Friday, July 31, 2009
This picture is from Sunday afternoon. Vanita spent an incredible amount of time caring for Mom in the final days. This picture shows Vanita feeding her and my grandson holding her hand.
My Mom was a believer in Christ, and is now in a far better place than she has ever been in her life. She had just turned 90 10 days before she died. Scroll down to "older posts" to see her early celebration we had just 3 weeks ago.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Some of the nicest news, however, is the fact that quite a few of the things they measure moved into the "normal range" for those parameters this month for the first time. Praise God for that.
PS - Don't stop praying or start celebrating just yet. I'm still a ways from being out of the woods.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. PS. 90:12
The doctor stonewalls at making a prediction for how long I will survive. Likewise, I dodge at giving an answer to friends and family, in large part because I don't know. Then there are so many variables. I would hate to tell someone that I was going to live for five more years and then still be going strong at seven, and them think I had lied to them, or for some, broken a promise. Likewise if I told them 20 years, and then died from the cancer after three.
From the outset, we have declared our lives are fully in the hands of an omnipotent and loving Heavenly Father, who could heal me of the cancer by whatever means He chooses, could prolong my life for however many years He chooses, or could take me home next week with a bad case of the sniffles. It is all in His hands.
From a human perspective, however, attached is one helpful piece of information that Carol and I obtained from the myeloma conference that we attended two weekends ago. It is a chart that tracks overall survival of myeloma patients by decade, from the time of their diagnosis. Here are some facts or conclusions that can be drawn from the chart:
- There has always been a small percentage of myeloma patients, about 10%, who have made it past 10 years beyond diagnosis, and seem to go on indefinitely with this as a chronic condition. These are the outlier data points, but there seem to be quite a few of them. At the conference, one of our speakers was a seemingly healthy man who had been in treatment for 19 years, and a report was given of a person who had been a patient for 31 years. Geraldine Ferraro has been a myeloma patient since 1998, 11 years.
- The average survival period for a myeloma patient over the past decade, however, is only about 4.5 years after diagnosis. Again from the human perspective, it reasonable to assume that I would do better than average because that number obviously includes all myeloma patients - those diagnosed in late stages of the disease, those who are elderly, those who die from other causes / complications, etc. I was diagnosed very early in the disease before it had attacked my skeletal frame or any organs of my body, at a relatively young age, and in otherwise excellent health.
- That average 4.5 year survival period over the past decade is a vast improvement over the 2.5 years after diagnosis for the preceding decade. This means, among other things, that the treatments are getting better. The longer a patient can survive, the greater his chances of overall survival due to new drugs and therapies being developed.
Conclusion: We don't know. Review the chart and make your own conclusions if you like. I was diagnosed in September 2007, almost two years ago. My plan is to substantially beat the average and hopefully become an outlier data point, but leave it all in God's hands and not waste a single day in the meantime.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
A few weeks ago, I wrote about George, the friendly squirrel who lives in my back yard. I spoke of how George kept me close company while I was potting some summer plants, and how particularly pleased I was with three new pecan trees I had found sprouted in some of the flower pots. I spoke of recognizing George’s likely involvement in the process, and of thinking him, and rewarding him with peanuts.
Ten days ago, I walked into the back yard and saw George with the most guilty look I have ever seen on a squirrel’s face. He took one look at me, turned and bolted, and hid himself from my presence just as surely as Adam did hide himself from the Lord in the Garden. “George, where art thou?” I called, but I received no answer in return.
I looked around the back yard to see what could be wrong, and saw an old dead branch, about 6 or 8 feet long and as big around as my forearm, laying on the ground. It had not been there 2 hours earlier when I mowed the grass. I could imagine George and some of his adolescent squirrel pals jumping up and down on the branch, laughing and having a big time until it broke and they all came crashing down to the ground. “Oh, well,” I thought, “squirrels will be squirrels. No harm done.” Besides, that dead branch had been outside my upstairs office window, and I was glad to see it down without my having to climb and cut.
Then I saw the REAL CRIME. George had uprooted the new little pecan trees to get to the pecan nuts still a part of the root. He knew it was wrong and that is why he looked so guilty. Truly, all creation has fallen and gone corrupt.
George, if you read my blog, please know that I still love you and I forgive you. If you will plant me some more pecans next winter, I will try to grown them again next spring, but I will put them in a squirrel proof cage for their first year to help you resist temptation.