Don’s journey for the past 15 months with cancer has been so filled with surprising twists and turns that we’ve learned to expect the unexpected. But even having said that, this week had some unusual downs and ups.

It started with a phone call from Don at 7:30am Monday with some pretty ominous overtones. Oncologist Doug Lee and the entire medical team concurred that after a month without chemo because of Don’s strong negative reactions to the last chemo treatment, they needed to resume chemo, even though his body was still weak from fevers and high bilirubin count all tumor related. Because of his weakened state, resuming chemo would involve high risk. Enough risk that Doug wanted Don and Heather to talk about life support decisions, and to consider bringing Johnny home from Germany very soon.

From morning to mid-afternoon, various preparations were made for resumption of chemo. But the actual treatment kept getting delayed. At around 3pm, a group of around 12 people arrived to visit Don at NWH. John Perkins one of God’s choice servants of our lifetime, and a man who has spent the past 50 years working tirelessly on behalf of the poor and for racial reconciliation had brought a group of close friends and associates from Jackson, Mississippi to visit and hold discussions with a group of friends in Seattle, including Don. A packed schedule from Monday through Thursday had been laid out, and Don would have been in the thick of things if he had not been in the hospital. In fact, two of the visitors were staying in the Valencia home, and the first joint meeting was held at Don & Heather’s on Monday morning.

Hearing the news of Don’s situation, the agenda that had been planned for the meeting was set aside, and all in attendance concentrated on prayer for Don, and the group also sang a number of worship songs. The time was especially encouraging for Heather, who had gone home from the hospital to host the group.

At the hospital that afternoon, the men (and Elizabeth Perkins, John’s daughter) crowded Serophene costs fairly much on the market in general. But there are advantageous offers anyway! Buy it only for 0.62 USD and save big! skips-blog-j-perkins.jpgaround Don’s bed, sang a couple of numbers, and chatted with Don. Bishop Ronnie Crudup Sr., in particular, spoke of several family members and close friends who had fought cancer, and through those experiences he had learned to curse cancer the way Jesus cursed the fruitless fig tree, so that the cancer, like the tree, would wither and die.

When it came time to pray, the bishop prayed a prayer that must have opened the gates of heaven, because it lifted up everyone in the room, especially Don. Ronnie also commented that John Perkins and friends had come from Jackson to Seattle to talk about building bridges of friendship; and yet God may well have brought the whole group from Jackson precisely for such a time as this, alluding to Queen Esther’s pivotal role in saving the Jewish people from the hand of the wicked Haman to play a pivotal role in defeating Don’s cancer.

The day had begun on a dark and somber note, but now it seemed that bright rays of hope were shining through. The bishop and John Perkins also participated in anointing Don with oil.

As the group was leaving, word came that there would be no chemo treatment after all. Don’s bilirubin count had risen even higher through the day, to the point where the risk level of administering chemo would have been intolerably high. I think we were all a little stunned by that news, wondering what it meant.

The next morning (Tuesday), of course, Doug Lee came to see Don and to give him the news regarding radiation. Don wrote about this in his last post. Twenty four hours earlier we all thought there were no options left. Now Dr. Meier, the radiation oncologist, was very hopeful that the timing was just right for radiation to do a really effective job against the tumor.

On Wednesday, John Perkins visited Don at NWH again. During this visit Doug Lee dropped in to see Don, and was amazed to see John Perkins there. Doug has read most if not all John’s books, and has admired him from a distance for many years. Together they prayed for Don.

As of late Saturday, Nov 17, Don has had 3 radiation treatments. We won’t know about results for a little while, of course. But the week started out with dwindling hope. It ends with renewed hope.

Johnny comes home from Germany Monday night. We’re headed into Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for our friend Don who has fought with such extraordinary and inspirational courage and spirit for these 15 months, for Heather, Johnny & Bo, and for all of you and your prayers and expressions of love, care and concern.

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1 Comment so far

  1. gregu on November 18, 2007 3:32 pm

    Don – we’ve been praying for you more than ever this past week and riding the roller coaster – again, your perseverence and faith is so helpful for me in my own life and I thank God he has allowed me to know you. We are encouraged by the radiation option and hopeful for the next steps. We love you.

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