Thursday, August 29, 2013

At All Times

The following verses are ones that I quote as I awake each morning and I encourage all you prayer warriors to join me in this psalm: I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear him, and delivers them. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trust in him. O fear the Lord ,his saints; for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. (Psalm 34: 1-10)
An additional one also came to mind this morning:
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are his people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if you will hear his voice.(Psalm 95: 6-7)
Yes, we are called to worship Him at all times, even at such a time as this like Abraham of old who told his servants wait here while I and the lad go worship, and come again to you. (Genesis 22:5) This is my request of the body of believers.
Thank you,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Recovery Time

Here is another update to the blog done by Michaela since my parents are very busy for the time being.

The chemo and transplant went very well last week. The chemo was Tuesday and Wednesday and they gave my dad his stem cells Friday.
Well, that turned out to be the easy part. My dad has to go to the clinic once a day so they can check his vitals and do a little blood work. They also started giving him fluids since his body needs to flush out the chemo. He is very weak and doesn't have an appetite. He is eating ice chips but has no desire to swallow.
This morning my mom had to use a wheelchair to get him to the clinic as well as help him out of the shower since all his blood levels are very low. The doctor said to expect mouth sores and a fever soon. He also said the next five days will be the worst and then he will begin to take a turn for the better. My mom says "the ugly is about to get uglier and I'm already tired."
Thankfully both of them are resting well at night.
Please pray that God sustains both of them over the next few days & for Eddie's blood counts to recoup from the transfusion etc.
Please pray whenever you think of our family. It is the best way to help.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Final Stretch

Tomorrow I receive chemotherapy that is rated 10 on a scale of 1-10. It will be administered over 2 days. I will get to rest one day. Then I get my stem cells back. After that the results will be checked for effectiveness of the procedure, wait for my body to recover and then go home. It will take 3-4 weeks to recover. After that I go home. I believe I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank God.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A New Record

We have finished harvesting stem cells today and will come home tomorrow for the weekend. Everything seems to be moving in slow motion. On Monday my complete blood count reached a level to where I could start the stem cell harvesting. This can take one to three days. We were hoping for one day. My blood was tested on Tuesday to see how many free stem cells there were. I needed a preliminary minimum score of 10. I came in at 3. By the way, I had been taking shots to stimulate my stem cell count since August 2 so to have a 3 on August 12 was a little disappointing. KU said not to worry, the numbers will rise. On Wednesday the preliminary count was 10.14. Don't celebrate too soon. That just allowed me to start the process. Now I had to collect enough stem cells so that the actual count showed a 7.5. On Wednesday I scored a 1.66 for the actual count. At this rate it would take 4 days of collection. Before I go on, I should explain the collection process. We would show up at around 6:30-7AM and take a blood test. We then would wait about 90 minutes for the test results. Then I would have an IV placed in the crook of both of my elbows. I had to keep the left elbow as straight possible which was taking blood out. My right arm could move a little for emergencies. (e.g. scratching my nose) I had to remain in this position for 5 hours. The blood would go into a machine that collected the stem cells before returning my blood to me. After that we would have to wait for post-procedure blood tests to see how my body fared in general. Now you know why we wanted to get done in one day. After my first days performance there was basically an attitude that I would take at least 3 days. I was given a hormoneWednesday evening to help boost production. Today my preliminary count was over 34. There was guarded excitement on the staff and the word "world record" was mentioned in order to reach an actual count of 7.5 considering my first day's performance. At the end of the day I was told that I was done. My total count for 2 days was 7.38. Not a world record but I believe I have set a new American record. There were high fives and general celebration among us and the staff. The only hitch is that this process takes some blood along with the stem cells. Well my blood was so low that I needed a transfusion before being released. Bottom line is that phase 1 is done successfully and we are going home tomorrow until we start the final phase Monday August 19. Velda and I have been learning a lot about patience and waiting to see what God has planned for each day. I hope that I have learned enough because I am ready for the process to speed up. That kind of sounds like I haven't completely learned my lesson. Anyway, we will keep you up to date on the next steps and the "tentative" schedule. In the meantime pray for a refreshing time at home and that our loins be girded for what is ahead. Thank you.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Great News!

We are not going home! The blood numbers have alligned and we start the process of harvesting stem cells tomorrow at 7AM. In addition, if the numbers had not aligned, we would still stay in KC. The doctor told me that even though things are going great and no procedure was being done lately that requires exceptional medical expertise, should something go awry I would want to be within 20 minutes of this clinic because this is all they do and they are available 24/7. KU has experienced a multitude of complications and are especially equipped for those contingencies. Knowing this, we are prepared and are hoping for more boring days to come and will appreciate them much more than before. Tomorrow we will report to collect stem cells. My blood will be checked to see if the stem cells have been kicked out of the bone marrow. If they are present in the blood, then they will start collecting right then. If not, then they will give me a drug that will loosen them and I wait a day and try again. It is amazing that I am excited over an unanswered prayer. God, as always, has the best plan. On the other hand, God says " . . . ye have not, because ye ask not". James 4:2b. So here is the next request. Let's pray that the stem cells are in the blood and enough of them are collected the first time if it is His will. If not, then we will rejoice in knowing He had an infinitely better plan. Thanks for praying.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

Imagine yourself hearing the Jeopardy theme in the background as I relate our last 6 days. We are simply waiting for my numbers to align in order to collect the stem cells. Each day we go to the lab. They take my vital signs (all good). They next do blood labs (all progressing in the right direction). Maybe talk to a nurse or doctor. Go back to Hope Lodge and try to occupy ourselves until the next day. Velda and I don't mind waiting because it is part of the process. Today it occurred to me that nothing special to this clinic is being done to me. So I asked. "Could the things that you have been dong to me the last 6 days be done in
Salina?" The attending nurse without hesitation said "Yes." Then why can't I go home and have these simple tests done there?" "When the numbers are right you would have to be here within 24 hours." "I could be there in 3 hours after you call me." I paused without speaking. She said "I don't know why these things couldn't be done in Salina. Ask." I intend to on Monday. They prepared us for this week of waiting at the beginning because that is the usual the time frame for the body to recover. If I had known at the time, I might have pressed this point back then. We will do whatever is the best practice. Please pray that coming home Monday falls within the parameters of best practice. I will blog again on Monday. Thank you.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Side Effects. The sequel

We left for Kansas City early Thursday morning for what was billed as a 3 hour appointment. This would be similar to a 3 hour tour for those of my generation. It started at 9AM and at 2PM the nurse announced "Now starts the 3 hour part". I should have been forewarned when all the proceedings leading up to the 3 hour part was putting fluids and anti-nausea medicine into by means of an IV. The 3 hour part was to give me chemotherapy that was, of course, more potent than my previous rounds (maybe they should have said "combined"). Another hint that evaded me of things to come was that they gave me a backpack with 2 pumps hooked to my PICC line. One was to continue to administer fluids as well as potassium (the potassium part will come into play later) while the other was to pump anti-nausea medicine on demand. They said to push the pump at the slightest hint of nausea. I used to think that I was a fairly intelligent person and could ascertain even some of the minutest subtleties but  I sure missed what was coming. I've decided to discuss the potassium now in my defense. When a person has diarrhea they will lose potassium. I don't think that is common knowledge. So we left the clinic at 6PM and ate supper at a salad bar. Wow, what a mistake. Anyway, one of my pumps starts beeping because it was malfunctioning. To those of you who follow my blog regularly this may sound familiar. If not click here. We were told at the clinic that if anything goes wrong to call the number on the side of the pump and they would talk us through the solution. We called the number and told them it said "Code 10". They said that it meant "motor failure" and that there was nothing they could do but we should call the clinic. The clinic asked which pump failed and I said the fluids one and they said that at least the anti-nausea one was still working and that was more important. So about midnight I felt an intense headache and thought "this is not nausea" so I didn't push the pump. I have a high tolerance for headaches so I didn't bother Velda from her sleep. About 3AM I couldn't take it any more so I awakened Velda to find out that we didn't bring pain relievers. To her defense we rarely have a need for them in our family. So we get in the van and go to get relief. At this point I feel nausea and press the pump for nausea. It beeps indicating that it is malfunctioning. We can't call the number on the side of the pump because Velda is driving and I am vomiting out of the passenger window. When we get home Velda calls the number because I am indisposed and the instructions given got the pump working but it did not stop my vomiting. The pump will not reset for 15 minutes so as not to overdose. Believe me I was watching the clock. Oh did I say that when we got back that the diarrhea started? My next appointment was for 1PM. So, if you count, this lasted for 10 hours. When we got to the clinic I could hardly sit for ejaculations coming from both ends. They finally got me settled at which point the attending nurse said "We just started using these new pumps and I don't think they are as good as the old ones". When we were finished I was feeling pretty good so we went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art armed with a new pump. Absolutely incredible place! Part of the way through I felt nauseous and pressed the pump and it beeped indicating . . . We called the number and fortunately the nausea subsided without episode before they solved the problem. The clinic also gave me some pills as a backup and they are working just fine. Otherwise things are going as planned and my numbers are being evaluated as :"very good". Thanks for praying.