2007-August

Progress

Earlier I mentioned that I was making progress on my book. I was very excited as the audio work was finished, the graphics work was finished, and the proof copy of my book was shipped to me for final approval. I completed all the work my publisher gave me to do and my part is now completed.

I cannot tell you how excited I was when I received the email telling me the book was off to the printer and placed on my publisher’s website for sale. All my work had finally paid off and I had a book to help people.

It was also inspiring to me when several people told me that reading the early draft of my manuscript had helped them. Some of them even told me it had helped their loved ones.

Once Was Not Enough: a story of hope in the heartland is completed and headed for the marketplace.


List of events

  1. August 16, 2007 — Evaluating Options After Zevalin Treatments
  2. August 24, 2007 — Poking My emotions Down
  3. August 30, 2007 — The New Plan
  4. August 31, 2007 — Reaching a Huge Goal

  1. August 16, 2007 — Evaluating Options After Zevalin Treatments
    Once again, I want to follow-through with my promise to keep people up-to-date with my medical situation. But first, and most importantly, I want to say thank you again, to each and every one of you that have continued to offer me encouragement during the past several months. Don’t ever forget how powerful your words of encouragement are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Now let me share the latest news about my summer, and the latest results from my doctor.

    After I received the Zevalin treatment on April 18, and saw my doctor on May 16, I had several more blood tests run until my counts stabilized. Then I was in a watch and wait mode for the summer.

    The side effects from the treatment included nausea, headaches, and a short period of time about six weeks after the treatment when I experienced a burning sensation (like heartburn) in my lower abdominal area. That didn’t last too long, but was very uncomfortable for a while.

    Over all, the sensations I experienced were very much like the flu symptoms we have all endured. I also experienced some dizziness, especially if I moved too suddenly, and I had to manage some fatigue. Last week I had new blood tests, a CAT scan, and a PET scan. All of this culminated Wednesday afternoon, August 15, when I saw Dr. Skikne to get the results. My wife and I got both good news and bad news.

    First, the good news: The Zevalin treatments did make some improvement in the tumor areas. However, the bad news is that it did not achieve remission.

    The PET scan shows that I have active cancer cells in my body that will have to be dealt with by the end of the year. I have an appointment scheduled in approximately three weeks to get things in place as we focus on the next phase of this ongoing battle to save my life.

    My options that are available at this point in time are very sketchy until my medical team evaluates the best course of action for me. One of my first options is to get into a clinical trial if it is open. My doctor is checking on that.

    Second, since I had my stem cells harvested earlier this year, I have them ready for an autologous transplant. Doing that would require approximately two months of conditioning chemotherapy followed by the bone marrow transplant.

    Third, my doctor talked very seriously with me about the possibility of having an allogenic (another person’s stem cells) bone marrow transplant. This means my medical team will have to locate a suitable donor. Once a person is found they would undergo the same process I had to harvest their peripheral stem cells.

    The importance of an allogenic bone marrow transplant is that it may be my best opportunity for long-term survival. That is because my immune system hasn’t been able to eradicate the cancer cells from my body.

    As you can see I have a lot to learn, a lot of things to consider, then a very serious decisions to make in the near future.

    The primary goal I have in my heart and soul is to maintain a very positive attitude and to focus on the good things in my life. And, as I told a very dear friend of mine today: It is so wonderful to know without a shadow of a doubt that God has a plan and that he is in control. I have some new opportunities in front of me and I look forward to making the best of each and every one of them.


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  3. August 24, 2007 — Poking My Emotions Down
    I don’t really have a lot to tell you tonight. This week has been a bit of a challenge dealing with the news I received last week at the doctor’s office. When a person gets news like I got that day it takes a while to process it in their mind. Both Debbie and I have been doing just that.

    The good news is that we heard from my transplant coordinator yesterday and she answered some questions for us. First, I found out who my new doctor is going to be. Second, I have a new blood test that has never been run scheduled the day of my next appointment. That’s pretty exciting because I don’t have to make a special trip to get it drawn. Finally, after I see the doctor I will know more about the scheduling of tests for my siblings.

    I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they will be asked to give a simple blood test. Then, if we are blessed to have a match, the person who matches the criteria will have some other simple tests run. A chest X-ray, an EKG, and a more complete panel of blood tests will be run. When that all comes back alright there will be a complete physical before the procedure to harvest the stem cells. That procedure wasn’t too difficult for me.

    Many people are volunteering to donate stem cells to me if one of my siblings doesn’t match. I learned they simply go to the national registry for bone marrow and stem cell donors. There are people who have already been tested so they can use my information to find a donor. It sounds pretty simple.


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  5. August 30, 2007 — The New Plan
    The next thing on the agenda is a doctor’s appointment next Tuesday. We have several questions ready and look forward to meeting my new doctor during that visit. It will also be exciting for me to see Janet again. She is my Stem Cell Transplant Coordinator that took care of all my testing earlier this year. (And yes, things are moving slowly, and the waiting is a challenge.)

    Things are going very well for Debbie and me. It is a bit stressful facing the things that are ahead of us as I move into another treatment regimen. Sometimes I feel all alone because of all the tests, all of the uncertainty, and all of the different things I must face.

    But as I just told a lady a few minutes ago when she offered me encouragement about loneliness: I believe I have someone else that keeps me from being alone. His exact words are: “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NIV) What a blessing to have that hope.


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  7. August 31, 2007 — Reaching a Huge Goal
    Many people have asked me to let them know when my book is available. I am very happy to announce that Once Was Not Enough: a story of hope in the heartland will officially be released on November 27, 2007.

    It was placed on my publisher’s on-line bookstore today for anyone that wishes to place an order. The information is under the menu “Book.”


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