a reminder of God’s blessing

An interview in the New York Times reminds me of a great blessing from God our family received a little over six years ago.

I have written about this before, but I just want to again give praise to the Lord for the gifts he gives to men.

Six and a half years ago, my wife began to lose weight rapidly and was bruising easily. She was becoming more and more exhausted each day. (She was enjoying the weight loss part!) We called our doctor who immediately got the ball rolling in our health care system, no small feat. The diagnosis was Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). Our hematologist was very upbeat, however. The new therapy for this disease was a drug called Gleevec, just approved for CML treatment two years previously. We haven’t looked back. Gleevec has very minimal side-effects (we haven’t really noticed any). My wife is living a normal life.

The interview with Bryan Druker, the doctor in charge of developing Gleevec reminded me of how close my dear wife was to death’s door:

The problem [with a CML diagnosis] was that the death rate in the first year was 25 to 50 percent.

The life expectancy after diagnosis before Gleevec was about 5 years. And the previous treatments would make those years pretty miserable.

This interview gives you a bit of insight into the persistence and dedication of Dr. Druker in bringing Gleevec into production. It is now approved for ten different forms of cancer, but is most successful with CML, I believe.

My wife takes a couple of little orange pills every morning and God has given her six and a half years of normal life. If there is a drawback, as I was commenting to a friend, is that she would have been in heaven these last five years or so … instead, she gets to live with me.

Maybe there is a purgatory?



  1. Marla says:

    I think it is important to remember as well as to share the testimony of God’s blessings–past and present. And, I would imagine that your wife gets that feeling of being “special” when she hears you thank the Lord for her being still being here and in good health (that is, unless she believes in purgatory).

  2. When she thinks of you as her rock and then death as a hard place, she could think of her life as between a rock and a hard place.

  3. Mary Shearouse says:

    We rejoiced with you as I read it to the family tonight. We are so thankful for the presevation of Debbi’s life and the continuation of her sanctification as she takes care of you! Love ya, big brother! :)

  4. Let me first of all state unequivocally that I’m very pleased for your wife’s recovery and full enjoyment of life.
    Second, let me state that I stumbled upon your blog based on the search parameter “myelogenous leukemia + astronauts”… looking for the incidence of this in astronauts due to exposure to radiation.
    So, maybe that will help explain the following question:
    Why would you lay this miraculous recovery at God’s feet, rather than that of science?
    She was treated by a doctor (a scientist), diagnosed by your hematologist (a scientist), and cured absolutely of her condition by a pharmacologist (most definitely a scientist).
    I can’t see how you don’t have room for both God AND science in your life, and the extended new lease on life that your wife now enjoys. Surely, at least in this, the blessings are entirely secular.

    • Hi Gil

      Thanks for the question.

      Science and God are not incompatible. The physical realities observed by Dr. Druker and others in the development of Gleevec were part of our world from the point CML began. Scientists like the good doctor after many years of research and study were able to discover a way to put the disease into remission.

      Well. Is that only the work of man? Who gave man his mind? Who can say that God’s hand is not involved in research like this? Why should we not give thanks to God for every blessing that comes into our lives, whether clearly directly from his hand (as say the sun and rain etc) or indirectly through God-enabled men?

      To fail to acknowledge God’s grace in every gift we enjoy is a folly that will be answered for someday.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3