Tag Archive: Jesus


Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.

Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us………..

Ephesians 5:1-2a

In Genesis, we read that the Lord God told Adam, “because you have listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, Do not eat from it: the ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”

Now many will say, after reading this passage, God is mean, unjust, and just cruel. If He is so nice, you would think He would have told Adam, this is only your first mistake, I will give you another chance.

But God is just, and if you are just, you have to do the right and just thing, the law demands it. If you did not, then you are not just.

The Lord God, who created Adam told Adam up front, before hand, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For on the day you eat from it, you shall certainly die.” What did the Lord God actually say to Adam, “All these trees, here in the garden, you can freely eat from; all of them. But there is one that will cause you to die, don’t eat from that tree. I have given you life, but this fruit, that offers the knowledge of good and evil (Law), causes death.”

Before Adam gained the knowledge of the law. In God’s holiness, God only had to share His grace with Adam, not His justice. Paul clearly gives us the reason the Lord God told Adam not to eat from that tree. The law produces wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression. Romans 4:15

What we also neglect to read, and understand, is the Lord God firstly told the serpent (Satan), “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will put hostility(enmity) between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. (just a note: the woman does not have seed, the man does. The Lord God was letting us know right from the beginning that a miraculous (virgin) birth would occur). He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. ”God was telling Satan that a man, born of a woman, will someday deliver a mortal blow to Satan. In this same verse, the Lord God is telling everyone, that Yeshua the Messiah (the Christ), Jesus Christ, will someday come and defeat Satan, along with the sin that Adam just committed, and death because of the knowledge of good and evil. In Christ, the Lord God would once again, in grace, meet, walk, and talk with His creation

I have been a Christian now for 38 years. I put my faith in Jesus Christ when I was 34 years old. Over these last 38 years, I have heard a certain theme about God. He is mean, demanding, unjust, angry, kills people, often good people, and even lets children starve. Many who think this, who believe this, I have found never studied, much less read, the only Book that actually reveals who God is.

There are some who claim they have read the Bible, but also say it was for the purpose of finding errors in it. And there are others who have started out with that same purpose, and have come to believe the Bible is the perfect, inerrant Word of God. There are others who believe, but do not read the Bible. Often I have found that it is because they are just not readers. However they believe and are often eager to hear and know more about the Bible. Then there are others who were told about the wonderful love that God has for them. And because of His love, He sent his Son, to pay for the sin Adam did, and all the sins they have done. They believed what they heard, and then began reading about it, in the Bible.

Of course there our also those that I have met, that do not believe there is such a thing as sin, or say they have never sinned. To these people I only remind them of what the Apostle John wrote. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1John 1:8. With that said, I cannot stop there, but must tell you the next thing John said. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9

One does not have to read the Bible to be saved, it is Jesus Christ who saves. Yet by reading about this love that God shows to His creation, in Christ; gives the believing reader the opportunity, and ability to grow in that faith.

If one reads the Bible, one would find out that it is the devil that had the power of death. Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself (Christ) in like manner partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is the devil. And might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15.

It is Satan that hates what the Lord God created and has always wanted the human race dead. It is Adams original sin that caused a curse on the earth. It is because of that sin, we see disease, sickness, hate, and everything that lends itself to the destruction of human life. The good news is, Christ took the power of death from the devil, and offers life, health, and His love to all.

Now as for God being mean, demanding, unjust, angry, kills people, often good people, and even lets children starve. To those accusations, I say the law is demanding, we are unjust, and usually angry. People kill people, and it is people who cause children to starve.

God causes the crops to grow every year in most places around the world. The world grows more food for every man, woman, and child than we can eat. The world produces enough food to feed everyone. (www.worldhunger.org) The principle problem is that many people in the world still do not have sufficient income to purchase (or land to grow) enough food.(www.worldhunger.org)

Yet, the United States alone sends thousands and thousands of tons of free food to starving nations every year, yet the children continue starve. Those who receive and hand out that food though, seem never to starve. The leaders of those poor starving countries, never look like they are starving. Why is that? Have you ever asked yourself that question.

Let me finish with this; why do so many hate God and will not read the Bible? Well the Bible gives us the answer. For when they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God, nor were thankful, but became vain in there imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds and four footed beasts and creeping things. Romans 1

This same Bible tells us also how much God loves us, and His whole creation. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

 

 

 

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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

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about Christians. That is, I have not been thinking about those who by words, say they are Christians.  I have been thinking about those who have faith, in Jesus Christ. I have been thinking about those who by faith believe He was God in the flesh, and is God. By faith that He died and was raised again, and believe by faith, that in Him and Him only is salvation.

I began wondering how do these Christians understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

With that thought, I began to think about those early Galatian Christians, where legalist came into the Galatian church and began preaching that they needed the law to complete their faith in Christ for salvation. Because of that false teaching, Paul wrote a letter to them.

In that letter, he begins by telling them that Christ won the victory over the law, sin, and death.  “Paul and apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.” He then greets those Christians in the Galatian church, by writing, “Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Then not very far into his letter, He calls these legalist, teachers of the law, false apostles.

Grace remits sin, and peace quiets the conscience. Sin and conscience can torment us, but Christ has overcome these fiends now and forever. Grace involves the remission of sins, and peace, a happy conscience. Sin is not canceled by lawful living, for no person is able to live up to the law. The law reveals guilt, and fills us with despair. Grace and peace make a person strong, and courageous to bear and to overcome all difficulties, because we have the victory of Christ’s death and the assurance of the forgiveness of our sins.

Sin cannot harm those who believe in Christ, because He has overcome sin by His death. The genius of Christianity takes the words of Paul “who gave himself for our sins” as true and efficacious.

The false apostles objection to Paul’s Gospel is identical to that recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Acts to the effect that it was not enough for the Galatians to believe in Christ, or to be baptized. But that it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

I must say that every teacher of work-righteousness is a trouble maker. Paul continues in verse 7 to say that they pervert the Gospel of Christ, or in other words, “these false apostles do not merely trouble you, they abolish Christ’s Gospel.

Christ and the law cannot dwell side by side in the conscience. It is either grace or law. To muddle the two is to eliminate the Gospel of Christ entirely. To mix law and Gospel not only clouds the knowledge of grace, it cuts out Christ altogether.

The Bible clearly teaches that we are all naturally depraved. Let man’s free will, strength, wisdom, and righteousness be condemned. We attain grace by the free mercy of God alone for Christ’s sake.  I know this is a hard saying to hear, and brings disfavor to those who say it. But I am reminded of what a preacher, not so long ago said, “If you preach the Gospel of Grace, and no one condemns you, then you are not preaching the same Gospel of Grace that Paul preached.”

The truth of justification is fragile. Not that justification itself is fragile, for it is not. Ah, but our knowledge of it is. I know how quickly we can forfeit the joy of the Gospel in the midst of trouble. In those times of conflict, we should be consoling ourselves with the Gospel.

Knowing that the flesh resists the Spirit, or as Paul puts it, “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit.”  We by our own reasoning, say that to know Christ, and to believe in Him is no achievement of man, but the gift of God. This Gospel of Grace gives glory to God alone, and none to man. Never can too much glory, goodness, and mercy be ascribed unto God.

On the question of justification, one must remain solid, or else we lose the truth of the Gospel. It is a matter of life and death. It involves the death of the Son of God, who died for the sins of the world. If we surrender faith in Christ, as the only thing that can justify us, then the death and resurrection of Jesus are without meaning.

Some will tell me the Law is divine and holy, and to that I agree. So it is divine and holy, but it has no right to tell me that I must be justified by it. The Law has a right to tell me that I should love God, and my  neighbor. It has every right to tell me that I should live in chastity, temperance, patience and so on. But it has no right to tell me how I may be delivered from sin, death, and hell. It is the business of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to tell me that. We must listen to the Gospel, for it tells us not what we must do, but what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has done for us.

I conclude that the true Gospel is; we are justified by faith alone, without the deeds of the law.

My thanks to the Apostle Paul and Martin Luther.

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

February is almost over, time does not stand still for anyone. This month has been a very joyous one for my wife and me. We had visiting with us one of our daughters, her husband and their three children, our grandchildren.

We spend several days at the Magic Kingdom, and had a wonderful time. The weather was perfect, not to hot, with low humidity. We could not have asked for better weather, or better times. We were able to go on all the rides, and see all the other sites we wanted to see. We stayed there until 1:00 am and all of us had a great time. I have been a blessed man.

I have been feeling really good, just like I felt several years ago. I am finding that I do not lose my breath as quickly as before, I have not bruised for quite some time now, and I have no pain at all. My lympnodes have gone down a bit, and I have no pain in my spleen, even though the sonogram showed it was at 20 cm. I have not changed anything I had been doing, but something seems to have changed. My numbers had been falling rapidly for several months, and just when I thought I would have to start chemo, my numbers leveled out. My doctor, who was preparing me for FCR in January 2012, said lets stay on w&w.

I do not like to go to the doctor’s office, and I have not changed on that. However, I am looking forward to seeing my Oncologist in April, really believing that maybe my blood counts may be somewhat better than before. I have no way of telling, but feeling the way I do, I am hoping for the best. I know that with what I have, everything points that this may not be the case, but hope is a wonderful thing. It is  one of those things that God makes available to us.

Romans 5:1-5 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that,  but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Again I want to thank all of you who have been praying for me. I am so grateful that many of you think of me often.

Hezekiah’s Life Extended 2 Kings 20:1-6

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’”

Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. 6 And I will add to your days fifteen years.

In the following verses, Hezekiah asks for a sign, and is granted one. My wife did not ask for a sign, but I did get up and leave the hospital on the third day, after being told I would have to start chemotherapy immediately. It has been over a year now, and I am still on watch and wait, and in my fourth year of having SLL/CLL with a 17p deletion.

My wife found these verses the night I was told I had cancer, late stage cancer, and she has held fast to these verses, living with fear some days, but not doubting that Gods promise to Hezekiah is also a promise to me. She has been an anchor, for me, in a very serious storm.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much.

Here’s to another wonderful day, in this beautiful creation, that God made.

My Journey

I will be having a very busy week, Thursday I will be seeing my Oncologist, Friday the Urologist, and then on a date yet to be determined, I will be getting a camera up my butt. Not very excited about that one.

My nine-year old grandson called me the other day, after his mom told him that grandpa had to see the Urologist. He told her that he had to talk to his grandpa, right away, so he called me. He told me that it was not to bad seeing the Urologist, and it didn’t  hurt much when he checked you out. He told me he would be calling me again to remind me that everything would be okay. He is a pro when it comes to seeing doctors. He has had four operations on his back, due to spina bifada, and continues to have a smile that fills his whole face. If I can learn any lesson from him, it is that joy and happiness is not dependent on your current situation. For those who know him, he lights up a room with his cheerfulness.

I think I will talk about the spleen and how it works for us. You can think of the spleen as a blood filtering organ.  It is about the size of your clenched fist and located just a little lower than your rib cage, on the left side of your body.  Normally it’s not possible to feel your spleen by mere poking around, even if you are skinny.  But when it is enlarged (either due to CLL or some other illness such as an infection) a  trained doctor can feel the tip of the spleen just below the rib cage by physically touching that area. If your spleen can be felt by just touching, it is already enlarged beyond its normal size.  A CAT scan will reveal exactly how enlarged it is and whether it needs to be treated. I can easily feel mine, especially when I am laying on my back.

Most often you are not likely to feel any symptoms of spleen enlargement, at least during early stages of the process.  But as it grows larger it may press against your stomach and that may cause you to feel full – I am finding that I am not able to eat those large meals, that I used to eat. However, I had a very large meal at a restaurant yesterday afternoon, and immediately had some minor pain in my stomach.  I have read that patients with very large spleens sometimes walk funny, but that is not my case, I have walked funny all my life (lack of vitamin C I think). Seriously, I still walk the same, and have no back pain, so my spleen may not be in that very large category.

More important symptoms of an enlarged spleen are anemia and thrombocytopenia – low red blood cell counts (4.23-5.75 is good) and low platelet counts (160,000-410,000 is good), respectively, which in my case (as of 1/06/12 RBC 3.42 and Platelets 63,000) . These are the two symptoms that matter most to us as CLL patients and I will be focusing on them. As you would guess, side effect of low red blood cell counts is deep fatigue.  Red blood cells carry oxygen and with reduced oxygen carrying capacity fatigue follows soon after. So far I have been quite fortunate in this area, I do not get fatigued, but I do loose my breath quickly. Similarly, low platelet counts mean poorer blood clotting capability and you may find you are prone to bleed longer if you cut yourself accidentally. This is my big problem, example, four weeks ago, my nose started bleeding, and wouldn’t stop. After one and one half hour of bleeding, my wife had to take me to the VA Clinic. I have personally found that having low platelets is not a good thing.

Again, your spleen acts like a spongy filter for your blood. As blood circulates through your body, some of the cells (red blood cells, platelets) get worn down and damaged.  It is the spleen that removes these damaged cells from circulation. The spleen also acts as a storage location for extra red blood cells and platelets newly minted by your bone marrow.

Unlike red blood cells and platelets which are manufactured only in your bone marrow, lymphocytes can also multiply in the lymph nodes and the spleen.  In healthy individuals the spleen is important in putting out additional troops of lymphocytes  when an infection is detected (one of several types of white blood cells) (20-46 is good, mine being 55). Again I know it is high and not good, but I have been free, so far, of any illnesses or infection. I will say here, that my overall white blood cell count is on my side so far (4.0-10.6 is good, mine is 12.5). Now I know this is not a good reading either, but over the last six months it has been as high as 18.5.  Hence, your spleen is an important part of the first line of defense in fighting invading pathogens.  The spleen also serves to trap some bacteria.

An enlarged spleen affects many vital functions. For instance, as your spleen grows larger, like any clogged filter it starts to trap normal red blood cells as well as abnormal or damaged ones, reducing the number of healthy cells available for your bloodstream and it also traps platelets, my biggest problem. Eventually, excess blood cells and platelets trapped, further clog your spleen, interfering with normal functioning. It can even outgrow its own blood supply, which can damage or destroy sections of the organ.

As my spleen enlarges, because of my SLL/CLL, it poses a special problem. As the filtering capacity of my spleen gets compromised, perfectly good red blood cells and platelets get trapped in there and as seen above, and there is a drop in these blood cell counts every time I get a CBC blood test. Even if your bone marrow is doing its job and turning out the required number of red blood cells and platelets, and there is no trace of autoimmune disease, the fact that your spleen is trapping these good cells can play havoc with your blood counts. And as you know by now, it is not a good idea to live long without healthy red blood cell or platelet counts.

Equally serious is the risk of a ruptured spleen. Even in healthy people it is possible to get spleens damaged, especially in car crashes and contact sports like football. Rupture is a much more likely possibility when your spleen is enlarged. My doctor has told me that riding my motorcycle is not the safest way of travel, and my wife agrees. I know that, but I also know that leaving the house and walking may not be the safest mode of travel either, especially if a car runs over me. I realize this is not the greatest reasoning, but hey, what else do I have, I like to ride my motorcycle. I guess what I am saying here, is that I cannot be afraid to live my life, I do take precautions, just like everyone else, but I don’t know the future, so why fret over it.

It is important to understand the reason for the enlarged spleen, and I believe my Oncologist has, concerning mine,  and therefore target the treatment to correct the problem. If the cause for splenomegaly is an infection, then it is appropriate to treat the infection with antibiotics. But if the underlying problem is CLL, then it makes sense to treat the CLL itself with appropriate chemotherapy. In many cases treating the spleen may take center stage if it is causing sharp drop in red blood cell counts and platelets. This is the one factor that has placed me in Stage 4, and will require me to have chemotherapy more than any other thing.

  • If you have an enlarged spleen, it makes sense to avoid sports such as skiing, football and hockey, but not motorcycle riding.
  • If you have had a splenectomy, you might consider getting one of those medical bracelets that says so.
  • Last but not least, please remember that while a splenectomy is not something a healthy person would want to do just for fun, in many CLL patients suffering from fatigue, shortness of breath, as a result of dropping red blood cell counts, and excessive bleeding because of low platelets, getting rid of the diseased spleen will give you a new lease on life.  Making these tough calls is what often sets apart the survivors from the easy victims in this deadly serious CLL “game”.

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1-2

My Journey

Today is Jan. 18, 2012, it is sunny, and close to 80 degrees as I begin writing this blog. I have just returned from riding my motorcycle, which I enjoyed immensely. I had the new stator put in, (not cheap), but the bike is running great. My wife helped me wash the bike two days ago, so the chrome is really shining. I was visiting one of my biker friends the other day, who was working on his classic Harley when I got there. It’s a nice bike, and being old, he has been rebuilding the bike, starting with the entire engine, right up to a new seat, actually same seat, just newly padded and recovered,  and cargo trunk. He rides it, but upgrades it every chance he gets. He has another Harley there also, this one is a 1200 Sportster, that has been modified to look and travel like a larger cruiser. As most of you know, I ride a 1500 Boulevard, fully dressed, and it is sweet on the highway. About three years ago, two of us took a 3000 mile trip, on our bikes, and it is really the way to see the country. My son once rode his motorcycle from Colorado to Florida, alone. I was going up north last year on my bike alone, but only got about 300 miles from home. Thinking something was wrong with my bike, I decided to turn around, as I did not want to breakdown in the middle of nowhere. It turned out to be physological, not mechanical, so I have to give my son a lot of credit, you certainly feel safer when you have someone else riding with you.

Some of the family will be visiting soon, so my wife and I are really excited about seeing them. I really love it when the family comes here for a vacation, there is so much to do, I wish that they could stay for several months at a time. We are hoping to do lots of things while they are here, like the beach, parks, golf, deep-sea fishing, but I don’t think there will be time for that. One week goes by very fast, and as you get older, those weeks seem to go faster and faster.

I was reading this article earlier this morning, and thought it may be of interest to some.

  • Are you a CLL / SLL patient that has not yet received any therapy?
  • Perhaps you do not even have CLL / SLL (yet), but you have the tell-tale signs of MBL we just discussed in the last Updates article?
  • Do you want to get state of the art monitoring for this confusing and still incurable cancer?  And I mean really cutting edge stuff, some of these tests are not yet available from commercial labs.
  • Do you want to get full slate of prognostic testing done, including bone marrow biopsies etc, with zero hassle?
  • Do you want to have access to gold standard therapy options down the road when and if it is time to treat? Up to and including stem cell clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute, if that is what your clinical situation indicates?
  • Do you worry about the ever-increasing co-pay components of your health insurance?
  • Do you even have health insurance?
  • Are you worried about losing your health insurance if you get laid off in this miserable economy?
  • Last but not least, do you still have enough idealism left in you that you want to do what you can to help the CLL patient community?

If some or all of the above bullet points describe your situation, then see this link for more information – http://updates.clltopics.org/544-a-clinical-trial-perfect-for-our-times

I am a very fortunate person with SLL/CLL, I am a Vietnam Veteran, so my costs are fairly low, in comparison to so many others that have to pay for their tests, hospital visits, medicines, chemotherapy and more. I have to admit, when I volunteered to go into the United States Air Force at age 19, I had no idea that in the future, I would have so many experts in the field of cancer, available to me, at a cost that is very affordable.  I know that we were not welcomed home at the time, but wow, now I am very thankful I joined. Of course like so many of us back in the early 60’s, we believed we were blessed for being born in a country like ours, and as I got older, I have realized that belief was correct. I owed my allegiance to this country, and wanted to serve this nation. By doing so, I grew out of my childish ways and became a man, who realized there was more to life than just playing.

That last statement reminds me of a verse in the Bible – When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. I have learned to read the Bible using the principles of interpretation in 2 Corinthians 4:2 Paul speaking: “Instead, we have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God’s message, but commending ourselves to every person’s conscience in God’s sight by an open display of the truth.” Also Proverbs 8:8-9. God speaking here:  “All the words of my mouth are righteous; none of them are deceptive or perverse. All of them are clear to the perceptive, and right to those who discover knowledge.”

In other words, we are to read and understand the Bible in a plain or straightforward manner. This is usually what people mean when they say “literal interpretation of the Bible” Reading the Bible “plainly” means understanding that literal history is literal history, metaphors are metaphors, poetry is poetry, etc. The Bible is written in many different literary styles and should be read accordingly. This is why I understand that Genesis records are actual historical events. It was written as a historical narrative.

I had someone tell me, “to interpret the days in Genesis, you need to read 2 Peter 3:8, which indicates the days are each a thousand years.” This is what 2 Peter 3:8-9 says: Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

This passage employs a literary device called a simile (a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared.) Here, God compares a day to a thousand years in order to make the point that time doesn’t bind Him, in this case regarding His patience. God is not limited to the time He created—that would be illogical.

Enough for today, I am awaiting my beautiful wife to get home. So to all of you, may this day bring peace, joy and good health.

My Journey

      This morning I would like to thank all of you who read my blog. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy lives to share a moment with me. I do enjoy writing down my thoughts, joys, fears, hopes, and faith for you to read. It helps me greatly, knowing that others have an interest in what I write.
      My posting today, is directed more to those who are battling the same cancer I am, so it may not be of interest to everyone who may read my blog. However I hope that it will make you aware of what some go through to be able to live a quality life. Many of us go to get our blood drawn every month, and if fortunate, every three months. For me, I really don’t like going to the third floor of the hospital after my blood is drawn. The third floor is where I come face to face with my lymphoma/leukemia cancer. While I am waiting to see my Oncologist, I look in the room I am facing, and see many sitting in chairs, reading, listening to music, or news on their iPhones, all of them have a needle stuck in their arms, receiving chemotherapy. For the fortunate, they will leave feeling okay, but most, will be weak, tired, and unsure of their future. I have not experienced any of that yet, as I have been trying to postpone any chemotherapy that I may have to have. I know it is coming, but I do not welcome that day. I know of it benefits, but am sad that I or anyone else has to have it.
     Many ask, and have asked me, why. Why is there so much sickness, pain, sadness, disease, happening. Why couldn’t God just make everything right. My answer has been, He has, look at Jesus Christ and you will know that. Of course I explain my answer in more detail, but for now, it is suffice to just say Jesus Christ. I have come to learn that believing in Jesus is having faith. I have also found out that evidence (knowledge) points to Jesus, which always increases my faith. Knowledge is true justified belief, and belief must be true in order for it to be considered genuine knowledge. However just because a belief may be true, it does not mean that a person really has knowledge of it. My neighbor said that she just knows it will be beautiful next Sunday. Does she really know this? No, she may believe it, but there is no guarantee that her belief is true. What if it turns out that it is sunny next Sunday, and she says, I knew it would be sunny today. Did she really know, I don’t think so, so even though her belief turned out to be true. She had no knowledge of the future, therefore no good reason for her belief. Unfortunately many today, say they believe in something or someone, without real knowledge of their belief. Even the non-believer believes in not believing, and is also required to exhibit knowledge for that belief. I believe in Jesus Christ because I have a reason for my belief, which is based on genuine knowledge, which in turn increases my faith.
      I am posting information for a new trail that may begin soon. This new trial is for anyone who has exhausted all other treatments for SLL/CLL, as well as those who have not had treatment yet. I have posted only a short description of the trial, however if you are looking for a trial, or if you know someone who is looking to go into a trail, please let them know about this new trial. You can find this at http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01500733?term=cll+nih+pci-32765&rank=1  It is not yet open for recruitment, but may open this year (2012).
I am not at that point yet, so my doctor says, but I do ask him about the trials I learn about. At some point he may say yes, and refer me into a trail, but not until it is required.
PCI-32765 for Special Cases of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma
      This study is not yet open for participant recruitment.
Verified on October 2011 by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
    First Received on December 22, 2011.            Last Updated on December 29, 2011
Sponsor: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Information provided by: National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01500733

Purpose

Background: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL) are types of blood or lymph node cancers that mostly affect the elderly. CLL/SLL both create abnormal white blood cells that hurt the immune system and make it more difficult to fight infections. These cancers are usually diagnosed after age 50; more than half of the people with CLL/SLL are over age 70. Elderly people often do not respond well to standard chemotherapy for CLL/SLL. They may have other health problems that make chemotherapy difficult. In addition, individuals who have a genetic abnormality called 17p deletion also do not respond well to standard treatments for CLL/SLL. Researchers want to test a new cancer treatment drug, PCI-32765, to see if it can treat CLL/SLL in these hard-to-treat groups.

Objectives: To see if PCI-32765 is a safe and effective treatment for CLL/SLL in older people and people with 17p deletion.

Eligibility: Individuals over 65 years of age who have CLL/SLL. Individuals at least 18 years of age who have CLL/SLL and 17p deletion.

Design: Participants will be screened with a medical history, physical exam, and imaging studies. Blood and urine samples will be taken. Optional bone marrow and lymph node biopsies may also be taken.

  • Participants will take PCI-32765 capsules every day for 28 days (one cycle of treatment). Treatment will be monitored with frequent blood tests and clinic visits.
  • PCI-32765 will be given for six cycles of treatment. Those who benefit from the drug will continue to take it as long as there are no side effects and the disease does not progress. Those who do not benefit will stop treatment and have regular followup exams.

There are many trials recruiting, and here is a link to them: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=chronic+lymphocytic+leukemia&recr=Open

I hope that this will be of some help to others, please, please, if you know someone who has SLL/CLL let them know about these trials.

My Journey

Hello to all on this beautiful January 4th day. It was quite cold last night, and I believe the temps went down to 29 degrees. I covered my tomatoes, so they look ok, but I will be covering them again tonight, just to be safe.

I cut my arm on my golf bag the other day, and after keeping it clean, ozonal ointment, and covered, it is getting red and sore. I am hoping that it will heal soon, but will show it to my doctor on the 13th. I will be getting blood tests this week, with a follow-up the following week, then have to get blood tests again later this month, before seeing the Oncologist. I am hoping for the best, but being a realist, I will take what ever the results are, why, I have no choice.

I have been eating real well, juicing, eating raw vegetables, with fish or chicken. Can’t do much more, but to try to stay as healthy as possible. Need to exercise more, but finding it hard to, as I have always been a person that likes to accomplish something when I am moving. Walking is not my idea of  getting something done.

Question: Why is it so important for Christians to attach our faith so securely to biblical authority? We cannot deny the omnipotent work of the Holy Spirit in opening our hearts to the very essence of His truth. But we also cannot deny that many aspects of the gospel challenge our mortal minds. Yet these very elements are the essential components of the message.

Let me list just a few.

  • God became human.
  • He was born of a virgin.
  • God placed Himself under the condemnation of a criminal’s death.
  • He rose from the dead.
  • All humanity is essentially evil because of sin.
  • We all face judgment because of sin.
  • To accept Christ we must deny ourselves to follow Him.
  • No matter what we want to think or believe, there is only one narrow way of salvation.

If you are ever going to share this message, you’d better have it on very good authority. If someone asked you today why they should believe such a message, what would you say?

Simply to say that you have “experienced Christ” is subjective and does not answer the question for anyone but yourself. Who is to say your experience is genuine? The gospel surely has to be linked to a source of ultimate authority and objective truth. Will scientific evidence by itself settle the debate that the Bible is correct? I doubt it, even though the more that is found, the more everything points to God and creation. However everyone has presuppositions, and different world views. In other words evolutionist, atheists, old age theists, have different ultimate standards by which all evidence is interpreted. We can look at the same evidence, and depending upon our world view, come up with different conclusions.

However, when I look at morality, without the God of the Bible, there is no logical reason to believe in any sort of moral imperative. Some will say that people create their own moral code apart from God. However this is silly reasoning, because if everyone can create their own morality, then no one could argue that what other people do is actually wrong. So if someones moral code is to harm others, then who can say they are wrong. Some may say that morality is what the majority decides it to be. Don’t think so, remember Hitler. And one other I can think of is, morality is just relative. Some have told me, there is no such thing as absolute morality, therefore you should not try to enforce your personal moral code on other people. Wait a minute, when I am told that “I should not”, then they are doing just what they told me not to do.

There our other things that show me the Bible is true, and to be believed. I may talk about them in other posts, but for today, I think I have exhaled enough on those who tell me not to use the Bible in todays debates or conversations. I can only use that which I believe to be true, others may use what they believe to be true. I chose believing the God of the Bible, others may choose what others, others like you and me who are finite, write or say.

I have not said anything about SLL/CLL, or any other cancer today, but will be updating important articles that I my be told by my doctors, or what I read.

My Journey

After reading my last blog, I think I may have been a bit down, when I started writing it. I am happy that it got more positive as it went on, but wow, sometimes you’re in the dumps, and just don’t realize it.

It’s another new day though, and I find my spirit is joyful, and happy. So I would like to talk a bit about Christmas. When I was a small boy, every Christmas, my father would decorate the inside and outside of our house. It was a joyous time, exciting, fun, and eventually the morning I was waiting for would arrive. I was never privy to the presents under the tree, until Christmas morning, as my parents would place all gifts under and around the tree on Christmas Eve.

After I would go to bed I would lay awake, hoping to hear the sleigh and reindeer on the roof, and one Christmas eve, I think I did, well when you are five years old, you do. My bedroom was on the top floor of our three-story home, and I was just under the roof where Santa would land, and then down the chimney he would come. I never did hear him come down the chimney, as I must have fallen asleep. But for sure he did come down that chimney, because when I got up in the morning, there were presents galore. All wonderful presents that a five-year old boy would enjoy. I can’t remember any of them now, but I am sure they were just right that morning. My whole family, which was made up of two older brothers, one older sister, and my mom and dad, would sit around the tree, and open all the gifts that has been left there by that guy in the red suit. We would have oranges, apples, bananas, and other fruit in our stockings, but the main treat was always under that beautiful real, decorated, wonderful smelling pine tree.

As I got older, I began to realize what Christmas was really about, a gift yes, a gift that was given to the whole world, by the one who created the whole world. You can read what that gift was and still is, in Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Micah 5:2: But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Hosea 11:1: When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Psalm 72:17: May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.

Of course there are many more references to who that gift is, I just wanted to mention a few. If you find that you may want to know more about this gift, please let me know, as this gift is available to everyone, all colors, all shapes, all ages, all incomes, all nationalities, all who seek to know him.

To my many partners sharing the same battle I am, I would encourage you, to look into this gift. It is free, you do not have to work to get it, nor do you have to pay anyone for it. This gift I am telling you about may not cure your SLL/CLL, or any other illness, while you live in this current body, but you can be sure that this gift will cure you when you leave this body, and that cure will be everlasting.

So to all out there in cyber-land, Merry Christmas to you all, and thank him, who was and is the Word, was and is with God, and was and is God. And thank him that became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1, 14. Yes that is correct, I am talking about Jesus Christ, the gift, given to us, who was born in Bethlehem just over 2000 years ago.