A New Journey

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A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to my golden years.

I was enjoying a wonderful life, filled with more blessings than I deserve.

I was enjoying a successful career as Information Technology Operations Manager at the Otay Water District, one of the largest and most progressive water agencies in Southern California. (Last year, we won the Municipal Information Systems Association of California [MISAC]'s top "Excellence in IT Practices Award"; one of only a dozen municipal agencies to win the award.)

UPDATE: In October 2008, we won the MISAC "Excellence in IT Practices Award" for the second year in a row! In November, we learned Otay's IT Department was the winner of the Center for Digital Government's "Best of California 2008" award for IT Operations, Support and Service.

I prepared for my tenth year as pastor of Christ United Methodist Church of San Diego. Serving this urban congregation is a wonderful challenge. We formed the Ministry Center which houses facilities for a half dozen congregations and four weekday urban ministries.

I have concluded a ten year career as University professor, including demanding graduate lectureships in technology and business at San Diego State University, Webster University, and National University. At National, I designed the Master of Science in Database Administration Degree (MSDBA), the only such degree offered anywhere in the United States.

I formed my own consultancy, Vandor LLC, to work with philanthropic, faith-based, educational and non-profit organizations. We are on the verge of launching FaithLife.NET, a social networking web-based application designed to bring technological resources to these charitable organizations.

I have written a few books; latest of which is The Kudzu That Ate Yazoo City, which blends fact and fiction about growing up in Yazoo City, Mississippi in the 1950s and 60s.

I had just established The Martha Roberts Jenkins Education Scholarship at my alma mater, Delta State University.

Most of all, I was enjoying family life with my wife Anita, step-children Deanna and Chris, grandchilden Tak and Kat, son-in-law Scot and brother-in law, Kimo, all of whom either live with us or not-so-far-away in Simi Valley.

My 60th birthday was in sight. My biggest problem was a pesky urinary tract infection. A visit to my doctor caused him some concern. Another visit to a urologist confirmed the troubling signs. More doctor visits, more tests, and then the biopsy.

Prostate Cancer!

I was stunned. But that is the way "PC" is: usually no symptoms until it is advanced. So in a strange way, I am lucky the urinary tract infection came when it did. Otherwise, I would be living with a growing, deadly condition.

Additional tests, including a bone scan and CT scan indicated there are no visible signs the cancer has spread. However, my oncologist, Dr. Charles Kossman, whose father, Ed Kossman, Sr., I worked for 40 years ago, has encouraged me to seek the same aggressive treatment many men with more advanced prostate cancer get. That is just in case some vagabond cancer cells have escaped the confines of my prostate and are looking for a place to take up residence.

I am so fortunate to have such great physicians working with me.

I am even more blessed to have so many friends who are praying for me, and offering encouragement.

My surgery was September 15, 2008 at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, California. In lieu of visits and flowers, donations to The Martha Jenkins Scholarship at DSU have been most appreciated. (Christ United Methodist Church amazingly donated $1,000 to my mother's scholarship fund!) Prayers and eCards were also deeply appreciated.

As I prepared for surgery, and as I began my recovery, I began posting a daily blog on how things are going, how I am doing, and chronicling what promises to be an interesting journey.

This blog is therapy for me. It is a way to communicate with my family and friends what's going on, send emails, eCards, post comments (by clicking on "comments" at the bottom of this page), and learn along with me about this most common men's cancer that affects one in six.

Welcome aboard!

Enya Cover "Only Time", Piano Solo