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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Released for Part-time Work in 6 Weeks

To love and to be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.David Viscott

Today's PRAYER

Friday, Dee Dee and I had what has now become bi-weekly (every two weeks) appointments at City of Hope and, again, as expected, we got more good news about the status of my recovery.
First, all of my blood counts are in normal ranges (or almost normal), and there continues to be no more lymphoma detected in any of the exams, although we are scheduled in two weeks for another CT scan, but expecting that, too, to confirm what these other exams are saying: The transplant was a complete success!

But the other exciting news is that Dr. Nakamura has advised me that I may plan to return to work on a limited basis at the end of February, as long as my strength and stamina (and medical results, of course) continue on this track. We will try to arrange to work some from home and at least one day a week at the office, starting the week of Feb. 25. Hopefully, the work hours will increase over time and I will be back on the job full-time around the one-year anniversary of the transplant, August 22.

Fortunately, we have been getting around gradually to a limited number of public activities and such opportunities will increase in the coming weeks, although I am still on immunosuppressant drugs and a number of other medications, all of which are beginning to be tapered off. We will try to avoid contact with individuals who have colds and coughs, so don't think we are being rude by excusing ourselves in such situations.

We are now at day 143 post transplant. While we had much faith and hope that our recovery progress would be complete in time, little did we (or my physicians) expect such a remarkable and favorable pace for these events. What a blessing to share with you all that my health status has had such a major transformation! As always, the credit for this goes first to a loving Creator with whom "all things are possible"; to my loving and most-supportive spouse, Dee Dee, without whom I could not have made this journey; and to all of the many other family members and friends who have offered such kindly and caring support during this time. God bless you all!

Let me also again express my undying appreciation for the physicians, nurses, and other care givers at City of Hope. If you, a loved one, or friend should ever need care for cancer, you would never find a better place than COH. While I have worked in and around hospitals for virtually my entire adult life, I can now, by experience, attest to the fact that these health care facilities save lives! And while (as a nation) we need to solve major issues regarding the cost of care and the access to quality health care services that is inequitable, we can't deny that our health care providers are a Godsend in the moments of need.

This reflection prompts a memorable event that happened early during my treatment at COH. On a very busy day in the outpatient clinic, I was in the registration check-in line with about two-dozen other patients. A woman filed in the line behind me, standing there with her husband, who, she said, was coming to COH for his first visit. She exclaimed: "How sad this is: So many people are in this place for cancer treatment?" Believing that she wanted an answer or agreement, I turned to say: "No this is wonderful! Just think: All these people have this place of hope to receive care and a possible cure!" We both shared that moment of revelation.

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