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No News Is Good News

The old axiom is:  "No news is good news."  I was reminded today in a phone call that there has not been any "news" on this blog for quite some time.  Well, no news has indeed been good news.  After my discharge from The Cross Cancer Institute a little more than a month and a half ago, the miracle of the stem cell transplant has continued.  We were told 3 to 6 months of healing, gaining weight and building strength.  By God's grace that seems to have happened much quicker for me.  I have been feeling well for quite some time now.  So well, in fact, I decided to skate on the pond with my grandsons on New Year's Day.  I had a foolish fall that has left me on crutches since . . . but I don't want to talk about it!

As you can see from the pictures, I recently celebrated a birthday with some of those who have journeyed closely with me. My perspective on milestones like a 60th birthday has changed.  I will be thankful for each birthday I get to celebrate wit…
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Pathway Through

On November 13 I entered this place for a "healing assault" on my body.  At that time I thought this pathway was going to be in the shape of a vee.  Steady line down to the bottom and then bouncing back up with a steady line on the other side.  I was half right.  The chemo induced descent to the bottom was pretty linear.  The bounce back is anything but.  There is a long way to go and the line is filled with ups and downs and plateaus.  It is teaching Kathy and I patience.
But here is the good news:  the picture above shows me walking out of my room on Station 31 at the Cross for the last time.  I have been discharged!  God has faithfully provided a pathway through the stem cell transplant process.  We will trust that God will faithfully provide the significant amount of healing that still needs to take place.  We thank you for helping us to keep the faith in this and hope to be able to start getting together with many of you soon.

Bottoming Out

Today is Day 11, since the stem cells were put back in my body.  While they have been maturing, the chemo has continued to effectively wipe out my bone marrow.  My blood numbers seem to show that I have bottomed out.  Our prayers are that any day now we will see those blood numbers begin to bounce back up.  That will be a clear indication that the stem cells are doing their thing by making new bone marrow.

My Mom often said to us kids, "patience is a virtue."  We are having some trouble being virtuous!   Up until now, the motto has been "it has to get worse before it gets better."  We can't wait for the "get worse" to be finished and "gets better" to begin.  Please pray with us as we know you have been.

Home Stretch

Nov 13:  Check into Cross Cancer Institute Nov 14:  High dose chemotherapy Nov 15/16:  Stem cell transplant 3 to 4 weeks of hospitalization
I recently received an encouraging email saying that I was heading to the home stretch.  Indeed, that home stretch begins in exactly one week when I check into the Cross for 3-4 weeks. This home stretch will involve transplanting stem cells and subsequently growing healthy bone marrow and blood.
What I remember from my days of running cross country and track (1500m) is that the home stretch has this strange mixture of relief, hope and struggle.  Relief that it is almost over.  Hope inspired by the sight of the finish line.  Struggle to get through the pain and discomfort of the effort needed for the finishing kick.

As that home stretch gets closer I am certainly feeling relief that this part of the journey MAY almost be over and I am hopeful about being in remission by Christmas.  I must admit though that I am getting increasingly anxious about t…

Stem Cell Harvest

That bag on the right is the result of a full day of work!  As we hoped and prayed for,  this was a stem cell harvest day.  I had healthy blood numbers when tested this morning so the harvest went ahead.  I will know tonight whether they have enough.  If they need more, we will do it again tomorrow.  Prayers of thanks for a successful day!Breaking news: I just heard that they were successful harvesting enough stem cells for two transplants.  I don't have to give myself more needles and I don't have to go in tomorrow!!  Very happy about that.

Step One Complete

Step one of phase 2 is complete:  The central line is in.  That should mean a lot less needles.  Yeah!  Please pray that infection will stay away and please begin praying that my body will have lots of stem cells to give in 10 days.
Next step: Mobilizing chemotherapy Oct 12

Phase 1 Chemo Finished!

It is a milestone of sorts:  I had my last chemo treatment of this round today (Sept 21).  We are thankful that by all counts it is going well(literally counts --of white cells and hemoglobin and "kappa" cells and ...about 30 more important counts)

What's next? What are we praying about?
October will be about stimulating my body to give up some healthy stem cells and then the process of harvesting those  cells.November will be the challenging month as there will be three weeks of strong chemo and isolation.  At the end of November, by God's grace, the stem cells will be transplanted and begin building new bone marrow.  Perhaps by Christmas, the word "remission" will begin to creep into our conversation and the isolation can be relaxed! Thanks for joining us in some specific prayers about this next part of the journey.  It is both exciting and scary.  It gives us great strength to know that others keep the faith and thus we do not journey alone. 
#thankful