I will never have any trouble remembering where I was and what I was doing on May 12, 2005. Almost six months earlier I had been diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer . A large section of my intestines had to be removed. The malignancy had escaped the colon and was found in 14 lymph nodes, and, according to my physician, "was scattered like grass seed throughout my liver". Stage four. "Incurable", was the diagnosis. Perhaps 18-22 months to live was the prognosis. Things happened in a blur from that point on!
The doctor allowed me to go on a previously planned mission trip to the Philippines. Upon arriving back home, I had a surgical procedure to insert a Medi-Port into my chest, and a six month course of chemotherapy began the first of February. By early May I was certainly feeling the effects of the chemo. The side effects were most unpleasant, but the treatments were necessary, I was told, if I hoped to survive the 22 months! Suffice it to say that the atmosphere was somewhat somber around our house.
It was on that morning in May that I was preparing to head to the Ashland-Bellefonte Cancer Center for one of my treatments, when the phone call came. It was the call that Linda and I had been expecting for a few days. Our daughter-in-law, Leigh Anne, had gone into labor and was at King's Daughters Medical Center, ready to give birth to her second son.
Naturally, we headed for the hospital post haste. My chemo appointment was scheduled at the Cancer Center about 12 miles away at 10:30 AM. It was a treatment that would take about four hours for the chemo drip to complete, and I needed to be there on time. Meanwhile, I was wearing a chemo pump for the 24 hour period between the two long treatments. So, pump and all, we headed for KDMC. Benji was in the delivery suite with Leigh Anne, so we waited with the other set of Grandparents, Lance and Linda Clanton, for the baby to make his appearance. I was so hoping he would arrive before I had to make my exit.
What a guy he was! Benji, dressed in hospital scrubs, with a mask hanging around his neck, brought the baby out to show the waiting relatives.
It was there that we met Matthew Asher Adkins for the first time. He was a good sized lad with a red face, with eyes squinting in the bright light. A beautiful little boy with all of his fingers and toes, grandson number four had finally arrived!
I remember thinking, in a moment of self pity, that I would probably never live to see this little baby grow up, and that he would never have any memories of his Papaw.
Just look at this guy now. God has wonderfully spared my life to allow me to see my youngest grandson reach the age of four. I have even lived to see him play in his first Upward Basketball game this fall. He's my Little Pal, and I am wonderfully blessed to have survived to have memorable relationships with all four grandsons.
Matthew is a rendering of the Hebrew name which means, "Gift of Yaweh" and Asher is also Hebrew for "happy" or "blessed". This little boy has certainly lived up to his names. We know he is a wonderful gift from the great I AM, and that he is not only happy and blessed himself, but he is a wonderful blessing and brings happiness to all who know him.
Asher is big for a four year old, but we know most of them aren't real tall. Well, this guy is 6'5" on the inside! He adores his older brother, but he will not back down in a confrontation. I may be a little prejudiced, but Asher seems to be able to run faster than any four year old that he pals around with. He wants to play with the big boys so badly that you can see the frustration in his face when he can't. He is quite the little athlete, and is very competitive. His smile is quick and he is very loving. He loves to sing and dance and you should really see "his moves" (oooh! Gonna hurt myself!".
There are many paragraphs I could write about Asher (as well as his brother Will, or his cousins, Quint and Canon), but I will not bore you here with a lot of gushing from a proud grandpa.
Let me just say, "Happy 4th Birthday, Little Pal. We love you! very, very much."