Thoughts while waiting to see my oncologist

It’s January 10, 2017. I’m sitting in a patient waiting room of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Myeloma Institute. A patient care technician just took my vital signs. This is always done prior to my receiving a visit from Dr. Morgan, the director of the institute, who is also my oncologist. The place is busy this morning. I’m having to wait a little more than normal; however, that’s no problem. If it weren’t for the physicians, researchers and staff of the Myeloma Institute, I wouldn’t be here this morning. It’s their care, by the grace of God, that has gotten me through the last (almost) seventeen years. So what, I must wait a bit more than usual…small price to pay.

The waiting has caused me to occupy my mind with several apps on my iPhone, along with looking out of the window. Although this is the middle of January, it’s a rather warm day. The temperature is around 62 degrees. The skies are gray and the wind is high. I’m on the eight floor of the building in which the institute is housed high above the tree line. I’m looking north, away from the UAMS campus. The topography, extending out from the campus, is inclined upwards to almost eye level at the point of the horizon. In my view, I see the steeple of a church poking its holy meaning into the sky. My faith tells me that it’s meaning is filled with hope; hope for healing and salvation. Thoughts of healing and hope are richly occupying all corners of my mind at this moment. I’m here to finish up the staging activities that are preambles to my beginning treatments for my relapsed Multiple Myeloma. Yeah, I’ve enjoyed a good ride. I’m remembering the prayer I made to God shortly after I received my initial diagnosis. It went something like this, “Father, please let me survive to see my children grow into adulthood.” At the time, my youngest was nine, the middle child was thirteen, and the oldest was twenty-two. As I look back, I’m convinced that the prayer was a bit selfish; however, God was graceful enough to grant it to me. Thank God, He’s who He is, because with the things I’ve done, I probably wouldn’t have taken the request under consideration-had I been God.

I’ve told myself countless times that I’m not surprised, since Dr. Morgan gave me the news last month that I was experiencing relapse of my Myeloma. After all, there’s no cure for this wretched stuff. There are patients who are experiencing remission much longer than I, but the chances are always good, that if you live long enough, the disease will return. There was a time when I probably would have found myself debating the decision as to whether I would undergo treatment for my relapsed condition. The toll taken on my body seventeen years ago, isn’t something I would wish on any human being. The chemotherapy, other various drugs, and the pièce de résistance tandem stem cell transplants put me into remission quickly, but not without a good degree of agony. Advances in treatment over the last sixteen years have convince me that treatment for relapse won’t be near as agonizing. I won’t even have to take chemotherapy this time around. Instead, I’ll be administered a drug designed to boost my immune system, giving it the ability to fight the Myeloma cells. It’s been an easy decision. God has presented me with the opportunity to have “cutting-edge” treatment in both cases where the disease has ramped up its attack.

There’s nothing like suffering from a chronic health condition to make you appreciate the gift of life. Being accompanied by cancer in my daily walk has brought me into a greater understanding of what others with chronic health conditions contend with daily. Many live agonizing lives, suffering through excruciating pain twenty-four/seven. Diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Muscular Dystrophy, and any number of muscular degenerative ailments that attack the vessel in which they reside. I find myself blessed, since I don’t suffer the agony of constant pain.

I’ve chosen not to petition God for x-number of years this time around; although, I have as strong a reason to do so. He’s blessed me with four grandchildren, ages five months to twenty-two years and a great grandchild, one year old. The past seventeen years have fueled my faith in ways that probably wouldn’t have happened, if I had not lived all these years. At the time, I was diagnosed, patients with Multiple Myeloma were dying within three to five years of diagnosis. I missed many patients/fellow sufferers, who were diagnosed around the same time as I. They would sit in the waiting room with me for treatment; then, at some point I would see them no longer. Now, my prayer is, “God thank you for all that you’ve done for me. I pray for healing (long-term remission at least); however, it’s your will that must be done. It wasn’t easy reaching this point…

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

28 thoughts on “Thoughts while waiting to see my oncologist

  1. Linda Hammind February 10, 2017 / 3:56 am

    Hosea Long is a blessing to St. John Missionary Baptist Church collectively and individually. He is transparent and inspiring on this journey. His faith in God is evidenced in his talk and most importantly in his spiritual walk. God bless!

    Like

    • oldandblessed February 10, 2017 / 4:03 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. In all honesty, some days walking with Him are quite the challenge. All any of us can do is keep trying to keep Him in sight. My walk often means, I’m a few steps behind, but He’s still in sight. I pray I never lose sight from this day forward.

      Like

  2. Tracy February 15, 2017 / 3:15 pm

    My husband had colon cancer surgery in March 2002 then in Aug his birthday Multiple Myeloma. I’d be widow in 18 months. After much prayer I sensed I was to move him to an oncology hospital and it’s smoldering all these years. They talk of strands and the next step but now the Dr asks if he drives at night something about his eye but he went on to check in out after answer was no. He takes no medications but he has let me and my small group ladies in church and online pray for him. His Dr used to say longer it sits it will move but he has another patient who is 5 years with this longer then my husband and still simmering. Much has been learned and more treatable since first found out in 2002. His colon cancer was heredity on his grandpa’s side but we can’t get his kids 45, 43 and 41 to take it serous as it is slow growing. But if God hadn’t moved my husband to go in for what turned out to be just fat on one side and not the other, the colon cancer would of moved out of his colon within a month. Also the physician who did his surgery was only three for 3 months. I remind him, me and others only GOD knows what and when about our bodies better then some Dr’s.

    Thank you so encouraging.

    Like

    • oldandblessed February 19, 2017 / 2:54 am

      Tracy,
      This is a great testimony. Thanks for sharing your story and reading my blog. God bless you and your family.

      Like

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