Thanksgiving has a whole new meaning for me this year. Thanks to you, my doctors and to God, I am well and alive. This time last year that was in doubt.
As many of you know, last fall we found my second cancer. This one was rare and little understood. It had no relationship to the first. It was an extra nodal T-cell lymphoma that was growing inside my right nostril. My oncologist team tells me that it is only the second such case they have ever dealt with. That was outright scary!
Once again surgery was necessary. But this time it was an out-patient procedure. Because of its location, the surgeon was unable to remove surrounding tissue. I had three options for follow up treatment. Radiation, chemotherapy or both. The prescribed chemo program for this cancer was a cocktail of four different agents taken at the same time. I was assured that it would not be pleasant.
Because I had undergone extensive chemotherapy for the colon cancer, we decided to do the radiation therapy, then see how things were. If chemo was still indicated, we would then do that.
The radiation was targeted at my nose, but it affected most of my lower face. My nose, lips, tongue, gums and other soft tissue became very sensitive. The treatments lasted through the holidays and into early February. Then there was the recovery period. I was limited to soft foods and liquid until mid summer.
Finally, the doctors repeated the upper body pet scan designed to reveal any additional cancerous activity. As the doctor put it, “Nothing lit up!” As of now, no cancer can be detected.
Therefore, I enter this season of Thanksgiving with many people to thank. Thanks to the doctors who have saved my life for a second time. Thanks to you for your prayers and encouragement. Thanks to my family for being there when I needed them. And especially, thanks to God for giving me more time to work on my writing projects.
And while I am on that topic, I really appreciate those of you who read and comment on my essays. Even those who disagree with me. As I told one critic, “If everyone agrees with everything I write, there would be no point in writing it.” Most of you tell me to keep writing, even those who disagree. And that encouragement is very much appreciated.
I frequently hear from all parts of America about material on the Web. I think I have heard from nearly every state now, even one from Alaska. I do plan on expanding my website to include some of the earlier material soon. I hope you enjoy that.
So this is my year to be grateful. Thanks to all of you for your prayers, your support and encouragement. I plan to keep writing for several publications for as long as my mind and health will allow. Please keep reading and responding. You make it worth the effort.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be accessed at http://www.frankgillispie.com/gillispieonline.
I'm sorry to hear of your troubles Frank. I'm also happy to hear that you are doing much better. I enjoy reading your editorials, although I rarely agree with you. I will admit of all the editorial writers on the five local papers, yours is usually the most interesting. A very happy Thanksgiving wish to you.