Written to family and friends about my stem-cell transplant attempt:
I woke up in the night of 3/10/04 thinking of a confession I should make about this whole Stem-cell procedure. I went into it after many other medical procedures that sapped my strength and thinking processes. I am not using that as an excuse…but just telling the facts. First of all, the stem-cell Specialist DID change his mind from last September, 2003, when he said that I could just harvest the stem-cells and we could freeze them and maybe never have to use them He added that I could take either maintenance Rituxan…or Zevalin for quite a while and see how that maintained my illness. Then, when we saw him in January, 2004, he had changed his tune (so to speak) and felt I was a candidate for the full-blown stem-cell transplant (which is something I thought I could NEVER go through). We had a friend at our church who had this done one year ago…and I was in on all his prayer requests, and it seemed overwhelming to me…considering what I’d already experienced concerning chemo, and all it entails! This involved massive doses of chemo…and being taken down almost to death as far as the immune system being “spent”…until the healthy stem-cells could be re-infused. Even then…it was an “iffy” deal that only GOD could pull you through.
I wasn’t so sure, but the Specialist was VERY optimistic. I called my regular Oncologist, for advice, and he couldn’t see me that day, but his nurse assured me that he was behind the Specialist 100% of the way. My loving husband of 46 years was, of course, in favor of keeping me alive for as long as possible….sooooooooo, I sort of felt trapped in a way…between a rock and a hard place…kind of like being “railroaded” –so to speak. It was hard to voice to anyone but God how I was feeling, and I pleaded with Him to show me the way…was this of HIM or of MEN. I only wanted to do what HE wanted me to do! Things continued to transpire…one step at a time…but it wasn’t until we did the three days of Stem-cell harvesting,, and did not get the results needed that I began to look at things in a different light. They were only able to harvest 1/3 of the most important “baby” stem-cells they needed for this procedure. They got the other group of cells the first day. I was on the machine for 6 hours each day, and the stem-cell Specialist said the number “dwindled” each day instead of multiplying. That was with “thousands” of people praying. That’s when it occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t having a thankful heart about all of this. I wasn’t praising God like He deserves to be praised. I was behaving like the Israelites in the wilderness after God had brought them out of Egypt with mighty miracles. I was complaining in my spirit at having to go through all this. When I realized that if the stem-cells didn’t cooperate, and this procedure could suddenly be a thing of the past, and not an option at all…I began to see the error of my ways. This was a “Gift” from God via the Doctors…and I was to praise God MOST HIGH, and never cease…no matter WHAT HAPPENED! He had provided the doctors AND the procedure, and a loving husband and family (both physical and spiritual) to see me through it! I confess this to all you…my family and prayer partners, and ask your forgiveness if I have hindered your prayers in any way. My heart is right now, and I am claiming the Scripture from Psalm 50:15 LB that says, “I want you to trust me in your times of trouble, so I can rescue you, and you can give ME the glory!” That’s what I want…for God to be glorified the most and best way HE can! Thank you for hearing me out.
PS–They were NOT ever able to gather enough baby stem-cells, so the stem-cell transplant was called off. That was after they gave me 2 days of massive doses of chemo to try to help activate the stem cells, and I got VERY sick…bronchitis and had to have transfusions, etc. SOoooo, that was 10 years ago, and “here I still am.” I feel that God rescued me out of that situation because HE knew that my particular body could not withstand its effects. I’m not saying that forgoing a stem-cell transplant is for everyone. I stayed with it to the bitter end…but the end did not turn out as the doctor’s thought it would. It reminded me of the story of Abraham and Issac in the Bible. Abraham was ready to sacrifice Issac on the altar when the Lord stopped him and provided another sacrifice instead.