Well, that was weird

I was ushered into an incredibly bright room and removed my clothing … well most of it. The fact that the doctor that I had only just met was very good at creating friendly conversation didn’t make it feel any less awkward.

I lay on the examination table while he used even brighter lights to examine every millimetre of my skin. In his hand was a camera that he would hold above any spots or marks that he wanted to see more clearly. Those tiny spots would then be greatly magnified and displayed in living colour across his supersized flat screen TV.

Approximately, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70, with more than 750,000 people treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia each year. Non-melanoma skin cancer is more common in men, with almost double the incidence compared to women. – Cancer Council

After asking me about a small, scaly piece of skin on my left forearm, the doctor grabbed his liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy a small keratosis. It was harmless but left too long it could have developed into something very serious.

Apart from that one small issue I was given the all clear.

What a sense of relief.

Until that point I had no idea if I had anything lurking on my skin that could do me immense harm or even take my life, yet still I had never taken the time to get a skin cancer check. I always knew that I should but just didn’t.

I must admit that the weirdness of stripping down and having someone getting that close and personal was a bit of a demotivater. Even the thought that there could have been something, that left unattended, could kill me, failed to fully motivate me to get checked out. I didn’t want my body to be put under the bright, unflattering lights of the skin clinic.

It probably won’t surprise you that it was actually my wife who made the appointment for me. Of course she asked if that was OK but it was her initiative.

So here I am, a 53 year old Australian male who spends a fair bit of time cycling around with exposed skin, avoiding the opportunity to have someone examine me thoroughly. Talk about ridiculous. While I was busy avoiding my own embarrassment, there could have been something silently killing me.

I think many of us live our lives like that. We avoid the kind of examination that could save our lives.

There are often actions, thoughts and habits in our lives that we try to ignore because we don’t want to have to deal with what might really be happening. We don’t want to be put under the light even though that kind of examination could save our lives.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. – John 3:20

I had a keratosis that could have developed into something worse but by being put under the harsh white light of the examination room, it’s now dealt with and I can get on with life. Am I prepared to put the rest of my life under that kind of scrutiny, knowing that I’ll be able to have someone deal with whatever they find or will I stubbornly continue with that constant, low-level sense that things are not quite right.

If skin cancer is left untreated too long, you’ll eventually know it’s there … and not in a good way. If those areas of our lives that don’t measure up are left without examination, they’ll eventually come to light … and certainly not in a good way.

For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. – Luke 8:17

The true story of Easter is that God not only wants to examine our lives but to deal with those issues that can bring our destruction. He has offered a way to be rid of whatever entangles us through the life, death and resurrection of His son Jesus.

Easter tells us that our past doesn’t have to determine our future.

What the Bible calls sin, our desire to live contrary to God’s direction for our lives, has consequences.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

The free gift we are offered from God means that whatever our past holds, it can be dealt with completely through the death and resurrection of Jesus. And Easter isn’t just about cancelling the debt of sin, it’s about restoring relationship with the one who created the universe. Rather than seeing God as an old man waving his finger at us in disapproval, we get to know God as a friend through Jesus Christ.

That’s why we celebrate Easter. The debt that we’ve incurred can be completely cancelled. Our past can be over, our future can be secure and we can be directly connected to the one who would hold nothing back for us, not even His own son.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

After my initial misgivings, I felt secure letting a doctor shine a light on anything that needed to be treated because I know that he wants to deal with things that could cause me a great deal of harm.

This Easter, maybe it’s time to let God shine a light into your life, knowing that He wants to lovingly and completely deal with things that can cause us ultimate harm.

My prayer is that this will be an Easter that you can truly celebrate.

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Soundtrack of my Life – David Bowie

Soundtrack of my LifeThis is one of a regular series of articles highlighting some of the music that has played a part in my life.

You’ll find a range of songs from old to new. You’ll probably find music that has been part of the soundtrack of your life too.

You can also check out some of the other songs that make up the soundtrack of my life.

David Bowie

While my regular Soundtrack of my Life posts feature one song that means something to me, I can’t just choose one David Bowie song. Since I heard of his death several days ago I’ve had a couple of hundred of his songs playing over and over on my iPod. I think I’m almost at the place where I can start listening to other music again. Obviously I can’t include all his songs here so I’ll limit myself to three. Choosing those three will be hard enough.

So much has already been written about Bowie over many years and especially this past week so I won’t try to give any kind of comprehensive history of his career. I’ll just add a few of my personal reflections. I couldn’t possibly write all that Bowie’s music has meant to me over the years because different songs and albums have played their part in so many seasons in my life. Let’s just say that hearing that he had passed away was devastating for me, especially as he had kept his illness so quiet. It was so totally unexpected.

Bowie’s music and lyrics have resonated so strongly with me over so many years that mourning his loss was like mourning a close friend. He was no saint but he has played a significant part in my life through his music over several decades.

Space Oddity

The first song I recall from Bowie is Space Oddity. Released back in 1969, when I was just six years old. It charted in Australia when I was nine, in early 1973. It’s a fabulous track from an amazing album. There’s so much more to the Space Oddity album than the title track so make some time to check out the rest of the tracks.

I’ve collected quite a few Bowie albums over the years and while critics have praised some more than others, I love them all. Some thought that Bowie ‘sold out’ with his more commercially acceptable Let’s Dance album, but I reckon anything that would put his music in front of a wider audience was a good move. I was particularly pleased that the album sparked a world tour. The Serious Moonlight Tour came to Perth in November 1983. I was there at the Perth Entertainment Centre to see him perform a mixture of old and new material. What a show.

David Bowie never seemed to simply stage concerts; they were theatrical performances, each one featuring his latest creation. Bowie didn’t ‘reinvent himself’ as some suggest, he would instead create characters that he would inhabit. The stories from so many since his passing paint the picture of a private, caring man, that was so different to many of the characters we saw on stage throughout his career.

The Let’s Dance album and the Serious Moonlight Tour meant that Bowie was everywhere at the time. He was all over the TV, the radio and definitely on my turntable and in my car cassette player.

This is one of the biggest hits from the Let’s Dance album.

Modern Love

There are so many other songs and stories I could tell about Bowie, like the moment the clock struck midnight on the 1st of January 1984, throwing open the doors of my Ford Transit and blasting his song 1984 as loud as the stereo could handle it. I was at a youth camp and while most stayed inside for their new year’s celebrations, there was a small group pf us that felt that playing Bowie’s Orwell inspired song was the only way to ring in that year.

There was the time that I had to drive home from the country very late at night and playing the Black Tie White Noise album on repeat at fairly high decibels was the only thing keeping me awake on the road.

Yes, there are many, many other times when David Bowie provided the soundtrack to my life, but I’ll post one more song, and that is the soundtrack that plays behind the news of Bowie’s death. None of us knew that the album released just days earlier, on his 69th birthday, would be his parting gift to millions of fans around the world. It’s already been watched well over 20 million times on YouTube and no doubt will be played many more times in coming days, weeks and years.

Lazarus

Whether you’re a Bowie fan or not, his music has probably provided the soundtrack to some of your own life. I’d love to hear your recollections of David Bowie and his music. Please leave your memories and tributes in the comments section of this post.

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Cancer Ride Over for Another Year

Last week I once again be took part in the Morning Cafe Cancer Ride for Cancer Council Western Australia. I cycled over 520 kilometres from Albany to Perth.

The ride follows the success of rides held over the last few years. It was our fourth ride highlighting the cancer journey of a number of people and raising money to fight cancer.

My fundraising still has room to grow so I’d appreciate a hand to boost the tally to help those battling cancer. If you’re in Australia your donation is tax deductible. Even if you’re not, the work that Cancer Council WA is doing is making a difference throughout the world through some highly regarded research projects. Just head to the webpage and click donate. My aim is to raise $1000 for Cancer Council WA.

Below is a small selection of photos from the ride. Just click on any of the photos for a better view.

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Just a Reminder

Just a reminder that from this Saturday until to the following, the 20th of October, I’ll once again be taking part in the Morning Cafe Cancer Ride for Cancer Council Western Australia. I’ll be cycling over 500 kilometres from Albany to Perth.

The ride follows the success of rides held over the last few years. This will be our fourth ride highlighting the cancer journey of a number of people and raising money to fight cancer.

My fundraising has been moving very slowly so I’d appreciate a hand to boost the tally to help those battling cancer. If you’re in Australia your donation is tax deductible. Even if you’re not, the work that Cancer Council WA is doing is making a difference throughout the world through some highly regarded research projects. Just head to the webpage and click donate. My aim is to raise $1000 for Cancer Council WA.

If you want to welcome our team home, please be at 98five Sonshine FM in Murray Street, Como, by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday the 20th of October.

Along the way I’ll be broadcasting my Morning Cafe radio program from a different town each morning.

Monday 15th October 2012:
Broadcasting from Albany 9 – 12
Albany to Cranbrook 91 km

Tuesday 16th October 2012:
Broadcasting from Cranbrook 9 – 12
Cranbrook to Katanning 80 km

Wednesday 17th October 2012:
Broadcasting from Katanning 9 – 12
Katanning to Wagin 55 km

Thursday 18th October 2012:
Broadcasting from Wagin 9 – 12
Wagin to Pingelly 100 km

Friday 19th October 2012:
Broadcasting from Pingelly 9 – 12
Pingelly to York 87 km

Saturday 20th October 2012:
York to Perth 97 km

TOTAL: 510 km

Please help spread the word.

I’d like to ask you to share the link to this post through your blog or whatever other means you have available. At the bottom of this post are buttons for sharing the details on a range of social networks or even emailing the post to others. Just click your preferred button (or all of them) to get the word out.

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Reducing Breast Cancer Risk

There’s been a lot said about high and low GI foods in recent years. GI stands for Glycemic Index and many experts say that choosing foods based on their GI values can have significant health benefits.

A recently published review of scientific evidence reports that consuming a high GI diet for five years or more may increase the risk of breast cancer by 8%.

It’s a major cause for concern that the average Australian diet contains far too many high GI foods.

1 in 9 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85, with the disease accounting for around 1 in 4 cases of all cancers in women.

While there are a large number of uncontrollable risk factors for breast cancer such as genetics, menopause and family history, there are also a number of lifestyle-related risk factors that you can change. Factors which increase the risk of developing breast cancer include:
· Excessive alcohol consumption
· High-fat diets
· High processed meat consumption
· Being overweight or obese.

Australia’s leading GI researcher, Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, from the University of Sydney, joined me on my radio program this morning to talk about the research findings and what we can do to reduce the risk of breast cancer and other diseases. You can hear our discussion by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

You can get more details about the Glycemic Index at the Glycemic Index website.

[audio:http://mpegmedia.sonshinefm.ws/feeds/MOR160112_1241.mp3] Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Reducing Breast Cancer Risk? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks. 🙂