Monday, July 29, 2013

Official Confirmation

KU Med liked the numbers so we start the bone marrow transplant (BMT) this Thursday. Here is a rough schedule.

August 1. Chemotherapy an KC. This was added in addition to the (BMT) protocol because my myeloma has been resistant. This is bad stuff and I will not proceed to the next step until my complete blood count (CBC, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets) have recovered from the shock. I will stay in KC until I complete the next step.

August 10-12 (13?). Apheresis in KC. This is the harvesting of my stem cells and their subsequent freezing for storage. The start date is approximate based on my CBC. The length of time is also around 3-5 days. It will conclude when they have enough stem cells for at least 2 BMTs. This is just for insurance in case another BMT is needed down  the  road. After this I return to Salina.

August 19-22. BMT in KC.
     August 19-21. Chemotherapy for the purpose of killing the myeloma in my bone marrow. On a scale of 1-10, this is level 10 chemotherapy. This stuff will kill other things in my body besides the myeloma.
     August 22. Stem cell infusion for the purpose of replenishing what I lost in my bone marrow from the previous step.

August 22-September 19?. Stay in KC until my CBC (and the rest of me) returns to normal. This can take up to 4 weeks.

The BMT is the golden ticket. KU Med is very optimistic that I will experience complete remission. Caveat. As far as the present advances in medical technology, there is no cure for myeloma. The BMT just sets the clock of the prognosis back by 15-30 years. A few other thoughts. In 15-30 years it is very likely that a cure would be found. In 30 years I would be 86 which is a ripe old age. And last, God has the last word.

Big prayer request. There is a chance that I could be a part of a clinical trial. Please pray that I am accepted because the company sponsoring the trial would pay for a large part of the BMT. KU Med is working hard to get my acceptance into the clinical trial. The trial changes the protocol of the BMT slightly and has shown thus far that it is at least as effective as the present protocol. The clinical trial is trying to determine if there is any improvement over the present protocol.

Thanks for praying.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Unofficial Confirmation

We had an appointment today at KU Med. The doctor said it was a "well baby" check. He was not aware of all the testing done in Salina on 7/15. We had a copy of the incomplete results I had picked up. "I like what I see here" was his response after a quick perusal. Afterwards we got a phone call from our nurse/transplant coordinator. She had received the complete results and was scheduled to present them to the doctor tomorrow. She said that the results looked good enough to proceed and to plan to start next week. The doctor has the final word so unless they call me in the next few days, we will have to wait until our next appointment on 7/29 for the final word. On another note Velda and I out headed to CA to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday and our anniversary. We also consider it our last fling before the ultra restricted life of a post transplant patient and his caretaker. Thanks for praying.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Puzzlement

On April 14th we had 2 wonderful benefit dinners at my church. We are trying to solve a puzzle. Michaela played music out of a book which we haven't seen since. I will give the details and see what happens. She doesn't remember the title of the book. All songs are piano arrangements
Songs in the book:
As the Deer
Give Thanks
Shout to the Lord
More Precious than Silver
Lord I Lift Your Name on High
Shine Jesus Shine
El Shaddai
A Shield about Me

Sheet Music in the book:
In the Gap Theme Song (written my a co-intern when she was in OKC. This is big as far as sentimental points)
Chariots of Fire
Some obscure song on dark pages

Help us if you can. Thanks.

Relay for Life Link

Here is the link to the speech. I have included and an outline because my delivery wasn't too smooth and I didn't handle the mic well.

Relay for Life speech

I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, so this shapes my whole life perspective and this talk.

My purpose is to encourage all associated with cancer to flourish but it will require a brief journey through darkness.

There is an elephant in the room that is being ignored with respect to cancer and life in general. It is not mentioned and yet it is there. It is called death. Death is inevitable. If a cure is found and cancer is eradicated from the earth, we will still die. The Bible echoes this.

Ephesians 5:15-16. "See then that ye walk circumspectively, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil."

Why would God say that the days are evil? It is because each day brings us one day closer to death, therefore we should spend our time wisely and not foolishly.

How does this relate to flourishing? The Bible has more to say

Psalm 118:24. "This is the day that the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."
John 10:10b (Jesus speaking). "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

God is our designer (Psalm 139:14a. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made"). It would behoove us to follow the user manual He has given us. He is obviously wanting us to get past the "evil" inherent in each day we live (one day closer to death) and to live each day as He as designed us to do.

Since contracting cancer, a constant theme has been to keep a positive mental attitude (PMA). Studies have shown that this will help but it is not specific enough nor very instructive. The Bible has much better advice. Here are 3 of many and I have organized them in levels. You (hopefully) can hear the expanded version with my life examples on the video.

1. Honest to God. Tell God exactly how you feel with your voice using all of the emotion you are feeling at the time. Insert thankfulness periodically.
Philippians 4:6-7. "Be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let you requests be made known to God."
Psalm 3:4. "I cried unto the Lord with my voice and He heard me out of His holy hill. Selah."
Read the Psalms regularly. It contains about the whole gamut of emotions and you could find one to pray back to God.

2. Find and journal positive benefits from your circumstances.
Romans 8:28. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purposes."

3. Work for the benefit of others.
Galatians 6:9-10a. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men . . . "

4. Grace
Titus 2:11-12. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world."
Even though these sound simple and easy they are actually quite challenging. God recognizes this. (Psalm 103:14. "For He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust."). When we fall short of these standards that God wants us to keep we must acknowledge our missing the mark (sin) and our general nature (iniquity). God then steps in because we are putting Him in His rightful place and infuses us with grace which will teach us to deny the bad (grumbling, murmuring, self-pity etc.) and live in a way that flourishes under any circumstances.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Relay for Life

I will be the keynote speaker this evening at Relay for Life. My part starts at around 10PM at Salina Stadium.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What Hit Me?

I got up this morning feeling pretty bad. I couldn't do much else but lay around and dose in and out of a semi-state of consciousness. No apetite at all. Bad taste in my mouth. If any of you suggest that yesterday's omelet could be the culprit all I have to say is that IT WAS WORTH IT. Boy was that a good omelet. Anyway, I have somewhat recovered now and can move around without dizziness and have had my first meal (yogurt and toast). Velda and I will go walking this afternoon, most likely inside the mall. The battery of tests and x-rays start Monday. KU has tentatively scheduled the bone marrow transplant process to start July 23. They set everything up even though it may have to be cancelled if the test results aren't good. We learned that back in April. So if KU stays true to form, we should find out about 48 hours beforehand if it is good to go this time. Let's pray that we proceed. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Side Effects!

I hope this means that the chemotherapy is working. Today was the last day of the 4 day treatment and it was the roughest since this all began last summer. I was fairly lethargic and semi-nauseous which was culminated by vomiting 3 times before being discharged this afternoon. I did recover quick enough to go to IHOP with my family later in the afternoon. I had a spinach and mushroom omelet with orange juice. Next is a series of tests to see if the chemo has knocked down the myeloma far enough for the bone marrow transplant to do any good. There must be as little cancer posible (preferably none at all) or else the stem cells would tainted and the myeloma would be likely to return. Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Playing Hardball II

I'm in the hospital again for round 2 of intense chemotherapy. 96 straight hours of chemotherapy administered through a PICC line that enters my body in the artery of my right arm and snakes it way to about an inch of my heart. I am in room 412 and can receive visitors. This is 23 days since the beginning of the first round. (June 12-16) Of all the horrific possible side effects that I could have experienced, hair loss and a few minor mouth sores were all that happened. I have had my first hospital meal and am thankful for the provision. I am also thankful that Velda is bringing me my meal this evening. ;) I am not as nervous this time having gone through this once already. I have no reports as to how the cancer has been affected because no tests were given in that respect. My kidneys are still near normal range which makes for the bone marrow transplant (BMT, the next step) to be a simple process. Please pray that this process does what is supposed to do which is to put the cancer completely in remission. The farther the cancer is in remission, the more effective the BMT will be. Thanks for praying and all the encouragement.