No matter what hope or faith guides you at this time of year, our wish for all of you is that you have experienced a joyous holiday season. Our own happiness is always filled with the smiles of children, the closeness of our family, the treasured friendship of those who share our lives, and the love of each other. And so, with happiness overflowing, we face yet another challenge. On December 22, a year after his diagnosis of bone marrow cancer, Jack’s oncologist informed us that his cancer markers more than tripled in the past month, indicating that his remission is declining. The value of the markers is low, but this rise and the small rises that have been seen in each of the past few months is of concern. Because of seasonal illnesses, one of which recently put him in the hospital for a week, Jack has been unable to take the normal "maintenance" chemotherapy, a capsule-form drug called Revlimid. Having finally shaken off all of his infections, he started Revlimid that same day.
It is all quite ironic in one sense: Jack has been feeling better than he has since this all began; we walked on the beach the prior weekend for the first time in a year – and went again this past weekend (check out the photos); his appetite is strong and his endurance continues to improve. But really with no clue, the news could not help but stun us a bit. We have lots of questions and time will answer them. For now, we remain thankful for the blessings and the grace that has filled our lives.
So… what now? Jack gets a thorough test every month, so in mid-January his oncologist will evaluate the effectiveness of the Revlimid – at that time, she will advise us whether the best course is to continue this particular chemo, step it up with additional drug therapy, or change the drugs entirely. There are several options available and I guess it is good to recognize that he has not pursued any of them to date. For now, Jack chose not to enter a clinical trial that she mentioned; it was Stage One (the first stop past monkey testing), and Jack’s approach is to adopt a more tried-and-true treatment plan (and the doctor agrees with this choice).
As you can imagine, this all makes for somewhat scary times for us. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we will keep you informed. On the positive side, we had and are having a wonderful Holiday Season with several family gatherings including the traditional family Christmas breakfast at our house. And it can be said without hesitation that our grandchildren are not wanting for anything including love from their parents and grandparents.
As always, we thank all of you for your support – your prayers and friendship continue to make a world of difference in our lives. In return, we wish the best New Year ever for all of you!
With much love,
Sue and Jack
Dec. 24, 2010 - Jack and Sue on Galveston Beach. Last week, we took our 1st walk here together - in a year.
Dec. 24, 2010 - Jack and Sue on Galveston Beach with 3 of 4 grandkids.
Dec. 25, 2010 - Christmas morn in the Garman house with all the kids and grandkids - and Jack feels great!
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It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter
That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived !