Paul F Pavao
I have no degrees, and no official Christian or history education. I am a Mensa member, which means I'm really smart, but God opposes the wisdom of the wise, so I can't refer you to that, either.
Here are my qualifications:
I am married with six children, two of which are still at home. Oh, and I was born in 1961, so I'm 54 as I write this.
There is a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I must qualify for it. I have had both. (Note: it's a research and support organization. One doesn't join it. One contributes to it. The "qualify" was a joke.)
In 2011 I began a bout with leukemia that lasted almost a year and culminated in a bone marrow transplant. I had a heart attack in November, 2011 after two days of fever and a 120-130 heart rate. I only had about 40% of the red blood that I should normally have, so basically my heart was starving. Nonetheless, our Father was kind to me, and there was no heart damage. Six weeks later I ran two miles.
BPDCN is a very rare and aggressive leukemia. It was my original diagnosis from the first pathology lab that looked at my bone marrow. Vanderbilt Cancer Center has its own pathology lab, though, and they treated me, so they had to verify the diagnosis. In the end, it was almost BPDCN. They just called it Acute Undifferentiated Leukemia, and they treated it as though it were BPDCN.
Interestingly enough, the transplant changed my blood type to match the donor blood. I went from A+ to A- about two years after the transplant. I also can't ever stay out in the sun without 50+ sunscreen applied thickly because too much UV rays will trigger my new immune system to attack my skin. I hate the sunscreen, though, so I wear a ball cap and hoodie all the time. In summer I just wear a thinner hoodie.
In November, 2014 I added lymphoma to my resumé. The likely cause was the immunosuppressives I was taken to keep my transplanted immune system under control. They put the lymphoma in remission with four rounds of chemo that ended in February, 2015.
As I write this, it is April, and I feel great, but my body just doesn't want to recover the main part of its immune system, the neutrophils. All my doctors are scratching their heads except one, who is sure that my lack of neutrophils is a reaction to Rituximab, a hormone that kills b-cells and which they used to treat my "Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma."
Hopefully he's right and my neutrophils will come back on their own sometime in the next couple months. Until then I am getting booster shots (Neupogen) to keep the neutrophils at a safe level. (Current as of 4/24/2015.)
Here I must express my gratefulness not only to God, but to my incredible wife who carried me through both sets of cancer treatments while trying to home school four children (leukemia), then two children (lymphoma).
So many trips to the emergency room; two long hospital stays for the leukemia; running the household when I couldn't get out of bed; rejoicing with me and believing with me that this was all for the best. She is a saint, the love of my life, and has proven beyond anything that should have been demanded of her that she loves me.
You can read my story at my "Yippee! I Have Leukemia" blog. You might want to start with the page on why leukemia can be good.