Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Just about two weeks ago I began to experience some pain in my right shoulder, in just about the same spot as one of the tumors had been. I wasn’t sure what to think, I thought it was probably nothing, but, I didn’t want to be wrong. I had an appointment to see my oncologist in late January, but I began to think I shouldn’t wait that long. I called the oncologist’s office and apparently they didn’t think I should wait either. I went in on Dec. 22 for blood tests and had to wait until today to get the results. Everything is fine. All of my blood work was in the normal range. The proteins that are markers for this cancer were either normal or below normal. Once again I felt that great sense of relief, even though I wasn’t really worried…alright I was worried. It scared the pants off me. I didn’t want to believe I had gone through all of the chemo and the transplant just to have it fail so soon. I was getting myself ready mentally for bad news. I was preparing to fight again, but thanks be to God I don’t have to. Indeed, I don’t have to go back to the doctor until May. I understand the nature of this disease, I know that eventually the news will be bad. But God willing that can wait 20 or 30 years. I am just grateful for this day. I truly believe this, I woke up today and I am breathing. The rest is God’s grace.
Deacon John
Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Dec. 30, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

One Year

One year. Yesterday, Dec. 7, marks one year. Dec. 7, 2007, that was the day I was first diagnosed with cancer. The doctor did not have yet the specific form of cancer, tests were still being done. I really believe she only told me because I made her. I think I forced her hand by telling her I was going out of town for a week, and really needed to know something. So she told me. Those of you who have experienced this understand what I mean when I say time stopped, and suddenly the entire world changed. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could ever be the same again. Everything is experienced through the filter of this disease. Even now, one year later, after all that has happened in this year, even though I received an autologous stem cell transplant that has pushed this cancer into remission, everything is seen through the filter of cancer. I am not the person I was one year ago. Yes, I would have, hopefully, changed during this past year even without a cancer diagnosis. But how I changed, who I have become in this past year, is because of Multiple Myeloma. I am not the person I was, nor am I the person I would have been. I am who I am today because of the experiences of this year. Who is that person? I’m not always sure, but I did find out one thing. The person I have become is stronger than I thought, a survivor. I do know that this strength did not come just from within me, but from God. Strength was found in faith and in the love, prayer, and support of family, friends, and people I do not even know. My wife and I spent this past weekend at St. Meinrad Archabbey (one of my favorite places in the world) with dear and close friends, people I love more than I can say. We celebrated remission, we celebrated each other, we celebrated our friendship and love. I celebrate that thanks to their love, support and prayers, thanks to the love of my family, my sisters, my brother, their families, my mother’s prayers, and the prayers of countless others, I can today, one year later stand and say I am a survivor.

Deacon John
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Dec. 8, 2008