10pm Sunday, 12/20/15 Stem Cell Leukemia Transplant Blog. Time to go forward again!

Monday

Starting another week. Definitely more healthy. Ate almost 3000 calories for my mid-day meal and I’m still eating. The change has come but I don’t know what it means. What does this all mean?

It’s about time to go. Problem is I don’t know where to go from here. It’s definitely time to start working again. I can feel that I have sufficient strength and clarity of mind to begin working again. And, I have a plan. Guess we’ll see how well it works!

Tuesday

Was able to work a little bit today in spite of the difficulties. Changing the direction has been difficult and will probably cause me some serious problems with my son but the changes are the right thing. Need some overt success or my feelings on this matter aren’t going to matter. This whole thing may be very difficult. Only time will tell.

Wednesday

Now I’m out! Feeling pretty good. Need to get to bed. See how I feel tomorrow. It’s pretty late right now! Can’t reconcile my medications right now!

Thursday

First day out. Very disappointing results. I’m sick all over again and I don’t know why! What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I figure this out myself? I’m worried that exactly the same thing (gradually being incapacitated) will happen all over again but without any understanding as to why! Don’t feel like eating again.

Friday

Walked out into the kitchen. On the way back tripped on the two steps up. Hit my head so hard! I was surprised. Didn’t expect that at all! How did that happen? No recollection at all. Just remember going down very quickly and uncontrollably. That’s gonna be so black and blue! It’ll be difficult to explain to medical staff on Tuesday when I go back there. Don’t want to have to do that at all. Enough of that!

Showing remarkably little damage from that terrible fall today. Did I “dodge the bullet” again? I can only hope so. I’ll have to learn to be more careful and “act my age”. What did I trip over? Absolutely no control over that fall. Hit the floor before I knew I was falling! And yet, I feel fine now?

Saturday

Back again. Feel better again today. Perhaps I’m making progress but at an uneven rate or something like 2 steps forward and 1 step back? I think that I’ve been surprised by the amount of work and time this “rehab or getting back to normalish” is taking. Wish I felt more courage!

It’s going to take just as much effort for me to rehab as it has for me to survive. I’m going to have to gear up for this. I didn’t understand how this is going to work. And, in some respects, it may be too late already.

Figured out what I “tripped over”. It was the floor. The  floor is covered with a wood laminate. The subfloor is very uneven. There’s a very obvious spot of “low to high” right before those two steps. Wasn’t paying attention. I am now!

Sunday

Very early Sunday morning (still Saturday night to me). I was able to work today, to get some stuff done. I think it may have been good. I don’t know if I was able to pack the tweets tightly enough to determine whether I was successful or not. Ultimately, with advertising, no response means that it can’t be successful (unless your metrics for success are incorrect). And therein lies my dilemma. Measurement and clear-headedness? Need some rest, time for bed once more!

Maybe a little bit more in the morning?

 

11/08/15 10pm Sunday Evening Stem Cell Replacement Blog: There are times when all we can see are the hard things we have to do.

MONDAY

This is a tough day because I’m prepping for a colonoscopy. Talk about misery! Much rather be doing something else. Almost anything else would be better than this. I hope I can get sufficiently prepped that I don’t have to do this again. It’s pretty terrible. Don’t know how I’m going to handle getting over to the hospital tomorrow without all kinds of accidents being possible. Got to figure this out. Want to get this thing done, once and for all!

Talked with the head doctor today. We talked about leaving here in about a month. He was pretty upset with me. Don’t know exactly why but it made this meeting uncomfortable. I wasn’t pleased with the results at all. Nothing was comfortable today. Simply trying to live through the day until things around me look a little better than they do right now. I’m discouraged and feeling misunderstood (whether that’s true or not). The longer this goes on the more brittle I feel.

My blood work was good today. My platelets were the highest they have yet been since the transplant. They were at 67k. One hundred thousand is the minimal normal level. I’m hoping this trend continues. Don’t know if I’m going to get any sleep tonight. How am I going to get to the hospital without having an “accident”?

To sum it up. Mostly good news today accompanied with uncomfortable physical symptoms and the like. Really beginning to want to go home and get out of this roller coaster. I want familiar and comfortable things in my life!

TUESDAY

In spite of all of the frustrations, and the doubts, and similar thoughts and attitudes, I suddenly realized (again), as I have over and over again, that I’m alive and will yet prosper and prevail through means long prepared, but not yet visible or obvious to me. This has always been the case. It’s only a question of faith, long-suffering, patience and humility. The Lord will take care of the rest, as He always has done and will do.

My older son has found a girl who seems to be compatible with him. I’ve been praying about that for a very long time. Have a good feeling about this one. Haven’t met her yet. I think they’re on to something.

The irony of all of this is, and has been, the harder the times are, the more faith I have to apply to them. That’s when I do my best. The easier it gets, the harder the time I have with vision and the exercise of faith. Now that I am, apparently, past the worst of it, the harder it is for me to live with this disease and the problems it causes me. My “vision” is diminished.

This has been a terrible night (coming into morning now). Most things that could have gone wrong with this colonoscopy prep have. There was plenty to clean up to do. Now all I have to do is wait to go to the hospital until it’s time for the colonoscopy to begin.

It’s over now. Let’s hope this is the low point of my whole experience and everything else is uphill from here. I’m so glad it’s over! Last night was miserable! Now, may everything begin to resolve itself and come to an end! Let the healing begin! I’m sure it will happen because I just waved my magic wand! (Meanwhile, back in reality!)

Can’t stay awake. I need to be rested in order to get through the remainder of the day! Don’t know when that’s going to be.

WEDNESDAY

I’m missing the focus I should have in this blog and don’t know how to find it. I wanted accuracy so that I can remember what was happening at the time I wrote it. Unfortunately, that is incredibly mundane. I wanted to talk about important things too. Those two goals contradict each other. And, I wanted it to be interesting. I’ve reached my goals from time to time but not consistently.

I’ve rarely  done all three at the same time. I don’t know what the solution is. This is more like ramblings with some facts thrown in. The other question is just how discrete should i be? I’m confused. I have a great deal to learn when it comes to blogging.

Still don’t have the CPAP pressure change so my machine isn’t working for me very well. It never arrived although it was sent. Don’t know what’s going on. Everything I have done to get that pressure changed over the past year has failed. It’s a though there is a giant hand interfering with me getting the results I’m looking for. No matter what i do, this hasn’t worked out for me.

This needs to happen. Good rest is such an important component of health. I’ll keep trying. I know it was sent but never delivered.

That flash drive with the new CPAP pressure finally arrived a few minutes ago. I have no idea of why it took so long to get here. Put it in the CPAP and immediately changed the pressure to 14. I’m very pleased with it. I definitely feel better although the higher pressure also means that there is a greater potential for noisy leaks. Haven’t figured out what to do about that yet.

THURSDAY

Temperatures will rise up to nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit again today. It’s so beautiful outside.!This is definitely “healing weather”. I’m loving it! Can’t believe this is November.

Learning, growing, becoming. Doing this in a difficult world working with a clumsy body filled with all kinds of weaknesses. Gollum is my idol and, perhaps, my mentor. Never thought I would ever be that “skinny” again. Went through that as a child. People used to compare me to concentration camp internees. Now I get to do it again. This is so cruel!

On the other hand, I can now claim to be a cancer survivor for a little more the 70 days. Ironically, in all of my weakness (and recognition of it), I am strong. When I’m humble, God is my guide, my shield and my weapon against the perils of this world. I’ve been totally destroyed and yet I am unbeaten. It’s one of the mysteries of this world. You can’t be beaten. You have to give up, capitulate, surrender. It’s a strange life indeed! Very little in our world is as it appears to be.

FRIDAY

This shows my problems with memory. I had something that I thought would be very important to include in my blog. By the time I was ready to write it down, I had forgotten what it was. Being this forgetful is very discouraging.

SATURDAY

Becky and Brian are here right now. They’re touring the hospital with Lynne. Now they’re going over to  PriceRight, our market, to see what it’s like. I didn’t feel strong enough to go to either of those places with them so I stayed home. It’s been nice to have them here.

SUNDAY

Time to publish. Not much more to say. Looking for a better week to come. My chiropractic visit on Friday was good. I was able to get a lot of relief. With just the two times I visited the chiropractor, my oxycontin use is down. This is a trend that I want to see continue. Time to start the new week.

10/25/15 Sunday Night Weekly 10 PM Stem Cell Transplant Blog: Some changes are dramatic but most show up as small incremental differences over time.

Sunday Night

Thought I’d start it early in order to make sure that I don’t forget about it. Looks like the weather for the upcoming week is going to stay consistently good again. This is Buffalo? The place where they had the huge snowfall last year before this date? It’s entirely different this year. Very pleased with the weather we’ve had here since I’ve been out of the hospital. Nothing to complain about at all.

Doing the rest of the sleep study on Tuesday night. People in the Ward were kind enough to volunteer to give me the rides that I need there and back. Lynne is more or less night blind and Rte. 33 is a dangerous road with a speed limit that’s too high for the conditions. I’d drive except for the fact that I’m restricted. I don’t want to run “afoul” of either the doctors or enforcement.

Monday

A new work week. It’s a pleasant day and I’m feeling stronger again. I still have to make a point of eating enough to maintain or increase my weight. Eating heartily still isn’t coming naturally. I don’t like having to pay attention to things like eating. Eating should, naturally, take care of itself.

My blood values on the phlebotomy testing have slipped a little bit but they are still good. Nothing to worry about at this point. Let’s hope that it stays this way.

The dinner prepared by volunteers tonight is a pork tenderloin dish served with wine on some kind. People here are in to their wine! Hope they don’t have to drive.

Well, I suppose I ought to get over there to enjoy a good meal. Hope I’m hungry enough to eat! Too bad, wasn’t hungry but the food was great. There was an absolutely awesome squash soup with cayenne to spice it up. Delicious!

TUESDAY

That was last night. Tonight was every bit as good. We’ve had some wonderful dinners over in the main building. The company can be great!

We  were able to enlist some help with the rides. This way Lynne doesn’t have to make the trip. She doesn’t have to worry about driving and I don’t have to worry about her.

Saw some of the Buffalo waterfront today. There are three former Navy ships at anchor. There’s a submarine, a destroyer and a guided missile cruiser. It was pretty interesting but I wasn’t able to complete the entire tour because I am still weak. Saw about half of it and that was all I was capable of doing.

I’ve just run out of time. Need to start watching for my ride.

WEDNESDAY

Had my sleep study last night. Slept very profoundly. When I woke up I felt profoundly rested. Surprised that feeling didn’t last all day. Within a few hours I was back into my state of being semi-asleep all of the time where, if I sit down in a chair, I’m nearly asleep in a few minutes if I’m not concentrating on something at the time.

Fortunately, I was able to arrange rides both to and from the study. I wasn’t certain that I was going to be able to because I had misplaced the telephone numbers of those folks who were planning on giving me the rides. Thanks to some very patient members I was able to work that all out. Their help has been a great blessing to me. Everything worked out great.

When you’re sick or disabled, little things seem to grow in importance until they appear to be far more important than they would otherwise be. I hope I can get back to normal activity levels soon!

Had some good news and some bad news today. The good news first! I’m going to be visiting the hospital clinic much less than before. I’ll only be going in to see the doctors and the nurses three times each week. We started out at 6 to 7 visits per week. This will be such a relief.  According to them, I’m doing very well. I was glad to hear that.

Now for the bad news. I was in the clinic when my stomach began to ache. It kept getting worse and worse until it was almost overwhelmingly painful. This went on for almost an hour. I had no idea when it was going to end but it went on for about an hour. Don’t know what caused it. Every time I think that I’ve seen it all something else comes along and amazes me with how painful it can be.

Thursday

More good news today. Our 100 days after the transplant (the time we were told we have to remain in Buffalo) began on the day of the transplant not the day I was released. That shortens our stay by as much as 20 days potentially. We could be home well before Christmas. That would be wonderful! And, a little bit sad as well. For the most part, we’re really enjoying getting out of town this way. In some ways (with the exception of the disease), it’s almost like a vacation.

I’m not getting stronger very quickly. I’m disappointed with that. I was hoping for better results. Still, I’m doing okay. Hope it continues this way and they figure out where the graft vs. host disease is manifesting itself and how to keep it under control. Right now it appears to be in my stomach and digestive tract. We’ve also just been told they are going to try to keep us down to 2 visits per week. That will be wonderful! Maybe that will give me time to get some work done?

Got the results back from my sleep study. The pressure is supposed to be set at 14! It’s currently set at 8. No wonder it doesn’t work very well for me! Now I need to take the steps to get it changed. Not certain how to get that accomplished from here.

Friday

Life is an exhilarating experience but we become so used to it that we begin to see it as being mundane. Life is exactly as it was intended to be: A very difficult journey of discovery from start to finish with unending opposition and constant work right up to the end. It’s not something that we always appreciate.

We forget what a great blessing it is and what a wonderful experience. Crises such as my leukemia make that point abundantly clear. Every day in our life is such a blessing but also a challenge of almost equal dimensions. Life is a struggle from beginning to end. It was meant to be this way. Our resentments, our fears and our woundedness come from the fact that we forget this or never knew it to be true in the first place.

Our Father in Heaven is always waiting to help us. Unfortunately, that is an understanding had by remarkably few people. Satan has been extremely effective in obscuring this fact and other essential truths as well. And the world groans under the weight of darkness and sin because of the deceiver’s influence.

People are very worthwhile. Definitely worth the effort it takes to deal with them yet we often fail to see it because of their faults and ours. That’s tragic. We have to do better than that. The only way that I know hoe to do that is to develop an ever increasing humility. Humility permits us to see the good in the people around us and to recognize that we are not in-charge of our lives. There are a few things which we can control in this life and more which we are not. We have a great deal of difficulty in distinguishing which is which. That creates many of our problems.

WordPress can be such a problem is to use. Without even knowing it, I just added on several paragraphs to an older blog while I thought I was adding on to this one. Things like that shouldn’t be possible. Furthermore now I can’t find that blog anymore. It shouldn’t be this difficult to use.

Saturday

My blood chemistry is approaching normal. My platelets are are 66 which is the lowest number that I have. When it gets up towards 100 I’ll feel pretty comfortable with the numbers. The tests tell me I’m healthier but how I feel betrays the numbers. Feeling sick so much of the time is very discouraging. Hopefully it will start improving soon.

Sunday

Went to church today. Generally, I enjoyed it. Three hours is a long time when you’re not feeling well. And I’m not but I know that it could be a good deal worse. Well, that’s it for this week. Now the question is, was this a better way for me to present the blog or worse? It’s hard for me to tell.

10/18/15 Sunday Night Weekly 10 PM Stem Cell Transplant Blog: Slow but definite progress day by day.

THURSDAY

Can’t believe it. Lost another blog on WordPress. I don’t have any idea of how that happened! I am so frustrated. The stuff I wrote wasn’t bad either.

Think I need to find a different way of publishing. I can’t afford to keep losing my material like this. Whether or not I did this to myself, there should have been some system of failsafes that would have prevented me from doing this to myself. That’s providing I did it to myself.

All in all, with the exception of losing my blog, this has been a pretty good day. My blood work looked very good this morning. Apparently, in spite of the difficult days, the graft is taking well with a minimum of serious problems. Knowing that is very comforting because I assumed all of those problems I’ve been having were indicative of more serious problems. But they’re not.

I’m feeling much better today as well. I feel is like I’m living on a pendulum. One day I feel good and the next day I feel sick and I never know why. Apparently, that’s less important than what’s going on with my blood chemistry. Still I’m happy that things are looking good. When I start to feel better consistently that will be a real plus.

It’s beginning to get cold. We’ve had a wonderful Fall so far. I’m so glad I got out of the hospital in time to see these beautiful days.

I want to be able to start looking forward instead of wondering what’s going to happen next. I’ve been able to work three out of the last four days. Not high quality stuff but coherent enough to be useful. I need more clarity of mind and can only hope that it’s coming. The transplant process is very unnatural. It’s hard to tell just how much damage it did to my body as well. I think I’m seeing some of that.

FRIDAY

It was a better day today. Didn’t have to go to the hospital today so I slept in. Felt very rested. I got some work done. Not nearly as much as I wanted to do but, in the process, forgot to eat breakfast which, for me, is definitely not a good idea. I can’t afford to lose any weight.

It was a little bit cold outside and it felt like Fall. It was a great day to take a little trip. For me to do any serious work I need to have a clearer mind (for longer periods of time) than I have yet had on a regular basis. Hopefully, that will come soon. I’m about half way through my stay in Buffalo.

Thank goodness for this place where we live. It makes our confinement here so much easier! We are so fortunate. I have hospital appointments tomorrow. Sunday we have off and we’re going to church. Tomorrow’s another day.

SATURDAY

I’m alive! I’m still here! Why am I so surprised? Doesn’t matter. Today I’m delighted that, in spite of all of the difficulties and dangers of the last year, I am still alive. It’s been a long thirteen months but, I’m pleased to say, I’m still here.

You might ask: “What brought that on?” First of all, I’m feeling pretty good today. Secondly, I have a report on my blood chemistry in my hands. White blood cells normal. Hematocrit low. Platelets very low (44). Red cells high. ANC normal. With the exception of the platelets, I’m very comfortable with what I’m seeing. Of course, low platelet numbers are what got this whole party started in the first place. Today may be the first day since the transplant when I don’t “feel” as though I have a dread disease. I’m feeling like a man with a future.

Went to the hospital today. It was a cold day but the wind was absolutely piercing. It portends an absolutely fierce winter once the temperatures drop. I don’t know where the wind is blowing from but I suspect it’s one of the lakes (either Erie or Ontario). That wind, if it’s consistent, would make it colder than Adams.

With the leukemia, each time I received chemotherapy successfully (and they were all at least marginally successful), I felt as though I had received a new lease on life. It was a short-term lease, to be sure, but it was a new one. Now I’m beginning to feel that, with the transplant, I have a new lease on life of the unspecified long-term variety.

My hair is coming back. Will it come back again this time with the full range of colors that it had last time? It came back red, brown, black, grey and white. (When I first got leukemia my hair color was pure white). Only time will tell on this. I’m hoping for more of the same. That was one of the nicest surprises that I’ve had since the start of all this.

SUNDAY

Went to Church for all three meetings today. It felt good. It may have been the first time in a year that I’ve made it to all three of my meetings. This ward is the size of a branch but it is very comfortable. Very easy to attend. The members are very friendly. We were very fortunate. We ended up with a great apartment as well as a great Ward to attend. However, because I slept in, we got to church just barely too late to take the sacrament. I’ll have to do better next week.

Gradually getting colder. Last year about this time, I had either just gotten back home after my first round of chemotherapy or was about to. I remember just how cold I was all of the time. I’d lost so much weight and all my hair. Losing the hair mortified me. Looked so much goofier (and older) without the beard. It would be awhile before the hair would come back.

The lost weight was tragic too. When I was a boy I was exceptionally skinny, constantly picked on. When I finally approached normal weight I was so happy. In regards to that, the first time “tragedy” struck was during my mission when I became very sick and for many years,my weight was very low again. I hated it but there was nothing that I could do about it. Gradually I gained the weight back again. And now, here I am, looking “Gollumesque” once more. I don’t like the memories that looking like this evoke in me.

More importantly, I am glad to be alive. I’ll be even more pleased if I get to be (and feel) productive once more. I’m hoping to be able to regain enough strength and the means to be able to do many things again. At any rate, I need to find that sense of being productive again. I suppose I won’t get to see what that means until I achieve it.

More next Sunday, October 25, 2015

10 PM Stem Cell Replacement Blog: A less difficult day.

Woke up this morning. Simply felt better than yesterday. Don’t know why. This seems to be the pattern. Wish I understood what’s going on.

The hardest part of explaining what leukemia is like is that it tends to be very different for various people. I know that I that I’m uncomfortable and it’s unpleasant but how is it for the other people? You can see that they’re stressed by it, but how? How do they cope with it?

I think that we have to resolve, every day, to do our best with what we get. People survive this all the time. The illness doesn’t give you the impression that’s where it’s going. All the symptoms that I get are so unusual that they don’t give me anything to judge by. I go from sick, to very sick and, occasionally, feeling almost normal. I really would like to have much strength and feel it increasing on a regular basis. That would encourage me a great deal.

My blood chemistry today was very good today. Closest to normal that I’ve seen. My stomach is killing me right now. Feeling bloated.

This will be last daily blog. I don’t have enough material to do a good job of this on a daily basis. I’m going to start publishing once a week every Sunday night at 10 pm. It will either be a better blog or it will disappear. Only time will tell.

10 PM Stem Cell Replacement Blog: A dark and stormy-looking day. What’s next?

With leukemia most of my time is spent waiting in line or waiting for an appointment. Not very much happening here. I need to talk to the group that did the sleep study to reschedule the rest of the test. I should put in some hours at work as well. Trying to decided what would be effective. I need to find a way to tie my tweets back to the company I work for without being overbearing. That balance is delicate. The objective is to create a positive reception for them and their products without having to beat prospective clients over the head with the material that is being presented.

It’s a quiet day in Buffalo. Here, we’re disconnected from every facet of our everyday life. Being able to go to church on Sunday was a good thing because it is something that we would normally do even if all of the people are different.

Buffalo is a very different city from Syracuse.  Much more vibrant and alive and much larger.Most of my time will be spent near the medical centers. My doctors are trying to “coax” additional performance out of my bone marrow.  The results haven’t been bad so far but neither are they spectacular. It looks like this is going to be a slow process.

Sick again today. There have been so many days like this! Got up in the morning, ate breakfast, sat in this chair and never moved again until around 4pm this afternoon. Don’t have any idea. Getting weaker by the minute. Don’t know what to expect. I hate being sick all  of the time! Wish I knew what to do about it. Being sick all of the time is so demoralizing!

Don’t know what the problem is but I’m getting sicker by the hour. The only thing I’m certain is that it has something to do with digestion. I’m very  uncomfortable right now. With they exception of dinnertime, I’ve been sitting in this chair all day, dozing, doing nothing. Don’t have any energy. It’s raining and the wind is picking up. Feels as though it is likely to rain all night. I really enjoy these Fall nights!

More Tomorrow

STEM Cell Transplant Blog: It’s more than a process, it’s a way of life for now.

Hooray! Got to go to church today. First time in a couple of months. It felt good even though I had to “keep my distance” from the other members while I was there. Can’t afford to get an infection at this point. It was a good experience for me!

What the future holds is another matter. We’ll see about that when the time comes.

I’ve felt very quiet for the last couple of days. There are times when I wish that I understood myself better. Is this something everybody goes through?

Where do I go from here? Survival is looking more and more likely with a good chance of complete recovery. If that’s the case, what will I do with the rest of my life?

Will I be able to live a high-energy lifestyle or will I be reduced to living the life of an idle witness to the events in the world around me? Above all, I want to  spend my time wisely and well. I’d like to be productive in the most complete sense of the word. What’s really going to happen and how much control will I have over it?

My mind hasn’t been very clear or really active in the last several days. This is probably due to the changes that are taking place in my body as a result of the transplant.

At least I’ve been able to relax. When I get back to the hospital tomorrow the blood tests will show how “stable” my blood chemistry is capable of being without 24/7 monitoring which, frankly, is beginning to wear on me.

Have a lot of things that I need to get done in the next several days including the completion of the sleep study or, at the very least, get it scheduled.

I’m eating and gaining weight a little bit every day. This is crucial. Can’t do much of anything else until I’ve reached safe weight levels with a corresponding increase in strength. It’s becoming easier to do now that food tastes good again.

As a footnote to all of this, I have 29 regularly scheduled pills that I take on a daily basis as well as those which are administered on an “as needed” basis. I have no idea of how I would keep track of all of this without my wife’s help.

Ever since the graft versus host medicine was adjusted I’ve been feeling calmer and quieter. The flareups of skin irritation and itching have been less severe and less frequent as well. My gastric problems have almost been eliminated as well.  Now if I could only think, and plan, and follow through most of the time I’d be doing pretty well. Hopefully, I’ll have more to say tomorrow than I have today.

More tomorrow!