So why do I even mention God or my faith in my journey with myeloma? The simple answer: I try to fulfill a promise I made to a nurse at Mayo Jacksonville. I assume the health care professionals at Mayo knew, as did my daughter (a health editor at the Wall Street Journal), that as a myeloma patient with dialysis-dependent kidney failure in 2005 I had little to no chance of surviving over 6 months. The average life expectancy for this combination was just 3 months. The nurse looked at me and said I will pray for you to beat this, but I ask that you bear witness. So this reference and my tendency to sometimes include faith in my writing comes from this interaction with a Mayo nurse, but most of all from my personal relationship with God. I pray, and when I pray I find that I frequently believe I get confirmation though something that some people call a Godwink. WHAT'S A GODWINK? A godwink is what some people would call a coincidence, an answered prayer, or simply an experience where you'd say, "Wow, what are the odds of that!"
It seems to me, I have had a few in my life. I find a Great Blue Heron seems to show up when I am in need of making difficult decisions and are answers to a prayer for guidance. This is a coincidence which repeats itself more times than I can count. But now I live next to a pond in north Florida, they are around all of the time.
Godwink 4 - One such Godwink happened when I was at Mayo Jacksonville, and my prognosis was bleak. I was visited by a neighbor who was a miracle herself. She had a brain tumor, half of her brain had been removed and she was a happy, healthy, survivor. At the ICU at Mayo she, her husband, and my family prayed together, and it was cathartic. The nurse came through the door and said all the alarms were going off for heart rate, blood pressure, etc. and thought I might be crashing. A few days later the doctor came to me and said he got my most recent light chain numbers and he thought the nurse had put the decimal point in the wrong location. My numbers went from terrible to near normal!
Godwink 5 - Mayo had saved my life, but I had to make a decision as to where to get a stem cell transplant which my doctor at Mayo had recommended. I had talked to my accountant who had survived stage 4 cancer, and she told me of her decision to go to the Cleveland Clinic and not to a hospital close to home. She said she would remember the bible story of the woman who touched Jesus' robe. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. That Sunday my wife Anita and I went to church, and the subject which our preacher chose to teach on that day was the story of the woman who touched the robe of Jesus and was healed. I chose to go to UAMS in Arkansas, and am now 9 years in CR. Coincidence or Godwink?
In addition to Godwinks, I have a family who had me on a number of prayer lists, and this support and faith allowed me to have a comfort which made what was a very stressful situation almost stress free. I am an engineer and it is easy for me to be fact-based and analytic, however I also believe with divine guidance we can always improve outcomes.
Good luck and may God Bless your Family's Cancer Journey. For more information on multiple myeloma survival rates and treatments CLICK HERE and you can follow me on twitter at: https://twitter.com/grpetersen1