Many readers of my blog know that, in early 2014, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a currently incurable but increasingly treatable cancer of the bone marrow and blood.
Early on, to help me communicate with others about this cancer and also to give me a way of relating to this new presence, not just in my body, but in my psyche, I nicknamed it “Frank.” The name derives from the term oncologists use for myeloma which has become threateningly active, as opposed to “smoldering.” Since the illness isn’t presently curable, I will be in relationship with “Frank” for the rest of my life. I ought to call him by name and not treat him as an enemy or stranger.
A couple of years ago, as a result of extensive treatment, Frank grew drowsy and became, while not dormant, quiet. I had a long season without treatment, a reprieve that gave my body a chance to regain some equilibrium. I’m so grateful for that time.
Over the last several months, the cancer indicators have steadily climbed. Fatigue and pain have also increased. Recently, my doctor has said that I’ve relapsed. Frank is shaking off his slumber, and I need to resume treatment. Based on how I’ve been feeling, I’m not surprised.
Because the early stages of treatment will be complicated, my doctor and I decided today to try to wait until December and the ending of the fall semester for treatment to begin. Between now and then, I’ll be tested frequently and monitored closely; if Frank starts making a lot of noise, I’ll have to begin sooner.
So, I am reactivating my CaringBridge site (www.caringbridge.org/visit/guysayles) which I’ve not updated since 2015. When I have news about Frank to share, I’ll post it there, though I will, inevitably, reflect here on lessons I’m learning.
As I have been all along, I’m so very grateful for the support, prayers, and love of a far-flung community of friends and for the conviction I have—a conviction that continues to grow—that, as the Apostle Paul said, “nothing in all creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”