Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Supportive Friends and Family

Mother, Frances, and my youngest brother, Lowell

Debbie and Dewain and Me after a meal at Cracker Barrell

Two wonderful meals that my neice, Jean Hamilton prepared and brought for me.
I thank God for my Family.  We are close friends and spend time together regularly.  Any excuse for a party (Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New years,) brings us together at some one of our homes or in a restaurant where we socialize, tell stories (some true, some embellished), tell jokes, maybe sing awhile, pray together and enjoy one another's company.

One of Frances' neices (Jean Moore) lives here in Cleveland, TN where her husband Rick teaches Old Testament at Lee University.  She is an RN and works with hospice.  She is a twin and has another sister and a brother.  Frances and I have always enjoyed all of her siblings as we have watched them grow from the time they were born.  With her busy schedule - she still found time to come check on her Uncle Fred when I first came home from the major surgery in November.  Then - a few nights ago - she and Rick came by and delivered the delicious meal that you see laid out on our kitchen stove.  What a sweetheart she is. 

Mamaw, Dewain, Frances, Frank, Elizabeth are Frances' family visiting in our home.
Sometimes I like solitude.  I enjoy being alone for two to three days at a time now and then.  Some of you know of my love for the out-of-doors and that I go to the mountains alone and spend time there reading and thinking and praying when I'm not hunting or fishing.  But I love being with my family and close friends.  When you are in a crisis, your family and friends really matter (or at least I can say it seems to me that they matter) more than ever.  Tomorrow, as I go for my second chemo-therapy treatment, my closest minister friend (Dr. E.L. Williams) will be driving for me.  It's thirty miles to the treatment center.  He will spend about 8 hours of his valuable time waiting on me.  I am a blest man to have such a wonderful family and friends.
Me and My Siblings

Dr. Ed Williams, delivering "Meals on Wheels"
Ed and Me

Friday, January 13, 2012

Music To Grow On

I was just listening to a site on You Tube where many of my friends and acquaintances are involved in singing from a song book that came out many years ago and was widely distributed by Pathway Press.  This was the main song book for our local churches in the organization known as Church of God, with International Headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee.  This chapel is on the campus of Lee University and I pass this chapel each time I go over to visit my Mom - which is fairly regularly.  I just thought you might like to listen also, so I'm posting the URL here. 


If that fails, just go to you tube and search for "red back hymnal night"

This particular video is one hour and 40 minutes long - so you may want to be sure to have something to snack on sitting beside your chair.  That is if you like southern gospel music! ☺  These songs bring back so many memories. 

Now we also had a "Convention" book, which was a collection of new songs written and collected and placed in a smaller paper-backed book.  At the annual Camp-Meeting, someone (sometimes the author - like Charlie B. Wycuff or Otis McCoy or Vep Ellis) would lead their new song from the Convention book.  I remember when Charles Wycuff first led us in his song, "What A Lovely Name, The Name of Jesus" and the crowd went ballistic with joy.  Oh what powerful times of un-abashed and un-ashamed worship in song.  One of my hunting buddies wrote a song after the red backed hymnal was published which became very popular in our local churches.  You may have heard Eddie Williams' song, "Jesus Will Hear Me When I Pray".  And Yes, there was shouting in the camp wherever and whenever it was sung.
The Song Book - Believe by Gospel Heritage Music

Mama's Song, "I'm Leaving Here"
My Mom also had one of her songs recently published in one of those paper-backed convention style books (2012).  It's called "I'm Leaving Here".  I MUST try to video tape her singing it and put it up for you to see also.  It's a good one.  The book is called "Believe Gospel Song Collection" and is published by Gospel Heritage House.

Well ... I didn't mean to write so much here.  Just wanted you to have that URL so you could have access to some good gospel music.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Now, Mom, Here's What The Doctor Said

On December 22, 2011 our first born daughter drove her mother and me to the Medical Oncologist's office for consultation on the type of treatment I was to receive. 
Frances waits in the lobby with a handful of papers to read which tell about different options for treatment of my cancer.
There were three options:  1) A surgical port could be placed under the skin on my chest and this would become the entry-way for the chemicals that would be used to fight the intestinal stage four cancer.  It was explained that via this port I could avoid having the nurses search for a good vein each time I came to the treatment center.  Blood samples for lab testing could also be taken through this port.  This would require minor surgery.   2) I could opt out of the surgery and trust the nurses to find the vein each time.  Since I have had the nurse miss the vein a couple of times already, I decided I did not like this option.  3)  A third option would be to take chemo via a pill (actually four pills a day) that is still somewhat in the testing stage as far as side effects go. 

Number One Daughter, who is a school teacher, sits with pen in hand...ready to take notes

I asked the doctor to allow me to sleep on this decision.  At first I felt that it would be easier to just get the pills and take them - but then I would still have to go to the treatment center every couple of weeks for lab work.  So with either of the three options we must travel to Chattanooga for this treatment.  That's not bad for it is only about 30 miles from our home in Cleveland.  Too - I wanted to talk this decision over with Frances.  Fifty four years ago the two of us became as one. 

So we stopped by the Cracker Barrell and went to the "Consultation Room"!
Second Born, "Favrite One" daughter was available for the first day of Chemo

So Chemo therapy sessions started on January 4, 2012.  I will be going to the treatment center every two weeks to spend 5 to 6 hours in a recliner, allowing the doctors to inject chemicals into my system that are designed to kill the "bad cells".  The problem with all the methods of administering the chemo remains the same.  The chemo can also kill some of the "good cells", thus creating sometimes severe side-effects.  I will be o.k., I know that for sure.  However, I will appreciate your prayer that God will cause the chemo to do what it is designed to do in killing the bad cells and pray that at the same time it has no effect on anything that my body needs in order to get well.

Aha! We've got it all sorted out now!

Go Ahead!  Make My Day!

About Me

My photo
Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton