For more than six years now I have been sharing snippets and vignettes from my waltz with leukemia. But what I haven’t spoken of much was the dance that my mom was living parallel to my own; first with breast cancer and then in the last three months, stage four lung cancer.
Last week was my 56thbirthday and the outpouring of best wishes from family and friends near and far was humbling to my heart. Unbeknownst to most, my wife and I were called to Duke Hospital for unscheduled blood tests and a visit with my oncologist earlier in the week, July 3rd. The timing was eerily similar to five years ago, almost to the day, when I received a phone call from Duke telling me I had leukemia…
It has been a full nine months since I started my fourth type of chemotherapy drug. My last bone marrow biopsy was in December of last year and revealed nearly 50% of the marrow was leukemia ridden, which is not a good long-term prognosis, thus leading my team of oncologists wanted to see how much leukemia was remaining in my blood and bone marrow with this recently approved new treatment
Last week I had the privilege of being one of the speakers on the Guide Team at The Heart of a Warrior Encounter in the mountains near Lexington, Virginia. This men’s retreat weekend is the flagship event of Zoweh Ministries, the ministry initiative to men and for men, started by author and close friend Michael Thompson.
Recently I was having breakfast with a friend at my favorite diner. We had a wonderful conversation about our families and how much we enjoy being dads. My friend was sharing how much he appreciated my book, THE QB MENTOR, and he commented on some of the amazing things that my son, Shawn, one of the two main characters in the book, had accomplished on the football field in high school.
It has been a challenging couple of months to end this summer for me as far as energy, focus, and activity goes. Last Monday, I went to Duke oncology for my routine blood tests that track how active the leukemia cells are in my system. It has been 22 months since I began the new “miracle drug” that has shown a strong ability to control the disease in patients with my diagnosis for up to two years. ‘So far so good’ has been our motto.
Even though it may not end up that my leukemia is cured and I live happily ever after until I am 80 some years of age. Even though so many have prayed fervently for me and our family. Even if the chemistry fails. Is my faith still intact and strong enough to endure, and live and love exactly the same as I have been?
And the crowning moment of Springtime for me has become the Easter celebration and the eternal implication it represents in my faith. Easter has always been significant to me, and in some years the meaning of Easter has overwhelmed me to the point of uncontrollable tears and sobbing at the foot of the cross on Good Friday.
For those of you that know me, I wear a scapula, which is a medal in the shape of a cross that has four images of Jesus impression-ed into the sterling silver. I never take it off and it brings me great security. I don’t remember when I got it, but I can’t remember ever NOT having it and it not being around my neck.
Over the weekend, I had the chance to sponsor, along with All Pro Dad and Heart Of A Warrior/ZOWEH Ministries the private and free showing of Woodlawn to our Durham community at the Southpoint Mall Theatres. We sold out the first showing in 2 days, so we upgraded to a 200+ seat theatre for Thursday night, and then booked another showing primarily for the Durham Eagles Pop Warner football organization teams and the Wake County Cowboys to see the show on Sunday afternoon. Both showings were emotional for all in attendance; from coaches to parents, and from players to pastors, the message of love sunk in.