Round 4 of 4

Round 4 kicked off yesterday and yes, I know I’m behind on posting updates…

The markers they use to measure how things are going continue to show great improvement as they are way down. God’s grace continues to shine in all of this, so the prayers are working. I also received a second 30 minute treatment to help repair the bones which have been damaged by the myeloma. 

Currently,  I’m just ready to get to Emory in April/May and get this behind me. God is here with me, so that helps me be ready I guess. One of the pronosis outcomes my Dr gave me was that some doctors are beginning to toss the word “cure” around with myeloma. I remember telling him I wanted to help him use that word then.

Your outlook, when given bad news or experiencing things, can influence your outcome. Staying positive,  having hope or envisioning yourself getting past the news can be tough, but necessary. You can’t stay in that moment of diagnosis, you have to move forward. 

Moving forward is harder for some people than others. I’m fortunate that not much bothers me. I received my news and immediately knew that the fight was on. I didn’t worry too much about it, I didn’t get mad with God and I know it sounds nuts, but I didn’t even ask God “why me?”.

I know not everyone reacts this way and that’s fine, it’s not wrong/right or sinful, it’s just how we react. You react the way you do. It’s how God wired us, it’s who we are. It’s just dangerous to our well being to stay in that foggy feeling of the diagnosis. You have to start looking down the road…I know it helps when your prognosis is hopeful. Not everyone’s is. My journey might look different had I been given months to live. I want to think I’d be the same, but it would be a harder road and harder to be positive for sure. Just strive to see past the initial news and stay positive.

My family greatly appreciate everyone who has said a prayer,  offered a ride, meal or other offer of help. The encouragements and conversations, the questions of how things are going mean the world to us.

On another note, please lift up Shawn Lamb and his family, and Chris and Pattie Carnes (as well as the other family affected in their situation) in your prayers. I won’t go into the details, as most of you know what’s going on with both families, but God knows even when we pray without knowing all the details. 

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Round 3 Comes To An End

Today was my final chemo shot of Round 3 (of 4) before the stem cell transplant at Emory in “May”. It has at times felt like forever and then at times like it’s flying by. I feel good, but tired. I’m not sure if the chemo is progressively zapping my strength or not, but at least, for the most part, I have had a decent run without terrible side effects. 

I see so many waiting at the Dr and it’s obvious they feel much worse than I do. It’s sad that cancer affects so many people, with so many side effects,  so many other lives touched. It is sad, but it also brings out the best in people. They cook meals, run errands, drive them places, sit with them and countless other things that help out. 

It’s more sad that its seems to take the bad to bring out the good. 

So, another thank you to everyone that has helped or wanted to help. The willingness is overwhelming. The completed jobs appreciated. Without you, it wouldn’t have been the same. 

An Opps- But Not Mine

It’s been a few days on updates. Between working more and 3 days last week in Atlanta for a class, I just haven’t gotten around to it. So, if you’re a faithful reader, I’ll try and do better.
Somehow, some of my bloodwork was compromised and my next trip to Emory (Tuesday)  will be to replace it. Thankfully,  the biopsy was not compromised. More bloodwork is a lot easier to handle and will be a quick turn-around trip.

Moments of “opps” happen. It means we’re human and just like everyone else down here. Shannon preached this AM on husbands and wives and if you missed it, go online to hear it, it’s not one to miss. We all mess up, make mistakes and hurt others- usually those closest to us too! We can’t leave things there, we must move past the opps to see what can grow from it. The opps is the valley but when forgiveness comes, therein is the mountain view. 

From the mountain top, you appreciate the valley in a different sort of way. It was not how it should have been for sure, but it grew to make the mountain view even better. Don’t settle for the valley. Don’t stay there either. Climb beyond it.

Round 3 Begins 

Round 3 of chemo kicked off and I met with the doctor this morning. Whatever “spikes” (or other medical term that I can’t remember) he tracks were around 7+ in January, down to 3+ a few weeks ago and down to 1.8 as of last week. He (& us) are very happy with the results. I’m feeling very good on top of that too. The only concern is making sure the numbness in my hands and feet aren’t numb full time. Which, it seems it does come and go at times…. I just couldn’t remember sitting in the office this morning.

 All in all, I expect the next 14 days to go well, as it seems the first part of the week after chemo (the off week) that it hits me. That gives me at least 14 days of feeling well and I’ll take them. All things considered, it could be very different experience if a different cancer had been discovered.

Paul wrote to the church (people) in Philippi, and told them the following:  “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:14-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬ http://bible.com/111/php.4.14-16.niv

Just prior to this, he said “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬ http://bible.com/111/php.4.11.niv

Many times, we focus on the fact that Paul was content and that is a good quality. He wrote the folks at The Philippi church, telling them it was good that they shared with him. Now, I’m trying to be content and think I am, but I think it’s been good that so many of you- friends and family have helped or tried to help- only finding that I haven’t needed a lot so far. 

Helping others should be a core value that we all have. Both my professions have been based on it. I haven’t always done my best at it, but haven’t totally ignored it 100% of the time either. I definitely have a different perspective now and sometimes, that’s what it takes to get better at something. Many close to me have expressed that they’re amazed at how I can find something positive or how I can learn anything in the middle of this. It’s that perspective thing, I don’t look at things quite the same at times. I’m either different, weird or it’s a gift. I prefer and hope it’s a gift- I have enough other weird/different ways… 

So, for everyone wishing to help, I appreciate the willingness and we’ll let you know when there is a need. If you have done something, we appreciate it also. You’ve stepped in and been the church to us- just like the church at Philippi was to Paul.

Half-way Through Induction 

I spend 2 weeks on chemo and then a week off of it. Half-way through the induction phase has gotten here more quickly than I would have guessed it would actually arrive. Half-way and new things pop up.

I spent the last weekend at less than ideal. Nothing big, but I just didn’t feel as great as I have been feeling. My back pain, like before my diagnosis, was back. Then, after 2 weeks of chemo, I was tired too. I worked Monday but crashed all day on the couch Tuesday. I got up this morning, feeling 100%. It was soon lived, when what felt like a low blood sugar feeling washed over me, twice in one day before lunch. That was unusual enough that I voluntarily called the doctor. Long story short,  they think the steroids got my body used to high levels and the week off chemo (and steroids) allowed it to crash- even though my bloodwork came back really good.

Who knows, but for now, I’m feeling good and plan to go at it tomorrow!

We all get used to things. We get acclimated and miss little details. We get used to sweets and just consume them instead of savoring and enjoying them. We miss the forest for the trees.

It’s easy to overlook something we see every day. It’s evidenced by not watching sunsets, driving past the mountain view and not looking at it or not thanking those closest to us.

My family has thrown themselves towards my needs. They have waited on me time and time again. From pouring juice, giving rides, fixing and serving meals, adjusting covers to anything I needed or wanted. My sister has called or texted to check on me or ask how things are. My parents are always a phone call away from a needed ride or my favorite meal. My kids have had to take care of dad a little sooner than they had planned on.

I hope they know they are appreciated. They have made this time pass so much easier because they have so unselfishly served throughout it. I hate knowing that their serving isn’t close to over yet. We still have a way to go and I appreciate it all….