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I have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and, on this site, I will provide updates as I have them. I will also treasure messages of encouragement and promises of prayer. I am trusting the words of Juliana of Norwich:
God did not say: You will not be troubled, you will not be belabored, you will not be disquieted; but he said: You will not be overcome. God wants us to pay attention to those words and always be strong in faithful trust, in well-being and in woe, for he loves us and delights in us, so he wishes us to love him and delight in him and trust greatly in him, and all will be well.. . . [The Lord says most comfortingly]: I may make all things well, and I can make all things well, and I shall make all things well, and I will make all things well; and you will see yourself that every kind of thing will be well.
This week has been busy with medical appointments. On Monday, I say my internist for my physical and, "other than cancer," I am in really good health. It sounds a little odd, I know, to put it that way, but it is such a gift that I don't have other issues with which to deal while continuing to live with "Frank." I talked by phone with the transplant team at Duke; after having read my latest test results, I don't have to journey back to Durham for an evaluation until the anniversary of the transplant in July.
Yesterday afternoon, I had a Zometa infusion, felt pretty lousy last night, and have residual "flu-like" feeling today; but I am able to work, so my response to the infusion this month is a bit less adverse than other months. That's good news, especially since I resume taking the oral chemotherapy drug today, after a 7-day respite.
This morning, I say my Asheville oncologist, Dr. Friedman. He is retiring, and I am delighted for him. I will miss his skillful and responsive care, though. I told him again today how very much I appreciate the ways he has guided me through this year of diagnosis and treatment. He told me that the traces of cancer still evident in my system are not presently a concern. The ongoing therapy is aimed at keeping the cancer in check, for as long as we can, at those very faint levels. Again, I am so thankful.
I had a chance this week to sit and talk with someone who wanted to hear about my cancer journey and about the ending of my ministry at First Baptist Church, Asheville. As we talked, I kept coming back to two things which, beyond very real anxiety and struggle, have pervaded this year: gratitude for love, grace, and mercy and a now-visceral (not just intellectual) conviction that we are never alone, even in those threatening and foreboding moments when we fear and feel that we are. As I have said and experienced so often during these days, there is no separation from the love of God made real to us in Jesus.
It is the Christmas promise. Jesus is Emmanuel, "God with us"--always.