Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Neutros Philled In!! February 9

With daughter Rachel on the beach, circa 1992
First, I hope everyone got that excellent pun in the title.  Second, I've decided that blog entries are better with pictures.  So, even if I don't have new photographic material, I'll post a favorite pic or two.

Executive summary for today:   excellent day!  though today was scheduled as the start of my 2nd cycle of chemo, none of the medical staff believed that my neutrophil count (specialized white cells that fight infection) would be high enough to begin the 2nd cycle.  My last 3 neutrophil measurements were 400, 400, and 500, each being 7 days apart.  Today was 6 days after the last measurement and, thanks be to God, my count was 1500!!!  Despite being a layperson, I opined to my head nurse that I just felt that once my marrow kicked into gear, it would crank out neutrophils, and either that or divine intervention did the trick.  So instead of waiting a week and checking counts again, I went straight into chemo and 6 hours later, I was on my way home with generous helpings of cancer killers in my bloodstream.  Tomorrow and Friday will be approximately 2 hour treatments each;  I'll probably start to feel green in the gills (sickly) sometime Friday, which should last a few days.  I must admit that I was worried about the neutrophil issue - if they could not tolerate the chemo, an alternate treatment might have to be chosen, and that could cause serious issues.  So I am greatly relieved and full of gratitude.

I want to give a shout-out to my pastor, Dr. Mike Garrett who preached  a typically outstanding sermon on Sunday - the topic was how Christians should handle those times in our lives when we feel hopeless or defeated due to relationship issues, employment or financial issues, medical issues, or just plain depression.  One of the things I think about a lot is how many people go through cancer treatment with an "I will beat this" attitude;  I have a lot of respect and admiration for them, because it's easy to lose hope.  My thought process is a little different - I've been taught, and come to believe, that apart from God's will I can do nothing (John 15:5) - so if I beat this, it will be because He has ordained it - if I don't beat it, again, it is His will, and He has an eternal plan for my future.  Which brings up a question - why pray?  Can we change our futures and outcomes through prayer?  The Bible states emphatically that prayer is effective (James 5:16).  So - I think the old saying "work like it's all up to you and pray like it's all up to God" is good advice.

I also want to recommend 2 Corinthians 4:7 to you -7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. Mike referenced this passage on Sunday - the "jars of clay" is a metaphorical reference to our bodies - and the treasure is identified in the previous verse:  6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.  I can relate to my body being a jar of clay on several levels - but, that my 'jar' holds a treasure, the Glory of God displayed in the face of Christ - wow!  It is my daily prayer that Christ would show through my clay jar every day, and that He would be even more glorified as a result of the valley that He is taking me through.  This lifts my spirits and gives me a mission and sense of purpose that is much higher than the well being of my own 'jar of clay'.

I know some of you are just itching to hear Mike speak, so here is your link to Sunday's sermon:

Dr. Mike Garrett, Crossroads Fellowship, Sunday, February 6, 2011

 Thanks for following my journey - your kindness, concern, notes, emails, cards, natural medicines, health supplements, and prayers are exceedingly precious to me and Renee.  For those of you still with me on this long post, here is another picture:

With Renee in New Zealand, January 2003
Renee and I will be celebrating 25 years of marriage next month.  Talk about a blessing.  That's another post, coming soon.  Much love - Dan

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