Honest Discussions With Life-Long Learners

Hey Friends, I’m starting a new phase of my cancer treatment this week as I prepare to go to OHSU in Portland in a couple of weeks for the long-awaited Stem Cell Transplant. The postponement due to OHSU’s ICU beds being occupied by COVID patients has taken about four months. Without the postponement I’d have completed the transplant and recovery period and would have been back in Bend sleeping in my own bed just before Thanksgiving.

The current schedule plan is for me to go to OHSU on January 24, sign the consent documents, and then begin the actual pre-transplant Chemo infusions on January 31 and February 1. Then the morning of February 2 (02-02-22 does that signify anything special or spiritual?), I’ll receive the transplant of my own Stem Cells which we harvested from my own body back in late September.

I can expect to be in ICU for about two weeks as my bone marrow begins to regenerate and as the amazing Stem Cells begin to reproduce and become the kinds of cells I need to rebuild my immune system, without the mutated cancer cells that have been trying to take over (the Chemo will take them out and I’ll get a fresh start with the 7.8 million Stem Cells that are waiting for me in the freezer at OHSU).

Then as my system begins to stabilize (this is all criteria driven – I must be able to eat and keep food down and must have measurable progress on cell regeneration), I’ll be released to stay at my daughter Stephanie and her family’s home in Gresham (I have to be within 20 miles of OHSU until further criteria are met and to receive any necessary support treatment.)  This could take as much as another four weeks, but we’re hoping for a much shorter period. Realistically we’re looking at five to six weeks from Transplant day to returning home to Bend.

During that time, I don’t know how much energy I’ll have or how well my brain will be working, so my weekly blog post may miss a week or two. GraceNotes daily devotionals will continue to go out daily by email and be daily posted to our ResourceMinistries.org web site.

This week and next, I’ll be having tests and scans and a variety of processes to determine if I’m strong enough and well enough to handle the challenges of the transplant. I’ll have another bone marrow biopsy (not my favorite), EKG, Echo cardiogram, pulmonary function test, PET scan, along with my regular cancer treatment regimen. Thankfully, I can do most of these tests here in Bend before going to Portland.

So please keep praying for us as we go forward into a season in which it seems like we’ll have a little less control of things than we normally imagine we have! During this time, I’m going to try to share with you things I’m thinking and praying about and processing. So hang in there with me!

Here’s my thought for this week:

Today I asked God for opportunities to talk with people who know a little more than I do about things that are important to me.

Wouldn’t it be great to have honest discussions about important things with people who are open to learn from each other?

You know, so often, what passes for discussion is opinionated people taking potshots at each other from behind the concrete walls of their minds – what passes for honest discussion is people tossing word grenades at each other from the concrete bunkers of their minds.

If we viciously attack others over differences of opinion we’re wrong even if we’re right! When we engage in honest, respectful dialog on matters of difference we’re right even if we’re wrong!

I’m a Life-Long Learner. I’m curious. I want to know stuff I don’t already know. I want to have to change my mind about things because I’ve discovered I was wrong!

I know not everyone is like that or is ever going to be like that, but let’s make the effort to respect those whose opinions are different from ours, and to learn from people who know stuff we don’t know.

Let’s make the effort!

As always, I’d love to hear from you and I welcome your comments and questions. If you’re reading on the blog, leave a comment below. If you’re reading from the email, click “Reply” and tell me what you’re thinking.

And don’t forget to pray for Jean and me as we travel through some uncharted territory the next few weeks!  Thanks!

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