The One Thing I’d Tell Them

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Dear friends:

Its been a while since I posted seeking to respect Dan’s desire to honor God and not have the focus on his condition, but I share the following with his blessing.  Its an answer to the question asked by a friend that was going to speak at a high school graduation.  Dan wrote these words in response to the question - What’s the one thing you would tell them?  Pass these words on - we are using them as a Bible study guide around my home this month, you might enjoy that too.  Blessings - Lee

What’s the One Thing I’d Pass On…?    by Dan Kuban (5/5/09)

…Spend time in your Bible!

By “spending time” I mean regular, consistent, planned, quality time reading, studying, meditating on & memorizing the Word.  Why?  Because I can testify after a 32 years of being a student of the Word, there is no better source for life’s challenges.  To be sure there are numerous excellent Christian & non-Christian authors to learn from.  But “good, better & excellent” are the biggest enemies of the best!  The Bible is simply the best.  It contains answers for anything you’ll face.

In it you’ll learn why you should work (2Th 3:10, Ecc 5:12), how to work (Eph 6:5-8, Col 3:23), how to be a boss (Eph 6:9, Col 4:1, Mt 5:37, Pr 3:27), how to relate to your co-workers (Mt 5:42, Mt 7:12) & your boss (Col 3:22), and how to find favor before God & man (Pr 3:3,4); how to be a friend (Pr 17:17, 18:24, Jn 15:13) & how to treat your enemies (Pr 24:17, 25:21, Mt 5:44), how to be a son/daughter (Pr 31:28, Eph 6:1-3, Col 3:20), how to be a husband/wife (Eph 5:22-29, Pr 12:4), and how to be a father/mother (Pr 22:16, 23:13, Eph 6:4).  You’ll also see how to run a business (Ja 4:13-15, Lev 19:11, Pr 11:1, 16:11), how to make money (Duet 8:18, 1Chr 29:12), how to give away money (Mt 6:3&4, 2Cor 9:7, Pr 3:9), how to save money (Pr 10:5, 30:24&25, 1Cor 16:1-3) & how to spend money (1Tim 6:17-19, Ecc 5:19).  It even tells you how to make money in your sleep (Ps 127:2) & how not to sleep (Pr 6:9, 26:14).  The Bible explains how to pay your taxes (Mt 22:21, Rom 13:7) & how to drive your car (Rom 13:1,2).  It teaches us how to have joy (Jn 15:11, Ph 4:4, Ja 1:2&3), and how to handle sorrow (2Cor 7:9&10, Mt 5:4), how to enjoy life (Mt 6:34, Ecc 5:18, 1Tim 6:17), how to live long (Pr 3:1,2,16, Ps 91:16), how to pray (Lk 18:1, 1Th 5:17, Mt 6:5&6) and how to make decisions (Pr 3:5,6, Ja 1:5, Jer 29:11).  It tells us how to have success (Josh 1:8, Jer 9:23&24), and survive failure (Duet 31:8, Is 41:10, 2Chr 20:15, 17, 2Cor 12:9), how to survive the storms of life (Ps 30:5, 126:5&6, 2Cor 4:17), how to avoid temptation (1Cor 10:13, Heb 2:18, Ps 119:9,11), and how to have victory over the evil one (2Cor 10:3-5, Ja 4:7).  It tutors us on how to exert personal influence (2Tim 2:2, Heb 10:24,25, 2 Thes 3:9), how to live (2Cor 4:5, Lk 17:10, Ezr 7:10), and who does ministry (Mt 28:19,20, Eph 4:12).  The Bible is clear on how to have sex (Gen 2:24, Heb 13:4), and how to not have sex (1Cor 6:9,16,18, Eph 5:3).  It instructs us on how to be rich (1Tim 6:17, Jer 9:23,24, Mt 16:26, Ps 52:7, Pr 11:28), how to be poor (Ja 2:5, Mk 12:43), and how to be content (Ph 4:11-13, 1Tim 6:6-8).  It teaches us how to live when we are young (1Tim 4:12), and when we are old (Pr 20:29, 16:31, Ps 71:9, 18, 92:14, Is 46:4) and  even how to face death (Ps 23:4, 2Cor 1:9, Ecc 7:1).  And finally, it declares how to find God (Jer 29:13, Lk 9:24), and be certain of everlasting life (Rom 6:23, Jn 5:24, 1Jn 5:11-13).

The Bible contains all we need (2Tim 3:16,17), and even promises a blessing for those who take the time (Rev 1:3).

Redirecting the Focus

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

So many of you have been so gracious in your prayers and concerns for Dan.  I want to join him in expressing heartfelt thanks for the inquiries, the messages, the prayers and the faithfulness that you have shown.  Its time for us all to redirect our focus from concerns for his treatment to celebration of the impactful person that Dan is.

Rather than focusing on the storm that cancer has presented for this stage of his life, it is his desire that we focus on the Master of calming storms.  I do not know what Dan’s next steps are physically in his approach to treatment and it is completely appropriate for us all to simply relate to Dan as Dan - friend, father, partner, leader, adviser, mentor, etc.  Do not take this as a negative or a capitulation - he is stronger each time I see him - but it is a total desire to put his faith in the Lord in total control of his circumstances,

My personal tendencies are to be a “fixer” - to strive unceasingly to locate that piece of information that holds the key to unlocking the answers to any question.   This is one of those admissions of personal limitation that we all have to face some or many times in life when we confront challenges that are so far beyond our reach that we can only rely on God for answers.  My focus has been so much on the cancer, that I have fogotten about celebrating the relationship.

Whether Dan has 1 day or 10000 days ahead on this earth, each one of those days is an opportunity to enjoy relationship with Dan.  I would encourage you also to shift your focus from Dan’s cancer to Dan’s life - celebrating what he means to you rather than the concern for his physical struggle.  He is fully in the hands of the Lord and that’s exactly where he wants to be, and he will be there from now until eternity whether his earthly days are many or few.  Continue your kind prayers for his health, but next time you see him, ask how his grandchildren are doing or whether the Vols will make it to the NCAA and enjoy a smile with the man that we all care deeply about.  Your smile will say it all and be the best earthly medicine that he could receive.

I will be slowing down on my updates during this season for Dan.  First, he is in a time of recovery from the operation and all appears well with that, but more importantly, he really seeks a time of “treatment” privacy desiring to refocus on the Lord for his life, blessings and health.  It is my hope to honor his wishes.  If there is a major change in his situation that he desires your specific prayers or praises for, I will post that information - until then, I thank you for your faithfulness in walking this journey with Dan.

Thoughts from Job

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I’ve been reading through the Book of Job the last few days to seek understanding about the emotions of one who is in dire circumstances.  Job had it all and it was all taken away and in the middle of the book, all of his friends start to give him advice.  In Job 16:2 Job responds to their advice:  “I have heard many such things - sorry comforters are you all.”  Given the limitations of all of my research and advice to Dan, I fall into that “sorry comforter” category - a sort of frantic striving for cloudy answers.  There is only one true comforter in these times - the Holy Spirit.   Dan is seeking His will for each step in the journey.

Each time I see Dan lately, he is physically stronger and is now getting out again and doing life.  I called him while he was with Jan flying yesterday and got a one sided conversation - I am in the airplane and can’t hear a thing! Thanks to you all for your continued prayers.  They have impact beyond what any of us know.

Pressing Forward

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Dan celebrated his birthday with Jan Saturday.  I trust it was a fun day together in the mountains.

Thursday, I gave Dan some personalized M&Ms candies with a picture of Dan and Jan on each one!  I think it was the first time I had helped him laugh in months so it was well worth the express shipping!   Each time I am with him in the last two weeks he is physically stronger.  I still sense that the emotional roller coaster and the challenging treatments have taken a toll, but your prayers and God’s steadfastness are the only remedies that I can see for that.

Today’s sermon was spot on for my yearnings for Dan.  Taken from Proverbs 3:6-7 and I take the liberty to add verse 8 also:

6) In all your ways acknowledge the Lord and He will make your paths straight.  7) Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.

In so much of these difficult treatments, we are wise in our earthy eyes, but maybe needing to trust in Him in all ways.  Dan is nearing key decisions on his next steps.  If you would hold him up for wisdom, discernment and godly will, I would be most appreciative.

Decisions on Treatment

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Please pray for discernment for Dan as he is deciding what treatment options to pursue going forward.  He is getting out a little bit now - lunch here and there, a Lady Vols game with family, etc.  His pain is lessening and he is off pain medication which really helps with his clarity of thinking and his will.  He remains in prayer for God’s will to be evident in his decisions and actions.

When I spend time with him, I see a man of God that is facing a tremendous battle with extraordinary courage.  My mind and heart both are at odds with a medical community that has pronounced Dan as terminal.  Perhaps it is because of my lack of medical training, my desire for a different outcome, or just perhaps its because they do not know Dan Kuban like I know Dan Kuban - a man with copious discipline and healthy habits, follower of an Almighty God, and a man who still has many journeys to make proclaiming Him.

Friends, Dan will celebrate his birthday this Saturday (28th).  Actually, if I am not mistaken, he was born on a leap year day, so he really doesn’t have a birthday this year!  If you have the time and inclination, drop him a card or an email and just let him know you are thinking about him.  We were at a busy Panera’s last week and everywhere we turned, someone was coming up to him to say hello and wish him well - I think your prayers and kindnesses are sustaining him in this painful time along with God’s care. Thanks.

At the Foot of the Throne

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Dan continues to strengthen a little bit each day.  We had a good time together today just to catch up on a number of things.  While Dan’s physical condition continues to improve in tiny, but noticeable steps, his will is significantly strengthening.  Dan is considering several options for treatment as next steps ranging from doing nothing, orthodox medicine approaches to alternative natural medicine.  Over the next 1-2 weeks, he plans to just be at the foot of the throne in prayer seeking God’s discernment and guidance on what is His will.  Dan needs a little time away from the treatment routines (scans, medications, pain, nausea, etc.) to just seek peace and clarity in his mind.  Please pray specifically for discernment of God’s will for Dan’s treatment and for continued strength to return to his body.

On a side note, I got a de-chlorinating shower head a couple of weeks ago and gave one to Dan today.  Chlorine is a carcinogen used to treat the water supply (kill bacteria) and even if you use a water filter for your drinking water, a significant amount of chlorine is absorbed through your pores in a hot shower.  Just a little note for those of you that seek to do the little things to create a healthy environment in your home.

Again, thank you for your prayers and notes for Dan.  Their power is immeasurable in lifting his spirits and needs to the Lord.

Slow, Incremental Progress

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

I have seen Dan a few times over the past week and each time I see his strength returning in tiny steps - a stronger voice, better color, clearer thinking, longer visits.  He is still in some considerable pain from the incision made during the operation compounded by the infection that is improving, but persisting.  I saw him on Friday and I think that he told me that he is finished with the pain medication.  What I observed was a much clearer look in his eyes and a significantly clearer thought process.

Friends, Dan is pretty beaten down by the events of the last 4 months and most particularly the last three weeks. I ask you for prayers of encouragement for him.  He has always been one that encourages others, but now is a season where we need to join together to encourage him.  His physical enemy has shifted several times during this ordeal from a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer (with a 90 day mortality prognosis), to the inability to gain a conclusive biopsy, to several biopsies leading to a confirmation of pancreatic cancer, to radiation and chemotherapy intended to kill the cancer by taking him to the verge of life, to an operation to remove the tumor and save the pancreas, to a realization in that operation that the cancer was not in the pancreas but originating from the duodenum, to an infection resulting from a weakened immune system with a major incision, to another mortality prognosis of 12-18 month.  Dan is a warrior for the Lord, but this kind of physical and emotional roller-coaster is enough to extinguish anyone’s spirit.  Please pray now for the physical, emotional and spiritual fight to return to Dan in abundance.

So what is next?  Dan is considering more of the same with the established medical system (chemo and radiation) and he is also looking into some alternative approaches.  Please pray for wisdom, discernment, and energy to make wise decisions and to take action rather than be trapped by fear of the unknown or replication of treatments that have not been beneficial.  Faithfully believe that God will use Dan in a most mighty way.  Blessings to you all for your fervent prayers for Dan.

A Call for Prayer

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Friends of Dan:

I have been on the West Coast this week and a bit out of touch with Dan.  Today, I stopped in with him at his home.  I had noticed the last few days that his voice was not as strong and had attributed that to the recouperation period from the surgery, but I learned more today and I am seeking your intensified prayers on Dan’s behalf.

An infection set in from the surgery just internal to the incision.  As a result, Dan is taking antibiotics and continued pain medicines.  These in turn have had their impact on digestive processes that were already revamped by the surgery.  This is a time in this journey that Dan is at his physically lowest point.  The compounded effects of chemo, radiation, surgery and now infection are taking their toll on his body, and also on his enthusiasm.  So, I would just ask all you prayer warriors to kick in extra for the next two weeks to ask for physical strength, healing and spiritual encouragement for him.

In visiting with Dan today he specifically asked for your prayers.  He relayed to me that he can sense the power of your petitions for him even to the point of when they are many and intense and when they are fewer.  I have been remiss in the last week in updating all of you as I was a bit unaware of what was next for Dan or what to expect in this phase of the recovery.  The infection has been a setback and one that we need to rally around specifically.

You are all such a blessing to this dear man.  Thank you for your steadfast vigilance for Dan.

Coming Home!

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Kevin called and relayed that Dan was getting out of Duke University Hospital today (Wednesday) as soon as all the paperwork was done.  He should be headed back home in the next day or two.

Welcome home, Dan!

A Beautiful Picture of Family

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Dan’s journey continues to be covered with faith and surprises.  What I saw Friday was the definition of family.  Dan was surrounded by the Lord’s love and the love of family.  Wife, boys, brothers, sisters, grand-children, friends —- all there just to encourage, pray and express their love for this man.  It was a sight to see and a blessings to behold.

Dan should be back in Knoxville by next weekend if his recovery goes as expected.  In the mean time, drop him a card at the address in the last post if you have the chance.  There is more knowledge about his situation and he may have a few different options to consider.

Dan’s sister, Lori Tondini, created a digital blessing for Dan and for those of you that would like to, watch it and pray for Dan.  The link is:

Thank you all for your continued encouragement for Dan with your prayers, emails and calls.   He remains in God’s total care.