Thursday, January 12, 2012

Divine Protection

Steve was a real trooper during our flights to New Orleans and back home. He took extra precautions to steer clear of any airborne pathogens. I imagine his appearance raised a few of the passenger's eyebrows. Because he wanted to get rest, he wore a padded black eye mask. Because he didn't want to be disturbed, he wore some large bulky noise-deafening headphones and foam ear plugs. Because his head was cold, he wore his black fleece stocking hat. And because he wanted to keep germs away, he wore a blue surgical mask. Looking at him, you really couldn't see any part of his face. He really was quite a sight!

Steve's mama's funeral was beautiful. They dressed her in a delicate pink suit and she wore a lapel pin that said, "Grandma's are Special." Holding a white rosary in her hands, she laid so peacefully in her final bed of rest. The flower arrangements were exquisite; everything was just the way she would have wanted it. Saying good-bye was one of the hardest things for Steve and our family to do. Her death was so unexpected. We were all in a bit of shock as well as being overwhelmed with grief.

The company of close family soothed our sorrow and warmed our souls. It was difficult to see the pain in their faces and hear the trepidation in their voices. The trauma of Frances's death left many of our family members weakened. They were not only fighting sadness, they were fighting off illness too. During our stay the vast majority of our family members either had horrible chest colds, fevers, sore throats, and laryngitis. The others were suffering from a bad case of the stomach flu. As much as Steve tried to protect himself on the plane, being with family members would be a real test of his immune system.

Remarkably, Steve never got sick. His health is as strong as ever. It was as if God, in his great mercy, surrounded him with a shroud of protection the entire time we were gone. We returned home on New Year's Day, two days before his scheduled Chemo. The day he went in for Chemo they tested his blood to see if he was strong enough for the therapy. I expected counts below one, but his white blood cell count was 3.9 -- strong enough for Chemo.

This 4th round of Chemo started out strong. Steve felt really pretty good for the first four days. He had very little indigestion and nausea. The Prednisone made him feel agitated though. His heart raced and he had trouble sleeping at night. However, he didn't hit rock-bottom until days 5 and 6 post-Chemo. When he crashed, he crashed hard. He struggled to make it through the work day, feeling completely out of energy and physically weak. But Steve is an amazing fighter. Each morning he gets up at 4:30 am to read his Bible and work out. He does his 100 push ups and 100 sit ups, lifts weights and goes on our elliptical machine. His goal is to be stronger coming out of Chemo than he was going into it. Dr. Liao is amazed at Steve's overall health. He is a real warrior -- a true champion! He is my hero!

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma's color is lime-green.
It is now 9 days post-Chemo and his strength has returned to almost 100%. Steve's next round of Chemo will be next Friday, January 20th. We are two-thirds of the way through the first phase of treatment. Only two more cycles of Chemotherapy to go!

Isaiah 40:31 "But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."