Thursday, January 10, 2008

Columbus Marathon and Leukemia-Lymphoma Society

Tyler is now receiving his 3rd chemo treatment of this 3rd round. With this round each treatment lasts 7 hours, given twice a day. He is starting this round the strongest he has been in a long tome, so we pray that it will result in fewer side effects. Tonight his fever has begun to spike, and the headache is coming on strong. The morphine has been increased, so hopefully the pain will subside enough to get some sleep.

As I sit here in the dark, I am remembering back to an event just three weeks before the discovery of Tyler's cancer. It was at the Columbus Marathon. Kathy says everything happens for a reason, and that nothing is a coincidence. Sometimes I think she might be right.

I volunteer at the Columbus Marathon, working at the last water station, where the crowds are really spread out. I like to watch the runners at that point, surviving on their determination and inner strength. As volunteers we are assigned to a specific water station, but this year I went to a different one, only because it was near my son's OSU dorm and we could meet for lunch after the race. As it turns out, that station is always sponsored and staffed exclusively by the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society of Ohio. I spent the next 6 hours with 12 staff and volunteers of the society, learning more than I ever knew about Leukemia and Lymphoma. I even collected business cards, because a good friend had just learned his daughter had Leukemia. I never imagined that, less than 3 weeks later, we would learn of Tyler's Lymphoma and Leukemia. I never imagined I would then be learning more about bone marrows, stem cells, spinal taps, transplants, and chemotherapy than I ever wanted to know.

Over the past two months I have been amazed at how this and other circumstances have brought us together with key people. Some have been in a position to help us, and other times we were in a position to help them. As I think about all the tremendous support we have received, I am amazed at the events and circumstances, sometimes over the course of years, that have brought into our lives the people who are now supporting us through this. I do not know if all of life's events are as orchestrated as Kathy says they are, but I do know that I now pay more attention to the people who cross our path. I pay more attention to the people that come in and out of our lives. Sometimes I have something to offer them, other times I do not. Some time all they need is a smile and a little joy and encouragement. Sometimes it is much more. But I do not take those encounters for granted. I do not consider them random.

On November 13th, the day before we learned of Tyler's cancer, I attended a seminar where Archie Griffin was one of the speakers. He made one comment I wrote down. He said you must always be looking for opportunities to "pay forward". You will never be able to adequately "pay back" all of those wonderful people who have helped you and made you what you are today. Therefore look for opportunities to "pay forward", becoming instrumental in another person's life, well being, and success.

A few years ago during the marathon, while working the water station at mile 24, I saw one of the racers running with his eyes closed. He was weaving back and forth and looking completely out of it. He was muttering to himself, "Help me Jesus. Help me Jesus. Help me Jesus". I jumped in front of him and yelled "Water!". He opened his eyes, hugged me, kissed me on both cheeks, and said,"Thank you Jesus!" He then took the water and kept running, muttering "Help me Jesus. Help me Jesus". I'm sure it is the only time I have been compared to Jesus, but I will take it (even if the guy was delusional). Afterwords I told Kathy everything happens for a reason. She told me that one did not count, because it was just weird.

Maybe everything does happen for a reason. Maybe that reason is to let us know we are all in this together. Mother Teresa said, "What I do you can not do; but what you do I can not do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful."

Yesterday a friend told me we would get through this and everything would be exactly the way things were before. They were only half right. We will get through this. Tyler will be healthy and cancer free. We will have our family back together. We will even get through the finances. But we will not be exactly like we were before. In the past we have been active with the food banks, habitat programs, and mission trips. But I never really understood the recipients. I never understood the loneliness and helplessness of facing insurmountable obstacles. I have always given, but never with a passion. And never as much as I could. I never want to go back to that place again.

"My brothers, what use is it for a man to say he has faith when he does nothing to show it? Can that faith save him? Suppose a brother is in rags without food for a day, and you say, "Good luck to you, keep warm, have plenty to eat", but do nothing to supply their bodily needs, what good is that? So with faith, if it does not lead to action, it is itself a lifeless thing."
---James 2:14-17


It was not my fault said...

Wow! I am amazed at this sweet set up for your son! I had the priveledge of being one of Dr. Haring's patients yesterday when you came in and he was actually working on my daughter's teeth. He was told by the cute little blonde girl that Mr. Alfriend was here, and he looked towards me and politely asked me if I minded that he go speak to you. While you were talking, Dr. Haring's assistant Lori told me abut Tyler and his fight, and showed me the braclets! I was before I left I bought several of them. Sometimes it is a statement of a braclet-that leads you to be able to speak of his story, although I do not know your family...I will wear and it will remind me to pray for you.
I am so blessed to have been there at just the right time, and thankful that I found your site! Tyler will be healed you must believe that God has his masterplan in mind...and that his healing is in it. I will be praying that God will use Tyler as an instrument for saving lost souls and to be a witness in dark places! Lots of Love,
Leslie Jones

Stacy said...

Kyle, you were a blessing to that runner. His prayers were answered when you brought him water.
Tyler is blessed because he has you and Kathy as parents.
My prayers are with you and your family and for strength and healing for Tyler.
Warmest regards,
Stacy Lodico