Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

My hair started falling out Wednesday. I didn't realize that it falls off everywhere there is hair. So far my eyebrows and mustache are still in tact. I decide to blog today instead of waiting till Monday because many who are following this blog attend my church and this could help make the change less drastic. I had Velda cut it off today because the top of my head was quite splotchy. I'm glad that this was not 30 years ago when afros were in. The biggest challenge is to get my scalp to get close to the same color as the rest of me. It hadn't been exposed to the sun. I worked in the garden without my straw hat to help but I haven't seen any difference. Trying to get a tan is a new experience for me. I hope I don't sunburn the top of my head. Anyway, I'm just allowing God to make the decisions and He must want me bald for awhile. I have no idea how the chemo affected the cancer. The labs are just to keep track of my blood counts. They have decided to do this chemo again July 5-9. The nurse checking me did say that I seem to just fly though the first chemo fairly unscathed as far as side effects. The second will not necessarily go the same but I will have a good idea what to expect. I also feel like I have a better ideal of what the bone marrow transplant will be like. Thanks for praying,

Monday, June 24, 2013

Feeling a Few Side Effects

This is day 8 since getting hit with the hard stuff. It was pretty smooth sailing until today. Days 10-14 are supposed to be the worst. I feel a little achy in the joints and there is a sore on my tongue. I'm also a little low on energy. Nothing major. My white blood cell count is steadily descending which means I have to be very conscientious with my hygiene (no 5-second rule on food that hits the floor) and avoid people that show symptoms of infections. I still have all my hair. God is good.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Home Again, Home Again Jiggety Jig

I came home from the hospital just in time for my Father's Day meal. One of my all time favorites. Hamburgers and hot dogs with potato salad. I never got really sick in the hospital but was informed the worst was yet to come. My health should descend the next 10 days to 2 weeks as my blood count goes down. I didn't blog yesterday because I had a lot of errands to run. I don't feel great nor do I feel very bad. Somewhere in between. The feelings also come and go. This morning I walked a little over a mile before breakfast and felt better as I went. When Velda was  making breakfast, the aroma was making me nauseous but then I ate quite well and enjoyed it. This seems to be a dress rehearsal for a bone marrow transplant (BMT). I have a few pages of things that I can and cannot do that sound very familiar to BMT protocols. Stay away from sick people, exercise etc. My primary caregiver is going to be nurse Grace. I decided that Velda had enough with a full house again. Grace flew through her first day on the job (yesterday) with flying colors. Speaking of a full house, what a blessing it has been to hear all the chatter again and having all five of us for family devotions. I will update in about a week.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One Day More

72 hours down, 24 to go. I have experienced very little side effects if any at all. Praise God! I did tell the doctor that he could make me as sick as he wants as long as I am rid of the cancer. I had a little nausea last night and this morning. One of the protocols is to squirt anti-nausea medicine in my IV each day. That seems to be working just fine. The biggest proem is the whole contraption to which I''m connected. It beeps whenever it senses a problem. At first I was an occasional culprit by laying on the tubes and stopping the flow. The major culprit has been bubbles in the tube. I have yet to get a good nights sleep. Today a nurse tried rerouting the tubes . So far it has been a beepless morning. Praise God!!! I still have all my hair. The doctor said hair loss can come as late as 3 weeks from now. Velda will be cutting my hair very short soon to help the transition if needed. Looking forward to leaving tomorrow. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

And So It Starts

I am at the hospital, hooked up and receiving chemotherapy. I am receiving it with a PICC line. This is like an IV on steroids. It enters my arm just above my right elbow and snakes through my circulatory system until it stops  approximately 1 inch away from my heart. It took about an hour to install. This will be dripping constantly into my system for 24 hours over the next four days. I go everywhere with this wheeled contraption. Whoever devised this must have been a person familiar with Chinese water torture. Velda will be with me in general except at mealtimes. Fortunately she was not included in the meal plan. Today she had lunch at Martinelli's with friends. Ironically I had Italian as well (spaghetti). I am in room 419 and can receive visitors. If you want to call, please call Velda because we don't know what shape I will be in as this goes on. Caveat. One possible side effect is gastrointestinal fumes. Pray for Velda. We have had some entertainment. A crew had been washing the windows on all the floors from the ground.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Playing Hardball: Addendum

Velda just reminded me that a factor in changing to this plan was that the KU doctor said that other than the cancer that I was in excellent physical condition and that I should be able to handle this protocol. Thank God for Velda's TLC all these years.

Playing Hardball

No more Mister Niceguy. Velda and I went to KU Med concerning chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant (BMT). We prayed that the doctors would have wisdom and be in agreement. Well they are in agreement. The chemotherapy is being taken to a higher level. This Wednesday I will be admitted to Salina Regional Health Center (SRHC)  for four days. They are going to be administering strong chemotherapy that is going to make me very sick. When I sufficiently recover, possibly 3 weeks, they are going to do it again at SRHC over a 4 day period. When I sufficiently recover from the second one I will go to Kansas City for the BMT. The BMT will be different than a typical BMT in that it will be preceded by yet another strong chemotherapy. This they say will cause my hair to fall out. (I just hope that I will look as good as George Stavropoulos) The BMT would have caused the hair to fall out anyway. It will now happen a few days earlier. The doctor at KU said that it was time to get aggressive and my Salina doctor wholly concurred. This is all quite overwhelming emotionally. After further reflection, it really sounds kind of normal for people who have cancer. I have seen many people with or without wigs in the treatment rooms in which I have been. They all have lost their hair. It grows back. I told Velda in the car that this could be like a first pregnancy. She had heard lots of stories of what it could be like but there was still a lot of uncertainty. The doctors painted a pretty grim picture for the next few months but the worst part is really the uncertainty. If I would have gone through something like this before, I would have an idea of what to expect, similar to a woman's second delivery. There are some things that are constant. We know that all things are working together for good because we love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) We are considering it all joy because of the incredible tool trials are in God's hands for developing our character. By the way, anything in the past that I may have considered a trial pales in comparison to this. God must be doing some major reconstruction on me. (James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3) We are also continuing to glory in my infirmity because it is a way for God's grace to be manifested in our lives and to perfect His strength in my weakness. (II Corinthians 12:7-11) One other constant is your prayers. Thank You.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I Want a New Drug

There are probably quite a few of you who remember the song title of this post from Huey Lewis and the News. I could be changing to my fourth chemo. I haven't even started the third one which was supposed to start in less than a week. I got a call today from KU Med saying that they had their regular staff meeting yesterday and not all the doctors agreed on the third protocol subscribed for me. It was decided that I will be getting a "stronger chemotherapy". Velda and I will have a consultation with the doctor in Kansas City on Monday. Pray for wisdom for the doctors and us as we are presented with the next protocol. Expect a post Monday evening. Thank you.