I’ve read it from many of my Facebook friends. “You are incredibly brave.” “You are a hero.”
Yes, I’m doing something that many would not do, but they have no reason to do what I’m undertaking. I’ve used experimental drugs. I did it for me. I want to be healthy. I want to be here for my wonderful wife when she needs me. I did it for other CLL (Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia) patients who may find a cure through what I have tried. Yes, I’m having a stem cell transplant, but those are nothing new and are not considered experimental. Well, OK. I concede that the transplant protocol I’m on is rather experimental, but only the first chemo drug and it is not new, only used in a new way.
No, I’m no hero.
Nor am I particularly brave. I’m doing what needs to be done. I think anyone facing what I face would do the same thing. I had come to the point that nothing FDA approved was working. I really had no choice but to try something new … or face death. The risk I took was not very great. I asked my transplant doctor what the success rate was for me. His answer, “You are in the high 70% range.” If he had said the low 30% range, I probably would have backed down and tried other experimental drugs.
Why? My mom died of breast cancer. She survived nearly five years post-surgery before it returned with a vengeance. She suffered through something like two years of chemo with no progress, just misery. Melanie and I agreed then that we would not allow that to happen to us. If we did not have a high chance of success, we would treat the symptoms and travel the nation until the end drew neigh.
Mom was brave. I’m a coward compared to her struggle.
Perhaps people see what I post, what I write about in this blog and the Cancerwise blog and think that is why I am brave. I put my life into the electronic world of the internet for all to see. That is not bravery. That is a lifelong willingness to help others who are in need. I did it as a pastor, as a teacher, as a giving human. That stems from my love of Jesus. He was brave. He was the first real super hero. He is my hero. I’m simply trying to walk in His footsteps, and not really succeeding very well.
So now you see why I don’t consider myself either a hero nor brave. I’m just an ordinary man doing what he has to do the serve his Master, Jesus.