Update on Lillian

I haven't posted anything about Lillian in a while. She had to recover from surgery and have oral surgery to remove all of her teeth, then recover from that. This week (today in fact), she begins radiation and chemotherapy.

Marian and Bennie are taking turns being with Lillian in Reno. Marian came home at the end of June and Bennie arrived. Now Marian is there and Bennie is home in Indiana. I think Lillian told me that Marian is going to stay for the seven weeks that she will be having these treatments.

On July 27th, Lillian left a comment under an older post. I will share a portion of it here because everyone may not have seen it.

I can't do much, still weak...still very woozy. I have to force myself to eat. Calories help heal. I have a small infection going on near where the large one was. My doctor casually put me on an antibiotic when I visited his office and cleaned out a chunk of scab and other goo draining from the incision line. It's so sad and I hate pain but I have faith the Lord wants me here. I am all for that for many reasons and not for my own reasons either. I start chemo and radiation Aug 3rd....

I appreciate your prayers for Lillian. I appreciate your prayers for Marian and John, too.

John has a completely different kind of cancer. He has chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was diagnosed in June of 2007. It's treatable but incurable. Thankfully, it's a chronic illness that he should be able to successfully treat for many years. But he will probably be facing chemotherapy this fall.

Marian also has CLL. Thankfully, she has shown no signs of progression thus far. She is completely asymptomatic. She says the only symptom she has possibly had is being extra tired at times. But she is 76 years old, very active, and even goes dancing on a regular basis. So I think being occasionally extra tired is just a tiny reminder that she's not as young as she once was. She amazes me. She is the youngest 76 year old woman I think I have ever known.

John is amazingly young for his age, as well. His overall health is excellent. But he is not asymptomatic for CLL. He has battled enlarged lymph nodes all throughout his body ever since diagnosis and, at times, severe fatigue. He has kept the nodes in check this past year with occasional steroid use. The long acting shots seem to work the best. But after about a month of relief, they start swelling again. And they can get large enough to cause a lot of discomfort. So Dr. Flinn has indicated several times that he thinks it would be best to go ahead with the kind of treatment that is likely to put him in a complete remission (chemo). How long the remission will last is never a certainty with CLL.

None of us has the promise of tomorrow, with or without a diagnosis. We don't even know what the day holds. I had to remind myself of that a lot after John was first diagnosed because I was so devastated. The expectation of living a healthy life to a ripe old age is an illusion that gets shattered when an "incurable" diagnosis presents itself. But there are also many people who are still living healthy lives who were once given a dismal prognosis. The only certainty in any of our situations is that we are in God's hands and He has ordained the number of our days. Rather than live in fear of an uncertain future, I am learning to more fully appreciate every day we've been given. Most nights I fall asleep thanking God for the day He has given us. He did not have to give me John to begin with. He did not have to give me the life He's given me. I can't imagine what my life would be like today if He hadn't been so gracious and merciful to me. I am so blessed and I am so thankful.


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