Milestones

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!)  🙂

Blessings!

Steve

 

Advertisements

9 comments

  1. Betty H Fields

    Steve, I am sitting on my 10th floor balcony in Panama City Beach watching waves below go in and out and loving the sound.

    Oddly, I was just thinking of you when I saw this message. Great to hear you are doing well. Wish you guys were here.

    I am heading home today so got up at 5 am to sit here and enjoy. I had to laugh at Squatty Potty because I showed it to grand kids on internet the other day. Lisa and kids are going to China next year and told them to get used to it. Ha Enjoy your summer. Love you all. Betty Fields Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Robinson, Douglas

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks so much for the update.
    I praise God and rejoice with you (and your family) for your improved health.
    We love you all in Christ,
    Doug

  3. Faith Kensell

    Steve, Sooo happy for the good report!!!!! God is so good!!!! Thanks so much for the update. May God continue to give you good “milestones”. God bless u and all your family. In Christ, Faith Kensell.

  4. Margaret Faulkner

    Woo hoo for milestones!!!! My only question is when are you coming to Alabama??? Loved reading about all of the milestones and keeping up with the family. We love & miss you guys.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s