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Leukemia Relapse

Article

Remission does not last for Ed.

Ed had been in remission for almost two years when the oncologist, Dr. Asif, concluded that Ed’s immune system had recovered sufficiently for Ed to proceed, without fear of infection, with the much-needed surgery to his right foot.

Ed needed all five toes of his right foot repaired because of hammer toes and arthritic damage. This condition had changed his gait and was causing issues with his right knee.

Surgery was very successful, and Ed’s recovery was progressing exceedingly well. The pins were removed from his toes six weeks after surgery, and his mobility was greatly improved. Good things continued in life for Ed and Pattie.

Ed had a follow-up with Dr. Asif the very next week and was surprised to find that his white cell count had increased dramatically to 75,000. After two years and 46 days of remission, the CLL had returned. Chemo was to begin a week later.

Ed was in a very down mood when Pattie came home from work that evening. As he revealed the setback, she embraced him and proclaimed, “We beat it once. We will beat it again.” His primary caregiver was very enthusiastic about treatment, and Ed, too, knew he was treatable. But to go through all the discomfort of chemo all over again was depressing.

Still, Ed was feeling sorry for himself as he felt the knot on his neck just below his right ear that still remained after he first went into remission. Then he recalled reading an article about a patient who had CLL 14 times in 18 years. Poor guy, Ed recalled, thinking of the multiple times this man went through treatment. But a new treatment had kept him in remission for the last five years. He was still alive and blessed.

Pattie knew Ed was depressed and kept changing the subject, talking about family, friends, politics, etc. Her perkiness helped a lot. Ed reminded himself that he was not the only person in the world to face such setbacks. Ed did not believe the relapse came as some form of punishment from God. A verse from the “Sermon on the Mount” came to him:

“That you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”Matthew 5:45

Ed’s resolve grew stronger and hope returned to his soul. Yes, he will beat this with God’s help. Now he was making himself adjust and feel much better. After all, there were those “world famous” chicken salad sandwiches and he still remembered, as well as the caring cancer nurses at Tunnel.

The words of a hymn came to Ed’s mind:

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.”

"It Is Well With My Soul" is a hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss. First published in Gospel Songs No. 2 by Sankey and Bliss.

Ed knew God was not against him. God’s blessings for Ed and Pattie were innumerable and God gave him hope. Bring it on. We will beat this thing again.

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