Friday, April 13, 2007

Going Home

Hi all . . . Jeff here. I don’t know how exactly it happened, but I’ve come to realize that the focus of my recent conversations with Dr. Legha has shifted from finding a cure for my cancer to learning to live with it. The shift was never explicit; we haven’t used words like “manage” and “chronic disease” but that’s the reality of what we’re now dealing with. So the next step in this journey is a return to home so that I can rest up, recover from my treatments, and watch the tumors to see what they decide to do over the next several months. I will return to Texas in June for a checkup with Dr. Legha. We’ll evaluate what the tumors are doing—they can stay the same size, they can shrink, or they can get bigger—and then we’ll decide whether to pursue another round of treatment.

Despite the circumstances, I am very happy to be returning to Wauwatosa. I’m happy that I’ll be able to see the kids every day. I’m happy that I’ll be able to see Kelly every day. I’m happy that I’ll be able to see so many of you as I resume a regular routine once again. I’m not happy that the treatment fell short of its goal, but it will be nice to get life back to normal for a little while at least.

I do have one request.

Since I’ve been down here, several people have sent me books about cancer. I must confess I haven’t read most of them. I picked up one of the books shortly after I got to Houston. It was written by a 15-year survivor of advanced stage lymphoma and was full of hope and good information. Yet every time I read it, I came away depressed because it simply served to hammer home one message: I have cancer. I didn’t want to be reminded of that fact any more than necessary. It’s not that I’m trying to run away from the reality of the situation; I know what I’m dealing with here. It’s just that I would prefer to focus my attention on the positive aspects of my life. So when you see me, it’s okay if you want to ask about my treatment and how I’m feeling. But I’d prefer if we could also talk about what the kids are doing or how Kelly’s pregnancy is going. Or tell me what’s going on in your life. I feel a lot more like listening now than talking.

In the meantime, please keep up your prayers. Dr. Legha told us that melanoma has been known to go into spontaneous remission. It’s not very common but it can happen. So there is reason to hope. And reason to keep praying.

Kelly and I will maintain this blog for use in the future. We will not be posting regularly since there won’t be much to report for a while. But check back in late-May to get news about our baby—Kelly’s due on May 22—and I’ll post some more updates in June after I meet with Dr. Legha. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support during the last three months. They have helped me and my family so much.


Cathy said...

Dear Jeff,

God is with you 100% of the way. As so many have said, there are reasons beyond our knowledge what God has in his plans for us regardless of what we have planned.

You are meant to be with Kelly, and your children, when your precious new member of the family is born. The only way for that to happen is for you to take a break from the treatments you have been going through, so you can focus your attention and endless love on the miracle of life that is soon be a part of your life. A renewal of your faith and love, in God, in your family, and in yourself.

I will not go into all the details of what I have been through the last year, this is not the time, nor the place. But what I have been through has taught me that God will manage our "schedules" as He sees that they need to be managed, and according to where He knows we need to be, and when He knows we need to be there.

Know that I and all of the ND family in the Houston area are here for you whenever you are in need. All you need do is call, and we will be there.

God Be with You, God Bless, and God Speed.

Cathy Connors

Terri said...

I am happy that you will get to retun to some normalcy. That in itself will probably be the best treatment for you. I bet you will be more able to fight and feel MORE optimistic at home with your family than in a hospital room. With that in mind your cells may just go into spontaneous remission like your Dr. said it might. We are still praying for you and we will be to Wisconsin when the baby is born, can't wait to see everyone!!!!
Love The studley's

jacque said...

We haven't met you or your family but we went to the fundraiser last night and had a great time.
My husband has moles so we picked up some literature there and he'll go to the derm to get mapped.
We wish you all the best and hope that things work out in the best possible way. Congratulations on the new baby and having so many wonderful friends.

Tim said...

Hey Jeff!!! I'm glad to read that you are able to go back home and be with Kelly for the birth of your newest child. I was sad when I read your posting on Wednesday and on Friday. I can understand why you wouldn't want constantly discuss and talk about you having cancer.

Well, I have several good things I would like to share with you. Not sure if you know this or not, but since October I have been training for a triathlon. I have doing this triathlon for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training. I have included two links. First one is to my Team In Training site.

The second one is to my blog site.

Okay, so what I wanted to share with you is that my race that is coming up on Sunday, April 29th I am going to race in honor of you. That is unless you would rather I didn't for some reason.

There is very little that I can say that you don't know or haven't been told already. So, all I will say is that we are all faced with challenges some we pick and some that are picked for us. We are never given anything that we can't handle. All we can do is look the challenge in the eye and keep the best attitude possible. Everything else as you know is left up to God to decide.


ksu_rock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ksu_rock said...

Jeff & Kelly,
God speed to you as you return home. Your children will really appreciate your presence there. We got to spend a little bit of time with them at Michelle's wedding this past weekend, and all three were such a joy to be near.

You have a phenomenal family, and are blessed to share yet another life next month. And I wish you could have heard Bishop Tom speak, he is really amazing. We sure missed you both. Hope to see you all soon.

Much love,
the Schusters

teasley_5 said...

Jeff & Kelly,
We had a great time with your family over the weekend. You have such wonderful children. I know our children couldn't get enough of them! We missed you and hope to get to see you soon.
The Lord does work in mysterious ways and we believe that this is a blessing in disguise. You are all going to be together as a family to welcome your new addition. Our prayers are always with you.
Love and Prayers,
The Teasley's

gardiner said...

Jeff and Kelly, I know the blog postings have slowed down a bit for now, but please know our thoughts and prayers for you and your family have not. We hope your homecoming went well and we hope that Kelly is able to rest a bit and prepare for your new bundle of joy. Our love,
Meaghen, Brendan, Grace, Clare.