Saturday, April 21, 2012

Psyching up for Cycle II

Here is the latest: I have been at home for the last two weeks being sick in the comfort of my own home. After the first week of chemo, I was scheduled to recover for a couple weeks but they were pleased with the way that my body was holding up so they let me go home on Holy Saturday. It was so beautiful to be out of the hospital for Easter Weekend. My mom and brother came down and most of Hanna's family was able to come down and we had an amazing and blessed Easter in DC. Luke offered his place in Georgetown and we were able to eat, pray and hang out together as a family. It was wonderful to go home at the end of the day and lay down in my own bed. So, since then, I have been laying low at our apartment as my blood counts and body have been recovering. I have remained mostly symptom free and keep myself infection free and out of the hosptial. Hanna and I have tried to stay somewhat normal and made a trip to see Hunger Games and dinner with my mom, aunt and cousins. It has been so much better for my mental state to be home with my beautiful wife doing everyday things. I have lost a little weight but my appetite has stayed pretty normal so I think that is just the chemo taking its toll on my body.

The worst part was having to shave my head again. I was starting to lose my hair so we decided to preempt it and shave it before it started getting everywhere. The upside was that, at the barbershop, there happened to be a woman that overheard my story and she shared her own battle with cancer and how she knew exactly what I was going through and promised to keep me in her prayers. She gave me strength at a particularly low point. It amazes me how good people are and how, when you need it most, someone is there to pick you up. So, now I am a baldy but I keep telling myself that it is just one step closer to entering that Vin Diesel look-a-like competition.

I have been back to the hospital a couple times to have my blood checked and, as expected, I have pretty much lost all of my immunity which means no fresh fruits and vegetables (so, basically, my normal diet) and Purell everywhere I go. But, it has seemed to work since I have stayed relatively healthy the last few weeks.

I will be re-admitted on Monday to start Cycle II of the first part of this chemo regimen. It will be a little easier since I already know the routine and some of the nurses and techs but I am pretty sure the 'corner pocket' is not a guarantee. I will only be receiving chemo for 3 or 4 days so hopefully they will let me come home again to recover but they can't make any promises about that so it is just a wait and see for now.

We have received so many cards, messages, and emails. They always come at the right time and we can't thank everybody enough for your thoughtfulness and kindness. It is very meaningful give us continued strength in tough times.

Keep the prayers coming and ALL Will Be Well,


"God created shadows to better emphasize the light"
--Pope John XXIII

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The First Steps Toward Healing

So I have now settled into my corner suite (they keep calling it the corner pocket) here at Georgetown. We checked in on Monday and underwent a lot of testing and preparation. I had a central line put into my upper chest so they can draw blood and give medicine easily without having to prick me. It is convenient for that, but just a pain to have something that is constantly an invasive reminder of all this nonsense. I had a bone marrow biopsy to get a baseline of the current state of the disease so that they can compare this to my marrow in a few weeks. These are never fun but, since I was actually staying in the hospital, they gave me two doses of morphine and one dose of dilaudid so I was pretty loopy and in a different universe by the time they actually did it, which I greatly appreciated......I'm sure I was the source of a few good laughs, particulary some air smooches I was sending to Hanna with a dozen other people in the room. Then they started pumping me with fluids and getting my body ready for chemo, which started on Tuesday. The first 3 days I am getting this drug that is given every twelve hours for 3 days for 2 hours at a time. So this will be thru Friday. To go with that, they have to give another drug that protects my bladder because this particular chemo is harsh on the bladder. I appreciate their looking out for my future urinary habits, but it has kept us pretty tethered to the room since it runs for 24 hours straight. The doctors, nurses, cleaners, cafeteria workers, interns, and everybody have also been amazingly nice and helpful. They also have a smile on their faces and are willing to do anything for us.

Life has brought us to this point and we have to just fight away, keep praying, keep planning our future, keep laughing, and staying strong. I will most likely be admitted here for about a month and we are of the mindset that the best way to stay positive and strong is to take it day by day, so that is our current approach. My mom and Hanna's family are going to come down this weekend and hopefully have a normal Easter dinner. My good friend Luke and his family live on campus at Georgetown and have offered their place so we will have a place to hang out and eat and I think they are going to let me go for a few hours from the hospital so that should be nice. Other than that, we have had a few visitors and are going to have many more to share the time with over the next few weeks.

I have no words to describe the outpouring of love from family and friends that has been evident over the last week. It amazes, inspires, and motivates me to think of all these amazing people praying for me, thinking about me and battling with me. It keeps us strong, keeps us smiling, and helps trememdously with this fight. I am in awe at the loving spirit of those around me. Hanna, my beautiful and amazing wife, blows me away with her support, her hugs, her smiles, her attitude, and her love. She is at my side through all of this and I can't imagine not having her. She keeps me strong and we handle all of this as a team. I love her more all the time (for example, she brought me reeces pieces and coffee today). Our families have also been walking this terrifying walk with us and we all help each other which makes it more bearable. It is a blessing to know there are many who we can lean on.

So, that is what has been happening. I am anticipating that we will fall into a bit of a routine at the hospital and with the chemo and it will become the new normal. The side effects should kick in more and more over the next couple weeks, but those are hurdles we are ready for and will handle when they happen.

Keep praying for the success of these helps and is very reassuring. Thank you for reading this and being a part of helping us kick cancer to the curb.

God bless, much love, and

ALL Will be Well

"This is a mountain we hoped we'd never have to climb; but it's not Everest and it can be surmounted" -- Dr. Broome