"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him." -Daniel 2:22
"Do not fear, for I am with you..." -Isaiah 43:5
"...we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion." -Daniel 9:18

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Crossing the Plateau

In this battle with cancer and with life, we were thrown down off our high place at the time of diagnosis. Over the past few years we have struggled to climb back up and we did finally reach the plateau. That place where things level off and it is just a vast expanse before you.
With the latest developments in our lives, we may have been lowered to another plateau, but it is still a plateau. An expanse of seemingly endless desert before us. But it is all a mirage. God only allows us to see what is just in front of us, so we don't see all the things that are to come. There may be mountains, certainly more valleys, but still more plateau.
It can be very frustrating to not be able to see what is up ahead, but that is why we need a sovereign God to lead the way. I believe it is why He made the world round. Do you think that Columbus would have ever ventured to the west if he had seen what a great expanse of ocean he would have to overcome?
We can, however, look back and take comfort. As I look over my shoulder I see the hand of God at work, molding and preparing both Al and I. We could fret over the mistakes we made. If we had only saved more money... If we had only made this decision instead of that one... If we had only prepared for this kind of emergency...we would not be in this situation.
I have caught myself saying, if Al has only kept his job at TXU.... If I had gone back to work years ago.... If we had just sold our property a few years ago, when the economy was booming....
But, it Al had remained at TXU, he would not be who he is today. If I had gone back to work, I would have missed all the ministry opportunities God allowed me to participate in that have radically changed me from who I used to be. Opportunities to work with some of the most awesome, Godly people who showed me how to forgive myself, trust in God and keep moving in His direction!
So....here we are. Crossing the plateau. Sometimes a vast desert. But sometimes an oasis. We are living a DOGS life. (Depending on God's Sovereignty) Knowing He has our backs. He has been preparing us to handle what is up ahead. He will give us what we need, when we need it. He will sell our property, when and if it is part of His plan. He will provide a job for me, if it is part of the plan. All things for His glory, in His time and in His way.
He has prepared us to move forward, each day, living as DOGS.
With lots of help. We have been so blessed by so many friends and family with offers to help. Several have offered to help pay for various things....even though they may not be much better off than we are. We sincerly appreciate all offers, but we are pretty good for the next few weeks.
Al already has a new job! Part-time. Mowing yards with his friend, Steve. If it all works out. We don't want to interfere with any of Steve's family income, so we are hoping they get enough yards to make up for Al's portion. I am concerned about Al being outside in the heat this summer, but hope he only has to work in the morning hours. If he takes good care of himself with sunblock, long-sleeves, hats, and hydration, he should do okay.
Al already has the promise of a vehicle! Steve, again. They have several trucks that might be a candidate for Al to get fixed and running.
We already have a place to move, if the property does not sell in 3-4 months. Steve and Ina. They have a travel trailer we can stay in. Italy. Bank of America told Al - no, they would not work with us on the home equity loan. We can't pay it, so it looks like we will be losing our house, if God does not provide a buyer soon.
We still are not sure what kind of income we will have. It all depends on unemployment and social security. He will have a small pension from TXU. That will not kick in for 3-4 months and will be about 1/4 of his last salary. Not really sure about unemployment, whether he is qualified or not. Not sure if he is classified as disabled if he has not yet filed with SS.
It is all still very murky. Al will be trying to wade through all the paperwork this next week.
Thankfully, the company will be paying for 18 months worth of COBRA, so he will be able to keep up with his chemo & other treatments.
Yesterday was a post-surgery visit to the surgeon. Took x-rays. All good. Back in 6 months. Let him know if anymore pain develops other places.
Also, yesterday, monthly visit to the oncologist. Thought he was going to have to endure a bone marrow biopsy. Didn't happen. (yeah!) They only give a local in the oncologist's. Unlike the transplant office where you get IV meds.
Instead Al has to give them 24 hours worth of urine. Doc says this is more accurate for determining the amount of protein in the body, anyway. Al is like - sign me up for that!
Hope to get some results from that soon. Hopefully, holding the line on that cancer with the Revlimid.
Al's white blood cells had recovered somewhat from the previous month's. Not normal, but better. Red blood cells, not so much. Got another shot of Aranesp.
We are discussing what treatments may come next. Transplant doc wants us to test some people to find our who might be a match for stem cells. Just in case, one day, he needs a transplant with someone else's cells. He can't do one with is own again. With another person's cells, it would be a little different. More like an organ transplant, where the body might reject the cells. More chances for infections and Graft vs Host Diesease. Bad stuff. So we are thinking that will be a "last resort" procedure.
Most likely, if he needs another type treatment, we will go with a new chemo being approved for this summer or one of several others that are already approved for myeloma treatment.
For now, we are crossing that plateau, one step at a time. Living a DOGS life.

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