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Chemo for round 24 starts on Oct. 21, 2013
The full story begins almost seven years ago when I was diagnosed with Meylodysplastic Syndrom / Acute Meyloginous Leukemia in November 2005. I received two "rounds" of chemotherapy (one "7+3" and one high dose AraC) and then contracted parvovirus, which made me transfusion dependant for six months. This did, however, put it into remssion which lasted about 2 1/2 years. In (2008) I was continuing to do well, and starting in about May, things started going downhill again. Through a series of blood and bone marrow tests it was determined that I had relapsed. Jennae and I went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester where I received a total of five "rounds" of chemotherapy (two rounds of 7+3 and three rounds of high dose AraC). The leukemia is back in remission, but the Meylodysplastic Syndrome remains, and so we are starting a new chemo drug to attempt to control the MDS. In the background we are still in process of waiting for / preparing for a bone marrow transplant.
I celebrated my 56th Birthday yesterday. The cards,phone calls, and good thoughts were greatly appreciated. Jennae kept noticing I was not as “chipper” as I usually am, and it came to me this morning, I am 56 --I never thought I would see 50. That is somewhat mentally overwhelming. Not that I am complaining, and not that I mind getting older,however when I had my first clean bone marrow on my 48th birthday and the wonderful nurses in Bismarck, ND made me balloons out of nursing gloves and they all sang and celebrated with me, they were honest with me and I knew the prognosis. I never thought on that day I would see 50 ... now here I am at 56.
Celebrations along the journey!
In the days following my diagnosis, as I have written and talked about, the question arose … why me? As I’ve said before, I had the honor of learning from a dear friend of the need to turn that question around and ask… why not me? Now, eight years later and after all the experiences we’ve had and people we have known, the question arose once again yesterday … why me? No longer asking why do I have this terrible disease, no … that thought is no longer apart of my thinking. The question is now, after all the good friends that I have known and have met throughout this process (many of whom were diagnosed after I was diagnosed), why am I still here when so many others have already passed through the gate of death into new life. Some might call it survivor’s guilt or what have you, and I’ve counseled enough nursing home patients asking this same question to know that the answer is along the same lines as it was eight years ago … why not me? No, I certainly cannot do all the things I used to do, but I can still do things … pray for others, share an occasional thought with others, and perhaps more than anything else, continue to share my faith and positive attitude that remains in spite of the difficulties we face on the journey. Yes,the birthday celebration yesterday was wonderful, and so was waking up this morning to another new day … with hopes of doing so again tomorrow!
Celebrations along the journey!
There have been many celebrations that I have been able to be here for, our children graduating from H.S., College, Graduate School. There has also been a family wedding, Christmases, Birthdays, Retirements, the list can go on and on, but the best celebration that I have been able to enjoy is the celebration of Holy Communion at Worship when we are able to attend. That celebration of the foretaste of the feast which is to come and the healing presence of Christ is the highlight of my life. Never taken for granted, Nevermore rich and powerful than now. May the presence of Christ and the healing power of that holy supper be yours this week and in the weeks to come! Blessings and peace, Jeff & Jennae