Friday, January 22, 2010

counting down the days......

There are officially 4 more days left in this 4th course of treatment. I vividly remember counting this number in months and not even being able to consider the end. The 4th course has probably been the most difficult and I will not be sorry to see it go but I have been encouraged through the tough times because I knew there was a light, shining brighter, at the end of the tunnel. That thought helped me to get through the last couple weeks because the treatment knocked me down pretty hard. My counts bottomed out and I ended up in the hospital for 5 days with a neutrapenic fever and a pretty terrible migraine. Basically, that means that my fever spiked and I was at a high risk for infection so they wanted to keep me in the hospital to ensure I don't catch anything. They pumped me with antibiotics and I just waited it out. The headache that I had when I went in there was beyond excruciating. It's hard to even describe. I couldn't see straight and I couldn't focus on anything.....easily some of the worst pain I ever had. I guess that sometimes after a spinal tap, the brain doesn't settle properly in the skull because fluid is removed and the brain can "bounce" around a bit which causes these headaches. After a few days, it finally eased up and everthing became more bearable. After 5 days in there, which was more than enough for me, they finally let me go home with some antibiotics in pill form. As "un-fun" as the experience was (and I would put it up there with watching a "thirtysomething" marathon), I can't say enough about the doctors, nurses, and staff of Hershey Medical Center. They have always been amazing and that was certainly the case during this stay.

So now I am home and excited to be winding this course down. I will have my last chemo treatment on Tuesday and then meet with Dr. Claxton on Thursday to discuss the next course and when it will begin!! This 5th and final course will last about 3 years (ugh!) but let's not dwell on that just yet, I know some people who took 3 years to complete their Senior year of college. But, in all seriousness, it should be alot more managable. Treatments will only be about once a month, my blood counts won't be as affected, and my hair should grow back....look out "guy from Twilight". Basically, I should get back to a normal life even during this course....I like the sound of that.

Other than fighting off these infections, Hanna and I have delved into heavy duty wedding planning mode. We have a meeting with the cake guy.....I lobbied for getting the Ace of Cakes but I don't see it happening......on Saturday. That should be pretty fun actually, then we are gonna tackle the invitations and we are well on our way. In less than 3 months I will be standing at the altar with my wife....I can't imagine a more amazing gives me goosebumps. The blessings of that moment will make these trials seem a bit more miniscule.

Well, I guess that is about it. I will continue to fight hard and to beat this thing into the ground for as long as necessary....then I hope to help others beat it down too. My dad is doing well. They are going to adjust his chemo dosage which will hopefully give him more energy and make him feel better. And my mom is the saint she has always been.....somehow that little lady has the strength of an ox. Its amazing. As always, much love and thanks to everybody reading this. You have helped me every step of the way, even if you don't know it. Thank you, God bless, and

ALL Will Be Well

"At the end of our life, we shall all be judged by charity" -- St. John of the Cross

"A person's a person, no matter how small"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bring on 2010!!

The last few weeks have been quite the whirlwind with Christmas, New Year, and the first couple weeks of 2010 so I haven't had the chance to sit down and write too much. It has been full of ups and downs as far as health and packed with only 'ups' when it comes to time with family and friends. I officially have only 2 weeks left on this 4th course. I really can't believe how close I am to finishing up the most aggressive part of this entire treatment. It's unreal to see that light and feel the end. That hasn't made this course physically easier but it is an amazing thing to keep in the back of my mind. The worst will be over soon. As far as side effects, it has been the usual smorgasbord. I have had nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, weakness, and bleeding (I will spare you the details on where...ha). The worst part was the withdrawl I had when coming off a steroid I was taking. It caused insomnia and this incredible pain in my bones and joints, mostly in my legs. The only relief was when I was I spent a few sleepless nights, walking around the house......probably terrifying Evan....sorry buddy. Unfortunately, that was at its worst right around New Year's....but, have no fear, I was not going to concede and turn in early. I stayed out and celebrated the onset of 2010. I had to because this is going to be my year, a blessed year, and I wanted to toast to its first few seconds.

Christmas week was amazing, exhausting but amazing. I ate great, had many an amazing conversation, and saw so many faces of those I love.....the people that have been by support, my backbone through this whole fight. I participated in my first Gabler Sibling (siblings-in-law and siblings-in-law to be) Gift Exchange on Christmas Eve. I must admit I was a bit nervous but it was fantastic and I was honored to be part of such an elite group. Warren and I pulled of the feat of both drawing each other. It was also awesome to see Colin and Kathleen (Congrats to your Tide by the way) who made a last minute, and might I say proper decision, to head north for the holidays. Then on Christmas Day, we went to see my mom's side of the family and had an amazing day of laughs, beautiful Irish singing, elf hats, and WelcomeTinis. I can't say enough how much the love of my family has meant to me.

Hanna and I (along with the help of both of our families) also had the chance to get a ton of wedding planning done. We met with cake guys, picture guys, a lovely flower lady, music guys, restaurant guys, ring guys, and some other guys that I'm not even sure what they did.... It felt good to get all of this stuff rolling, but what feels even better is getting closer to April 10th. Hanna has been such a rock through this fight and I can't wait to vow everything to her. Life is good.

Well, that about covers the last few weeks. Happy New Year and may everybody be blessed in 2010.....I can feel it coming. The fight goes on and will keep going on, even when it is most difficult, especially when it is most difficult, becasue that is when friends, family, and faith take over. This month I needed all 3 and, as always, they/we prevailed.

As I am sure everybody is, please send thoughts, prayers, and help to those affected by the tragedy in Haiti. The destruction and loss of life is unreal and puts into perspective how instantly things can change. This is an hour of need for our neighbors to the south.

Much love and know that

ALL Will Be Well

"Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others."

"When the character of a man is not clear to you, look to his friends" --Haitian Proverb