February 25, 2008
A Note from Dr. Cook
I finished my last chemotherapy on Wednesday, February 13. I am so glad to be through with the chemotherapy. Hopefully, I will get better every day. I wanted to particularly ask you if you would continue to pray for my white blood cells to go up and for healing to take place.
I went to the doctor on Friday and had blood work and my white blood cells were down to 1.8 again. They had gotten up to 3.1 at the time of the chemotherapy, but the chemotherapy knocked them down again as it has in the past. (The lower part of the normal range is 4.5.) According to the doctor, this is to be expected. The white blood cells relate to my immune system so I need to continue to be careful, and I just pray that I will not get the flu or a cold or an infection. So I surely would appreciate your praying for my white blood cells. My red blood cells seem to be stable. I am still not at the normal point, and this deals with my energy level, but they have remained stable. The blood platelets have gone down, but they are in the okay range for now, and that is a blessing in regard to bleeding.
Every day since Saturday, February 16, nine days ago, I have felt a little better every day. On Saturday and Sunday, February 23 and 24, it was warm enough for me to walk outside. I was able to walk for an hour on Saturday and 45 minutes on Sunday at a brisk pace. So I am so happy that I am feeling better. I just do not feel that I should be in gatherings where I can catch a cold or the flu or some type of infection until my white blood cells get back to the normal range. I am continuing to work from home about eight hours a day, meeting with our cabinet and occasionally with individuals.
I wanted to share with you about how the Lord reached out to me and spoke to me in a wonderful way on Saturday, February 16. This was three days after my chemotherapy. I was very weak that day and had been nauseous and had problems with my stomach and intestines. However, I was able to get around that morning. At noon, Sheila prepared a meal, and our oldest son, David, came over and had lunch with us. About midway through the lunch, I felt like I was getting ready to pass out, and I got down on the floor and did not pass out, but then David and Sheila had to help me get to the bed where I spent the rest of the afternoon.
That morning, I had received an e-mail at 9:24 a.m. from a wonderful friend and DBU trustee, Charlie Frazier. My assistant, Brance Barker, who serves in the president’s office, had come to work that afternoon and had picked up the e-mail for me and printed it out. I had not seen it yet when he brought it to me. Brance was working in the office on some dictation that I had done on Friday and opening the mail and doing some other things in the office. He called me to see if I was ready to have the items brought down to me. I told him that Sheila had gone to the pharmacy and was not here, and that I was not well enough to get out of the bed, and he would need to bring a key and bring the materials to our bedroom. When he arrived, he had this e-mail from Charlie Frazier, and I had an opportunity to then read it for the first time. I was just amazed because it was as if the Lord was sending this message directly to me. It referred to how the Lord would sustain me up on my sickbed in my illness. Here I was in my sickbed. I had not felt like I needed to go to bed in the middle of the day like this in a month, since I had had my last chemotherapy. I had done pretty well, and while I had rested, I had never thought about it being a sickbed until this particular Saturday when I felt so bad and really could not get out of bed.
The other key word in the passage was “restore.” That is a word that has come to mean so much to me during my illness, and I have asked the Lord to restore me to my health throughout this four-and-a-half month journey. So here is the passage that Charlie sent to me. He said this,
“The Lord gave me a few verses that I am claiming for you. They are from Psalm 41:1-3
How blessed is he who considers the helpless;
The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble.
The Lord will protect him and keep him alive,
And he shall be called blessed upon the earth;
The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed;
In his illness, You restore him to health.
Gary, so many times you have considered and helped those who were helpless—those who were without some type of means or capabilities to meet their own need or to achieve a worthy goal. Whether helping make a college education a reality, to providing wisdom, counsel, and friendship to so many, among other things. So, we will claim these promises from God's Word for you—that the Lord will sustain you and restore you to full health.”
I was so touched because if I had gotten the e-mail that morning at 9:24 a.m., I was not in a sickbed and I was walking around the house and doing pretty well. But by the time this e-mail arrived and was delivered by Brance Barker to me, I was on my sickbed with my illness asking the Lord to restore me to health, and here was the Lord sending this message from Psalm 41:1-3 to give me a word of encouragement.
Throughout my illness, the Lord has continued to reach out to me and encourage me. I have pleaded with him for a miracle, and I have also asked Him on a daily basis to come and be here with me and to help me to feel His presence. He has certainly been here with me, and I am so grateful that the Lord never will leave me and will always be here with me.
I just wanted to share this with you and tell you how grateful I am to the Lord for giving me life itself and for being my Father and my Redeemer. I know that my Redeemer liveth!