Sunday, December 22, 2013

Back in the Saddle

I have just completed my first 2 weeks of teaching and am now on Christmas break. I was quite nervous the first day because of many factors. I was a brand new face to the freshman and new students. I also didn't know whether to give my first day talk or to jump in and continue preparations for the impending performances. My principal, Linn Exline, wisely advised me to lay the groundwork so I mostly talked to my classes on the first day. Another interesting twist is that the students knew the songs better than I. There were a variety of interesting cues and tentative singing until we got acquainted with each other and I became acquainted with the music. I had 7 school days before the Winter Concert not to mention New Dawn performances and the start of musical rehearsals (musical = on average an extra 18-20 hours of work/week outside the classroom). I really hit the ground at a dead sprint compared to relative inactivity in the months preceding my return. The concert went exceptionally well thanks to the preparation done by my long term sub John Luce. John was an incredible blessing in that he taught many years of music before changing vocations and entering the ministry. During my treatment and recovery I was free from having to do lesson plans or worry how the classes were functioning because I knew that John was there and was skilled in vocal music instruction. John even cleared his schedule for the month of December just in case I started teaching and ran out of gas so that he could come and relieve me if needed. And as if he hadn't done enough, he came and assisted me in the final rehearsal and took attendance at the concert. Thank you John! The classes went very well. I realize that I am in that "honeymoon" season similar to the beginning of the year when students don't show their true selves but all in all I am enjoying a great start. On another note, we have had a wonderful winter storm and feel confident that we will have a white Christmas.

In our back yard is a bird bath that serves also as a snow gauge because it is level and and flat. The Creer's unofficial count was 11 inches. We are looking forward to sledding and tobogganing (we own a 6 footer) on Monday.

I feel nearly 100%. I plan on shoveling, sledding, working at school, visiting, eating etc. in the days to come. Thanks for praying. God is good.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Very Good Partial Remission (VGPR). My cancer is in remission! VGPR is the type of remission. I am constantly learning things. To give you perspective, the doctor pointed to just one number this time and he called it the "mother-lode" of indicators. This indicator started out at around 33,000 when I was first diagnosed (check here). It should normally be no higher than 2. Today it registered at 3.04! The doctor said that I am a "hair away" from complete remission. Now I am  into a maintenance routine. The doctors told me from the beginning that a bone marrow transplant (BMT) is not a cure for myeloma but a treatment. I knew that maintenance was coming if the BMT was successful (which it was in a big way). My cancer is now classified as a chronic disease similar to diabetes. It will not do any damage as long as I am faithful to the routine that is prescribed and as long as it doesn't awake from remission. We are praising God for the results and also for the clearance to resume a somewhat normal schedule. I am returning to work and I have no dietary restrictions. I still have to protect myself from diseases and infections so I won't hug you if you are sick. Thank you for praying.

P.S. I will be getting bi-weekly test for awhile to keep an eye on things so there will still be occasional updates ahead as well as the 180 day check up (mid March) which will be as comprehensive as today's.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Day 100

Some of you have mentioned that you haven't checked my blog in a while and I confessed that I haven't blogged for a while. Today being a milestone of sorts I decided to update today. Ordinarily I would be getting a check up today but the clinic isn't open on Sundays. The closest they could schedule me was this Friday so my 100 day check will be on day 105. I have had a few labs along the way and I am progressing quite nicely. My energy feels near normal and my appetite continue to improve. The 100 day check is the most comprehensive of the latest ones. Up until now the tests where making sure that I was recovering from the trauma in good fashion. This time the tests will determine if the cancer is in remission or not. I am pretty hopeful because of the way I feel. I am also hopeful that my immune system is in good enough shape so that I can return to teaching. The Winter Concert, which is next, is my favorite concert of the year. I have also experienced the return of a hairline. (Click here to see a contrast from earlier "hairless" days)

This  past week we travelled to Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with Velda's family. The nearly eight hour drive Wednesday left a little to be desired as far as excitement.

When we arrived in Dallas we went straight to the American Airlines arena to watch the Dallas Mavericks defeat the Golden State Warriors 103-99. For you non-sports fans, it was a professional basketball game (i.e. NBA). We had purchased nosebleed seats but Velda's sister, Sherri, arranged for us to have "party suite" seats through a friend who worked at the arena.

After a fabulous meal hosted by Sherri with additions from Mrs. Crawford, Velda's mom, we visited the holocaust museum of Dallas on Friday. Sherri is pictured in blue below next to Michaela. Joshua is facing away in a green shirts that says "Grrrrrroundhog!" Salina South Musical Theatre alumni will understand the significance of the shirt.

You should hear from me in about a week. Thank you for praying. We plan on praising God no matter what the doctor says and are quite hopeful that the news will be outstanding.