Is today significant???

Warning: Straight talk ahead…

Today is Wednesday, January 23, 2008. So what you say? Today is a significant day for me. Six month ago today, I was officially diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. So, is today really significant? I do not want to celebrate, because then I am celebrating cancer. No way… However, should I celebrate the fact that I have cancer and have been able to be blessed and, hopefully, be a blessing to others that maybe would not have been blessed if I did not have this disease?

Now to the hard stuff. Six months. I have not been brave enough to ask if my prognosis has changed at all due to the very successful surgery that I had. Did I gain more time, or am I six months into my original 24 months that I was told I had left. If I am still on the 24 month timeline, then I have just gone thru 25% of my useful life and I have only 18 months to go. Trust me, I believe that I am going to be here for quite some time, but humanly speaking, do I only have 18 months left. If so, what do I do? Time is moving too fast for me.

I really would like to see the movie “The Bucket List”. Maybe that will motivate me to get some things done that I would like to do. Such as (in no particular order):

1. Go to Greece and visit some of my family that I have never met.

2. Take Sandi to California, rent a convertible and travel up the coast of California and stay at some Bed & Breakfast places along the way.

3. Take the boys to a baseball game at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.

4. Take the boys deep sea fishing.

5. Take Sandi and my daughter to Chicago for a weekend and go on a shopping spree.

6. Go big game hunting out west.

7. Buy some wave runners and take the kids out on weekends this summer and have some fun.

These are just a few things, as random as they are. The problem with this list is that we need to watch our funds due to the medical bills. Some of this may get done, but I know some will never get crossed off the list. Am I ok with that, I think so… I guess the most important thing is to just make sure that I spend as much time with my family as possible. That is what really matters to me. Yes, it would be great to do any one of the things on my list, but if I give up these opportunities to spend time with my wife and kids, I am ok with that. I am getting used to making sacrifices, if it means more time with the family and friends.

So, is today significant? Yes, because I am alive today and that is what matters!

I refuse to lose!!!

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18 Responses

  1. It’s amazing how time flies. 6 months?

    I was reading an article/review on The Bucket List this morning and the author was saying how sad it is that we always wait until something like this happens for us to cherish life to the fullest.

    Kyle Lakes story inspired me to live life to the fullest, now. You continue to do the same.

    You are constantly in my prayers!

  2. This topic seems to be coming up more and more these days. I dont know if it is because we are ALL getting older and realize that life is very precious or that others are getting older and realizing that life is precious?? Our pastor is doing a study right now on the little things in life that really matter. So every night before we tuck our 8 year old for bed, we all mention what our “little thing” of the day was for each of us. Believe me, they arent much, things like when your son comes out of his room just to tell you he loves you and gives you a kiss………….those are the things that matter. NO trip or amount of money could ever compare to spending time with family and remembering the little things that really do count!!!

    ps………….oh yeah, Dont sweat the petty stuff and definetly dont pet the sweaty stuff!!!

  3. Stef…straight talk no doubt. I kid you not, I was just thinking about this early this morning. I literally was trying to remember how long ago it had been. Then I read your post. Brother, your life and impact on those around you is a bucket list entry in itself. Everyone should spend time with Stefan Tarapchak! If you spend time with Stef, then in some way, you get a glimpse of Jesus in his life.

    I’d be happy to tag along on several of the items on your list. The shopping trip to Chicago is not one of them πŸ™‚ Maybe we can drop the girls off while we hit the Cubs game???

    Great post brother. Refuse to lose.

  4. Aaron, what’s with the smiley, dude!!!! I could see a Cubs game in our future!!!!

  5. Very Touching and True. Refuse to Lose. We’re continueing to pray for you to be here much longer than the 18. Stay strong as you are.

    late,

    darrin

  6. Man…it seems like it hasnt been that long, but I bet its been an eternity for you…I pray for you all the time and I refuse to Let you Lose.

  7. Um, count me in for that Cubs game!!

  8. Stefan,

    A childhood friend of mine checks your blog and prays for you regularly. She has a friend (also from where we grew up) who works for Miller Brewing Company. She says they do promotional stuff all the time with the Chicago sports teams. She’d like to attempt to set you and your family up with tickets to a Cubs game if possible, but she wasn’t sure how you’d feel about getting them through a beer company. Please email us and let us know if you’d like us to tell her to go ahead and pursue this or not. Thanks!

    Bart & Mandy

  9. That was a sobering intro. mon ami! Your perspective is refreshing and I appreciate your recognition of priorities. You have certainly enabled me to stop sweating some of the small stuff! I may be able to swing 4 Fenway tix this season for you and the family…and I definitely know of a great hotel in Lakeville, MA (only 50 miles from Fenway) where the food is great and the hospitality is even better. Let’s check that one off the list no matter how long God gives you! Praying for you daily!

    Henry

  10. Bart and Henry (Hacker’s Champ!!), I am humbled by the opportunity you have given us. By no means was this post a solicitation for things, but know that we are humbled by the support and kindness that everyone is showing us.

    That being said, this could be a great summer!!!!

  11. Stef~

    Just remember that the doctors do not control our timeline here on earth. God is the ONLY ONE who holds that timeline. He will bring us all home in His time when we have fulfilled His purpose for us here on this earth. Some timelines are shorter than others which to our human perspective seems so unfair. God never wastes a timeline though so you can rest assured you have impacted more lives for His Kingdom than you may ever know.

    I am once again reminded how we as Christians are to keep a Heavenly perspective on life. God granted me another day on this earth and what did I do with this day that will further His Kingdom? Did I show love to those around me? Did I help someone in need or just walk by rushing off to my next appointment? Did I pray for those suffering? Did I impact any life today for the Kingdom of God? We tend to push that command of God aside and replace it with our own agendas. How many of us have a really high chance of being killed in a car accident on the way to work tomorrow? I can tell you since I live in Phoenix I really do have that chance. People are crazy out here! πŸ™‚ The point being we are fools to believe we control our timeline. We are to live each day as it were our last and live it for God. Stef has a difficult life circumstance where this is a daily reminder to him, but to the rest of us let it be a wake-up call. I would love to read about you checking off items on that list, but I also know that it’s more about making memories with the ones you love.

    Stay strong, don’t get discouraged, & keep the faith! I will once again say that only God holds your timeline. Don’t ever forget that!

    I heard this Point of Grace song on the way to work today & totally thought of your posting…

    How You Live
    [Verse 1:]
    Wake up to the sunlight with your windows open
    Don’t hold in your anger or leave things unspoken
    Wear your red dress
    Use your good dishes
    Make a big mess and make lots of wishes
    Have what you want but want what you have
    Hmmmmm
    And don’t spend your life lookin back

    [Chorus:]
    Turn up the music
    Turn it up loud
    Take a few chances
    And let it all out
    Cause you won’t regret it
    Lookin back from where you have been
    Cause it’s not who you knew
    And it’s not what you did
    It’s how you lived

    [Verse 2:]
    So go to the ball game
    And go to the ballet
    Go see your folks more than just on the holidays
    Kiss all your children
    Dance with your wife
    Tell your husband you love him every night
    Don’t run from the truth cause you can’t get away
    Oh No…
    Just face it and you’ll be okay

    [Chorus]

    [Bridge:]
    Ohhhhh
    Wherever you are and wherever you been
    Now is the time to begin

    [Verse 3:]
    To give to the needy
    And pray for the grieving
    Even when you don’t think that you can
    Cause all that you do is bound to come back to
    You
    So think of your fellow men
    Make peace with God but make peace with yourself
    Cause in the end there’s nobody else

    [Chorus]

    Cause it’s not who you knew and it’s not what
    You did
    It’s how you lived

  12. Michelle, thanks for such a great response! I really appreciated your words. My mother-in-law gave me a quote:

    “We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience”.

    Furthering the Kingdom and refusing to lose!!

  13. Time does fly – I hadn’t realized that it’s been 6 months. Thank you for opening a window into your life. It is very inspiring.

    God Bless!

  14. I really like your mother-in laws comment! Puts things in perspective!
    Chicago is awesome! Michigan Ave. is calling! You continue to encourage and inspire us in so many ways! Praying for you often!

  15. Stef~

    WOW! That is an incredible quote and such a great reminder to us all. I am going to have to borrow that quote. You are NOT alone in this battle & we will all carry the Refuse to Lose banner across our hearts for you!

  16. Your words inspire me to finally not be afraid of contacting you, this seems to be the only way I know how. My Aunt Jeanie showed me the columns you had been writing and I neglected to feel the need to write you. How selfish and unthoughtful I had become. Well you can add another brother to your list of poeple that are praying for you, I know what you are going through. My wife lost her sister who had cancer on and off for ten years, be strong and let God guide you through each day. I wish you the best….

  17. Hey Stef-

    Just read through your goals. Move fast ton the California one, and give me a call. I got a great place for you right on the Pebble Beach Golf Course. Over looking the ocean. Plenty of room for the family, any time, no charge, stay as long as you want. Ride bikes to Monteray Bay to go deep sea fishing.

    Seriously. Any time. Let me know.

    Kyle

  18. Kyle,

    That is too kind. First, I need to get to Tyler’s room and meet you some time. We can discuss this offer as well!

    FIGHT TO WIN and REFUSE TO LOSE!!

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