Sunday, December 13th, Stem Cell Leukemia Transplant Blog: I have 100 plus days since my transplant, what does it all mean?

Lasr week passed me by again,

Unlikely as that was

It could have been a “blast”

But it was so hard!

An epic struggle,

 

Survival was a constant question,

Wasn’t disappointed there,

But  in terms of quality of life (in the future)

Was told to beware

 

Very disappointing,

Almost haunting,

Only the exercise of faith,

Will get me through this short disappointing race!

 

Not doing well right now,

Future quality of  life.

More important to me.

Than survival feels right now?

 

Endure I must,

 

Never know where life will take me,

Can’t see the future right now,

If you must know,

But I imagine what I should expect,

And what I want to see,

 

Often leading to bitter disappointments too,

Because of hopes and dreams,

Which we should not have entertained,

Much less sought for,

But it’s the nature of life,

And the and the human condition.

 

 

My mistakes may still be short-term,

Won’t know till I the results are seen,

And like all the rest,

Hope to see the truth,

And accept it.

 

Much better than expected,

Sweeter than anticipated,

Only time will tell,

And time has been kind to me

All for now.

 

In spite of what I say,

Or the pains I express,

This time has still been the defining moment,

Of my entire life,

 

Made me a better man,

That what I was,

Or thought I could be,

And even who I am,

In some mysterious way,

I fail to understand!

 

Wednesday

Just started to eat again. Such pain. I thought I was a dead man this time even though now I am “cancer free”. I’m definitely not disease-free. This whole process has done great damage to me physically. The jury is still out regarding how much of my former strength can be recovered and what I’ll be able to do. I’m very weak right now.

Thursday

That was a poor attempt at self-expression while very sick. Maybe some of what I intended came across?

There have been some very difficult days this week but I’m feeling very different today. So much better. It’s hard for me to believe that I’m the same person that I was on Monday I feel so much better today. If I can eat well and exercise today and tomorrow maybe I can get out of here. I eat so much better at home.

Need to be able to walk too. If I can “stuff” my brace perhaps I can get the right “angles” that I need to be able to walk enough to make a difference?

Friday

Tried fixing the brace. Worked reasonably well. Both my appetite and my strength are coming back. Feeling better is a relief.

Saturday

My brother arrived today from New Mexico with his wife Susan. Should see both of them tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

I’m fighting foolishly with the staff but I am definitely feeling stronger again. All this give me more hope.

Sunday

Scott and Susan came and saw me today. It was great to see them. I’d love to see them with  prospering more than they are! They’ll be back tomorrow. Time to publish. Good night! This was a happy day! Should be going home on Wednesday!

 

 

 

 

12/06 10:00pm Stem Cell Leukemia Transplant Blog. I should be wrapping it up here soon but, hey, you never know?

Monday

Today’s the day that I get the fluid around my lungs punctured and drained. I’m not looking forward to that. For me, right now, the worst part of this is not being able to eat or drink. I’m both dry and thirsty. I’m certain that being hungry and thirsty will be the least of my problems once this procedure gets started! Life in the fast lane! My appointments took way to much time today. As a result, I’m very sick again. Just don’t know what to do? Terrible! They only punctured the right side today. They removed 2500cc of fluid. Going to  do the other side on Friday. I was told there is somewhat less fluid on that side. I’m looking forward to getting this done and getting some relief!

Tuesday

I’m very disappointed with this constant round of sickness that doesn’t ever seem to end nor for no reason can be found. I’m totally confused by all of this. Why can’t I get past this point? If I don’t, I question whether or not I’m  going to survive this. Still don’t know what the problem is? My strength has come back a little bit. I spent the entire day in bed.

Wednesday

Today’s the day for my bone marrow biopsy. I hope that I’m healthy enough to get it done. Last time it was scheduled I wasn’t. I was very sick Monday evening through Tuesday evening and then I started to feel better again. while I was feeling sick, that meant another day without eating. Wish this would end, that the doctors would get to the bottom of this! I’m getting really discouraged.

Even with anesthesia and drugs to prevent it, I remember and felt the entire procedure. That’s going to make me more resistant to doing it in the future. Well, they’ll drain the other lung on Friday. That will make it 3 surgical-type procedures in a single week. If it gets me home, it’s worth it to me! I need so much more strength than I have now! I need to go to bed now.

Thursday Still sick and still eating. How’s this going to resolve itself. I appear to be making very uncomfortable progress while, nevertheless, still going forward. My blood chemistry continues to improve each time I have my blood work done. Something has to give here somewhere. I’m feeling more confident but I’m still puzzled why my experience is going like this. I feel very calm. Removing fluid from the left lung tomorrow. I hope that brings even more relief!

Friday

Day 100. I should be done and ready to go home. They took around 900CC’s out from around the sack surrounding the left side of my lungs. They did another cat scan of my lungs after that. They realized that I had pneumonia as well as graft versus host disease manifestation in my lungs. So they readmitted my back into the hospital on the very day when I ought to have bee going home. Of course they were all right but it stings. I can hardly stand up right now.

Saturday

I’m getting better again. Even though I was readmitted to the hospital yesterday,there was some very good news today. Ther was absolutely no sign of leukemia in the biopsy. Those are about all the results that we’ve gotten back from them so far. What a blessing!

10:00 pm Stem Cell Leukemia Transplant Blog 11/29/15 Is this what is actually happening? I find it hard to believe!

MONDAY

I’ve been sick far too long!  I’ve been on a sickness carousel. This has been a revolving door of low-grade and high-grade misery. Sometimes it feels as though it will never end or that the ending that I get is one that I’ll find very disappointing (even after all of this). I can’t make sense out of any of this.

Now I’m feeling better again. My lungs are beginning to clear the fluid out from around them. I’m feeling quite a bit better.

It can be very easy to lose perspective. I’ve come close. Doing my best to persevere.

TUESDAY

I feel a little bit better again today. This is giving me more relief.

Had a bone density test today. I also saw the doctor. They are beginning to zero in on the lungs and the fluid around them as the main cause of my afflictions. That seems to be closer to the heart of the matter. I’m satisfied that I’m getting the help that I need. Now I’ve got to take enough of the medicine to ensure that I can regain my health. Missed almost all of my medications today because of being so busy, on the one hand, and weak on the other. Have to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I’m so tired and weak all of the time plus, there are more than 30 medications that I take every day. Need to get this done! Never thought that survival might come down to an issue as simple as this. Can’t let that happen.

WEDNESDAY

So far this has been a very difficult week. In spite of all of the problems, my blood chemistry is looking better every time I receive the results. Considering how I feel, this is amazing! Eating a little bit more all of the time. At some point there has to be a breakthrough, doesn’t there?

Gerrit and Cheryl will be here tomorrow. A touch of reality in an otherwise surreal situation. Nothing is proceeding the way that I would have expected it to or wanted it to.

THURSDAY

Cheryl and Gerrit arrived around noon. Very good to see them. Still don’t feel well. I want to feel healthy again so badly!

Swollen ankle due to water retention? Didn’t sleep much last night. Need to get all of these things under control. There are so many ways to be uncomfortable! I’m discovering more of them all the time. I need to be able to eat and to rest before I get to go home. As simple as all of this appears, I need to figure out how to do it.

At least I’m beginning to eat better again. Wish I could get clear of these other problems.

Living this way takes courage, more than I could ever have imagined. The longer this goes on, the harder it is. I’m very hard-pressed!  The only saving grace that I can find in this situation is that I am gradually getting better!  It was good to see Cheryl and Gerrit. Cheryl played her piccolo for us after dinner. She played the movements that she soloed in her concert the previous week which means I was privileged to hear them. She is so good. It was wonderful to hear her play again. Too bad they went back home the same day.

FRIDAY

If  I were a drinker, I would say that I felt “hung over”. At any rate, I’m feeling the same lack of clarity and a similar level of confusion. It’s begun to pass during the course of the day. Was it something that I ate yesterday? Eating very slowly but eating almost continually now. I’m eating simple foods but they have appeal to me! I’ve been able to eat and rest all day. It’s been really nice.

SATURDAY

It’s a dark and gloomy day with temperatures close to freezing. The good news is that I’m feeling better again. Wish I could get rid of this water retention. Everything is beginning to look up. I should have enough strength soon to show some  initiative and get things done, perhaps work a little bit. I’m looking forward to it.

Right now, I’m eating Oreo cookies and a new type of Town House cookie, neither of which I probably should be eating but which demonstrate how much better I feel right now.

SUNDAY

Definitely getting better. I’ll go to church then I’ll rest up today for a trying week to come: Removing fluid from around my lungs on Monday and a bone marrow biopsy on Wednesday. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed the week. Hoping next week is even better.

This has been a promising week with a complete change of directions regarding my health. It looks as though my primary health problems are being resolved. I relieved and very thankful! Let’s see what next week brings instead!

Good night!

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 PM Stem Cell Replacement Blog: Your life redefined and there you are without the definition!

This leukemia, although very difficult, has been a great blessing to me in my life. It’s been a wakeup call highlighting what is important in my life. It’s obvious to me that family is the most important thing in life. I knew that before I got leukemia. Love, as expressed through service and kind acts, is of the essence. I’ve seen some wonderful and selfless service under many sets of circumstances.

When I survive this, and I believe I will, how will this play out? Will everything simply slip back into old familiar patterns or will I find new opportunities and different possibilities? The old question of “What am I going to do when I grow up” keeps raising it’ ugly head.

How do you decide it’s what you want to do unless you know what that is? Starting over again, regardless of your age, is a daunting prospect. Yet, with leukemia, and other life-changing and traumatic illnesses it happens all of the time. Worst part of it all, you never know for certain, whether the disease is coming back or not?

I suppose the only answer to the last question is to simply to accept each day for the gift that it is. For me, the remainder of those issues are open to examination. Personally, I know that I need to write.

I chose not to write for many years. Now, I’ve reached a point where writing has become a compulsion for me. The raw talent is there but I never developed it to the extent that I might have. I have a lot of catching up to do if I intend to pursue this course seriously.

I already know that my writing has some commercial value. I’ve seen that already. I suspect that will remain more or less static unless I can boost my production levels and showcase my skills in more lucrative markets.

I enjoy writing many things. Sometimes I’m a gifted (although very impatient) poet. I write philosophically and politically as well.

I was surprised to find just how much I enjoy writing tweets for twitter, especially political ones. Don’t know what to do with that. Is there an avenue to be pursued there? Then, there is also the issue of time. How much time do you have left to pursue you’re passions? How committed are you to what you want to do? Is it really as important to you as you think it is? Those are the questions to which, at present, I have no answers.

Writing this blog is an experiment. To do it right, requires a balance and dedication that I’ve been unable to replicate on a continuing basis. I want to be able to document what happened. In spite of that, I get sidetracked very easily. Some of that may be the leukemia (chemo-brain) and the rest of it is probably personality.

The most important role in life appears to be service through self-expression. All of us have a need to add value but we all have a different idea of how to do this.

More tomorrow!

10 PM Stem Cell Replacement Blog: Finding my cure for leukemia and a lot of surprises.

It seems that every day I feel a little bit better, in some way or another and, at the same time, I find myself exhibiting a new or unexpected symptom of graft versus host disease. Or, at least I think it is. Symptoms vary so much.

Didn’t have to go into the hospital today. Slept in. Forgot to eat breakfast and lunch. More than made up for it at dinner. About four nights a week we eat dinner at the”main” house. We get fed sumptuously. Stopped eating in the hospital. Since I’ve been here, I haven’t stopped eating. I enjoy the people. Their stories are fascinating. It makes me realize just how fortunate I have been.

At the end of each day, no matter how it goes, we get to lock ourselves away in our apartment where we have peace and quiet. That’s a special blessing. More than enough comfortable space in which to rest and relax. I feel rested for the first time since I left the hospital.

Wish I had more to say tonight but I don’t. I think I’ll go to bed and get some rest. So, my apologies. Time to go to bed.

More tomorrow!