Note: One of the “down sides” to feeling much better is that I’m too busy living life to blog about how I “feel”. Consider yourself spared all of these months! Here’s a rare update:
Back when I worked at BellSouth doing software stuff, the success or failure of projects all hinged on meeting milestones. Milestones were so drilled into our heads that I once wrote a song about it on one of my commutes home. With a little creativity, you might imagine the tune to this made-up song. It started something like this…
“Milestones, meet the milestones / They’re a technical necessity / From the / place called BellSouth / It’s required for project history /…”
(Video clip added for the culturally challenged) Ok, those hour-long commutes got kinda boring after nine years.
But outside of project management, I actually like the concept of milestones.
The dictionary defines a milestone as “an important point in the progress or development of something: a very important event or advance.”
In many ways, the past several months have been all about milestones and “making important advances” in life. Some examples include:
- I turned 51. Hey, when you’re 47 and the doc says you may have 3-4 years to live, every year is a milestone! (and that’s 20% longer than Elvis, with just as many pills).
- My daughter (and first child) turned 25. I’ve now been a parent for a quarter-century. Boy, does time fly.
- Child #5 (Philip) has now graduated from high school. Five down. Five to go!
- After 25 years of using a PC, I finally switched to a Mac. (A great move).
- After 15 years of BHV’s (Big Honkin’ Vans), we finally downsized to two minivans.
- My wife (who is currently sleeping and doesn’t know that I’m posting this) discovered a “revolutionary” way for our family to use the bathroom. She bought us a “Squatty Potty”. To fully understand this device, you would have to watch this comical (but clean) video (with apologies to my Indian friends):
This video is worth more than the device! I’ll confess, this particular milestone hasn’t really changed my life yet.
Speaking of milestones, today I went to the University of Michigan to meet with the doctor for the two-year anniversary of my autologous stem cell transplant. So far, my cancer numbers continue to be “non-detectable” which means, unless I have issues, I don’t have to go back to Ann Arbor any time soon! (I’m still on a maintenance dosage of chemo and continue to meet my local oncologist in Grand Rapids every 3-4 months).
Other recent milestones:
- I received my final five vaccinations today! (In zapping and rebuilding the entire immune system after the high-dose chemo and transplant process, you end up losing all those childhood shots and have to get most of them re-done!)
- I don’t have any more nausea or weird food taste issues. Which means…
- I’m now back to my “normal” weight (55 lbs up from the low of 123 after the transplant)
- I’ve reduced several of the meds, including some of the painkillers that weren’t really helping with the ongoing peripheral neuropathy. Which means…
- I have more of a normal sleep schedule and life. (as opposed to being a zombie)
Overall, these are great days. I’m feeling about as a normal as ever. We’ve had a great season at our church (www.lifechangeonline.org) meeting with several new couples and families in our community. It was great to connect with almost 40 newcomers last night for a cookout! Our weather in West Michigan is almost perfect (after record-setting snow). Yep…after two brutal years of intense chemo and a stem cell transplant, I’m really enjoying “feeling good” this summer! I’m planning to drive to New Brunswick, Canada in August and I’m going down with a missions team from our church to Ecuador in September.
At the same time, as a multiple myeloma patient, I’m always mindful that the experts rarely use the word “remission” (because cancer of the bone marrow typically returns). However, the new drugs and treatment protocols are changing rapidly and new options are now available for MM patients that didn’t even exist three years ago.
I’m also mindful of a sovereign, extremely relational God who has been ever-present during those awful days and who continues to teach me about the brevity of life, the blessings of feeling good and the importance of trusting Him and His goodness during the journey! Psalm 46 is personally a great reminder of that for me. (By the way, I highly recommend the free Android or Apple Bible app from Bible.com!)
Thanks for your on-going prayers and friendship!
(And don’t knock the Squatty Potty (www.squattypotty.com) til you’ve tried it!) 🙂