Jeff’s Story

Chemo for round 31 started on February 23, 2015

The full story begins nine 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 dependent for six months. This did, however, put it into remission 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 using a new chemo drug that came on the market in 2009 in an attempt to control the MDS.

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Mary-Lou Weisman wrote: There are two basic kinds of forgetting: Losing one’s train of thought and losing the passengers on one’s train of thought.

We’ve been thinking quite a bit about memory and remembering / forgetting lately. I know it seems to be everyone’s complaint … memory problems and not being able to remember where we put things, or even what we had for lunch. These, I think,are the passengers on the train. Sometimes we lose track of a couple passengers, other times more. Lately I find myself frustrated as I lose more and more of the recent passengers, while a surprising number of the “older”passengers are still riding along in my brain. Chemo week is a different story all together … That is when not only is the entire train lost, it seems as if the train from that week and a half or so never existed to begin with!

Memory is kind of a funny thing … we are kind of suspecting that I haven't been exercising my memory enough, so Jennae is having me play some memory games to see if I can strengthen it somewhat. We’ll see what happens … time will tell if I am better able to keep track of my passengers. We do know that it is a part of what they call chemo brain, and a side effect from all of my treatments.

In any case, while our memories may be flawed, losing passengers and even whole trains, we know that our God will never forget us or leave us behind. Our God remembers us even if we forget. I continue to have no immune system so we are staying home except to go into the clinic. Thank you for all your thoughts,prayers, and support. Blessings and peace, Jeff & Jennae

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Barb Kleven
By Barb Kleven
God bless your brain (train) ride! You're in my prayers!
Donna Eszlinger
By Donna and Delbert
keeping you in our thoughts and prayers, as you recover from the brain fog, and try to keep up with events going on around you. My mom complained about the very same thing, so while your in a deep sleep from meds,, we pray that the brain is doing a recovery, and not leaving the train station.. keep working on the memory process, and give yourself time to re adjust to your you work on getting back the immune system.. hugs and prayers to you and Jennea, as you enter holy week and prepare for your church service..
Sandy Anderson
By Sandy Anderson
Hey there, J's! It's been awhile since I've written, but don't think that means I've "forgotten" ya'll because you continue to be in my thoughts often and prayers always! I know the whole memory worry issue ~ mine was the result of lack of sleep over a long period. I'm taking something now that's helped so I can remember a few more things, but it's no fun, for sure! But these minor annoyances in my life are nothing compared to what you and so many others go through every day. In the midst of all of it, when we feel lost and at loose ends, God never lets go of us ~ you are so right! Spring is coming soon, I can feel it in the air, even if we are forecast to have snow and wind in the next couple days! God's blessings and peace!
Caroline and Cliff Green
You are so correct, Jeff. Memory is a fleeting thing some days. Mine I am sure is age related, yours probably, as you suspect, chemo. But, you know what? Every day we gain another few hours to be with those we love and sometimes struggle through the "other times" when we would just as soon forget what is happening. Thank you for being here with us. Thank God for your ability to continue to chat with us too.
Craig Nessan
By Craig Nessan
Most important of all is that God in Christ remembers you!

"Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom!"

Prayers for you and Jennae from your Wartburg Seminary home!
Debbie Mayer
By Deb Machmeier
Dear Jeff and Jennae,
Here is a memory question: Do you remember me? Deb Machmeier a.k.a. Deb Mayer. I am a friend of your sister, Jackie. Just thought I would give you a memory question since you would need to know I had changed my last name IF your memory served you well. Just a little humor and hope I succeeded in bringing a smile to you both. My thoughts and prayers continue for you and your family during this chemo cycle. Stay snuggled in, we just received snow here in Eau Claire this morning, not much, just enough to let you know our winter is not yet over.
Lisa Ahlness
By Lisa Ahlness
So interesting, the things I learn from you! I like your metaphor of passengers on the train, too. Have fun playing games, and thank you for the reflection. God never does forget us - no matter what.
Blessings to you both.