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.”
Your decision to be the teacher and the learner still until December, delaying treatment until then is one more example of your truly living your conviction and your faith. No matter what, you are continuing to put yourself last. We all pray that Frank’s awakening is slow. Thank you for continuing to be a reflection of the living God.
Thank you so much. The decision to delay treatment has many layers. I want, if I can, to tend to my responsibilities and opportunities at MHU. I appreciate your support and encouragement.
Wish I could think of something eloquent, Guy. All that comes to mind is “Damn.”
“Damn” seems like a prayer in a situation like this, Anne. Thank you for praying it.
Praying for you and your family. May God keep you and give you peace.
I am praying for you, dear Guy. May Frank be good to you. May you enjoy this semester. May the healing begin even before treatment is started.
Thank you so very much, Linda.
Thank you, Guy, for sharing your journey with Frank with us and for our opportunity to share our love with you as we all continue to practice our faith and trust in our Heavenly Father and walk this season with you. We love you.
Thank you so much, Terri. I am grateful for your love and encouragement.
Prayers for you, your family, and your care team!
Thank you, James, very much.
Always remembering and praying, Gut.
Thank you, Clarissa!
I am glad to have been introduced to Frank. I will hold you in the light, Guy, and ask often and fervently that Frank will refrain from causing you pain and discomfort. Your courage is a powerful source of encouragement for me. Be well my friend and colleague.
Ouch! Time for another pizza & whiskey/wine? Lemme know.
I’d love to get together, Howard. Soon.
I have missed your writings and your ability to cut through the fluff. You remain in my prayers!
Thank you, Cyndy. Hope you’re getting settled in your new place.
Guy, so sorry this news, but glad you want to finish the semester … your students are grateful… we all know that life has no guarantees … your life has been a very full and generous one to all who know you … thanks and good luck with the new semester, and dealing with Frank … he is not your best friend, so do whatever it takes to maintain … thank you for all you have been for me in my life … hard to believe it was almost 22 years ago that husband Bob passed away … PROV 3:5-6
Thank you, Suzy, for your steady friendship and support across many years. It’s hard to believe that it has been more than two decades since Bob did. I’m sure that you still miss him.
So sorry to hear the latest news! I realize that being a learner-teacher greatly helps to give meaning to your life. Please measure your love for students in the context of your wider influence on many of the rest of us and our hope for your continuing wise guidance. Still, I trust you will do what you must when you must!
Love and respect,
Thank you, Dick, for your wise and counsel. My best to you and Candy.
Guy, sad to hear Frank has decided to re-appear with such strength. Will be praying daily for you, your medical team and family.
Thank yo so much for your prayers, Pam.
Thanks for updating us Guy. Thanks for showing us how to live. I pray God continues to bless your life and use you to be a blessing to others.
Thank you, Carolyn, for your support and your prayers.
Guy, you are a man of great faith and courage. Though we have not seen one another frequently, I am grateful to know you. May God be with you, Anita, and your family.
Thank you, Anne. Anita and I are both grateful to you for your prayers and encouragement.
Prayers for you Guy.
Thank you, Wayne.
We walk this with you, Guy. Not alone.
That means so much, Marc. Thank you.
We met at First Baptist, Rutherfordton in November, 2016 when you shared your journey. I had been diagnosed with smoldering myeloma with only my immediate family knowing the diagnosis. Your information on that Saturday evening helped my husband and I see what our journey would hold. In May, 2017 the diagnosis progressed to multiple myeloma and I began treatment in preparation for stem cell transplant in November, 2017. My journey has gone remarkably well experiencing few side effects. and I can only say I have been unbelievably blessed. All has gone extremely well with numbers
recovering well. I so appreciate your sharing Frank with us and being an example to those of us who travel on very similar journeys. Over these two years I have prayed for you and will continue. I pray that Frank will again move into slumbering so that you can grow strong. Grateful for your message snd understanding your journey.
Carolyn, I remember our conversation when I was at the church, and I am very glad and grateful to hear that you are dong so well post-transplant. That’s great news. Thank you for your prayers.
Guy, I’m so thankful for you and for your model for walking through painful, frightening parts of life. You’ll be in my prayers (in the supplication and thanksgiving parts).
Thank you for this beautiful note, Liz, for your friendship, and for your prayers–of every kind!
I’m so appreciative for your “frank-ness” in sharing your journey and we will continue our prayers for healing and comfort from pain.
Maybe this will bring a smile . . . we’ve been house hunting for a new home and India is not completely onboard with this change. Today we saw a lovely home and I was very excited but India not so much. I tried to pry from her reasons for not liking the house and she blurted out, “but where would we hang my baptism picture of me and Dr. Guy?!!” It currently hangs in a place of honor over our fireplace and I assured her we would find a similar place in our new home. She really misses you!
Thank you so much, Linda, for your prayers and support. Please give my love to India; I miss her too!!
I am sad that your suffering has returned, Guy. Know that I am pulling and praying for you.
Thank you so much, Anne, for pulling and praying!
Guy, thank you for being so open to share your story. It’s life giving for anyone who faces hard times. Prayers for the next stage in this journey. Tim
Hey Guy…time and time again, you demonstrate that “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Elaine and I hope to hear you tomorrow at Calvary.
Pastor Sayles, We PRAY for YOU EVERY DAY.
You truly are a MAN that GOD is using to
Share the Good News of the Gospel in these
times We miss hearing you preach. We love
Oh, Guy. I’m just now reading your post and I want to scream at a universe that brings such pain and suffering to someone who has offered so much healing and good to it. Know that a guttural howl from central North Carolina is just another kind of prayer from one who has long admired and loved you. That you are forging ahead with the semester at Mars Hill is an act of courage and faith. The last time I got to see you in person was three years ago today. It was a Sunday and you were guest-preaching at a downtown Asheville church. I was in Asheville for my birthday and told my dad that the one thing I wanted for my birthday was to see you. You talked about your childhood in West Virginia. I hope that in your pain you can mentally escape to a place like that, innocent of the knowledge of Frank. And, from where I stand, I’ll continue to pray in wails. With love and concern, Emily
Emily, thank you so much for this note of encouragement and for your “wailing prayers.” Your steady love and support, across many years, mean a great deal to me. Grace, love, peace to you and yours.
I read an article posted on Ethics Daily about Mysticism and Christianity and was moved by your thoughts. I’m beginning a journey with Richard Rohr’s school next year, if accepted, but have been practicing Contemplative Meditation daily for a couple of years to “hear” God. I saw you post above as my wife I have a friend who has MM and she had a BMT and my wife was her primary caregiver post BMT. She’s been symptom free for almost 10 years…Damn is a good thought!
Thanks for being in touch, Tim. I’m delighted to hear that your friend is doing so well. That’s such good news. I’m sure you will enjoy the time with Richard Rohr!
Now that I have absorbed the news that “Frank” is back in town and have done the WHY,WHY,WHY routine, I decided that I will raise to the Creator those researchers looking to beat down Frank -type cells and pray they will be blessed with new insight into demolishing the network and leave you healthy and whole.
Thanks so much, Sandra. There are, indeed, heartening developments in cancer treatment, including for MM.