Off to Oz

You remember Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She was living a perfectly normal life in Kansas when one of the summer twisters hit. Instead of transplanting Dorothy to a tree, or a field a couple of miles away, the twister deposited her in a strange land. With the famous words “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” Dorothy and Toto, her faithful dog, set off to find their way home, facing a multitude of obstacles and meeting many strange people along the way.

I feel like Dorothy. Tomorrow a twister (a Southwest Airlines 737) will land me in the strange world of MD Anderson. It’s not that we haven’t been there before, we have. The strange part is that we will be entering new territory. Come Wednesday evening, I’m sure I will look at Melanie, by beloved wife, and say something like “we’re not in Ar-kansas anymore.” I will be entering a clinical trial for an experimental drug. I guess you could say I will become a test specimen. If the drug works, I will enter the stem cell transplant program – all in an effort to receive a complete healing of CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia).

In addition to this blog, I am planning a daily Video blog ( a Vlog) reporting on my experiences. We don’t have an address for that yet, so will let you know when and where. The purpose is twofold. First, we want to keep you informed of my (our) progress. Second, I want to help others who may be facing a similar experience. I sincerely ask you to keep us in your thoughts and prayers that this will be a success on both counts.

As I thought about our Oz experience, I began to draw a few parallels to Dorothy’s adventure. The wicked witch of the west is CLL, cancer of the white blood cells. She and her minions are seeking to destroy me and my faith in God. The yellow brick road is the protocols my doctors lay out for me. The munchkins are my doctors, nurses, and staff in the leukemia and transplant units. Along the way, I’m sure I will meet my share of tin men, scarecrows, and cowardly lions. I hope to be an encouragement to them. You, my friends, are my underlying strength. Father God is my Wizard of Oz, who, unlike Dorothy’s wizard, is always with me.

Though I am looking forward to the journey, undoubtedly, by the end of the treatment plan, I will be clicking the heels of my sandals saying, “There is no place like home. There is no place like home. There is no place like home.”

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