2007-September

Decisions – Decisions – Decisions…

The wheels are turning all around me and I know the inevitable outcome. Waiting for things to happen that will influence huge decisions is heartwrenching. Time seems to stand still as the details are worked out.

Ultimately, there will be one path that will take me down another journey I have feared since the first time I learned about it back in 2000. This time around there is no getting away from a Bone Marrow Transplant. The question is which type do I face?


List of events

  1. September 5, 2007 — Starting the Journey
  2. September 17, 2007 — Focused on a Positive Attitude
  3. September 25, 2007 — Working on that To-Do-List
  4. September 28, 2007 — Making More Plans
  5. September 30, 2007 — Familiar Teritory

  1. September 5, 2007 — Starting the Journey
    I saw the doctor yesterday and gave them the blood test as planned. My new doctor is Dr. Ganguly and it was good to see him again. Earlier this year, when they harvested my stem cells, Dr. Ganguly checked in on me a couple of times. This week he simply examined me, and answered my questions. Once again, we are in the process of waiting on the test results.

    One of the things I had to do was provide my Transplant Coordinator information about my siblings. Janet will be using that information to set up the arrangements for each of them to get their blood test. That will be used to determine if I have a donor match. We truly hope one of my siblings is a match because that gives me the greatest potential for long-term survival of this disease. I hope to have more information in the near future.


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  3. September 17, 2007 — Focused on a Positive Attitude
    A very wise man once said, “It’s just as easy to fill up the top half of the gas tank as it is the bottom half.” At least that’s the way I my father’s words when he offered a person in our family some advice. There was an object lesson being taught in case you are wondering.

    I think this logic applies to my attitude as well. It is much easier for me to think in terms of my cup being half full instead of it being half empty. When I start from half full I can typically make things go a little better than when it’s the other way around. It works for me and I hope you will try it sometime.

    Right now I am doing my best to practice thinking in terms of my glass is “more” than half full while the testing is still underway. I understand my siblings have either already been to the lab for their blood test or are scheduled to do so in the very near future. And I remember my nurse telling me that one of the tests they are running for me will take approximately two weeks so we should be getting close.

    After the tests are all in we will know which route I will be headed down for treatments. I am anxiously awaiting the news so I can see how the third phase of this battle will be played out.

    Please pray for my doctor’s to have wisdom and for me to have peace about the choices in front of me. I have often said it is much easier to tell the stories of a survivor in complete remission than living the life of a patient in treatment. It is all part of God’s plan for my life and I trust in him for the outcome.

    Last week Debbie and I took several days off work to get a break from our normal routine and to get some things done around the house. We made pretty good progress and enjoyed the time together. All of the waiting is a bit stressful and I think it helped us both to do some different things to break up the time.

    Finally, I got a huge surprise today when I arrived home. My order of books (Once Was Not Enough) had arrived so I got to see the final product for the first time. That project took me a long time to complete and I am glad to see it finished. I sure hope it helps a lot of people learn about hope and living a healthy life-style.


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  5. September 25, 2007 — Working on that To-Do-List
    I have been busy the past week or so trying to get some things done around the house. It seems to take forever to do any shopping to find anything these days. But the doctor told me I had better get the things I have on my to-do list for the house done and get ready for my upcoming treatments.

    I am glad Debbie and I have finally found everything for our bathroom remodel. If all goes well, and everyone I have lined up to help can make it, I might actually get it finished. The clock is ticking away and the days of 2007 are quickly coming to an end. My goal is to have the work finished that needs to be done and start my treatments with a mindset that I have taken care of business before going into that stretch in my life. Right now I am pretty sure 2008 will start off a little bumpy.

    Over the years many people have asked me what I do when I am doing chemotherapy treatments. And this is a good example for people to see that life goes on. No matter what we face in our lives we need to keep plugging away trying to keep things as normal as we can. Then, I will be the first to admit, we have to adjust things occasionally to accomplish the goals we have set for our lives. The treatments I am facing will probably require some major adjustments for several months so I am trying to get ready for that.

    Finally, I haven’t heard from my doctor yet. I know my siblings have been tested and the lab work is in progress. If I understand correctly my doctors will also be presenting the results of all the tests to my medical team to brainstorm the best treatment regimen for my case. When that is completed I will get the telephone call we are waiting for. Until that comes I can’t really tell you anything new. But I do want to say thank you for your ongoing notes of encouragement, your support, and your prayers.


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  7. September 28, 2007 — Making More Plans
    Every morning when I wake up I realize I am blessed and I try to look forward to the day I have in front of me. Today, I was very blessed to experience that again, and I want to share with you how my day has gone.

    I woke up beside my beautiful bride and cuddled to her for a while. My goal for today was to stay home and get some things rounded up for our bathroom remodel. That hasn’t gone as well as I would have liked for it to, but I have made some progress. The neatest thing is the beautiful sunny day here in the Midwest and the wonderful autumn temperatures. It really makes me feel good to walk outside and feel the sun hit my body and smell the fresh air. I also got to take my wife out for lunch and we had a wonderful talk. It can’t get any better than that!

    Part of our conversation included a topic I have had on my mind recently. It is one of those items on my to-do list that I never get taken care of so I asked Debbie for some help. I am a veteran of the United States Air Force and want to be buried in Leavenworth National Cemetery along with my wife since we never had children. She made that telephone call for me today and reported that everything is in order for that to be taken care of per my wishes when the time comes. Now my mind is at ease on that.

    We also discussed some of the last-minute details about our remodel job and that all seems to be falling into place now. All that is left is a lot of hard work and I am going to get some help on that. Then, after lunch, perhaps the most important thing that happened today was that telephone call we have been waiting on. My transplant coordinator (Janet) called with some news. Now let me warn you upfront that the news seems a little distressing. But I want you to know that I didn’t take it that way at all. I am in the queue for an autologous transplant (using my own stem cells) since none of my siblings matched. Sometime around the first of November I will see my doctor again to plan more of the details on the scheduling.

    For now I know I the plan is to start with two chemotherapy treatments then do a scan to see if those treatments worked to get this beast into remission. From there we will take appropriate action, but ultimately I will have the transplant. My medical team has determined this is the best option for me at this time. Janet has also done a preliminary search at the National Marrow Donor Program and there are some opportunities there.

    The packet I received from the National Marrow Donor Program contained a lot of detailed information about the process. However, it contains a lot of information that is difficult to consider from the patients point of view. And hey, I am the patient, but it seemed to upset my beautiful bride too when she read the material last night. Yea, it is a tough road we are headed down for sure. But I got to meet a lady this week on my CarePage that shared the story of her transplant with me and she was very inspirational.

    Let me close this note with some powerful words I read this morning:

    “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (New International Version)

    My goal is to obey that command and keep my eyes focused upon God because I know he is with me. That’s why I always say that I am Holding Onto Promises Everlasting.


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  9. September 30, 2007 — Familiar Territory
    Can you believe another month has gone by? I can’t seem to keep track of the days anymore and it sure doesn’t seem like it’s already October in just a couple of hours. But September has been good to me. I have loved every minute!

    Now that I have the plans for the next steps in my treatment regimen I am aware of the details about the journey I will be traveling. I need some time to let the news sink in, and the fact that I am faced with the old style chemotherapy treatments again. Since the in the past the new targeted therapies had worked so well for me I never thought I would face these harsher treatment regimens again.

    Let me say in closing that I am trying to keep a very positive attitude and know full well that I am in good hands. I believe God has a plan and he has me with doctors and nurses that really care about people. It is difficult to consider the territory (chemotherapy) I am familiar with as being my hope for survival. But it is a wonderful thing to have hope.


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