We didn’t hear anything on the results of the second biopsy yesterday, and so the day worked out the way I thought it might: just a day when the kids were having fun running around the hospital waiting room. I find the lack of an actual diagnosis, not knowing what the treatment is going to be, to be one of the more difficult things at this point.
In the meantime, I’ve had an opportunity to hear from a couple of individuals who have dealt with various types of cancers, successfully and not successfully. And coming from a perspective of not ever having dealt with this sort of thing, I’ve found their shared experiences to be very helpful.
One former co-worker told me of his wife’s struggles – she had neither MDS nor AML, but a form of Hodgkin’s disease that could be treated by a similar kind of bone marrow transplant. In fact, he and his wife had spent a great deal of time in the same facilities at West Penn hospital where I’m hanging out now. She had to go through the process twice. The first involved a transplant of her own cells, irradiated to kill the cancer cells. Unfortunately, the irradiation was not fully successful, and it enabled the cancer to return. The second time, she had donor cells transplanted. This process eliminated the cancer, but in this instance, there were complications arising from rejection of the donated tissues. She ended up passing away, after a five-year struggle.
Another old Internet friend told of her son, who has gone through the process twice: a first time dealing with ALL (a form of child’s leukemia), and then other forms of cancer tumors. The overall process of dealing with these cancers took more than five years. But today, her son is 26 and has been cancer-free for around 10 years. He is now a seminary graduate and a youth pastor. She says, “I realize that God used my son’s cancer to draw him close to Himself. He can use your wife’s cancer in the same way. I pray that she and you and your children will draw close to Him for the strength you all need.”
In both of these cases, I appreciated the deep, heartfelt emotions that were shared. It is definitely encouraging to hear that there is light at the end of the cancer tunnel; especially after having dealt with it for as long as each of these folks did.