Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8 Update:

Last night when I had free time after a busy day, which I'll tell you about in a minute, I had some time to catch up on others' blogs that I haven't read yet. One of them was my daughter's. Our frequent trips have led her to entitle it Nel Around America.

Janelle's on the right; her friend Kay on the left
Last week's blog had this entry in it:

I was so angry at first when everything happened with my dad, but through it all he made new friends and he seems to be happier than he has ever been. For us, we are not lacking anything. While he is in the hospital, everyone goes completely out of their way to make sure that we have everything we need and want.

The cancer society provided a free apartment that is much nicer than anything I have ever lived in in my entire life. This has also provided a chance to get some very needed schooling done, that will be entirely uninterrupted. Ray has been putting together a box of vegetables every week for my parents. And so many other things. I just want to say thank you for everything everyone has done, and for all your help.

That was, needless to say, a very encouraging couple of paragraphs to read.

Yesterday: Chemo and Preparing for Half Marathons

I saw how much my blood counts went down yesterday, and I thought I'd better get in a long run (well, mostly walk) before they went down too much. I went a little over 5 miles in about 80 minutes. It made me feel like that 3-hour half marathon is not out of my reach!

Even better, despite having a full unit of blood destroyed by the chemo, I made it up the hill to our house for the first time. It was really slow, but we measured the hill in the car on the way home from the hospital yesterday, and it's about .6 miles, or about 1100 yards. There's a short downhill in the middle of about 150 yards, but the rest is all steep uphill.

It took me 7 and 1/2 minutes, which is slow, but I ran uphill for 7 and 1/2 minutes! I was excited. All the more so because that was at the 2.7 mile mark, and I'd surely run a mile of those 2.7 miles and power walked through the rest of it.

Yes, power walked ... like this:

I guess I'm "a disgrace to the man race"!

Quick final note on me: Oddly enough, my blood counts didn't drop today at all, really, except that my neutrophils are down to a more normal 60% of my white blood cells.

They did call the doctor this morning to check on my chemo because I was very slightly slow and shaky on the dexterity test. I don't have the steadiest hands, anyway, but they had another nurse check me, and then Dr. Strickland said to continue the chemo.

Yesterday and Surprise Visits from Friends Who Trust God

Towards the end of my run/walk, I got a call from an old friend. He'd been with us back in the early days at Rose Creek Village, but he left to go live a more organic and off the grid lifestyle.

As it turns out, his daughter has contracted a virus that has paralyzed her from the shoulders down. In fact, she can move her neck, but she can't hold up her head on her own. She's being treated at Vanderbilt at well, though she's home. Vanderbilt saw the care she's been receiving from her family and has allowed them to handle her physical therapy and care.

It's hard to predict recovery from the virus, but his daughter is young, about 15 years old, and it's likely she'll gain full recovery within a year.

What's funny is that when I told them I'd pray, her older sister told me that Naomi considers her illness the will of God that has created a great opportunity to minister to people. So she asked me to pray that God's will would be done rather than to pray that Naomi would be healed.

Now where have I heard that before?

Anyway, it was a great story. Naomi's sister told me about nurses coming to their room just to see Naomi smile. It appears that she never stops smiling, and she never admits to being in pain. They have to read her pain by subtle adjustments in her smile.

I'm telling you, there are a lot of inspiring, brave, and God-fearing people in these hospitals that make you feel like life's worth giving your best shot to.

Note to Dee Dee

Right at the center of the blessings of leukemia is all the people I get to enjoy.

I got a letter from my cousin Dee Dee, a first cousin I wasn't even aware I had, which was really inspiring. It came by snail mail, so I'm having to obtain the archaic tools needed to return mail by postal service. I suppose I'll find out at the same time whether I still know how to print by hand. I'm certain I can't write readable cursive! I can barely sign my name legibly even when I'm trying to!

Anyway, getting the ancient tools out has been a slow process. I should have written back already. I will soon, but I'm hoping, Dee Dee, that you and your children will see this blog post and know how encouraging your letter was to me. I was grateful for all the letters. They were amazing.

Made me cry.

Still a disgrace to the man race, I suppose.


  1. If you are any sort of a disgrace to the man race then may all men become equally disgraceful... and by God's grace may they never recover!!!

  2. Dear Paul,
    I jus found ur note 2 me & I had 2 laugh. U r about as good @ writing as I am @ typing on dis touch screen phone, I no own a computer, so dis is how I been following ur updates. I'm always laughing by da end, thnx 4 da much needed daily laughter! I'm glad 2 c u in good spirits & if I understand correctly, good health @da time considering! Correct me if I'm wrong. Good 2 no we got a lil moa family out dea! Take care & luv u!