Tuesday, November 07, 2017

A Turning-Point Treatment and Prayer Requests

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Thursday we will head to Stanford for the final step of the stem cell transplant process. We have been at this for almost a year now, and this will be a major turning point in my treatment process. The doctor’s have said that we have a 70-80% likelihood of being pronounced cancer free after the recovery and post-checks are done, around June 2018. If this treatment does not work, the likelihood of a cure goes way down and the treatments become much more experimental. That would be the point where some give up the fight. Nevertheless, this is a good prognosis for a cancer patient and I would urge you to please pray for the more likely positive outcome. That is certainly in God’s hands. The doctor also said that there is a possibility that the edema caused by the lymphoma could be chronic even after the cancer is gone. I am praying that will not happen and would ask you to join me in that prayer.

This situation could also be a life turning point. We have been advised that, to continue care after our insurance lapses on December 31, I (or possibly we) will need to go on Social Security disability and Medi-Cal for at least 18 months. It is likely that, even with a cure, I cannot go back to work through 2018. What this means longer term is unclear, but we will meet with the Stanford social worker and Medi-Cal people this weekend and hopefully have more answers soon. As soon as we know more about our situation we will let you know. Of course, God knows our future, has a plan for us and will direct us toward that. My prayer request is that we would hear what God is telling us to do here. It is hard to make life decisions when you are sick or under stress  so we are praying for real discernment to know the right decisions to make regarding disability, insurance and other financial issues.  I know it is silly, but I think I (not Joyce) have worried more about the financial aspect of this than whether I am going to make it through or not.

Finally, I am asking prayer for strength, recovery, and experience of God’s presence for Joyce and I as we go through the process this coming week. Thursday I will meet with the doctor and get my blood tests and a chest x-ray to make sure my body can handle the rigors of the transplant. Then Friday I will get my first chemo. The nurse warned Joyce that this one will tend to make me irritable and maybe nauseous. I get one day of rest then get the next chemo on Sunday. This one can cause fevers and blood issues. Then after another day of rest I get the 3rd chemo on Tuesday. This one has the potential to aggravate my edema. Last time I received it I gained 20 pounds of water weight in two days. The purpose of this chemo process, as I understand it, is to kill the lymphoma by coming as close as possible to killing me without killing me. <smile> My immune system will be basically non-existent. Then they will transplant my stem cells on Thursday the 16th to give my immune system a jump start. I’ll also be getting neupogen shots during the 2-3 weeks I will be sequestered from people, germs and microbes in the hospital. I am asking for God’s mercy through the process, that I can handle the side effects, that I will recover strength and immunities as quickly as possible, that I will represent Christ well though this, and will come out on the other side with a “cancer free” pronouncement.

I know many of you have been praying with us throughout this year-long process. We have now reached the critical point and I am asking again for your prayers. Thank you for praying and supporting us through this adventure. We don’t know what the Father has for us in the future, but we can rest in His promises and plan, because we know Him.

1 comment:

Mary Johnson (and the stubborn gardeners of Northern Arizona) said...

Just today, I spoke with a friend whose father had stem cell treatment sometime ago. She said he didn't feel too well for the first month and a half to two months, but now he's recovered and feels normal/fantastic. He's so glad he went forward with the treatments and life is good for him now. I will pray as you ask, and also that you return to normal/fantastic soon yourself!