Journal

Journal entry by Bill Kingsbury

Dear All,

 

We usually don’t write a Thanksgiving/Christmas letter, but this year we have so much to be thankful for!  For one, Bill is still here; a year ago we did not know what to expect and there were serious doubts as we were told his cancer is very aggressive.  Two months ago, the doctors told us the cancer is in full remission!  We never gave up hope – the Lord gave us courage and the prayers and love of many brought us through some dark, dark times.  HIS WILL BE DONE!

 

This is not to say all has been wonderful.   We have dear friends and family who are quite ill. Early this year, we lost a good friend, Blake Gilbreath.  Bill lost three cousins during the year.  Jeff Davis and  eldest cousin Marion McGuire Edwards from Dad's side of the family, and Bob Phillips from Mom's side of the family.  We also lost several Sunday School class members who were dear to us.  We still feel these losses.

 

Bill is so blessed to have Shaysha as his wife, partner, caregiver, counselor and lover.  Over the has two years Shaysha has looked after me and gave unselfish love.  She did things for me neither one ever expected to have to be done and stayed steadfast with me.  She is a blessing and has been with me for over 12 years – and we expect many more!

 

We are thankful for our church, friends and family who have stood beside us during this time.  We include those who are many miles away and some whom we haven’t seen for many years.  Each time we heard from one of you or received a note or email we felt the strength and blessings they conveyed.  Thank you so much!

 

Thanksgiving has been a blessing enjoying our blended and extended families.  Bill’s Charleston family (Beth, Eddie and Rachel Ann age 10) came two weeks ago and we were all able to enjoy a “dual Thanksgiving/Birthday celebration” with Mark, Nadeen and their children, Conor William (8) and Vera Ann (7).  Beth and family remained in Charleston for the holiday while Mark’s family traveled around Austria and Germany as part of one of Nadeen’s business trips.  Her job now takes her around the world.  

 

Shaysha’s Mississippi family (Allen, Toody, Emily age 16 and Al4 age 13) remained in Jackson where we plan to visit in January for Emily’s baptism. Shaysha’s grandson Michael is currently stationed in South Korea.

 

We shared Thanksgiving with nearby family (Melanie, Jessica & C.J, and great-grand Addi who will be 4 in January) who joined us and a few friends for a delightful dinner.   Afterwards, we continued a one-year tradition with Addi helping to decorate the Christmas tree. She had so much fun last year, we decided to do it again. Needless to say; the lower part of the tree is decorated very well!

 

Shaysha and I have joyfully traded my doctor appointments with meetings and service. Still active in real estate, Shaysha has started a freelance design business open to small churches and she is very active in our neighborhood association organizing social events, clean-up activities, membership records and almost any other task needing to be done.  Bill is back on the HOA board as Vice-President after a year- and-half absence due to the cancer. He is also chairman of the Snellville Planning Commission and recently appointed to the Snellville Downtown Development Authority.  No matter what some may say about folks, like us, seasoned more than ¾ century, we think we are acting our age, and enjoy our service!

 

Love and Blessings to all!

 

Bill & Shaysha

Patients and caregivers love hearing from you; add a comment to show your support.
Show your love and support for Bill.
Make a donation to CaringBridge to keep Bill’s site up and running.

Journal entry by Shaysha Kingsbury

Praise Him from whom all blessings flow…."Total Remission" - two beautiful words of life heard yesterday; 6-months post stem cell transplant findings from most recent biopsies and scans reports. 

Rather than the original schedule, this miracle man has a reprieve not to see the transplant team again for another 12 months! He, of course, will continue to see his regular oncologist for frequent monitoring. Granted, the entire medical team continues to be on watchful alert due to the aggressive nature; yet, we’re getting on with our lives with joy and thanksgiving in our souls! Before putting this wonderful Caring Bridge resource away for a while, we need to say thank you to:


  • Our blended families, near and far - for always being by our side. 
  • Our extended families - for walking this dark journey with us. 
  • Fellowship Sunday School Class – for merciful and immeasurable blessings.
  • Snellville United Methodist Church – for prayers, flowers and showers of blessings.
  • Mountain Park United Methodist Church – for abundant love and allowing Shaysha a leave of absence.
  • The Blood & Bone Marrow Group of Atlanta – for amazing research and treatment.
  • Kaiser Permanente – for consistently remarkable care.
  • Kaiser Foundation – for providing financial grants.
  • Atlanta Blood Services – for sourcing platelets and donors time and time again.
  • LLS Society – Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – for providing financial grants.
  • American Cancer Society & The Hope Lodge – for providing housing during the critical days of treatment.
  • Northside Hospital – for professional and caring staff during the darkest of days.
  • Solid Source Realty – for being a different kind of real estate company and a caring broker during this uncertain journey.
  • Olde Hickory Village – for being such caring neighbors who loved on us and on our feline Bella.
  • Other churches and organizations across the country – for being our prayer warriors.
  • Caring Bridge – for bridging communication lines between you and us letting us know you care.
  • The prayers, platelet donations, CB donations, visits, calls, meals, rides, gas cards, greeting cards – for they’ve help make remission possible.
  • Birthdays – for both having surpassed 75-mile markers since first diagnosis July 2016.
  • Him – for on our wedding day, April 22, 2006, we were “Sent to Watch Over Each Other"!

Dear ones, Bill likely would not be here today had you not cared to do for us what you've done. We are grateful for your continued prayers of healing and thanksgiving. You will certainly hear from us again; meanwhile, no news is good news!

The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the body. Proverbs 15: 30 (NRSV) 

We are forever grateful,
Shaysha & Bill

 

Journal entry by Bill Kingsbury

HALLELUJAH!!!

 

I have had only good news this week!

 

On Monday, on the advise of the cardiologist, we saw the nephrologist because my creatinine levels are high as they have been for over a decade.   The nephrologist stated that my kidneys are functioning normal.  The creatinine level is only one indication of kidney function, and while it is high all other factors are normal. (You might remember that when all this started two years ago, they thought I had cancer in my left kidney.)

 

On Tuesday I had a stress test and Wednesday received a call from my cardiologist.   The heart was damaged when I had a heart attack 18 years ago and am considered high risk.  The ejection rate for the left ventricle had dropped to 25% after the stem cell transplant.  This low rate would call for a defibrillator. The ejection rate for the left ventricle rate is now up to 37%.  With the increase, I do NOT need a defibrillator! 

 

Also on Wednesday I received a call from the oncologist stating that I do not need any more chemo!  Earlier he stated that he would like me on a maintenance plan.

 

Going forward - I will have another bone marrow biopsy and check up in September, and will start my “childhood” vaccinations.  I will be given vaccinations over a two year period – just like a “baby”.  

 

Now I plan to get back to normal!!!

A special thanks to my Beechwood and Centre friends, many who I have not seen in many, many years.  You have kept up with our journey over the last two years.  Your caring has given us great comfort.

 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever.   1 Chronicles 16:34

 

Praise God!

 

Bill & Shaysha

 

Journal entry by Shaysha Kingsbury

Shaysha…touching base with you, our dedicated support team. We’re now 5 months post-stem cell transplant and it's difficult to keep up with this man!  Bill is doing very well getting a grip back on life….working in the yard, trimming trees, exercising at gym, dining out, hanging out with the Romeos and elected as Chair for Snellville’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

Making the best of each day, we’re still not out of the woods. Treatment of his heart issues were put on hold long enough to get him through the SC transplant. In these few short months, his heart ejection fraction is now at 25% - down from 33% at time of SC transplant. With this now a top priority, he has  appointments this week for a cardiac stress test in preparation for insertion of heart defibrillator. As well this week, he’s to see a Nephrologist to assess creatinine levels. After that, MRI, CT, Bone Marrow biopsies are set for 9/14. Busy week!

As for me….I’m healing very well from recent cataract surgeries. Fifty friends and family gathered with us in July to celebrate my 75th. BK gave me a Fitbit and while I make no promises to myself or anyone, I am pleased to say that I’m walking 3 to 5 miles every day. I was/am to start PT on my ankle due to complications from a very bad break 4 years ago. The walking is already making a difference.  Our blended families are hanging close and always at the ready! Our blessings are many! We are so grateful for continued prayers. We’ll post an update as we make progress in this journey towards healthier living. Shaysha & Bill

"Your heart is the just the beatbox for the song of your life." (unknown)

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6: 34

Journal entry by Bill Kingsbury

Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth.  Psalm 100:1 (NRSV)

Friends and Family,,

Yesterday we received great news from our BMT oncologist.  I am in full remission – there was no sign of cancer in the bone marrow.  We have successfully fought cancer and won!  We were told after the fact that the doctors had doubts that the last round of chemo would work and had doubts that the bone marrow transplant would be successful.  But they did!  The Lord has been with us; prayers have been answered.  We are grateful for all the prayers and thoughts over the last two years.   And a special thanks to all who gave platelets.  (You can still give for the others who are fighting this horrible disease.)

The type of lymphoma I have is very aggressive, and if it returns treatment is questionable and it would grow rapidly.  Therefore, for the next one or two years I will be placed on a maintenance program, meaning that I will have chemo treatments every few months.  Your continued prayers are appreciated.

We thank the good Lord for our medical team, those who provided transportation, meals, cards and the many who have been on this journey with us.  Thanks to those who have given us financial support including our Fellowship Class, Kaiser Permanente and the American Cancer Society.  We pray for continued strength as we go forward.  We give thanks to you.   May the power of the Lord also be with you.

Blessings,

Bill and Shaysha

 

Journal entry by Shaysha Kingsbury

“Probably in remission”… is much better than “not in remission”! Results of PET scan (from Chief Oncologist) not exactly what we’d hoped and prayed for. We’ll know more after bone marrow biopsy and seeing the transplant oncologist mid-July. Please continue your healing prayers.

Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. Job 11:18 (NLT)

Journal entry by Bill Kingsbury

It's been a while since we posted and a number of you have asked about my health, and it is appreciated.  Currently I am doing well.  Life is almost normal.  I have been going out with friends, attending meetings, Sunday School and driving.  For the most part, I do avoid crowds and children.  This last weekend we escaped to a beautiful and historic inn in Macon, Georgia for a wonderful and relaxing time.  On June 15 it will be 100 days since I had the bone marrow transplant.

This coming month is a very important month filled with a number of tests and doctors’ appointments to see the status of the cancer.  I have a PET scan and a bone marrow biopsy this week along with a few other tests.  Next Monday I have an appointment with my Kaiser oncologist and hopefully will learn that the PET scan shows that I am cancer free.   We will not know the results of the biopsy and other tests until later, maybe as late as July 13 when we meet with the Blood & Bone Marrow oncologist who did the transplant. If I am clear of cancer I will start in September receiving childhood vaccinations over a two-year period. We started this battle with cancer almost two years ago in July 2016.

Your prayers, cards, thoughts and platelet donations are critical to my recovery, giving us the strength to go through some very rough times.  I have never been as sick as I was during the period just after the stem cell transplant.  Although we never had doubts that I would make it through, there were dark days that made us wonder.  It helped knowing that most stem cell transplant patients make it through the same thing I was going through.

I need not tell you that I am so fortunate to have such a loving and caring wife to take care of me during this time.  Her love and patience cannot be matched.  Shaysha was with me 24/7, quit her job that she dearly loved to care for me.  This spring, knowing how much I love to grow flowers, she planted over 50 plants in pots and in the ground.  I am not allowed to “dig in the dirt” because of all the bacteria in the soil.  (I did dig holes using a long shovel but could not do the planting).  She continues to watch over me like a mother hen. Needless to say; I love her!

Please continue your prayers.  You have brought us far and your prayers will take us through what lies in the future.
Bill (& Shaysha)

And God who searches the heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8: 27 (NRSV)

 

 

Journal entry by Shaysha Kingsbury

Today, Bill was “discharged” back to the referring oncologist for April 24th, received the long term follow up schedule summarized below, and we officially checked out of the Hope Lodge which had been our home away from home for more than 2 months. 

·       Monthly breathing treatments at Northside Radiology for 6 months

·       Day 100 comes in June and we’ll return to BMT Northside for “restaging test requirements” such as Labs, CT/PET and Bone Marrow Biopsy. Seven to 10 days following we will then get the greatest of news that he no longer has “triple-hit" Diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and is cancer free.

·       Thereafter, we’ll return for restaging every six-month through March 2020 to assess the cancer status.

·       Beginning in March 2019, he’ll begin the retaking of all his childhood vaccinations – each and every one of them!

Without question, this journey through the stem cell transplant process has been difficult physically and emotionally.  While we celebrate and go with the wonderful ECHO findings, the medical team won’t rule the “missing” blood clot gone from the apex of his left ventricle until it’s reconfirmed by 2 or more tests in the future. As shared before, either the medicines worked, the nickel size clot is hiding, or a miracle has occurred. The transplant oncologist reminded us just today what a high-risk transplant patient Bill was/is. Due to strength, determination, perseverance and many prayers, he has now arrived at this point in the process and we both are ready to move forward towards returning to “normal” living.  Hallalujah!

So, what is…what will be our “new normal”...

Shaysha’s “work church”, after patiently waiting months for a “go ahead date” honored her yesterday with a retirement reception recognizing 10 years of service. This actually & unofficially served as her 3rd retirement….as she is still active with real estate listings and sales.   

This Thursday, the Romeos are coming here for lunch with Bill. He anticipates being able to drive short distances in a couple more weeks and looks forward to gradually taking back planning and zoning involvement as crowd size permits. Then there’s our 12th wedding anniversary coming up April 22nd.

There’s so much we’ll continue to miss out on for a few months more; church, concerts, recitals, ball games, birthday parties etc., etc. However, one lifetime event tops our agenda. Our granddaughter Emily, age 16, is patiently waiting for her grandfather to be well enough to travel to Mississippi so we can be present for her baptism. This will be our first road trip and we see this happening mid- summer! We’ll be able to venture farther away and more frequently as he gains strength and stamina.  We’re registered for a real estate conference at Grand Marriott Resorts, Point Clear, AL in September….then there’s the guitar museum in Chattanooga….there’s family near and far…there’s Yellowstone…there’s Lake Como, Italy and Malta…so much more on our bucket list…lots of living yet to do! We'd love to have you come visit us and/or do bits and pieces of this bucket list with us! 

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  James 1:2 (NLT) 

“If we can’t make it through one door, we’ll go through another door – OR we’ll make a door. SOMETHING terrific will come no matter how dark the present.”   -Rabindranath Tagore-

Bill & Shaysha Kingsbury, 2025 Hickory Station Circle, Snellville, GA 30078

Journal entry by Shaysha Kingsbury

Eleven days have gone by since my last “greatest of news post”. Since then our lives are beginning to take on some semblance of normalcy. The very 1st thing the medical team does upon arrival is take his dry weight and run labs. We then wait for the lab reports and depending on those, decisions are then made about cell growth and variances to his system as to what infusions he may need that day. He hasn’t had to take fluids basically since just after our last post. His platelets are increasing every day!

 

These past few visits have been remarkable considering the rough start. So much so that he is now deemed to be doing well enough to change from daily to every other day treatments. Treatment time now has dwindled from 5 to 7 hours daily down to 2 to 3 hours every other day. With this new regime, we’ll now be able to give up our room at Hope Lodge to someone who needs it more than we do now.

 

Words can never express how much contribution to the healing process this housing resource has proven to be. 52 guest suites…all cancer patients and caregivers whose fellowship and camaraderie with each other is phenomenal.  A young man who has a 7-year-old back home has been living at the lodge since last May with his own aged mother there by his side as his caregiver. Another guest is on his 3rd stem cell transplant…. 1st in 2004 and 2nd in 2016 were both autologous (like Bill’s) and the 3rd in Feb 2018 this time using donor cells. He and his wife have been at the lodge since December and will be there for some time yet.   One might think differently but the Hope Lodge is truly a happy place to return to at day’s end. We’ve been truly blessed to have had this experience.

 

Last Saturday a buddy arrived at our home at 6:15 to take him to treatment at Northside. The buddy’s spouse came at 9am to whisk me away for a day of respite. She and I spent the morning treasure hunting, lunched at a Greek restaurant, and topped  it off at a mani-pedi salon. Oh, what a difference a day makes!

 

We got a reprieve Easter Sunday when Bill was given permission to go sit in the car on the hill by our church overlooking the Town Greene to participate in Sunrise Service. Though we couldn’t hear from the distance, it was a blessing beyond measure to be free and able to celebrate our risen Savior. Loving friends were nearby to give support and gathered afterwards with us at our home for an early Easter Brunch.

 

This Monday we met with the cardiologist about the either “miraculously/mysteriously/medically” missing blood clot which had been about the size of a nickel in the apex of his left ventricle and is no longer seen in the ECHO. We’re told medicines have done their work, the clot is covered/disguised by tissue, OR a miracle has happened. Our belief in prayers and miracles allow us to move on as though it no longer exists. Hallelujah!

 

So, what’s next….

We’ll be operating out of our home, hoping for mid-day appointments to ease with traffic issues. We’ll use good common sense regarding isolation constraints as we begin picking up the  pieces of our lives. He’s not allowed to play in the dirt so we’re strategizing about how to “flower” our home with the beauty and promise of spring time! Low or “no” energy and GI issues continue to plague his recovery. Yet progress is made daily with the tweaking of his medications and physical therapy activities.

Ø  4/13 Day 37 – his port will be removed.

Ø  4/16 Day 40 - he will be given a “soft discharge” back to his regular oncologist who will monitor him going forward unless there are complications along the way. The frequency of treatment visits will change as he makes good progress from every other day to once weekly then to every other week…kinda/sorta!

Ø  5/28 Day 90 – we return to BMT Northside for a battery of tests

Ø  6/7 Day 100 – we learn he no longer has “triple-hit diffuse large b-cell non-hodgkins lymphoma” and is cancer free!

 

Just ONE more paragraph…will you bear with me…it HAS been 11 days since I’ve posted!

Our bridge of caring spans long and short distances. Across the many miles came a card with a simple message….”The best medicine is a happy heart”. Another card, came from less than 2 miles away, is one of multiple cards from the same person received on a weekly basis; always filled hand-written words and inspiring clippings of poems, quotes and Bible verses. One powerful message goes like this: “Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has roses.” So, in closing we want to say…it is YOU who are reading this last paragraph who are the “roses” in our thorn bush! You are the medicine helping us to keep happy hearts!

Shaysha & Bill

Journal entry by Shaysha Kingsbury

Oh my what blessed news we have to share with you.
  • Bill's transplant is 100% engrafted...and considered a successful transplant. The 100 days recovery post transplant is to monitor his cell growth and address any variances as they occur. 
  • Blood clot in his left ventricle no longer shows up in the ECHO! 
  • Just today the cardiologist and transplant oncologist agreed he is recovering from Saturday's scare and is now doing well enough to be released back into the care of the Blood & Bone Marrow Group at Northside for the remainder of his scheduled 100 days post transplant care.
  • Some days we'll be home and other days at the Hope Lodge in Decatur which is quicker to treatment center during weekday rush hour traffic.  
  • Our treatment cycle will soon (we believe Day 21) go to every other day rather than daily as he makes progress. At some point, weeks down the road it will change to weekly trips to Northside.   

We are so thankful for your prayers, cards, calls, to those who've helped on the home front with Bella, to life-saving platelet donors, for respite visits made, and for offers to help with transportation and meals. 

Posting frequent updates here help to keep you in the loop as we have something we feel will be of value and importance as you pray with and for us. Not that we're soon to forget, these postings serve as a journal as well. It is much easier for me to receive/respond to texts or emails (770-596-3671 or shaysha.kingsbury@outlook.com) rather than calls. During last week's hospital stay, Bill's phone was inadvertently displaced and we are hopeful it will be restored by the weekend.  Meanwhile, he can receive emails at bill.kingsbury@outlook.com

Bill must stay in a fairly controlled and healthy environment for the full post transplant period. We are looking at creative but wise ways to connect with our blended families and our extended family of God during these 100 days of isolation. If you have helpful ideas, please share them with us.
When we are home, healthy visitors are welcomed and encouraged to drop by as well. We miss you!
Shaysha & Bill

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health. Proverbs 15: 30 NLT

Journal entry by Shaysha Kingsbury

The one (and a major) positive of all is that the latest bone marrow biopsy was negative.

Our news on Wednesday was not good and we’re still trying to process the results of the bone marrow consultation.

  • Starting with our Wednesday morning appointment, the Chief Oncologist Kaiser Gwinnett referred us to a Palliative Care Team due to the super aggressive growth.
  • Later at the Bone Marrow Transplant Group at Northside we learned that without a transplant, his life expectancy is approximately two months and that we must move quickly with the most promising of treatment…...

It will take 3 more weeks or so to know it we're to proceed with a transplant. With the 2nd chemo Cycle finished yesterday, we must wait until after the 3rd Cycle (9/14 -15) then we wait for a 9/26 PET scan to see if this new cocktail is effective. In preparation there’s palliative care 9/11, ureter stent consult on 9/6, heart check on 10/6.

If the scan shows this new cocktail is working, then we proceed with the transplant. If the chemo is not working OR if the transplant is done and not successful, then there may be clinical trials available. If not, perhaps a miracle will heal his body.

Today, a "picture" of great health at 5'11" and 210 lbs, his favorite songs are:
"My Old Kentucky Home" and "Holy, Holy, Holy"!

We are so grateful for those who support and love us on this freight train journey we're on!
Shaysha & Bill

Bill’s Story

Site created on September 1, 2017


Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We will use this site to keep family and friends updated in one place. Diagnosed summer of 2016 with Non Hodgkins Follicular Lymphoma, it later morphed into a highly aggressive NH Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. After undergoing 3 chemo cocktails it is now referred to as "triple-hit" NH Large B-Cell Lymphoma.


Bill now 75 and Shaysha now 74  "sent to watch over each other" in 2006.  This is what we do! Ours is a blended family and we are blown away by the loving support of our loved ones, our many friends and neighbors. We care about you and we know you care about us. It is here, where we will keep you updated as we ride this freight train together. We believe in our medical team. We believe in miracles. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. 

SVG_Icons_Back_To_Top
Top