One of the latest challenges on Facebook is to name X number of things you are thankful for over Y number of days. (Notice the use of my high school algebra.) So I thought it appropriate to make a list of what I am thankful for.
- A place to live in Houston. Hospitality Apartments has been a real blessing to us. We have stayed here nearly three months for a sum total of $100.00. Unfortunately, three months is the longest we can stay, so we are praying for new housing to be available from one of the several places where we have applied.
- Melanie, my wife, my caregiver. We have been married nearly 48 years. I am the one who has been blessed because of her love. She is a real trooper. Not only does she take care of the apartment, cooking, laundry, etc., but she has learned to change my CVC dressing, administer my home infusions, and a multitude of other “nursing” things. I love this woman more than I can ever say.
- Lucas. Dr. Lucas was the one who first diagnosed my enemy, CLL – Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. I think the diagnosis hurt her more than it did me. When she told me what she thought I had, it was my opportunity to comfort her, telling her that it was OK. She is one of the best doctors in Hot Springs.
- Kota, my home oncologist. Dr. Kota has literally kept me alive for the last several years. Her knowledge and insight into CLL has kept this disease at bay. Even more important, she knew when she had reached the end of her expertise and sent me to MD Anderson Cancer Center.
- MD Anderson. This specialty hospital is the greatest in the world. The research done here has changed the way cancer is treated. I was blessed to get into a drug trial lead by Dr. Wierda and administered by Dr. Kadia. It brought my runaway CLL under control enough to undergo a stem cell transplant.
- Khouri and his medical team. Dr. Khouri is my transplant doctor. Under his leadership, I am progressing as expected through my transplant experience. I am doing well, gaining strength every day. My latest tests show that my immune system is now 88% donor. That is very good and well on the way to 100%.
My list would not be complete without addressing some folks back home and around the world.
- Tara Johnson and Sunny Mirchandani. Tara, our oldest daughter, left her family in Oregon to come to Arkansas to help us in our move to Houston for my transplant. We couldn’t have done it without her. Sunny paid her air fare to get her to Hot Springs and back home to Oregon.
- Christy Fellows. Christy is our youngest daughter. She is checking our mail, scanning what we need to see, emailing it to us. She has been Melanie’s right hand woman back home doing all the things that need done there.
- Tammy Rhoads. Tammy, our middle daughter, has been an encouragement to us. Because of illnesses, she has not been able to do as much, but we certainly appreciate that she is taking care of two of our grandchildren, one of whom has a chronic illness.
- Finally, but certainly not least, our prayer partners and encouragers. People all around the US and various nations around the world have been lifting us up in prayer. I am absolutely positive that their investment in our lives has played a large part in my healing and our peace.
The list could continue, but alas, I must stop writing. To all who have and are playing a part, great or small, in our healing adventure, THANK YOU! We couldn’t do it without you.