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

The Latest on Captain Hook

I received these updates yesterday and today.  Within their words you can feel their peace with the seriousness of Don’s illness because of their trust in God and His care.  Don’s sense of humor is also evident when he writes.  His ability to laugh, joke and tease has made a huge difference in their outlook, I think.

March 28, update

“Well folks here we go with the last treatment(maybe).The Dr. told us yesterday that if my counts come back quick that he might give me one more treatment. We told him that was his call and not ours. We are just praying that GODS will will be done in this. All you cousin’s out there remember when I was a ornery and mean little boy, well you have to be meaner than a junk yard dog to go thru all this mess. I am asking all you out there to just pray that GOD’S will be done in this. To all our friends in good ole’ Big Spring Texas a big howdy from Houston Texas. Just sitting here waiting for them to get our room ready. I will let Jo Ann say a few words and don’t believe a word she says.

I will make this short and sweet because time is about to expire on this session. When it expires, you lose everything you have written.
I will update again after we get in a room.”

March 28, update

God is Good All The Time!!!! We were admitted into the hospital tonight at 8:15. They did blood work as soon as we got into the room so that they could check the platelet level. When the nurse got the blood report, she came in and told us that the platelet count was 59. She called our Dr. and he decided to give Don a platelet transfusion tonight and start the first chemo drug tomorrow morning. Our Dr. is on the Clinical Team this week and will be coming by to see us everyday. We are happy about that. Don is feeling good and ready to get the treatment started. We will get to sleep better tonight because the transfusion does not last as long as the chemo does.

We Praise God for His loving care through out this journey. Thank you all for your prayers. Please pray for smooth sailing through this treatment.

God bless you all, Captain and Mate

March 29, update

The good Lord has given us another beautiful day. The ship has docked and the Captain is picking on the nurses. We were able to rest last night. The Dr. came by this morning and told us that he had decided to start the treatment today. The first drug is called Retuxin. It takes six to seven to complete. Don has tolerated the drug well in the past. We have walked this morning and now we are waiting for the nurse to start the drug. As we were walking, we walked around the Children’s section. They are so precious and truly remind us of God’s angels. It allows us to see other’s problems and realize how blessed we are to be where we are in this journey. God has given us today and our prayer is that we might allow others to see Him in our walk.

Thank you and God bless each of you for your prayers. Remember to keep your light on – you never know when you will meet someone going through a storm.

Love, 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”

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.