Monday, April 27, 2015

Last Chemo This Week

This has been a good week. I was very tired on Monday and Tuesday but I felt great. The weather also helped. After the cold snap early in the week the sun came out and lifted my spirits on Friday and Saturday.

I had enough strength to cut the grass on Saturday. I took several breaks and walked very slowly, too slow actually. My battery powered mower expended its charge and I had to recharge to finish the lawn. After mowing I trimmed three small prickly bushes. We want to keep the bushes small so I pluck off all of last year's growth. Now that I know how I want the bushes to look, the trimming goes quickly.

Carol's sister visited us this weekend. She helped Carol plant some things in the garden. I hooked up the hoses and made sure that the sprinkler line did not suffer a splint from a winter freeze. Fortunately, everything worked the first time.

I have mixed emotions about the Cavs victory over the Celtics. The loss of Kevin Love and JR's possible suspension is really going to hurt. We shall see if Lebron and Irving can carry the team.

This week is my last week of chemo before my stem cell transplant. Since the PET scan could not find any sign of lymphoma, the oncologist at Karmanos recommended canceling treatment #5 and #6. I did not raise any objections. At the moment, I am scheduled to enter the hospital on May 28, eighteen years and 8 days after my last transplant.

The medical staff has much to do before May 28. They want to harvest my stem cells on May 18, conduct tests of my kidney, liver, and pulmonary functions, and examine my veins to determine if I get a pic, or Hickman line. The latter would be cut into my chest and inserted into the vein that leads to the heart. It is difficult to take care of but after the initial surgery I do not feel any pain because it hangs from my chest. The former is in my arm or shoulder and can be painful ever after it is stabilized.

I will be glad when the next two weeks are over and I begin my recovery for my stem cell transplant.

Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Long Day

Well, its Wednesday and I woke up in my own bed. That was very good news. Very tired. This is my down week and for the first time I am not in the hospital. Carol and I traveled to Karmanos Cancer Center to discuss with my transplant MD the next steps. We were surprised to learn that he is recommending the transplant take place after treatment #4 instead of #6. He does not believe that the additional two treatments would be an any substantial benefit. That means all the plans need to be moved up a month.

I still have a few procedures to complete--pulmonary, kidney tests, and harvesting of stem cells. This new schedule would be nice.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

No Fever

This is the second week of Cycle #3. During the Cycle #1 and #2 I spent Tuesday night of the second week in the hospital. It's 11:00 pm and no fever insight. Hopefully my temp will stay within the normal range and I will wake up in my own bedroom tomorrow morning.

I am feeling so much better than three weeks ago. I was a complete basket case then. This week I have only been a partial basket case. On Monday I was able to fertilize the lawn (That is almost a miracle). I did rest for a long time afterward. Then went to the office and put together a liturgy and did a little research. Today I attended an early meeting then slept. Six AM came to early but I really wanted to hear about the plans to develop an ecumenical ministry. This afternoon I shuffled around a series of online files that will assist me in my sermon research.It was not heavy duty work.

I am so glad I completed the tax forms over the weekend.

We have had several inquires about the garden plots. We have yet to get the area plowed but that should happen this week. We have already reduced our plans for this year. I will not be able to much more than pick a green bean or two. Carol's leg will prevent her from doing any serious work. Pray that God would send us some volunteers on a weekly basis.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Good News

I am in the middle of Round #3 of my treatment. I am feel very good. I do have a decrease of strength and my nerves are a bit testy. You do not want to be a customer service representative for my drug company that makes it a habit to delay processing my medication.

After two hospitalizations my MD reduced the strength of the chemo by 25%. We agreed to go with the stronger dose to see how much I could endure. Unfortunately he now has to back off a tad.

We received some outstanding news today. I had a PET Scan today. It did not detect any evidence of lymphoma. We were somewhat surprised although we were praying for this. We thought that it would indicate minor bright spots, meaning that the cancer was shrinking but a few cells were still present. But to have a normal scan, PTL.

This does not change the treatment plan. I will still complete 6 cycles of treatment and if my body continues to withstand the onslaught of chemicals, have a stem cell transplant in July.

During my first bout with cancer, I was absolutely convinced after the first treatment that God was going to heal me. I have a letter from my MD saying that I had a "medically unexplainable reaction" to the first treatment. It was too good to believe. This time my confidence level has been at a low ebb. I really needed to hear the news of this PET Scan. PTL I know that I am going to need all the confidence, faith and hope to endure the coming months. This is just one small step. The fight ain't over.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday and Easter

This is my second Easter in which I am also undergoing chemotherapy. The first time I was in a hospital room with 0 WBC. I was on my way to a stem cell transplant. This Easter I get to preach on the Resurrection and enjoy a roasted lamb with Carol and Sarah.

I had a PET scan today. Now I get to wait and wonder for six days how effective the treatment has been. Carol is praying that it will not show any bright spots that indicate the cancer is still active. I have prayed that prayer but my faith is just not strong enough at the moment to believe such radical news.

This has been a good week. I have gotten lost of sleep. I feel stronger. That is a relative term. I can still overwork myself in just a few minutes of activity. The test will be tomorrow. I want to do some outside activities. I promise to rest and drink lots of fluids.

My sermon is about living the resurrection each and every day. It is from Colossians 3:1-4. I believe that we must demonstrate our faith in the bodily resurrection by living each and ever day just as if we stepped from the grave with Jesus.