Thursday, September 27, 2007

Week Four + Two

Wow, what a time it's been.

Lots of medical news, lots of friends touching down and just being here, lots of love and laughing filling the hall outside my door. I'm blessed again this week, day 22, with the comfort of friends and family. I know it brings a lot of calmness to me, because when left on my own for too long I begin to count days,become impatient and self absorbed. In other words I loose site of what really counts, shorten my vision points and get off the glide path I've been on. So far this has been a cake walk with some bad days- not bad days with a few bright spots and it's all because of MJ and those who drop by and say hello and laugh with me and kids checking in from near and far and long ago friendships being reconnected.

So, medical news. The biggest news of the week is my sister, Ingrid, is a PERFECT match to be my bone marrow donor. Why does that count? She represents the best chance for my body to accept her marrow without rejection. I'll have to be on all kinds of anti rejection medications anyway- but this puts me closest to the genetic source. I rather envision this as a long weekend in which she gets to come to Chicago, see what a great city this is and meet more people than she'll ever remember the names of between visits to UCH to harvest her marrow. It would be great fun for MJ and I to squire her around this great city. That's big news. I've been here 22- days, it will probably take another 8 or so to rebuild my immune system and then I'll be released. They (Dr.'s) are currently chasing a perceived fungal infection which they'll track down tomorrow, I'll let you know what it is when I know.

This week has been rich with lesson and conflict- control and acceptance really. My truth this week is that other than being diligent and paying attention to my Dr.'s and their advice and cautions, there is nothing I can do in this disease but accept what it gives me each day. Above the door of my friend Mike Noble's son's school it says; "Each Day Is A Gift". We all know the truth in that, but of course need to forever be reminded. I don't recommend my way of coming to terms with what that really means- but you know- some of us have to be in a train wreck before we know we're on a train.

Thanks to everyone for making this a week of memories and friendship.


Rhonda said...

Hey Arnie:

AWESOME news about your sister being a perfect match for you. That is so incredibly lucky!!! Miracles never cease, so I think you can see this as a good sign. Keep visualizing those white counts going back to normal and you'll be outta there in no time.

Have a good day!

Mark Drozd said...

Thank you for the update, Arnie–and the vision point. I've always enjoyed your deep perspective, never more so than now. Funny: trying to peel back the layers of that simple idea "Each day is a gift" is what philosophers and theologians have been attempting since who knows when. Yet in a simple man-to-blog conversation, the poignancy is clear as can be.

Have a gift of a day, Arnie. I'll do the same. I think I already have.



Jan Klingberg said...


I learned just yesterday about your journey and that you are sharing it on this blog. (Lunch yesterday with Susan and Warren; meeting in the afternoon with Cathy and Albena.)

Your news about your sister being a match is just terrific. I will follow your postings, be inspired by and learn from your thoughtful comments, keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and tip a glass to better days ahead ... someplace out there.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Hi Arnie,
Thanks for writing and keeping us informed. This is GREAT news about the match! (I'll have a beer tonight to your health!:)
I'm glad you're having a great week and hope you'll be out of the hospital very soon and feeling great.
I heard this essay on NPR and thought you might like reading it. It's by someone who's going through a similar battle like you. Hope you enjoy it.
Love, Albena

The following essay is from the NPR My Cancer weekly podcast:

It's the climax of just about every Western movie. The good guy and the bad guy, wearing the appropriately colored hats, face off in the middle of Main Street. Eyes squinting. Hands poised over their guns. Waiting for the other guy to make his move. All the women and children have run for cover. Someone's about to die.

Well, that's pretty much the situation I'm in with my cancer right now. It's in there, sitting on my spine and in my lung. Growing a little, but not enough to raise any alarms. Waiting. Watching.

I feel okay these days. We've killed a lot of the tumors. Now we're waiting to see what the cancer is going to do. Where it's going to strike next. It's not an immediate threat right now. If there's a growth spurt, or a lot of new tumors show up suddenly, then we'll react. We'll fire back. But in the meantime, we wait.

And that's not easy. Let's face it, we're trying to kill each other. We both want it over once and for all. I want the cancer dead, all of it. The disease is clearly trying to kill me, and it's trying pretty hard. This feud has gone on longer than anyone expected.

So we wait. Waiting for one of us to blink. To twitch. To go for a gun. It's nerve-wracking. It's exhausting. It's hard to face the disease every day. But there's no other choice.

I don't think real gunfights were anything like what we see in the movies. First of all, the guns weren't very accurate. And the cowboys weren't very good shots. My great-great uncle was an outlaw. Got in a fight over a woman in a bar, killed a man, and lit out for the hills before a posse could get him. At least that's the way the story's been handed down. I doubt very much that he and his adversary stopped everything, walked out into the street, faced each other, and then had their gunfight. It's very possible he shot that guy in the back.

And that's okay with me. I have no problem with a dirty fight, especially the one I'm in. I'm happy to cheat, shoot, or stab ... or radiate the tumors in the back. Go after them whenever and wherever they least expect it. I'm fighting for my life here. I see no reason it has to be a fair fight.
-- Leroy Sievers

Here's a link to his blog:

karen hornberger said...

Hi Arnie - It's me, Karen.

Although I am no longer physically part of the SGDP family, I keep all of you close to my heart.

Just wanted you to know that I'm out here following, and being inspired by, your blog.

Keep fighting and know that you're in my thoughts and prayers.


Anonymous said...

hey papa,
just wanted to let you know that i'm thinking about you and give another sigh of relief while thinking of Ingrids matching bone marrow! I called you earlier today but you were probably escorting doctors and staff throughout your room to show off your new beautiful presents! i can only imagine what the family at SGDP has cooked up for you! well, thats all for now, stay handsom pops.


Rich said...

Just a quickie from the retreat. We're thinking of you and wish you were here. Monica is golfing with Tim, Tripp and John G. - I offered to handicap it so she could win.

Stay in an improving state of wellness.