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Day T+34: Glory Strength

Well, thank you for your prayers yesterday. The Lord took me through another bone marrow biopsy. For most of the day yesterday when I got home, I had to keep ice on the incision. It still feels sore today. We won’t get the results of the procedure until next week.

In the meantime, we are just plugging along. I have another appointment today at the clinic. They are going to take my “labs.” This is another way of saying that they are going to do an extensive blood test on me. On the days when they do “labs,” there is one of my medications that I cannot take. So, this morning, I have been careful to take it out of my early morning slot in the pillbox and will be sure to take it after my appointment.

Again, there is a lot to keep track of. This is another reason why I appreciate Marilyn so much. She remembers all these details. I’m trying, but I don’t always do it.

In the Solid Life Reading Plan for today, I read the first chapter of Colossians. It contains another one of Paul’s prayers for the church. There is a phrase that stood out to me this morning:

“Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—
not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us” (Colossians 1:9-12 MSG).

Paul prays for strength for the church, but he differentiates between two kinds of strength. One is the grit-your-teeth kind. This is not what we need.

The other is the “glory-strength.” He goes on to define it in terms of endurance through difficult times, an endurance that spills over into joy and thanksgiving.

That is the kind of strength all of us need when we are going through very difficult trials. Please pray for us in this regard.

Lord, I affirm with Paul that today, I need Your glory-strength. Marilyn and I both need it. I pray that same strength for everyone who is reading the blog this morning. Give us Your strength so that we can endure everything You allow into our lives with joy. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+33: Bone Marrow Biopsy Today

Marilyn and I have an early start this morning. We need to be downtown at Presbyterian/ St Luke’s Hospital for check-in at 6:45. She is going to take me down there this morning, but she will have to leave to get to a doctor’s appointment. Jim is coming down a little later to be with me as I recover from this procedure. He will take me home. I’m so thankful for this brother and his help.

Anyway, as part of my recovery from the transplant, I am scheduled to get one of these biopsies somewhere around Day 30, Day 60, and Day 90. The other day, Tina and the doctor were talking about maybe switching the Day 60 biopsy for a PET scan. The purpose of these procedures or scans or whatever is just to monitor whether or not my cancer shows up at all.

Please pray that it doesn’t. I continue to ask the Lord to help me be done with it forever.

As I feel tempted to worry about all of this, I came across this verse today in the Solid Life Reading Plan:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” (Philippians
4:6-7 MSG).

The “cure” for worry is prayer mixed with thanksgiving. And the promise involves the peace of God that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus as He displaces worry at the center of our lives.

Lord, I thank You again for everyone who is praying this morning. Thank You for the overwhelming sense of peace that I feel today as I approach this test. Thank You for Marilyn and Jim helping me out today. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+32: Easy Street is a Deand End

Quite often, Marilyn and I stop and take inventory of everything that is going on with us right now. When we add it up, it seems quite overwhelming: my mom in a nursing home, construction here at the house, construction in the field behind our house, my stuff, the hail storm that severely damaged both our cars and our roof, et cetera.

I put my mom at the top of the list because it just seems more and more difficult to think of her in that memory care unit. She is aware enough to know that she is not home. That’s all she wants—is to be home with Marilyn and me. Visiting her is more and more difficult. Of course, the doctors won’t allow me to do it, but I ride in the car with Marilyn and wait while she visits. And each time, when she comes back out, I can observe the toll that it is having on her.

When we talk about it and think through it, we both realize that she is in the best place for her care right now, but still …. It is very difficult to think of her in there.

That alone would be hard to deal with, but when you add everything else on the list, the burden is heavy, especially on Marilyn. I don’t ask this enough, but please pray for Marilyn. She is carrying such a heavy load.

My frustration right now is that I can’t do much to help her. There are just so many restrictions on me, and I know that they are for my own good, but I am just very limited.

Please continue to pray that the Lord would protect me from getting any type of infection. I think the challenges will be greater as the days and weeks pass in the Fall. As school progresses, children will get sick and/or get the flu so that, when I am out in public, I’m going to have to be doubly careful to avoid being around children or adults who are sniffling or sneezing or coughing.

Thanks again for your prayers.

I love Paul’s testimony in Philippians 3. He makes it clear that he very readily and gladly gave up a life of wealth and ease as a Pharisee to become a follower of the Lamb—a life that was the epitome of difficulty.

“Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites” (Philippians
3:17-19 MSG).

Paul warns us against those who preach a gospel of comfort, a message of “easy street.” “Easy street is a dead-end street.” The Lord never promised us a life of ease and comfort. What he did promise was that He would be with us to the end of the age. He is there to sustain us through all our trials and difficulties. I can readily testify to this. When no one else is there, the Lord is with us.

Lord, I pray that my mom would have a sense of Your presence with her in that nursing home. Please continue to take care of her there. Sustain Marilyn as she continues to take care of both of us. Please, Lord, keep me from getting any type of infection. We trust You again today. Thanks again for the army of prayer warriors lifting us up. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+31: God Had Mercy

Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with a friend. Marilyn and I have known her since seminary. Not too many days ago, Marilyn sent her a recent picture of me. She said, “John, you look so good. Wow. I remember how you looked several months ago, but all of that has turned around.” I really appreciated her saying that. I didn’t quote her exactly, but this is the essence of her comments.

Another friend said the same thing last week.

After both of these comments, as Marilyn and I have had conversation, she interjected, “You are doing very well, John. I think it is more difficult for me to see because I am with you every day.”

So, again, I am thankful, but these comments remind me of what one of the nurses told us before discharge from the hospital. Again, I am paraphrasing her comments a bit. “John, be careful, because people are going to look at you and see remarkable progress. You will look very good, but you are not. You still have a “baby” immune system. You are not able to work or drive or be around crowds of people. Just be careful.” A word of wisdom. Thank You, Lord, for these comments.

The truth is that where I am in the process of recovery has nothing to do with me, but it is all about God’s care and God’s people—all of you—continuing to pray.

Paul reinforces this as he informs the church in Philippi that he is sending Epaphroditus to visit with them.

“But for right now, I’m dispatching Epaphroditus, my good friend and companion in my work. You sent him to help me out; now I’m sending him to help you out. He has been wanting in the worst way to get back with you. Especially since recovering from the illness you heard about, he’s been wanting to get back and reassure you that he is just fine. He nearly died, as you know, but God had mercy on him. And not only on him—he had mercy on me, too. His death would have been one huge grief piled on top of all the others” (Philippians
2:25-27 MSG).

Did you notice the comment, “He nearly died, as you know, but God had mercy on him.” Who knows what illness or disease he had? But the important thing is that “God had mercy.”

This is where I am this morning. I’m so grateful that the Lord used this procedure called “Bone Marrow Transplant,” to save my life and get me started in a new direction. I just continue to trust Him to protect me from all the germs and infections all over the place.

Lord, thank You for the comments of two of my friends. Thank You for helping me thus far. I continue to trust You each day for continued recovery. I pray for Connor as he preaches this morning and for the church. I lift up my mom. I pray for strength and grace for Marilyn. I love You Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+30: Wow

My heart is so full of gratitude to the Lord today. I think I told all of you that Tina, the doctor’s assistant in charge of my care at CBCI, said the other day, “I can hardly wait for Day 30!” This is more emotion than she has ever expressed, and I wondered why she said that.

I’m still not totally sure but today, I think I know!

So, yesterday, Marilyn and I had a rather early appointment at the clinic. Kate took my vitals and ushered us into a waiting room. It wasn’t long before both the doctor and Tina came in. They asked how I was doing. The truth is that I have felt a little off the past couple of days. My stomach has been unsettled for some reason. We dialogued about that.

In the course of the conversation, I asked Tina, “Oh, by the way, can you let me know my ANC from the other day?” She looked it up on the computer and said, “It is 4000 and something.” Now she gave real numbers after the first one, but all I heard was 4000.

4000!

She was very matter of fact about it. No emotion. Just another report. Ho hum. But I was ready to jump out of my seat and do a dance. So was Marilyn.

Marilyn interjected, “Wow, that is great. Would you say that it is now rather close to normal?”

Tina nodded her head in the affirmative, “Yes, probably so.” But she printed the report of the blood test and showed me one number and stated, “This is still a little low.”

Now, I want to tell all of you that I am still excited about this report, BUT I am not going to go crazy at this point. I’m not going to find a swamp and jump in for a swim. I’m not going to sign up to volunteer at a preschool or anything like that. However, I think it just gives me some assurance that I won’t be as vulnerable to infection now that my counts are up.

Man, I still can’t believe how fast they rocketed up! Again, I attribute this to answered prayer.

As Marilyn and I left the clinic, we talked about how nonchalant Tina and the doc were about this report. We both agreed that they can’t get too excited when things are going well or too discouraged when things are not.

Well, anyway, that is one huge answer to prayer. Another occurred later in the day. I had a visit from a nurse associated with a company called Halycon Palliative Care. Here is a definition of palliative care: “
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual” (who.int)

The pain doctor at the hospital referred me to them. Rachel asked a lot of questions and seemed very willing and able to help me with my pain issues. We had a very encouraging conversation.

So, all in all, a good day.

In the Solid Life Reading Plan for today, I read the first chapter of Philippians. I love Paul’s testimony: “So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on! And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose” (Philippians
1:18-21 MSG).

Paul is confident, even though he is in prison, that everything that the Lord has planned for his life will be accomplished. I’m trusting Him for the same thing.

Lord, thank You so much for this good report from the doctor. Thank You that my ANC is back to normal. Give me wisdom to still be careful and prudent. Thank You for Rachel and Halycon Palliative Care. Thank You for everyone who continues to pray. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+29: Jailbird Preacher

Last week at the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute (CBCI), the nurse handed Marilyn and me a schedule for the next couple of weeks. Immediately, Marilyn and I remarked that for this week, we were originally scheduled to go to the clinic only two days this week. Yipee!

However, on Wednesday, they handed us a revised schedule and it DID include an appointment for today. This is the routine for now—three visits to the clinic per week. This procedure will continue for the foreseeable future. I should say AT LEAST three visits per week. Next week, I am scheduled to go in five days for one thing or another. One of those visits includes a bone marrow biopsy. I have to have another one of those.

Oh, well. I just try not to think about it too much—just do what they tell me to do and keep plugging along. Tina did say that she was looking forward to Day 30, but she did not elaborate as to why. We will see.

To be honest, I am struggling a bit with the limitations that are on me at this point—one of which is that I still do not have permission to drive. I’m not sure when that will be allowed but I hope it will be soon. This is just one of several boundaries I am dealing with at this point. Please pray that I will continue to have a good attitude through all these restrictions.

Yesterday, as Marilyn and I were running errands (when we do this, I just sit in the car for the most part although I am allowed to go into stores just as long as there aren’t that many people in the store and/or I wear my mask). And I noticed a man in a wheelchair. Talk about restrictions and boundaries! I believe that the Lord allowed me to see this man just to sober me up a bit.

There was a famous person in the Bible who dealt with restrictions—the Apostle Paul. We tend to forget the total amount of time that he spent locked up in jail. I’m not prepared this morning to be specific about the time, but I would bet that it added up to years. Think about how frustrating this would be for a man whom God called as a missionary to the Gentiles. It seems rather contradictory that he would be in jail. If it were me, I would probably have a bad attitude about it, begging every believer I know to pray that I would get out ASAP.

Not Paul.

Notice these words in Ephesians 6: “And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out” (Ephesians
6:19-20 MSG).

Indeed, he does ask for prayer but not for release from prison. Instead, he asks prayer for the release of the Word of God. The fact that Paul was in jail did not relieve him of the mission to which the Lord called him. He was simply in a different environment—jail. The Jailbird Preacher. I like it.

Lord, for all of us, the mission is paramount, no exceptions, no excuses, no matter where we are, no matter what restrictions we are dealing with. Give us boldness to share the Gospel of Jesus, the Gospel that we like Paul are responsible for getting out. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+28: The Lord Fights for His People

I want to follow-up first of all on my discussion of pills from yesterday. Marilyn did not sleep the night before because she was worried that she had given me the wrong dose of one of the main pills I take to fight off Graft versus Host Disease.

We talked with Tina, the doctor’s assistant, as well as Jessica, the nurse who was attending to me and basically both said the same thing: “Pay no attention to the instructions on the label of these meds. We tell you how much John should take. You have given him exactly the right amount. Don’t worry.” You could just see the relief written all over Marilyn’s face. And I am so glad because she really works at giving me my pills, the right amount at the right time. So, I thank God for this outcome.

I finally got to see my doctor yesterday. He checked me out and looked at my records and said I was doing very well. At the time we left the clinic yesterday, they did not have my ANC, but I will let you know tomorrow after my appointment.

But back to the pills and doses and this whole process of recovery: I am convinced that the Lord is taking care of every detail of my care, just as He always has.

A story I read this morning in Joshua 10 confirms this. Joshua and the people of Israel were fighting against the five Amorite kings, and the Lord gave these enemies over to the army of Israel. But during the battle, the Lord did an usual thing.

“The day GOD gave the Amorites up to Israel, Joshua spoke to GOD, with all Israel listening: ‘Stop, Sun, over Gibeon; Halt, Moon, over Aijalon Valley.’ And Sun stopped, Moon stood stock still Until he defeated his enemies. The day GOD gave the Amorites up to Israel, Joshua spoke to GOD, with all Israel listening: ‘Stop, Sun, over Gibeon; Halt, Moon, over Aijalon Valley.’ And Sun stopped, Moon stood stock still Until he defeated his enemies. (You can find this written in the Book of Jashar.) The sun stopped in its tracks in mid sky; just sat there all day. There’s never been a day like that before or since— GOD took orders from a human voice! Truly, GOD fought for Israel. (You can find this written in the Book of Jashar.) The sun stopped in its tracks in mid sky; just sat there all day. There’s never been a day like that before or since— GOD took orders from a human voice! Truly, GOD fought for Israel” (Joshua
10:12-14 MSG).

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky. The moon also stopped to allow Joshua to defeat the enemy army. The reason for this? “God took orders from a human voice.” This is curious language. To me, it sounds a lot like God answered Joshua’s prayers. He literally stopped the clock for His people.

This story reminds me that our God will go to great lengths to take care of us. I believe He is doing battle every second for me—fighting on my behalf to keep me from all infections and germs and disease. Think about it. The air must be full of germs all over the place wherever we go, and yet the Lord is fighting for us, just as He did with Joshua in the conquest of Canaan.

Lord, thank You so much for working out the “pill issue” we were struggling with. Thank You for fighting for us each and every day. You are totally in control even of the sun and moon and all the stars in the universe. They march to Your command. You are awesome, Lord. I love You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+27: Pills, Pills, and More Pills

As my official “caregiver,” Marilyn is responsible along with myself (of course—I have the main responsibility) for taking the right pills at the right time.

Right now, I bet I have to take at least twenty different medications. At least twenty.

When we were discharged from the hospital, Lauren from the pharmacy right there at Presbyterian/St Luke’s hospital came to my room and explained all my meds to Marilyn and me. As she explained what each pill was and when and how I was to take it (some pills demand to be taken on an empty stomach; for others, it doesn’t matter), she set up a pill box for me.

Marilyn was very careful to listen and follow Lauren’s instructions to the letter. She got her phone out and took pictures of the pills and recorded when I was to take them so she could continue to fill the pillbox each week. It is almost a full-time job in and of itself because I take pills five times a day: one hour before breakfast, after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and before I go to bed.

Well, last night as Marilyn was setting up my pillbox for another week, she noticed a discrepancy between what Lauren instructed and the directions on one of the pill containers. She got upset, thinking that this is a major mistake and could set me back.

I don’t think so. We will talk with them at the clinic today. If something needs to be corrected, we will do it.

The truth is that yesterday, I felt as good as I have felt in months. I’m excited to go to the clinic today and learn what my ANC is. I’m fairly confident that it is still going up. If not, it is still okay.

Back to the pill situation, I’m sure that we are not the first to make a mistake on how many pills to take of a certain kind of medication. I believe in instances like that, the Lord takes care of things. Just pray for Marilyn because I know she feels bad about it.

Anyway, in my reading today, I came across a very significant passage that helps with all of this as Paul uses the metaphor of walking to describe the Christian life.

“In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences” (Ephesians
4:1-3 MSG).

There is indeed a sense of urgency about the Christian life and our daily walk with Jesus. I feel compelled just to stay on this path that the Lord has put me on—pills and all—until He directs me elsewhere. It is difficult. It requires constant vigilance and discipline. I have to take these pills whether I want to or not, and most of the time, I don’t want to.

I’m so grateful for all the help that Marilyn gives me, and even though it is a hassle, going to the clinic as often as I am these days gives me assurance that they are on top of things and keeping watch over me.

Lord, keep me on the path that goes somewhere—Your path. Take care of this pill situation as we go in today. I turn it over to you. Give Marilyn and me the grace to stay at it steadily. I’m thankful for all the prayer support and encouragement we receive. Thank You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I love You, my Triune God. Amen.
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Day T+26: Breadth and Length, Height and Depth

Yesterday, at the clinic, I asked Tina to give me my ANC from last Friday. Remember that I told you that things were so busy and hectic that they did not have time to give me this information. She looked it up. It was 1680! Praise God that it continues to go up! Thank AGAIN for your prayers.

Today, in the Solid Life Reading Plan, I read one of my favorite chapters—Ephesians 3. Paul unveils the mystery to which he has given his life—the Gentiles are part and parcel with Israel and can be saved just like they can be.

At the close of the chapter, Paul continues the prayer that he started at the end of chapter one. Everything in-between is Paul chasing a rabbit of sorts (as all preachers do). Here is the culmination of that prayer. I’m actually quoting it from two different versions:

“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians
3:16-19 NASB).

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! “(Ephesians
3:20-21 MSG)

Paul prays that we would be able to comprehend the dimensions—breadth and length and height and depth—of the love of God—but then, in the final two verses of the chapter, goes on to assert that the Lord works in ways that defy measurement. He operates in ways that are “far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams.”

I honestly believe that this recovery from the transplant falls in this category. Of course, the doctors and nurses will never admit it. I believe that their experience leads them to be a little cautious when it comes to things. They don’t want to elevate hope too quickly. I get that.

However, it doesn’t stop Marilyn and me and all of you from celebrating the goodness and grace and mercy of God. When I think about where I was in late July and compare it to now—the Lord has brought me further than I ever would have imagined.

I realize that the graph of improvement is not a straight line. There will be ups and downs, but I just can’t help but thank Him.

I am still dealing with those same weird symptoms I mentioned yesterday, but I am also trusting that He will take care of those as well.

Lord, I am thankful that You are not limited by my imagination or even my wildest dreams. No human box can contain You. Thank You for the dimensions of Your love that defy measurement. Thanks for working in and through the church as God’s people pray. You are awesome. I continue to trust You with this recovery. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Day T+25: One Fourth of the Way to One Hundred Days

It is hard to believe that it has been twenty-five days since the transplant. I’m so thankful for the passage of time. When I look back at those first three days after the procedure, I was as sick as I have ever been.

During that time period, one of the doctors said, “John, you have had so much chemo therapy over the course of time since your original diagnosis that it is no wonder you are so sick. It is just going to take a while.” She was right. It took three days! Then, I started to feel better. Again, I am so thankful that I have felt good even during days five through 14 when they said I would be sick again. I wasn’t. Things have just progressed from there.

Of course, I give God the glory and the credit for all of this as God’s people—all of you—continued to pray for me. Thanks again! How can I thank all of you enough?

Now, an update on what is going on: I believe I am dealing with some forms of Graft versus Host Disease (GVHD) plus what the doctors call BK Virus. I’ll try to explain. Last Friday, Dr. Bentley said that he believed my dry mouth was a symptom of GVHD. Since then, I have noticed an itchy sort of rash on my leg just above my foot. I wonder if that is GVHD as well. I will ask them when we go for my appointment today.

The BK Virus is more of an irritation than anything else. Sorry to be so graphic here, but the essence of it is that it gives me urgency to urinate. It is quite aggravating.

Those are the three major issues I am dealing with right now. Otherwise, I feel great, and my appetite is growing. Again, thanks be to God!

This morning, in the Solid Life Reading Plan, I came across these familiar verses in Ephesians chapter two. I’m so glad for the truths they teach about who I am and where I am in Christ. This is true regardless of how I feel or the status of my recovery. I’m not defined by this transplant. I’m defined by Jesus.

“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing” (Ephesians
2:7-10 MSG).

Marilyn and I talk about this regularly. I believe that the Lord is going to use these experiences in the work He has for me to do when I fully recover, Lord willing.

By the way, the 100-day time frame just defines the period of time when I will be going to the clinic on a regular basis. Originally, I thought it delineated the time when I would fully recover. No. Thus, hopefully, it won’t take too much more time beyond the 100 days for me to recover fully. We will see.

In the meantime, I like all of you as believers, am in a good place—seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms at the right hand of God!

Lord, I thank You for my true identity in Christ Jesus. Thank You for bringing me this far. I could not have made it without You and without the prayers of God’s dear people—everyone who reads this blog. I love them all. I love You Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+24: The World is Peripheral to the Church

I did something last night that I have not done in months—I actually watched television. The Broncos were playing their second pre-season game. Marilyn and I turned it on and watched a while. When I felt that a headache was coming on, we just turned it off midway through the second quarter.

Have no fear. I haven’t completely lost touch. I read about the game this morning on my CBS sports app on my phone. I do keep up with them to a degree.

But back to the television—I just honestly have not felt like watching the Olympics or golf or any of the programs, even the news, that I used to watch every single day. We will see. Maybe someday I will return to TV land, but for now, I am just not interested.

Instead, as Marilyn and I sit here in the evenings, she usually does work on her computer while I sit here and try to read between times when I doze off a bit. It is a very quiet way to spend an evening, and both of us seem to prefer it and enjoy it.

This is only one of the things that has changed for me before, during, and since the transplant. There are other things as well. I will tell you about them as they come to mind.

In the meantime, I continue to feel relatively good and look forward to celebrating a crucial day in my recovery tomorrow—T+25—one fourth of the way through my 100 days of recovery. Hooray! Praise God!

Well, here is another Sunday that does not find neither Marilyn nor myself in church. I DO miss church, especially the fellowship with my church family. This will be another change when I finally get the go-ahead to return. I will never again take fellowship for granted. I will always thank God for the health He will give me to go to church. Always.

The truth is that in the pecking order of priorities when it comes to what is really important—the most significant meeting in the world is NOT the Olympics in Rio or the Bronco game in Denver. It is the gathering of God’s people in the body of Christ.

Peterson brings this out so well in his rendition of the prayer that begins in the first chapter of Ephesians: “All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence” (Ephesians
1:20-23 MSG).

Paul prays that we would have eyes to see the power He makes available to us in Christ. He compares that power to the energy at work that raised Christ from the dead. That energy, that power is available to the church.

I love this line: “The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.” Amen. God doesn’t judge things the way we humans do. The attendance in all the churches in town doesn’t compare to the number of folks watching that game last night at the stadium or at home, but it is still the most important meeting.

Lord, thank You for the reordering of priority that is occurring in my life since the transplant. Help it to continue and help me to focus on what is really important. I lift up the services at First Southern today and at all the churches in town and beyond. I miss the fellowship desperately. I love You Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+23: "Why Have You Left Me Here?"

Last night, as Marilyn and I drove home from the clinic, we noticed a definite chill in the air. The temperature had dropped down into the mid-50’s and it was raining—a welcome relief from the heat we have been enduring most of the summer and a definite sign that Fall is on the way. Those of you who know me recall no doubt that I am not a fan of Fall and definitely not of winter USUALLY.

But this year, things will be different because these months will signal my continued recovery, if the Lord wills. So, I look at them completely different than before. Often, Marilyn says, “Just think about Christmas and how you will be feeling then.” Yes, that is right Amen.

By the way, I have no ANC to report this morning. Things were rather hectic at the clinic yesterday. Finally, the nurse in charge of my post-transplant care, Tina, said, “Well, I may have a new med to prescribe but I am not ready to give you a prescription right now so just go ahead and leave. I will call you later.”

She did call later and still did not have the prescription and did not tell Marilyn my ANC. Whatever. I can find out on Monday. In the meantime, they said I was doing great. A doc examined me I had not yet met before—Dr. Bentley. He told me that the recovery rate for my type of cancer with the Bone Marrow Transplant is 85%. If I get Host Versus Graft Disease, my percentages go up even more.

Host Versus Graft Disease (HVGD) signals a conflict between my old and new marrow, and as such, there are various side effects that occur. For the past several days, I have been experiencing a dry mouth. Dr. Bentley told me yesterday that he believes it is HVGD, and this very irritating symptom is actually a good thing as the research indicates. For people with HVGD, the percentages go up. Well, okay.

So, anyway, it was a good day except for one thing. Before we went to the clinic, I rode along with Marilyn in the car and stayed in it as she went to visit our mom. Yesterday, according to Marilyn, she seemed particularly lucid and aware, but she had a question for Marilyn, “Why has the Lord left me in here? Where is He now?” All my mom wants is to come home and to be with Marilyn and me.

Please pray for Marilyn. This is literally tearing her guts out. Mine also. The docs will not allow me to see her for now. It is very difficult for both of us.

But that haunting question … we have no answers except to say to her, “This is where the Lord wants you to be for now.” But even that answer seems so inadequate.

Please continue to pray for her and for us as we love her and hate to see her struggling so much.

We have to keep our focus on God as Moses described Him to folks on the plains of Moab: “There is none like God, Jeshurun, riding to your rescue through the skies, his dignity haloed by clouds. The ancient God is home on a foundation of everlasting arms. He drove out the enemy before you and commanded, ‘Destroy!’ Israel lived securely, the fountain of Jacob undisturbed in grain and wine country and, oh yes, his heavens drip dew” (Deuteronomy
33:26-28 MSG).

How about this last verse of the book of Galatians? “Quite frankly, I don’t want to be bothered anymore by these disputes. I have far more important things to do—the serious living of this faith. I bear in my body scars from my service to Jesus” (Galatians
6:17 MSG). This is the challenge—continuing to live by faith.

Lord, I ask You to ride to the rescue of our mom today. Lift her up. Give her the grace to continue to stay in the place where she will receive the best care. Help Marilyn and me as we try to cope with knowing she is there. Thank You for all the help You are giving us thus far. We love You and praise You, Lord. Amen.
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Day T+22: The World Goes By

This morning, I am going to attempt to explain one of the issues I am struggling with that may seem a little weird on face value.

First, however, I would like to thank the Lord for bringing me to day 22 in the recovery process. I’m grateful for His grace that has allowed this to happen. Yesterday, I just didn’t feel all that well—nothing serious—just a little off. I spent most of the day on this couch.

I’m thankful for the cooler weather that is forecast over the next couple of days. This will allow me to get out a couple of times for walks. Up to now, I have taken a walk in the morning shortly after writing this blog. It is cool. There is not much traffic on the roads yet. But because of the heat, walking once a day is about all I can accomplish. So, again, cooler weather hopefully will allow more than one walk. We will see.

I have an appointment at the clinic this afternoon. We will see how that goes as well. Please pray that my ANC continues to go up or at least maintains at a level over 1000. Thanks.

Okay, so back to the topic for this morning. One of the things that has been difficult as I recover from the transplant is to watch the world go by. Of course, I can’t get in the brain of everyone I observe, but it seems that most people just go about their business, totally oblivious to the fact that their health is a gift from God AND that someday, whether sooner or later, they will face some sort of illness or disease.

This is true of everyone that walks the face of the earth. As my pastor Andy used to say, “Someday, in every home, there will be a hush.”

I guess that one of the reasons this bothers me is that I see myself in all the folks I observe just going about their business. I believe that I took my health for granted and even had pride in it at times, believing I was in better shape than most.

Another aspect of this is that, when I was discharged from the hospital, I felt as if someone had dropped me on a different planet—the whole world had been going by and I missed it for almost three weeks! It was a very strange feeling.

I’m sure that many experience some of these feelings when they are going through a long hospital stay or long, drawn-out illness, but it is just another thing to trust the Lord to help me deal with it.

Certainly, in some ways, the people of Israel standing on the brink of the Promised Land must have experienced some of these feelings as Moses preached to them. He gave them this word of encouragement: “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because GOD, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you” (Deuteronomy
31:6 MSG).
I love the imagery of God STRIDING ahead of us. The past is behind us, just as it was with the people of Israel. But Moses directs the people to a life of faith as they enter new territory. He assures them that the Lord will stride ahead of them every step of the way.

This imagery reminds me of a backpacking trip I went on several years ago. Our leader, Steve, led the way. He walked with a stride that very soon meant that he was way ahead of the rest of us. This is the way the Lord leads us. We can be assured that in the future, we will go nowhere He hasn’t already been.

Lord, help me make the adjustments to living life outside the hospital. I’m thankful again that I am out. I’m grateful that you are taking care of me. I don’t know the future but I do know the one who is striding into it ahead of me and knows the way. That is You, Lord. Thanks again for all the prayers of Your people. I love You, My Striding God. Amen.
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Day T+21: Reservedly Optimistic

I get such a kick out of the reaction of the doctors and nurses. Granted, they have witnessed many more transplants than I have, but yesterday was a case in point.

So, I had to go in yesterday morning for a blood test. That took five minutes. We left to come home for a couple of hours. Then, I went back in the afternoon for my “regular” appointment where I get to see a doctor or in this case a doctor’s assistant.

Of course, I asked about my ANC. Tina, the nurse practitioner who is assigned to me, came in the room. “Hi Tina, what is my ANC?”

She paused for a moment. “Let’s see, John. It is 1280.”

Huh? What did you say? 1280! Wow! It has doubled since Monday. I was so excited. I almost reached up to give her a high five but she was preoccupied with other stuff in my record. Ho hum.

I said, “Tina, now that I have passed the 1000 mark, what can I do differently?”

“Nothing, John. Just keep doing the same things. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid crowds. Be sure to wash your fruit before you eat it. The same old things. Your count is over a thousand today but we need to see it consistently at that level before we can believe it is there. You might come down a bit before going back up. There is one medication that you can stop taking.”

Well, I guess that is something.

So, there you go. The voice of experience. I guess I just wanted someone else to be excited with me because I see all of this as a HUGE answer to prayer. Because all of you are praying, my counts are going up so fast. Of course, even I know there will be fluctuations, but still …

Soon, Ryan, the physician’s assistant came in. He looked at my counts and told me I was doing well. He also urged me to continue to look out for swelling on my neck. What? This is the first I had heard of this. “John, just keep watch. Since your counts did not go all the way down to zero, there may still be a trace of cancer there battling your new immune system. We will just watch things and see how it goes.”

This is the first I had heard of anything like this. I believe that my cancer is gone completely.

So, what is the lesson of all of this. I can’t take my cues from the health professionals or I would get discouraged very quickly. I need to continue to focus on the Lord and trust Him. He will take care of it all. Nothing has changed, and I am still going to be excited about what the Lord has done to this point.

I came across an interesting verse in Deuteronomy this morning in the Solid Life Reading Plan. Here it is:

“GOD, our God, will take care of the hidden things but the revealed things are our business. It’s up to us and our children to attend to all the terms in this Revelation” (Deuteronomy
29:29 MSG).

God will take care of the hidden things. Hmm. Interesting. What are those things? Well, in my case, I believe it is everything that is going on in my body that I can’t see and everything in the universe I can’t see—a lot, in other words.

On the other hand, it is our job to pay attention to what God does reveal to us through His word and prayer and circumstances. This is enough.

Lord, I’m grateful for the good report I received yesterday. I give You the credit and the glory for it. As to what happens from here and everything else that is going on that I can’t see, I just leave that up to You to take care of and I have every confidence that You will. Thanks for answered prayer. I love You Father, Jesus, and Spirit of the Living God. Amen.
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Day T+20: Curses and Blessings

I need to back up a couple of days to let all of you know what the nurses said who checked me over on Monday at the clinic. They said I was doing great. All my counts are way up. In fact, my ANC was 690! How about that? I was excited to receive this news. But it kind of got lost in the shuffle with all the concerns about moving back home.

I actually have two appointments at the clinic today—one this morning at 10:00. The purpose of this visit is for them to take my blood without having taken a couple of my meds. Apparently, these two particular medications tend to inflate one’s counts. So, I am going in for some tests. When they are completed, I can then take the two medications.

Then, I have to go back this afternoon for another appointment. The nurses apologized to Marilyn and me for this arrangement, but apparently, they are so busy that this was the only way to get things done. In the future, hopefully, they can arrange things so that we only need to make on drive down there per day. We will be going back on Friday. We just don’t have our appointment for this day quite yet.

None of this is a problem. I will do whatever they ask at this point. I’m just still so glad to be out of the hospital.

I seem to be doing fine here at home locked away in my own little wing of the house. I’m still free to get out of here. When we do leave, I am careful to wear my mask as we make our way out this side entrance and around the side of the house out the gate to the front yard.

Marilyn had to run a couple of errands yesterday. I went with her and just stayed in the car. I was just glad to get out of here a little bit.

I feel so blessed, and I continue to thank the Lord for your prayers for me. Please keep them up.

This morning, in the Solid Life Plan, I read only two chapters—Deuteronomy 28 and Galatians 3. This is an interesting juxtaposition of two chapters. Deuteronomy 28 as you know is a list of blessings and curses Moses shares with the people before they enter the promised land. The list of curses of much longer and is very ominous.

Galatians 3 is also a list of blessings and curses. Cursed is everyone who tries to please God through human effort, through the keeping of the Law. Jesus was also cursed when He hung on the cross, but He did that for us so that we might live the blessed life—life by faith.

“The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right: ‘The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that’s the real life.’ Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: ‘The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them’” (Galatians
3:11-12 MSG).

I like the definition of the life of faith in these verses: it means “embracing with God arranges for him.” I like that. Isn’t that the essence of contentment?

Lord, I’m grateful for what You have arranged for me at this point. Thank You for the cancer clinic and their efforts to keep watch over my recovery. Thank You for this wing of the house. Continue to protect it from germs. I trust You to do that everywhere I go. You are an awesome God. Thanks again for everyone who is praying. I love You Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+19: No Place Like Home

Yesterday, at the cancer clinic, Courtney, the physician’s assistant shook her head, “Well, normally, if there is any construction at all, we don’t want our patients exposed to it. There are a lot of germs floating in the dust and so forth, but I will talk with the doctor. He is the one to make the final decision.”

Marilyn had just made an impassioned plea. Part of it came out of the fact that she really hadn’t slept that well for four nights on that hide-a-bed in the hotel. She was thoroughly exhausted.

We both explained that I would be staying in a wing of the house we built for my grandparents back in the seventies. There are no vents to it from the house. It is closed off from the rest of the house. It has its own outside entrance so there is no way I will be exposed to the construction. Et cetera.

When Courtney left the room, I wasn’t too hopeful about our chances, o me of little faith.

We spent some time talking with the nutritionist. Kaitlin was explaining how food should be prepared that I eat plus a lot of other sanitary issues. I have to tell all of you that it is overwhelming—all the precautions we must take. However, we are determined to follow-through. Again, I don’t want to have to go back to the hospital with an infection of any kind.

Soon, Courtney returned. Marilyn and I held our breath. “Well, John and Marilyn, the doctor said it was okay just as long as you use your hepa filters and make sure the room is closed off to construction.” Praise God! I’m still in shock that he said yes.

But Marilyn and I are so grateful to God! Thanks to all of you who are praying for us. I’m so grateful that, after a month, I got to sleep in my own bed. So did Marilyn. I hope she had a great night’s sleep. She deserves it and needed it.

Yesterday was such an exhausting day. We both crashed very early last night. I’m still feeling it a bit this morning, but my overwhelming feeling is one of gratitude to God and to all of you for praying.

The question of the day is: when am I going to learn to trust God? Through this whole transplant process up to this point, the Lord has answered one prayer after another. He is active in us and for us on our behalf. Paul recognized this as he wrote to counteract the legalists in Galatia and beyond.

Note these familiar words from Galatians 2: “What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily” (Galatians
2:19-21 MSG).

The Christ-life is “lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” That is the essence of it all.

Lord, thank You from the bottom of my heart for answering our prayers and allowing us to come home. We still trust You today for so many aspects of this recovery. We trust You. Thanks for everyone who continues to pray. I love them all and love You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+18: Move Request

Please pray for us today. I have an appointment at the cancer clinic this afternoon at 1:00. This will be my very first contact with the cancer center since I was discharged from the hospital.

While we are there this afternoon, we are going to ask them if we can move from this hotel. It is not working for us in various ways. For one thing, neither one of us is sleeping very well here, Marilyn in particular. She is sleeping on a hide-a-bed. Those are notorious for being lousy beds.

Plus, there is a lot of construction going on right across the street. I think I have mentioned this before—a lot fumes from it that we are worried about.

We are just going to see what they will allow us to do. Thanks a lot for your prayers. I will update you in tomorrow’s post.

One of my perpetual struggles since I have been released is almost a paranoia about catching some infection. In one sense, this is good. It keeps me on guard a little bit more. However, as Marilyn keeps saying, “John, we just can’t live in fear.” Amen. There is a line in there between being cautious and being fearful. I don’t want to go to the fear side.

In all the discharge education, they kept hammering home the consequences of catching some sort of virus. I would have to go back into the hospital and be in ICU for 60 to 90 days. It is THAT serious. They called my immune system a “baby.” It must learn to fight all these infections all over again.

But I am thankful that I am not in this fight alone.

This morning, in the Solid Life Plan, I came across Psalm 91. Wow, how appropriate to my situation. I’m going to cite a long quote:

“You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “ GOD, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because GOD ’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path” (Psalm 91:1-13, MSG, emphasis mine).
I don’t have to fear disease! I’m safe under the Lord’s wings. Praise God!

Lord, give us wisdom today as we request a move. Thank You for taking care of us to this point. We have no reason to think You are going to stop now. I thank You Lord for protecting me from disease. I trust You. I love You—Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+17: Better Balance

I just want all of you to know that I did a better job of taking care of myself yesterday, combining some good rest with activity.

This whole thing is going to be a matter of trial and error to some degree, but again, I am just so grateful to the Lord that I am out of the hospital. I just don’t want to do anything that will put me back in it. Any infection I catch at this point will send me right back there and to ICU to boot. So, don’t want to go there.

As Carrie was doing our discharge education the other day, she warned us about so many dangers we will face as I recover from this transplant, but the main things that she said were that I should become paranoid about washing my hands and that I should avoid being in the middle of large crowds. Both present a danger of catching something.

That having been said, however, Marilyn and I had a long talk about all of this yesterday. The thing we DON’T want to do is to live in fear. The truth is that there are germs all over the place. As a matter of fact, just outside this hotel, there is a huge demolition project going on. Bulldozers and tractors all over the place tearing down an old building. There is no telling what is floating in the air. We just have to trust God with all of this at some point, right?

I believe there is a balance here of trusting God while at the same time using one’s brain. Please pray for us in that regard.

I love the Trinitarian conclusion to the book of 2 Corinthians. It sums up our relationship with the Lord nicely: “The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you” (2 Corinthians
13:14 MSG).

Lord, thank You for giving me a better day yesterday. Please give Marilyn and me wisdom as we negotiate the recovery from this transplant. Help us never to do anything that exposes me unnecessarily to infection. Help us, Lord. This whole thing is rather ominous and scary. I pray for the services at First Southern today. I lift up all the dear brothers and sisters who read this blog. I love them. I love You God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+16: As Tired As I Have Ever Been

Yesterday, I felt as if I had a new lease on life, after having been cooped up in the hospital for 19 days.

Around 9:00, I jumped into the car with Marilyn as we drove down to the south part of town for her to visit my mom. Then, we stopped by our house to pick up a few things and for her to check on the animals. After that, we went through the drive-through at Chick Fil-A only to return to the hotel. In this whole trip, I did not leave the car once except to stop at a grocery store for me to use the bathroom. I just rode along, and it was fantastic.

In the early afternoon, we had a visit from an RN who works for a company called Ameristat. They supply patients with the same IV materials they were used to in the hospital, but without the machinery and the pole. Instead, it is an ingenious setup that consists of something that looks like a softball that hooks up to my catheter. They supply a little fanny pack to carry it around. It lasts about five hours as the “softball” diminishes. I have to use one each day, and Leslie, the nurse from Ameristat, taught Marilyn and me how to hook it up and take it off when it is done.

We stayed around the hotel until dinner time. Then, we went back out to grab a bite to eat. When we returned, I could already feel the fatigue setting in. In fact, as we returned to the room, I felt as tired as I ever have. I couldn’t even hold my head up. I laid on this bed until bedtime. Then, I went to sleep fairly quickly—the end of my first full day of freedom.

Today, I might scale back a bit. Who knows? We will see. I figure it is better to push myself at this point (not too hard) to help myself get back in the swing of things.

It is weird. There is a sense in which I feel as if I have been on another planet, and I am dropped back into the world. When I entered the hospital, it was summer; when I left, there are signs of Fall all around. Crazy.

Well, this morning, in the Solid Life Reading Plan, I came across one of my favorite passages, appropriate to what I am going through right now—Paul’s testimony about his thorn in the flesh: “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become” (2 Corinthians
12:7-10 MSG).
Paul says that he quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.

Honestly, I can’t say that I am there quite yet, but I do thank God for cancer and everything He has done for me through this disease. I will never be the same, and I pray that He will use me now more than ever.

Lord, I do thank You for cancer—the greatest gift beside salvation You have ever given me. I pray that I could have the same testimony as Paul. “The weaker I get, the stronger I become.” I thank You for another day on the “outside.” I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Day T+15: The Discharge that almost Didn't Happen

No ANC to report this morning because I am out of the hospital. Marilyn and I are now staying in a hotel five blocks down the street from the hospital. It is owned and operated by St. Joseph’s hospital—a hospital adjacent to Presbyterian/St Luke’s. The truth is that both hospitals use this place for family of patients and for patients like me to meet various needs.

We almost didn’t make it here yesterday. I wore myself out worrying about two things yesterday. Here they are:


    Let me try to explain. Since my ANC was rather low yesterday, I was concerned that it might cause a delay in my release, but thankfully, around late morning, one of the doc’s assistants, Devon, came in to tell me that indeed I was being discharged and it would happen. Hooray! This is when I sent out the notice on Facebook. All well and good, right? Nope.

    Before we were able to leave the hospital, we had to go through additional training. One training session was with a nutritionist. One was with a Pharmacist who was to come by the room and explain all my medications and help us set up a pill box to organize when I need to take all my pills.

    One additional caveat to this is that we must have all our meds there to go through this training. Three crucial meds were being delivered to the house yesterday. UPS was doing the delivery. Carrie the nurse said that they would not let me out of the hospital unless I had those three meds in the room for that training. Apparently, they are very important and expensive. This is why insurance required that they be delivered to my house.

    Thus, Marilyn stayed at home to wait for UPS to deliver those three crucial pills. Do you see where this story is going? She waited and waited and waited. I was waiting as well as the hours ticked away. I didn’t handle the waiting very well at all. I’m just being honest with all of you. I was so invested in leaving the hospital.

    At one point in the wait, Carrie said, “John, if those pills don’t get here, we can’t let you out of the hospital tonight.” ARGH.

    Finally, however, they came at about 4:30. Marilyn grabbed them and raced down here. We got the necessary training and they released us after 7:00 PM. Praise God! Not a minute too soon. Again, God is NEVER early but He is never late.

    When we finally arrived here, the keys to our room didn’t work so we had to find a security guard because there was no one at the front desk … When we finally settled in this room, both of us crashed. We are still exhausted from yesterday, but I am OUT. Praise God!

    There are many restrictions on me. I’ll go into all of those sometime, but I can go outside. I can ride in the car. I can go to restaurants, as long as I am six feet away from everyone. This necessitates going in off hours. Et cetera. I’m just glad to be out. I figure I spent 19 days in the hospital, but they let me out earlier than most patients because I was doing so well, my ANC counts notwithstanding. I attribute this to the Lord and to answered prayer.

    Lord, thank You for working it out yesterday that I could be discharged. I give You all the credit for this. Thanks for working everything out. I confess once again the sin of worry. Deliver me from that. Help me to learn to trust You. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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    Day T+14: Discharge Today (Hopefully)

    My ANC is 390 this morning, so it bounced right back up. But is it high enough? I hope this isn’t a problem. Everything the doctors say is that today I am going to be released, but some of the nurses indicated that they don’t let folks out of here if their ANC is less than 500. (I may have already mentioned this in a previous blog; if so, I am sorry; it is just heavily on my mind).

    All the trainings Marilyn and I have been receiving and all the arrangements for medication, however, point to me being discharged. I can’t believe how many meds I am going to be taking when I am out of here (whenever that is)—more than when I have been in the hospital, for sure.

    I am realizing that no matter what is going on, I find something to worry about. I’m trying to learn the discipline that when worry starts to creep in, I immediately go the Lord about what I am worried about and talk to Him about it. This is my application of Philippians 4:6-7.

    So, we will see. The doc on call, Dr. Matthews, yesterday told me that he would be by this morning, so I will just point-blank ask, but he talked about my discharge. So again …

    Marilyn feels very certain that they are going to release me today, and she is making a lot of preparations for us to check into that hotel this afternoon.

    Please pray for Marilyn. She has so much to do at the house in addition to caring for Mother and myself.

    While I am in that neighborhood, please pray for my mom. She has been vomiting off and on these past few days. Once again, Marilyn and I are very concerned for her. Thanks again for praying for us.

    One of the passages I read this morning in the Solid Life Plan really stood out to me. It comes from Psalm 88: “I’m standing my ground, GOD, shouting for help, at my prayers every morning, on my knees each daybreak. Why, GOD, do you turn a deaf ear? Why do you make yourself scarce? For as long as I remember I’ve been hurting; I’ve taken the worst you can hand out, and I’ve had it. Your wildfire anger has blazed through my life; I’m bleeding, black-and-blue. You’ve attacked me fiercely from every side, raining down blows till I’m nearly dead. You made lover and neighbor alike dump me; the only friend I have left is Darkness” (Psalm
    88:13-18 MSG).

    This is one of the reasons I love the Psalms so much. They are brutally honest. Here is a wounded man crying out to the Lord and getting no answer.

    This is the challenge that many of us face OR not getting the answer we wanted. For example, last night, I didn’t sleep very well because I was so excited about the potential for this day. I asked God to give me an ANC over five hundred or between 450 and 490—either way. He didn’t do that. Why?

    Well, I don’t know all the answers to my own question but I do know the Lord well enough that whatever He decides for today will be in my best interest. It wasn’t the answer I wanted, but it is the answer the Lord gave. My Sovereign Lord acted according to His plan.

    Lord, I commit today to you. I would be less than honest if I didn’t say that I want to be discharged today and hope it happens. But, as hard as this is to pray (because I will be very disappointed if there is a delay), I will submit to Your plan and purpose for me. I lift up Mother and Marilyn today as well. Bless everyone who takes the time to read this blog, some do it every day. I love You, God, Jesus, and Spirit. Amen.
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    Day T+13: Definite Discharge Tomorrow!

    My ANC today is 290—a little fluctuation from the last couple day’s trend, but Carrie the nurse said not to worry. I am still going in the right direction. I’m glad, and I hope today’s figure doesn’t affect the news I received yesterday.

    Yesterday afternoon, Bob came in along with a new doc from CBCI, one that I had never met before. Everyone was friendly and upbeat.

    At one point, the new doc said, “I looked at your chart of information and said to Bob, ‘Why is this guy still in here?’”

    Of course, I latched on to his statement right away, looking at Bob. I said, “You mean it is definite. I am going to be discharged Thursday?” He nodded his head in the affirmative.

    So, I praise God for this news. I guess I need to be honest to say that I still can’t fully trust it. Please pray for me in that regard.

    I am excited to be getting out of here, obviously. I told Marilyn last evening, “I really don’t know how much longer I could have stayed in here and preserved my sanity.” That is half of a joke perhaps.

    But anyway, these next couple of days promise to be a whirlwind of instruction and meeting with people. You cannot believe all that goes into me leaving the hospital and Marilyn and I continuing to care for me. We have listened to two discharge teachings from two different nurses and each time, when it is finished, Marilyn and I look at each other. Overwhelming.

    Tomorrow, the day of discharge, we will be meeting with a rep from the pharmacy who will explain all my medications. I bet I will need to take about 20 different meds—each has its own instruction such as “eat with food” or “eat one hour before eating food” and so forth. That right there is a lot to keep track of.

    Then, we will be meeting with a nutritionist. There are some dietary restrictions—not as many as I thought would be but still a lot.

    And, we will probably hear at least two more discharge lectures before I go. There is so much information that they figure the more you hear it, the more you will be able to absorb everything they are trying to say.

    So, that’s about it this morning. Please keep praying for us as we make this transition.

    Lord, thank You for this good news. Obviously, it is still hard for me to believe. Help me with that. Help us as we make the move out of this very controlled environment to the “outside world” with all its challenges. We commit this whole process to You. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
    Comments

    Day T+12: Talk of Discharge from the Hospital

    My ANC is 450 today—still movin’ on up! Praise God!

    Yesterday, the doctor of this ward—Bob—and one of the nine doctors from CBCI—Dr. Grant—came into the room.

    Bob said, “John, you are doing well. Let’s talk about discharge toward the end of the week.” He looked at Marilyn, “How is the construction going?”

    Let me stop right there. First, I was in a bit of shock just to start this conversation. As I wrote in this blog and as I previously understood, they were NOT going to discharge me until my counts were over 3000. But apparently, that is not the case. As long as my counts are increasing (and Bob warned me that it is NOT a done deal that I will be leaving; my counts need to continue to rise; so far so good), they cannot keep me in the hospital. Hmm. Okay, whatever. I am glad that maybe I can leave.

    Second, IF I get released, I will not be able to go home right away. Why? We are having some work done on our house, and the docs are afraid of infection from the open walls and dust. However, once that reaches a certain level of completion, I WILL be able to go home—hopefully in a week or two.

    Anyway, what to do if I get released? Well, Lisa from CBCI came by to talk with us about temporary housing arrangements down here by the hospital. Apparently, there is a hotel nearby that just so happened had a suite available. It is a place approved by CBCI. I can’t just go anywhere because these cancer doctors require that I stay in a place that is cleaned adequately, according to their standards. This hotel Lisa pointed to is actually cleaned each and every day by the staff at St. Joseph’s hospital so it meets their criteria (for those of you reading this blog who don’t live in Denver—St. Joseph’s hospital is adjacent to Presbyterian/St. Luke’s hospital—the two are very close to one another).

    Thus, IF and when I am released (whenever that might be), I will go stay with Marilyn in this hotel.

    How do I feel about all of this? To be honest, I am a little bummed out that I can’t go home right away, but I recognize that God is in control of all of this. He has a plan and purpose through all these circumstances—the construction and my illness.

    Looking back to when I originally came in here and the docs were talking about releasing me two days after transplant, I now recognize that there was no way I could have come home EVEN if we had no construction going on. It turned out for the best for me to stay here. I cannot help but believe that this is the same sort of deal. God continues to take care of us, doesn’t He?

    This is essentially what Moses’ preached to the people of Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land: “Today know this: GOD, your God, is crossing the river ahead of you—he’s a consuming fire. He will destroy the nations, he will put them under your power. You will dispossess them and very quickly wipe them out, just as GOD promised you would” (Deuteronomy 9:3, MSG).

    Lord, I am thankful that You take care of all the enemies and obstacles as Your people move on with You. I commit these next couple of days and the hotel to You. If that is what You want, please help Marilyn and me as we make this move on Thursday or whatever day You choose to release me from the hospital. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
    Comments

    Day T+11: Get the Right Remote

    Before I go further, I want to let you know that my ANC jumped up today to 410. I’m grateful to the Lord for this. Thanks to all of you as well. Keep praying that it will continue to go up and fast. Thanks again.

    Well, this morning, I had a bit of a revelation. It started last night. Carrie, the nurse, asked if I was able to look at the Olympics. I said, “No, because this TV does not have NBC.”

    “Huh? What?” she replied. “I can’t believe that. Let me look into it.”

    Okay. I didn’t think much about it.

    The truth is that the other day, Marilyn tried to find the major channels because I wanted to watch the PGA championship. I was bummed that I didn’t see Jimmy Walker, Baylor alumnus, win the tournament. Bummer.

    Plus, I wanted to watch the Olympics but could not.

    Why? Well, there is a remote on a little table in this room. We tried to use it but the channels were very limited and no major networks, so we just gave up.

    Well, this morning, when the nurse came in, she took the remote by the bed—the one that I use to call the nurse when I need here. It is also a TV remote.

    She used it to turn on the TV and get all sorts of channels—including the major networks—that we had not been able to access before. Hooray!

    What is the lesson here? You have to use the right remote! All of us have multiple remote controls in our home. One controls the DVD player. Another for the cable box. Still another for the TV.

    If I want to be able to use the TV and find all the right channels, I must use the right remote.

    It is the same in our quest for God. Jesus provides total access to the throne of grace. I’m learning more and more about Him here in the hospital. I’m grateful that He is constantly interceding to the Father through the Holy Spirit on my behalf.

    He is answering prayer all over the place. Get the right Remote and things start to happen!

    Lord, thank You for the good ANC this morning and for answered prayer. Jesus and Holy Spirit thank You for being the Remotes of Heaven and making my relationship with the Lord possible. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
    Comments

    Day T+10: I'm NOT in the Driver's Seat

    I’m running a little late this morning because I woke up in the night with a terrible headache and nausea. Nikki, the nurse, was in here as I was throwing up with dry heaves (I hate this). She gave me some medicine for nausea and my headache, and I guess both knocked me out. I woke up, having slept in a lot later than usual. I feel a lot better now.

    Anyway, here I am. I’m going to start including my ANC every morning. Today it is 280, so I did come back but not very much. I’m confident that the days of “moving on up” like the Jeffersons (this is the title of a sitcom years ago—one of my favorites) will be here soon. I’m so ready.

    In my reading in the Solid Life Plan, I came across these verses:

    “Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?” (Mark
    8:34-37 MSG)

    There are several points I observe in these verses. First, I must let Jesus lead. This is the essence of discipleship. Wow, is this ever hard to do. Well, it is downright impossible. No one can do this apart from the Holy Spirit of God working.

    Second, and here is the main one, I must recognize WHERE I am. I am not driving this car. Jesus is. As I sit in this hospital bed another day, I have to continue to remind myself of this. Jesus DROVE me here. This long stay in the hospital is part and parcel of His plan for my life. Again, this is hard to see and harder to accept.

    Third, don’t run from suffering; embrace it. I’m asking the Lord to show me HOW to do this. One way is to acknowledge that I must be open to the opportunities for ministry here. Please pray that my ANC starts to go up fast. I’m asking this because I think, if that were to happen, I would have a chance to tell the nurses and doctors here that the Lord did it as God’s people prayed.

    Lord, I read these words today and again acknowledge that following You is impossible in the flesh. I trust You today, for another day. I pray for the services at First Southern today. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
    Comments

    Day T+9: Some Jargon

    As I start this morning, I just got news that my counts have come up today. The nurse this morning—Nikki—asked if the doctors have discussed with me when I am going home. I was a little floored. Still am.

    Now, let me hasten to say that I am a little hesitant to get real excited at this point. If this trend continues, then we can really celebrate, but at least, this is an encouragement this morning.

    Anyway, I wanted to share more details about the BMT this morning. Our good friends, Mark and Sam in Fort Worth, texted Marilyn and me yesterday. They said that they looked up this procedure in a medical journal online because I use terms in the blog that may not be familiar and they wanted to understand a little more about what is going on with me.

    First, Mark and Sam, thanks so much for this!

    Second, I would like to explain a couple of things. Of course, I am no doctor—not the MD kind for sure. Several times a day, the nurses here check my VITALS. This involves three things: blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature. It is their way of making sure I have not caught a virus or anything. When I use the term VITALS, this is what I am talking about.

    I also use the word COUNTS. They take my blood every day in order to calculate four things: my white blood cell count, my hemoglobin (I have no idea what that is), my hematocrit (ditto previous comment), and my platelets. This gives them my ANC—Absolute Neutrophil Count—for each day. This is what I am referring to when I say COUNTS.

    This is a crucial number because it indicates my body’s ability to fight off infection. Let me give you my ANC since I arrived: 3579, 2578, 1580, 2760, 2327 (transplant day), 6859, 3581, 2280, 940, 700, 400, 270, 170, and 319 (today).

    A couple of things about those numbers—first, you can see how chemo took my ANC down. Transplant took it WAY up temporarily. This is normal. Then, they just kept going down, culminating with today’s slight rise. I hope this means they are now going up steadily. Please pray this is the case.

    But they are shooting for numbers like my first day here—in the mid 3000’s. When my ANC again reaches this number, I will be able to go home.

    I hope this helps some.

    Above and beyond all these numbers is a loving and sovereign God who is in charge. Notice these words of Moses: “I commanded Joshua at that time, ‘You’ve seen with your own two eyes everything GOD, your God, has done to these two kings. GOD is going to do the same thing to all the kingdoms over there across the river where you’re headed. Don’t be afraid of them. GOD, your God—he’s fighting for you’” (Deuteronomy
    3:21-22 MSG). The Lord is fighting for me. He will take care of the numbers.

    Lord, thank You for the technologies of modern medicine. I give You the credit for it all. I give you my numbers for today and the rest of my days on earth. You are in charge of them all. Thanks for Mark and Sam and every one of my dear friends who read this blog and comment and pray. I love you all. I love You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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    Day T+8: Carried Around

    In the Solid Life Plan, today, I begin reading in the book of Deuteronomy—one of my favorite books in the Bible. As the initial chapter contends, this book is a book of sermons. Moses is preaching to the people of Israel as they are poised on the brink of the Promised Land. He is challenging them to remember everything the Lord did for them in their history so that they will move forward and not go back.

    Moses said, “I tried to relieve your fears: ‘Don’t be terrified of them. GOD, your God, is leading the way; he’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; you saw what he did in the wilderness, how GOD, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. But now that you’re here, you won’t trust GOD, your God—this same GOD who goes ahead of you in your travels to scout out a place to pitch camp, a fire by night and a cloud by day to show you the way to go’” (Deuteronomy
    1:29-33 MSG).

    The tragedy of the story of the people of Israel is that they very quickly forgot everything the Lord did for them, especially the fact that the Lord “carried you the whole way until you arrived here.” How sad! How can we forget what the Lord has done for us? I don’t know, but we do.

    As I sit in this hospital bed day after day and the days grow long, I have plenty of time. It helps to sit here and review everything the Lord has done for me and continues to do.

    Today, I got word that my counts have dropped even further. Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer before I “bottom out.” This will mean (again hopefully) that it won’t be long until they start to go the other way and this transplant grafts with my body.

    I can already tell that it is going to be a slow process. I have some more days in here, but not as many as when I started! The challenge will be that I will continue to trust the Lord who has carried me all the way until here.

    In that context of trust, I ask you to pray that my counts would hit bottom soon and SOON they would start to go back up. AND, pray that I will continue to trust the Lord to take care of all of this.

    Also, please pray for my mom in the nursing home. Marilyn said that the nurses there are concerned for her since she now sleeps most of the day. I am so anxious to get out of here so that I can visit her and see her.

    I might as well tell all of you that before I came in here, I did go visit her several times. In spite of the risk of infection, I just could not stay away. We had good visits. On more than one occasion, as I told her about the Bone Marrow Transplant, she would say, “John, I have a good feeling about this. You will make it through fine.” It is hard not to weep as I share this, but even in her dementia, she still prays for Marilyn and me and has a clear word of encouragement.

    Lord, I thank You for carrying us as a Father carries his child. Please take care of my mom. Thank You for continuing to take care of me. I trust You for today, Lord. I love You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
    Comments

    Day T+7: My Pet in Here

    A curious thing has happened. An animal shares my space here in the hospital. You would think that with the focus on keeping all germs and potential infection out, that it would keep all animals out of here, but no. There is also a little tiny fruit fly that somehow got in and is buzzing around.

    Normally, I would try to kill any insect in my space, but somehow, I can’t and won’t kill this little fly. He is keeping me company in here.

    I’m sure that some of you who are reading this think I have lost my mind. Well, you might be right—ha!

    But this little fly reminds of a chapter on one of Richard Wurmbrand’s books in which he talks about a bird that somehow got into his prison cell with him. Now, of course, this isn’t prison, although it feels like it sometimes.

    Wurmbrand’s bird and my little fly are just reminders of God’s power. Nothing can keep him out of even the most “secure” of environments. And they are just a reminder of the presence of God. He is here in this room with me all the time.

    Yesterday, Holly, the head of psychiatry here at this hospital, came to see me. She immediately remarked, “Wow, John, you seem to be doing better today.” I affirmed that she was right. I did have a better day. She went on, “I continue to be puzzled as to why some people do well in here and others simply do not. Maybe with you, maybe it is your faith. I don’t know.” And she left the room.

    No maybe about it. Without the Lord and without prayer, I would not make it in here or anywhere else for that matter.

    Anyway, trusting Him for another good day and thanks to all of you again for your prayers.

    Here is an interesting verse from one of the chapters I read in the Solid Life Reading Plan this morning: “Don’t desecrate the land in which you live. I live here, too—I, GOD, live in the same neighborhood with the People of Israel” (Numbers
    35:34 MSG).

    Lord, thank You for my little pet in here but ultimately, it is your presence and power that matter. You live in and with Your people always. I’m glad you are in my neighborhood today. I love You, Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen.
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    Day T+6: So Far, So Good

    If I am not in that time frame, I am close: the period of time when my counts are way down as I wait for my current immune system to be gone completely. Everyone is saying that in days 5 through 12, I will feel bad. Well, answered prayer has proven those prognosticators wrong up to now!

    As you can see, I have gotten up earlier—closer to my regular time—and I have eaten some breakfast, and I am starting to write. I praise God for all of this.

    Who knows what is ahead, but for right now, I feel okay.

    The nurse just poked her head in the door to see how I am doing. She said that she is going to introduce the new nurse to me in about 15 minutes.

    Whenever I am tempted to complain about my work, I need to remember the nurses in here. They work 12 hour shifts—from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM and then of course from 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM. It is not easy job. The nurse to patient ratio in here is 1 to 3. They stay busy. Every night at midnight, the nurse comes in to take my vitals and to draw blood. They do it at this time so that the calculations that come out of those tests will be ready for the doc when he comes in early.

    To be honest, it is kind of a hassle, having to be roused from sleep at midnight, every night, but it just goes with being in here. One of the reasons I will enjoy being home when they let me go is that I will be able to sleep through the whole night. I look forward to that.

    Anyway, back to nurses, they stay busy checking on patients, bringing meds, changing bed sheets and linens, bringing food in, and a whole lot of other things. I’m thankful for each one I have had.

    Please keep praying. I am looking forward to see how the Lord is going to show Himself strong through this. Pray that this process speeds up and that I feel good when everyone else says I am “supposed” to feel bad.

    All of this reminds me of a verse in Hebrews 11: “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Hebrews
    11:7 NASB).

    Noah proved the whole world to be wrong in his life of faith. This is the kind of life I choose to live this day as all of us pray without ceasing.

    Lord, thank You for helping me feel well so far when everyone else says I shouldn’t. I thank You for this and the power of prayer. I love You today, Jesus. Amen.
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    Day T+5: Continued Improvement

    Well, yesterday, I felt even better, so much so that I was able to eat and not throw up once. Of course, I’m still eating very little and bland foods like jello and apple sauce, but still ….

    I really appreciate your prayers. Please keep them up as I continue to get warned about hard days ahead as my counts continue to drop.

    One other issue is that up until now, I haven’t had to be “hooked up” to the machine to have medicine delivered to my catheter on a continuous basis. It looks as if those days are nearing an end as well. At a certain point, I have to be connected continuously. What this affects is my ability to take a shower and move about independently. Oh well, I’m still not at that point yet, so I am thankful.

    One other thing to pray for: I sometimes get a little “stir crazy” in here as time seems to go by so slowly. I know I am in a good place. This is where the Lord has me now for my care, but I long so much for the day they release me. No one is certain as to when that day may be. I pray that it is sooner than later.

    This verse comes to mind this morning: “
    My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me” (Psalm 31:15, NIV).

    Lord, thank You that this whole thing is in Your hands. I once again commit myself and this whole process to You. Thanks again for everyone who is concerned and is praying. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
    Comments

    Day T + 4: Pray without Ceasing

    Thanks to all of you for praying. I feel your prayers as each day seems to be getting a little better. Yesterday, I only threw up once, and I was able to eat a little more than I have been able to the past few days.

    I’m so thankful to have a little relief.

    I was talking to a friend who called, and I said, “I’m glad for the relief but they are telling me that starting in the next few days as my counts continue to go down, I will feel bad again.”

    He replied, “Well, we just need to pray that you don’t feel bad.”

    “Well, that is what they are saying,” I answered, my comments made as if prayer wouldn’t help because the doctors have the last word.

    He went on, “Well, that may be the case but we still need to pray. God can take care of things in spite of what the doctors say.”

    He is right. So right. I had kind of given up in that one area and just conceded that I was going to feel bad for another week and a half or so. But his comment reminded me of Paul’s admonition in 1 Thessalonians 5: “Pray without ceasing.”

    This is a prime example of the application of that command. Just because the doctor said it and I think he is right, this doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t pray. God is sovereign over every expert and leader and doctor and personal opinion. Right? So, please join me.

    Lord, thank You for what my friend said. Thank You for helping me feel a little better. Lord, in spite of what they are saying as my counts drop, I pray that you would continue to help me feel better. Your opinion and Your power reign supreme and I trust You to continue to take care of me and get me through this. Thanks for everyone who reads this blog and prays and cares. I love You and them, very much. Amen.
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