Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Dear family and friends,
     Thank you for taking the time to read our blog.  Most of the time I (Don) find it amazing that people are actually interested in reading about our lives.  But we thank you just the same. You are all so precious to us!

     We are now 66 days post-transplant.  Don is feeling better and taking some time to regain his strength and stamina.  He is taking one day off in the middle of the week to catch up on his rest and plans to return to 5 days a week in February.
     For those of you who have been following the blog, you know that the cancer number has been a roller coaster ride (similar to the weather in Ohio during January). You may recall it had to be below a 1.0 in order for the stem cell transplant to happen.  That occurred in October when the number hit .9.  This allowed for the stem cell transplant to take place in November.  Our first post-transplant cancer reading took place in December and the cancer number at that time was at .8.  In all honesty we were surprised and a little disappointed that it was not lower. In fact, we thought it would be close to 0 because of the intensity of the chemotherapy during Don's hospitalization.   However, our doctor advised us that it would be unlikely, as far as the medical expectations go, that it would ever reach that low.  They are hoping for a .5 or below to be maintained for the foreseeable future.  We should know whether this has been accomplished when the cancer number is measured at Day 90.  We have been told from the beginning that Multiple Myeloma is not curable but it is "manageable."  Of course we continue to trust God for His will to be done! We believe that God has really touched Don's body; his pain level is down significantly.  In fact, he has not had to take any "break-through" pain medication for nearly 2 months.  He is exercising regularly and even starting to jog without the aid of his walker but with the help of a couple of friends.   "Jogging" of course, is a relative term!  For most of you his "jog" would equal your fast walk.
     Don still has to be cautious about falling because the bones in his back and hips are still compromised by the cancer.  So if you see him occasionally still using the walker or his cane...be kind and don't make fun!

     We had a wonderful time with our children and grandchildren during Christmas week!  We truly wish you a very blessed New Year and pray that you will join us in anticipating 2013 as a year of celebration, healing and spiritual growth.  We will keep you updated knowing that we could not enjoy these blessings without the continued prayers and support of all of you, our dear friends and family.

  • Please pray for continued healing in Don's body; for the neuropathy he still has in his feet and legs and for his bones to be strengthened and rebuilt.
  • That the cancer would stay in remission.
  • That Don would have wisdom regarding his schedule, allowing for plenty of rest. as he returns to more active ministry,
  • For me, Don (vainly speaking) :) that my hair would grow back!
Much love,
Don and Marcie

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Dear Friends and Family,

Writing this letter reminds me of how much people love us. The encouraging cards keep coming. The texts, e-mails, phone calls, (I'm really not up to face book), and my pastor stopping by for a visit. All of these ways to communicate, "We love you and we are praying for you!"  Well guess what? I actually believe God has answered prayer. I was in the hospital for my transplant for only 2 1/2 weeks after being told to expect 3 1/2 to 5 weeks. My good blood counts have come back at an astonishing rate (according to my doctors). I have not had any mouth sores or very much of the (you know what I'm talking about....don't make me spell it out) yes that stuff didn't go on as expected for abnormal bodily functions.

 I've been home now for nearly two weeks in which I've had the privilege of having my brother in law and mom over most days to "babysit" me.  I don't think I'll have this kind of time at home again for a long time.

 Overall I'm feeling better day by day and have had very little nausea.  So what do you think? Can we just pause here and give God a high five?

 I've been able to get back to work some from home; i.e. wrote a short article for EMERGE's web site following the massacre in Connecticut. Finally I've gotten the courage to look at e-mails (I know I better do this more often than sort through 2-3,000 mostly spam/junk..it takes a long time to go through them all to find the ones that really matter.) We have been blessed in every way imaginable and I praise God for all of you who take the time to read our blog.

 Don: Thanks to all of you who remember to ask how Marcie is doing. Frankly I wouldn't want to ever go through a trial like this without her. There really are no words adequate to describe the love and care for me  as she has done so selflessly.

Marcie:  I am so proud of my husband, for the courage and endurance with which he has faced the last 13 months.  Both of us praise the Lord who has enabled us to get through this one day at a time.  And we cannot put into words how thankful we are for all of you, the body of Christ, who have been His hands and feet.  We don't know what the future brings but we know that God is going to be with us every step of the way.    


Don and Marcie

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DAY T-10

Dear family and friends, 
    We give praise to God that my blood count numbers are starting to rise which gives every indication so far that the transplant has been a total success. Before I can be released my white blood cells and platelets need to reach a certain number.  So it looks as though the next several days will be spent managing the nausea, etc. and resting while the stem cells do their job.  I will probably be in the hospital for at least another week, then move to a near-bye facility as an out-patient for one to two weeks more.  We will share with you the hurdles we face as they come, but I would encourage you to join me in praising the Lord. We have so much to be thankful for! I truly believe that God has answered all of our prayers.
     I want to thank all of you for the increase in the number of cards and notes I have been receiving while in the hospital and also for the giant posters full of get well wishes from Emerge, CVCA and CHCS.  What a blessing to read the words of encouragement and verses of Scripture!  

Prayer Requests:
     Pray for Don that he would not get an infection, accidentally cut himself or have a fall.  Pray that the nausea would be gone for good!  He says it feels like he started his day in one of those tilt-a-whirl rides at Cedar Point and his head is spinning for the rest of the day! And of course, pray that the counts will continue to rise to the point where he can be released from the hospital.
     For the entire stem cell transplant proceeding as expected and for the doctor's report that, as far as they can measure, there is no cancer left! 
     For traveling mercies for the many miles Marcie has traveled thus far between home and Cleveland.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012



       The days are passing slowly but surely as we move from Day 0 (the day of the transplant) toward day T+10 - the day when we might expect Don's immune system to start coming back and for him to begin to feel better. Between now and then his counts still have to dip down to pretty much 0.  He may still experience some of the side effects from chemo blast last Thursday.  
     We thank God that the nausea is pretty much under control.  The nurses are very good about keeping it at bay.  Don is walking around the 3rd floor of the hospital 2 or 3 times a day, so he is doing great about following the doctor's orders.  Yesterday it was so nice here in Cleveland with the sun shining, we asked permission for Don to go outside for a few minutes.  So they unhooked him from the IV and we got to go outside and sit in the sun for about 20 minutes.  It felt so good to both of us and it was such a blessing to get outside in the fresh air!
     Thanks for all your positive comments and prayers on the blog - we look for them every time we post something!
     Have a blessed Thanksgiving everyone! As you gather with your loved ones this Thanksgiving Day give everyone extra hugs and tell them how much you love them!  Don't let any more time pass without showing them how much they mean to you and the love you have for them.  Finally, we encourage you to let your thankfulness flow heavenward to Him who has given us so many reasons to be! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


     Yesterday was a good day!  Don's stem cells were infused over about a 45 minute period from 3 large "turkey baster" type of injections.  It went very well and Don had no problems.  In fact, he slept off and on throughout the infusion and the rest of the day because of all the pre-infusion medications they had to give him.  The nurse who performed the infusion wished Don "Happy Birthday!" and said, "This is the first day of the rest of your life!" All praise and glory and honor be to God our dear Father, who gives us every good and perfect gift - including the miracle of stem cells and the ability to transplant them! We prayed before, during and after the transplant that these cells would begin to do their miraculous work as quickly and perfectly as possible. 
     Don has been a little nauseous this morning so he is being given medication to keep that under control and he is sleeping a lot.  Your continued prayers for the next 10 days will be very important as his counts continue to drop from the chemo blast last Thursday.  The doctors assure us that after about 10 days he will feel better as his immune system recovers.  It is also very important that Don get up and walk around this floor of the hospital - please pray that he will be able to do   this even when he doesn't feel like it. 
     With thankful hearts,  Don and Marcie

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Dear family and friends, 
     We are blogging from the hospital where Don has just been given the major chemo blast that we have been waiting for for nearly a year. Please pray that this chemo will be effective in killing any cancer that remains in him. Tomorrow morning he will receive his stem cell transplant.  Pray specifically that the stem cells would do their work which is to rebuild Don's bone marrow which in turn will rebuild the immune system.    
     The downward cycle of Don's immune system should last about 10 days. During that time possible side effects include fever, diarrhea and nausea. We would really appreciate your prayers for him, that he would suffer minimal side effects and that he would not get an infection or pneumonia.  Once his immune system begins to recover he will start to feel better.  
     Our new doctor has just recently come to UH from MD Anderson in Texas. He will be working with Dr. Lazarus on my case. Everyone at UH has been very professional and kind to us. 
     Please feel free to send text messages, emails or cards to Don, but because he is so exhausted and vulnerable to infection he is not able to have visitors at this time.  It is best to send cards to the house.
     With love and gratitude,
     Don and Marcie

Monday, November 5, 2012


Hi everyone:
Just found out this morning that Don's number is at .9!  We are so thankful and so excited!  Praise the Lord!  We meet with the transplant doctor this Wednesday, so a more detailed update will be posted later this week.
Thank you for the many, many prayers that have gone heavenward on our behalf these last several months!
Don and Marcie