From the BlogContact Me


I am a pretty open person.  I’m pretty opinionated (guess this comes from my debate days in HS).  I used to be an extrovert (off the chart!), but that has moderated some.

On November 11, 2016, I endured surgery to remove a tumor on my pancreas.  The surgery is called the Whipple procedure.  The surgery removed part of my pancreas, stomach, intestine, bile duct and duodenum.  Normally, the gallbladder is removed as well, but mine had already been removed.

I healed up pretty quickly and didn’t experience many of the things others have experienced. I must admit that even through chemo and radiation therapy, the side effects were minimal, but I did lose a lot of weight.

I did well enough that all 3 of my doctors released me so that I could return doing what I love to do! So, for the past 9 months, I have lived back in Ukraine.  And, while I have enjoyed being back, there have been frustrations as well.

I have learned that I did not ask enough questions from the surgeon about side effects of the surgery and quality of life. I think I was in such a hurry to get the tumor out of me, that I forgot to ask the important questions.

I am still learning how to deal with the side effects.  I will not detail them here.  But these side effects do cause you to plan well and sometimes realize you just can’t do what you planned to do that day.

I think for me one of the biggest frustrations is how quickly I can feel great and then feel like all my energy has been sapped, only to feeling great again in a few hours.  No apparent cause.

One example is this past Saturday.  I drove to a town about 1 hour from Dnipro.  Enjoyed exploring a new place, and returned to Dnipro.  I washed the car and enjoyed being out in the sun. No real strenuous activity.  I really had a good day. Yet, by evening I wasn’t feeling well and it lasted until Monday morning.  I still went to church Sunday evening and had a meeting afterward.

A few months ago, I found a couple of Facebook groups that deal with my cancer and surgery.  It has been helpful to learn that others are experiencing some of the same things I am.  And, best that I can, I try not to let these unexpected issues (I don’t know what to call them!) get in the way of doing the things I love.

Please continue to pray for me.  I need your prayers.  They sustain me and the work I am doing in Ukraine.


  1. Praying for you Joe to be able to cope with these issues and to be able to continue your work there🙏🏻

  2. Thank you Beverly.

  3. As I prayed for you this morning, the Lord brought this passage to mind:
    6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12)
    My Word of encouragement is from Psalm 121: especially – “I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” I am praying that your cancer will not return and the Lord will give you enough strength to do what He has for you to do. I am praying that His joy continues to grow in you.

  4. Doug Symes says

    Prayed for your health and energy today brother.