March 25, 2008

Wonderful News!

Dear Friends,

I have wonderful news. God has healed me. The 1 million cell genetic study has been completed and I have no cancer cells. I am in remission! I will just need to take pills now for the next year and a half.  Ninety percent of the individuals who have had my particular kind of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) and go into remission never have a recurrence.

My oncologist, Dr. Arthur Molina, has been such a great inspiration for me all the way through this journey. He is not only extremely competent and capable, but he has also been so caring, and I am fortunate that he was the oncologist on duty the weekend that I came in with acute leukemia and therefore became my doctor. 

One particular Scripture passage that has been so helpful to me throughout this five-and-a-half-month journey has been Psalm 40:1-3.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, 
     out of the mud and mire; 
     he set my feet on a rock 
     and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, 
     a hymn of praise to our God. 
     Many will see and fear 
     and put their trust in the LORD.

When I was a teenager, my grandmother used to send me poems by Helen Steiner Rice. I used to think they were so corny, but during this illness, one of our DBU professors, Dr. Sue Kavli, sent me this poem by Helen Steiner Rice, and I have held on to it and read it dozens and dozens of times.

"A Bend In The Road"

When we feel we have nothing left to give
and we are sure that the song has ended,
When our day seems over and the shadows fall
and the darkness of night has descended,

Where can we go to find the strength
to valiantly keep on trying?
Where can we find the hand that will dry
the tears that the heart is crying?

There's but one place to go and that is to God,
and dropping all pretense and pride,
We can pour out our problems without restraint
and gain strength with Him at our side.

And together we stand at life's crossroads
and view what we think is the end,
But God has a much bigger vision,
and He tells us it's only a bend,

For the road goes on and is smoother,
and the pause in the song is a rest,
And the part that's unsung and unfinished
is the sweetest and richest and best.

So rest and relax and grow stronger -
let go and let God share your load.
Your work is not finished or ended -
you've just come to a bend in the road.

I am so blessed that the Lord has allowed for this to be just a “Bend in the Road” and not the end of the road. Thank you for loving me, and for encouraging me, and, most of all, for praying to the Lord and pleading to the Lord that He would give me longer life and that I would be healed. I will always be grateful to you and to our Father in Heaven who has extended my life. My wonderful wife, Sheila, who has taken such good care of me joins me in saying thank you and God bless you.


Gary Cook