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”

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.