Dear Precious Ones,
Well....this is it. At 10:30 a.m. on Friday, January 14, 2005, I will complete my final radiation treatment. And at around 11:00 a.m. you may be lucky enough to hear the faint sound of a bell ringing. What exactly does that mean? At M.D. Anderson, all radiation patients have the honor of ringing this huge bell near the waiting room, signaling to all that you (the patient) have finished treatment. Yes, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. I am VERY excited! And at the moment I ring the bell, I also imagine that the angels in heaven will begin singing and God will part the clouds as rays of sunlight shine on my face. He will then look down on me and smile. We will finish the last day of this journey together.
If you can believe it, my time here in Houston began 8 months ago. On June 14th I began the first round of chemotherapy and on January 14th I will take my last round of radiation. And in between those two dates...a great miracle took place. Most of you already know, but on October 22, 2004 I was notified that I was cancer free. Knowing that, I still had to complete my final 2 rounds of chemo (out of 6) and then take 22 rounds of radiation therapy.
All of these dates and numbers may soon be forgotten, but the miracle of my healing is with me forever. It's funny that cancer, which at first we all think takes so much from our life, has actually added so much to mine. I have never felt as close to God, my family or my friends as I do now. That just shows how great and big the body of Christ is and how powerful a person's prayer can be. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you so much-- for each and every prayer. Your prayers gave my family and I such a peace, and helped us through the most challenging of days.
So maybe you are wondering what lies ahead....well, I wish I knew exactly. I think God likes to surprise us all. As of now, my plan is to return to my job with the H.E. Butt Foundation in Kerrville, Texas, coordinating the Free Camp Sponsorship Program. I will also begin hanging out with high school kids again as a Young Life volunteer and want to become a more active member at my church in San Antonio. I look foward to seeing my family and friends more frequently-- meaning there is always an open invitation for you to visit me in Kerrville!
And of course, I will remain a part-time Houston resident as I make several visits back here for check-ups. These first few months I will be here weekly, with my first "big visit" mid-March. They just can't get enough of me! You know, I really think they might miss me a little bit. And I too, will miss my friends here. It's hard to put into words, but this place will always be very special to me.
So as one journey ends, another begins. That's what the "ringing of the bell" means to me. Thank you for celebrating in this wonderful day. I couldn't have done it without you and our very faithful Father.
All My Love,