About Me

Written in early July, 2011

The blog posts tell my whole story, but for a May, 2013 "About Me" see below

My doctor gave me a preliminary diagnosis of some sort of leukemia on June 24, 2011. A cancer center told me it was an acute form on June 27, which means it's fast moving. Of course, the rapid progression of symptoms made that obvious.

Me and my family
I'm 49, though I'll be 50 on July 11. I'm married, and I have 6 children. I'm a Christian, live in a Christian community, I teach, I help lead the church, and sometimes I get to be a missionary, even playing a key role in starting a really wonderful and amazing church in Nakuru, Kenya. (That was chance and the kindness of God that let me play a part in that, but that's another story.)

Back in October, as part of an exercise plan to prevent getting fat and out of shape, I ran a mile and a half uphill (yes, all uphill, in the foothills of California) with my small laptop backpack on my back.

From there, it's been all downhill, if you'll excuse the pun, though it was slowly at first. Just two weeks ago, I walked 3 miles with a bigger backpack on my back, and I was wondering why when I broke into a jog I got tired so quickly.

Today, I breathe heard when I walk the 20 yards from my RV to my house and take the two steps leading to the porch.

My daughter Leilani
But I consider leukemia a gift from God. It's sent to allow me to talk to people I otherwise would not be able to talk to, to open doors for things I want to say about the church, and generally to be a source of spiritual growth for me and even for my wonderful family, including my parents, who are in the Christian community with me, and my siblings, whose support and love I feel every day.

What form of leukemia is still unknown to the doctors, but it's not unknown to me. It's the good form, the form sent to bless me and all those who are the called according to God's purpose. I have not just accepted it, I have embraced it, and we are ...

... thrilled to death!

May, 2013

Currently, I am in remission, and I am basically back to my life, much as it was. Hopefully, I am a little wiser and I have a bit more faith. I have certainly seen the goodness of people more than I ever have before.

How I got here is spelled out in the blog, so I won't duplicate stories. I recently ran a mile without stopping for the first time since the leukemia. I can eat just about anything I want without a problem. For the first time, the GVH rash seems to be under control, and the doctors are trying to reduce my medication. The result has been some stomach issues, but they are not bad, and the rash has not returned.

I work pretty much full-time, running a warehouse part-time, writing part-time, and slowly building a publishing company by accident because I self-publish my own books and now others' as well. I teach a "basics of the faith" class to my church on Friday nights, and I do my best to participate in the leadership of the church, within time constraints and the limits of my energy. My energy is good, but it is not quite the equivalent of the average 51-year-old.

There is a lot of talk of "giving back" among cancer survivors. I suppose my way of giving back is to try to make my life as useful as possible. I have to be faithful to God, not just to cancer eradication. I do, however, have a pretty strong internet presence through this blog, and I have "coached" several people through treatments that were similar to mine. It was a surprise to me how difficult that would be. Not everyone I give advice to, or just talk with, survives. One day I am writing to a person, then there's no answer, then a relative writes me and thank me for the support I gave. Oowweeee! Just writing that makes me cry a bit.

Please feel free to leave comments on the blog or to write to me by email.

Paul Pavao