & strength I lost!
Just prior to finding out about having cancer last year, the contractor
from whom I earned a majority of my income filed for bankruptcy and I lost
a large chunk of change that he owed me. When it rains it pours! Fortunately my health insurance
took care of my huge medical bills for the most part, and my savings
account has helped me survive for this past year when I havenít been able
to do much work. Jobs have been slow in returning, but God is providing. I
keep sensing that change is in the air and Iíve been waiting on God to
open up the right doors for me. There must be a reason why He didnít let
me ďgraduateĒ yet! Off and on Iíve battled a degree of depression mostly
when work has been slim & when I contemplate the uncertainties ahead. I
just need to keep waiting on & fully trust in the Lord!
In August an impromptu, spontaneous
LDM Alumni reunion fell into place when two friends from different
parts of the country decided to come visit. Before we knew it we had
organized a big reunion and we wound up with over 50 people from 7
different states converging in East Texas for a wonderful time together!
My parents, who were away for the weekend, graciously allowed us to have
our big party at their place. Then at the end of August,
Melody Green came
to Lindale for a few days, so we organized yet another reunion of old
this time in Greenville. Too fun!
In early September I was blessed to be able to visit some dear friends
Mercks, Sally Jo Sebring & Mike Tyrrell) for a long weekend in
Chattanooga. I also spent a few days with my brother Davidís family &
relatives in Louisiana (including my Aunt Helen
Johnson), & attended five family reunions in Texas and
Louisiana throughout the year.
At different times during 2002 I was blessed by special visits from several dear
Palacio (Mexico), John Chitwood (NM),
Stilke (Germany), Trent & Sophie Direen (Australia),
Dan OíHalloran (OR), cousins
Jeanie & Marina Forte (CA), etc.
Our family had a wonderful time together over the Thanksgiving holidays
with everyone together at Mom & Dadís place. Lots to be thankful for!
HERE to check out our
Heddins family photos.
These past several months Iíve gotten more involved in church activities,
including becoming missions committee chairman and running the new video
projector computer during the services. Even during my sickest times this
past year I was still able to continue sending out the churchís weekly
e-mail bulletins and occasionally working on the
church website, and the same for
the LDM Alumni e-mails and website.
In my spare time I've also worked some more on our
Lord willing, Iíll be doing some short-term missions trips this coming
year. On January 14th I'm scheduled to fly to Thailand for three weeks as a representative of my church to visit our missionary
families there, one in the north and one in the south. Other missions opportunities are already presenting
themselves, and I trust God will direct me and provide for me in every
way. Thanks for your prayers!
Have a happy Christmas & a blessed 2003!
you haven't had enough of my ramblings, you can read my
(1999) e-newsletter if you haven't already!