Pain In Perspective


A bone marrow / stem cell transplant is not something you want on your bucket list. It’s not an easy medical procedure to go through and only tolerable because the alternative in most cases is death.

Painful as it has been, my transplant has gone well thus far. And compared to what others have faced, I’m a novice at suffering. Fellow writer, blogger and veteran cancer fighter Ronni Gordon has survived four transplants!

“I got really sick (105-degree fevers) after my induction in 2003. I had an auto and was good for three and a half years. I thought I was done with it but then I relapsed. I didn’t get too sick with the next two: allos from the same donor. I rejected the first graft after six months. They don’t know why. They didn’t think it was the donor so they gave me the same donor a second time. That time at six months the leukemia snuck back in despite the donor and I relapsed. This time they gave me a double dose of some chemo that hopefully got rid of the leukemia for good, plus a transplant from a different donor (Jan. 31). I’m 100 percent engrafted, but the chemo nearly did me in … kidney failure, infections, fevers, coma, the works. So here I sit trying to stay positive. It’s not always easy but as we all know, that’s what we have to do.”

Why fight so hard and endure so much? Because life is precious. Not as a single spark but as a shared experience with family, friends and others. I’m looking forward to playing with my grandkids Jason, Emma, and now Zachary (above), and to growing old with Susan. I want to do more laughing around the table with my kids, to have more philosophical discussions over coffee with my buddies and to convert as many strangers as I can into friends.

These are my reasons to do whatever it takes to stay alive.

What Who are yours?

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5 thoughts on “Pain In Perspective

  1. Mike,
    I think that original sin is not in the blood only. Therefore you have only had a partial cleansing and will have to be aware of the other part. The mind, body, soul are a part of the whole and therefore 1 out of 3 is not bad, but all 3 will need the same eradication to accomplish the goal. The tools may be different depending on dualism or tri-whatever -ism. Even John and Peter talk about the bodily cleansing by water and the spiritual cleansing by the blood of Christ in IPeter and IJohn. I seem to remember a third witness being the Spirit. This lets us know for sure when we see all three. Yet it still requires discernment on our part which seems experiential and non objective for those of us who like formulas and for certains.
    That however leaves out faith. What a conundrum.
    Simple faith in God through Jesus Christ, His son is not as simple as initially told to us in our faith beginnings. At least mentally. Perhaps as child-like faith, it is that simple and we just like to complicate it so that we can say we did something, when actually He did it all. Makes me go back to what is God’s job description and what it mine? Am I trying to do some of His and just need to do mine.
    Well, I hope I got your mind off the cancer. We are praying for a speedy recovery for you and life getting back to relationship with family and friends soon.
    Don

  2. I look forward to many more laughs and deep conversations with you Dad. I can’t wait to see my kids play with their Papa someday and I want you to grow old with mom as well… Love you!

  3. MIKE: One of your better postings! Thank you.
    My husband, who has B-cell indolent follicular NHL, has just completed his first “4 consecutive Fridays” all-day infusions of Rituxan maintenance therapy. CT scan this AM. We meet with oncologist on Thursday to discuss the results.
    He has tolerated all of his chemo treatments well but has told me that if it comes to a stem cell transplant: “Forget it!” His best friend, who had ALL, died in 1997 after he developed GVHD. But that was 12 years ago! The LLS is always funding new and better treatments. Never give up.

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