Sunday, October 6, 2013

Reflections from the Home Team 10-7-13

“My hope is that each of us, as we struggle with whatever those “afflictions” may be in our lives,  be encouraged to take the opportunity to be open about those struggles and seek out faith and friends as a means of support to provide hope and comfort. "

Greetings from Cedar Falls,

I wanted to drop you all a note to share that I got home late last Thursday after a long day in Iowa City. A number of tests were run following my last visit back in July when my counts were in the abnormally high range.  Some good news at this point following the tests.  I started the morning with labs, then chest X-ray. Labs show that my counts are now in the "marginal" range.  That is much better than the counts back in July which were in the abnormally high range. Chest X-ray was clear showing no cancer! My team of doctors feels the infection created the havoc and caused my counts to escalate.  Given the fact we are still in the “marginal” zone, I will continue to check back in 3 months and monitor any possible new symptoms closely.  What a relief! On another front I received some sad news as my oncologist shared with me that he is retiring.  His wife is going through her second bone marrow transplant, and was having chemo today.  He shared he needs to spend some quality time with her.  He is quite a person and I am indebted to him for helping pull me through some very difficult times.  I thanked him for all he has done for me as well as all those he has served at the U of I Hospital Cancer Center. He made sure he introduced me to my new doctor, whom he has worked with and trained.  She is very pleasant and Dr. C said, "She follows the guidelines to a tee, just like me, so don't try to pull anything on her..."  He gave me a big grin, handshake and hug and left to be with his wife. Pretty emotional day for all!

As you all know, there have been many ups and downs on my journey with cancer. A comfort for me has been some words that were shared when I was originally diagnosed and working through treatments. Those words were; "Often our prayers and faith don’t save us from something, but rather, they save us for something." That statement has provided me a focus over the past four years.  I often reflect on that as I've battled the anxieties and difficulties that go with living through cancer, and in turn, have firmly decided that I'm not about to give up!   Having faith, family and friends, despite those uneasy and often painful times we face as cancer patients and survivors gives us the strength and stamina to continue.  I believe we can have an impact on others who may be facing similar trials and afflictions by modeling a positive and determined "attitude" as we battle this disease each and every day.  Just could be that is what we are being "saved for".

My hope is that each of us, as we struggle with whatever those “afflictions” may be in our lives,  be encouraged to take the opportunity to be open about those struggles and seek out faith and friends as a means of support to provide hope and comfort."

I have to share that I experienced such an encouraging event last Friday as I returned to school.  As has so often has happened here at Holmes, our students came through with an incredible support project for one of our students who is battling leukemia and had just undergone a stem cell bone marrow transplant. The Holmes Art Department, along with four of Will’s classmates and a number of Holmes students showed their support for Holmes 8th grader Will Reinart by taking orders for yellow paper hats in recognition that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. They then sold yellow paper hats at the beginning and end of the school day to help raise funds to support Will and his family during his treatments. Students were given a yellow hat on Friday, September 27th during our Intervention/Enrichment period called “Tiger Time”.  All the students and staff went to the gym and donned their hats to shoot a school wide video.  The video will be shared with the Reinart family and the greater Holmes Junior High community via y​ou ​t​ube as a gesture of our caring support for Will and his family.  The money raised along with the video was a way to show our school’s support for the Reinart family. I have listed a link below to view the video as well as some links which share the story of our students and staff coming together to provide Will and his family the hope and comfort that only friends and family can provide during such a difficult time.

The Assembly made me once again realize how important our friends and loved ones are in helping summon the strength and courage to "fight the battle" against this disease.  I feel so fortunate to have such a team in my “dugout” and I know Will and his family have all of us in their dugout pulling for him to rebuild and come back even stronger than ever!!  I am so proud of our students for rallying for Will and grateful for having them as a means of support to provide hope and comfort… We often hear people complaining about their suffering and that brings to mind a comment made by Joel Osteen which has stuck with me and seems appropriate after watching our students and staff at the Assembly.  “Encouragement is a wonderful thing, and people do not receive enough during difficult times. You need to be around people who are encouraging.”  I have to say, I couldn't be in a better place to have that happen than in our school and this community!

Sincerely, Dave link on the “Yellow Hat” project:

You Tube link: “A Rally for Will”:

Link to: Reflections from the Home Team BLOG

Link to Vimeo: Reflections from the "Home Team"... Go the Distance

Link to: Tommy Emmanuel and "Angelina"