Prayers, not sympathy

Today my mother begins a six day chemo marathon designed to destroy her bone marrow.

In January of 2005 she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (cancer arising from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell). It was later narrowed to an aggressive form of large diffuse B-cell lymphoma.

She began chemo on 06-April-2005, finishing 8 sessions on 31-Aug-2005.

Despite going bald, there was no question that she looked much better for the treatment. Prior her lymph nodes were extremely swollen.

Unfortunately, a check up in January-2006 revealed that the cancer had not been arrested and a new round was begun 21-January-2006 (the weekend of her birthday).

This latest round, is her final chance. It consists of 3 chemo treatments. The first two comprised two 2 full day sessions spaced about 4 weeks apart. About 4 weeks after the last session she went in for two days and they harvested stem cells from her blood.

Today, she begins a six day session to destroy her bone marrow (the production source of blood cells). There are serious risks. The chemo alone can kill her – heart failure, liver failure, kidney failure. Her white blood cell count will be 0 (nothing to fight infection with – actually this has been true for all her chemo treatments, they severely compromise her immune system). She will be susceptible to hemorrhaging because of a lack of platelets. The reintroduction of the stem cells has many risks, even though it is an autologous transfusion, fever is a common side effect.

After all this, being brought to death and back, there is still no guarantee of cure – but if the stem cells take hold and they have been properly cleaned, she should be free of the cancer. The 3 year survival rate for diffuse large B cell lymphoma is about 30% - that means 30% survive 3 or more years.

I am confident. My mother has done very well. Other people I have known with cancer have been dead within months of diagnosis. On the other hand, my mother always lived a clean and healthy life, so that is one big plus for her.

I am not asking for sympathy, but I am asking for prayers (or positive energy thoughts if you are not religious). (Last year, I also ran around asking people for prayers when my mother almost died during her biopsy because of undiagnosed water in her lungs – my mother had complained about gurgling and difficulty breathing and a pain in her lung, but the ENT, who was in charge of the biopsy, gave no concern to anything below her neck. That was Good Friday, 2005).

Some people give up
after they have done so much;
Some people give up
even before they really start.

So should I also give up
like some people do?
Should my heart be 'dead'
when my heart feels hurting too?

No, my heart will go on
to sing that beautiful song;
A song of love and faithfulness
that lasts so long

- Bee


Moment said…
I'll be praying for your Mom. I sorry that you have to go through this. Trust in Jesus and things will be OK.
busybee said…
My prayers shall be with her... God's peace and healing shall be with her.

Isaiah 53:4-5

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Richard said…
moment: thank you and thanks for dropping by and letting yourself be known!

bee: I never doubted you, thanks!

Apparently the first day's treatment went well. We'll see how she is feeling after the chemo really starts to kick in.
ingrid said…
Dear friend, I join with moment and busybee with my prayers and thoughts... Lots of positive energy and hope and love.
Richard said…
Thanks Ingrid! I know I tagged you last year for the same and your prayers were appreciated then too!
Sassy Lady said…
Dear Richard, we all love our moms and wish the best for her...

Everyone around you will be joining hands to pray for your mom's well being and we all do hope for a miracle to happen...

Dont despair, positivity is always the energy to make us feel healthy, alive and happy.
Prince Romp said…
When God allows a burden to be put upon you, He will put His arms underneath you to help you carry it.

She hav my prayers.
Richard said…
Thanks sassy momma and prince romp.
I'll be praying for your mom too, Richard. I'm like you, I always tend to try and stay very optimistic when it comes to serious health matters. My aunt went through a serious bout with breast cancer a few years ago, and after surgeries, chemo and lots of prayers, she seems to have completely recovered. At the time, I just kept believing that everything would turn out okay (and saying lots of prayers too). I will be praying and sending lots of positive energy and hope to both you and your mom.
Richard said…
Thanks MIO!

While cancer is serious, I am not too concerned because there is not much I can do and I prefer to think first and act later.

As well, cold as it may seem, I have had a good life with my mother. There is nothing left unsaid between us (never has been). So, I will not likely be wracked with sorrow when she does eventually die. I am more sad for my kids, who would lose the chance of knowing my mother as I have.

Spoke with her yesterday an she sounds well and optimistic. Aside from full fledged chemo sessions, she is also on a 24hr chemo drip.

As a further aside, her experience with cancer has been very good compared to others I've known with cancer. The first was my sister's friend about 20 years ago who died of leukemia within a year. Next was a coworker (about 40) who died of Lymphoma in a matter of months. The last was a lady at church
(about the same age as my dad) who was diagnosed in December-2002 with lung cancer and was dead 4 months later.

My mother has been around for more than a year and is doing very well, so I have little reason not to be optimistic.
Anonymous said…
Sorry to hear about your Mom. (p.s. - i just got my spirits back) Am praying too, to give both you and your Mom the strength to go through this, and that during this Lenten season all our prayers will rejuvenate her.
Richard said…
Hey LFY, nice to see you back.

My mom continues to do well. She sounds much better after this continuous chemo than she did after her other chemos. The tough bit lies ahead when the reintroduce stem cells gathered from her blood tomorrow (Wednesday).

thanks for your prayers.

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