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

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day +277 No Highs or Lows, ALTBUN CLAST KALB, Gulp

Referring to one of my two blood test on Sept 24, there are no highs and no lows!
For the first time in almost 3 years, all CMP numbers are in the normal range! The test is called a 'comprehensive metabolic panel' or CMP. It reveals whether some organs are under stress, functioning properly. Typical components of the test are abbreviated BUN, ALT, AST and the like.
Dr. Andrey was so happy with the results he reduced my prescribed meds down to 2 from 4. That is now only 1 gulp per night for me. I'm now down to the lowest dose of Tacrolimus possible. This is further confirmation that my immune system has been trained enough to allow a resumption of normal activities outside the home.
This appointment was different than others for more reasons. First of all the Rancho Bernardo Scripps Clinic moved to a brand spanking new building across the street. The prior location of the oncology unit was in the basement of the old building. It was dark, small, and kind of cluttered. The new onco unit is on the 2nd floor of the 5 story building across from Costco. The unit is graced with large windows on 2 sides. It is bright, cheerful, and large. Parking, which was always a problem across the street, is now a breeze due to the 4 story parking structure. Before Dr. Andrey entered my examination room Thursday, I was reading my blood report and getting choked up. A quick scan of the report column between the component values and the normal ranges came up... blank! This is the column that, over the last 3 years, has frequently displayed 1 of 2 single letters, an H or an L. Some of my letters were normally H, for 'high'. Over the last few months, as my kidney and liver functions have been recovering, the level of enzymes indicative of organ stress, have steadily dropped. Now they are normal. As a consequence of my good numbers, Dr. Andrey, for the first time, did not do the usual poking around in my mouth and belly looking for various inflammations. It's been a long road. I feel a debt of gratitude to everyone who has enabled my arrival at this milestone.
Of course, the great doctors, nurses were instrumental for their medical skills. Deserving credit are all the patients who have walked this road previously and provided the data needed to fine tune the transplant process. Many did not make it to my point, but their experiences have been analyzed and all the lessons learned from past failures have been put to good use in giving others a better chance. The stem cell transplant treatment is still considered a clinical trial. On the papers I signed last year, my 'lead investigator' was Dr. Andrey. In January, I voluntarily participated in a clinical trial for a post-transplant drug. That drug, Maribavir, may become part of the normal protocol for post-transplant treatments. It worked well for me although I still dont know if I got the placebo.
I applied and was selected to participate in a study being conducted by the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, 'Sharing our Strength, Life's Journey After Transplant'. This is a study that, I think, will attempt to quantitatively link transplant success with psychological factors. The study will also test treatment methods devised to increase transplant success rates. After the first couple phone interviews, my role in the study will be in the form of 4 writing exercises over a 1 month period. I'm not exactly an impartial study participant. I feel that my recovery success, to date, has largely been a result of the support from my family, including all of you, my blog family and friends. A particularly sensitive time for me was the first 4 weeks of the process. Your support was overwhelming and made *the* difference. My chemo brain was playing strange tricks and it was all of you who pulled me back from the abyss.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day +245 A Question of Passion

A father once said, "Son, you have tried for many years to become a successful actor but had no luck. You continue to live hand to mouth and your health suffers. Maybe it's time you look for other types of employment." The son replied, "Dad I love acting. I'll never give it up."

A wife once said, "Husband, you have been in several bicycle accidents and had many broken bones. Maybe you should give up this hobby for your own good." The husband replied, "Dear wife, I love riding my bicycle. I can never give it up".

A friend once said, "My best friend, you have had a serious accident on your motorcycle in which you lost control; but you survived with only cuts and bruises. Maybe motorcycle riding is not a good match for your personality." The man replied, "Dear friend, I love riding my bike. I will never give it up."

A stranger once said to another, "Stranger, I saw you hyperventilating just now to the extent that you passed out. Maybe you should give up breathing." The other replied, "Kind stranger, thank you for your concern. But I love breathing. I will never give it up."

for Trevor White - 1987-2008 - A Man of Great Passion

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day +240 A Friend Lost

I am physically well today, not so much mentally. Today, a very special young friend has been lost to a motorcycle accident a couple miles from my home. Trevor White passed away at the scene of the accident. We think he was on his way to work. Trevor was very young and leaves many hearts broken and missing him already. All of us Andersons have known Trevor for the last 13 years as his mother and Cathie became good friends through their connection at a preschool where Trevor's brother Cody and my son Dylan were classmates. We are all very sad for Trevor's mother Anne, father Steve, and brothers Cody and Weston. It is such a shock for the heart to realize that this wonderful and vibrant young man will no longer be with us. God bless his young soul and help comfort his family. He was loved by many.
News story.