Saturday, October 1, 2011

Back to Houston

Renee and sister Karen with Renee's 50th birthday present (the waterfall)Sept 28
It's Saturday morning.  Yesterday we learned that the mystery lung mass is indeed a lymphoma, confirmed by MD Anderson's pathology lab.  Right away, I will say that we have been battling a little "Israelite syndrome" this week, where a week ago we were rejoicing and praising God in the highest because He delivered me from lung cancer - lymphoma was a blessing - think of the Israelites being delivered from Pharaoh when He parted the Red Sea - and within a few days, we were praying fervently that the mass would NOT be lymphoma - think of the Israelites saying to God "have you delivered us from Pharoah's armies only to have us starve in this desert?"

So what we are focusing on is that lymphoma is still better than lung cancer, remembering that God showed Himself loving and powerful and He remains in control of my life and all these medical twists and turns.  The medical details are that my CLL has undergone a "Richter's transformation", i.e. some CLL cells mutated into a B-cell lymphoma.  It is a well documented complication of CLL and it is aggressive but treatable - mine does not appear to have spread much at this point.  Dr.s Kritz and Keating conferred yesterday and the "win strategy" (to borrow a term from IBM sales) is to give me two rounds of a chemo treatment called hyperCVAD, and if that is effective on the lymphoma, move to transplant and go for the cure.  The hyperCVAD is a fairly harsh treatment - I will lose my hair and feel pretty ill for a week to 10 days.  I believe they will know during or soon after the 1st treatment if the lymphoma is responding.

Dr. Keating wants me in Houston for the 1st round of treatment so Renee and I will fly tomorrow to Houston and hopefully the treatment will start Monday.  The tentative plan is to try to get home next Saturday and hunker down here for the worst of the side effects.  Because of the potential side effects of the treatment, hospitalization is required so I will be checking into the MD Anderson hospital on Monday.  If the 1st round goes well I may get the 2nd round here locally (still would have to be hospitalized).

The outpouring of love, care, prayers, cards, and concerns have touched Renee and I in ways you cannot imagine.  Please feel free to share my blog with your circle of friends - I want to share the message of God's ministry in my life with as many people as possible.  My daughter, a talented writer and artist, did a beautiful pastel of an eagle for me for one of my birthdays - it hangs in my office with the caption:

"And in the shelter of Thy wings I will take refuge, until destruction passes by." - Psalm 57:1

God is our refuge, our strong tower - He will give us the strength and grace we need to see this through.  In Him we have supreme and ultimate confidence.  May He bless you this week.

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