Narrator: Little did he know that this simple seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.
Harold Crick: What? What? Hey! HELLOOO! What? Why? Why MY death? HELLO? Excuse me? WHEN?
(quote from Stranger Than Fiction)
I was sitting in the waiting area of Ellis Fischel too early this morning when CNN broadcast a news story about several teenagers who died from a tornado yesterday, as well as a bus crash in Georgia that killed several college students. I was pondering the fact that life is so brief, and none of us know when we will be taken, or what will take us. Even now, it's easy for me to think the question is pretty much answered, but ultimately I don't know what will take me home, or when. I know I may sound hopeless or morbid to some of you, but that is not the case. I am preparing for a possibility of death. I think it is only prudent to do so in my situation, and honestly, I think it is prudent for everyone to do. None of us are immortal, and care should be taken to consider what comes next. I shared with a friend recently that I had been reading several articles on John Piper's website (www.desiringgod.com) regarding Heaven, as though studying up on some country I'm visiting on vacation soon. It's just all of a sudden become a very interesting topic to me. Sad that only the prospect of death has me at this place, because I believe as Christians we should be focusing on the fact that our stay on earth is quite brief and very temporal. Very little matters when you view it in light of eternity.
I told my husband the other day (who has kept me faithful all these months) that I am finally learning how much God hates sin. I HATE cancer. I am sick of it. And I realize cancer is just one more visible sign of sin in this world. So ultimately, I hate sin. And how much more does God hate sin? I am also realizing how helpless I am in this battle against AML. Just as helpless as I am, totally depraved and living in sin from the second I was born. Ultimately God is the cure, and He chooses to show mercy and grace as He wills. (Titus 3:5) He has already rescued me from the ultimate death of sin, and I trust He can rescue me from AML if He chooses. But if not, ultimately the price of sin has been paid, and I know I am secure, and I am thankful every second for the gift of faith. "My faith is like shifting sand, so I stand by grace." - Caedmon's Call
We've decided against pursuing treatment out of state at this point. A change in environment right now poses significant risk, and we've seen the Lord pretty effectively close the doors on a few options we were considering. The Phase One clinical trials my doctor mentioned are being conducted at Ohio State University. After speaking with an RN who heads up the AML trials there, we've decided against that route at this time. She pretty much summed it up with the statement, "If they don't kill her, which they probably will, she'll wish she were dead." We're not at that point yet. I think it is a noble thing to dedicate your body to science before your death, but I also know the people who do so have no other options.
At this time we are trying to get insurance approval for the chemo drug Decitabine, which is being used in conjunction with another drug at a trial in Ohio. It was recommended to us by Ohio and my local team as an "easier" (i.e. side effects) chemo drug, but they said they are having a hard time getting it approved by insurance for use at Barnes or MU (University of Missouri at Columbia, to clear up some confusion). We contacted the insurance company and they said they would look into covering it, so the social workers here are working on it. I hope to have an answer early next week, and if it is a yes, will probably go back into the hospital very soon. I'm already neutropenic, so there is a possibility I will end up there from an infection rather soon, anyway. It's only taken a few days for me to be reminded of how swiftly this disease works. Assuming all goes well with the chemo, I would also receive a stem cell booster from my brother -- some frozen, and possibly some newly obtained. I am being told that it is doubtful this will put me into remission. At best it may buy me some time. We'll see.
We've also been offered a second stem cell transplant by Ohio State. I don't know how feasible an option this is. Right now I'm kind of considering it a last resort, and again, I'm not quite there yet.
In the meantime, I'm getting regular bloodwork at Ellis Fischel. I'll need regular blood and platelet transfusions over the next weeks. (Thank you again to those who donate blood products, I have certainly mooched quite a bit over the past months. Barnes always emphasized a special need for more platelet donors.) I'm also continuing to use the Mannatech products, along with several other natural supplements and diet changes. Those who know me best know what a challenge this has been for me. I have yet to see an effect in my bloodwork, but it's only been about a week.
Thank you for your continued prayers on our behalf. I know the Lord hears them. Please always remember that even if I do not continue here on this earth, I will achieve ultimate healing in heaven. One way or the other, your prayers will all be answered. It is a miracle that we are not consumed day by day. (2 Cor. 4:16)