By now, most of my regular readers have probably heard via the social internets that my leukemia has returned.
My Quick Update post earlier this week hinted at the possibility that I was sick again. Those weird symptoms just couldn’t have been something minor.
So here we are, back at UCLA. Yesterday we went in, up in Santa Maria, for the results of the spinal tap (lumbar puncture), and they weren’t good. There is evidence of leukemic cells in my spinal fluid, and the blood cultures also indicated the same in my blood. My SM doc had already connected with the superstars here, and passed along the orders that I get my crap together, and get to UCLA.
Last evening we arrived for admission, after packing up the whole family and dropping off the 5 who can’t care for themselves with my sister. (You’re counting…you missed one…Oreo the dog.)
We hit our room just before shift change. We mostly said hello and were greeted by old friends. After slipping into an old familiar routine we sat down, and with a great sigh, we started to face our reality.
I am sick. Again.
We will be spending weeks on end, right here on 6 East, of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. This time, Deanna will be headed home for the weekends, assuming the gas funds remain. We see the added value for her spending time with the kids that way.
Today we settled in to our room. I had several tests and procedures; an MRI, another bone marrow biopsy, and a PICC line placement. And just now, this evening, my chemotherapy began. I’ll be getting 3 different poisons, over the next 6 days. Then on top of that, tomorrow I start getting chemo pushed into a spinal tap. Yep, it’s like that!
Honestly, it feels a lot like it did last time. But this time we’ve walked that journey already, making us no longer rookies. Yes the severity of it all is raised up a bit. Doses are higher. It’s effects on me will be worse. But we carry with us more wisdom.
My goal through all of this, no matter the outcomes…is to constantly bring glory to God. Whether I am in remission in 3 months, or in the ground, I yearn for the Lord to be glorified! That’s scary for some to even think about. Well, guess what?! I’m not that guy! Men don’t cower down from possibilities. There is no promise of healing. There is no promise of comfort. There IS promise of suffering. But, more so, there is promise of redemption and salvation. There IS promise of eternity.
Yesterday, before we even had posted this change to the social internets, we started getting support and prayer. I was inundated with actual texted prayers and voicemail messages of prayer. I had an email and text inbox that I simply could not keep up with. What a great problem to have! I love you all so much! And then we announced it on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, and the torrents were unleashed! I immediately knew I’d need to organize information, as soon as we could get it. That’s where this blog came in so handy before. So, you can expect me to write regular updates, with what’s going on.
Another tool that cannot go unmentioned, from last year’s fight, was the amazing blessing gifted to us in financial help. We would have had two months of zero income, and no money for 4 of our 6 birthdays, nor Christmas, had the generosity of our friends and family not kicked in. There were those who were willing and able AND called to give, and they did. We are ever so grateful.
Some chose to give cash, while some actually used a third party, who would get it to us. That’s fine. Others, just handed us cash. That’s fine too. Others mailed us some help, checks and oddly more helpful; gift cards. And lastly there were those who took advantage of a little link I shared to my PayPal account.
Our needs are not as great this time. My long term disability is pumping along steady, and will continue to do so. (It’s not my salary, but it’s better than nothing.) In fact, we recently had Deanna take on a job, to help bridge some gaps. And that job is now on hold. So, we will continue to have shortcomings, but now there will be all the numerous roadtrips from Santa Maria to UCLA and back. (We REALLY hope to have Deanna be home with the kids on the weekends.)
So, if you are willing, able, AND called, we would appreciate some help to bridge the gaps. Deanna will be driving a lot, so gas gift cards are a way to be specific with helping out. And she’s trapped down here in Westwood, with all the college eateries. So, she’s hoping to build her meals from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, as best she can, to stay healthy. So I guess gift cards from those stores would help her out too.
If it’s easier, you can just shoot us some help with PayPal. Click the button, and get it done.
The purpose of this blog post is first and foremost an effort at sharing information, with those who care to know about my leukemia journey. It’s not over, and so here we are. As an addendum to that, we are expressing our needs. Some of them are financial. But the greatest need we have is your continued prayerful and encouraging support.
Please feel free to contact us! We’d love to hear from any and all. However, we’d appreciate that you use our email addresses or social media, like Facebook, as a first method. If you already have our mobile phone numbers, feel free to text us as well.
And lastly, there may be some who can and want to come visit me. Honestly, I love visitors! But it should be coordinated. If you want to stop by, please contact Deanna, and she can arrange a good time for you to stop by. You must be sickness free, willing to wear a face mask, and not bring your little ones. (teens and up)