2007-October

Encouragement—Just What The Doctor Ordered

When I experience someone who cares taking time out of their busy schedule to say a word of encouragement to me I really appreciate them and their words of wisdom. One of the things I can do in addition to talking with people is to share my life’s story with them.

Since many people tell me, that even though they are following my story about cancer and it’s treatments, it helps them. On several occasions I have even been told it has helped them face a similar circumstance in their life.

I am blessed to say that this month I got a lot of encouragement in the way of good news. It sure made a difference for me!


List of events

  1. October 9, 2007 — Look for the good in everything
  2. October 13, 2007 — The Ball Starts to Roll
  3. October 21, 2007 — What Dental Problem
  4. October 30, 2007 — Asking Other People To Help

  1. October 9, 2007 — Look for the good in everything
    I just wanted to give you a quick update. Last Friday, I got word that the last test came back negative. It was good news and means the stem cell transplant should work very well for me. I have an appointment early in November to see the doctor and put dates to the plans that lay ahead of me.

    On the home front I am making progress on the project of remodeling our bathrooms. Thanks to the help from my brother we are finally turning the corner from the tear out phase to getting things put back together. It is going slow but I am enjoying being able to do some of the work with help.

    Finally, let me share a quick note about another issue that has come up recently. A little over a week ago, on the very Friday Debbie took the call from my Transplant Coordinator to tell us I do not have a sibling match for my stem cell transplant, Debbie was told that her hours are being cut in half. This was pretty difficult news with the upcoming treatments I am facing. But November 1, this goes into effect. Please pray with us for wisdom in this area. It has been very difficult for Debbie because she has worked for her employer since May of 1982. We know God has a plan for both of our lives and we both continue Holding Onto Promises Everlasting.


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  3. October 13, 2007 — The Ball Starts to Roll
    It has been a busy week. The latest news is that my doctor wants me to start chemo sometime in November. I will receive the RICE protocol along with a new treatment option called Velcade. After two treatments I will have tests run to see how the chemo is working then move forward from there. When the tumor burden is cleared up I understand I will proceed directly into the stem cell transplant.

    This has been a difficult thing for me to deal with since the new targeted therapy has worked so well for me the past seven years. But I am focused now on this being a wonderful opportunity for me. I have to remind myself sometimes that some cancer patients don’t get well. That is a sobering thought isn’t it! I am blessed to be a 12 year survivor.

    I just have to tell everyone that Friday afternoon I got to talk with the wonderful man who took care of me for the first 11 years of my cancer journey. Dr. Kashyap closed his private practice earlier this year and moved out-of-town to a warmer climate. He said things are going well for him and that the pace is much slower than it was here in his private practice. I must tell you that just getting to talk with him and tell him the plans for my treatment regimen really boosted my spirits. He told me that he expects me to do very good with the stem cell transplant because I have never had cancer in my bone marrow. That was very encouraging news especially from the man who has kept me alive for so long.

    As I head into this new phase of treatments I am trying to prepare for the journey that lies ahead. One of the items on my list is getting things in order to apply to the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program at work. This will allow any federal employee to donate leave to me so I can be off work and keep the pay check coming in. I am getting the application ready and plan to submit everything in the next couple of weeks.


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  5. October 21, 2007 — What Dental Problem
    I don’t have any real news to report. Things are going very well and I am enjoying life to the fullest right now. The only exciting thing about my health is the root canal will finally be finished this week. I bet I forgot to tell you about that so some explanation is in order.

    Earlier this year, when they were doing all the testing for the stem cell transplant, part of that included a dental exam. I remember it very clearly because I told my dentist that he was the only person bearing bad news as I prepared to get my stem cell harvest procedure done. He found that problem tooth and it had to be fixed before the transplant could be done. But it didn’t hold up the harvest or the treatment regimen I had in the spring.

    Now that I have gotten back on my feet from the Zevalin it was time to get the tooth fixed. I was pretty scared, but everyone said it wouldn’t be any big deal. In my case they did it in two parts to ensure the infection didn’t cause any problems. My first visit entailed drilling into that perfectly good crown and taking care of business inside that bad tooth. Then packing it off and putting me on antibiotics for a week. I went back in and the doctor finished the procedure, and I have simply been waiting the timeframe they suggested before getting the filling to finish the job.

    It wasn’t that bad except for one evening after the first procedure when the pain started to drive me crazy. I was warned it might happen and had the pain medication ready. As it turned out I just went to bed and fell asleep without taking any of the additional pain medication. It was over and the second procedure wasn’t any problem.

    I’ll be glad to get that final filling this week and get back to normal. It’s been difficult for me to remember not to chew on the side that has a temporary filling. Now you have the entire story. See, I told you there wasn’t any real news to report.


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  7. October 30, 2007 — Asking Other People To Help
    I want to say thank you for stopping by my CarePage and catching up on my medical case. It is very humbling to read some of the messages I receive. Please remember that each and every one of you are very special people; and you all make a difference for me as I travel this journey through life as a cancer patient.

    Last Friday I got the letter from my doctor that I needed to apply for the leave donation program at work. I must say reading the details about the plans for my salvage chemotherapy regimen, and the stem cell transplant that follows hit home. My emotions kicked into overdrive as those facts flowed off the page and into my mind through my eyes. It was a bit overwhelming.

    Late Monday afternoon I got the letter from my supervisor showing I have been approved for the leave donation program. Now they will advertise that I have been approved and people will have an opportunity to donate leave to me. I sure hope people are generous and I get all the time I need for the next round of treatments. In the past people have been very kind and giving to my family through their donations and I am sure they will be again this time.

    I have been very blessed to have both of my brothers’ help out with our bathroom remodel. Both David and Dennis have put in quite a few hours getting things put together for us. I have some drywall finishing and painting to do now and one of the two bathrooms will be finished. The second one will go very fast too. It sure feels good to see the light at the end of that tunnel on this long project.

    Let me close by telling you about a person I talked with today. I was told how suddenly a rare form of cancer had invaded this young family’s life. Then, how multiple surgeries had been required, but finally, even though testing is still ongoing to make sure the cancer is still in remission, things seem to be leveling out for this person. It was awe striking to hear the tale of this journey of a fellow cancer survivor. If I understood correctly this has been going on for approximately two years now. I would like to ask everyone to say a special prayer for this family. The name is not important; God knows who I am talking about. I just want them all to have God’s blessing in their lives.

    Finally, don’t forget to pray for the people who struggle with all the different issues in their lives. I always try to pray that the people who are sick will have everything they need to make it through their day. For I truly believe that we all are to keep taking those steps one day at a time and to simply do our best. Then God will take care of the rest. That prayer will work for everyone no matter what their problems are.


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