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.
Remember you are dust and to dust you will return …
It doesn’t take living with a terminal illness for as long as we have to realize that it has it’s challenges as well as it’s blessings.
Tomorrow, on Ash Wednesday we are reminded of our mortality, something that I have been vividly reminded of every day since my diagnosis 8½ years ago. Yet, since I am still “above ground,”as one of my friends used to say, I have time to do some of the things that others may not.
As a gift to Jennae and my family before my next cycle of chemo starts, I took the time to write out my funeral service. (we are not planning to need it real soon) Funeral planning is not always the easiest of tasks, however this was a good time for me to sit down and think through the many things that I would like to be included. A gift, yes Jennae says it is a gift. In all reality this is something that everyone needs to do, take the time to at least jot down a few bible verses, the hymns that have meaning, because in the business of life we don’t always share what we would like to have done for us at the end of this life. However, this is as important because, even if we don’t like to think about it, this life will one day end. Anyone who has had the task of planning a funeral service for a loved one knows how difficult it can be … trying to remember what they said, wondering what they would have wanted … wouldn’t it be so much better for the loved ones that remain on this journey to have all those details taken care of ahead of time? With those details taken care of, they are able to grieve the loss, and continue their journey of faith until that day when all God’s faithful children are gathered together in that new life we will share in the Kingdom of God.
On another note, I had an eye appointment yesterday and my central serous retinopathy (that fluid pocket behind the retina in my left eye that messes up the central part of my vision)has almost resolved itself. We’ve been tracking it for the last year and a half, and it seems to come and go, perhaps related to my chemo cycles. For the time being it seems to be doing okay, so unless I sense some drastic changes in my vision, we will wait until August to check again.
We continue to watch my blood counts and go into the clinic on Mondays and Thursdays, so far no new surprises, all seems to be holding its own and I am still trying to get on the treadmill. We begin chemo on March 17th.Thank you all so much for your continued prayers and support, and remember that everyone is dust and to dust we will return … a Challenge and A Blessing for all of us.