On Tuesday the voters of Sikeston's Ward 1 handed two people victories. They re-elected Jerry Pullen as their representative on the City Council and the second victory - mine. I felt a great sigh of relief pass over me that evening, because I had placed all of my present medical problems in the hands of the Lord and said to him: "Lord I cannot carry this burden on my own, I place it in your hands. In your hands I also place my race for the city council. If it is your will, I will serve. If you want me to wait until this passes before I should serve, then I will." On Tuesday he made his decision. He wants me to wait and first be healed and then serve the people.
As some of you may know I'm presently in Houston, Texas, at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center undergoing chemotherapy treatment for Non-Hodkins Lymphoma. I was treated last year for the same form of cancer at St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau for eight months after spending six weeks in the hospital. At the end of December my doctor, Dr. Benjamin Yuen, told me there was no sign of any active cancer in my lymphnodes, but some numbers were not at the levels he liked. In February I was told the cancer had returned but this time in the form of a tumor in my stomach. It was at that point my family and I decided the best place to go for cancer
treatment was M.D. Anderson. While here I will be undergoing different forms of chemo including stem cell replacement. This is where they remove the stem cells from you own blood, store it and after your chemo treatments, they are placed back in your system. This speeds your immune system up by days and weeks instead of the normal months.
While this sounds like something out of the future it is becoming very common here at M.D. Anderson. I have large cell aggressive cancer which is the one of the most treatable forms. They have even told me I can be cured. This is something I had never heard before. Most forms of cancer go away and you hope they stay in remission for years. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn't. You must catch cancer early to have the best chance to cure it. My doctors and I think we caught it early and in time. My wife, Joanie, and I will be here in Houston for as long as six months and its during this time, we now can focus totally on curing the cancer.
Some of you may now be asking: "If I knew I had cancer why would I file for city council?" I filed before I knew the cancer had returned and was past the deadline to withdraw when I was told it was back. I filed for the city council not because of unhappiness with Mr. Pullen but because I wanted to make a difference in my city and I didn't know how many years I had left to do it. Jerry Pullen is first and foremost my friend and in small communities it's hard to run for an office and not run against friends. While some of his votes and support in certain areas I have questioned, he has by far served the citizens of Sikeston with their best interest in mind, and I'm certain he will continue to do that in the future.
Also on Tuesday the voters selected Bill Stokes to serve the at-large position, but with the closeness of the race, it shows Sue Rodgers had also served the people with their best interest in mind, but the voters were ready for a change. Sue, you have everything in the world to be proud of the time you spent on the city council. I commend you for sharing your time and talents. I have known Bill for 20 years and know he will also do an outstanding job.
Those who know me well, know, "I'm not a quitter." If I have an agenda I will not sleep until I see change. I will work for as long as it takes until I see results. And I will recruit as many people as it takes to make the change. This is the way I have face every challenge in my life. It's the way I will face cancer today and the way I will face the problems and the solutions of Sikeston tomorrow. With God's will, my faith and the support and prayers of family, friends and the citizens of Sikeston we will all be victorious.