About a week and a half ago, September 13th, marked the one-year anniversary of Jennifer's biphenotypic leukemia diagnosis. I was in Nashville for the big anniversary, and she and I were talking about the providential blessings the Lord has showered down on her and, by extension, our family throughout the past year. Even when we didn't know how to pray for her, God knew what she needed and provided every step of the way through any and every means possible.
One of the biggest blessings I've experienced personally over the past year is PERSPECTIVE. Oh my, how my little self-made kingdom and the surrounding culture can so disastrously distort my perspective on the things in life that really matter. The Lord has used this past year and Jen's illness to increasingly mold my perspective into an eternal one, focused on things of true significance. Admittedly, it is a constant, and promises to be a life-long, battle to retain this focus. My sinful, self-focused nature fights tooth and nail to hang on to the fleeting pleasures of a world built around ME. It is by his good grace and mercy, his loving kindness, patience and faithfulness that I've even come this far - to see that a life lived for him is the only one worth living.
Father, don't give up on me. Don't give up on us. Continue to work mightily in our hearts and minds that we may be given eyes to see the things in life that matter, those things that are important to you. Set our affections on heaven. Equip us with all we need here on earth to be prepared for our eternal lives at home with you.
So, as previously mentioned, Jen and I were discussing God's providence throughout the last year and decided to list the ways God blessed her and our family. This list certainly doesn't even begin to cover it all, but it's a start. I know it will be a sweet, tangible reminder one day when we look back on this blog and can read through these blessings.
Father, thank you for your provision and for always listening to and answering our prayers. Thank you that we can trust that those answers, though they may not be what we want, are exactly what we need when we need them. Father, how we long to give you thanks and praise and worship in all the perfect ways you deserve. Forgive us for our imperfections, even in our worship, and thank you for your patience. Thank you that you are preparing us, even now, to one day perfectly worship you, our perfect Father, in your perfect Heaven.
(Jennifer) I am thankful for these answers to prayer:
-having a godly husband and being able to grow closer to one another and to God through this journey;
-a close friend staying at the house that week who was a first-responder as soon as we got the news;
-a mother and father willing to sacrifice everything to ensure I was getting the best care and in good hands;
-Dr. Gary was able to tactfully and graciously deliver the news of my diagnosis to my family, and he and Donna lovingly made the trip up to Nashville to see me just days after being diagnosed;
-physicians that are respected around the world for their knowledge of cancer and transplant patients being responsible for my case;
-doctors were able to make the correct diagnosis, realizing it was a hybrid leukemia showing characteristics of both AML and ALL;
-doctors chose a treatment regimen that achieved a speedy remission within the induction round of chemotherapy;
-chemo side-effects were minimal;
-multiple successful blood transfusions with no adverse reaction;
-family members and friends being willing and able to offer round-the-clock care and support through the duration of the treatments;
-physically able to tolerate all chemotherapy doses without neurological side-effects that would have led to termination of chemo treatment;
-did not have to be readmitted due to mouth sores; any mucositis acquired was treated in-patient and never recurred;
-godly, like-minded physicians, nurses, and caregivers in the hospital that were willing to pray with and for us;
-nurse practitioners that "fought for me" and sought the best care possible during my hospital stay; they understood that my comfort level was just as important as medication;
-having the support of the Vanderbilt Pharmacy, especially the chemo pharmacy;
-random encounters of encouragement from people of all walks of life and many different backgrounds;
-few hospital admissions;
-Vanderbilt finding a donor in a timely manner;
-few secondary infections post-transplant;
-bone marrow engrafted quickly;
-my body continues to accept the bone marrow;
-my skin and gut GVHD have been kept under control and there are positive indicators of being able to control my lung GVHD/BOS;
-I'm able to resume some levels of normalcy with life post-transplant including going on mini-trips and running errands around Nashville;
-the amount of resources Vanderbilt is able to provide me with outside the medical realm; Gilda's Club which offers support groups and enrichment classes and the Dayani Center which offers personal trainers and a great exercise facility;
-having a supprt system outside of family and friends that can help me with the day-to-day goings on around the house.
Thank you, Lord.