Whoa - was that 2013 that just whizzed by?!
It was November and out of the corner of my eye I could see December coming up fast, dressed in red and green and smelling of cinnamon, and then wham! suddenly it's January and I still have all kinds of great stuff left on my To Do list. Well played, 2013, well played.
But I did have one of the best holiday seasons ever, filled with family and friends and cookies and great times. My husband and I visited Colonial Williamsburg early in the month for some fun and to see the holiday decorations, which were just amazing. It's well worth going during the Christmas season just to see all the colonial wreaths and decorations featuring red apples, fresh greenery, pineapples, dried flowers, and more. They should come with a warning label, however: Do Not Try This at Home.
My first job was at a small bank in Austin and the president asked me to manage the holiday decorations, specifying that he wanted natural greenery and nothing artificial. A Colonial Williamsburg theme seemed just the ticket, and our florist outdid himself. The bank looked magnificent when everything went up: very classy and elegant, and the evergreen wreaths smelled and looked divine. But did I mention this bank was in Austin, Texas? where it's much, much hotter in December than it is in Williamsburg, Virginia? By the end of the first week, tellers were starting to swat at fruit flies. By the second week, we were all learning how quickly and exponentially fruit flies reproduce. I had to call the florist and get him to replace the fruit with Christmas ornaments. Then I had to call an exterminator. The next year I faced no arguments whatsoever when I proposed artificial greenery. So proceed at your own risk with those gorgeous colonial decorations. But back to January...
2014 Is The Year of the Pill
I have news to report on two new pills to help cancer patients. The first is startlingly good news for mantle cell lymphoma patients, who usually have to get chemo every two months for the rest of their lives as mantle cell lymphoma is a particularly sneaky kind of cancer which can creep back in at any time. A new drug was just approved in pill format, and a friend of ours at church is one of the first to try it out. Claire will take five little pills once a day, and as soon as her doctor is sure that it's truly doing the job for her, she'll be able to eliminate or reduce the chemo. What a huge improvement this will make in quality of life for mantle cell lymphoma patients!
The second pill is a prescription-strength medical food which helps neuropathy, that tingling/numbness in your feet or hands. Is anyone besides me going "huh? what the heck is medical food?" According to the FDA, it's a specially formulated food given under a doctor's supervision to meet the specific nutritional needs of diseases which can't be met by normal diet alone. It can be a liquid, a solid, or a pill. Anyway, diabetes patients have long reported that strong doses of the vitamin B group (B6, B9, B12) help neuropathy but who wants to have to give themselves shots? So of course there's a company out there which stepped in to fill the void by creating super-strong B-vitamin complex pills. Cancer doctors are starting to borrow this little trick to help their patients, so if you have neuropathy as I do, ask your doctor about it. It takes about 30 days to reach full effect, so I'll report back later about how it's working out for me. But oh my, what a relief it will be if these little pills do the job!
A good friend just ran a marathon at Disneyworld to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a fabulous organization whose work in research is leading to breakthroughs like the pills above. She's done this for several years now, setting her goal higher each time, and this year she raised $10,000. Talk about one person making a difference - go, JennyRose! If you're a runner or want to become one, check out LLS's Team in Training, which helps couch potatoes become runners and runners become marathoners. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to raise money to stop cancer in its tracks.
One of our best friends was just diagnosed with a fairly rare lymphoma: angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. He is already getting transfusions and he starts chemo next week. So I'm asking my prayer warriors to add my friend Mike to their prayer list and send a lot of good vibes his way.
Here's to a healthier, happier 2014!