The title of this post is “The Power” for several reasons that I will explain as we go through this post. I’m sure that most of you have heard at this point that Dad (Mike) has been diagnosed with leukemia. This most recent journey started several months back when Dad started having difficulty breathing & a great deal of fatigue. He was seen over the course of these past few months by a variety of doctors & specialists to determine the reason for his ailment. It was on Monday, April 23rd when he went in for a panel of blood-work that revealed his red blood cells (RBCs) were extremely low. They advised him to go straight to the ER, which he did and was started on a regimen of blood transfusions. He was also admitted that night which helped in revealing more of the puzzle. It wasn't only his RBCs that were low but also his white blood cells (WBCs), his hematocrit (HCT) and his platelet count. This determined that he was in fact very sick and needed to continue with blood transfusions, as well as determine the cause of why all of his levels were so low. After many tests and experts looking into a cause, on Friday, April 27th, he was diagnosed with leukemia. At this point they could not determine the type of leukemia, which has four sub-types and determines the route of treatment. His hematologist/oncologist decided to send his bone marrow biopsy to Stanford University for a final diagnosis. She told him that he was such a special guy that they needed a special diagnosis. They advised Dad that he should remain in the hospital while waiting for the results due to the risk of infection and their ability to monitor his RBC count. The final diagnosis came back on Thursday, May 3rd. He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Once they found the determination of the type they were able to formulate a plan for treatment. Dad will be receiving induction chemotherapy for 7 days followed up with 3 days of another medication. He started this process on Friday, May 4th and will continue to remain in the hospital during the chemo and for the recovery. They will do a follow up bone marrow biopsy once he recovers to determine the effectiveness, as well as the following steps. That is a synopsis of the past couple weeks in a nutshell. Sorry it came so late but there was a lot to absorb for all of us.
The Power through this process has been amazing to say the least. First and foremost, the power of God has been shown to Dad and our entire family in so many ways. His grace and love surrounds us every single day and we are so very thankful for that. The Power of support through our family, friends, church family, community and loved ones has been very humbling. Each and every one of you has been such a blessing to Dad and us, words will never be enough to express our gratitude. The Power that Dad has displayed through our lives has been unbelievable! Throughout our lives we always look for someone who is strong during difficult times and Dad has always been that person. Now that the difficult time involves him, he remains the strongest man I know.
As we move through this journey together as a family we have set a few motto's if you will. The first one is, this is Dad's fight against leukemia. We all will support him in this battle in every way possible, while being there to show our love. The reason behind this mindset is the psychology of a patient that battles for family can feel as though they may let someone down during the fight. We don't want Dad to ever feel that way and he knows that we are supporting him through everything. The other motto is really a request for his medical team and anyone who may want the answer that so many of us ask not knowing the effects. "How long?" This can be very detrimental towards anyone and we have requested that this question not be asked and his medical team not state their opinions. His hematologist/oncologist was 100% on board with this and said "It's not my job to tell him (Mike) how long he's got to live, that's God's business". This probably goes without saying but we all couldn't agree more and absolutely love this lady! With that said, Dad is moving forward with amazing grace, humility, strength, love, support and determination. He keeps telling nurses, visitors, friends, family and everyone he speaks with "I've got this, I'm gonna kick it in the ass and flush it down the toilet!" As you can see his attitude and spirits remain high because of his strength, his faith and the support he receives from all of you!!
Lastly, the Power of love that we have received from so many of you has been an unbelievable experience for our family. From the thoughts and prayers to the phone calls, messages, gifts, food, cards, love and support, we will never be able to thank you enough. I hope each of you understand how you have already impacted the life of our Dad, as well as ours and continue to do every day.We know that someday soon we will be able to pay it forward, but in the meantime, we just want you all to know that our hearts are filled with your love and your grace. Thank you all for everything!!!