Thanksgiving 2013

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My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he will neither slumber nor sleep…the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.(Psalm 121: 2-4, 6)

Each year at Thanksgiving time I try to think of things I am especially thankful for. Last year (2012) I wrote a thank you to God for my 15 beautiful and precious grandchildren. This year I am writing to thank him for my husband of 42 years, Bob.

The past year has been a rough one for both of us, but especially for Bob. In October of 2012 he was diagnosed with a blood disease called Myelodysplastic Syndrome. It is a bone marrow disease in which the bone marrow no longer makes strong and healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells (Hemoglobin) are important because they carry and distribute oxygen to the organs of the body. We can’t live for long without them.

At this time last year Bob was needing 2-4 blood transfusions per week. It was a life saver for him but at the same time we wondered; how long can this go on? Too many transfusions in a short amount of time, and for an extended period of time can lead to iron overload which will eventually cause the muscles to harden and not work properly – the most critical muscle of course being the heart. If the heart is stiff and hard it won’t be able to pump.

There were times when his blood count would drop on a dime. It may have been 10 one day and the next it would be down to 7. Several times it went as low as 6. A normal Hemoglobin would be between 14 and 17. The fear was that his blood count would just drop out of sight and he would be gone.

Low Hemoglobin also causes Anemia which in turn causes Congestive Heart Failure. When there isn’t enough blood to circulate throughout the body the heart gets overworked. It could cause his heart to finally get “tired” and just stop. Congestive heart failure usually means a trip to the ER for him and several days in the hospital to get rid of the extra fluid.

Chemotherapy has been a blessing in that it has greatly improved his blood counts. He gets 2 shots in his belly for 7 days in a row. He then has 21 days off and the treatment is repeated. He will have this for the rest of his life. Although it has helped to keep his blood counts up, it causes other problems for him. The site where each shot is given becomes red and hot and extremely painful. He is severely diabetic and the Chemo makes it difficult for him to control his sugar. Beside all that he feels completely exhausted the whole 7 days and several days after the treatment is finished. Still, he very seldom complains and always thinks of my needs before his own.

It has been a difficult year for me also. The first few months after he was diagnosed I cried on a dime. I worried about what was going to happen in the future both for him and for myself. I prayed and prayed for God to help me be strong and turn my fears over to him. God always answers prayer and he definitely has lifted me up and taught me to take each day as it comes. I have learned not to look so far into the future and worry about things that may never happen. I try to just take life one day at a time and remind myself with confidence that God will give me the strength to withstand whatever trials he sends the two of us.

He has allowed my faith to be stronger than my fear. It is similar to the story in scripture of Peter walking on water. When the disciples saw him walking on the

Jesus - Our "Life Vest"

Jesus – Our “Life Vest”

lake, they were terrified…but Jesus said to them: take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid...Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord save me’!…Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith, he said, why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:26-31)

My faith is my life ring. It attaches me to Jesus. He will never let go of me even though I, in fear, may panic and let go of him. He will reach out to me and draw me out of the water just like he did Peter those many years ago. He will keep me safe so that I don’t drown in the troubles and fears of this life. He will do the same for my husband and for all who believe in him and are connected to him by faith. He promises that there is a better life to come and his promises never fail.


Heavenly Father, Thank you for your protection. Help me to remember that there is nothing I need fear because you are always near me and will give me strength for each day. Forgive me for the times I forget to trust you. Make my faith in you strong and keep me tightly connected to Jesus until the day you call me home.

I especially thank you for Bob – for the many years of marriage you have given us and the children and grandchildren you have blessed us with. Help me to be patient and supportive in his illness. According to your will, take away his pain and keep his faith stronger than his fear. In your holy name I pray. Amen.

By Christine

 We can take great comfort that God never sleeps – so we can. (Dianna Booher)

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