Update on the Captain and First Mate

It is truly a blessing to know Don and Jo Ann.  Having them home and in our Sunday School class was wonderful.  They continually glow with the joy and presence of the Lord.  I received this update yesterday.

GREETINGS PRAYER WARRIORS: We returned to Houston today after two blessed weeks at home. God blessed us in so many ways at home. Seeing our sweet family, praising God with our church family, and sleeping in our own bed are just a few of the blessings. God is so good!!!!!!!

We did blood work as soon as we could get to the Clinic. The platelets were 20. Thank God! We did not need a transfusion. Yea! We talked to the nurse and she said that she would talk to the Dr. tomorrow morning and call us about when to come in for blood work and meet with him. Pray that God will guide the Dr. in making the decision about whether to give the Captain another treatment or let us go home,
We do not know what is best and are putting this totally in God’s hands.

We are going to get some much needed R & R. Our trip home was wonderful, but very, very busy. We are really tired. Thank you all for your prayers and your loving concern.

God loves you and we love you too,

Captain and Mate

Another Update for Captain Hook

I just received another update on Don and Jo Ann.  Thank you for your prayers for these precious people.  God is not just guiding them.  It is as if He is paving the road.  Thank you, God, your blessed grace and strength which you give so freely to Don and Jo Ann.  I pray that your Presence will continue to abide with them as they continue their cancer journey.

“Ahoy Prayer Warriors, We came to the Clinic this morning at 8:00 and had blood drawn. We went to the cafeteria for breakfast and then went to the Infusion Unit and had the nurse put a new dressing on the CVC line in Don’s chest. The dressing has to be changed every four days. The report on the blood work was good (A wonderful answer to prayers PRAISE GOD!). The white blood cell count was up, which means that Don’s immune system is up enough that he is not as susceptible to infections as he was. The platelet count was 10, which means that Don will need a transfusion of platelets. We are now waiting for the transfusion.

We are planning on going home tomorrow for a few days. We will need to watch the platelet count while we are home. We are not sure what the treatment plan will be, but trust that God will lead the Dr. in making the decision. He is in control of this journey and we are blessed to be in His loving hands. We think we will be home for nine or ten days. We will not do another UPDATE until we return to Houston.

We want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU and GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS. We are looking forward to coming home and telling everyone we see how much we love and appreciate them.



Captain Hook and First Mate, Once Again Making Lemonade From Lemons

This update on Don just arrived.  Their sweet spirit is nothing short of inspirational.  The challenge for Don is that the chemo treatments for his non Hodgkins lymphoma is very hard on his body.  His platelet count, red blood count and white blood count always bottom out when he gets a treatment.  It requires large amounts of  prayers and patience, and many transfusions to raise the counts so that he can get another treatment.  Read as they once again take sour lemons and make very sweet lemonade.

Don and Jo Ann, thank you for being so positive.  You set a wonderful example for us of God’s Grace and Peace as you travel done your cancer path.

“Ahoy to all of our faithful prayer warriors. We are at the Clinic today for blood work. The blood draw was done at 8:00 by a very special tech. named Herooth. She is a cute little lady from Ethiopia. She loves Don and always seems happy to see him. Don gives her a hard time and today she put red tape over the cotton that covered the puncture site. She told him that she bet that his wife would love to have some of the red tape so that she could put it over his mouth to keep him quite. ha ha
Don came out of her room laughing and told me. We shared the thought that Herooth knew him well.

The report on the blood work showed that the platelets were eleven (up from five on Mon.). We are now in the Transfusion Unit getting eight . units of platelets. The white blood count was 0.7 which is very low. When the white count is this low, Don must wear a mask, no fresh vegs. or fruit, and can not be around people. He would not be able to fight off any kind of infection. So I guess we will be staying close to the apartment until Mon. when they check his blood again and make a lot of good lemonade.

We want to thank all of you and express how blessed we are by the wonderful messages on the care page, the phone calls, the heartfelt cards and most of all for the prayers. God seems to send angels to minister to us when we need it. We pray that God bless each angel ten fold. You can not out give God and because you have given so much to us, you need to get ready for abundant blessings.

Smooth sailing, Captain and Mate”

Another Captain Hook Update

This update on Don, aka Captain Hook, just arrived. It is getting harder and harder for his body to tolerate the chemo treatments. Please pray for Don and Jo Ann. This has been and will continue to be a long journey for them.

“God is good all the time!!!! All the time God is Goooooood! :<) :<) How are all of you prayer warriors? We pray that each one of you have received a wonderful blessing today. Did you look for it????

Sunday we visited South Main Baptist Church (The church that is providing our apartment). It is a beautiful church and we were able to express our appreciation for the loving apartment ministry. We met some of the volunteers that work in the “Sojourn Ministry”. They are dedicated to providing a home for the cancer patients at MD Anderson. I know it has blessed us and we Thank God for SMBC and their ministry.

We came to the clinic today for blood work. We did the blood work at 12:00 and finallllllly got a report at 5:00. The Captain’s platelets dropped to 5. (5,000) They scheduled a platelet transfusion for 9:00 to night. We hope we get out by 12:00. The other counts were not low enough to require a blood transfusion. We will have blood work again on Thursday. We are asking you to pray that God led the Dr. as he makes the decision about the next one or two treatments. We know that we are in God’s hands and we rejoice in knowing that He loves us and will lead us through this journey.

We want to thank all of you for your love and prayers. It is wonderful hearing from home…….we miss you all.

God bless with smooth sailing, Captain and Mate”

Another Captain Hook and First Mate Update

Hello Prayer Warriors:) 🙂 🙂 I just wanted to send an update on the ole Captain. He is taking the last of the chemo drugs. Yea!!!! His hemoglobin count dropped today and they just brought one of two units of blood that will be transfused. It will take about five to six hours. He is also taking Mesna, a fluid that will protect the kidneys and bladder. I know that all of this sounds bad, but he is really doing good. As we walk and visit with the many patients or care givers, we stop and thank God for His constant blessings. God’s grace is such a wonderful gift. It does not matter what our circumstances are His grace will sustain us. When I think of God’s amazing grace, I always think of our sweet Sage. He was such a clear, beautiful picture of Amazing Grace. He radiated the love of God to everyone he touched. I pray that we will radiate that same love to everyone meet.

God bless you all and thank you for your prayers, Captain and Mate

Captain Hook Update

This update came from the CarePages of MD Anderson Hospital.

“Hello to our faithful Prayer Warriors: The Captain’s advisor told him today that he could drop anchor tomorrow. We will be admitted into the hospital for the fourth treatment. We had a blood draw and met with our Dr. for the results and a discussion about the Pet scan that we took before we went home. The Pet scan did not show any active cancer. We Praise our Heavenly Father for answered prayer with humbled hearts. The platelet count was 56 and the Dr. thought that it would be high enough by tomorrow to start the treatment. He also said that we may have one or two more treatments depending on how Don responds to the chemo and how quickly his platelet count comes up. We have put this journey in the loving hands of our Father and we trust that he knows best.

We will be able to update each day we are in the hospital. We want to say THANK YOU for each warrior that lifted us up through out this journey. We ask God to bless each of you ten fold.

God bless until tomorrow, Captain and Mate”

Update on Don (Captain Hook)

This is an update which comes through the CarePages from MD Anderson Hospital. Don and Jo Ann returned to Houston yesterday. Their updates are always fun and uplifting. Don is also known as Captain Hook and Jo Ann is the First Mate.

“AHOY to all of our faithful prayer warriors!!!! We were blessed with sixteen days at home and it was wonderful. We are so blessed with a wonderful family, a praying church family and pastor, and friends that have lifted us up to the Heavenly Father. THANK YOU!!! I thought that the ole Captain would be nicer after the break, but I was wrong. He is still a mess – I will just ask for an extra cup of GRACE each day.

We came to the Clinic as soon as we arrived in Houston. We had blood work done and than waited for the report. The report showed the platelet count was up to 48. THANK GOD!!! The nurse made an appointment for Thursday to have blood work done and scheduled admission into the hospital, if the platelets are high enough.

God bless you all,


Don, Jo Ann, and Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

Don and Jo Ann are precious dear friends.  They are members of my Sunday School Class, and have been examples of strength, courage, and faith as they once again journey down the cancer path.

Several years ago, I remember that JoAnn had breast cancer.  It was found early.  She had a lumpectomy and was treated with medication to prevent its return.  Her cancer has been in remission since then.  In fact, she may be classified as cured.

Don and Jo Ann watched a grandson, Sage, fight and lose his battle with rhabdomyosarcoma, a fast growing cancer in children.  At the age of 12, Sage was told, after enduring cancer treatment, that nothing more could be done.  During his remaining two or three weeks of life, Sage showed strength, faith, and grace that could only have come from God.   Yes, Sage may have lost his battle with cancer, but he was victorious in the way he faced death, inspiring everyone who knew him.

Don has battled Non Hodgkins Lymphoma three times.  This form of cancer is treatable, but not curable.  Don has been a patient at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, and the two of them have made countless trips there.

Lymphoma first appeared in 1997,  in a testicle. It was small, the size of a BB. In 2003 it returned in the form of a volleyball sized mass around Don’s right kidney.  After four chemo treatments, this cancer when into remission.  Don was placed in a stem cell transplant clinical study.  His blood was enriched with neuprogin injections and then his own stem cells were harvested.  After another procedure in which they ‘burned him out’, he was reinjected with his own stem cells.

Don’s remission this time lasted only 3 1/2 years, and returned in Nov, 2007,  in his lower abdomen.   Once again the cancer has been put in remission by chemo treatments, and there is a possibility that he could have another stem cell treatment.  This time, however, the cells would come from Don’s brother who is a perfect match.  Don may decide to wait on the stem cell treatment, because hopefully this cancer treatment will keep the lymphoma in remission for a long time, and there is always a danger of rejection with stem cells even from a perfect match.

Don has one more chemo treatment to take which is basically an ‘insurance’ treatment, just in case the scans missed some malignant cells.

The challenge for Don with this recurrance is that his body is not recovering from the chemo treatments as quickly as it once did.  His blood counts and platelet counts have been very low, and they have been very slow to come up.  Normal platelet counts are from 140,000 to 440,000.  Don’s counts have been as low as 4,000.  He has had a total of 29 transfusions of blood and platelets since Dec, 2007.  In fact, his last treatment is being delayed due to low platelet counts.

It is so amazing to watch the faith and courage they both display to all of us. Even when blood tests don’t come back with the news they hoped for and prayed for, they know that God has all things in His hands, and they rest in His Peace and Comfort.  Oh, yes.  They have had a wonderful sense of humor about all of this also.  I know that has helped.

Please pray for Don.  Pray that his current state of remission will last, that his cancer will not return.  Pray that his blood counts and platelet counts will come up so that he can have his last chemo treatment.

Pray for Jo Ann. She is truly an amazing person and I consider it an honor to know her.  I know that she has times of exhaustion, frustration, and fear, but she is so very in tune with God that His Strength and His Grace meets her needs day by day.  Those of you who have been caregivers know what she needs and you know how to pray for her.  Please do so.