Let's start with Don. He's the guy I talked about in the hospital. He got a stem cell transplant from himself. (You can read about that sort of thing on the internet by searching for "autologous stem cell transplant.") They sent him home the day after his transplant, even though he had no neutrophils (bacteria-fighting cells), and he got sick and was back in the hospital two days later. He was still there when I got out a couple weeks ago.
|Don, visiting me in hospital|
I'm fifty years old, and that's the first rabbi I've ever met!
We asked him a number of questions, and the rabbi told me a history of Reform Judaism, which is his denomination, and then how Conservative Judaism broke off from that in 1885. There's also a Reconstructionist ...
Wait, wait. This blog's not about Judaism.
Don looked really skinny ... and really bald. I guess I look really bald, too, but I've put on five pounds since I left the hospital.
We met at Noshville, which is a NY-deli-style restaurant. It had a lot of kosher foods, including two beers that they called "Chosen Beer." One was "Genesis Ale," and the other was "Messiah Brew," or something like that. I ordered the Genesis Ale since I've been going over Genesis with my children in school.
Genesis Ale is very good.
Anyway ... Don's blood counts sounded real good to me. His white blood cell count is higher than mine, so he must not be neutropenic (lacking neutrophils) anymore. He has an appointment Friday, and they may let him go home over the weekend.
If the transplant took, he'll just get better and be able to forget he ever had lymphoma. That's what you can pray for him. It's possible he's cured, and if he is, he's done.
|The Parthenon (replica, of course) at Centennial Park in Nashville (Tennessee)|
Laurie Ann (My Sister)
My sister lives near Nashville ... Nashville, North Carolina.
They got ransacked by this hurricane that just came through. Before that there was an earthquake, though I don't think that did any damage. The hurricane was followed by a tornado watch that caused my sister, in some sort of act of great brilliance, to challenge Mother Nature on Facebook with:
Bring it mother nature. I got God on my side.
That was at 5:34 pm two days ago. At 5:43 pm—9 minutes later—she posted:
Ok Mother Nature I'm sorry. Lightening just struck and we felt it in our bare toes.
This morning, her pet motorcycle was stolen. (Yeah, I meant to write "pet"; that's not a typo.)
This morning, as I was walking, I was thinking about all the things that happened to her. That got me to thinking about what sometimes comforts me. Hardships make great stories. That's not much comfort if you lose a loved one, but it can be great comfort if your house burns down and no one is hurt.
Yeah, I think the storytelling possibilities for the rest of your life outweighs the tragedy of having your house burn down, though I'm assuming you have insurance and are going to get another house.
Then I got to thinking about saying that to someone. "I'm so sorry your motorcycle got stolen, and a hurricane came through so that you're without power for a week. But, hey, think of all the stories you're going to be able to tell!"
It's a good way to get horrified expressions from most people and punched by some.
But I thought, "My sister could handle that. She's a trooper AND a major storyteller. She'd agree it's worth it for the jawing time down the road."
|Kids playing at Centennial Park|
i need a break. Earthquake, hurricane, tornado, stolen motorcycle, no power for 5 days, now no internet for another 5 days.
That is rough, but the truth is that as soon as she can get out with friends, she's going to be hooting and hollering, swapping stories, and getting in her word than normal because she's got more to talk about than usual. If those things hadn't all come at the same time, none of them would make much of a story by themselves.
The fact is, when it comes to facing tragedy, I come from pretty good stock. Life can take anyone down; me, my sister, anyone (well, except Jesus himself, and maybe Gandhi, who gave Jesus all the credit—arguments accepted on the Gandhi giving Jesus credit thing later).
Anyway, this is my weird way of encouraging my sister, telling her these sorts of things are right up her alley, and when nobody dies, it's all worth it in the end.
Alaina's my secretary, who's been handling a lot of the financial side of things back at Yachad's warehouse in Selmer. She's also gotten inspired about running, and she's intending to run a half marathon in November here in Nashville with a couple other ladies.
That's Alaina in the middle; Quinn, on the left, ran my first half marathon with me when he was 14 or 15.
I was supposed to try to run a 10K with her this summer, which helped bring my leukemia to light because my training for it was failing and failing badly.
Anyway, she said something about the race supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program. I'm not sure exactly how that works, but I'm pretty sure you can sponsor a runner with contributions to the LLS.
I looked into Team in Training years ago, and I got very impressed by the LLS long before I ever dreamed of having leukemia myself. Their statistics on the improvement in the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma were very complete, and they're a very up front, open organization. I've never been much of a fundraiser, though, so I didn't follow through on it.
I'm a little more motivated now, as you might guess, so if you're interested in sponsoring Alaina or one of the other two ladies, leave me a comment, and I'll try to find out how you can do that.