a new game plan

Monday and Tuesday I finished my last (hopefully ever) regular chemo treatment!! Now that is worth celebrating!! (everyone stop right now and do your version of a happy-dance!!!)

I made it through without getting sick and although I don’t know what the rest of this week will bring, right now I’m feeling good. Praise God! Thank you so much for your prayers.

On February 20 I go back to have my blood checked and heard from my oncology nurses that we’ll have a celebration then of finishing this last round of chemo and to even celebrate the upcoming bone marrow transplant. That God-willing this will be the last big hurdle resulting in a long-term remission. I’ll try to get some pics and maybe even video so you can be a part of celebrating too!

Yes, I’m taking steps toward a bone marrow transplant. The goal with the treatment I just finished was to get me into remission (as healthy and cancer-free as possible) and then figure out what the next steps of treatment will be. The goal of that was definitely met in December with the news of a clear scan. But I continued to get these chemo treatments to kill any remaining and minuscule cancer cells.

With the type of cancer I’ve had, Follicular Lymphoma, it has been explained to me that this non-Hodgkins type of lymphoma is very treatable, but not curable. I never know what God is up to in my body and what He desires to do through this. Only He has the Master plan in all of that. With this type of cancer it is more common to occur in people over the age of 65, and for the remission length of time to last even 5 to 10 years. However in my case my remission following the first round of treatment only lasted about 2 years.

Because of my case the next step in my treatment will be a bone marrow transplant. They now call these stem cell transplants because of the way they can take out the cells. Technology has changed the technique. The reason why this is the right timing for such an intense next step is because with this procedure it’s possible I could get closer to a cure and a long-term remission. If I were to wait and see how long my remission would last after the current chemo regimen I just finished, it could be possible that the lymphoma would come back in a different form, a form that may not be as treatable as it has been.

On February 28 I meet with the transplant team at the University of Kentucky which is where I would have the transplant, about 1.5 hours from my parents’ house. This is to give me more information and to begin to decide which type of transplant I will have, one where they use my own cells or where they use cells from a matching donor (such as my brother). I’m taking my brother along with me so they can test him and see if he would even be a possible match. Once the transplant begins I’m looking at 4-6 weeks in the hospital and approximately 3-6 months of recovery. It will take my immune system about a year to fully recover. And probably a year before any of my doctors will let me back on a plane to take an international flight.

needed next steps
As I’ve prayed, thought about and discussed the road ahead, I believe it to be the best decision for me to pack up my things in Austria and come back to the States. This has not been an easy decision and my heart is torn, and yet at peace with what these next steps need to be. I have no idea what God is up to and honestly am not even sure what this new game plan and adventure will look like. I have to trust Him, even when my emotions are everywhere but wanting to trust Him.

In all of this sad news I do have some good news! I have been cleared by my oncologist to go back to Austria to pack and to visit so many precious people in Vienna before my transplant takes place. This will take place from March 10-April 10. I know this will not be a light-hearted trip, but am so thankful for the opportunity. I pray that this trip will only glorify God more and that we can continue to celebrate how He is moving in this country. I know somehow Austria will always be in my heart and am curious to see how God will use my time there and this desire in the future even if it is simply through prayer.

how you can join me?
You may have a ton of questions and for those who are supporting me, I’ll be sending out a hard-copy newsletter to my mailing list with more details of what this next season will look like and the months to come and what your next steps might be. If you aren’t on my mailing list and would like to receive this newsletter please let me know.

Would you join me in prayer? Please pray for the meeting with the transplant team on February 28. Pray that God will guide me to the questions I need to ask. Pray for safety in traveling to and from Lexington. Pray for wisdom in knowing which type of transplant to have and if I need a donor for the right match. Pray that the time with this transplant team will be beneficial and to have continued peace if again this is where God wants me to be in the months to come.

Pray for the timing of pre-transplant tests, a probable bone-marrow biopsy and whatever is needed to get my body ready for the next big Pac-Man game.

Pray over the insurance process, getting pre-certified and approved for the transplant, these tests and the coverage I will need through the process.

Once I have more set dates as far as when these transplant tests and the actual transplant will take place I will let you know! 

Pray for safety as I travel to and from Vienna and for God to cover this time with His fingerprints. What conversations need to happen? What does He desire for this time to look like? And pray for the practical details of “stuff” – packing, loading, selling. Pray for favor with my landlord and that the many details that need to come together and happen will also be covered in God’s fingerprints.

hope in Christ!
Thank you for joining me in prayer! There are definitely many thoughts and emotions through all of this. You know this part of the journey for me has been tough and at times exhausting. But as I type this post, I’m at a place right now where God is filling me so full of His Hope. It’s not about wishful or positive thinking. This is hope beyond whatever circumstances might bring and hope so filling because in Christ I have everything I could ever need. 

Philippians 4:19 – And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Romans 15:13 – I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

John 3:16 – For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son (Jesus Christ), so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

I hope you know this hope in Christ too. If not, I’d love to share more. Just send me an e-mail: krishy79 (at) gmail.com

I can’t say thank you enough. Thank you for journeying with me, even when we both have no idea what the road in front of us will look like. You are dear to my heart and am so blessed by your encouragement in the uphill climb. 

May we press on together. Get ready for some more Pac-Man-ing. I think we’ll call the transplant Pac-Man: The Winner’s Round! Chomp, chomp! 🙂

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