Sunday, September 4, 2011

Renee's Birthday and Visit with Dr. Keating

Hello friends and family, it has been an extremely busy time these last 3 weeks or so.  I've been on a business trip to New York, threw a surprise party for Renee (August 13th), spent a week in Europe and the UK, and this past week spent 2 days in Houston.  Tomorrow I leave on a week-long fishing trip with my Dad, father-in-law, brother-in-law Scott McElrath, and his brother Keith.  Today I want to show you some pictures and a video from Renee's 50th birthday party - it was a very special evening - we had about 40 guests, some of whom traveled from Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and New York to celebrate with Renee.  Here's the key video clip and a few pics:

Renee and college BFF Heather Holley

Renee's sister Karen with husband Scott, and Keith McElrath with the Birthday Girl

With sis Karen and childhood BFF Cindy

Renee with Sandra, high school BFF and dear friend of the family
 It was a really wonderful evening - Renee said she was taken completely by surprise, which I think the video bears out.  It was also an occasion worth celebrating - Renee has been a blessing to many, most of all me, for many years - as I said in my toast, she is by far the greatest blessing in my life :-)

So, the news from Houston and Doc Keating was that I had a partial response to the FCR, so I am in a partial remission - meaning that I have some residual cancer in my bone marrow.  This is actually the result that we were expecting based on the results that we had at the midway point.  So there's good news and not as good news in there.  The upshot of that is that Dr. Keating wants me back in Houston in January, at which time we will make a decision on the next course of action.  There are several possibilities, some that are standard treatments, some that are in clinical trials, and of course the stem cell transplant is also an option.  Dr. Keating and Dr. Hosing - the transplant specialist - say that I am an excellent candidate for a transplant given my minimal evidence of disease, age, overall health, and having a related matching donor (sister Laure).  Based on my conversation with Dr. Keating, he expects that we will need to take further action early next year, though it is hard to know what the residual cancer will do and when.  Based on my cancer type, I don't think they are inclined to wait around to see what it will do, but rather, treat it aggressively.

As ever, my faith is in the God of heaven and earth, and in His Son Jesus Christ, who loves me more than I can ever understand.  I trust him with every hour of my life, and with my eternal future.  He has asked many of us to trust Him through unimaginable difficulty, and it gives me great comfort to know that He is able to redeem  all our suffering for our good and His glory.  I fully believe the truth of Romans 8:28, even in difficult circumstances - "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose".

If anyone you know is struggling with illness or other difficulty, and you think I might be able to encourage them, please have them reach out - or reach out yourself.  It is a great blessing to me when I can encourage a fellow traveler to find hope in the Lord.

I'll leave you with this - the last thing Dr. Keating said to me was "come on back in January and we'll decide how we're going to cure you.  He's optimistic, so I am optimistic :-)

Much love - Dan and Family

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