As I sit in our hospital room couch, watching Wild Card Weekend Football/ Marvel Movies (thank you Rader Family), I stopped and had the chance to reflect on the roller coaster ride that has been the past few weeks. I am beyond thankful for the amount of support, love, and prayers that have been sent out to me and my family and finally felt ready to share my story to this point.
If you would have asked me where I was in life in the days leading up to Induction, I would have said that a variety of aspects of my life were trending on an upswing. As many of you know, the fall is a crazy time of year in regards to managing time between school, coaching football, trying to maintain physical/ social health, etc. With football season having come to a close, I was starting to “find time” to be able to invest more in these areas… on my own account.
I was finding my way back in to The Word… on the nights I “had time”.
I was starting to get back involved with going to church… now that I wasn’t “too tired” from the hustle and bustle of the work week.
I was refocusing my efforts on building my social circle in Houston… but not truly investing and diving in to the lives of the relationships I was forming.
I was eating better, physically in the best shape of my life, and taking great pride in the direction my career was going within teaching/ coaching…almost to the point of letting these aspects define me.
I was doing everything I thought I was supposed to do to be “successful” in life… on my time.
Three little letters changed my life on December 18th, 2018 and I quickly realized I was not on “my time.” After being diagnosed with APL (Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia), it was clear all these things that I thought I was commanding and creating for myself were completely out of my control. Funny how God would reveal these intentions over this Induction period.. on His time.
As my sister has done such an amazing job of detailing the past couple weeks, you can see just how much the Lord has had His hand in the works of all the strings that pulled at getting me and my family to where we are today.
His Hands for providing the push for me to call in for an appointment that I would normally never call for… and getting me an appointment with a General Practitioner on such short notice.
His Discernment in leading me to this GP… who quickly profiled my symptoms, got me into bloodwork, set me up with an Oncologist that she had connections with, and personally called me early in the morning to ensure my safety when my numbers were at critical levels.
His Provision in this said Oncologist not being available until after January, which led to me calling in and finding a last minute opening the next day with what we would learn would be one of the lead Oncologists at one of the best hospitals in town.
His Wisdom he imparted upon the Oncologists and Physician’s Assistants as they were quickly able to officially diagnose me with APL, begin biopsy to study my bone marrow and begin attacking the cancerous cells.
His Shepherding as our cousin Kirk, who works within the hospital, was able to meet us at the biopsy, provide a familiar face, and lead us through transferring into the hospital (and helping us get into a larger room that has made the inpatient phase so much more enjoyable).
His Good Will of strength early in the process as I felt strong and confident and had limited reactions to the chemo treatment.
His Demand for Dependence during what was three of the toughest and, at the time, darkest three days of my life as the mix of medication (and mental wear down of the process) caused crippling pain and discomfort.
His Fostering and Facilitation of conversations about Dependence that brought light into the darkness… conversations that probably would have never occurred otherwise.
His Favor in providing a Nursing and Support Staff that have been so caring and attentive and provided the best treatment in getting me back to health.
His Call for Community as the OUTPOUR of prayers and support came flooding in through visitors, calls, texts, and more. I am beyond thankful to Him for blessing me with a mother who has been unshakable every step of the way, through the good times during our favorite daily walk and talks to the not so enjoyable sleepless nights… she has been my ROCK. Pam and Jim who provided motivation and support during the tough mental days… Jacob, Norah, Marie, and Leah providing the comedic relief only nephews and nieces can. Katie for stepping in as a steadfast girlfriend who has not wavered through a true test of relationship... and for Hedwig-ing Scripture into my life daily. Andrew for dropping life 4 hours away, the only way a best friend does, and relieving my mom from a night at the hospital… kind of like the good ‘ol times sleeping over on Bylake Ct Drive. Andrew, Jason, Regan, Katie, Elizabeth, and Claire for planning the best Hospital Aggie Watch Party/New Year’s Eve Party that only best friends could have provided. Coach Raffield, and every member of the staff at BHS, that has shown why the good Lord placed me back where I started and how important it is to have such a supportive work force behind you. The student athletes and families that we are beyond blessed to have at BHS, who have either called, messaged and visited… providing the motivation to “Fight like a Dawg” and remind me that “God did not put us on this earth to be Ordinary”. The coaching fraternity that God has surrounded me with that have come from all directions and made the days a little easier to pass on by. NEVO Crew for providing a different kind of strength by constantly reminding me that 5A.M. Don’t Quit… and especially not now. A family tree that is so strong in support from everyone in the States (G-Pack, Cogwin Clan and more) all the way to Bolivia (Tia Poly y su flea)… and further, including the pit stop of a loving Tio Tito on his way back from Portugal… the good Lord has strengthened this tree through this time. The countless friends and family who He has provided a chance to deepen relationship with through visits, phone calls, texts, messages, posts… Everyone. I have reference to many that I am a firm believer in the Power of Prayer, and hold fast hope that this Prayer Corner is what is backing me in this fight.
So… with all that reflected upon, I sit here today in such a good head space… all due to His providing. The picture shown in the post shows my Blood Counts as of this morning. Along with breakfast, (hospital breakfast is my favorite meal) getting my Counts is one of my favorite parts of the day. Thankfully, progress is being made and the yellow circle shows White Blood Counts that have been drawn down to what can be considered “Normal Levels”. Prayers answered!
Please continue to pray for an increase in platelets (numbers closer to 100) over the course of the next few days as we reach the end of what is the typical treatment span for what the doctors have been providing. Our hopes are they do not have to go to another form of treatment and that my body will be ready for another biopsy here in the coming days, with hopes then of being dismissed and entering the Consolidation Phase as an outpatient. It is still unclear what life will look like during this phase... but the focus right now is simply getting there.
Also, please pray for those on this floor who have not had the “cancer experience” that I have had. I am reminded daily just how fortunate I am to be able to walk around, talk with visitors, and live life (somewhat) normally… and that that is not the case in every room. Please lift this floor up along with your prayers for my treatment, because there are so many that desperately need it.
Two weeks ago, I was living life on my terms and on my time. As mentioned, God provided the wisdom and clarity through so many avenues during this journey to help realize it is all on His account and that my diagnosis can and should only be used to glorify Him.
Three letters changed my world drastically. I have APL… but more importantly there are Three Letters that are so much stronger, so much more abundant, so much more forceful than any disease can attempt to stand to. This is for GOD’s Glory… and I now submit to the comfort in understanding that all of this is on His time.