Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Effect of Worrying

I ran four miles yesterday afternoon at Radnor Lake with Pepper. We had a nice, easy run, on which Pepper attempted to sniff every dog, person and thing along the way. I saw my friend, Ann DeNunzio, running with three of her bicycling girls and their dog. All of them were smiling, exactly what you're supposed to do among nature's beauty.

Dori hasn't been feeling herself the last three days. Her temperature has varied between 98.1 and 99.6. Lo and behold, she gets her test results today and her cyclosporine levels are at 700 ml; the acceptable high is 300 ml. Imagine drinking 10 cups of coffee in the morning ... that's how Dori has felt this week ... jittery as a jumping bean. It affects you.

We've been waiting patiently for the other test results from the biopsy (% genetic abnormalities and % donor DNA) since getting the good news last week Dori is negative for leukemia. They finally came yesterday - Dori has no genetic abnormalities and donor DNA is 99%. Her donor DNA was 100% after 30 days or so, so the 1% drop concerned Dori. She was told 3% or more variance on donor DNA is where the yellow light goes off, so all is cool. Dori settled in to being OK with this, especially after getting a confirmation e-mail from Dr. Greer.

Dori has been very strong through this whole ordeal. One thing where she and I are different is the worrying part. I'm not a worrier, while she can be. I'm not in her shoes, but if I were, maybe I would worry from time to time. My view has always been: Trust the doctors and staff and do everything you've been told to do (Dori is very good at both), and then put the rest in the Lord's hands. Dori does this more than she ever did in the past, which is a huge credit to her. She has grown spiritually, and her faith and love in God and her fellow man have only grown. There are still times where this up-and-down battle can be very hard for her, which I completely understand.

Whenever "the worry ogre" creeps in my mind, I tell it where it can go. Straight to hell. It's like cancer wants to tell you it's in charge, and I will never let that happen. Our souls, not just our bodies, are at stake. Can you tell I don't like what worrying does to my girl, my children and other people I love? There's a lot of scripture that we've read and been given that addresses anxiety and fear. It's good stuff.

Dori and I believe, even recognize, we're in a new phase with this disease. She's gone from daily clinic visits to every other day to three times a week to twice a week to weekly. Soon, her visits will be every other week and then monthly. Through this progress are little peaks and valleys. The last few days have felt like a little valley. This, too, shall pass.

It's dinner time. Yesterday, I made a big batch of blackened shrimp and grits, South Carolina style, that is killer. Onion, cream, pepper and sharp cheddar ... with hot sauce ... yowser!

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