Lingo Update December 2020
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I was 25, and Don Pepe was 49. I was a young Baptist missionary, and he was a successful businessman (in the clothing business), not the makings of a likely relationship. But God bonded our hearts together. He walked into the little mission recently started in a garage. We talked a bit after the service, and we entered into a forty-nine-year-old friendship.
Last Thursday morning, all of the news agencies in Colombia started issuing bulletins that Don Pepe had died! He, who had walked with government officials, ministers, presidents, and most of the important people of Colombia, was gone! Here in the States where I am awaiting cancer treatments, my phone immediately started getting messages ...one by one; those who were aware of our deep friendship started breaking the news. My first reaction was to think on Romans 9:2, where Paul says, "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart." You see, Don Pepe was Jewish. He had come in contact with Christians during his school days because the Presbyterian School in Barranquilla was the only institution that opened its doors to the Jewish Community at that time. He was attracted to our church almost 50 years ago because he heard some of the childhood hymns. God knows I witnessed to my friend! And Thursday morning, he walked into eternity lost! Paul referred to great heaviness and continual sorrow, the kind that is unbearable and will not go away. Jewish people have a curious way of handling grief: According to the proximity of the relationship, they can manifest the intensity and the duration of their sorrow (for example, it is unbecoming for a grandchild to grieve more or longer than a son or daughter). I, for one, never want to underrate the tragedy of the death of the wicked. Jesus himself mourned over Jerusalem's rebellion and impending destruction. So, as I walk the streets of gold someday, I guess it will be alright if I feel a twitch of sadness not having Don Pepe at my side. God knows I loved the man!
Tuesday, I had a virtual appointment with my Stem Cell Specialist. He was happy with the progress, so we are changing the treatment a bit getting ready for a stem cell transplant:
I am to suspend my current treatment and wait for Dr. Leo, the oncologist, to set me up for two stronger chemo treatments to eradicate the remaining cancer cells. These could be three to four weeks apart.
Meanwhile, I will be in contact with a pulmonologist for a small lesion (7 mm 2.3 SUV) on the lobe of my left lung. The lesion showed up on my last PET scan, but he does not seem to be very concerned about it for now.
Possibly we can move ahead, here in Bolivar, with some of the preliminary tests programmed before the actual stem cell harvesting.
Immediately following the second chemo treatment, while the cells are more active, they will harvest the stem cells in Kansas City.
Then comes the "Skud Missile" (doctor's description) chemo treatment to kill the old bone marrow. The procedure lasts around five days.
Then comes "Day Zero," ...the day when they replant the stem cells to begin the reproduction of the bone marrow.
Fran and I are encouraged by the plan and believing that God is in the midst of it. A dear friend, who has been battling cancer for some time, wrote this week: "Attempt something absurd in order to increase your chances of being part of something miraculous." I sincerely believe that God was present in our appointment the other day. He told me, "...I will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). So, we should never be afraid to step out with Him.
Blessings and have a Merry Christmas,
Craig and Fran