Sunday, November 23, Bonnie and I worshipped with the Collierville Church of Christ. Not only because this is where our daughter Rebecca worships, but especially because Bonnie wanted to be with these dear brethren, we had driven to Rebecca’s home on Friday. So, after Bonnie’s radiation treatment in Jackson, MS on Friday, we drove 1½ hours north to Winona, MS, paused there briefly, and then, drove another 2¼ hours further north to Collierville, TN. That’s a lot of driving, but Bonnie missed these Christians who have been so good to send cards and offer prayers on her behalf. We thoroughly enjoyed interacting with these brothers and sisters and worshipping Almighty God together.
Sunday evening, we returned to Winona, MS so that on Monday morning we could go on to Jackson, MS for radiation and chemotherapy treatments. We were slow getting around before departing, and we gathered several books to give to staff and patients of Hope House, where we are lodging during weekday treatments. Behold, we thought we were supposed to be in four Asian countries to encourage and edify brethren as well as to acquaint non-Christians with the Gospel. However, since our 9-week mission trip had to be cancelled so that Bonnie could receive medical treatment for pancreatic cancer, perhaps God’s providence is providing other necessary opportunities for one or more souls with whom we may come in contact. Therefore, we amassed numerous titles and duplicate copies of Bible study books to share with residents and staff at Hope House and hospital radiation and oncology departments where Bonnie is being treated. In addition, not going to Asia this fall has enabled me to write a first principles Bible study book, which I was asked to write two years ago.
This was to be a short week because the Thanksgiving holiday interrupts treatment Thursday and Friday. However, though Bonnie received radiation Monday, but the balance of radiation treatments for the week were cancelled because of Bonnie’s low white blood cell count. Consequently, after eating lunch, we travelled back to Winona, MS with plans on returning to Jackson, MS on Wednesday for chemotherapy. Bonnie vacillates from moments of feeling well, particularly soon after awaking in the morning, to bouts with nausea and pains. As one might imagine, this is discouraging to both of us, but more so, of course, for Bonnie. The least little bit of activity or eating something exhausts her or hurts.
Tuesday, Bonnie rested most of the day. What little activity she attempted or whenever she tried to eat something, Bonnie became nauseated. In addition, she was very tired. I worked all day on the book I am writing, Walking with Christ.
Wednesday morning Bonnie awoke feeling well, but as soon as she ate some oatmeal, she was ill again. Later in the morning, we, with Rebecca accompanying us, made our way to Jackson, MS for Bonnie’s chemotherapy. Each visit to the oncologist begins with blood work before chemotherapy. Bonnie’s white blood cells and platelets both were too low for her to receive chemotherapy, so we returned once more to Winona, MS. Consequently, the oncologist cancelled the rest of Bonnie’s chemotherapy for the time being, until radiation treatments are complete. Tentatively, Bonnie has nine more treatments; we will return to oncology radiation on Monday, and if Bonnie’s blood counts have improved enough, we expect radiation to resume.
Thursday – Thanksgiving Day, was a good day. Bonnie only experienced a little pain and discomfort, mostly toward end of day. Rebecca, Bonnie and I combined our fixings with Jerry and Paula Bates in their home. They had graciously invited us as they wouldn’t visit their children until the following day. We had a pleasant meal and time with each other. Bonnie, Rebecca and I brought some favorites of ours to the Thanksgiving spread – real mashed potatoes, bread stuffing or dressing, thick gravy and homemade bread. Paula prepared the turkey, deviled eggs, a delicious cheesy broccoli soup, cornbread dressing, pumpkin and pecan pies and other garnishments, such as pickles, olives and cranberry sauce. While sitting and talking, we viewed pictures of Jerry’s recent mission trip to Vietnam; we also saw some of the trinkets that he brought back from there. Upon returning to the house, I finished answering a question that will appear in the December edition of Gospel Gazette Online; I placed it in the magazine on page 16.
Friday, I worked on the manuscript for the book Walking with Christ that I am writing; I am coming ever closer to finishing the first draft, going back and filling in the outlined areas that I passed over previously. It may prove as difficult to progress from here as it was to get this far along in the first place.
Bonnie was feeling marginally well. She did some straightening up in one of our rooms that has become a drop and run depot since she became ill and our plans changed. Sometimes we are barely home enough from receiving treatments to do much more than wash clothes and reload our suitcases. Bonnie worked on our personal and Rushmore Evangelism finances, and Rebecca and she prepared lunch; Bonnie has been sidelined largely respecting domestic activities because of illness, though she is ever eager to resume what she can. Our daughter Rebecca is a big help and a tremendous encourager to both of us – by her mere presence in addition to whatever else she helps us do.
Friday evening, Bonnie and I as well as Rebecca were guests of Betty Choate for supper. Some of her family was in and sister Choate thought to include us, too. We appreciated that very much.
Friday and Saturday, I visited a local pharmacy. As it turned out, I needed an insurance override to obtain the first order of my diabetic supplies for a new meter since some lances remained for the previous meter that quit working; therefore, I was able to get a prescription for Bonnie on Friday and myself on Saturday.
We and Rebecca went to the office for an hour and a half to attend to things that we can’t do otherwise (e.g., print and prepare for mailing “Thank You” cards to supporters, package religious books to give to oncology radiation and oncology chemotherapy staffs; I already prepared a box for staff and patients at Hope House of Hospitality where Bonnie and I are staying weeknights during Bonnie’s medical treatments. We three capped our little Winona, MS outing by having lunch at one of the best Mexican restaurants in the world – right here in Winona.
I worked on the new book, and Bonnie and Rebecca worked on a Rushmore Evangelism spreadsheet. Rebecca helped us with numerous tasks that either we haven’t gotten to or that are difficult for me to do by myself (e.g., mopped the kitchen floor, brought holiday decorations down from the attic, move some furniture around, did laundry, etc.). Since it was a warm day, I seized the opportunity to fertilize the lawn with a vision of healthier grass next year. Rebecca and I made a couple of shoe tying apparatuses to help one of her school students learn to tie his shoes. After the houseplants were watered, I ironed a couple of shirts for next week in Jackson, MS. All of the little things sometimes become bigger challenges, and Bonnie and I appreciate the assistance, especially that Rebecca has provided us over the last few days. She is a sure blessing in our lives for so many reasons.
Thank you for your interest, encouragement and prayers. We remain your servants in Jesus Christ. Most of the days this week have been at least more good than bad days for Bonnie. She perseveres through the pains, nausea, discomfort, weariness and tears. We view ourselves as pilgrims marching toward home, all the while hoping to be useful tools in the hands of God along the way – all the way!