This word I like... We architect our life...
A song, a sigh... developing words that linger...
Through fields of green, through open eyes... It's for us to see.
Interanimate: To animate or inspire mutually

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day +18 Back Home

I got my doctor to let me start commuting today. I left my room and was driven home around 1pm. As an outpatient now I will be better able to thrive and heal. Even with all the drugs close by and the skilled nurses a buttons press away, nothing beats rapid healing like being in ones own home.
I didnt know what an emotional experience it would be to leave there, that little room on the third floor overlooking the golf course and the ocean. The view was an inspiration in itself. The blue sky, the ocean, the trees, the greens; all calling on me to get better and come back and gain strength. When I walked with my family beyond the door of the BMT unit where I occasionally walked for exercise the last 26 days, I choked up. No one we passed through the lobby on the way to the front door could see my tears because I had my beanie cap and mask on. My eyes delivered a surrealistic scene through that short walk. I shouldnt be leaving my unit, I wasnt supposed to be this far away passing so close to healthy people. Cathie held my hand and I concentrated on that instead of my fears. Maddie walked behind me waiting for me to fall. I didnt. Dylan was in the van immediately outside waiting for us. When I stepped outside it took my breath away; the clear blue sky, the fresh air from the rain. It was life in my face and it filled me with a whole set of emotions quite different than those only a half minute before. I was thankful and grateful to everyone who helped me get this far. Outside, in one piece, breathing Gods fresh air and sporting a new set of working stem cells. I feel oddly not exactly who I was when I came in on the 1st. I feel like a new person with a new identity, yet physically weak and frail.
I've walked a little bent over today. Maybe cuz of the little hospital bed I had to mold into for 4 weeks. I feel shorter than 6'1" but I'm not. I feel like I'm 187 lbs now which I am, having lost approx 15 lbs in 4 weeks under the Busulfex/Cytotoxin diet plan. No exercise required in that plan. Now I can dredge up my old genes (no pun) that I squirreled away in my closet the last 15 years for the day when I lost some weight.
Driving home along the coast next to the beach and big waves was exhilarating. It seemed to take forever to complete the 15 minute ride home. Seeing my street and entering my house was cause for more tears. I still cant believe I'm home. I'm able to eat better than at the hospital. I'll be able to get motivated to ratchet up the exercise now. I can take short walks on my street. Cathie, Maddie, Dylan and my wonderful Dad will be my caregivers for the next 3 months.
Sense of smell changed drastically, heightened. The house smells different. I swear I can smell individual pieces of furniture in the house. Not bad smells, just a mishmash of smells from normal things. Tastes have been deadened and a little changed to boot. Gonna have to find foods that taste good. I'll eat better. This was not really an option at the hospital. But no fresh fruits, salads and a bunch of other items I love. Cooked food, no leftovers. It'll be a couple months like this. Taste is supposed to return in 4-6 months.
My counts continue to rise. It looks like I may not need any more RBC transfusions. Platelets are just now beginning to show some production. I'm going back tomorrow morning for another round of blood test and evaluation. After that I will get either 2 or 3 appts per week to come back for that routine.
Love you all!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Day +16

More positive news today. My WBCs have come up to 3.0. A WBC count of 3.0 or above is one of the qualifying factors for being discharged as an outpatient. 2 of the other factors I know about are that you have to be eating and you have to be able to swallow pills. I'm a 'go' on these things too. There was another very pleasant surprise on my blood count sheet. The past 10 days have seen me get at least 1 unit of donor blood. My hemoglobin (Hgb) levels kept diving. I learned that this is typical. I dont know why this happens because red blood cells (RBCs) are supposed to live for around 15 weeks. It could be that the RBCs I had during chemo came to an early death due to the chemo. One day my Hgb was at 6.8. This made me very tired. Yesterday I didnt need a transfusion because my Hgb was 8.6. I thought no big deal. Today my Hgb was 8.8! I'm really stoked about this cuz the main symptom for my MDS over the last 2 years was low RBC/Hgb levels. By last summer, my marrow stem cells had become incapable of producing red blood cells. Suddenly I am now looking at increasing numbers of RBCs/Hgb! This stem cell transplant thing really works!
When I am discharged as an outpatient within the next 3 days, phase 1 of the transplant will be complete. When each of the 3 phases is complete I can 'erase' the poor outcomes statistically associated with that phase. At least thats the way I look at it. A little more peace of mind every new phase. Phase 2 will end on day +100. Phase 3 ends on day +365.
Cathie and Dad hung with me today. I love them very much for their daily onsite support and ability to sit with me for hours without getting bored. On top of everything else in his life, Dad's only sister who lives in Connecticut now has serious medical problems. I pray for aunt Peg's health to improve.
Cathie has been preparing our home for my special needs. The carpets have been cleaned and everything bleached down. I guess we'll all have to learn to improve our hygiene habits for a few months until my immune system has been rebuilt. Everything takes time. Sigh.
As I've drifted through these last 3 weeks in various states of nausea, pain, and mental fogs, I've kept my thoughts focused on the people who were inspiring me to succeed. All of you. Each of your inspirations has been unique and came from your heart. I am convinced that much of the success I've had so far in my journey is due to your spoken, written, and even silently sent messages. I have felt many messages of good will and positive energy from you. This is all I've hoped for. So again, I thank your from the bottom of my heart and the deepest recesses of my newly populated marrow, for your hope; for your inspirations and support.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day +15

"I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east.
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.
Bob Dylan
I dream of the day I'll be discharged from here. Luckily that eventuality has been mentioned by the doctor today. My white blood cell count is 1.6. Other numbers appear to be on track. After the doctors usual poking around, listening, and looking in my mouth, he said I should start commuting soon, no date specified. Commuting means going home and returning for thrice weekly visits for blood test, poking, listening, and looking. When my whites reach an unidentified level, I remain active walking the halls, and I show that I can eat and swallow pills, they'll release me. But it'll be more like a parole after time off for good behavior. Whatever it is I'll take it!
I'm stoked that engraftment of the new stem cells is fully underway. This was a major milestone. From here, the battle will be fought on 2 fronts. First, prevent opportunistic infection. Second, respond to and mitigate and gvhd (graft vs host disease). These 2 threats are considerable but management of them has improved drastically over the last few years. They have drugs to effectively control all but the most severe cases of these buggaboos.
I have been told that the marrow production of red blood cells may take another week or 2. Over the last 10 days I've had daily transfusions of RBCs. I think this may have been due to pre-chemo RBCs dying. But today, my RBC count was 8.6, the same as yesterday. My next big hope and wish is that this number will not drop, but start increasing without help from any more donated blood.
What WILL remain over the next few months as I recover at home is fatigue and some nausea. The old body took a big hit with all the chemo. It will be very weak for a time. The nausea will most likely come from some of the drugs I will have to take.
Cathie and the kids have visited every day and made my hospitalization sufferable. Dad came in today for a couple hours since he doesnt feel a sore throat anymore. My mom has phoned in a couple days to wish me well and to make sure I'm eating my vegetables. I'm afraid I'm going to be a big bump on a log the next 2-3 months so I feel lucky to have such a great support team.
The reason I havent posted in 5 days is fatigue. I felt more energy today.
Thank You all for you continued support, well wishes, prayers. I am forever grateful for your daily inspirations to me and my family.
I might be dischargable from here by Monday! Yipee!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Day +10

A stem cell transplant is not something someone should lose one's hair over. This was my philosophy until as recently as last Wednesday. Unfortunately, in my case, it has happened. I suddenly started losing head hair a couple days ago and now am down to maybe 20% coverage. Viewed from the top,The non-loss areas seem to form a head shot outline of a bearded man. I was kinda hoping for a two-ended lightning bolt. I've now determined that the bearded head outline looks like that well known poster of 'Che', the latin liberator. Tomorrow he should be gone, fallen out. Then my head will look like a cue ball for several months. I've taken to wearing my beaney hat again.

I got the remote EKG device removed from my torso today. It was just another piece of hardware that I now wont have to lug around.

Today the doctor gave a good report. The manual blood count done after the machine counts shows an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) of 10. It also shows a WBC count of 0.1. The manual counts are done by hand but the ANC is more accurate.
The WBC count for a healthy person ranges from 4.5 to 11.
I'm on the board! My stem cell graft appears to be taking place!

Cathie and family hung with me today, once again lifting my spirits. Dad had a sore throat and is making sure he has fully recovered before coming back to my room. He phones me twice a day now. Bless his heart for his unwavering support. The nurses do not want anyone on the floor with any symptoms of infection.

Thanx to all of you!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day +9

Yesterdays ultrascan showed perfectly functioning liver, kidney & spleen. Since I asked to see the screen during the ultrasound I had some concern about the spleen. At one point I saw a large round crater in the organ containing the clearly visible image of the head of a bearded man. I should have asked for a printout but did not even call the technicians attention to it. Since there were lots of strange images on the screen I'm not the slightest worried about it. I'm sure it was the morphine.
Last night I had an episode of cardiac arrhythmia, irregular heartbeat. They did an EKG and then a couple shots of Dijoxan. They say its normal to have such things happen after a major chemo assault on the body. The only other thing going on was rising levels of bilirubin. Most of the morphine I was pushing personally was due to stomach pain. Yesterday I decided to give Malox a try thinking that the problem may be rooted in stomach acid. The result was that I had to push the morphine button a lot less through the day and night. My early a.m. blood test report rewarded my patience, bilirubin levels were down by half. At this morning's doctor meeting I was told I was right where I should be in the process. In the next couple days I hope to see that blip in the blood counts indicating that WBC production has started. The new WBCS will automatically drift their way to my stomach, esophagus and mouth lining to fix the mucuscosis and resulting pain. I cant wait!
love you all!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day +8

Feeling about the same since day 5. At this point the war in my marrow is resulting in the deaths of a lot of A-pos blood and platelets. I've been getting 1 unit of each per day. This also might be the reason for the occasional fevers. The blood I need to be rid of cuz the new B-pos will begin to replace it. A-pos and B-pos blood dont mix well. They say this period will end shortly. The mucusosis situation that causes the pain will get resolved when the new white blood cells are produced in high enough numbers and send repair cells to repair damage. To hasten this, they give daily shots of Neupogen. This evening I spent a half hour getting an ultrasound of the organs in my stomach area. The results will be evaluated to see if there has been any damage.
I'm still sleeping a lot, from 8pm last night to 8am today, and then several times through the day. Cathie came twice, the second time with Dylan and Maddie. I can see the relative calm that you have bestowed upon Cathie with your prayers, thoughts, inspirations, and good will. I feel very humbled and strengthened by your efforts for me too. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm not sure one family alone would have enough strength emotionally and spiritually get through a time like this.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Day +5

Today they hooked me up to a PCA, Pain Control Apparatus. This is a fifth pump added to the pump panel. The slot contains a huge syringe full of morphine. Click on the picture to get an appreciation for this puppy (997k). The PCA pump is programmed to drip morphine slowly into the patient. Additionally, the unit has a button. So, when I feel the pain coming on I can deliver my own dose. However, the button can not be used more than once per 6 minutes. I'll have to make sure I dont wait too long, cuz it could take 1/2 hour or so to get the needed relief. Also notice how the whole unit is locked with a key! Smart fellows these biomed device workers.

The other picture I posted here is of the round bag of stem cells from Wednesday. The collection actually has more than just myeloid stem cells.
My white blood cell counts are officially zero now. When they start going up in a week, they will be new white cells, not the old. Meanwhile the doctors must keep my system supplied with Red and Platelets, cant let these even close to zero.
When the white blood cells start appearing they will, as their first task, repair the damage to my stomach, esophagus, and mouth. For this reason, I'll be provided with morphine until then.
My Dad will not be visiting for a couple days because he thinks he may be coming down with a cold or flu. Cathie visited today, made me feel better just by being there. I'm not very talkative in my morphine haze but Cathie is forgiving.
Thanx everyone.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Day +4

I wasn't much good the last couple days. But feeling better today.
It started Friday when I got a very nasty stomach ache. Turns out is is most likely Mucositis, a common side effect of some of the chemo. The result of M. cover the gut to the mouth. In the mouth, it's called mouth sores. This can go on for a week or so.
No one had really spoken about pain management here so I didnt know much except they like to horde their tylenol (I'm sure for good reason). Friday afternoon I suddenly knew that tylenol wasnt going to help. It turns out, and maybe I shoulda known, that one should build a lag time to get prescribed a new drug. By the time I got a pill of Vicodin I was well on my way to doubled over in pain. 1/2 hour later... relief. I took a second Vicodin to finish off most of the pain. So... out with tylenol... say hello to my new leetle fren; Vicoden. Friday night I tried the Ativan/Vicodin combo. All well and good except I could not stay awake all day Saturday, which was my Day +3.
During the day I was conscious enough to realize that the old drug combo sukd. Consulting with the Doc and the matrix oracle I decide to switch to another 2 drugs. So... out with Ativan/Vicodin, say hello to my newest friends; Patch and Morphine. I now have a common fisherman's nausea patch behind my ear to control nausea, and I get a small shot of morphine every 4-6 hours to deal with the pain of mucusitis. This combo works well now. I had a good day. Hopefully I've seen the worst of the mucusitis. The doctor thinks there is a good chance it wont get worse. Today I was able to eat half of all 3 meals, took my required walks around the floor and was able to stay awake all day.
Plluusssss, a certain sporting event went well for San Diego... Yay!
I will now have some kind of fond memories, of sorts, from my stay here. As a matter of fact, I'll be here for the next Charger game on the 19th. After that, on tap is the Buick Invitational starting the 21st, which I can watch live (through some tree branches) below on the golf course. Oh! life is good! But wait... what if the Chargers lose next week? Ouch. Well, I guess I'll still be getting morphine. ;-)
Kinda funny about that today. Around an hour before the game, the nurses made rounds and gave all the patients stronger shots of morphine. The nurses disappeared until after 2:30. mmm... Patients were roaming the halls crying out "Nurse! Nurse! Nurse please!". Ok. NOT.
Back to whats real. Cathie, family and my Dad visited much the last 2 days and continue to give me a light to look for at the end of this tunnel. Cathie was there when I was in pain. She rubbed my feet and back, gave me encouragement galore. It was hard for her to see me in that state and I hated to let her see me like that.
Thank you for all your support!
Doctor says I'm progressing well.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day +1

In the plus column now! I have pix of the stem cell event and will have to get the energy to transfer them from my camera to the laptop so I can post a couple. The infusion of stem cells was from one round bag. The cells were collected the previous day from the donor and transported from somewhere to here on ice. The infusion itself only took around 10 minutes. There was some normal reactions to the cells for a few hours, but today that has passed. The hosp staff is very compassionate and attentive but they dont hand out tylenol like m&ms. Even though I'm not a tylenol abuser its a good thing they guard their tylenol stash.
I am happy that the worst of the chemo is over. They will give me 4, including one today, more small injections of Methotrexate over the next 20 days. There should be no side effects from this chemo. It is normally used in large doses but I guess they found that 4 small shots after a sct keeps the new stem cells from growing too fast. I wont go into the many other non-chemo drugs I am starting to get. Come to think of it I really dont know how to describe how a chemo drug differs from any other drugs. They're throwing a lot of new pills my way and I will be taking many of them for the next few months. They will ALL trail off by 6-9 months if everything goes well. Kinda weird, but that's the story.
At my asking, Cathie came today early and stayed for most of the day, only leaving to take care of necessary things, and come back with Maddie. My Dad also came and stayed for several hours. My family is so great. I am not close to being myself mentally yet they are so supportive. I feel kind of like I must be the stranger to them that I feel I am to myself. But they continue to recognize me somehow.
Well, it's 10:30pm now. Nights are very long in my room. I'll be hanging here in this room for another 2-3 weeks as the new stem cells start regenerating and doing what they do. Between now and then my old white counts go to zero then start springing back with white cells from the new stem cells. A positive WBC improvement is the main key to getting discharge from the hospital. I cant wait to go home. I'm starting to eat a little now. Mouth sores and hair loss have been negligible so far.
Long road ahead.
Thanx everyone for your many inspirations.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I dont have much energy to think again today but do want to say that I appreciate all of the inspiration I've been getting from you. In an hour or so the staff will load up my chemo tree with a new bag or 2 of stem cells from a kind donor. It's difficult really for me to comprehend such a kind act from a complete stranger. But then, there is a certain amazing book that tries to help us learn to do such things...
Cathie and my Dad are here with me today. The weather outside is sunny. I can see the Torrey Pines Golf Course staff below going about their business preparing for the next visit by Tiger Woods and gang! I'll post as soon as I can.
Thanx again!

Day -1

Not really. I wasnt up to posting yesterday. It is now day zero! Yesterday was good though cuz I had a great visit from my family. Finished out the 'conditioning' treatment (thats what the doctors call 7 days of chemo before a transplant). I now have a new appreciation for those of you who have, and in at least one case continue to receive, chemo treatment. Thank you for staying with us.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Day -2

Monday's almost past. Today I saw my last round of Cytoxan. Not one of my favorite poisons so far. Tomorrow I'll get what I think is my last round of ATG, not a chemo. It doesnt seem to effect me as much now, very little chills. That probably means my T-Cells are nearly depleted. By tomorrow night my white blood cell counts should be near zero so they wont interfere with my donor cell infusion on Day zero.
Tonight between Cytoxan and ATG I ate dinner. I dont know if that's what did it but soon after eating my mouth became painful. They said this would probably happen, mouth sores. So, I'll hit the saline water rinse more often.
Dad came at 9:30 this morn and hung out with me a few hours. Claudia, my sister, came a little later and hung. Cathie came after most of her work day at 1:30pm. She left and came back with Maddie and Dylan for a couple hours. They did some homework.
I wasnt very good company because of the increasing mental effects of the chemo and ATG. I've been looking at all my daily blood counts along with the doctors. We can see that the counts are progressing as planned. Starting tomorrow, the effects of all the chemos will really start catching up to me. I'll need to make extra efforts to do the things they want me to do daily until the new stem cells start producing baby cells. Take 3 walks per day, eat, rinse mouth with a couple things, shower every day, exercise my lungs using a breathing device. After I get the cells infused on Wed, there is likely to be a 12-20 day wait for signs of grafting and subsequent improvements from my new stem cells. Time to hunker down, get tough. I really appreciate all the prayers, good will, and positive energy I've been feeling from my 11 readers! Again, I know this is not exactly an uplifting blog to read. And I hope I am not coming across as a complainer. I'm trying to inform those who wish to be, not so much about my progress, but as a way for you to understand the impact my situation is having upon my family as I am somewhat limited in my ability and position to help them during this time. What's more, I want to be inspired to make this journey and maybe provide some kind of inspiration for any of you who may have to, or have already, taken similar journeys. As I said, I already feel your help with this mutual inspiration project.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Day -3

Still here and recovered from the first round of ATG!

I meant to post a second edition yesterday after my chemo dance with ATG. Alas, ATG knocked me out with chills, fever, headache, and dizziness. It would have been better if I could have taken tylenol, but that was off limits cuz of the busulfex.
This is what I understand is happening with my white blood cells, especially T-Cells. T-Cells are the dudes that really go out to destroy foreign particles in the body. We have to get them down in order for them not to attack incoming stem cells wednesday. over the past 4 days, the busulfex has essentially put the whammy on new T-Cell production. IE: there are no re-enforcements for the T-Cells. However, the busulfex only stops new production of T-Cells, therefore any T-Cells hanging around before the busulfex must be now nuked. So they use this stuff called ATG. This are Antithymocyte Globulin Rabbit antibodies. Harmless little rabbit antibodies. However, when they are injected into the patients system, they alarm the T-Cells to the max. This is what the T-Cells do: Eat the antibodies, release cytokines, hope for re-enforcements. Eating the antibodies is good. Dont need them, but they are really not a harm anyway. Releasing Cytokines will heat things up causing fever, sometimes killing the foreign particles if they are heat-sensitive. There are no T-Cell re-enforcements, they all went home. After shooting their wad on the rabbit antibodies, the T-Cells die. So, the whole little staged fight is very well orchestrated to be deadly for the poor little rabbit antibodies and the T-Cells. For the chemo recipient the experience fortunately is not deadly. I have 3 more sessions of ATG chemo the next 3 days. I am going to ask for Demerol. Also today and tomorrow I get the final chemo called Cytoxan. This is the writeup on Cytoxan: "Cyclophosphamide stops the growth of cancer cells, causing them to die." I'll just leave it at that for Cytoxan. Well, reading on now, there is one more chemo in store. It is called Methotrexate. This drup stops the growth of cancer cells. I will get shots of this stuff Jan 10, 12, 15, and 20.
I dont know what I would have done last night without Cathie stroking my fore brow and whispering words of encouragement.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Day -4: a.m. edition

Hi. Here are my counts.
Hgb:8.3, WBC:17.5, Plt:161
These dont look much diff than when I came in. However, Docs and nurses say that the White Blood Cell count will plummet to zero by day +5 for me. So far I'm getting high marks for energy upkeep and no mouth sores. Developing a few aches and pains but that could be from my constant muscle use getting in and out of bed to go pee-pee. They keep dripping in saline solution non-stop, not much I can do but pee into the big cup, yes, they want to measure everything coming and going. Here's what on tap today. ATG infusion. This is some foul stuff that is meant to start knocking out my remaining T-Cells. Often, the administration of ATG is accompanied by chills and fever although there is no actual infection. This is due to the T-Cells releasing cytokines. We'll see how this goes today. It is important to reduce the T-Cells so they dont attack my new stem cells on day zero.
Eating a tuna melt sandwich now as i'm getting my 14th dose of busulfex. The sandwich still tastes good. Pretty soon it'll all taste bad. but thats all relative.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Day -5

The storms are moving in from the West. I get a direct view of them climbing over the western horizon, then above the torrey pines cliffs onto the links. Now if only I could buzz down some of the volunteer trees that currently serve to shield the hospital from the eyes of the aesthetically demanding professional golfers. No tourney this week. No Tiger Woods, Singh, etc... Lets see... yes, only my 2 doctors can be seen on hole 12.
They are supposed to be doing rounds right now. ouch. If one gets a birdie all is forgiven.
Family came and left today. Dad did solitaire and read the paper. Cathie and Dylan spelled him, Cathie worked via her new Verizon broadband card, Dylan watched TV. He and I got in a quick game of chair tag. That's tag where no one can leave the chair. Since i'm hooked up with tubes it's only fair. Dylan won.
I'm on my 11th bag of busulfex today at 6pm. Ironically, 3 out of the 4 dosings are accompanied by a meal. The meals come at the 6am, noon, and 6pm busulfex dosings. I still get the hiccups now whenever I eat. They seem to be mitigated by the Adivan, and dont keep me awake. I'm told that by next week I will reach the low point of this jouney; day zero. no energy, mouth sores, no appetite, and other unmentionables. We'll see how it goes. I will not be giving up.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Day -6

Settling in to my room here at Scripps. The chemo is coming hot and heavy, each dose lasting 2 hours repeatable 4 times per day for 6 days. After the busulfex i'll be on another similar drug for 2 days. Its called Cytoxan 4. The cocktail of Busulfex and Cytoxan is supposed to make my old stem cells (and others) go away.
Dose 7 of 16 of busulfex is coming up at midnight tonight. Theyre also giving me an antibiotic drug, an anti-seizure iv and a pill to prevent gerd. I'm a little dizzy from the Adivan but basically free of other side-effects from busulfex yet. However, I seem to have caught a permanent case of hiccups. Luckily it stops after I go to sleep.
Well, I have 2 more days of Busulfex and 2 of Cytoxan yet to cope with. If I'm lucky my body will avoid getting some of the more serious side effects. I'm still eating pretty well. The food is neutrophenic so it doesnt contain nasty little bugs that could hurt my weakened immune system. No fresh fruit! bummer. My blood counts are taken every morning and are starting to slide. This is good. They'll let the white counts slide to zero. I'll get plateletes so i dont bleed to death. and I'll get red blood cells so i dont die of a heart attack. Donor stem cells will be infused on day +0, next Wed. They will move into healthy bone marrow and do the job that my stem cells stopped doing. A nurse just came in with something for my hiccups. Compazine. I looked this up and think I will pass on it. In 1o min, the nurse comes to take my vitals and then i get 2 more Adivan in prep for the midnight-2apm buselfex poisoning. Whoopee! They tell me to walk around the ward floor 3 times a day. So far so good. I'm going to checkout the treadmill machine in the patient room tomorrow. Family is visiting every day, hanging out. It's so sad when they have to leave. We also sense your prayers, good will, and positive energy. Thank you! You are an inspiration to us.
Regards all!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Day -7

Hi 11 readers. I have inserted 4 pictures into the post that you may not see in the Email version. You'll have to browse the blog to see the pix.

We got to the hosp around 8pm last night, the 4 of us. We were shown to a double room facing the torrey pines golf course and the ocean. There will be no other occupant in the room so I choose the bed closest to the bathroom. Even though the bed near the huge window would be nice to wake up to in the morning, for more practical reasons, you need to be as close as possible to the bathroom. Obviously we were are pleasantly surprised at the selection of room for us. The other 2 times I was here for a short time, they put us in smaller rooms.
Cathie, Maddie, Dylan and I visited for a couple hours while various nurses came in and poked around me, drew blood, make me sign things that I wasnt allowed to read, etc... M&D decided to decorate the 2 white boards on the far wall. Down in the family room there are many puzzles that we'll look at completing while I'm here. We got a cool 1000 piece puzzle for Christmas that the family enjoyed completing in the 7 days leading up to today. It turns out to be a really cool family project.
The family left me at 10:10pm. We were all sad about having to part.

This morn at 4am I got my nightly headache 7 hours late. So I got up and paced the room. There was room to pace! Then it got to be 4:50am. Since I knew the nurses were coming in at 5am to give me 2 shot of Adivan, I buzzed them 10 minutes ahead of time and said "I'm ready". You see, they wont let me take the things that help this headache: Tylenol or Advil. Aleve doesnt really work. So I figure I wanted to get some of that Adivan. It worked. I've had 3 doses of it now and can think reasonably straight.

This time I saw the chemo tree that delivered the busulfex. The tree has eight branches. There are 4 bags hanging, their tubes winding down to a set of 4 pumps controlled by a central computer. The bags contain Busulfex, Zolfan, Saline Water only, and saline potassium. The Zolfan is also a anti-seizure/nausea drug. The Bulselfex is the bag on the top left of the tree.

Things are going great at this point. I suspect the buselfex will have me feeling quite run down by Friday.

Cathie, Maddie, and Dylan returned recently to hang out while I get the chemo.
Its so nice to still have family time. It's only in a different place.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Thank You in Advance

Thank You my 11 readers.
Happy New Year!

I enter the hospital tonight to begin my stem cell transplant.
I want to let you know that I really appreciate you reading my blog.

Interanimate means 'To mutually inspire'. I want that between us. If Cathie's or my words or experiences during this journey inspire you in any little way then please take a moment once in a while to do something for my family and I. Pray for us, project some of your good-will our way, or silently wish us good luck. I promise we will benefit and be better off for your inspiration. All living things are connected.

Thank You!