Monday, July 1, 2013

Four down, one to go!

Pretty photogenic right?
I just completed my fourth treatment.  Mostly I feel pretty good.  My jaw feels stiff and bruised, my taste buds are gone again and some sores are starting but really not too bad.  Way better than I have felt with previous treatments!  I walked four blocks home from my appointment today.  They say the effects will be worse next week but frankly, so far, this is nothing compared to what I have been through.

This is a High tech machine!
We went to a local ward for church yesterday.  People were so nice.  Everyone introducing themselves and asking about us.  I met a former student of mine who is now studying here.  Someone invited us to a fourth of July party and then said, "If you have to come back again, you are welcome to stay with our family in our basement.  We have room and you could save some money."  I had barely met these people not 5 minutes before.  Isn't the gospel an amazing phenomenon?  I wish all people were so kind to one another.  The world would be an amazing place.

Yesterday after church we drove to Wisconsin to look at the Mississippi.  There is a park bench down there that we happened upon about 18 months ago that we believe had a message from God to us.   We have looked but  have never been able to find again.  (See blog from 10/9/2011)  Anyway, this time we managed to find it.  The writing on the bench was faded but still legible.   It says;

"It's okay to have bad day's, hold on, be strong"

Still good advice 18 months later.

This blog started out as a way to keep people who were worried up to date about my treatments.  I hope that it has served that purpose well.  Like many things it has grown into something somewhat unexpected.  Unless you leave a comment I don't really know who is looking at this blog.  I can, however, see maps of where it is being looked at.  It is something that I don't fully comprehend.  Most of the views are from the United States, that isn't surprising.  What does surprise me  is the number of people who are following from countries all over the world.  From what I see I am approaching nearly 70,000 views.  Many of those viewing are from Russia, Canada,  Latvia, China, Germany, Spain, Denmark etc...  I have traveled to many of your countries providing humanitarian service as a dentist.  Perhaps some of you are following for that reason.  Perhaps some of you are people I have never met.  For whatever reason, I am happy to have you follow along.  I hope that my experiences have in some way helped you to meet your own challenges in life.  The prevailing message that I hope my blog conveys is to live with hope.  For me that hope largely comes from my faith in God and from the faith and love of others who surround me.

The shag carpet car.  
Some day it will be my time to leave this life.  I don't know when that time will be.  I plan to enjoy every day that I am allowed here and to make a difference for good in the world.  When my time comes to leave this life I will leave it with hope as well for a world even better than this one and an assurance that my separation from those I love is only temporary.  I have no doubt in my mind that such will be the case!  I don't know the challenges you each face but I hope and pray that you can find courage and peace as you face those challenges.  Look in your heart, I think you will find that you don't have to face them alone.

Okay, here is the random thing we saw on Saturday.  We made a wrong turn and came upon the most lovely car I have seen in a while.  I'm not sure why someone would do this but it is unique.  The car is completely covered in shag carpet and then has a few bones glued on to make it extra special.  The question is:  Would you wash your car or vacuum it?


  1. Eric--I love how well you express in words the very things I feel! Maybe I'll just direct everyone from my blog to yours...if I actually was techie enough to do that! My prayers are continually with you in this terrifically awful journey we are on. I often think how weird it is that there are some pretty terrific things about cancer--those who haven't experienced probably don't realize that. I pray for you in both the terrific AND awful experiences you are going through. I continually draw strength and inspiration from you and your family. All my love and best wishes--Kim Iverson

    1. Dear Kim, you are SO SWEET! You are absolutely right about this whole cancer thing. It is a curse but also a blessing. You understand that as well. I was laying in bed the other morning trying to imagine my life going forward without cancer. Strange as it seems, it is a little hard to imagine. I want to be free of this horrible oppressor but I don't want to lose the spiritual sensitivity that I have found or the closeness to God that I have felt.

      You are in my prayers as well as you meet your struggles. In my mind I always see you with a smile on your face and a hopeful outlook. You are a wonderful example to me.

  2. Dr. Vogel I have followed you from the day we met! You are such an amazing example of a Christlike man and I continue to be in awe of you. I have always felt like a better person just from being in your presence. Now I feel it reading what you write. It doesn't surprise me you have so many followers. You are truly loved! I have seen you give hope to the hopeless and give smiles that have changed lives and the future of so many all over the world. We are all praying for you and your sweet wife and beautiful children and sending our love.
    Nancy Mickiewicz

    1. Dear Nancy,

      Thank you for your comments. You overstate my qualities, but that has always been your way. Thank you for being my dear friend all these years. I love and appreciate you. Thank you for your prayers as well. I know you to be a person of great faith who loves the Lord.

  3. Oh thank you for your wisdom and love you share almost daily. I look forward to the updates and the spiritual wealth you bring to us all. You are so incredibly faithful and courageous. I always have looked up to you (you're my favorite uncle) but I now look up to you more than ever as you rediscover and share Gospel truths. I love you Uncle Eric!!!
    -Candace & Matt Burch

    1. I sure love you Candace. Thank you for being so kind to me always. You make me smile.

  4. can see the pictoral listing of your blog followers in the upper righthand corner of the page, right? See...there I am...fourth from the left in the top row (well, at least that's where I am at the moment). The picture's kinda small, though...and maybe the name Dasha threw you (it's a Russian thing ;-). But that's me, and I'm here...and have been following this incredible journey of yours since the beginning. Your courage and faith and insight and wisdom---and humor!---uplift and inspire. Our thoughts and prayers are always with you. (And if you'd ever like some of our Turkish food to also be with you, just say the word and we'll make a special delivery! We may not have a cafe, yet, but we have our own kitchen :-) ~Deb & Polat

  5. Hello Deb and Polat, It is nice to hear from you and yes, Dasha, threw me off your track. Hmm... Turkish food sounds really good. Let me get rid of these sores out of my mouth and get my tastebuds back so I can enjoy it as it should be enjoyed. I sure appreciate you and Polat.

  6. Eric tonight I had over two of "my" amazing young men who are leaving this week and on the 24th (Oslo and Frankfurt bound) for missions. I talk about you all of the time with these guys, how I wasn't always the best kid and until I got bonked on the head a few times, how I didn't realize how amazing the people around me were. There is no conceivable way I would have had my singular experience in Italy without your longsuffering in my regard. If you (and Penny) hadn't believed in me, no way I would have believed in myself enough to go. I have to believe that if you could live through Mike and me as teenagers you can surely beat cancer. Anyhow your sphere of influence is always expanding; 70,000 isn't even the beginning. I am so indebted to you for your example and friendship and am so proud to pay that forward with these boys. So glad to hear you are sailing through treatment. When you are up to it, it's my turn to buy you lunch.

  7. Dear Eric..... I just wrote you a beautiful, long letter explaing how much I love and admire you.... Unfortunatly, it got lost somewhere in cyber space......
    In breif, it just was graditude for you and who you are in my life and the lives of our family.....
    The goodness radiating from you on the 4th was humbling to say the least. The veil was thin as I watched and listened to you and Lois having a heartfelt conversation........
    Thank you Eric for always setting the best example for me.... (and everyone around you).....
    You are so loved.....

  8. Eric,
    You are amazing! We need to do something awesome, like climb Everest. I'd bet you would beat me to the top!

    Love you,

  9. We love you brother Vogel! You and your family are such an inspiration to our family!! We are pulling for you. Love, Tanya and Rick Jackson

  10. Dr.Vogel,

    I have had limited contact with you, but I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to know you, and to feel the strength of your spirit and your closeness to Heavenly Father. I thank you for the kind, Christ-like way you treat others, even the stranger among us.

    If we try to think about life in a logical manner, it does not work. We have very little control over most things here on earth. We do, however, have control over what/who we become, because of our specialized challenges and trials.

    Sometimes I wonder, who are the challenges and trials really for? Is it for the individual, or for those around them? You have and continue to touch so many lives for good.

    You are amazing.
    Thank you.

    Rebecca Monsivais

  11. President Vogel, Have been thinking and praying for you and your family these last few days (9/11/13 today). Hope you and yours are well.

    The Hartshorns