Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cheryl Poem by Bev Pomering

The following is a poem that Bev Pomering wrote and framed honoring Cheryl.


A portrayal of God’s daughter.

Courageous only begins to describe the strength shown throughout her life journey.

A Hero not only to her children but to friends, family
and those she’s never met.

Cheryl could
send an Encouraging word by just speaking from her heart. These words, given to her by God to share with
those in need of hearing them.

To live a Righteous life for Christ was her goal. An
illustration of how following the path that God sets
before you is blessed beyond our own understanding.

She Yearned to bring glory to God
from her time here on earth by following that righteous
path sharing her faith and preserving through trials.
That just leaves one last adjective to describe
this Sister in Christ,

“And the greatest of these is LOVE.”

Written on the back of the frame.

To the Cummins Family,

My deepest sympathies to all of you. Cheryl touched my life deeply. Her strength was an inspiration! And still is. God blessed many lives through her.

I wanted you to know that her legacy lives on beyond your family tree. Her branches reached to the sky! I pray God continues to bless you all.

Thank you for allowing us to be blessed by you. I am humbled at your example of living by Faith.

Your Sister in Christ

Bev Pomering

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cheryl's impact


On July 25th, my son Sam (age 7) accepted Jesus as his Savior!

Sarah was riding the van with the kids and taking them to VBS. She saw that Sam looked troubled and she asked him what was going on. He started to cry and said he was worried that he would not go to heaven. We had some discussions prior/post Cheryl's funeral and I had told the kids that Cheryl is in heaven with Jesus.

So Sarah walked him through it and he accepted Jesus.

I just wanted to let you know that Cheryl is still impacting lives.

In Christ, Dean

Friday, July 20, 2007

Memories and Sentiments

This post is an assortment of the Memories and Sentiments shared by people whose lives Cheryl touched. These were written on cards sent to the family and on 'Memory Cards' provided at Cheryls funneral.

I encourage anyone who knew Cheryl to please share a special memory of her that they may have. You can do that by clicking on the "Comments" link at the bottom of this post. We would all love to hear how she touched your life. The more we hear, the more we know that she is not gone. She lives on in so many people.

So, please do us the favor of sharing. Even if you never met Cheryl, let us know what her story has meant to you.

Dear Gene, Emily, and Michael,
As you know, my ministry to your mother and wife was one of writing to her and sharing some of my life experiences with her. Jean and I also prayed for her multiple times daily. Old habits are hard to break and we have now shifted the focus of our prayers to you and the tremendous loss you must now feel as you begin to realize all the things a mom does that pass unnoticed until suddenly, she's no longer there to do all those things. We can't begin to imagine the adjustments required of you and are praying that you will be able to make the transition, pick up the pieces, and press on with the lives Cheryl would have wanted you to have.
Her conduct throughout this experience was exemplary in every way. And, as you might expect, she touched many lives in a very positive manner. The many posts to this web site are but a small fraction of the larger picture.
I have one last bit of irony to add to this picture. On Father's Day, our daughter, Sharon, blessed me with the gift of a book titled, "90 Minutes in Heaven." It was written by a Pastor named Don Piper who actually went through the experiences portrayed in the book. As I read this fascinating and amazing book, I began highlighting passages that I felt would have meaning for Cheryl. The next Sunday after I finished the book, I explained to Jean, my wife, that I was going to take the book to church and give it to Cheryl. Jean expressed reservations that this might not be the sort of book one would give to a person who might be in the process of dying. But, knowing how strong Cheryl was, we decided to give her the book.
As we were walking through the parking lot into the church, we came upon our daughter Sharon, the one who had given me the book. She asked why I was bringing the book to church. I replied that I had marked several passages I felt would have special meaning for Cheryl and was going to give her this copy. Sharon's response was, "Dad, it was Cheryl's idea for me to give you the book for Father's Day!"
We miss Cheryl so much but take comfort in knowing that she is basking in the presence of our Lord and Savior and will suffer no more. And, how many people do you know who have their very own "Guardian Angel" with such a vested interest in your family?
Love in Christ, Don and Jean Christman

Dear Emily, Michael & Gene,
Your mom (wife) is a wonderful individual and I enjoyed the time I spent working with her on Kodiak Flapjack. I truly loved your mom's (wife's) dedication, honesty, helpfulness, straight forwardness and sense of humor. Being separated from her will be very difficult as I have learned from losing Andy.* Something that has helped me is a statement our pastor said one morning that I ended up writing in my Bible.
    "God is really more interested in helping us to trust Him than to work according to our own timetable. If you fill your mind with the truth of God, He fills your sorrow."

Psalm 50:14-15 also helps. ...Praying for you as God brings you to my heart.

Mrs. Englert

*Andy Patton - Marine - Killed in Action 12/01/05 - He was my oldest son's best friend & my unofficial son whom I miss daily.

Dear Gene, Michael, & Emily,
Thank you for sharing your experience as a family with us these past two years. Although we were not able to meet Cheryl, the emails & calls detailing her love of Christ through all circumstances, her devotion to her family, & her devotion to God's will, have been a catalyst in stregthening our faith and desire to serve God.
There are numerous Biblical verses that would be familiar to you; this one stood out to us as we celebrated Cheryl's earthly and eternal life:
    "And He said to them, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and at the age to come, eternal life."
    Luke 18:29-30

Love in Christ,
Herman, June, Simon & Jude Restrepo

I have many fond memories of Cheryl and I working in the costume shop and back stage. I will always remember Cheryl for her strength and determination and for her wit. She kept me smiling.

Julie Siger

Dear Gene, Emily, & Michael,
We are so very sorry about Cheryl's death. When we grieve, our grief is not one of despair but of hope; because we know Cheryl is praising and worshiping God.
We were especially touched by the card Cheryl sent us after the death of our daughter Emily last July. We were touched because while she was going through her battle with cancer she took the time to offer us comfort and support after our loss.
Her witness and demonstration of her faithfulness have impacted us as they have for so many people. When we think of the Lord saying to us when we meet Him face to face "Well done good and faithful servant" there's no doubt in our minds the Lord when he greeted Cheryl told her "Well done good and faithful servant."
We continue to keep you in our prayers. We pray for comfort, strength, and peace that only God can give.

Love in Christ,
Lowell and Kim Ingram

When God sends forth a tiny soul
To learn the way of Earth
There waits for her a Mother's love,
We call this wonder - Birth.

When God calls home a tired soul,
and stills a quavering breath
A Father's love is waiting there,
this too is Birth, not death

We will miss Cheryl greatly but the things she taught us through her strength courage and committment will always influence the way we remember her!
We will continue to pray as you walk this new path - God will NEVER leave you just as he He promised!

Caitlyn & Steve Scherrer

I came to know Cheryl through my granddaughter. Oh how she loves Cheryl. I love that they emailed one another & had family play days. I told Cheryl in one of our last conversations how proud of her I am. Her faith & courage never waivered. Her love for family & others was so evident. I was a prayer warrior for her & you all. Paying for total healing & now she is. How fitting is it that her home going was during our bible school she loved so much surrounded by western theme. I love her & will see her one day. For I will miss & remember her. God bless all of you.

Darene Burress

We have lost a dear friend of the Ambassadors. We had such high hopes this cancer could be stopped.

Cheryl’s commitment was so appreciated for our group and the childrens ministry. It will take many to fill her shoes. May God give you the comfort I know she wants for you. I am so glad she was able to come over to my garden & see where Michael was helping me out.

Lynn Eichman

Those lovely warm banana nut muffins & coming to work and tasting those just made my day so happy.

Thank you Cheryl.
Shena Baker

One of my favorite memories of Cheryl is seeing her welcome my daughter Abby to Sunday School. It was as if Abby were the only child arriving. She gave her a hug and her full attention. She always made Abby feel so very special.

Angie Irving

Mrs. Cummins had us do a play from the bible and I got to be a bride. I wore a white robe and a veil. She loved it and so did I.

Abby Irving

The first time I met the Cummins was about 6-7 years ago when I took their family photo for the church directory. Last year I was asked and considered it a privilege to once again take their family photo, but under very different circumstances.

Cheryl fought courageously, but when our Father calls us home, we dare not tarry. For we are truly at home with Him in Heaven.

Susan Woodman

We will always remember the kindness Cheryl showed making all the bread for our unit, especially. You (Gene) and Cheryl were a special couple.

Sgt. Maj. Sheilds (& Ellen)
** When Gene’s Guard unit was deployed to Iraq, Cheryl baked 90 loaves of banana nut bread for the unit.

Cheryl was such a fantastic woman, wife & mother. Her strong faith was a sight to behold – She will be missed.

Love in Christ,
Ellen Johansen

Often times we shared a table at Hallstrom and laughed and chatted away while our kids were in class. She was always busy sewing something or another for a production – I marveled at her busy schedule and all the driving she did to support her kids’ interests. I regret not keeping in touch with her after Hallstrom. Cheryl was such fun.

Betsy Lieske

I think about her life and what it represents to me on this Thursday, July 19, 2007. A few weeks ago there was a congregational business meeting. I walk through the doors of the Church and here comes Cheryl making a bee line for me to thank me for something I had done for her. I was thinking to myself that I should be the one thanking her and giving her a hug for how she has influenced my life. She has taught me that even through the darkest moments we live her on earth, to never take our focus off the one who has given us life.

I feel privileged to have been a small part in her life.

I will greatly miss the times when she would come in to the Church to make her Sunday School copies and watching her each week complete this task with a smile on her face.

I will miss her laugh as well. She had a contagious one!

In His Glorious name,
Kari Bartlett

I couldn’t help but think of chocolate as Pastor Bob remembered Cheryl & her sister’s love for pizza AND chocolate!!!

For Cheryl’s first time in the hospital Kari & I sent her a box full of chocolates from the He Brews CafĂ©! We had so much fun picking out each piece & piling it on knowing she would love such a package.

She exhibited such joy in the little things and continues to encourage us as we remember her strength in our LORD!!

What a blessing –

I’ll always remember the years Cheryl was our stage manager for RDC. She was strict and even scared a few of us but I guarantee our shows have never been as good as when she’s been in charge. And I’ll always remember the cookies. Every holiday and sometimes for no reason the most delicious cookies would be brought over. And I’ll always remember how caring she always was towards everyone and everything.

Brianna Wellen

I remember working backstage at “Kodiak Flapjack” with Cheryl, watching & laughing at our “kids” Emily & Samantha. I remember teaching Michael “Handsom American History” and what a fine job he always did in my class at Hallstrom!

I admire Cheryl in her steadfastness in her battle. I know she did it for her family!

Ann Humphreys

I remember when a girl put her hairnet on the wrong way at RDC. She said, “Your hair is wrong.” The girl said, “Mom did it.” and she said, “Well, your Mom did it wrong.”

Emma Porter

Gene, Emily and Michael,

Though I didn’t have the good fortune of meeting Cheryl more than a few times, I thought of her often throughout my Kerry, as she had a way of brightening the day and having such a profound and positive effect on me through her delicious cooking and the stories of her through you, Gene. I always thought she was Super-mom and a Wonder Woman as she seemed to manage what was only possible by an army of 10 women. I know she is deeply missed, but may her light shine through all of the many lives she’s touched.

I want you all to know that she’s had a profound impact on my faith through her email updates the last several months. I do not know many women of Cheryl’s caliber. She was thoughtful, caring, kind and gracious. As I mentioned earlier, she made so many people feel special with her gifts of cooking. She crafted her emails with a touch of the Heavenly Father himself, it seemed.

You are all in my prayers at this time of mourning. May you feel the Lord’s comfort and healing presence to help you through these times.

Love in Christ,
My deepest sympathy,

I think of all the neat times our families had together growing up—coming to Rocky Ford & playing in the leaves, singing & dancing at our home in Springview, seeing you in Kansas City & taking Emily with us going to Gene’s Graduation from UNL, our neat 2-day in Dillon, CO, & the many visits to Grandma Gene’s & Uncle Jim! Gene, thanks for being such a good & “iron sharpens iron” friend to Sol! I will always treasure Cheri as a friend. I know she cared about me as a friend & will be forever grateful! You are special!

Lavon Adams

I remember all of Cheryl’s wonderful cooking banana chocolate pops in the summer and delicious platter of Christmas cookies in the winter. Going to White Pines state park for a day and camping in the backyard. Tye-dying t-shirts and doing facials at Emily’s birthday party. She always had a smile on her face, a joyful sprit & a servant’s heart.

Rebecca Meyer

I will never forget how Cheryl fell in love with our girls and treated them as if they were hers - food allergies and all! They had so much fun playing at her house -Lainy always left exhausted and Abby loved her special one-on-one time with Cheryl. She was an incredible woman who will be missed by many

Melissa Curtis

Now it's your turn. Please take the time to post a memory that you may of Cheryl. Or if you never had the oportunity to meet Cheryl, but she has in some way had an impact on your life, please tell us about that.
Click on the "comments" link below and send us your story.
Our thanks to all who have been so kind as to share what Cheryl has meant to them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Memorial Fund

A Memorial Fund has been established in Cheryl's name to benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Donations to Cheryl's Memorial Fund can be sent to:
McCorkle Funeral Home
767 N. Blackhawk Blvd
Rockton, IL 61072

Saturday, July 14, 2007

14 July 2007

To All,

Cheryl June Cummins passed away at 03:00 today, 14 July, 2007. Thanks to God for answering all of you who were praying, she has now been healed with a heavenly body and will no longer suffer pain or sorrow.

Please rejoice with me and my children, remembering Cheryl and all that she represented while she lived on earth. She was a wonderful teacher, mother, wife and my best friend.

I will send out one last e-mail as soon as I have made the funeral arrangements. Please keep me and my family in prayer that we will bring glory and honor to God in remembering Cheryl and continue on strong in our faith.

Thank you again for praying and supporting us these past two years.

Love in Christ

Gene, Michael & Emily

Sunday, July 8, 2007

8 July 2007

Hello to All,

First I hope you are all managing to stay relatively cool in this summer heat. However, more to the point. This is Gene and I wanted to update you on how Cheryl is doing. Many of you have been calling and / or asking me or our mutual friends. I am sorry that I haven't gotten an update sent out sooner.

I left you all with the possibility that I would be able to bring her home on Tuesday and with God's intervention and your prayers, I did!!!

Prior to the hospital releasing Cheryl, they gave her transfusions of two units of whole blood, and one unit of platelets. Based on discussions with the doctors and Hospice, this will be the last transfusions she will ever get.

We got back to South Beloit at about 7:30 pm, just in time to pick her sister Sandy, the one from Colorado, a.k.a. "The Donor", who flew in from Denver to be with Cheryl, at the bus station and headed home.

When we got home, Sandy went to another room and Cheryl and I sat down with Emily and Michael and told them the news. I can tell you we were glad to have two full boxes of tissues around. We spent the rest of the night talking through issues and answering any of the kids questions, with lots of hugs slipped in to ward off the sorrow.

On Wednesday morning, the Fourth of July, our official Hospice nurse came over and did a thorough exam on Cheryl and looked over our house, giving me pointers on how better to care for Cheryl. When she finished for the day we had a new wheel chair for Cheryl to use when she needs to, which out side of the house is often.

Wednesday evening, Cheryl's father and mother arrived from Wyoming, Cheryl's life long friend from Nebraska, as well as her cousin and husband from New Mexico (they drove 1,400 miles non-stop to get here). On Thursday her sister and nephew arrived from Kansas. Needless to say, we had a full house. Cheryl was very happy to see everyone, what joy it brought to her heart.

Wednesday night, we went to our secret place to watch fire works, it is in doors with air conditioning, so it wasn't to hard on Cheryl. We had a great time.

Thursday morning was just for Emily and Michael. Cheryl and the kids went into the family room and closed the door to spend some quality time. Cheryl gave something to both the kids to remember her, something special to Cheryl and then the kids had a chance to ask for something that was special to them. Thursday afternoon, Cheryl and I went and picked out cemetery plots and she picked out her own casket, it is very beautiful.

Enough of the day by day details, suffice it to say that there has been a great deal of reminiscing.

I should tell you that the doctors sent Cheryl home with two medicines that should buy her a little more time. The first is a pill that helps her body hold onto the platelets a little longer and the second is a medicine that will help hold back her cancer cell growth for a short time. While Cheryl was on the study, they couldn't give these medications to her. As I said, the medicine should give us a bit more time. How much time, that is a question that only God can answer.

I won't get into the details, but her body is getting weaker and she is starting to get a great deal of petici, or where her blood is so thin it is leaking out of her smaller blood vessels in her skin. She is getting physically weaker every day. We have her on constant pain medications to mediate her pain and keep it as close to zero as possible, yet maintaining her ability to carry on good conversations and move about as she is able.

Today, Sunday, 8 July, she went to church so that the elders of the church could anoint her with oil and pray over her. We are now down to just her mother and father and her sister Sandy. Sandy will be leaving on Tuesday and her parents will be leaving on Wednesday.

We have been over whelmed by everyone from my work to church and how they have flooded us with calls, cards and brought food over. The love from our community has just been awesome. Thank you all.

We ask that you continue to pray and give praise for:
  • Divine healing giving Cheryl complete remission and a renewed physical body here on earth.
  • Praise for all of you who have called, emailed, visited and / or provided our family with meals or just a place for the kids to go and relax.
  • Praise for all the prayer we have had to date.
  • Pray that if Cheryl is not to be healed on this earth that her last days will be filled with joy, sharing with her children.
  • Praise for the fact that she is getting to spend them at home!!!!!

If you want to see her, please call me on my cell phone to see if she is up for a visit. Again, my cell phone number is (608) ###-####.

I don't know how many days she has left, but I will tell you she is not sitting around crying all day, she is rejoicing in the love of her family and friends.

Thank you all.

Love in Christ

Gene, Cheryl and family

Monday, July 2, 2007

Update: Cheryl Cummins 02 July 2007

Hello To All,

This is Gene Cummins writing to you all right now, as Cheryl is much to tired and is resting.

Cheryl was admitted back into the UW Hospital in Madison on Monday. As you all know her cancer is back and the cancer cells have been growing. Well this morning when we got her to Madison she had a fever of 102.4, was in a great deal of pain and because her platelets were so low, she was bleeding in spots.

Her lab's showed that the cancer continued to increase in volume and percentage of total cell count. A week ago, her cancer cells, or "Blasts" as they call them, was in the mid 900's representing 25% of her white blood cell count. Last Thursday, her "Blast" count was approximately 8,600 or 64% of her white blood cell count. Today, her "Blast" count was approximately 38,000 or 95% of her white blood cell count, which accounts for the high fever and possibly the aches and pains she is experiencing. As a result, the doctors immediately put her in the hospital and had a frank discussion with both of us.

They said that modern medicine has done all that it can for her and that it is time for her to prepare to die and that I should start contacting her family members. They gave us three options to choose from:
  1. Stay here in the hospital where they would make her last days as comfortable as possible.
  2. Go to a Hospice facility where they would make her last days as comfortable as possible.
  3. Go home, with the assistance of Hospice to help her be as comfortable as possible.

Well, most of you know Cheryl well enough by now the choice was a simple one, she wants to go home and be surrounded by those she loves and who love her. Lord willing I will be able to bring her home on Tuesday.

Now that being said, please let me remind you that we both continue to believe in the power of prayer and in Gods ability to heal her through a miracle. As such, she hasn't thrown in the towel just yet. We both ask that you continue to pray for her when time allows.

Please note, that although our children, Emily and Michael, are fully aware of the cancers return and the fact that Cheryl is in the hospital right now, we haven't had the chance to tell them about this most recent chain of events (face to face). We will do this on Tuesday. So please don't let on about the grim nature of the news to our children, we will do this ourselves soon.

Cheryl also wants to remind all of you, that no matter the out come we need to give thanks and praise to God for the following:

  • Praise for the loving spirit and helping hands from our many friends and family members, both at our Church and My work and Guards.
  • Praise for the devoted attention to Cheryl's care while at the UW facilities. The nurses and doctors have been wonderful....almost like an extended family.
  • Praise for the two years (almost) of additional time she has had to spend with the children, sharing is special times.
  • Praise for the possibility of being made whole through the sacrifice of God's own son.
  • Praise that for those of you who believe, will see her again in Heaven.
  • Prayer for me, Michael and Emily as well as those of you who have followed her struggles that we will continue to stand firm in the belief of a sovern and loving God and stay the course.

We both want to thank all of you for supporting and loving us as long as you have. Your kind words of encouragement, cards, letters, visits and gifts have helped us more than you may ever know.

Remember that should Cheryl die, it isn't the end, but a new beginning for her where she will receive a new body with out pain and rejoice in being with our Lord.

If you want to come visit her when she is home, please call me first to arrange a time. We will work with as many of you as possible, but her focus will be spending her last days with our children.

Feel free to call me when ever you want. I would prefer on my cell phone, (608) ###-####.

Love in Christ


Saturday, June 23, 2007

22 Jun 2007

Hello To All,

Well, today at clinic was the real deal, where the rubber meets the road. I found out several things which I will share with you:

  • First, the Leukemia is back and growing daily!
  • Second, my platelets were low again, after a transfusion on Tuesday and I needed more.
  • Third, there are no more chemo therapy treatments available to me to fight this.
  • Fourth, my doctor presented me with two choices, yes, you heard me right, I got to make a choice (continue to read this only if you want to see the hand of God working in my life - not to mention the result of massive prayers!!!)
  • My first choice was to do nothing and get my affairs in order.
  • My second choice was to take part in a new study offered to a select few.

As you might expect, I am not ready to give up on this life just yet, so I chose to participate in the study. It is available to only 44 individuals nation wide and only to those where all conventional treatments for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) has failed. I am to take a medicine, AT HOME, called Suberoylanilide Hydroxamic Acid (SAHA), two capsules three times daily. Yes, they do have potential side effects such as lowered blood counts, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, changes in how things taste, and abdominal pain. However, it is my last medical chance at conquering this AML and best of all, I will take the medicine AT HOME!!!!

To date, they have had mixed results from this study. Some of the participants received no benefit what so ever, some saw marginal success and they said that one patient's cancer went into remission. The drug is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for general use, only available for this research study. I am allowed to drop out of this study at any time if it becomes to difficult.

Also, due to my platelets not holding up as long, I will once again have to go to Madison twice a week for transfusions.

I don't know what will come from my participation, but I stand fast in my faith and the healing powers of God!!!

I would ask all of you faithful prayer warriors, in the coming week(s), to pray:

  • Pray that this medicine sends my cancer into remission permanently.
  • Pray that if the medicine isn't Gods answer, then that He would heal me through devine means.
  • Pray that no matter how this turns out I will continue to seek his will and not my own.
  • Praise for the extended time I have with my family AT HOME.
  • Praise for the strength of the Doctors and nurses who continue to treat me with compassion.
  • Praise for the continued support from our friends and family at Church, Gene's work, Gene's National Guard Unit and our neighbors.
    Pray that I will be able to withstand what ever discomfort this new medicine may bring.
  • Pray that I don't waste time complaining and focus on living life to it's fullest giving God all of the glory and honor.

I rejoice in the cards, e-mails, phone calls and visits I have received. They have provided me with many blessings and internal strength to continue to fight.

Please take some time during this next week to stop and pray for me and my family just 5 minutes. I believe as I hope and pray you all do that there is power in prayer and that God hears each and everyone.

Thank you all for your continued support and love over these difficult times.

Love in Christ


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

20 Jun 2007

To All,

Praise God I have now been home with my family for a full 40 days with out being hospitalized. The time with them has been glorious.

As most of you know, when I did come home, one of the requirements was for Gene to hire a Certified Nursing Assistant. Well, as of Monday, 18 June, I no longer required full time adult supervision / support during the day. This is due to the fact that my strength has slowly, but steadily improving. I even have a hint of muscle in my calf.

Thank you for all your prayers and support in countless ways. I firmly believe that God is present in all of this and always has been.

Well, on Tuesday, 19 June, I went to clinic and as expected I needed platelets and in addition, two units of whole red blood. Unfortunately, we came across some disturbing lab results. The lab work indicated that the cancer is back. In order for them to confirm or deny this I had to go back to clinic on Wednesday for a wonderful "Bone Marrow Biopsy".

The lab / blood work today was again an even stronger support, that the cancer is coming back. The White blood cell type, called "Blasts" that is an indicator of the cancer, was 248 on Tuesday and today was over 1,000 = normal is "0" - zero.

Also, on Tuesday the doctor said that they were fairly certain that the cancer was back and to be totally frank, they aren't sure they have anything left in their bag of tricks to help me fight this.

We have just told Emily and will be telling Michael this weekend, he is away at camp this week (I sure hope he is having fun).

Please believe me when I say that I still believe in Gods healing power and saving grace. I don't know what he has planned for me or my family. I pray that he will heal me in full, as I really don't like the idea of leaving my children...I still have so much to teach them. That being said, I also believe strongly in the devine will of God. As such, I ask you to pray now:
  • That I be healed through the power of God, if it be his will.
  • That no matter the out come, my children continue to love and serve the Lord.
  • Finally that all Glory and Honor go to the Lord God Almighty.

Love In Christ


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

05 June 2007

Hello To All;

To all of you who have been praying for me so faithfully, read and rejoice.

  • I have now been home 25 days - PRAISE GOD!!!!
  • The Doctor in Minneapolis was so surprised to see me and to see how well I was that he was in awe. He said he didn't expect to see me, and when he realized I was here, before he saw me, he expected to see me in a wheel chair. He just gave me a big hug and said that it is his opinion that I am on my way up and out. He said that unless the clinic at Madison gave him reason to see me again he didn't see any reason I needed to come back to Minneapolis.
  • The doctors in Madison have taken me off of insulin shots and reduced my daily steroid dosage.
  • Although my body is still not producing it's own platelets, it has stopped using them up so fast. As a result, I now only have to go to clinic in Madison once a week.
  • Each day I am growing stronger, at least twice sometimes three times a week, I am able to walk 1.5 miles (with Gene by my side of course).
    For the first time in several months, I was able to sit through both Sunday School and Church - I was very tired but I did it!

All of the things above are answers to your prayers and I thank you so much. As the doctor in Minneapolis said, I have gone through some very hard times and my body is recovering very slowly, but it is recovering.

At present, we still have a very good Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) with me daily, while Gene is at work. She is wonderful and I am very thankful to have her assisting me. A physical therapist comes to our home twice a week to check on my progress and sometimes gives me new exercises.

My doctor in Madison told me I needed to get a stationary bike to exercise on. However, she said the only kind she wants me to use right now is a recumbent style stationary exercise bike. That is an exercise bike with a seat like a chair, I am still very weak when it comes to balance and she is afraid I would fall off of a normal bike seat.

For our Church Family, we are wondering if any of you have a recumbent stationary exercise bike that you would be willing to loan us for a couple of months. If you do, please contact Gene on his cell phone (608) 215-3651. If we haven't heard from anyone by the end of this week, we will by one, we found one at Sears for $199.

Please continue to pray, as I am not out of the woods yet. I know all of the good news, but I also remember that I was at this point May 2006. Please pray for the following:

  • Praise God for the healing that has and is occurring in my body.
  • Praise God for the generous hearts and hands of all of you who continue to lift me and my family up in prayer.
  • Pray that my body finally starts to make it's own cells and when that happens I will still be CANCER FREE!
  • Pray that I will regain my strength soon so that I no longer need to have a CNA present.
  • Pray that the pain and trouble I am having with my left hand / wrist will heal soon.
  • Praise God for the fact that my family and I are working to get back to a normal life.

One again I just want to thank all of you who are helping us in prayer, work around the house, meals, cards and letters, e-mails of encouragement, phone calls and visits. Your dedication and loving, serving hearts along with Gods grace are what has made this tough ordeal bearable.

Love in Christ


Friday, May 25, 2007

25 May 2007

Hello To All,

Well, here it is the end of May, Memorial Weekend on the threshold and I am still at HOME!!!! Praise God!!!!

I just realized it has been 14 days since my last update and thought I should send something out to let my faithful supporters know I AM MAKING PROGRESS!!

These past two weeks have just flown by. As I said in my last update, I would need to have a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at home with me during the day while Gene was at work. Well, we were able to hire one and what a blessing she has been. It has relieved the stress level for Gene and the kids to know that I have someone looking after me during the day. Debbie, our CNA, is very attentive, works very hard and always has a positive word to say to encourage me to continue to work toward improvement.

I am still going to clinic for transfusions twice a week and I have in home physical therapy twice a week. I am making progress on improving my strength and overall well being. It helps a great deal to be home, where I can do my daily exercises and still be with my children.

I still have to be hooked up to an IV at night, that runs all night long. This is supposed to reduce the overload of iron my body has stored up in my liver.

On Monday, 28 May, I head back to Minneapolis for lab work and a Doctors appointment. I hope to hear what he thinks the best coarse of action will be for the future and what to expect. I am thankful that I am finally well enough to travel this far, although I think it will completely wear me out.

For those of you praying, please continue to pray:
  • For divine intervention and miraculous healing - I believe that if it is God's will, I can and will be healed in this manner.
  • For continued physical healing - that my body will get stronger each day. The progress is very slow, but I am making progress.
  • Praise for the progress I have made thus far and the fact that I have been home for two whole weeks now!!!!
  • Praise for all the wonderful cards, phone calls, e-mails, prayers, helping hands in other ways and visitors I continue to receive over this long ordeal.
  • That soon my body will start to build it's own blood cells and that when they do come back to 100% production they will be cancer free.
  • For me mentally and spiritually, that I remain positive and with a Godly focus. That my children will see the hand of God in all of this and learn to praise him for it.

I will try to get another update out towards the end of next week with any new updates I have from my trip to Minneapolis.

Love in Christ


Friday, May 11, 2007

11 May 2007

Hello to All,

What a beautiful day it is. As I sit here and look out my window seeing bright sunny, clear skies, I can almost feel the warmth of the day, Gene tells me it is in the high 70's / low 80's.

I will keep this e-mail brief, but to the point. After 11 days in the hospital I will be going home this evening, Friday, 11 May, in time for Mothers day. As you can imagine, I am thrilled with this news. Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!!!!

Gene has been working with the hospital staff and firm in Rockford making arrangements to hire someone to assist me while at home, starting on Tuesday (Monday and Thursday he will be taking me to clinic). This way, he can go back to work with confidence that I will be OK at home - (not to mention it was a requirment by the Doctors here or they wouldn't let me come home).

I am still very weak, but have been making good progress with the physical therapists (PT), at least they say I am. Gene will still need to take me to clinic, twice a week. I walk everyday at least twice a day and sometimes three or four times. In addition, I do a set of exercises, that PT assigned, each time I walk.

The doctors tell me it will be a very slow process for me to gain my strength back. Oh, yes, I did tell you about a fever the last time. Well, they found I had another infection, but this time they were able to identify it and attack it with specific antibiotics. Praise the Lord!

Also, they were finally able to figure out what is wrong with my left wrist. They say it is like tennis elbow only on my wrist, trust me when I tell you I am not here playing tennis. However, they have provided me with a brace and some pain medication that all in all makes it tolerable. They say that it will just take time and in the meantime try not to use it to much.

Maybe once I get home, some of you could come over to visit me, I have missed you all so much and would enjoy your company. Please call first to ensure that it is a day when I will be home and that I am feeling up for company.

I know that I have made it this far, only by the Grace of God and the prayers and kindness of all of you, people at Gene's work, people in Gene's Guard unit, my Christian brothers and sisters in my church, my family and those people that I have never met, who have reached out to us simply because they felt God calling them to help. I am forever humbled and thankful to all of you for how you have continued to stand by me and my family.

  • Praising God and giving Him thanks that I will once again get to go home to be with my children.
  • Praise God for giving the Doctors the insight to make me better than I was 11 days ago.
  • Pray that I will get to remain home for a long time and that I will recover quickly such that I don't need full time care.
  • Pray for my strength to increase daily.
  • Please continue to pray for me to be completely free of Leukemia and back to normal health either by Miraculous healing or through modern medicine.

Love in Christ


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

8 May 2007

To All,

Well, my eighth day in the hospital this stay is drawing to a close. I had asked you all to pray for me in specific areas last time and I am here to report that many of your prayers have been answered.
  • First, Michael is getting much better and has been on the anti-biotic long enough that he could come and visit me Sunday...what a joy!!!! Roger and Sue Price brought Michael up and took him home, so I got an added bonus by getting to visit with them as well.
  • Second, Emily has completed her first AP exam, French Language, and now is preparing for US History on Friday. She is very studious and I believe she will do well.
  • Third, the Doctors have been able to get the ammonia levels back down to NORMAL RANGES!!! Praise the Lord.

It appears that I am going to be in the hospital at least till Friday due to:

  • Other liver enzymes that are still way above normal but coming down,
  • A pain in my left wrist that is so painful I can't even use my left hand unless I am heavily medicated with pain killers - they have taken X-rays, CAT scans, MRI's and are still trying to figure out why - I now must wear a brace and put ice on it daily,
  • My blood pressure is very low (as of today only),
  • And to top it all off, they think I have an infection again as I struck a fever today that is above their acceptable level for me to go home.

If I can get well enough, I believe that they may allow me to go home by Friday. I hope to be home for Mother's Day. I have asked my children to plant flowers in my front flower beds as their gift. I love to have beautiful flowers in my yard.

All you prayer warriors out there, we still need prayer in the following areas:

  • Praise for all of the answered prayers - the ones listed above and many that I may forget to mention.
  • Praise for the fact that God has given me the strength to continue to fight mentally and physically - if I had to suffer through this alone, without God, I would have lost a long time ago.
  • Pray that my bone marrow will start to grow it's own cells and that when they do come back to full scale production, there is no sign of cancer...any where.
  • Pray that I may stay out of the hospital for the rest of the year at least, I need a break, my family needs a break and so do all of you who continue to stand by me.
  • Pray that I will not run out of insurance coverage before I am healed.
    • I am very lucky, the insurance we have has been good, but I am approaching the maximum life time limit of $1,000,000 faster than I thought I would. At the beginning of 2007 I was just slightly over the half way mark. Now less than six months later, I am at the 75% mark ($756,000 of my life time maximum used up) - in other words the insurance has covered over $250,000 in five months and I have seven months of this year left to go.

  • Pray for Gene as he works to find some one skilled enough and that we can afford (not covered by insurance) to help me at home with my needs during the day, while he is at work. The people at the hospital are working with him to find someone.

If any of you want to come visit me or call me before I get out, I would be very happy to see and/or talk with you. My room number in the University of Wisconsin - Madison Hospital is B6/### and my telephone number is (608) ###-####.

May Gods Bless each and everyone of you

Love in Christ


Friday, May 4, 2007

4 May 2007

To All,

Here it is Thursday, two days into another hospital stay. My ammonia levels have gone down, back up higher than when I was first admitted and back down again. The doctors are hopeful that they will get this under control soon. They are also talking about several items to help battle the ammonia as well as helping me get better, able to go home:
  1. They know that my liver is saturated with stored Iron, more than my body needs, caused by all the blood transfusion I have had in the past. To fight this, they are going to give me a new medication called, Desferroxamine, that will bind to the iron and help it to leave my body. This will help my liver to function better and possibly help reduce the ammonia. The IV drip will run between 10 - 12 hours and will need to continue for the next two to three months. They like to run it at night.
  2. The have me working with a physical therapist who has been in two days in a row. She has helped me to know how to use my cane while walking or going up stairs. In addition, she provided several exercise routines for me to perform two to three times a day. The doctors want to set me up with a physical therapist at home to continue to work with me and build up my strength.
  3. The Doctors have insisted that in order for me to go home, I must have 24 hour a day adult care provided. Gene and I are working with them to come up with a plan / idea on how to achieve this.
  4. The physical therapist also provided me with a few ideas on how to make my home more user friendly.

As much as I wanted Gene to stay the night again with me up here, he had to go home and take Michael to the doctor. The poor boy didn't feel well and as it turned out he has a sinus infection and possibly Strep throat. The doctor gave Michael an antibiotic that would take care of both, to cover the basis.

Now today, Gene is back with me, while some of the church ladies are at our house working with Emily to clean it from top to bottom. What a blessing it is to have godly women not only help clean my house but provide spiritual up lifting to my lovely daughter.

If the Doctors can get this ammonia thing under control and back to normal, if the physical therapist can get my strength back to a sufficient level and if Gene can arrange for Twenty Four hour care (for the times he is not at home), then just maybe the doctors will allow me to come home in the early to middle part of next week.

Please pray and praise for the following:

  • That God would place his healing hand on my son Michael and allow him to get better in time to come visit me...I miss my children and when they can come and visit me it helps the time to pass.
  • That God would be with Emily as she studies for up coming Advanced Placement exams, five I think, beginning on Monday. I know she is studying hard for them, but may God give her the confidence.
  • A special blessing for all of you who have been so faithful in praying and sacrificing for me and my families behalf.
  • Praise that it appears there is still hope that I will over come this...what with all the talk of sending me home.
  • That God would work with in me to accept the needed help at home and that Gene working with others will be able to find the right person or persons to help in his absence.
  • That I would continue to work hard in rebuilding my strength and not get side tracked by any more trips to the Hospital.
  • Finally, that God would be able to use me in any way that he sees fit to spread his blessed message of salvation, and no matter what the end is I will accept it with joy and thanks giving in my heart.

It has been exceedingly hard these past few days to loose so much control over my muscles, my speech and my mind. To have so many people do so many of the basic things for and / to me. I pray for the strength to return that I can again at least be able to go about the room / house with out assistance or a cane, that soon I will stop missing so many of my children's events. I would dearly love to be able to invite so many of you over to my house again and cook for you all, my way of saying thank you (simple I know), but mostly to enjoy one another's company.

May God give me the patience to heal and regain such that I can enjoy these things again.

Love in Christ


Thursday, May 3, 2007

2 May 2007

To All,

I didn't realize how long it has been since I last updated you on what is going on in me and my family's life the past two weeks.

Well, where to start.....Oh yes, last time I asked you all to pray for me regarding a pending six month bone marrow biopsy. I know many of you who were praying for me and others that I don't know, that were also praying for me. God heard all of your prayers, drum roll please, the preliminary results of the bone marrow biopsy failed to show any cancer cells, Praise the Lord!!!!!

The Doctors are not counting this as the cancer being in remission, because, unfortunately, they also saw very few of my cells, specifically White & Red blood cells and/or Platelets. In order to claim the cancer is in remission, my body must produce more / most of it's own cells.

In addition to the above prayers and praises, many of you asked how you could help in a tangible way, so last update I suggested a few ways. God took this to all of you and boy have we been overwhelmed, even to tears, from the generosity and sacrifice many of you have made and are currently making to help me and my family.

I have seen such blessings these past two weeks that I would defy anyone to say there is no God. We now have many ready to heat and eat meals in our freezer, gas cards, pictures with praises and lovely cards and letters. In addition e-mails from many of you offering to help with our yard work and house cleaning. This from our church, Gene's work, his Guard Unit and our family. I am in such awe, I don't even know how to begin to say thank you.

Also, several ladies of the church were banding together, taking training from Gene on how to take care of me 24 hours a day, so that Gene could go to a week of his Army National Guard Training, beginning 01 May lasting through Sunday. What a time it was sharing and praying personally with all of them.

As I have learned to expect, God often has different plans than the ones we think we must do. On Tuesday, 01 May, Gene got me ready to go to clinic, taken there by wonderful ladies from the Church. When Gene woke me up at 6 AM to get ready, I was sluggish and to my distress, I could not speak clearly, all my speech was slurred and I could only mumble. Being the warrior that I am, I didn't let the weakness and lack of speaking clearly stop me from leaving with the ladies and allowing Gene to take off.

However, once I got to the clinic, I found I couldn't even walk in under my own power. The nurses on duty, once looking me over, got right on the phone and called Gene, before he left for the Guards. Long story short, the Doctor came in and said I had to go back in the hospital ASAP. Yes you heard me right, I am back in the hospital, I was out a whole glorious two weeks at home with my family.

Once she talked to Gene, he dropped everything and came right up. At the present time, I am still weak, but my speech and mind have cleared up considerably. After several vials of blood, a spinal tap among other tests, they have arrived at a preliminary diagnosis of the current issue at hand. They say that I have Encephalopathy - caused where my body has to high a level of ammonia. They told me that this is in part what has contributed to my weakness and in ability to speak clearly. What they don't know is why my metabolism became this way. There are several possibilities.

Please pray:

  • Praise for the biopsy results and continue to pray for new cell growth.
    Praise for the generosity of all you wonderful people - may God bless you and your family.
  • Pray for the doctors to understand exactly what has caused my current condition and that they will be able to get me back on my feet.
  • Pray that I will continue to remain strong in my faith always seeking the true will of God.
  • Pray that my children will continue to trust and obey in God, because of and in spite of what is happening to my body.

Again thank you to all of you.

Love in Christ


Thursday, April 19, 2007

19 Apr 2007

To All,

On Monday, 16 April, I was released from the hospital and got home around 6 PM, Praise God!!!!! They put my pic line back in prior to releasing me and sent me home with two new medicines, an antibiotic and a pill with pancreatic enzymes (the latter is to help me absorb the food I eat to help me begin to heal...I believe it is doing some good).

I am now on a regimen of several medicines throughout the day. I believe the most I take at one time is in the morning, something like 17 pills / capsules.

On Tuesday I had to go back to clinic and was to have another bone marrow biopsy. However, as sometimes happens, the doctor was busier than she planned and as a result the bone marrow biopsy was post-poned until this coming Friday. This is the biopsy for my 6 month follow-up post transplant.

I would like to ask, once again, for a concerted effort in prayer on Friday. If everyone that receives this e-mail would take a few minutes from their day and stop and pray for me and the results from the bone marrow biopsy. I would like prayer that the findings would show that the cancer is in remission, that my body has started to produce more of the required blood cells and that I am either healing properly or that I am healed miraculously.

In addition, I would like prayer in the following areas:
  • Praise that I was able to go home so quickly this last hospital stay - it is my shortest stay on record
  • Praise that I am starting to feel better, still very weak, but I believe I am improving
  • Praise for all of you that have faithfully continued to pray for me and my family
  • Pray for my physical strength to return - On Wednesday, I fell in my driveway and received a rather ominous black-eye. Fortunately the neighbors found me and helped me to get up, I am to weak to pick myself up off the ground. Gene said that he has had plenty of shiners, but never one as big and black as mine....but that is his story.

Many of you have expressed the desire to help in a tangible way and I appreciate that very much. After much thinking I offer a few suggestions listed below:

  • Gas cards to help offset the expense of driving to clinic twice a week
  • Meals two or three times a week for a short period
  • If needed maybe help with weeding the gardens or other lawn work - I could visit with someone while they do this
  • Just come visit me while I can't get out, I miss all of you so much. (Please come only if you are not sick and haven't been around someone who is sick)

I continue to look to God for answers and fully believe that if it is His will that I be healed by a miracle it will happen. However, if it is Gods will that I bear this heavy burden longer, then I know that it is by His strength that I will survive.

Love in Christ


Friday, April 13, 2007

13 Apr 2007

To All,

I know it has been a while since my last update. As of 12 APR I have been out of the hospital and home enjoying my family time for THREE whole weeks.

Yes I still had to go to clinic twice a week for the various transfusions and other medicines as the doctors deemed necessary, but no matter how long of a day it was, I still got to go home.

As of 2 AM this morning (Friday, 13 APR), that all changed. Due to a bacterial infection in my blood I am back in the hospital. They have removed my PIC line and are pumping me full of anti-biotics.

Due to the amount of steriods I have been on it wasn't apparent that I actually had an infection, they tend to mask many of the sypmtoms. For the past two days I have had little to no energy and in-fact have slept almost the entire day away.

In clinic on Thursday, 12 APR, the doctor notice my lethargic attitude and took some blood samples to analyze. At approx 12:30 AM, Friday, 13 APR, the on call doctor called and told Gene that I had an infection and that he needed to bring me up right away. So he did and now you know the rest of the story.

Praise God for:
  • The doctors careful attention to detail - I thought I was just weak from all the medicine
  • The fact that Gene was home to take the call and deliver me to receive the proper care
  • That my children are strong and carry on even in my absence
  • The fact that many of you are still praying for me, my family and my illness - going on over two years now
  • The fact that I am still here to praise and worship a loving God

Please Pray for:

  • My emotional strength - I found if very hard to come back to the hospital
  • My physical strength and the courage to work towards rebuilding my body
  • My spiritual well being - that I may not falter in honoring God for his will is devine
  • that this will be a very short hospital stay,

My room phone number is (608) 267 - ####, my room number is B#/###.

May God bless you all

Love in Christ


Sunday, April 1, 2007

1 Apr 2007

To All,

I have now been home for a week and three glorious days. I enjoy being around my children and in my own house so much.

I am very thankful for my time at home, but I pray that I can get off this roller coaster ride soon. I have one good day and then one or two bad days - with continuation of the diarrhea and abdominal pain almost every day.

Gene takes me to clinic on Monday's and Thursday's and with everything I have to get done at clinic - transfusions of stem cells, platelets, magnesium, Ifleximax, the days can be very long. However I still get to come home.

The good Lord continues to give me reason to praise his name and rejoice. I am continually thankful for:

  • My sister Sandy (aka "The Donor") and her girls - they came all the way from Denver, Colorado to visit me last week - what joy they bring to my heart - her girls are four and seven.
  • My children who continue to stay focused on doing well in school and helping keep up with things at home.
  • The men, women and children at my church, in my community, at Gene's work and those across the country who pray for me and my family daily.
  • The fact that I can rise to greet the sun each day and seek to serve the Lord one more time.
  • All those people that take time out of their lives to donate blood and blood products. I am proof that without them I would not be here.
  • The generosity of all my friends and family. Almost everyday I receive wonderful cards and e-mails that continue to encourage me to face the fight with courage.

Gene and I are approached very often now by many of you in our family / community inquiring about ways that you can help us, beyond praying. I am so thankful to know that if my family or I have a need, that is beyond our ability, that through God's loving kindness and mercy all I need to do is ask and he will work his miracles through you and your loving giving hearts.

Oh yes, I was reminded that on the last e-mail I sent out, the day I was getting out of the hospital, I made a mistake. It seems that I said I was in the hospital for 3 weeks and 3 days, when in reality it was 4 weeks and three days. I guess I was just so excited about going home I lost count.

For Ever Faithful

Love in Christ


Thursday, March 22, 2007

22 Mar 2007

To All,

Praise God for his many blessings.......I am going home, I will be leaving this place in about 1 - 2 hours. I have been here for the past 3 weeks and 4 days and I am very excited to getting back home.

Gene will get me settled into a regular schedule of medications and testing my blood sugar before he goes back into the office on Tuesday. He will need to take me to clinic on Monday and then again on Thursday - they told me to plan on all day sessions again.

What a joy!!!

Thank you for all who prayed for me. It is glorious to see God answer prayers, my own as well as others.

I will send out an update later on, but I have to run, well ok walk out of here soon.

Love in Christ


Sunday, March 18, 2007

18 Mar 2007

To All,

Just a quick note to let you know how things stand for me. I now know the following:

  • My bowels are compacted
  • They had to remove my Peripheral Intravascular Central Catheter (PICC) (IV line in my arm that goes directly to my heart and has been in place since Sept-06) due to two issues
    • A Blood clot in my right shoulder
    • An infection in my blood and large intestine

  • I am now on antibiotics round the clock trying to mitigate the infection, which is draining me of all of my energy
  • If all goes well and my body can
    • rid it's self of the compaction
    • clear up the infection
    • allow them to install another PICC line into my left arm

  • I will be able to go home sometime Wednesday / Thursday 21 / 22 March

I had a wonderful visit from my lovely daughter on Sunday - it seems that Sunday is the only day I get to see her. I am always glad to have my children stop in to see me. Unfortunately, she had to leave early to make it back to the Church for music / choir practice. The truth is that I am proud she is in this, just that I miss her so much.

Please continue to pray for me, my family and the doctors and nurses regarding the issues above.

Love in Christ


Saturday, March 17, 2007

17 Mar 2007

Hello one and all,

Thank you to all of you who have continued to pray for me and my family. God has heard your prayers and as of Wednesday the diarrhea has gone away and they have started taking me off of all the IV medications.

In addition, as of Friday they took me off of the IV feedings - Praise the Lord!!!! They are trying to get me back on oral medications and cut way back on the steroid. There is talk about trying to bust me out of this place sometime next week. They first need to confirm that my body is absorbing the medications that I am taking via pills.

Oh, yes, there is one more thing, they have now found another blood clot in my right shoulder. They are trying to figure out what to do about it - I hope it doesn't prolong my stay in the hospital.

Well, as we round out the end of my fourth week in the hospital I would ask that you pray for me and my family in the following ways:
  • Praise to the Father for stopping my diarrhea

  • Praise for the fact that I can now handle oral medications again - at least I think so

  • Praise that after 4 weeks of being away from my family and friends I may actually be able to come home

  • Praise for those in my church family that are working so hard to help my children

  • Pray that this blood clot will either be gone by a miracle of God or at least that it won't prolong my stay in the hospital

  • Pray for continued strength for my children in my absence - they both have been so strong and mature about everything.

  • Pray for a full recovery soon - I would dearly love to put this entire experience behind me

  • Pray for Gene's safe travels back and forth to Madison almost every day.

Thanks for the visitors and cards this week, it was so refreshing.

Just a note, my cleaning lady, the one who prays for me and with me everyday, in spanish (so I don't understand what she says - but it sounds beautiful), gave me a card with a wonderful verse on it

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak" Isaiah 40:20.

May God bless you and your family


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

13 Mar 2007

Hello To All;

Today is the first day of my fourth week in the hospital, the sun is shinning through my window warming me with expectations for a beautiful day. The nurse said it was supposed to get up to 68 degrees today.

So far there has been no real break through on my diarrhea. I have been fortunate and get a day every once in a while where it seems like it is gone. However, the next day it is back in full force. On Monday I had my second infusion of the stem cells. I really hope this helps. The doctors said that sometimes it can take weeks to get Graft Vs Host in check, even then when I go home to much stress can set it off again. They say that I might be here another week or more.

On Sunday I was blessed with a visit from my two wonderful children. It was great seeing them and holding them, as best I could. I have received several wonderful cards, telephone calls and e-mails full of encouragement, prayers and praises. Thank you one and all.

For those of you who think you may have missed some of my "Update" e-mails, you can go to
and read all of the past e-mails I have sent out. This is a web site that my brother, Chuck, compiled for me.

Please continue to pray for me in the following areas:

  • Praise God for the fact that my Brother, Chuck, has met his fund raising goal and is working to raise funds for other team members in his "Team in Training" challenge.
  • Praise God for the continued strength of my wonderful children, Michael and Emily.
  • Praise God for the fact that I am still here to write about my experiences and praise and worship him.
  • Pray that soon the ills with my body will be healed completely or at least enough for me to go home.
  • Pray for me that God continues to provide me with mental and spiritual strength to face each day with a positive and thankful attitude.

Love in Christ


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

7 Mar 2007

Hello from Madison,

I hear that it is still cold outside, but from my hospital room, where there is nice bright sun shine, it looks warm. To my surprise and dismay, I am still in the hospital, but given my current status, it would be a tough go for me at home.

I had a nice visit from Michael, on Tuesday, while here he drew me some really nice pictures on my dry erase board.

Today is the day that they have started me on the new treatment plan - step one, they infused me, through IV, with a drug called "Infliximab", it is supposed to assist in suppressing the immune system, thus hoping to reduce my "Graft Vs Host" (GVHD - this is a medical condition where the donor cells attack and damage your tissues after you have a transplant).

Just for the record, all the tests that they have performed to date; endoscopy, colonoscopy, liver biopsy, CT Scans and swallowing of a camera so that they can see my small intestine via video plus some I have forgotten, and none have confirmed with physical evidence that I have GVHD - it is a Clinical Diagnosis only at this time. However, we believe that the Doctors are working their hardest to get me better.

On Thursday, as part of my new treatment, I will be given another drug called Prochymal (Ex-vivo Cultured Adult Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells) via Infusion for the treatment of Steroid Refractory Acute GVHD. Now that is just a title of the document they gave me explaining it, you should see the entire document. Now I know why I didn't become a doctor.

Right now the doctors are hoping that the above treatments, combined with the prednisone, tachrolimas, platelets among other medications will finally stop my diarrhea and I will be able to go home. Best guess - one maybe two more weeks.

For those of you who are now on this e-mail, but weren't on at the very start, you can now see all the past e-mails at the web site that my brother made, go to: http://cherylsfight.blogspot.com/

Also, remember to check out my brothers Team in training web site (you remember how he is raising money for the fight against Leukemia), praise God, he has reached his goal. However, if you wanted to donate and still do, you could help his other team mates. The following is my brothers "Team in Training" web site and one of his team mates:


I will be the first to admit that I was knocked off my feet a lot when they told me it would be maybe another week or two. I want to go home so much, but more than that I want to get better. Thank you all who have prayed and are continuing to pray for me, Gene and the kids. I know that with out all of your wonderful love and support this journey would have been much harder if not unbearable. Please pray for us in the following areas:
Praise God that the kids are hanging tough
Praise God that all the tests came back with out showing any additional complications
Praise for bright sunny days outside my hospital room
Praise for a wonderful husband and his wonderful work - I am so thankful for Kerry's continued support for us through these difficult times
Pray for us to have the wisdom to ask the doctors the right questions
Pray for the nurses here - they are so kind and caring, but it is a very demanding and draining responsibility for them
Continue to pray for Devine Healing - if and when it is Gods will
All of your phone calls - e-mails - letters and prayers have been so wonderful to receive thank you everyone.

May God Bless you all


Monday, March 5, 2007

5 Mar 2007

Once Again - Hello to All,

Well, here it is now another Monday, two weeks of being in the hospital. I wish I could say that they have made great progress and I am about to get out, but that isn't the case.

As I had mentioned previously, due to my excessive diarrhea, they started feeding me by IV (Steak in a Bag, as the nurses call it). The IV feeding in combination with the steroid they have me on has thrown my blood sugar all out of whack and as a result they now have me on daily insulin injections (I believe that this is only temporary).

The team of Doctors have now concluded that the steroid, first line drug of choice in combating Graft Vs Host (GVH), is clearly not helping. Today they are going to change my medications over to another drug regimen, second line defense against GVH, called Inflixamab which is an Anti TNF (sorry I can't explain the TNF).

In addition, my platelets have continued to drop, I was down to 9,000, I received another infusion on Sunday, so they are considering the continuous drip method (they used this in preparation for the other procedures they performed in the past weeks).

I was blessed on Sunday by a visit from my beautiful daughter, Emily. She rode up with Gene and I am certain he appreciated the company on the drive up. Michael received a wonderful invitation from a friend to come over for the day, that was great. He will come up during the week with Gene.

Clearly the main thing keeping me in right now is the diarrhea as well as the digestive tract problems / pain. They are keeping my pain level under control through the use of oxycodone and tincture of opium. I think that one or both of these makes me a bit forgetful, but I am thankful for the pain relief. They also give me other medications to numerous to list.

Please pray for the following:
Praise for allowing me to see Emily.
Praise for the support Gene has been able to provide.
Praise for all the cards / e-mails / phone calls I have received in the past few days - all these have truly brightened my day.
Praise for the diligence of the doctors - they have yet to give up on me.
Pray that the Lord God will either place his hand of healing on me or provide the doctors with insight so that I may be cured.
Pray for continued physical and mental strength - I need all that I can get right now.
Pray that my out-put becomes much less - this would possibly allow me to go home.
Your prayers and kindness to me and my family have been so great. Thank you one and all for hanging in there with us and not giving up.

P.S. For those of you who may not have gotten the last update, I am now in a different room and thus a different telephone number:

Room # B6/### Telephone number (608) ###-####

Love in Christ


Thursday, March 1, 2007

1 Mar 2007

Hello to All,

Not a lot of new information. The picture shoot finished last night, but they won't have those results until Friday.

Today the Doctor told me that due to my continuing bout with diarrhea (day 16 or 17, I've lost track), they are going to keep me in the hospital another 3-4 days. By that time they should have more info back on the liver biopsy and have reviewed the 40,000 pictures. In addition, they are going to start providing me nutrition via IV they call it TPN (total parenteral nutrition). This will run for 10 - 12 hours once each day. As you might imagine, I am very weak and continue to lose strength.

My platelets have decreased from the astounding 82,000 Tuesday to 34,000 on Wednesday now to 17,000 on Thursday. As you might expect, they gave me another transfusion today. I am going to lay down and take a nap, as I am very tired.

Please pray that I will not be in here longer than the 3-4 additional days as I want to be home with my kids!!! I am very thankful I am not alone up here in the hospital, both physically (with Gene) and spiritually (with GOD), the later being the most important.

I will let you know more when I do.

Love in Christ


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

28 Feb 2007

Hello to All;

Lights, camera, action......well not exactly, what I mean to say is the doctors came in with the mini-cam "Pill" for me to swallow. If you recall this "Pill" is designed to take pictures of my digestive system (focused specifically on my small intestine). I am told it will take approx. 40,000 pictures, which will be available for review as early as Thursday afternoon. The "Pill" is yellow gold in color and is about the size of a mini tootsie roll.

As far as the past few days, they have been a real roller coaster. On Monday they did the biopsy of my liver (actually sliced off three samples of tissue). I went into this procedure with a great deal of apprehension. What a relief once it was completed and you know, it wasn't all that painful. As I had said, the big risk was me bleeding, due to low platelets. Well, after 24 hours of continuous transfusions of platelets along with an IV drug that helps your body retain platelets, my platelet count rose as high as 84,000....WOW! That was a big relief to me and the doctors performing this step.

Today, my platelets are now down to 34,000 and continuing to spiral. Not getting into to much detail, I am still plagued with diarrhea and turmoil in my abdominal region. I thought I was going to get to go home on Thursday, but the doctors don't believe that will happen. I still have more out-put than in-take, even with the IV's. Soon I hope.

I have received several phone calls and some cards (sent to my home address) and e-mails, wishing me well and full of encouragement. You will never know how much your words of hope mean to me. In addition, some people from my church have really taken the upper hand and invited the kids to dinner / play / even spending the night. This also has been a great help - as I worry about my children a great deal, and they really have enjoyed their time with others.

Still waiting on word / analysis from the liver biopsy. I will keep you posted. I am encouraged daily by the fact that all of this is for the glory of GOD. Daily I read the bible and pray for this illness to be removed, however I also pray that God's will be done. I am reminded that he will not burden me with more than I can bear and that he will never abandon me.

Please continue to:

Pray for my family that through all of this they remain strong and focused on the Lord our savior.
Pray for those in similar circumstances that don't have the strong support network of family - church - friends and even Gene's work (Kerry & Guards).
Pray for the Doctors and Nurses tending to my care that they will come to know the goodness and grace of God.
Praise for the fact that I am still here able to write to all of you, I know a few with the same illness that are not.
Pray that I get to go home soon, I miss the daily interaction with my children.
Love in Christ

Sunday, February 25, 2007

25 Feb 2007

A Chilly hello to all;

From what I can see out of my hospital window there is a great deal of snow on the ground and there is very limited visibility with high winds (I can see flags in the distance - that is how I know if it is windy).

I am tired, discouraged and somewhat scared, but I will keep this short.

Please pray for me between now and Monday evening. Right now they are preparing me for tomorrows events. Currently I have no less than four lines of fluids running into my body; platelets (which mine were back down to 3,000 this morning), pain / nausea medication, some other medicine to help fight the Graft Vs Host and some other chemical that is supposed to help my body retain platelets.

If all goes well, in the morning they will begin by piercing my neck and jugular vein and sliping in a device that can travel down and take a right into my liver and slice off a piece for a biopsy. The risk, they now say, is that patients can really bleed from this.

In addition, I hear that they are considering having me swollow this mincam (aslippinge size of a large pill?? - never saw one) so they can have it take close up shots of my entire digestive system. I will let you know when or if that happens.

Please pray that the procedure on Monday goes well and provides them with a true insight as to help me and that I don't end up bleeding to much. They are trying to increase my platelets by running several bags consecutively over a period starting at 4 PM Sunday and ending 8 AM Monday in time for the little bit of fun mentioned above.

I don't have any idea when they will let me go home yet and to be honest, I feel as bad now as I did a week ago when I first came in.

Yes, I still have stomach pain and diarrhea (going on 12 days now). Praise for the fact that I saw my children on Friday - first time since Monday.

Thank you very much for your prayers - cards - visits and phone calls.

Love in Christ


Friday, February 23, 2007

23 Feb 2007

Hello to All,

The last time I sent out an update was Monday and I was just going into the hospital for a few tests. Wow, what a roller coaster ride since then.

Tuesday noon was the last time I had anything to eat until Thursday evening, boy was I hungry. They did this in order to prep me for the Upper & Lower GI (Gastrointestinal or Endoscopy / Colonoscopy) that they were going to do on Wednesday 7 AM. In addition - through late Wednesday afternoon they gave me:
Two units of whole blood
4 units of platelets (one was a double)
6 units of potassium
1 gallon of lemonade flavored clean you out juice
plus numerous liters of fluid so I didn't become dehydrated
Late Wednesday, 5 PM, they completed the Upper & Lower GI - Gene has souvenir color photos. After the procedure the Gastrointestinal Doctor talked to us about what he saw - very preliminary of course. While in side, he took several biopsy / tissue samples - no word back on these yet. To date no one has come back to us with anything conclusive. However, due to some of the findings that the GI Doctor thought he saw, I got to have a CAT scan of my liver and Kidneys on Thursday evening - they prep you by, not letting you eat and shooting this dye into your veins. Praise God, those test results are back and they found nothing - trust me this is good news.
It is now Friday afternoon, I still have diarrhea (going on 10 days now) with no idea when I get to go home (my biggest longing after being fully healed). To be honest, I don't really feel good enough to be at home right now. They are trying to arrange one more test, they tell me it is painless, I will wait and see. They want to pierce the side of my neck and enter my juggler vein with this tube like knife device. From there they will cruse down the inside of my body, take a right at my liver and then snip off a tissue sample / biopsy. I can hardly wait. Unfortunately, they don't think that they can get this scheduled until Monday. Did I mention that until I know for certain, they don't want me to eat anything right now.
Right now, I feel as bad as I did on Monday. Good news, the kids came an visited me in the hospital. I miss them Soooooooooooooo much!!!!!!!! It was really good to see, touch and hug them.
To be honest, I am getting more and more discouraged, somewhat scared (when will this end and how) and very very tired.
Please pray for the following:
Praise to / for all of you Church families, friends , Gene's work pals both Kerry and Army National Guard, who have stood or kneeled by my side for the past 17 months of this journey, stepping up to fill any need I may have and beyond.
Praise for my children who have continued to love me, help me and still have as normal of childhood as possible.
Praise for the medical staff who haven't given up on me yet - I have seen it happen to others.
Praise for the experience. I wouldn't wish it on anyone else, but it has really challenged / strengthened my Christian values.
Pray that what ever happens that first and foremost - To God be the Glory.
Pray to God that I would be healed now with / without the Doctors intervention.
Pray for Gene and the Kids - that they will continue to be strong - make progress in school and work and stay positive for both themselves and me.
Pray for me that I will not become weak, mentally and lose hope.
God Bless and Love in Christ


Monday, February 19, 2007

19 Feb 2007

To All,

Just a quick update to let you all know what is going on. As most of you are aware, the past weeks have really been event free. Twice a week Gene has been taking me to UW Madison clinic for Platelet transfusions with the occasional Whole Blood transfusion thrown in the mix.

I had asked you all to pray that my cell counts would start to increase and stabilize and this past week God has answered your prayers.

My platelet's are stabilizing in the double digits, for the most part between 10 - 13 thousand, still a long way from normal 160,000 - 370,000, but a major improvement for me!!!

I am down to only needing Red blood about every four weeks!!!

My white blood cells are in the 40,000 range where normal runs from as low as 38,000 to as high as 105,000. This is great.

Now comes the really tough part and I need your prayers for this one. Here goes, this past week I have been suffering from extreme abdominal pain (mostly my stomach), starting about Tuesday evening. I have experienced both vomiting and diarrhea, on Thursday the doctor was considering putting me in the hospital (she did give 2 1/2 liters of fluid), I said not to worry I will be better by Monday.

It has now been six days with the aforementioned symptoms and I am weak, my body is sore and dehydrated. My wonderful doctor has put me back in the hospital until I get stabilized and/or they figure out the cause. On Thursday they took enough various samples to confirm it was not viral. They believe it is the Graft Versus Host (GVH) disease that they had been hoping to see more of. They need to do an endoscopy and an colonoscopy to confirm. Once confirmed they will start me on some more medicine to clear it up.

One small problem, they can't perform the above procedures, so they say, until my platelets get up to at least 50 (or 50,000 - we just abbreviate). My platelets haven't been that high in over a year.

Please pray for guidance for the doctors.
Please pray that something will work out for them to perform their tests.
Pray that this hospital stay is SHORT!!!! I just want to be home.
Pray that Gene and the kids get along as Gene travels between home and the hospital.
My room phone number is (608) ###-#### and here room number is B6/###. We will update you as we know more.
God Bless and thank you for your much needed prayers.
Cheryl Cummins

Friday, February 9, 2007

9 Feb 2007

Hello everyone,
It is a bit like Ground Hog's Day the movie here. Each day seems the same at clinic, get more platelets.
We returned from Minneapolis Wed. THe Dr. there confirms what our Dr. here says. There is some cell growth, it is just slow, he said I am the tortoise and the hare was killed by the previous treatments I received. He said he wished he would have given me more of Sandy's cells but since he didn't it isn't worth it now to have the platelet level drop to 0 for at least 21 days, I am willing to wait. We go back up there in three months.
Meanwhile the Dr here said if something significant doesn't happen with the cells in 30 days she wants to pursue other options, like having another DLI in Minneapolis. We are praying there will be significant cell growth in the next month. Only God knows when or if that is going to happen. WE are so thankful to have a bone marrow biopsy clear of leukemia.
Hurray the sun is shinning! It makes you feel warmer. I am content to stay inside. It is just tooo cold here for me. It was actually 1* this morning. Well, that is the story as I know it.
* Pray that the cells start producing
* Pray for endurance, we are growing weary
* Pray when the cells produce there will be no leukemia
*Pray for Emily and Michael, they have been through so much!
* Pray for strength for Gene
Thanks for Praying,

Friday, February 2, 2007

2 Feb 2007

Greetings and Salutations ( I just watched Charlotte's Web)

I had a bone marrow biopsy Monday in Madison. It was supposed to be done in Minneapolis, my experiences there with the biopsy have not been good, so my Doctor called to see if she could do it and send the results. I don't even have a bruise! She is amazing.

We got some of the results yesterday form the biopsy. My white blood cells are just starting to produce, there are some baby red cells that are trying to grow, very few platelets. Good news! My body has started producing, just a slow process. The best part is there are no leukemia cells present.

The DNA results aren't in yet. The goal is that I will have 100% of my sister's DNA, YIKES! where did I go? Just kidding she had been such a support for us during all of this.

I am still tired. I have the energy of a wet noodle. The Doctor said that is to be expected given the way my blood is producing. In the marrow there are places that are blank, they are supposed to be packed with blood cells and fat. Mine have patches like that, but I am confident that will change and I will be energized soon.

My brother is running a triathlon to raise money for the lymphoma, leukemia society, He has never done anything like this before-maybe he is a little loopy? anyway, if any of you are interested in watching his progress or donating to the cause let me know I can send you the e-mail about it. If you want to check out his web sight you can copy the address below and paste it into your browser "Address" line and hit enter. http://www.active.com/donate/tntne/tntneCHofroc

We will be going back to Minneapolis. We leave Mon. stop in Madison for platelets then on to MN. Our appointment is Tues. We will return Wed.

Please continue to pray:
*Pray for safe travel as we go to MN and as we go to Madison twice a week.
*Pray that my blood cells continue to produce
*Pray for endurance. This has gone on a long time , we are all growing weary
*Pray for Michael and Emily
*Pray for Gene as he juggles work, the guards and me-I'm a little heavy to juggle

Thanks for Praying
Love in Christ


Friday, January 12, 2007

12 Jan 2007

Hello all,

Sorry this has been so long in coming. I have been feeling really tired. It is from taking the steroids and now tapering to almost taking none.

We had a great Christmas. We stayed at the lighthouse on Lake Michigan. My parents were here. I wasn't feeling well Christmas Day so Mom and Gene fixed the turkey. Can you believe they did it without me? It is a hard lesson to learn, but I seem to need to learn it over and over again. Yes, things can get done without me, maybe not like I would do it but done just the same.

New Years we had a quiet night at home watching movies with the kids. New Year's day we headed to Minneapolis for one of the scheduled return visits. I was supposed to have a bone marrow biopsy but somehow didn't get scheduled so they did it the 3rd before we came home. Not an ideal situation since my plateletts have not recovered on their own. It was by far the worst biopsy I have had. She tried 3 times, bent one needle. Then tried 8 times for the aspirate, and bent another needle. OUCH! okay enough of the whining. The DR. called the next day and said the marrow looks good, no leukemia blasts! Praise the Lord!

Now the question is why hasn't my marrow started producing the blood? One theory is that I had so much chemo-therapy and it was so strong that it will take awhile to regenerate. Another theory is that it damaged some on the cell producing areas. Another theory is that it is producing the cells just my body is eating them up. The last is being tested, they give me gama-globulin- which takes 4 hours- and then my platelet count is supposed to go up. I had a reaction as they were giving it to me, so more drugs, and then they continued the infusion, but my platelet count didn't go up significantly. We are going to try again on Thurs. Jan.18th.

Meanwhile we are going to Madison two to three times a week for platelet infusions and about once every two weeks I get whole blood. Of course there is still the problem of getting the specially matched plateletts form the donors, they are working on ordering them ahead of time so the Red Cross had plenty of time to find donors. THANKS TO ALL WHO ARE DONORS! You are so vital to many people's health.

I am thankful for everyday that I have with my family but frankly I am tired of being sick and tired of being tired.

The Dr.s are contemplating giving me more stem cells, to help boost the production of blood cells. That means going to MN again. I don't know for how long it would be. My opinion is to just wait and let them have a chance to produce on their own. It isn't unusual for it to take 100 days. We are at day 73. I will do whatever it takes though.

For those amateurs in the group, believe me I know more about blood than I ever wanted to know, Plateletts are the part of the blood that makes it clot. So when they are low I bruise easily and I have nose bleeds, I have to be careful not to get cut anywhere.

We have to go back to MN for a 3 month check-up the end of the month or first part on next month, another biopsy is scheduled.

Prayer requests:
* Pray for blood production by my own bone marrow
* Pray for continued good biopsy reports
* Pray for the kids, as this wears on
* Pray for Gene as he tries to balance work, guards, and being the nurse
* Pray for safe travel to MN

To GOD be the Glory