Tag Archive: chemotherapy


My Journey

Good morning all, I have not written on this blog now for over a year. So I thought I would bring all of you up to date on my walk with SLL/CLL. And for those who were wondering; yes I am still alive, and doing very well.

I have included an updated chart along with a short version of my last five years. You will see that my 100 Leukocytes has fallen below normal now for three blood tests. What does that mean? It means that it may take longer to beat a cold or infection, if one should occur. Hoping to see them rise when I have blood tests again in March 2016.

As I look back on that day, December 25, 2010, when I was first told I had cancer, I was certainly caught off guard. then just a couple of months later I came to realize that it is not just cancer, but a terminal disease. It  was march 2011 when the doctor finally told me I had Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma/Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, (SLL/CLL) stage 4, and there was no cure.

Soon after, I found out that I had the dreaded chromoseome 17p deletion and it was 92% deleted.

Life expectancy, at that time, for those with the17p deletion was that 50% of patients died by nine months after diagnosis, and the rest of them usually died within thirty months. Now in 2015, several new therapies have been approved for SLL/CLL and even 17p patients have much more hope now, to live well past previous life expectancy estimates, of previous years.

I found out, and was later told that chemotherapy was not viable for 17p deletion patients.

In June of 2012, my nose was bleeding, often for more than an hour at a time. My spleen was twice the size it should be. Lymphnodes in my neck and jaw were the size of large marbles and I was short of breath. At my June 2012 appointment, my doctor finally said, “nothing could be done”, that mabybe I should try to get into a clinical trail. On our way back home from the VA in St. Petersburg, my wife and I stopped at the VA cemetery in Sarasota, and got all the information needed for my wife to have me buried there.

The next day I called NIH in Maryland, and after talking to someone, the head doctor called me and said I would be perfect for the trial he was conducting. It took about a month to get all my tests prepared to be sent. However a few days before I received the papers, I was called by the head doctor up there, telling me the trial had been filled. It was now near the end of July 2012.

Feeling sick right at that moment, about one minute later, a verse came to my mind….” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. Honestly, all fear left me at that moment. Also one of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 26:3 Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. The word peace here in Hebrew is Shalom which means, everything is well.

About one week later, I was watching, on television, a Christian Creationist preacher mention Genesis 1:29. God also said, Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you. After reading the verse, he said that bitter apricot seeds kills cancer cells.

Believing God, that every seed bearing plant whose fruit contains seed is for eating, I started eating bitter apricot seeds. I was given this verse when my blood counts were near their worse. Cancer count in my blood was at 70%. WBC 12.4, (high 18.5) HGB 11.4,(low 10.3) PLT 59,(low 53) ALC 8.7,(high 13.5)

It is now Sept 2013 and my blood counts had become close to normal again.So my doctor looked at the lymph node biopsy, that was done in March 2011 and yes, the lymph node was positive for SLL/CLL. Okay we concluded, I did and still do have SLL/CLL, but why the consistently improving blood counts. It was then that I told her what I had been eating.

Since that time, my doctor has told me I am at stage 0, which was stage 4 when first diagnosed. My blood counts are now normal or near normal.

Has this been a miracle in my life, who knows, but for me, it certainly is. When I think of what has happened over the last five years, I thank my Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for calling me, to believe Him.

The night I was told I have cancer, my wife unknown to me, sat in the hall of that hospital, next to my room and prayed that our Father in heaven would do for me what he had done for King Hezekiah in 2nd Kings 20. Give him fifteen more years. And as King Hezekiah left his sick bed in three days, so it was with me. There is so much more I could tell you, but it would take far to long. There is much more detail in my previous blogs, for those who may be interested.

I do want to finish with this, I do not have faith in bitter apricot seeds, but I do in the One who healed all who were sick, the one who cleansed the leper, and made the blind to see. You see the grace of God is not a subject, just to discuss, the grace of God, unmerited favor, is a person, and that person is Jesus Christ. The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. It is one thing to give, you can give at a distance, its another thing to come, personally.

For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. When I put my faith, when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, our position, moves from being condemned by our sin, to a place of righteousness, and no condemnation. That is, not my righteousness, for I have none in myself, but Christ’s righteousness.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21.

He Himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, so that having died to sins, we should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes I am healed. I Peter 2:24.

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%
03/05/15 5.9 13.2 90 0.67 13.40%
09/05/15 5.2 12.8 85 0.64 12.20%
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%

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.

My Journey

Good day to all of you who have taken the time to spend these few moments with me.  In this part of the world, the weather is beautiful. Some may not like it at 92 degrees, but it suits me just fine. Blue sky, some puffy clouds, and a slight breeze coming off of the water, makes a perfect day.

I saw my doctor yesterday, and we had quite a good talk. All of my numbers, except my platelet count, were good. Unfortunately, my platelets again dropped, now being at 53,000. Because of this, chemotherapy was brought up again. My Oncologists asked me as I walked in his office, “Do you have any pain around your spleen?’ After answering no, I was told that it is now 5 inches below my ribs. It has doubled in size, and chemotherapy is really required now. I told him I was still feeling great, but was having frequent nose bleeds.

I had been reading about FCR not being a good chemotherapy for my SLL/CLL with the 17p deletion. Most of the time it had not helped the patient, but the toxcity was so bad, it often made the patients with Chromosome 17p deletion worse. The F in FCR which is fludarabine, was very nasty, for our deletion. I had just watched a video the day before about a new chemotherapy that was just as effective as FCR, but had much less toxicity. It is called Bendamustine and Rituximab (BR), Bendamustine is called Treanda in the United States, but has been used for CLL in Germany for years. Anyway, as we were talking, the doctor said that my chemo would not be FCR but BR. Wow, I got a big smile on my face, and told him I was happy that it would not be FCR, and that I had just seen a video about BR. He told me it still may not work, as no chemo to date has been very effective for 17p deletion, but it would be less toxic and I would only be in the hospital for two days, instead of three. I already knew that there was no guarantee, but at least, to date, it has not shown to make patients with 17p worse.

I have to add here, that the response rate for those of us with the 17p deletion is not good even with BR, but it is a start. We then talked about the new and exciting Ibrutinib (formally known as PCI-32765). I told him I have a friend, where I used to live, who had what I have, and was put in a trial almost three ago, after being told that there was nothing that would help her. The trial was PCI -32765 and shortly after starting the trail, all here blood counts went back to normal, and she has been fine since. She has to take this pill every day, but it has kept her CLL stable so far. He knew about this BTK inhibitor, and went to the FDA website. He was pleased to see that it had been sent in for approval, but no approval yet. At it looks right now, if the best happens, approval may come near the end of this year

With knowing that, the question was, do we wait for the approval, if it comes, or do chemotherapy now? He told me that we were at a point where we needed to make a decision. I asked him if we could wait another month, see the next blood results, and then discuss beginning chemotherapy again, and he agreed. I don’t know if I am making the right decision, but I do know that chemicals in your body are not good. As he said, if my platelets move lower next time, I will have to accept the fact that chemotherapy is a must. I do realize that, and will accept it. I just don’t want to jump into this thing to fast. I feel so good now, that it is hard to agree to something that may make you feel really bad. Of course, there is no guarantee that I will feel bad, I may have the BR and feel the same as I do now.

Boy, it is really hard to figure out what to do, when it concerns your  life.  Any suggestions out their from my chromosome 17p deletion partners? Or anyone else out there that can offer something that may help me to make a decision.

Until later, I leave this post thanking all who are praying for me, and everyone in my family for being so concerned about me.

Well it is Friday, one day after my visit to the doctor. I am so far feeling the same emotions this morning that I felt when I left the hospital.

As I said in an earlier blog, I have been feeling great, and really believed my blood readings would be better than before. After learning about my 17p deletion, and the usual outcome due to it, I have felt better than I had at any time since finding out about by SLL/CLL.

So how did my blood counts look this time?  They were mixed, and unfortunately the one count that needed to be good was not. This is what caused me to have mixed emotions, now for two days.

My WBC (white cell blood count) was at it highest 18,500, on 09/08/2011, yesterday it was 11,000. Normal count for WBC is 4,000 to 10,600, and as you can see, my count is real close to normal, and has come way down.

My HGB (Haemoglobin-protein that transport oxygen) was at it lowest at 11.1  on 1/26/12, yesterday it was 11.4. Normal count for HGB is 12.8-17.0, and as you can see it went up. It may seem to many that it didn’t go up much, however since 1/10/11 it has steadily gone down from 13.3 since then. This is the first time since I was diagnosed that it went up.

Now the one that was very discouraging, my Blood Platelets (stops bleeding). The highest it has been 112,000 was on 1/10/11, and my last reading on 1/26/12 was 62. Yesterday it had fallen to 54,000 which is the one thing my Oncologist is looking at to determine when chemotherapy is required.

So I have to go back on May 25th and if my platelets have not gone back up to 60,000, I am afraid that I will have quite an argument on my hands about starting chemo. I should not be surprised that they were low, as I have had a bleeding nose every morning for the last four days, and last night while sleeping, it started bleeding again, and woke me up. So I am once again trying to raise those pesky platelets.

Now for some other news. Since my wife’s sister and two cousins have been here, we have been to Disney World, Downtown Disney, the beach several times, shopping (not me), eating out, and will be laying on the beach looking at the Atlantic Ocean tomorrow. It has been a nice time for them all, even though I think I may have slowed them down a little bit, but today they are shopping, and I am at home resting.

Again I want to thank all of you who have been praying for me.

Good morning to all, on this beautiful sunny, warm day in the south.

I thought I would again post my paper on “Why Disease, Hatred, Sickness and Death.” For many who have read it before, know it is my testimony of why I believe I have SLL/CLL, and what really happened. I last posted this paper Sept. 2011, and since then made some revisions. For those of you who have already read it, you will find additions, and hopefully I have made it a little easier to understand my thoughts.

Around the country, we continue to hear about the economic recession, and job loss. Around the world we hear about the latest terrorist attacks. Innocent children are dying of starvation, people are dying of cancer, heart disease, and so on. What in the world has gone wrong? How could a good God create a world so full of disease, pain and death? Pain and suffering afflict even the most seemingly innocent people. Animals rip other animals apart in a desperate attempt to survive. How could any rational person think a benevolent being was behind so much death and suffering?

I have SLL/CLL, that is small lymphocyte lymphoma/chronic lymphocyte leukemia. A cancer in the lymphodes and blood. There is no current cure for these cancers. So why did I get cancer? Some have asked, “Why do you have cancer?” You have been a Christian for 33 years, you have told other about Christ, taught Sunday school, even preached in some churches. I thought God loved you, you are part of His family, why would He do this thing to you?

Well is it God who did this to me, or is it something else that did? The following is what really happened!

Lets take a look at what God did do. Day 1&2 – God created the heavens and the earth and separated the waters from the waters, and He saw that it was good. Day 3 – He made dry land, and saw that it was good, then grass, trees, seed, and saw that it was good. Day 4 – He made the sun, moon, stars, and saw that it was good. Day 5 – God created birds and fish, and saw that it was good. Day 6 – Animals, man and woman were made by Him, and He saw everything He had made, and behold, it was very good.

So what happened? When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. When Adam ate of the fruit, the human race had the death penalty placed on it. God told Adam, to eat of every tree in the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned. We all have Adams DNA, and we all choose to sin.

The tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – How do we know what is good and what is evil? Where does this knowledge come from? The law, commandments, came by Moses. We also learn the law and laws, from out parents, then school, then peers, then work, society, and church. All religions have some sort of laws, or rules. Governments have rules and laws, Christians, Athiest, Evolutionist, all have rules and laws. We even know it by nature, it is written on our hearts. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they (we) are without excuse.

But the Law is Good – Is the law of God evil? Of course not! It showed me my sin. When I learned the law, I realized I had broke it. So the law that was to show me life, gave me the death penalty instead. Sin took a good law and used it to make me guilty, so death pursued. But the law didn’t change, it is still holy, right, and good. How can that be, the law that is good, brought my condemnation. It didn’t, sin used what was good to bring condemnation. That’s how terrible sin really is. The law is good then, the trouble is with me, because I have sin as my master. So by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. So what is the conclusion for sin?

THE WAGES OF SIN, OR OUR PAYMENT FOR SIN IS DEATH. 

So why do I, and others get cancer that has no cure, and can and does cause death? Why are you going to die? Whether from old age, accidents, diseases, war, you name it, all of us, and those who are considered the very best of us will die. Why? Because of the law, which gave us the knowledge of sin, which Adam and all of us chose by disobeying God. So I must conclude that God didn’t cause me to have cancer, my race and I chose it.

These are the facts as I see and read them. No scare tactics, not trying to get you to live a better life. Why, even when we try, we fail daily and completely more often than not. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. So we can all conclude that no one does good, we try, but we fail, why, because we are born in sin, born self centered, self important, wanting, etc.

There’s got to be a better way? Yes, there is, Jesus said – “I am the resurrection and the life, anyone that believes in me, though you were dead, yet shall you live.” This is good news, true news, needed news, and eternal life giving news. Do you realize that the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, and knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Question: so what happens when some one asks Christ to save them? We are buried with Jesus by baptism into death, and as Christ was raised up from the dead, we are raised with Him. (This is not the physical water baptism we see in churches.)  So if we are with Him in death, we will be with Him in His resurrection. Knowing this, our old man is crucifed with Him, we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death has no more dominion over Him. Christ died unto sin once, and now lives unto God. So realize that your are dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yes, but I still sin. Sin still persists, because you and I still have these physical bodies. Our cursed physical bodies have not died yet. (We still have physical death, sickness, disease, and so on.) It is our cursed and eternal sinful spirit that I am talking about.

God said that He formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

We are a new creation in Christ, born again with a new nature, God now sees our new nature, even though we are still stuck in our physical bodies. Notice that I said “God now see our new nature. He only sees Christ in us, His Spirit in us, and our born again spirit in Him, perfect, loved, loving, sinless, that will live forever. So then, it is my old body, my physical body (sins of the flesh) that is going to die. It is the sins of the flesh which is still under the law, and is emnity with God, that will die. In Christ, God only sees you and me as righteous, as Christ is righteous. My new man, my new nature, my spirit, in my new body, is what is living forever, and not just forever, but forever with Christ.

So how do I ask Christ to save me? Repent and believe. What does it mean to repent? To change direction 180 degrees. In other words, change what you believe, and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some become Christians, and to change (repent), start going to church, try feeding the poor, give to charity, and on and on (by the way, these are good things, and Christians are called to love and help others).  But after awhile, we tire of doing these things. our feelings may have been hurt by another Christian, we are young in our Christian walk, and believe things that others tell us, things that God does not say in His word. Things become more important, and doing good, becomes less and less a part of our lives. Not only that, but we find sin has reared up its ugly face again, and even worst, we are not only sinning, but we are living with a spirit of self-righteousness, judging others, their life styles, their dress, and even their words. Look, speak out for your values, for your beliefs, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but only because you love others, not because you condemn them. If your repentence is condemning, you have gone back to that which you have been freed from, the law of the knowledge of good and evil. So be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

To repent, is to stop believing that as a believer, you are under the law of Moses, instead believe now that you are under Gods grace. Christ fulfilled that law, and paid the penalty of death for it, so you are no longer condemned by it. Change what you think, not what you do. God will take care of the doing.

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. 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.

What is the Gospel? The good news about Jesus Christ. That Christ came, died, rose again, and anyone who believes in Him, will have eternal life, with Him. It is not more, nor is it nothing less than that. No human religion, no religious acts, no good deeds, nothing but Christ. The Bible declares that the gospel which was preached, is for you to receive, and has been received by many, wherein you may stand. It also states that by this gospel, you also are saved. Just remember what it says, otherwise your belief is in vain. For what was told and then written, and now delivered unto you, and that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. This is the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.

So I can’t sin anymore. Wow, so I can do anything and it will be okay, right! Many believe that they can sin, because we are not under the law anymore, but under grace. God forbid, know ye not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. But God be thanked, that you were servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being made free from sin, you became servants of righteousness. Once you belong to Christ, and find yourself fighting not to sin, know it is your old nature (fIesh), that wants to sin. Remember you are a new creation in Christ, never having sinned, not sinning now, and will not sin in the future.

I live in this physical body, trying daily to obey the law (commandments), even though I know that my eternal spirit, is no longer judged, nor accused by those laws. I thank God, through Jesus Christ my Lord for that. So then with my spirit, I serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin. There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

I must point out here that walking, in the Spirit is characterized by the thoughts, beliefs and attitudes held by each of us, and serving the law of God, only happens by a continual reliance upon the power of the Holy Spirit, not on our ability, to overcome the power of sin in the flesh.

So how does Gods law tell us to live in the Spirit? Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Please note that not everyone who calls themselves Christian, are believers in Christ. Christ said, “many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful things. And then Christ will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.” Christ does not say, look I knew you, but you screwed up, so you are not saved anymore, no He does not say that. He says I never knew you.

The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel, these are Christ words. For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. So please remember, the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

What does that mean? Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. We live our lives under the law, we then ask Jesus to save us, He does, then we try to do good things, we work to keep our salvation. We usually fail, give up, and worry that we might not be saved. Yes as I said earlier, do good works, but don’t count it for righteousness. Work out your own salvation, with fear and trembling, for it is God that works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure. Notice we are not told here to work for our salvation, but to work it out, or demonstrate its reality in our daily lives. Our salvation must be entirely received by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, or else it is not true salvation. Inclusive yes, but it is not me that said that, it is Jesus Christ himself that did. “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but by me.” Again Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, anyone that believe in me, though they were dead, yet shall they live.” Yes it is inclusive, but free for all to join, so tell others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you join me in this story, don’t try to make anyone believe it, nor condemn them if they don’t, just tell them.

Sanctify the Lord in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason of your hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

Christ and only Christ saves, nothing else. My eternal spirit will live forever, in my new resurrected body (I trust Christ only). How about you? Some will live forever with Christ, and some will live with the spirit of the old man, old sinful nature, paying the wages of sin by living an eternal spiritual death, separated  from Christ, cursing the fact that they are eternal beings, in a bottomless pit, with no way out. The bottomless pit that was made for fallen angels, but many of us chose to go there also.

The Bible has something to say about this choice. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things that were written in the books, according to their works, and the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them, and they were judged, everyone according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire.

Those who are in prisons, that is behind bars, or those who are behind bars in their own mind, fears, emotions, and diseases, know the burden of the law first hand. It takes away many freedoms, dreams, joys, and much more. This life is sometimes hard for us, and for some, very hard, but what’s to come, may be harder, and definitely longer. Who wants this for an eternity!

If the opportunity ever arises, please read Luke 16:19-31 and then answer this question: Will you be the one who will not be persuaded, neither will one raised from the dead, persuade you.

But not as the offense, so also is the free gift; for if by the offense of one, many did die, much more the grace of God, and the free gift in grace of the man Jesus Christ, abound to many.

Speak the truth with humility and love. Walk in the same way Christ did. Christ tells His disciples just before He left, “A new commandment I give unto you, love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another, and this is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.

We live in a world of choas, hurricanes, tornado’s, floods, sickness, children starving, wars, people killing each other. Do you now, or can you now see that it is not God who causes or caused these things, but man. When God created everything, on those first six days, He said everything was good, very good.

The judgement on man, which affects the whole universe, came when man freely chose to disobey, and sin and death entered into man, and all creation was cursed. We must conclude with this, disease, pain and death, innocent children dying, people dying of cancer, heart disease, is not because of what God did, but because of what we, as a human race did, and do now to ourselves, and others. It is you and I who are part of that race. But thank God for Jesus Christ, who came, was born a human, died as a human, paying the death penalty for sin, for the human race. Then rose again, bodily, defeating death forever. So I conclude that I have cancer, not because of what God did, but because of what I, as part of the human race did. I thank God for Jesus Christ who came, was born, died, and rose again, all this for you and me.

Finally for my friends who love riding their motorcycles, like I do.

Strong: Physically powerful, great physical power, muscular body, and great strength.

Tough: Able to withstand great strain without tearing or breaking. Resilient, firm in texture, but flexible and not brittle. Able to withstand adverse conditions, or rough or careless handling. Will bend, twist, without tearing or breaking. Does anyone see a difference between the two?

Learn to hang around with the one who is really tough. He left glory, cloaked His glory, became a man, falsely accused, found guilty of breaking the law. Beaten, cut, stabbed, laughed at, mocked, nailed to a cross, only said, forgive them Father, they know not what they do. This same man could have weakened, broke, and destroyed everything and everyone, just with speaking only a word. but chose instead to be tough. Why? because he cared about you and me so much, that He would die, so we may live. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

                                                                                                                                                                        Jack Rowe 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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My Journey

Another beautiful day here in a place where the sun shines over 300 days per year. The day started out in the low 50’s, but has rapidly risen into the 70’s. I am feeling great, and thank God that I do feel so good. As I read what others, with my SLL/CLL depletion say, I must thank God, who keeps me feeling healthy, normal, and enjoying everyday just as others do, even when my body is sick. As I think of the four years, going on five now that I have had this cancer, I really have found no physical changes, nor things I cannot do that any other 68 years would do. I also realize that many have and are praying for me, and I am very thankful to all of you.

Yesterday I was at the VA Hospital to give some blood for a new research program that is starting. My DNA will be taken from my blood sample, and research will be done, looking at my health background, and my DNA, hoping to be able to use the research to find cures for many different diseases in the future. The VA is hoping to have one million veterans participants in the research program. If they achieve their goal, it may be one of the largest research programs ever done.

If you are a veteran, and learning about this program for the first time, call your VA clinic and you will be able to get more information.

In earlier posts I have commented on the success enjoyed by FCR (fludarabine, cyclophosphamide and Rituxan) as the present day “gold standard” in the treatment  of previously untreated patients. For those of us with the 17p deletion the success enjoyed by so many with FCR combination looks not to be so good. Unfortunately this gold standard does not work well for the 17p deletion and can even cause more severe results in some cases.  So, if FC + Rituxan is good, how about substituting the other FDA approved monoclonal Campath in place of Rituxan?  If FC + Rituxan is good, would FC + Campath be even better – since Campath packs more punch and is also thought to work in 17p deleted high risk patients?

After a trial, for FC+Campath, in Germany, the results 8 deaths among 29 responding patients due to disease progression, Richter’s syndrome (2 patients), and one major late infection (tuberculosis). Progressive disease was the cause of death in 11 cases among 14 non-responding patients, shows it is not better and personally, seems real bad to me. Fludarabine and Campath (also known as alemtuzumab ) are extremely immune suppressive. Of all the drugs you are likely to encounter in your CLL journey, these two drugs are most justly infamous for destroying T-cell counts. And not having sufficient number of T-cells leaves people wide open to opportunistic infections and even secondary cancers – just think of the health issues associated with advanced AIDS patients and you get the picture.  Using both of these drugs (Campath and fludarabine) at the same time would be doubling down on the risk of extreme immune suppression. Patients would be at significantly higher risk of infections and even secondary cancers, when their immune defenses are down for a prolonged period of time. So for those with 17p deletion, neither FCR or FC+Campath is very acceptable. I guess if I had to decide on which one I would take, it would be FCR even though the average remission time, if obtained, is usually less than a year, but can last as long as three years. Of course being on watch and wait, I do not have to be concerned nor consider those remission times yet.

I think that a stem cell transplant is probably the best way to go, but it is not always possible. Age is a factor, cost another, and finding a donor is not always easy. Stem cell transplant technology is a rapidly developing field. The good news is that survival statistics and cure rates are increasing slowly but surely, year by year.

There are two types of stem cells, hematopoietic stem cells ( hematopoietic stem cells found in the baby’s cord blood),  Adult hematopoietic, (Adult stem cells) or blood-forming, stem cells from bone marrow), and the other is embryonic stem cells created when a human egg is fertilized by human sperm.

Being aware that I may need a stem cell transplant at some time, made me look into the matter more closely, and knowing what I now know, about adult stem cells, harvesting Embryonic stem cells seems senseless. This push for the use of embryonic stem cells, is hard to understand for me, considering the medical fact that, although there are over 100 effective treatments using adult stem cells (which are in ample supply), no treatments have resulted from even the embryonic stem cell lines that have already been established. Embryonic stem cells have never cured anything, and in many cases where they were tried, on animals, caused only tumors.

SLL/CLL is only one disease where  hematopoietic stem cells are used, and can make all the different varieties of cells present in your blood. HSC can make red blood cells, platelets, lymphocytes, macrophages etc. They have been found to be very successful when used. When I first found out that I had SLL/CLL and then was told, at some time in the future I may need a stem cell transplant, my heart dropped. Not knowing about adult stem cells, and there success, I knew when I was told, that I would not accept any embryonic stem cell. I accepted the fact, right there and then, if that was my last chance to live, then I would die

Hematopoietic stem cells needed for transplants are obtained from two sources and only these two sources (1) willing and healthy adult donors who are doing it for no other reason than generosity and desire to save lives (2) Umbilical cord-blood, a “waste” product that is generally thrown away after a baby is born. The baby is born, alive, going home with his or her mom and dad..

We now have non-myeloablative (also called “mini-transplant”, “transplant-lite”, or “reduced intensity transplant”, is a stem cell transplant from a donor (allogeneic) that uses a less aggressive combination of chemotherapy and/or radiation to prepare the patient for the transplant) pre-conditioning. It still uses massive amounts of chemotherapy, and many institutions still use low dose radiation as part of the protocol. But it is nowhere as high impact as earlier myeloablative procedures. The result has been that older patients, like me, are now eligible for transplantation, as well as those who are not quite marvels of good health and fitness.

There is a lot more information about stem cell transplants, however I will stop here. I am not there yet, although my Oncologists did mention it again, after telling me I had a 17p deletion.

After reading what I just wrote, I thought of the following Bible verses – For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3.

My Journey

This psalm is what I am thinking today – Psalms 104 – My soul, praises Yahweh! LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with majesty and splendor. He wraps Himself in light as if it were a robe, spreading out the sky like a canopy,  laying the beams of His palace on the waters above, making the clouds His chariot, walking on the wings of the wind, and making the winds His messengers,flames of fire His servants.

He established the earth on its foundations; it will never be shaken. You covered it with the deep as if it were a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke the waters fled; at the sound of Your thunder they hurried away— mountains rose and valleys sank— to the place You established for them. You set a boundary they cannot cross; they will never cover the earth again.

He causes the springs to gush into the valleys; they flow between the mountains. They supply water for every wild beast; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the sky live beside the springs; they sing among the foliage. He waters the mountains from His palace; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of Your labor.  He causes grass to grow for the livestock and provides crops for man to cultivate, producing food from the earth, wine that makes man’s heart glad— making his face shine with oil— and bread that sustains man’s heart.

The trees of the LORD flourish, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted. There the birds make their nests; the stork makes its home in the pine trees. The high mountains are for the wild goats; the cliffs are a refuge for hyraxes. He made the moon to mark the festivals;  the sun knows when to set. You bring darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals stir. The young  lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.  The sun rises; they go back and lie down in their dens. Man goes out to his work and to his labor until evening. How countless are Your works, LORD! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. Here is the sea, vast and wide, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small. There the ships move about, and Leviathan, which You formed to play there.

All of them wait for You to give them their food at the right time. When You give it to them, they gather it; when You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When You hide Your face, they are terrified; when You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When You send Your breath, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth. May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in His works. He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they pour out smoke. I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him; I will rejoice in the LORD. May sinners vanish from the earth and wicked people be no more. My soul, praise Yahweh! Hallelujah!

When I read about someone who has been told that they have just changed from Rai Stage I to the scary Rai Stage IV, because their platelet count has dropped below 100, I immediately get a cold chill. The reason for the change in Rai was that his latest CBC (complete blood test) done a couple of days earlier showed his platelet count was 96K. This is just shy of the 100K lower limit many labs use for healthy platelet counts.  All other counts were doing fine and there were no other symptoms, but those pesky platelets just wouldn’t cooperate.

I get a cold chill and a worried mind, or at least I use to, because over the last 11 months, my platelets have dropped from 119K to 60K and has been as low as 58K. I feel great, all other blood counts, not being normal, are closer to what they should be, but not those platelets. Does my Oncologist tell me, I may have to start chemotherapy, because my platelet count is so low? Yes he does, but I don’t want to start chemo, I feel great, my other counts our not normal, but not as bad as they could be. Why do I, and all those other people, who have SLL/CLL begin to worry? Because chemotherapy is not a joy ride, and this cancer is differently not a reason to be worry free and joyful.

It may sound like I am complaining here, and in this old body of mine, I am, and I know I will continue to more times than I would like. But my eternal spirit, my spirit that is continually being comforted by the Spirit of Christ, is not complaining or worrying. Why you may ask, let me tell you.

One of the most frequent phrases Jesus spoke to his disciples was, “Fear not.” This tells me two things, first, the disciples were constantly filled with anxiety, like the rest of us. Second, Jesus was concerned, so he comforted the disciples with his own presence and power. With that said, I would like to focus your attention on the formula for worry given in Philippians 4:6-9 (kjv).

The apostle Paul offers three basic steps to dealing with the anxiety that seems to plague so many people today. Knowing that simple denial of the things we are anxious, or worry about will not offer us any workable solution, Paul first says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (verse 6.) The phrase “Be careful for nothing”(Be careful {merimnao} to be anxious or to be troubled with cares)(for nothing {medeis} nothing) is a command not to worry. However, it is not a command to quit thinking. Many people suppose if they simply quit thinking about something, they will quit worrying about it. This simply is not true; since our subconscious mind is capable of thinking and worrying without our consciously being aware of it. Instead of putting our worries out of our minds, Paul says we should turn those worries into prayers. Since we will naturally think about the things that worry us, he invites us to talk to God about them. Notice the word “everything” in that verse. We are to talk to God about everything that troubles us; no matter what it may be. As often as we think about whatever it is that worries us, we are to pray about it.

The promise in the next verse (verse 7) tells us of the supernatural benefit of turning our worry into prayer. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” This means God will protect our hearts (subconscious minds) and minds (conscious minds) with the same peace that Jesus had. The reason it surpasses our understanding is that it has nothing to do with changing our circumstances. The peace, the world has to offer, depends on changing our circumstances; but the peace of God through Jesus Christ, comes as a fruit of the Holy Spirit regardless of our circumstances.

Like I said earlier, even though I may enjoy the peace that passes all understanding, unchanged circumstances frequently come back to haunt me. For that reason, Paul goes on to instruct us to think positively. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (verse 8). Receiving the peace that passes all understanding frees us to think positively about our circumstances. By nature, all worries have a negative cloud of doom covering them. The positive thinking about our circumstances lifts the cloud of doom so we may think even more clearly.

Thinking positive about our circumstances is not enough, however. The apostle goes one step further to tell us, “Those things, which ye have both learned and received and heard and seen in me, do” (verse 9). It is impossible to worry while we are actively pursuing a plan. In order to quit worrying about our circumstances we are encouraged to do the things we know already. We may not know how to get out of certain difficulties, but in the meantime, there are always many things we already know we can do. Being actively involved with the things we know we can and should do helps keep us from worrying about the things we cannot change.

How do I move from my anxiety and worry about SLL/CLL, and how can you move away from the same? Trust Christ, not only for your eternal soul, but also for your daily walk.