Tag Archive: bone cancer


I hope all of you SLL/CLL and CLL patients are doing well. Lot of great news in the advancements of new medicines. Iburtnib has been giving good results, and has been approved for sale in the USA. It had been approved originally, for only chromosome 17p patients, but I believe it now approved for all chromosome deletions. Please correct if I am wrong on the approval for all patients. Also I have been reading that a Phase 1 trial of second generation BTL inhibitor, ACP-196, and has been demonstrating some very good results.

DATE WBC HGB PLT ALC Lymphocytes/
12/26/10 15.6 12.8 87 4.3 100 Leukocytes
01/10/11 15.8 13.3 112 4.3 27.00%
01/19/11 11.7 13.1 78 4.2 36.00%
02/17/11 12.5 13.7 87 4.5 36.00%
05/12/11 11.6 11.9 77 5.5 47.00%
08/08/11 13.3 12.4 85 7.63
09/08/11 18.5 12.9 63 13.5
10/20/11 15.7 12.1 60 8.6 55.00%
12/21/11 13.4 11.9 64 7.85 58.00%
01/06/12 12.5 11.7 63 62.00%
01/26/12 11.1 11.1 62 8.4
04/26/12 11 11.4 54 7.4 67.00%
05/25/12 11.7 11.1 53 8.1 69.00%
06/22/12 12.4 11.4 59 8.7 70.00% Started eating
08/19/12 9.7 10.7 63 5.9 Bitter
12/03/12 9.1 11.1 73 5.1 55.00% Apricot Seeds
03/04/13 6.1 10.3 63 2.94 48.10% 06/02/12
06/03/13 6.6 11 72 2.6 44.20%
08/08/13 6.4 11.1 101 1.89 29.70%
09/05/13 5.8 11.9 88 1.59 27.40%
12/05/13 5.5 12.7 88 1.29 23.70%
03/05/14 5.8 12.8 80 1.21 20.70%
08/14/14 3.9 12.8 85 0.89 22.60%
09/05/14 6.8 12.7 80 0.92 14.50%
Normal WBC Normal HGB Normal PLT Normal ALC Normal Ly
4.0-10.6 12.8-17.0 150 1.0-3.7 16.2% to 48.2%

As you can see from my last results, my blood readings are staying fairly close to normal, with the exception of course, my platelets. My lymph-nodes went back to normal well over a year ago, and are still that way. My spleen is just a bit enlarged over normal, but undetected to the touch.

I have cut back from eating 18 bitter apricot seeds, to 15 a day. I would like to see my ALC numbers get back into the normal range. Even though they are low, I see that my white blood cell count is in the normal range, and I am thankful that I have no infections, nor illnesses, like any of the current bugs, that are going around. With all of the illnesses around me, I think of Psalms 91:1-4 (AMP). He who dwells in the secret place of the most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (Whose power no foe can withstand). I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him I lean and rely, and in Him I (confidently) trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the deadly pestilence.

All in all, I am feeling fantastic. I will be seeing my Oncologist in March, I am looking forward to seeing what my blood counts will be.

Peter said, “Repent and be baptized …………” If you were like me, you were told that this meant that you first change the way you do things, then you get baptised for the remission of sins. However the Greek word used for repent is matanoeo, which means to change one’s mind, or to think differently. It has nothing to do with changing things, but thinking differently (or changing your way of thinking.)

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave He ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons wh need no repentance. Luke 15

Wait one minute, where and when did this lost sheep repent? In this whole story, I read no where that this lost sheep repented. This lost sheep did not change direction and try to come home. This lost sheep did not say it was sorry for going astray. This lost sheep did nothing but let his Shepard put him on his shoulders. It was the Shepard who rejoiced. It was the Shepard who carried the lost sheep home. It was the Shepard who calls all his friends and neighbors together asking them to rejoice with him, because he had found his lost sheep.

All this lost sheep did, was to rely on his Shepard to do everything.

So what is repentance? Relying on the Good Shepard, Jesus Christ to do everything. It is changing our minds from what we must do to be saved, to what Christ has done to save us.

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It has been awhile since I last posted anything, so I thought I would bring everyone up to date on what’s happening.

As I said in a previous blog, I have a 17p deletion, which is the worst one to have in the game of SLL/CLL. Life span is not usually to good for those with this deletion. Somewhere around 32 months, where as I have had this cancer going on 52 months so far. I am still on watch and wait, and am real happy about that, as no current chemotherapy works very well on this deletion. Sounds bad, but all of this time, I have felt quite healthy, occasionally having bouts with shortness of breath, excessive bleeding, but really nothing that stopped me from living my life as I always have.

Many have been working on finding something that will work on this 17p, and as I have been reading, I have been seeing that two new therapies are being tested, and are in their third phase of tests. PCI-32765 and  CAL-101. It looks as if they are targeted drugs, and are in pill form. They have not been approved yet, but there is much promise in them, and hopefully will be approved for human use soon. The PCI-32765 has shown to be quite promising for those of us with the 17p deletion.

The following is from the National Cancer Institute, April 2, 2012. Investigational targeted drug induces responses in aggressive lymphomas

Preliminary results from clinical trials in a subtype of lymphoma show that for a number of patients whose disease was not cured by other treatments, the drug ibrutinib (formly called PCI-32765) can provide significant anti-cancer responses with  modest side effects.

Lymphomas are the fifth most common form of cancer. They are caused by an abnormal proliferation of white blood cells, can occur at any age,  and are often marked by lymph nodes that are larger than normal, fever, and weight loss. Diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL), which were studied in this trial, are aggressive cancers that grow rapidly and represent 30 percent to 40 percent of newly diagnosed lymphomas. DLBCL originates from B cells, which play a crucial role in the body’s immune response.

Based on this molecular research, investigators chose to use the drug ibrutinib (formerly PCI-32765), a potent inhibitor of BTK, in their clinical trials. Ibrutinib is an oral, highly specific and irreversible inhibitor of the BTK enzyme.

Participants in these studies were given ibrutinib as a pill at a fixed dose of 560 milligrams daily until the disease progresses. Ibrutinib  induced multiple responses including some complete remissions in ABC        lymphomas. Remissions were also observed in patients with non-ABC DLBCL, suggesting a broader role for the B-cell receptor pathway in this type of lymphoma. A final analysis will provide additional insights into the safety and efficacy of ibrutinib in the treatment of DLBCL.

I know that the above may be uninteresting reading to some of you, but thank you for reading it anyway. There are some who read this blog that are going through this fight right now, and I hope that if they have not seen this information yet, reading this blog with lift their spirit. It is my hope that these new therapies will be effective for those whose current therapies just will not work.

For me currently, I have been feeling real good since my last visit to the doctor, so good, that I sometimes wonder if they made a mistake in my diagnosis. Wouldn’t that be nice.  Anyway I have been doing really good, I have no pains, spleen, stomach, or neck, and no night sweats. It seems that some of the tumors that I had in my neck have gotten really small, and some of the bumps on my back are gone.

I am eating more than I had been, and I work around the place more each day, because I am not losing my breath at all, and I don’t get tired as easily as I did before. At my last visit, my doctor was surprised that the aggressiveness of my cancer looked to  have stopped. He did not know why, but was pleased, as was I.

Again I have to thank all those who have been praying for me, and I have been thanking the Great Physician. I am reminded of one of my motorcycle club members, that was told he had throat cancer, stage 4, and had five months to live. He told the doctor that he was going to talk with the Great Physician, and the doctors reply was, if you change doctors, you will not be covered by your insurance here any longer. (That was two years ago, and his last tests showed he no longer had throat cancer).

So with this dear doctor in mind, I am talking about Jesus Christ, the one who said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For MY yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I will be seeing my Oncologist on April 26th, and I have no idea what my blood results will be, but one thing I am sure of. It is God who knows the number of my days, and until that number is up, I will be here enjoying and marveling at all He has created.

But what if I seek to be made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ, and find out that I am still a sinner? has Christ led me into sin? Of course not! Rather I make myself guilty if I rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. so I died to the law, so that I may live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God. I am not one of those that treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if I could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.      Galatians 2

So if you chose to put your faith in Christ, do not at a later time try to become perfect, by your own human effort.

http://justin.tv/alphamin – great live Sunday service at 11:00 am. If you don’t like mountain music, then tune in around 11:20 am. I guarantee that you have not ever heard, what you will hear there.

God bless, and keep the faith

About a week has gone by since my last post. I have been busier than usual, busier in good ways, like having an old friend visit my wife and I for several days. Spending time in a wild life preserve, with my friend, taking pictures. Also eating out more than usual, and enjoying every minute of it. Yes, it has been busy, but I needed that, as I have found myself turning in on myself more and more. I would not have noticed it, except a good friend of mine, asked me if all was well, and after replying, yes, was confronted with a statement that went something like this, “You seem to be placing a cocoon around yourself.” Without realizing it, that is what I was and am doing, turning inward more and more. I must fight what I am doing, and break out of the mood I have found myself in, even though I did not realize it.

I write and study several different subjects, for the purpose of sharing my faith, as well as keeping my co-harts (SLL/CLL) more informed on what we have, what’s new in the research of this particular cancer, and also it helps me to stay positive. It is so easy to look at yourself with self-pity, when you have an uncureable cancer. You want to be left alone, spending your time with your own thoughts, fears, questions, and sorrow. Yet it is exactly what you should not be doing. Family, friends, activities, laughing, and engaging in many different things is the correct medicine. So I am thankful that someone noticed where I was heading, and told me about it, I hope that I will do the same for others.

Well enough of that, for all you SLL/CLLer’s out there, chin up, keep the faith, and keep on keepin on.

Sinful emotions such as hatred, self-pity, and anxiety can destroy us personally, and our relationships with others. Although we naturally defend ourselves from such experiences through what psychologists call defense mechanisms (denial, projections, repression, etc.), these serve only to keep our rage, hurt, and worry out of our conscious awareness. The “bottled-up” emotions from past and present experiences will, sooner or later, find expression through psychosomatic disorders, personal dysfunction, and relational difficulties. So I want to comment on ways we may cope with these sinful emotions. One I have been going though, without even knowing it.

Moving from Self-Pity To Joy – In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, reveals the manner in which we may learn to cope with real pain, without becoming bitter and hateful. As he entered the garden Jesus experienced a shock wave of grief and astonishment (Matthew 26:36-45). How he dealt with his personal agony that night offers us a helpful model for coping with ours.

First, it should be noted that Jesus was willing to face his pain and be honest with the Father and others about it. Our natural defenses will often seek to minimize pain through denial. I recall telling my Oncologist in October, that “I guess I had better start taking this disease seriously, I guess I really do have it.” Jesus honestly embraced his pain without pretending it did not affect him—he was honest with the disciples who were with him. In verse 38, he said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.” This open admission of his suffering is in strong contrast to the religious pretense of so many who deny their own hurt to avoid looking unspiritual. If we are going to learn to cope with pain we must learn to honestly face the pain without any pretenses whatsoever.

After honestly facing his own pain, and openly sharing that pain with others, Jesus fully acknowledged his agony to the Father. His words, “O my Father, if it were possible, let this cup pass from me,” (kjv) reveal the intimacy he had with God that would allow him the freedom to be honest about his own feelings. This is especially true when our feelings run contrary to what God has called us to do or permitted to happen to us. We do not need to play religious games with God, pretending he does not know how we are really feeling. He knows! We need to fully express and admit openly our true feeling to him.

In addition to fully admitting how he felt, Jesus immediately submitted himself and his suffering to the sovereign will of the Father. His statement, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (kjv), demonstrates the highest faith possible. Jesus completely surrendered his own will into the hands of his Father because he fully trusted in his goodness regardless of the pain he suffered. Likewise, when we are willing to trust the Father’s will, rather than our own, we will also submit ourselves to him. We will quit seeking to save our lives in favor of trusting his plan, even though it involves suffering and pain.

The personal benefits of giving up control of our lives to the heavenly Father are seen in Jesus immediately after his prayer. In his gospel, the physician, Luke, tells us Jesus’ agony was so intense that he suffered the psychosomatic response of bleeding through his sweat glands. Following his prayer to the Father, however, angels appeared to strengthen him in the garden. Having received such comfort Jesus was able to return to his sleeping disciples, and actually minister to them in spite of his own agony. Because of his faith in the goodness and will of the Father, Jesus was filled with the joy that was necessary to free him to minister to his disciples.

However, the account of Jesus’ agony in the garden is more than a beautiful example of how we may face our pain. It is actually the record of Jesus fulfilling an ancient prophecy concerning our suffering. In Isaiah 53:4, the prophet tells us that Jesus would actually bear our griefs, and carry our sorrows. The shockwave grief and astonishment Jesus submitted himself to in the garden that night was really all the pain of the human race. “O, my Father, if it were possible, let this cup pass from me.” This cup, he could not avoid, held all the hurt we will ever experience. As Jesus experienced the full weight of our sufferings, it was so intense that his words, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” were not an exaggeration, but a true statement. Had he not submitted to his Father’s will, and received supernatural strength, our collective stress would have surely killed him, physically.

Because Jesus won the victory in the garden, he is referred to by the author of Hebrews as our High Priest who knows, by personal experience, all about our pain. “For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15,16).

Another day, again giving thanks to the one, who gives me breath, happiness, joy, security, significance, and love. If you are just reading this blog for the first time, then you may not know who that is. He has been called, man of sorrows, wounded and crushed, acquainted with bitterest grief, I turned my back on him, and he loved me, when I hated him, he gave himself for me.

He is also known as, Counselor, The Word, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, Physician, Lord of Lords. He’s known by many other names, names that almost all have heard. On that day, every knee shall bow, and everyone one shall confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father (Phil 2). He is loving, kind, caring, forgiving, all-powerful, able to forgive you, just ask Him and know for yourself.

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate me from the love of God, that is in Jesus Christ, my Lord (Rom 8).

Why have I said all of the previous words? Just so you may know, what I know and believe; nothing more, nothing less. We all have opportunity in this life to see and live out, truth and lies, love and hate, joy and sadness, fear and security, humility and pride, health and sickness, life and death. How we chose to live our lives, in these bodies, makes a difference. A difference to those we live with, live near, work with, love, hate, help, hinder, and the list goes on. Most of us, if not all of us, at some time in our earthly lives, have strived for love instead of hate, have joy not sadness, security instead of fear, humility over pride, and health much more than sickness. And with these times, came assurances within ourselves, that we are good people, certainly better than the murderer, thief, drug addict, and immoral person.

It is a wonderful thing to strive for those things that are good, right, and clean, but be not deceived. For when I weighted my goodness, my good intentions, my righteousness, with my pride, hatred, lies, sickness, I found myself wanting, empty, and fearful. When I became honest with myself, I found that all the good I had done, had still fallen short of what I could have done. I am very important to myself, and my self well-being. What is wrong with that, maybe nothing, but it caused me to fall short of the righteous person I was striving to be.  As you look honestly within yourself, do you see an imperfect person, wanting to do the right thing, for the right reason, but often falling short of that goal.

We all believe in something, or someone. There is the earth to believe in (mother earth), the sun maybe, then there is Buddha, Alla, Satan, Myself, Evolution, Materialism, Science, Jesus Christ, and on and on we go. You see, we all believe, the difference is who or what. To my way of thinking, I am going to know, as best as I can what or who I believe in. I am not going to listen to someone tell me why I should believe in, or not believe in someone, or something. I am going to find out, the best I can, for myself why I believe in what I believe. When I have decided who or what it is, then I am going to get more information, as much information as I can, why I believe that something or someone. Do you believe that mother earth is the source of all life, then find out why you believe that, and be ready to explain why. How about Allah, or Buddha, or yourself, maybe evolution, or even Jesus Christ. Ask yourself, are my sources reliable, have they been sifted like wheat, tested over time, how do they stand in todays light.

The Bible goes back about 3300 years (Torah) 1300 BC with the New Testament of the Bible being written between 50 and 90 AD, Buddhism began in 563 BC, Quran was first revealed by Muhammad in 610 AD, Evolution around 520 BC by Anaximander, a Greek philosopher, although Charles Darwin in 1859, was the first to come up with a viable working mechanism on how it all happened. Then of course, myself, 1943 AD.

After believing in myself for 35 years, evolution being part of those years (even though I didn’t know I was believing in evolution), I suddenly found myself a believer in Jesus Christ. It happened one morning as I was getting into my car to leave for work. It started the day before while I was at work. A co-worker had come into the office where I worked. He started talking about Jesus Christ, causing me some pain, in having to be polite. However, he asked me a question that I had never thought of before. He asked me if I knew where I would go after I was dead. He told me that one outcome could be heaven, another could be hell. He then went on to ask if I thought I might go to heaven. After some thought, I told him that I had been pretty good, most of my life, with a few not so nice moments, so I figured if there was a heaven, the I had a 50/50 chance of going there. He then said something that to this day, I will not forget, “Don’t you think your eternal soul is worth more than just a 50/50 chance?” I told him that no one could know for sure if they would go to heaven. He then said, “You can know for certain, 100%, that you are going to heaven, when you die. I was then interested enough to continue on with the conversation. After telling me about Jesus, and what he had done, he asked me if I wanted to believe in him. I quickly said no, and with that the conversation ended, with him telling me that it was great talking with me.

I went home that day, and did not say anything to my wife or children, what this man had said to me; I even put it out of my mind. That night I went to bed, and after laying my head on my pillow, I found myself thinking about what was said to me at work. I was not able to sleep that night, oh I probably dosed off and on during the night, but everytime I found myself awake, I was fighting with, “I have done a lot of good things”, and then I would remember hurting someone, lying, even stealing, and much more. When morning arrived, I dressed, ate breakfast, not saying anything to my wife about the night I had, and went out the door to my car. As I sat there, I thought to myself, I am not in all honesty, the best person I could be, and in light of what I was told the day before, I was not perfect, like Jesus Christ, and that is what God expected me to be, to get to heaven. Right there and then, my mind told me that if I start this car, and leave for work without asking Jesus Christ to save me, I would die and go to hell.

I asked Jesus that morning to forgive me for all the sins I had done, those I could remember and those I couldn’t, and I asked him to save me. Nothing happened after I had finished asking for forgiveness, but I do have to say, that what I thought next was quite amazing to me. It seemed to me that what I had been looking for all my life, was now found. I was not anxious, I was just calm, relaxed, and ready to go to work. I arrived to work that morning, and went straight to that fellow that told me about Jesus, and said, I have asked Jesus Christ to save me, and He did.

Of course I had no facts that He did, it just seemed to me to be true, and that was that. Now after many years of ups and downs, sometimes trying to get away from Jesus, I have found that I cannot not. It is true what He says, “I will never leave, nor forsake you (Heb 13). After more than 35 years of looking into the Bible, evolution, creation, Islam, the environment, and myself, I with all honesty, tell you that the Bible is the only reliable source of truth out there. I am now 68 years old, and have CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia), I have again realized the truth of His words. “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light” (Matt 11).

It is my hope that all who read this blog, will look inside themselves. Asking who am I really, what really do I know, and how much is really out there that I may not know. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life, anyone who believed in me, though they were dead, yet shall they live.” “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes unto the Father, but by me.”

My last though for this day is what the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2. For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God: Not of works that anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Jesus Christ, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Time flies, and just this morning, I realized that I have not posted anything for several day. The weekend was busy, with motorcycle meetings, and runs, and then spending time with my favorite person, my wife. So today I will try to bring myself up to date on how my life is going.

I have been feeling extremely good this last week, I am not sure why, but thankful that I am. I sometimes get a pain near my spleen, but it is temporary. I have no bruises, and the lymphnode on the left side of my neck seems smaller than usual. I did start juicing two weeks ago, and I have a 12 oz. glass of juiced vegetables every morning. I don’t know if it helps with CLL, but I am quite sure it doesn’t hurt. Vegetables and fruits, was what we were told to eat, when man and woman were first created (Gen. 2:16).

The journal Blood published an article on long-term survival statistics for CLL patients. This article is from 2008, so the survival rate may be even higher now. I have not been able to find a new statistics yet, but when I do, I will post it.

This detailed statistical analysis of CLL patient survival is based on data from the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) Program.  The SEER program collects population based data from cancer registries in Connecticut, New Mexico, Utah, Iowa, Hawaii, Atlanta, Detroit, Seattle-Puget Sound and San Francisco-Oakland.  While it does not cover the whole of USA, SEER includes about 30 million people in its scope and therefore has pretty powerful statistical validity.  Roughly 21,000 CLL patients (15 years or older) were included in this specific study, time frame was 1973 – 2004.  For those of you who like to have your facts as sound-bites, here is the cheat-sheet version of the findings reported in this study.

CLL Patient Profile Over Two Decades

  • The study looked at 21,000 adult patients with CLL (and no previous cancer diagnosis), over the time period of 1973 – 2004.
  • The single most common age group diagnosed with CLL was 70 -79 years old.  Roughly 30% of the cases registered fell into this age bracket.
  • 60% of the cases were men, a statistical difference that persisted over the whole time period of the study.
  • Put these two facts together, and it is hard to deny there is some truth to the often repeated and deeply annoying comment that CLL is an old man’s disease.  However, another way of looking at the same statistics is that a goodly percentage of the patients were younger than 70 years and fully 40% were not men.  And I am dead certain all of the patients were young at heart.  So there.
  • Comparing the time frames 1980-84 and 2000-04, the number of registered CLL cases increased by 20%.  But before you jump to conclusions, the authors point out that the number of CBC blood tests done as part of routine annual checkups has increased dramatically in the two decades between, and this may be the reason why we are now seeing more cases of CLL that would have gone undiagnosed in the earlier time frame.  It is a case of looking for problems.
  • Even with the higher level of routine monitoring of blood counts, the authors believe CLL is an under-reported cancer.  The actual number of cases may be higher than reported by SEER.  This may be due to the fact that majority of CLL patients are not treated at diagnosis.  Local oncologists sending in their data to SEER registries may overlook counting patients that are in Watch & Wait mode.

When all is said and done, this is what matters most to patients and their families: are our guys living any longer now than they did back in the 80’s?  The following is how survival statistics have changed from the 1980-84 time frame to 2000-04. For CLL’ers, when diagnosed under 60 years of age, the survival rate for ten years, went from 53% to 67%, and for those diagnosed between 61-69 years of age, the survival rate went from 52% to 62%.

As you can see, survival improved between the two time periods, our guys are living longer today than they used to back in 1980’s. But there is no flattening of the curves either. This means patients continue dying over time, there is no point at which the mortality risk of CLL goes away.  It is not like all the guys who are going to die are done with it in the first few years, and the remaining bunch are long term survivors that have put this whole messy business of cancer behind them. CLL is a gift that keeps on giving – this is what makes it an incurable disease.

Good day to all, and a beautiful day it is.

When your doctor told you, you had CLL, did he also tell you that it was the “good cancer” to have, and did you go home and be happy. Did your spouse heave a huge sigh of relief and quit worrying forever more?  Did your kids lose that scared look and go about their happy days of childhood? Did you buy that line, yourself? If you did, you are made of sterner stuff.  Or you have your head stuck in the sand or some place else. If you were told that, I hope you smelled a rat right away. How can an “incurable cancer” be a “good cancer”?  This kabuki dance of switching from “Watch & Wait” when nothing much happens to life threatening emergencies that leave you breathless with anxiety – how does one cope with that kind of mind-bending transition?

When I was told by my Oncologist/Hematologist, that I had SLL/CLL, he said, “John, you have SLL/CLL, and there is no cure for it.” At first I thought, wow, that’s cold, but as time passed, I found myself appreciating the truthfulness of his statement. Since then I have found him to be open, honest, and caring. He knew what the future of SLL/CLL is for those who have it, so he never sugar-coated it. He explained to me, that it is slow-growing, and we would watch it with blood tests, and when the time came, that it was moving faster, we would attack it. Sounds good to me.

A while back Mayo Clinic conducted a CLL patient survey, in cooperation with CLL Topics. It was a massive survey (thanks to their dedicated and pro-active members). Results of that survey were sliced and diced and published as a series of articles.

Quality of life in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: an international survey of 1482 patients.

Although a diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can have a profound effect on the quality of life (QOL), few studies have objectively measured the QOL of CLL patients or compared it to the general population. We conducted an international, web-based survey of patients with CLL using standardized instruments with published population norms to evaluate fatigue and QOL. Co-morbid health conditions were assessed using the Charlson Co-Morbidity Index. Between June and October 2006, 1482 patients with CLL responded to the survey. The physical, social/family, functional, and overall QOL scores of CLL patients were similar to or better than published population norms. In contrast, the emotional well-being scores of CLL patients were dramatically lower than that of both the general population and patients with other types of cancer. QOL scores were lower among individuals with advanced stage disease. Factors associated with lower overall QOL on multivariate analysis included older age, greater fatigue, severity of co-morbid health conditions, and current treatment. CLL has a profound impact on QOL at all disease stages. The effects of CLL on QOL appear to differ from that of other malignancies with a more marked impact on emotional QOL. Research identifying efficacious psycho-oncologic support interventions for patients with CLL is needed.

So for all of you out there in CLL land, if you thought you were alone in feeling blue, here is your proof that you are in the majority.  CLL patients suffer from loss of emotional well-being and this is worse than compared to patients with other types of cancer!  I doubt anyone did a similar study about CLL spouses and caregivers, but I am willing to bet a fistful of dollars to a single krispy kreme glazed donut that spouses and caregivers get depressed too. I walk in your shoes, but fight those earges of sadness, worry, despair. They come, but try not to let them control your life. Someone else does, trust Him, and live daily with hope, joy, and trust.

Now on to Chemical evolution:

Abiogenesis is the theory that under the proper conditions life can arise spontaneously from non-living molecules. One of the most widely cited studies used to support this conclusion is the famous Miller–Urey  experiment. Surveys of textbooks find that the Miller–Urey study is the major (or only) research cited to prove abiogenesis. Although widely heralded for decades by the popular press as ‘proving’ that life originated on the early earth entirely under natural conditions, we now realize the experiment actually provided compelling evidence for the opposite conclusion. It is now recognized that this set of experiments has done more to show that abiogenesis on Earth is not possible than to indicate how it could be possible. This paper reviews some of the many problems with this research, which attempted to demonstrate a feasible method of abiogenesis on the early earth.

Abiogenesis was once commonly called ‘chemical evolution’,  but evolutionists today try to distance evolutionary theory from the origin of life. This is one reason that most evolutionary propagandists now call it ‘abiogenesis’. Chemical evolution is actually part of the ‘General Theory of Evolution’,  defined by the evolutionist Kerkut as ‘the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form’.

Darwin recognized how critical the abiogenesis problem was for his theory. He even conceded that all existing terrestrial life must have descended from some primitive life-form that was originally called into life ‘by the Creator’. But to admit, as Darwin did, the possibility of one or a few creations is to open the door to the possibility of many others! If God made one type of life, He also could have made many thousands of different types. Darwin evidently regretted this concession later and also speculated that life could have originated in some ‘warm little pond’ on the ancient earth.

The famous experiment conducted by Stanley Miller-Urey in 1953 is often quoted as proof of this. Yet the results of such experiments show nothing of the sort. These experiments, designed as they are by intelligent humans, show that under certain conditions, certain organic compounds can be formed from inorganic compounds.

In fact, what the intelligent scientists are actually saying is, “If I can just synthesize life in the laboratory, then I will have proven that no intelligence was necessary to form life in the beginning.” Where in fact it took intelligent scientists, who were trying to prove they could make life in a test tube. Their experiments are simply trying to prove the opposite—that an intelligence is required to create life.

However when we look carefully at Miller’s experiment, we will see that what he did fails to address the evolution of life. He took a mixture of gases (ammonia, hydrogen, methane, and water vapor) and he passed an electric current through them. He did this in order to reproduce the effect of lightning passing through a mixture of gases that he thought might have composed the earth’s atmosphere millions of years ago. As a result, he produced a mixture of amino acids. Because amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and proteins are considered to be the building blocks of living systems, Miller’s experiment was hailed as proof that life had evolved by chance on the earth millions of years ago.

But as time went by, more and more objections came to light for such a conclusion.

  • There is no proof that the earth ever had an atmosphere composed of the gases used by Miller in his experiment.
  • The next problem is that in Miller’s experiment he was careful to make sure there was no oxygen present. If oxygen was present, then the amino acids would not form. However, if oxygen was absent from the earth, then there would be no ozone layer, and if there was no ozone layer the ultraviolet radiation would penetrate the atmosphere and would destroy the amino acids as soon as they were formed. So the dilemma facing the evolutionist can be summed up this way: amino acids would not form in an atmosphere with oxygen and amino acids would be destroyed in an atmosphere without oxygen.
  • The next problem concerns the so-called handedness of the amino acids. Because of the way that carbon atoms join up with other atoms, amino acids exist in two forms—the right-handed form and the left-handed form. Just as your right hand and left hand are identical in all respects except for their handedness, so the two forms of amino acids are identical except for their handedness. In all living systems only left-handed amino acids are found. Yet Miller’s experiment produced a mixture of right-handed and left-handed amino acids in identical proportions. As only the left-handed ones are used in living systems, this mixture is useless for the evolution of living systems.
  • Another major problem for the chemical evolutionist is the origin of the information that is found in living systems. There are various claims about the amount of information that is found in the human genome, but it can be conservatively estimated as being equivalent to a few thousand books, each several hundred pages long. Where did this information come from? Chance does not generate information. This observation caused the late Professor Sir Fred Hoyle and his colleague, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe of Cardiff University, to conclude that the evolutionist is asking us to believe that a tornado can pass through a junk yard and assemble a jumbo jet.

When confronted with this evidence, and even more now, supporters of abiogenesis argue that science must be naturalistic, and we have no choice but to tell the best story we have, even if it is not a complete or even accurate story. Although widely heralded by the popular press for decades as ‘proof’ that life originated on the early earth entirely by natural conditions, the Miller–Urey experiments have actually provided compelling evidence for exactly the opposite conclusion. This set of experiments—more than almost any other carried out by modern science—has done much more to show that abiogenesis is not possible on Earth than to indicate how it could be possible.

The only explanation for the existence of living systems is that they must have been created.

Fighting SLL/CLL is a day-to-day battle, even when you feel real good, the thought of what you have is constant. Every little pain, cough, cut, or ache gives you cause for concern. You are always trying to stay away from crowds, small areas like elevators, especially if someone is on it. When someone coughs, you cover your nose, just by reflex. You try to read stories of others who have gone in remission, hoping that the same will happen for you. I am fortunate, I feel good most every day, but still re-act to all of the above.

I just walked two miles this morning, and as I walk, I take deep breaths, trying to fill my lungs with oxygen, believing that cancer does not like oxygen. Is that belief correct, I don’t know, but some have said it is, so I try it. You see, when you have a cancer that has no cure, but a possible long life outlook, you try everything you can, to stay healthy. You don’t have to fear death, to do these things, there are many other reasons why you do them. Wife, children, grandchildren, testimony, God-given wonderful life, and much more.

For all of you who have just found out that you have CLL (I will be using SLL/CLL or only CLL at times; it means the same which ever I use), or any cancer, consider what you read carefully. Anyone who has been diagnosed with SLL/CLL has a damaged immune system. This means that we are more likely to get infections, and less able to fight them than healthy people of the same age.

Words that your doctors may use are immunosuppressed, leucopoenia (medial term indicating a low-level of white blood cells), myelosuppression (is a condition in which bone marrow activity is decreased, resulting in fewer red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets), pancytopenia (a reduction in the number of red and white blood cells, as well as platelets), thrombocytopenia (is the term for a reduced platelet (thrombocyte) count), granulocytopenia (abnormally low number of granular white blood cells in the blood) – they are all connected to having a damage immune system.

Don’t wait to get help – SLL/CLL patients do not have the luxury of being able to wait for a doctor’s appointment. If you have a temperature, or feel ill, pains in you stomach, or night sweats, get in touch with your doctor or hospital immediately. Do it then, do not wait for Monday morning. Tell any medic, nurse, or doctor that you talk to that you have SLL/CLL, and have a damaged immune system. CLL patients should never have live vaccines – do not have shingles vaccine, or chicken pox vaccine, as well as other live vaccines.

Understanding Our Emotions: At the risk of oversimplifying a complex subject, we shall divide our emotional experience into two main components, the physical and the mental. The first is the physical component of our emotions, and involves all the physiological changes that occur in our bodies whenever we experience emotional arousal. We often refer to such changes in our bodies as “feeling” because we actually do feel them physically. That is, how strongly we feel an emotion is directly related to the physical changes within our bodies. The feeling is a reaction to the physical changes occurring. The body will automatically reach to a stress causing event. Increased heart rate, blood pressure raises, respiratory rate will increase.

All of these physical changes, which are normal and healthy, have the same basic goal: survival of the individual. When the stress is eliminated or relieved, the body usually returns to normal functioning. However, as long as the stress continues, the body also continues to function in a constant state of arousal. During prolonged periods of stress the body will adapt to the stress by creating the physical changes. However, such resistance carries with it a high cost. Sooner or later the body will move into exhaustion, resulting in disorders, even death.

Learning to cope with the emotional stress of everyday life is as important as learning proper nutrition or hygiene. Perhaps Jesus had this in mind when he told the Tempter that, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Important as the physical component of our emotions is, it seems only to account for the intensity of our emotions. The question remains, however, what is it that determines the quality of our emotions? What actually causes us to feel angry or depressed or anxious?

The second, and perhaps the more important component of our emotions, is referred to as the mental, component. The mental component is the causal component of our emotions. While the physical component determines the intensity of our feelings. The mental component determines the quality of our emotions, i.e. whether we feel joy, or rage, or hurt, etc.

When questioned about our feelings, it is natural to assume that some particular event or situation has caused us to feel a certain emotion. For instance, we may say that someone “hurt” our feelings by what they said about us. We assume that our emotional hurt was actually caused by what was said, and completely ignore the emotion component of those hurt feelings. The problem with this understanding is that it removes control of our feelings from us, and puts us at the mercy of whoever we let control our emotions.

In order to regain control of our own feelings we must understand the cognitive component that decides the quality of our emotions.

Some light is shed on the mental component of our emotions in what is called the ABC theory. This theory states that it is not simply the events (A) that happen to us that produce certain emotional consequences (C). Between event (A), and consequence (C) lies our beliefs (B), which actually connect (A), and (C).

In short, it is not just what happens to us that causes us to feel a certain way, it is also what we believe, and tell ourselves about what just happened to us that really determines how we feel. For instance, I may lose my job, and feel anxiety due to a lack of income. However, it is not the loss of my job, or the lack of income that is causing my anxiety, it is the beliefs that I am mentally processing about myself in light of losing my job that are actually causing me to worry.

Although the personal responsibility associated with the mental component of our emotions may seem to place an added burden on us at first, it is the real key to experiencing emotional freedom. Realizing my beliefs are causing me emotional stress may seem to add more stress initially. However, if I can understand that my belief systems determine the quality of my emotions, I can then work on correcting my beliefs to alter my emotional responses. I may not change the fact that I lost my job, but I can change what I am thinking and believing about myself in relation to losing my job.

By changing our belief systems, we can recognize the potential we have to control our own feelings.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, THE FRUIT OF SPIRIT.  It is my hope that it will help clarify our thinking about our emotions.

Thinking of all of you out there who have Small Lymphocytic lymphoma and/or Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

 

Platelets are tiny cells produced by the bone marrow to help your blood clot in the event of a cut or scrape. A decreased platelet count is called thrombocytopenia.There are a number of possible causes of thrombocytopenia.These include a disorder of the immune system in which antibodies kill platelets (known as idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, or ITP), hypersplenism, in which an enlarged spleen destroys more platelets than normal, and suppression of the bone marrow (the only site where platelet  precursors are made), because it is heavily infiltrated with CLL. Platelets tend to be the first to start dropping precipitously when CLL progresses. Haematologists see platelets below 100 as the criteria for upgrading the CLL to Binet stage C (or Rai Stage-4) and a cause for starting treatment.

My current platelet count is 60, and my doctor and I are talking about starting chemotherapy in Jan. 2012. It has been below 100 since Feb. 2011 but all of my other counts have been very good, so I am thankful that I have not had to start chemo until now. I am also hoping that when I get my blood counts in Jan. 2012, they may have gone up. My doctor is really good, he just doesn’t jump because of numbers, he looks at everything, including how I currently feel, and what I think.

Latest news from LLS – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has been aware of the cancer drug shortages, particularly those impacting patients with blood cancer, since the matter first emerged last fall. LLS has been in contact with the FDA to express concern and keep abreast of the agency’s actions and efforts to remedy the situation.  Among the drugs on the shortage list that are used for blood cancer therapy are Daunorubicin, Dexamethasone, Doxorubicin and Vincristine.  Cytarabine, a drug used to treat several types of leukemia and lymphoma, had also been on the shortage list.  However, it is important to note that on October 20, 2011, the FDA announced that two of the three primary U.S. suppliers of Cytarabine are now reporting good supply and the third is working to increase supply.

Legislation to help address drug shortages has been introduced in the House and Senate, but has not moved to the floor for consideration since its introduction earlier this year.  It is LLS’s hope that the Administration’s actions will put pressure on Congress to take action on that pending legislation.  LLS advocates can also help by visiting LLS’s Advocacy Center and urging their members of Congress to support the Preserving Access to Life-Saving Medications Act now!

We want to hear from you!  Have you or a loved one been affected by these or other drug shortages?  How have they affected your care?  How might you benefit from the President’s Executive Order?

FAITH – In spite of the fact Jesus has promised to identify himself with us and us with him in order to give us a true sense of worth, there are many other things we have learned to depend on for our personal security and significance. Before we are old enough to abstractly conceive that there is a God at all, let alone one who loves us and gave his life for us,  we have all been conditioned to trust in ourselves, others, and our circumstances to make us worthy. As small children we learn to trust in our own performance to make us significant in this life. We also learn to depend on the approval of significant others to tell us we are loved, and, therefore, secure.

These early learning experiences make it very difficult to later believe Jesus is the one who makes us secure and significant. The multitudes turned away, and walked no more with Jesus (John 6:66) because they were not willing to believe that he could satisfy their personal needs by himself. When Jesus refused to give them another “free lunch,” they, thinking only physically in their natural, pre-conditioned ways, could see nothing Jesus had to offer to get their needs met.

Each of us fight the same kind of battle today. When we honestly ask ourselves what we depend on for our worth (i.e. security and/or significance) we also find that we have been conditioned from birth to trust everything and everyone but Jesus. In our natural condition, what Jesus has to offer does not make any sense to us either. For instance, suppose I bought a Lotto ticket, and won ninety million dollars. The money I would have won would generate a false sense of security as people begin to say they “love” me, they “accept” me, and they “forgive” me for any wrongdoing. Likewise, I might develop a false sense of significance as I enjoyed a new sense of “importance,” “purpose,” and “power” in my money. All my conditioning in this world’s value system would tell me that I am. Trusting Jesus, rather than ninety million dollars for my worth, would be a great deal easier to say than to do.

The factor that allows us to develop, and maintain a healthy sense of personal worth, is simply faith in our union with Christ. The reality is, as far as God is concerned, only those who are “in Christ” or “one with Christ” have any real worth as persons.

For this reason he sent his son Jesus to identify himself with us in our worthless condition of sin that we might identify ourselves in his worthy condition of righteousness. In Christ, we have all that is necessary to make us secure and significant. Apart from Christ we have nothing.

The only thing left for us to do is to believe. That is, we must choose to base our worth each day on our union with Christ. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is by grace, through faith, that we are saved from eternal death (the condition we are already in because of our natural birth, and will stay in without being reborn from above).

It is also by grace through faith that we are saved from the personal death of worthlessness.

It has been a great weekend, I went on my motorcycle ride Saturday, and traveled over 100 miles. I spent three hours with the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society at a Farmers Market. It was a beautiful day to ride, blue sky, and sunshine; 53 degrees when I left and 79 degrees on my way home. I have a heavy leather jacket that I like to wear when I ride, but it is usually to hot to wear it, not Saturday morning, it was perfect.

My wife was home on Sunday, so we went golfing together, and really enjoyed the round of golf. She swings her clubs funny, but the ball always goes straight and quite far. My swing on the other hand usually causes the ball to either go left or right, very seldom staying in the fairway. Again, a beautiful day, I wonder sometimes, why so many people live in the northern United States, especially in the winter. Of course, I was one of them for many, many years, I chalk it up to youth.

From the Winter of 2010 (12/15/2010) – I read this and thought some of you with CLL, or a family member, may not have, so I thought I would share it. It is one year later now, so hopefully there is  even better news for the 2011 ASH annual meeting. MAKING AN IMPACT IN CLL: “Before 1991, we had one class of drugs that was approved for CLL. Since then we have had five new drugs approved for CLL, and this has only been possible because patients participated in clinical trials,” explains Dr. Byrd. Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies designed to develop safe, more effective therapies. “I believe we have the right ingredients, with newer agents and existing therapies, to make a big impact in CLL treatment–to keep the disease in remission for long periods of time, with very good quality of life for patients.” Dr. Byrd explains that support from LLS has been key to the progress in CLL. “The development of new therapies requires teams of researchers working in the laboratory, doctors working with patients, and resources to support their work. Grant support from LLS has helped make the development of many of these new CLL therapies possible.”

PROMISING NEW THERAPIES: Two of the promising new CLL therapies Dr. Byrd expects to hear about at the ASH meeting are the drugs CAL-101 and PCI-32765. These drugs work by targeting critical pathways responsible for cancer cell growth in CLL.“Both are oral drugs with relatively good side effect profiles, making them easier to take over long periods of time. They have created a lot of excitement because they have produced durable remissions in a subset of CLL patients whose disease is resistant to other therapies,” says Dr. Byrd.

Continuing on with Who We Are, we can now see what the benefits are. Since Jesus’ promise is true we can begin to realize the marvelous personal benefits of our union with him by reminding ourselves that what is true of Jesus is true of us as well.  Was Jesus secure in God’s love? Certainly he was, and so are we. Was Jesus significant in God’s plan? Certainly he was, and so are we.

Because of our union with Christ we are worthy as persons. As we begin to recognize and believe in our union with Christ we enter into the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. Because we are one with Christ (we are in him and he is in us) we are said to be loved unconditionally (Ephesians 2:1-10), totally accepted (Ephesians 1:3-6), forever forgiven (Colossians 2:9-15), important as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:17-21), meaningful in ministry (John 14:12), adequate in power (Philippians 4:13). In short, our union with Christ meets all our personal needs to make us worthy because he is worthy.

It is necessary at this point to consider an important distinction between being worthy and feeling worthy. Jesus promised to be one with us to make us worthy; not necessarily to make us feel worthy. It is possible for us to be absolutely secure, and yet feel insecure. Carnival rides and amusement parks entertain people by causing them to experience a feeling of insecurity, while they really are secure. Jesus has promised to make us absolutely secure and significant in his love and calling regardless of what we may experience in our feelings. Because of our union with him we are secure and significant as persons whether we feel like it or not.

Faith, lets talk about that tomorrow.

My all of my family, friends, and CLL fighters, remember that in Christ, all are worthy.

I haven’t written in a few days, so here it goes. I emailed my doctor yesterday, about my appointment, and received his reply today. He says all my numbers look okay, so seeing him in three months, instead of six weeks is fine. I was glad to hear that, and he also said, if anything comes up, to call him.

I have ridden my motorcycle for the last two days, not far, but at least I have been on it. I am riding it this Saturday a couple of hundred miles, and I am looking forward to that. Our motorcycle meeting went well on Tuesday, and there was a few surprises. We voted in a new Chaplin, and an a new Treasurer.

From the Cancer Project – Eighty percent of cancers are due to factors that have been identified and can potentially be controlled, according to the National Cancer Institute. And not only can we potentially prevent most cancers, we can also improve the survival rates of people who have cancer. Cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon have received more research attention than other forms of the disease, but, as we will see, certain principles apply to many forms of cancer.

Cancer starts when one cell begins to multiply out of control. It begins to expand into a lump that can invade healthy tissues and spread to other parts of the body. But there is a lot we can do about it. Thirty percent of cancers are caused by tobacco. Lung cancer is the most obvious example, but by no means the  only one. Cancers of the mouth, throat, kidney, and bladder are also caused by tobacco.

Dietary factors also play a significant role in cancer risk. At least one-third of annual cancer deaths in the U.S. are due to dietary  factors. A recent review on diet and cancer estimates that up to 80 percent of cancers of the large bowel, breast, and prostate are due to dietary factors

Meat Raises Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Risk Meat consumption  appears to increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a cancer of white
blood cells. Data collected from 88,410 women in the Harvard Nurses’ Health  Study over a 14-year period showed that those eating beef, pork, or lamb daily were more than twice as likely to develop NHL, compared with those who consumed  these products less often or not at all. Meats contain carcinogenic heterocyclic  amines (HCAs) that form from creatine, amino acids, and sugars found in animal muscle tissues. Trans fats, commonly found in baked goods and snack foods, also increased risk.

The take-home message is to avoid meats and to look on package labels for “partially hydrogenated oils,” which indicates the presence of trans fats.

John 14:20 states the promise Jesus made to his disciples concerning their union with him. Jesus’ statement, “As I am in the Father” refers to his being one with the Father. It is this claim by Jesus that separates true Christianity from all other religions of the world. Jesus did not claim to be just another good teacher or prophet of Israel. He claimed to be God! Being “In the Father,” means what is true of the Father is also true of Jesus because they are one in essence.

In exactly the same way he is in the father, Jesus promised his disciples (believers) they are in him. Whatever is true of Jesus being “In the Father,” must also be true of the believer “In Christ.” Thus, believers are one with Jesus just as he is one with the Father. In addition, he went on to promise he is in the believer while the believer is in him. The wonderful news is we are totally and inseparably joined to Jesus.

The concept of our union with Christ does not come only from this promise of Jesus. The Bible reveals the same truth through different analogies. Later Jesus would express the same promise to his disciples through the analogy of the vine. As the vine and its branches are one, so are believers one with Christ.

The apostle Paul uses three different analogies in his letters to demonstrate the same promise. Believers are one with Christ as a building and it’s foundation are one (Ephesians 2:20-22); as a husband and wife are one (Ephesians 5:31-32); as the head and the body are one (Ephesians 1:22-23).

The frequent use of the phrases, “In Christ,” “In him,” or “In whom” in the New Testament, all reflect the basic promise that believers are in a vital union with Jesus Christ. It is from this union the believer draws incredible benefits of personal worth.

I guess that is all for now, all of you out there in Cancer land, keep the faith, all of us who are in Christ, wins either way. If we live here, may we be a benefit to all those around us, and if we are not, praise Him who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17), for we will be with Him.