Monday, September 23, 2013

Big Jump

I had my Day 30 checkup today (even though it was Day 31). We had a premonition on how it was going to turn out based on my weekend. On Friday night I declared I wanted a Braum's burger, fries and a cherry limeade. That really turned some heads in the Creer home. I hadn't had an appetite for quite some time. We were praising God for that even though Velda couldn't honor the request. I cannot eat out. So she bought some burger meat and made me a great meal. The second answer to prayer was that I tasted everything I ate that evening. I have been eating normally and tasting everything ever since. Lastly is a sudden increase in strength. I had been walking for 10 to 15 minutes around the first floor of the house for exercise and then sitting down to take a rest. This weekend I started walking around the block (~.6mi) twice a day. So we were expecting good lab results and weren't disappointed. Velda is the lab tech for the family. When she read the lab she unashamedly let out a shout that might have been foreign to most of the ears of the staff at the KU clinic. we thank God and we thank you for your prayers. Caveat. These are not indications of the effectiveness of the transplant. The check up on Day 60 (3rd week of October) will begin that process as they start to take tests that measure if I still have any cancer since the transplant. Right now we are enjoying how I feel and that most of the restrictions on my lifestyle have been lifted. The doctor also said we will discuss returning to teaching on Day 60. This is also incredible because that is 40 days sooner than he originally estimated. Returning at this time seems perfect to me because it will be right after the first concert and the beginning of the 2nd quarter.

Please pray that Day 60 will show complete remission.
                   that the doctor is given the knowledge of the best time for me to return
                   (hopefully Day 61)

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mixed Blessings

Today is Day 25 since completing the bone marrow transplant. I had a check up on Day 21 in Kansas City. My numbers are roaring back to normal! Many of the blood components and chemistry of my body are in the normal range. (e.g. white blood cells, platelets, potassium and magnesium) This is in stark contrast to before the BMT. My body responded so slowly before the BMT that the transplant was performed 4 months after it was originally scheduled. Now my body is making a great comeback. The doctor at KU was quite pleased. Physically my body is taking its sweet time to recovery. The process cleaned out my gastro-intestinal tract as well as my bone marrow and I feel fairly weak. The stems cells are taking care of the bone marrow, my GI tract is getting little or no help to rebuild. I need to eat but have very little taste and no appetite. My digestion is not quite normal and uncomfortable at times. Our strategy is that instead of trying to eat three square meals a day that I snack (i.e. graze) all day. The most important thing is that I maintain a discipline of appreciating each day the Lord gives me while looking forward to when I will feel better.

Please pray that I eat and drink even though I can't taste the food and have no appetite. I will help my body keep pace with my internal numbers.
Please pray that I start each day with the thought that it is a day that the Lord has made and that I will rejoice and be glad in it. No matter how I feel.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Horse Latitudes

Back in the heyday of sailing ships there was a place in the Atlantic Ocean where there was rarely any wind. The ships would drift for long periods of time before getting free. While waiting, it was common for the sailors to throw overboard the livestock because they had become a detriment. It was common to see horses and other animals floating from previous vessels in the water hence the name "Horse Latitudes".

I feel like I am in the horse latitudes of the post bone marrow transplant (BMT) experience. I am fairly lethargic. I have no appetite. My taste buds are still shot. I am in a "tight bubble" meaning I cannot leave unless for a very good reason. I do laps around the first floor of my house for exercise.

On the bright side, I am at home and enjoying Velda and the girls. One of my main contributions to the household is shelling black-eyed peas from the garden. I have time to read the Bible and other things as well as pray. We've watched some interesting videos together as well.

I met with the Salina doctor today and sang his old song "Why aren't you sick?" I told him I may look fine but I don't feel so good. He assured that this was all normal transitions for post BMT. He said my numbers looked good and that things seem to be going in the right direction. It is too early to tell how effective the BMT was. We go to KU Med on Friday and will update at that time.

Please for the effectiveness of the BMT
My ability to rejoice during this time
I accept the best time to return to the classroom (and that it will be soon :D)

Thursday, September 5, 2013


In my last blog I said that I can't have visitors. That was totally wrong. I can have visitors so come on over.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Honorably Discharged

KU Med announced today that they are discharging us from their care this Friday (Day 14) and are transferring me to the care on my Salina oncologist. Translation: We're coming home this weekend! They didn't even bother today to see of my composite number was over 500. Praise God! Some parts of my complete blood count are already in the normal range. I still will not be leaving the house much until Day 30 (September 22) nor should I have visitors before that time. Hope Lodge, our KC residence, is sponsoring one of my most favorite meals tonight. I look forward to eating hot dogs with all the fixings even if does taste like cardboard. This is a great victory but the war is not over. I need prayer that the stem cells rebuild my bone marrow without cancer. That may not be fully determined until Day 100 (December 1). Thank you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Turning the Corner

The first good news is that I feel well enough to blog.The last time I blogged I was entering the final stages of the bone marrow transplant (BMT). I am pleased to announce that it is finished and am looking forward to no more caustic chemicals being put into my body. Let me give the chronology since the last blog.

August 20 (Day -3). Chemotherapy
August 21 (Day -2). Chemotherapy
August 22 (Day -1). Rest day
August 23 (Day 0). Stem cell acquisition
September 2 (Day 10). Tests show that stems cells have arrived are beginning to engraft themselves. Isn't this amazing!
September ? (Day ?). Tests show that the stem cells are fully engrafted and I am sent back to Salina to stay! I will still have to report back to KU Med to periodic checkups. This can happen as late at Day 30 but often will be reached sooner.

What was I going through? August 20 - August 28 I descended into an abyss that I would not wish even on a Central Mustang. From August 28 - September 2 I experienced fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. All this was overshadowed by the fact that I had virtually no energy to function. Velda said she was trained for this after taking care of 3 infants using cloth diapers. I developed an irrational fear of swallowing. I was afraid of what the results might be. It took all of my will power to take my meds. I did not eat or drink anything and required fluids through an IV. I also developed an irrational fear of the bathroom because of what usually went on in there. One time I walked in to brush my teeth and physically shuddered as I stepped in the door. I was severely challenged to be thankful and rejoice. God is responsible for everything in my life and each symptom and circumstance is working for my good in His hands.

Yesterday the numbers took a turn for the better. I didn't fell any better but was told the body will respond with the number. Today the numbers were significantly better and for the first time in days I ways able to walk without leaning heavily on Velda or using a wheelchair. So now that the BMT is done I have new benchmarks. KU said it will be a very good sign when a certain indicator is over 500 for three days in a row. Today that indicator was well over 900! My energy level is on a bumpy ride in the upward direction. I spent 5 minutes on treadmill today which was more walking than I have done in a day for the last several days. Tomorrow I will try 2 5-minute sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening and then just try to increase the times and speed gradually. I still get wiped out physically and just have to lay down for awhile, but not as much and certainly not all day. I am drinking and eating normally and approach the bathroom with no fear. My taste buds are shot so everything tastes like cardboard.

Please pray for 2 more consecutive days of 500+
           I have the discipline to chew and swallow even though it is not necessarily enjoyable
           Pray for Velda's strength and encouragement, She has been and is still taking care of a 170 pound infant right now.
           It will be determined later the success of the BMT. Pray the it exceeds expectations.
Thank you.