Yesterday afternoon my splendid oncologist, Dr. Nathan, rang me up. She was obviously excited. She began by saying she had good news. Last week I had a bone marrow biopsy and PT and CT scans. These tests were ordered because I had reached the magical one hundred days after undergoing a stem cell transplant – my own cells – in an attempt to rid my body of Waldenstrom’s disease, a form of lymphoma. I’ve been battling the disease since being diagnosed in 2006, with a brief intermission. After the transplant matters were complicated by a stomach blockage and then later, after being sent home, I was returned to hospital with a blood infection. In short, the whole procedure was less than fun.
But yesterday all that changed. Dr. Nathan informed me that I am now in “complete remission”. There’s no trace of cancer in my body.
I keep wondering whether it is all a dream. I’ve become used to being ill, tired, run down. Now, all things being equal, I can concentrate on getting my strength and immune system back and living my life without the constant realization, often more subconscious than not, that I have cancer. And I am thankful. I’m thankful for everyone who has supported me with encouragement and prayer. Many, indeed most of you I’ve never met in the flesh. Some I’ve known for years. A few are my parishioners who have fed me, prayed for me and supported me during these past months during which I’ve been off work and in quarantine.
Thanksgiving isn’t a festival I grew up with, and to be honest, I’ve never had much sympathy for puritans, then or now. Turkey is a poor substitute for Bread and Wine, Christ’s present of his utter givingness to and for the Church and for me. But I do give thanks today “for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life. And above all for the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace and the hope of glory….that we may show forth thy grace, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves in thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days.” Book of Common Prayer.
Thank you God. Thank you all of you.
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