It’s Always Something

Rev. Chris NeilsonThis past week I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia and will be admitted on Monday for several days of chemotherapy followed by weeks of recovery from the effects of the medicine. It’s a scary time, and I’ve barely had a chance to catch my breath. I face an uncertain future, and a lot of days in an isolation room.

I only have about four days to get the district affairs in order before I’ll be plagued with “Chemo brain,” and while I’m willing to keep trying to keep all of my balls in the air that I’ve been juggling, almost all of what I do will need to be shared with the rest of the regional and district staff team as I face this illness. I’m sure many of you with whom I’ve been working will wonder- now who do I call? Where can we turn for help? What happens now? Many of you are still in the middle of a ministerial search. Many have completed searches, and will want to set up a start up with a new minister. Several of you are negotiating conflicts- trying to turn the congregation around to a healthy place.

Many of my projects have been reassigned- so If I’ve been scheduled to be somewhere, someone else will be doing the workshop, conversation, or whatever we had scheduled. Some things may be deferred for now. Some things may have to be cancelled.

Our lead staff consultant, Rev. Joan Van Beceleare will be the primary contact for me right now. She will delegate my duties for the short term. Karen Lobracco is on staff through June, and of course Sue Tabone is ever present in our office. Our district board will also work with Joan to see what additional resources may be needed.

I’m sorry to be off the scene so quickly and urgently, but cancer doesn’t wait for a more convenient time. If it’s not one thing, its another, but we’ll do our best to meet the needs of our congregations. It’s always something! I hope to be back before you even know I’m gone.

In faith and with love,
Rev. Chris

Editor’s Note: The staff and leadership of the Central East Regional Group and its districts wish Chris a speedy recovery and assure her we will take on what needs done in her absence.

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3 thoughts on “It’s Always Something

  1. Put all that incredible energy of yours into getting through this. And please know how many, many people are thinking of you and caring about you, including me. Nancy Reed

  2. Hi Chris,
    Know that we have you in our thoughts as you go through your chemo treatments. We’re sending lots of positive energy your way! We love you!
    Janet, Cory, Billy and Charles

  3. Chris,
    Just finished a CPE unit on the medical oncology floor of UPMC Shadyside with the leukemia patients. What amazed me is all the incredible hope, among both the patients doing the chemo and the staff, plus love, support, and bonding. There is such amazing stuff being done in this field. And, everyone who knows you knows that, if there’s anybody up to putting this into its place, it’s you. It can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride along the way, to be sure, but be good to yourself, take a bunch of stuff from home to make your room more comfortable, and don’t forget to reach out to all of us out here when you need a friendly voice or some help.
    Tom Bodie

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