Saturday, December 29, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 26

Today was a good day. My labs showed that my neutrophil count was over 750 so I am allowed to go out! Normally we go out to dinner somewhere for birthdays in our family. I was not sure my count would be high enough so we postponed the birthday dinner till Saturday. We will probably make this a combined birthday dinner for Michael, our friend Gene Retzer and me. If you remember I was in the hospital for Michael's birthday and also Gene's which is two days after Michael's. Gene has always been like family to us. He and his wife Marilyn are adopted Grandparents to our children.

My birthday was a good day. My labs were better, my mom and brother called me and all my kids were here. We played some board games and had some cake and visited. What more can anyone ask for!

I will probably not add to the blog till after my appointment in Chicago unless something else comes up.

God continues to bless me. My family and I thank you all for your prayers and wish you a Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 25

Today was another good day. I got my labs done today and my neutrphil count is back up to 420! Hopefully by tomorrow it will be up to over 500 and I will be able to go out for my birthday! It is a good thing they let me out early or it would be tomorrow before I got released.

I am eating a little better but it is still slow and I still have a little bit of a sore throat. Otherwise I feel pretty good.

Next week we go to Chicago and the following week to St. Louis. Hopefully by then we will have enough information to make a good decision about the transplant.

May God continue to bless you all! He sure is blessing me!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 24

Today was another good day. I had my labs drawn this morning and my counts all went up. I did not have to get a transfusion! My neutrophil count is still only about 200 so I still cannot go out or have company. I have to get a blood count every day for at least the next 3 days or till my counts are high enough.

I did get my appointment in Chicago changed to January 3. Then I have my repeat visit at Barnes in St. Louis on January 9. Hopefully after that I will have enough information to decide how to proceed regarding the bone marrow transplant.

I have been able to spend the day with Teresa and the kids so it has been a good day. The boys and I played some board games this afternoon. Kim, Jeremy and Ian were here for dinner. We had "finger foods" tonight for supper. We usually have them Christmas Eve but we postponed it due to my being in the hospital. Everybody enjoyed it and we will probably play more board games tonight.

Teresa and I and the rest of the family want to thank you all for your prayers. I am convinced that prayer and the Lord's hand is what got me home for Christmas.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 23

Merry Christmas everybody! The reason I am writing this post so late is that I got to go home today! My infectious disease doctor came in at 6 AM and said that since my temperature had been OK, he thought I could go home if my other doctors agreed. My counts came back and were not up as much as we had hoped so I was concerned. My hemoglobin had actually gone down a little, my platelet count was about the same and my neutrophil count was actually still less than 200. When my oncologist came in, he said I could go home if I followed several rules. I had to go straight home and stay indoors except for lab work until my counts got better . I had to have blood drawn today so that if I need a transfusion tomorrow they can have the blood ready by the time I get to Springfield. I have to have my blood counts checked at 8 AM tomorrow to be sure they are going up. I also cannot have any visitors till my counts get better which also means my kids cannot have anyone over either till then. I agreed to all of those rules without a problem. He came in about 11 AM and I was on my way home by 1 PM.

When I got home, I helped finish wrapping Christmas presents and we had a big lunch at 3PM. Teresa usually works on things the day before and the day of the big meal. She obviously did not do any of that ahead of time until she knew I was going to come home this year. Once I got the go ahead she worked like crazy to get our big meal done. Kim came over and helped her get things done. They worked miracles and we had a great meal! We had turkey and ham, sweet potato casserole and mashed potatoes with gravy. We had vegetables, salad, jell-o and lots more. It was a wonderful meal and was especially good since all the kids and my grandson were here.

After dinner we read the Christmas story, then opened up presents and visited for awhile. It was great to be home for Christmas. Tomorrow I need to call Chicago and change my appointment to next week after I get my blood drawn. I am sure it will be another good day.
I will put more information on the blog tomorrow when I know more.

I hope you had as good a day as I did! God blessed my family and me and your prayers all helped. Thank you and have a great holiday season!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 22

Happy Christmas Eve to everybody! Today has been a very good day! No, I did not get to go home but it was still a good day. My throat is better today. I can talk some but I am not yet back to normal. It still takes me a long time to eat also. I have had no fever and continue to walk well.

My labs today showed an improvement in my platelet count and my hemoglobin. My neutrophil count improved to 138. That is more than double of yesterday. If I can do that again tomorrow I will be close enough to 500 for me to ask about going home. My infectious disease doctors have already changed one of my antibiotics to oral. They are OK with me going home whenever my regular doctors are comfortable as long as my temperature stays down.

Kimberly and Jeremy were not able to come up today because Ian has a cold , runny nose and fever. Teresa and all the boys came up. We played games all afternoon. Those of you who know me know I love board games. I did not win or even come close, but I had a great time with Teresa and the boys. It was a little more crowded than when we play at home but it was still great.

We almost did not get to play, though. Yesterday when David was helping clear the branches from the storm, he scratched his eye. It hurt for a while then got better yesterday afternoon and was OK when he went to bed last night. When he got up this morning it really hurt and he had trouble keeping his eye open. Reluctantly, he went to the ER and was found to have a scratch on his cornea and a little blister. He got some antibiotics and was told to rest his eyes. He also got some dark glasses to wear. He is concerned about the pattern he is developing as last year he was in the hospital on Christmas Eve due to kidney stones!

Tomorrow morning there will be many who are looking under the tree to see what Santa brought them. I, too, will be like a little kid. Instead of looking under the tree, I will be looking to see what labs God decided to give me. I will be happy with whatever I get as He knows best!

May you all have a very Merry Christmas tomorrow. Please remember that this is the day we celebrate God sending his son to Earth for us, the greatest present ever!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 21

Today was a pretty good day. I have had no fevers and have been able to walk. My throat is still sore and I am having a hard time talking still. I am able to eat but it just takes longer than usual. I feel like I am eating all day as it takes me about two hours to eat a meal. The bump on my head is almost gone and my arm is getting better.

My labs today showed a slight drop in my hemoglobin (red blood calls) from 10.0 to 9.4. My platelet count also fell from 29,000 to 24,000. My neutrophil count, however, went up from 34 to 64. My monocytes also doubled and that is supposed to be a sign that my bone marrow is recovering from the chemo. My doctor today said I will not be going home tomorrow. He wants to be sure my platelet count and hemoglobin are going up and I do not need a transfusion. He also needs the neutrophil count to be at least 500 and he is pretty sure that won't happen by tomorrow. He is fairly sure I will be home by Wednesday but is not sure I will make it by Christmas.

Teresa was up here again today. She still looks very tired. Last night the wind was so strong that it set off the alarms at our house at 3 AM. Two of the boys helped her make sure it was nothing serious but it sure interrupted their sleep. Everyday she brings up the mail and we go over the previous day and discuss how the kids are doing, etc. This is similar to when we are home but usually it is me coming home and then we discuss things. We sort out what is garbage, what needs attention and what needs followup. After we go over that we both have things to do. The bills still need to be paid, and we have our own projects. Fortunately we have internet access and could do a lot of our Christmas shopping online. Unfortunately we cannot do everything from the room and that is one of the reasons Teresa is so tired. She has to do the running for both of us!

I mentioned yesterday that my family decorated my room. Today I had several nurses in to check it out. They voted my room as best decorated room on the floor!

I am a little disappointed that I won't be home tomorrow. We have a family tradition of me reading the Christmas story to everybody in the family (and any family we have in for Christmas) on Christmas Eve. Teresa also makes lots of little snacks for us to eat (she calls it finger food night). I will miss that, because she makes the best stuff. I am letting the family decide if they want to go ahead without me and have someone else do the reading or if it will be postponed.

I am sure my counts will improve tomorrow and Christmas day. It is up to God to decide when they get high enough for me to go home. As always, I and my family truly appreciate all your prayers.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 20

Today was a much better day. My temperature was less than 100 all day. I am still having a hard time talking and my throat is still pretty sore, but no worse than yesterday. I am still eating. It just takes longer than usual. I am still able to do my walking. The bump on my head has gone down and the arm is about the same. I have no new injuries today. For those of you who read the blog yesterday and the comments, no Teresa did not hit me!! It may have been someone from room service though. I am still having trouble with the service. It took a couple of hours today to get my lunch again and that was only after we called down a second time.

My labs today actually showed that my hemoglobin went up! (Praise the Lord!!) My platelet count dropped from 50,000 to 29,000. Hopefully that is done dropping. My monocytes( another kind of white blood cell) went from 0 to 26.(Praise the Lord!!!) That is significant as they frequently come back right before the neutrophils. My neutrophil count went from 12 to 34. These are not large increases but they are starting to go up. Hopefully the trend is up. There is still a chance I can be home for Christmas if my temperature stays down and the upward trend continues!

Kim, Jeremy, Ian and all four of the boys came up to see me today. It was the first time since Thanksgiving I had seen David or Jon and it was the first time I saw Kim, Jeremy and Ian since their California trip. They surprised me by entering the room caroling and they brought decorations! I now have a Christmas tree in my room with lights on it, a neon Merry Christmas sign hanging from the ceiling, multiple window decals on my window, my door and even on a picture in the room, a large Christmas wreath and a stocking hanging on the wall. My IV pole is also decorated with garland. It was great to see them all again but it was hard for me because I really could not talk much and had to write notes.

Both of my doctors are off for the weekend. The doctors covering for them said I was improving and when my counts were good enough I could go home if my temperature is down. I will probably have to postpone my appointment in Chicago for a week because it is taking longer than expected for my counts to get better.

I continue to appreciate all your prayers. God may still see to it that I am home for Christmas!
If not, my family says they will bring Christmas to me. Looks like I win either way!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 19

Today was a better day. I still can hardly talk and it still hurts to swallow. My appetite is still decreased but I have not had any nausea today. I did not eat supper but that is because I had trouble with room service again and by the time I finished it was almost 5 o'clock. I was not ready to eat supper by 7 PM when room service closes. I will try and have a snack before bed.

My hemoglobin and my platelet count were better today due to the transfusions yesterday. My neutrophil count was 12. Hopefully it will start to go up tomorrow. My temperature was better today also. Most of the day it was less than 100. The highest it got was only about 100.5. I felt a lot better today because of less fever.

I did get a bump on the side of my head overnight. Nobody is sure what it is from. I guess I must have bumped it on the siderail while sleeping. There is no bruise, however and it has not gotten any bigger all day. I also have a sore left arm. I t hurts just above my elbow when I bend or straighten my arm. I get my blood pressure done on that side most of the time and that does not bother it. Dr. Lanzotti thinks I have a small torn muscle. There is nothing to do for either one right now except to watch.

Teresa was up here today and she looked better than when she left Wednesday but I know she is still sore and hurting as she was limping again and the pain shows on her face. She plays video poker and does real well but I suspect she would not do as well against someone who could read her face. She was hoping to see Dr. Lanzotti before she went home but it is very foggy tonight so I told her she should leave about 6:00PM. He came in about 6:30PM. I was able to talk to him by writing notes and it went fine.

My discharge will likely be decided by one of Dr. Lanzotti's partners as he is off the weekend and Christmas Eve and Christmas day. He will also be on vacation all next week. I sure hope I am home before he returns! I just have to wait and see what God has decided.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 18

Today has not been a good day. All my counts were down. My hemoglobin was 7.8 and my platelets just 19,000 so I got two units of blood and one of platelets today. My neutrophil count remains at 0. I have had a fever most of the day between 100 and 101. I felt bad when I had my higher temperatures and took several naps today.

My throat is more swollen and I can hardly talk and my swallowing is much harder. I continue to have a tickle in my throat that makes me cough so when Dr. O'Marro was here he ordered a chest Xray. I do not know the results of that yet. My appetite is worse. During breakfast I got real full and had to stop eating 3/4 of the way through. At lunch I still felt full and when my food came the smell made me nauseous. I pushed my food away and took a nap. At supper time I was still full and even before I ordered. I was nauseous and had to take something for it. Since then I have felt better but still have no desire to eat.

Teresa did not come up early today. . She had a lot of things to do at home to get ready for the holiday. After she was done with some of the more important things, it was late enough that I could convince her to stay home tonight. She really needed the rest, but really wanted to be up here with me. She sounded a lot better tonight than she did this morning.

It is definitely close to Christmas here at the hospital. There were some carolers earlier today down the hall and two of the nurses here made little goodie bags. I got one of the bags. It has cookies and candy in it. Wouldn't you know that I get it on the day I can't eat. I hope you all have a good Christmas. I still am hoping to get out of here in time to be home for Christmas.
I continue to appreciate your prayers and good wishes.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 17

Today was a little bit better. I am still having trouble speaking and still have a sore throat but it is a little bit better today. My labs today showed that my hemoglobin and platelet count both dropped a little today and my neutrophil count dropped to zero. I guess it can't go any lower!

My temperature went down overnight but came back up to just about 100 this afternoon. Hopefully it will go down overnight. Dr. O'Marro from infectious disease saw me today and increased the dose of one of my antibiotics and added a third one. Dr. Lanzotti came in tonight and told me he thinks I will be home for Christmas. Of course, he can't be sure, but based on his experience, he believes I will make it. I hope he is right!

Debbie McEvers (also known as Trouble) came to visit me today. She is a nurse at the hospital where I work and our birthdays are only 6 days apart. Of course, I am the younger one. We have been friends a long time. She brought me a bobble head doctor and painted it for me. It has my name badge on it and a list of orders that I frequently write. She also brought up some fresh bread. I was also visited by Pastor Albright from our church. He came when Teresa was here also. We had a nice visit and a prayer. It was nice to have both of these visitors but I would prefer not to have any more while I am in this time. My counts are very low and I do not want to take a chance of catching something that would prevent my getting home for Christmas. I am sure you can understand where I am coming from.

Jon made it home today but I have not talked to him yet. He was very tired when he got home as he was up very early this morning to get to the airport on time. He planned on a long nap when he got to the house.

We got our downed trees taken care of today. They have been cut down but now we need to get the limbs moved to the roadside for pickup. The boys should be able to get that done for us, I hope.

Teresa stayed home this morning to be sure all the work was done and to pay the man doing the tree work. Then she came up here to be with me. She was going to go home a little early but she wanted to be here when my doctors came in. Unfortunately, Dr. Lanzotti came in late so she got out of here late. Hopefully, she will sleep in tomorrow. She really needs the rest.

Hopefully, my counts come up and my temperature goes down tomorrow. We will just have to wait and see how God's plan works out. I just wanted to thank everyone again for all the cards, prayers and well wishes, they have really helped to keep my spirits up.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 16

Today was not any better than yesterday. My throat is a little less sore but more swollen. I am having a harder time swallowing and talking. My temperature has been around 100 all day. I have also been more sleepy with the fever. I do feel better this evening after napping some this afternoon.

My lab work today showed that I am getting a little more anemic. My hemoglobin was 9.0(normal is 14-16). My platelet count is 57,000(normal 250,000-400,000). My absolute neutrophil count is 10 today, quite a ways from 500(the minimum for me to go home). Obviously, my fever will have to be gone also.

We did get the call from Chicago today. My appointment there will be December 27th as long as I am home and my counts are high enough.

Teresa has arranged for someone to cut down all of our damaged trees. She had to split herself up today. She had to be home this morning for the bid and then had to hurry back this afternoon to be sure everything was going as planned. In between, she was here with me to make sure I was doing as well as possible. I sure wish I was home and could help her out more. She has had a lot on her plate with the typical holiday rush, all the weather related problems and my illness. Her arthritis has to be bothering her but she does not complain around me. I am sure she does not want me to worry but I worry anyhow.

Jon is coming home tomorrow. His girlfriend will be picking him up. Finally everybody will be home. Hopefully God will let me be there soon.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 15

Today was not as good a day as I have been having. During the night I developed a much worse sore throat. It feels like I might have a sore at the back of my tongue. During the day today my temperature went up to about 101 degrees. The doctor started me on antibiotics after that. With the fever, I did not feel as good. I napped much of the afternoon. I felt bad to sleep while Teresa was here, but I know she understands. We got a few things done, so it was not a totally wasted day. I had a chest Xray done that looked fine and had some blood cultures done as well. I was also seen by Dr. Malone, an ENT doctor. He saw me last time when I first came in. He looked in my mouth and thinks I might have a yeast infection in my mouth and started me on oral and IV antibiotics. This evening, I feel better but my temperature went up to 102.3

My absolute neutrophil count was 20 today and my platelet count was down to 19,000. I also had a little blood in my throat and a little from the nose. I was given platelets to prevent any further problems. I have not seen any more blood since.

Jon is due in town Wednesday morning and I was originally going to be the one who picked him up. That does not look likely now. We will just have to see how God's plan works out. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We will keep you in ours.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 14

Today was a fairly quiet day. I did not get to go home. My platelet count was down to 30,000. My hemoglobin is stable at 9.7. My white blood count actually went down. The neutrophil count needs to be 500 for me to go home. Yesterday it was 100. Today it dropped to 2! I guess it is getting as low as it can go. The last three evenings(including today) my temperature has gotten near 100.0 but has dropped during the night and remained normal during the day. They have not put me on any antibiotics at this time. Hopefully my counts start to go back up in the morning and my temperature stays down.

I can still eat and I continue to make 20 or more laps around while walking. My throat is still sore and if I talk much I cough.

The church had it's Christmas musical today. Kim and Jeremy were not in it as they were traveling from California. Teresa taped it for me so I can see it. Michael had a jazz band concert and 2 showings of the musical so he was very busy.

It looks like the weather has settled down for now. Jon is due to fly in from Colorado on Wednesday and the weather looks OK for now. I should also get my Chicago appointment arranged this week. It is to be between Christmas and New Year's day. My family and I continue to wait for God's plan to play out. We continue to appreciate all your prayers.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 13

Today was a fairly uneventful day. My white blood count is pretty low today and my neutrophil count (the wbc s that generally fight bacterial infections) are down to 100. Dr. Giannoni is covering for Dr. Lanzotti this weekend. He did not want to let me go home today. If my neutrophil count gets up to 500 tomorrow he may let me go home if I am otherwise, still doing well.

I still have no fever and can still eat well. My sore throat is a little better. I still have a tickle in there and if I talk too much I cough. I am still walking a lot.

Kim and Jeremy will be spending an extra day in California as their flight for today was canceled. They were able to change their flights for no charge and should get home tomorrow night. The church musical from last weekend was rescheduled for tomorrow. It looks like it may have to be changed again due to the snowstorm we are having. I guess God is still going to consider letting me see it live even if I cannot get out tomorrow!

Teresa is getting worn out trying to do all the things we generally both do since I can't help. She shoveled snow this morning. I am sure her arthritis will be bothering her a lot. She doesn't sleep well when I am not home and with all that is on her mind these last couple of weeks, she is not sleeping well. Please pray for her as well as me. Hopefully, I will be able to go home tomorrow or Monday and give her a break.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 12

Today has been an interesting day. My counts have dropped some more and are nearing the bottom. Dr. Lanzotti is going to give me some platelets as my count is down to 14,000(usually 250,000 or more is normal). He also spoke to the doctor in Chicago. He would like to see me between Christmas and New Year's. His office is to contact me to set up the appointment. St. Louis called me today and said the preliminary report on my brother is that he is NOT a match. They will not get the final report for 2 weeks or so. They are going to pursue checking out the bone marrow registry to see if I have any near matches there. In order to do so, they need to do some further testing. When my WBC gets better I am to give them the sample and they will test it. Then they will be able to check the registry.

Otherwise, I am doing well. I have a sore throat still and it makes me cough some at times. I have no fever and am still able to eat. I am still keeping up my walking. Daniel got back from school yesterday and came up to visit me this afternoon with Teresa. David got home from Law school this evening. Kim and Jeremy are due to come back tomorrow, weather permitting. The forecast is for 3-5 inches of snow here and 6-8 inches of snow in St. Louis. This is to fall from 6:00 a.m. Saturday to 6:00 a.m. Sunday. They are due in to St. Louis at 7:30 p.m. or so if all goes well. There are also supposed to be 30 MPH winds tomorrow night causing blowing and drifting of the snow. We will just have to see what God has in store for them. They may be spending some time in Dallas, Texas(their stopover on the way home).

I am not going to push to go home tomorrow due to the weather. I will just have to see how the weather and my blood counts do and wait for God's plan!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 11

God gave me another quiet day today. My counts were down a little but not too bad. I do not need a transfusion. I can still eat even though I do have a sore throat. I continue to walk. I actually have a little bit of a sore right heel from all the walking I have done.

Dr. Lanzotti came in tonight and said he is glad I am having a "boring" round of chemo. He implied I might be able to go home over the weekend but, he would not commit to it. He wants to see how my counts do first. I also, do not want to go home till it is safe but, I also do not want to be here a day or two extra "just to be sure". I told him that if I ran a fever I could probably get to Passavant Hospital in Jacksonville and get a dose of IV antibiotics in me and get back to Springfield before they could get it to me even as an inpatient here due to the fact that things are just slower because of how big it is here. My "stat" venous doppler test the other day took over three hours from when it was ordered to when it was started. Obviously, I would have pushed harder if I thought it was a real problem but, it gives you an idea of what I mean. Even if I needed a transfusion, I could be back here in less than an hour and if I needed "stat" blood I could get it in Jacksonville to hold me over till I could get here or be transferred here.

Daniel got home from school today and David will be home tomorrow. Kim and Jeremy are having a good time in California and will be back on Saturday. Jon gets back next Wednesday. I hope my counts allow me to go home this weekend.

We still have more branches falling every day but hopefully the ice will melt now and the trees can get back upright. After that we can sort out what needs to be cut down and what just needs to be trimmed.

No news on my Chicago appointment yet. I just have to be patient and see how each day plays out. Thank all of you again for all your prayers, thoughts, cards and well wishes, as you can see the Lord is listening.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 10

God gave me another good day today. No, I did not get to go home but Teresa and Michael were able to come up today and we celebrated Michael's birthday. We had our Olive Garden dinner and it was very good! It was nice to see them both again! Our power went out at home again last night but was back on today. The weather is supposed to get better and even though we may have some snow flurries tonight, we should be able to keep the power on.

My counts continue to slowly drop but I did not need any transfusions today and I still have no fever. My appetite is still good. Dr. Lanzotti told me today that everyone going through this kind of consolidation chemo takes about the same amount of time to get better. On average, that is about 2 weeks. He said that some people have a rapid decline in their counts and some have a slower decline. Those with a slower decline tend to get less sick. I am hoping that is true and that I have a slow decline. I am hoping that when I hit bottom and start to go up that I can talk him into letting me go home.

David and Daniel are finishing their exams tomorrow and hope to come home the end of the week. We still have no internet at this time so both of them say they may have to stay at school another day or two!

I spoke to my brother John again tonight. He confirmed with Barnes that they received his blood sample Monday. They told him it takes about two weeks to get the reports back. I do not know if that will be delayed because of the holidays. They said my doctor in St. Louis would get the report and let me know. We are still waiting to hear about the second opinion in Chicago also.
The next couple of weeks will be quite busy and lots of things are still to be worked out. I am glad that God has a plan and I do not need to work out all the details. I just have to eat, walk, and listen to my doctors for now. I will have a few more responsibilities when I get home, but having the kids home for the holidays will make it all worth it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 9

Today has been a good day. I can still eat and walk and my leg swelling is improved. I am hoping I will not get any worse in my mouth and I will continue to be able to eat and swallow. My platelet count was down a little bit today again so I received a platelet transfusion to prevent any bleeding problems. I am just waiting for my counts to bottom out now and then come back up. Then I can go home! Perhaps I will be fortunate enough to not get a fever this time. Dr. Lanzotti does not think I will go home till next week. I hope he is wrong as David and Daniel finish their exams this week and will be home for Christmas by the weekend.

Kim, Jeremy and Ian made it to California without a problem today. They were concerned when they first got to the airport as so many flights were canceled or the gate changed. They were happy when they got to their gate and a plane was waiting for them. I am sure they will have a great time in California! They will be back Saturday evening if all goes well. The Christmas musical at church should be this weekend and I am still hoping God will let me see it live instead of by tape.

We lost power during the night at our house again and there are more trees and branches down but it does not appear as though there is any new damage. We got power back on this afternoon and it looks like the worst of the storm is over. There is still a chance for some freezing rain tonight but it does not look like that will be too big of a problem. Hopefully the weather man is right. We still have no cable so no internet at home but I still have it here at the hospital.

I have been able to get some work done for the office and home while I am here and I think I am pretty much caught up till I get home.

School in Jacksonville is canceled again tomorrow so Michael gets his birthday off. He is having a couple of friends spend the night tonight to bring in his birthday! Then tomorrow he is planning to come up here, weather permitting. I am getting hunger pains for the Olive Garden supper already.

I am going to try and get to bed early tonight as I am hoping for a busy day tomorrow. I can't wait to see Teresa again as she has not been able to get here since Saturday and I feel so bad for all she had to put up with. I have not seen Michael since I have been in the hospital due to school, his schedule and the weather. I am sure God will give me a good day tomorrow even if I cannot be home.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 8

Today has been an interesting day. My counts are going down as expected. I am getting two blood transfusions today to keep from getting too anemic. My platelet count is down to 38,000. I will get platelets tomorrow if it drops to less than 20,000. My temperature has been OK so far. I have a sore throat from the chemo but I am able to eat still. The lining of my mouth is peeling like a sunburn in places but it is still better than the first round of chemo. Once my counts hit bottom and start coming back up, I will be able to go home if all continues to go well. It is looking less likely that I will get home for Michael's birthday but hopefully I will still be feeling fine and he can come up here and we can still have our Olive Garden dinner on Wednesday. Dr. Lanzotti is still trying to get my appointment set up in Chicago but the doctor is off at the moment. Hopefully we will get that set up soon.

Things at home are a little better today. Teresa got someone to fix the generator and we got it back this afternoon. We lost some refrigerator things like milk, etc. but most of the freezer stuff seems OK. Wouldn't you know that Illinois Power got our power back on less than an hour after we got the generator working. We are ready for the next storm now at least. We are supposed to get more ice tonight, then freezing rain till Wednesday night when it turns to snow. Then it is supposed to be better the rest of the week. David and Daniel finish their exams this week and will be home this weekend. Hopefully, I will be there, too.

Kim and Jeremy got their power back on today also. They were able to go home, do some laundry and pack their clothes for the trip to California. They decided to drive to St. Louis tonight and stay in a hotel so they did not have to worry about the ice and other weather in the morning. It will also allow them to sleep later than if they left from home.

This afternoon, I developed some swelling in my right leg. They decided to do a venous doppler test(Ultrasound of the veins of the legs) to be sure I did not have a blood clot. I passed the test and there were no clots. It is probably from how I was sitting in my chair. I had my computer on my bed table but had my leg crossed so I could use a notebook in my lap. I will try to avoid that from now on and will be getting some compression hose tonight to squeeze my legs and prevent clots and get the swelling down.

Unfortunately, Kim and Jeremy came up tonight to see me before they went to St. Louis just about the time I had to take the test. We met in the hall as I was going to the vascular lab and they were getting off the elevator and coming to see me. At least I got to see them and Ian and say goodbye before I went down. I am glad they were not a few minutes later or I was a few minutes earlier.

We did find out today that when the tree hit my car it bent my antenna and broke my windshield. If that is the worst of things from this storm, we will be fortunate.

Michael is a little frustrated at this time. School was cancelled so he could be home but our cable is out so we have no internet. He was hoping to play a game called World of Warcraft with his brothers but with no internet, no game. His girlfriend also was giving him a hard time for staying at home and helping his mom instead of spending time with her. She had power the whole time and minimal damage and just did not comprehend what he was going through. He has been a real big help for Teresa with me here in the hospital. I am so proud of him! I know this has been hard on him but God is sure using this to help him mature in ways we could not have expected!

God is good and we just have to see how his plan plays out!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 7

Well today has been more exciting at home than here. My day has been fine. I am still able to eat and am still walking. My platelet count is dropping as expected from the chemo and I will likely need a transfusion tomorrow or Tuesday. We will just have to see.

God did force postponement of the church musical till next week so I guess there is a chance I will get to see it live still.

The ice storm has affected us quite a bit today. When my daughter and son in law got up they had no power. There were power lines down in their backyard. They had borrowed my car for choir practice yesterday so that if they had to go separately they would each have a car. The car was in their driveway. The weight of the ice caused the tree in their front yard to break and many branches fell on my car. We invited them to our house initially when their power was out but this prevented them from being able to get out. Teresa was able to drive over and get them and bring them to our house. They are worried since there are tree limbs on their roof and they do not know if it caused any damage. They are also supposed to be flying to California on Tuesday to have Christmas with Jeremy's family. They are concerned they may not be able to get there. They called American Airlines to see if they could get a weather related change in flights but they said no and the change fee is exhorbitant. Our cable was out at home so we had no internet and the ice covered our satellite receiver so we had no TV. I have internet here at the hospital so I was the go between for news and used the internet to look things up like the phone number for the airlines.. When Teresa went out to walk the dog and get Kimberly and her family this morning we realized that we had many tree limbs down at our house as well. There are limbs on the roof as well and we can't tell if there is any damage from that. My son John's girlfriend goes to Illinois College(Here in Jacksonville) and he called to say that her power was out also. We invited her over to the house. As of this writing, I am not sure if she took us up on it or not. Unfortunately, this afternoon, we also lost power. We have a generator that we have in the garage but usually I run it with my older sons. With me here and them at school, there is no one with experience to use it. The manual is lost and we had trouble trying to start it. I looked for a manual online but it is too old. It is very hard to try and help someone start a machine that they have never used when you try and do it over the phone. I finally found an 800 number for them to try. As of this writing, I still do not know if they ever got the generator going or if our power is back on. They are trying to conserve their cell phone batteries. Our regular phones usually require power but we can run a line from the basement to an old analog phone so I will be calling them later.

It looks like we may get another ice storm tomorrow and schools have already been cancelled so it looks like it will be more exciting at home than here. I expect my counts to be down but hopefully no other problems like infection or anything else. We will just have to wait and see what God has in store for my family tomorrow!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 6

God continues to bless me this round of chemo! I continue to be able to eat and be up and about and feel pretty well. My counts are starting to drop today as expected. I will not be going to the musical tomorrow but it looks like it will be postponed another week due to the ice storm we are having. God may let me see it live after all! It just goes to show that he has many ways to make things come together, even if it's not the way we originally hoped for.

I talked with Dr. Agamah (who is covering for Dr. Lanzotti for the weekend) today about my options. He believes I should not do the transplant at this time since I am in remission but agrees that seeing the doctors at the University of Chicago would be a great idea. He thinks if they believe a transplant is still the right thing then I should do it. We are still trying to get that appointment arranged for the end of this month.

My brother got his blood work done today to see if he is a match to be a bone marrow donor. The results should be available about Christmas time. Those results could be quite a Christmas present!

After talking to Dr. Agamah today, he thinks I should stay in the hospital till my counts recover.
He believes my counts will drop low enough next week to require platelet and possibly blood transfusions. The risk of infection will be going up as my count goes down and I may require antibiotics. In view of the bad weather expected this week, going home and waiting to see how I do could be a problem if I get a complication. Apparently, bleeding and infectious complications can occur quite quickly, even if they are not common. He thinks that my counts will bottom out at 7-10 days. Once that occurs, it will be safer for me to go home. Therefore, I guess I will stay here till my counts start to recover. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.

Michael will plan to come up here on Wednesday to have dinner with me as long as I can still eat. He was hoping to have dinner at the Olive Garden but we will try to do it as take out instead. That way we can still spend his birthday together. I guess that is another example of how God can make things work, even if it is not how we originally planned. That shows me that I just need to have faith in his plan and let it play out.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and kind thoughts. May God bless you all also. May you all have a joyous Christmas season. Let's just remember that the reason for the season is the birth of Christ, not the presents!


Friday, December 7, 2007

Chemo Round 2 Day 5

Today has been another good day. Dr. Lanzotti even gave me a day off from blood draws today so I will have to wait till tomorrow to see how my counts are doing. I am still doing 20 laps a day of walking and continue to be able to eat. We will now just have to see what happens when my counts drop. It looks like it will be next week when that occurs. They tell me I can get sick pretty fast so I need to stay here even if I feel good. Our church is having it's Christmas program on Sunday. I will miss that. My youngest son, my daughter and her husband are in it. I am hoping I can at least get a copy of a video of it. It also appears that I will miss my son's birthday as well. He is disappointed, but he does understand. He is planning on coming up here to spend time with me if I am not too sick to have visitors. What Dr. Lanzotti told me tonight was different then what he led me to believe when I started this. He now says that I may get as sick as last time and may be in here as long as then. This of course was very disappointing to me, especially since I don't have any control over what is going to happen. No doctor can be right all the time. I am hoping this is one of the times he is wrong!

Not much else to say today. We are just waiting to see how God's plan works out.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Chemo Round 2, Day4

God's blessings continue. I have now completed 4 of my 6 doses of chemo and am doing well. My counts have dropped a little bit today but not too much yet. Of course, it took 5 days for side effects to kick in last time. I am hoping it will be easier this time, of course.

I am still walking. I made 20 laps yesterday and am on pace to do the same today. I continue to be able to eat although I am beginning to get tired of hospital food. (What a surprise)

Sleeping was a little better last night as I had fewer interruptions.

I am still waiting to find out about second opinions. I should know better by next week. In the meantime I will finish this course of chemo to hopefully stay in remission.

I am still hoping to get home by December 12 for Michael's birthday. We will have to just wait and see what God has in store. I guess I will just take it one day at a time. I can't worry about what might happen. As I tell my patients, I have seen plenty of patients worry themselves sick but have never found one who worried themselves well!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Chemo Round 2, Day 3

God has been blessing me so far this time. Today is day 3. I get my next chemo tonight and tomorrow morning. This is officially "hump" day for me as I will have 3 of my 6 doses of chemo finished by the end of the day. So far I have tolerated it well. My appetite and my counts are OK with no other problems yet. Hopefully there will be less side effects than last time and I can still make it home next week for Michael's birthday. Dr. Lanzotti is still working on getting my second opinion in Chicago and should be able to make the phone call Friday. I hope to know when my appointment is by the time I get discharged.

I have been able to keep up my walks and breathing without too much trouble so far. I have been here long enough to have gotten to know some of the nurses and aides now and they know me. There are enough people here from Jacksonville or who know people from Jacksonville that I have met here as well. When I had my port put in, for example, one of the techs was a grand daughter of Helen Samples, who worked at Passavant for over 50 years! When Dr. Lanzotti was arranging my admission, the admissions clerk asked if I was the Dr. Fox from Jacksonville as she had lived there and heard I was a good doctor. I realize that I have spent 5 of the last 7-8 weeks here at Memorial. Hopefully when I go home this time, I can be home a little longer than I was over the Thanksgiving break.

They are still managing to make sure I do not get any prolonged sleep at night here. Last night I went to bed about midnight. They woke me up at 2 AM for my eye drops. Then they woke me at 4AM to weigh me and do my vitals. Then at 5 AM it was time to have my blood drawn. The next thing you know, it was morning and time to have my vitals and more eye drops. Oh well, that is what happens in the hospital. More encouragement to get well enough to go home. We have a cat and dog who wake us up at night a lot to prevent us from getting real rest! They have a habit of scratching at our bedroom door wanting to come in at all hours of the night. At least I am used to that!

I know they say that God only gives us what we can handle. I am just hoping he doesn't think I can handle more this time. It would be nice to have a little bit of a break after how sick I got the last time.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Chemo Round 2, Day 2

Well I have now had 2 of my 6 doses of chemo that I will get this time and things are going well so far. I can still eat and feel OK. Of course it took about 5 days for me to get sick last time, so I may just be in that "good window" for now.

My labs all look Ok and my Hickman is working well. I did have some trouble with my meals yesterday, just like after I got my port put in before. I came back to my room to order some lunch and they took my order. No food came for over an hour so I called to find out what was up. They said they could not send my food as I did not have a diet listed in the computer. I told my nurse what they said and she had the secretary enter my diet. That is where I made my mistake. I assumed that would get me my food. I then waited another 30-40 minutes. When my food still didn't come I called down to room service again. This time they told me they did not have any order from me! I reordered and finally got my food. Mind you I didn't eat breakfast since I new they had to put in another port. The food was supposed to be my lunch but it eventually turned out to be supper. I wish they had a little better system since this is the same thing that happened the last time I was in here. It is hard to keep your weight up if they aren't bringing you any food.

During the night my minor problems continued. I was supposed to get a chest X ray last night, so I stayed awake for it because it was to be done around 11:30 PM. When it was an hour late, I checked with the nurses and they said the ER was very busy and X ray was overwhelmed. I went to sleep after I heard that and it was a good thing as they did not do my X ray till morning. I was awakened at 2:00 AM for the eye drops I need to have every 6 hours to protect my eyes from the chemo. I slept until 5:00 AM when they drew my blood and weighed me (of course this meant getting out of bed and walking over to the scale over by the door). I went back to sleep and they woke me again for my x ray at 6:30 AM. I went back to sleep again for a few minutes when they woke me up for repeat labs. My labs they drew at 5:00 AM were off and they thought it might be an error so they wanted to repeat the tests. Thank you Lord for my port!!! Everyone knows how hard it is to get a good nights sleep in the hospital I guess it is a good thing that I am not sick yet and need the extra rest!!!

I am up walking and doing my deep breathing (I am trying to be good). I will try and keep that up till I get too sick to do it (which I hope does not happen this time, of course). I am still hoping to be home for Michael's birthday on the 12th. If not, my 2 sons away at school will be home on the 14th or 15th and I would like to be home before them. I will just have to wait and see what God has planned for me this time! Thank all of you again for all your prayers, cards and well wishes! They still have been a great encouragement to me and my family!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Back in the Hospital

Well, today I am back in the hospital for another round of chemotherapy. I did not know till this morning that I was coming back today for sure.

I had my appointment in St. Louis at Barnes last week. They reviewed my records and recommended a bone marrow transplant. My doctor (and Teresa and I, too) would like to get another opinion before we decide what to do. Dr. Lanzotti is trying to get me an appointment at the University of Chicago with a Dr. Larsen, I think. He is a big researcher in Leukemia. My friend Doug is also having somebody at the Cleveland clinic look at things and after all that we should be able to make a better decision. We are going ahead with having my brother checked to see if he is a match. He said he would be happy to do it. There is a 25% chance he would be a match for the donor. If he is not a match they will check the National Bone Marrow Registry to see if they can find a match. As a white male, there is an 80% chance of finding a match there.

Whether or not I do the transplant I was due for another round of chemo. This is called consolidation therapy. It is designed to keep me in remission. If I do not do the transplant, I will do three rounds of this about a month apart. If I do the transplant, it will depend on how long it takes to find a donor to decide if I get a second or third round. They expect me to be in for about 2 weeks or so. Since I had such a hard time before, it could be longer. I am hoping shorter as my youngest son, Michael, has a birthday December 12. This time I get a 2 hour infusion of high dose chemo twice a day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They expect my counts to go down and I can get a fever again. How my temperature is, how my counts are, and how well I can eat will determine when I can go home.

My triple lumen Hickman catheter( a special IV into my jugular vein with 3 channels for IV fluids) came out when I was at home. I am not exactly sure how that happened but it did. Therefore, I am getting a new one put in today.

I would like all of you to keep me in your prayers again. I will try again to keep this blog updated daily, now that I am back in. Hopefully this stretch will be a short one and soon I will be back home again with family and friends.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

First of all, I would like to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving Day!!!

I have had a great week since I came home from the hospital. The kids have been home, we've had a chance to play some games and we have gotten caught up on some things around the house. We even put up some of our Christmas decorations outside. We have cut back quite a bit as I did not feel strong enough to get up on a ladder to put the lights up on the roof. Therefore we decided to do a little less this year. We did take advantage of the warmer weather this week to do it.

The best news this week so far is my doctor's visit. I went in on Monday and they did another bone marrow test. I also had some labs done at Passavant. After reviewing the labs and the bone marrow test, they tell me I am now in remission! Praise the Lord!! My first two bone marrow tests were reviewed at two different hospitals as part of the protocol I am on. There is some slight difference of opinion as to the prognostic factors on my bone marrow tests. Both find a positive factor on Chromosome 16. One also found a possible negative factor but the other did not. I have an appointment to be seen at Barnes next Wednesday for a second opinion on the bone marrow tests and on whether or not I should have a bone marrow transplant. After that visit, it should be clearer as to what treatment plan I will have in order to make sure this does not come back.

Again, I wish you all a great Thanksgiving day! We all have much to be thankful for, especially me. I am particularly thankful this year for my wife, my family, my church family and all the friends, patients and other well wishers I have. It has been overwhelming to see the number of people who are praying for me and wishing me well.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Great News

Praise the Lord!!! I have done such a good job of eating and drinking that I get to go home today! My counts remain up and I have no fever so they think I am ready to go!

I do have to get some blood work this weekend and another bone marrow test next week.
They also want me to make an appointment in St. Louis for a second opinion on whether I should have a bone marrow transplant or not. Then they will decide when I have to start the next round of chemo.

I will probably not do a daily blog entry if all is going well. I will post anything significant that happens. I expect to still be quite weak and would like to spend time with family next week. I will let everybody know when I feel up to visitors. It may be a while between my bone marrow test and my St. Louis appointment.

My former nurse Judy is a singer/songwriter. As you know she continues to pursue her singing career and has signed a contract for some of songs. She recently wrote a new song with me in mind. It is about a physician. I have listened to it several times. It is good and she does a wonderful job of singing it. I just wanted to give her a special thank you! Hopefully it will be recorded some day and you will all get to hear it.

God is good and I thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers. Even though I am going home, there is still along way to go so please continue to keep me and my family in your prayers. Thanks!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Good Day!

Today has been a good day. My WBC is up to 10.6. My neutrophils are also up so I am out of protective isolation. I am off all but one antibiotic.

The girls from our office came to see me today and we had a good visit. Joanne Condi (the chief operating officer at Passavant Hospital) also came by to visit. It was nice to see all of them.

Both of my doctors came in today and said I can go home when I can eat! Today I had a whole bowl of onion soup (brought in by the girls at the office) and a milkshake for lunch. Tonight I had a whole bowl of chicken soup and am working on a milkshake that is half done. I also have some soft serve ice cream with some strawberries for dessert. The doctor said the important thing is getting in the calories, so I am doing my best. I am walking the halls again some now so I am regaining my strength. I am hoping I can eat enough tomorrow to convince my doctors I can go home Friday. I hope to have a couple of weeks at home to recuperate before the next round of chemo.

I think Teresa is anxious for me to be home for many reasons including not having to drive up to the hospital everyday. Hopefully, she can get some naps in if I am home. That will let her feel better! I know all of this is hard on her arthritis.

I am hoping to get home by the time or before my sons come home for Thanksgiving. They are both students at SIU even though it is at different campuses (one in Law School and the other in college). The good thing for us this year is that they combined the time they usually get off for fall break with Thanksgiving so they get the whole week of Thanksgiving off.

God is good!!! I think he might let me go home for the weekend so I can go to church this Sunday! I want to thank all of you again for all of the prayers, God has been listening!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A good day

My temperature has continued to stay down and they have stopped some of my antibiotics. My WBC is now high enough to go home. My other counts are holding as well. I am continuing to be able to walk more. I was able to walk in the halls a couple of times today.

I still cannot swallow and that is really holding me back. If I can eat enough and all else goes well, I could possibly go home this weekend or early next week! I really want to be able to eat and swallow!

We talked to Dr. Lanzotti today and he said he would let me recover at home for a couple of weeks before I have to come back for the next round of chemo. Yes they have decided to give me another round to be on the safe side. Right now it looks like I am going into remission, but I have agreed to be in a study and the protocol calls for an consolidation therapy. When I come back for that I will be in the hospital. At the time they will give me chemo twice a day twelve hours apart on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The doctor said because of my past history with the last cancer that I will probably need a little more time again to recover. I will more then likely be in the hospital for up to two weeks.

Hopefully my temperature continues to stay OK and my mouth and throat improve. They are pretty sure that I have had all this mouth and throat problems due to my previous radiation therapy with the chemo added to it. Hopefully it will get better soon.

I sure hope God has it in his plans for me to be home this weekend or early next week. I have learned that I must be patient at times! I am working hard on this...

News Flash

I normally wait to post till the end of the day. Today gets an exception.My WBC is up to 5.1 but the big news is that my fever broke late in the evening. I have no fever! My temperature has been normal since midnight. Hopefully I can get it to stay down all day. Like I said before, God has his plan and sometimes we just need to be patient.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Speed Bump

Things had been going so well, I knew something was going to happen. I did great till last night when my temperature went back up without a good reason. I also got nauseated last night again. I have not been able to get as much done when my temp is up because the fever takes a lot out of me. I slept a lot today because of the fever. Yesterday, I did not have to take a nap and I got some office work done. Yes! I am still doing some office work when I can.

There are several good things today that happened! My WBC is up to 3.3. That is very good. I was also able to drink a little hot tea today. That was a first in weeks. I was still able to walk today but not as much as yesterday due to my fever.

I need to get rid of this fever. Everybody says that with the WBC getting better, the temperature should start to come down. I got a chest Xray which was fine and blood and urine cultures today. Hopefully the fever will drop overnight. I plan to get a good night's sleep tonight and hopefully tomorrow will be better.

I am sure God has his plan for me and my fever will go away when He decides it is the right time. I just need to have patience! The problem is I still am not a patient, patient... maybe that is the trouble!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Good day!

Although I am not quite ready to go home, today was another good day. I am up to writing my post again. There were several good things today. The best news is that my WBC was up to 1.5 today which was a pretty good improvement. My temperature continues at about 100.3 or so but no more spikes. My rash is clearing up and I do feel a little better each day. My diarrhea has improved a lot but is still a worry to me. I am walking more and seem to be getting a little stronger.

All is not perfect, though, as I continue to have a lot of swelling and mucositis (Swelling of the tissues of the mouth and throat). I also began having some bleeding in my mouth today. After checking with the doctor they have decided to give me more platelets tonight. I still cannot swallow much. Even taking a sip of water can sometimes choke me up.

I am hoping to get well enough to be home for Thanksgiving when all my kids will be home and the whole family can be together. It is looking better everyday!!!

I continue to be amazed and gratified at how many people care. All of the prayers seem to be helping so keep them up. I hope I can continue to be worthy of them. Most of all I would like to Thank Our Wonderful Lord for this wouldn't be possible without him!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Very Good Day!

Today was a very good day!!! Praise the Lord!!! The white blood counts continue to go up even if it is slowly right now. The doctor that is covering this weekend said that they are expecting them to jump a lot any day now. Doc had a great visit with our children today. Their visit really perked him up. He felt much better today after seeing them. His fever has been down and his labs for his liver tests are going down. He is doing more laps around the room now; pretty soon I will have trouble keeping up with him. Unfortunately he still can’t eat anything yet. He did vomit again today, but at least it was long after the kids had left. Hopefully each day will continue with improvement. We are very thankful to all of you for your continued prayers. We are hoping that it won’t be much longer before he will be up to doing this blog again himself.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Much better day!

Today we had several things happen that were good. Doc’s white blood count is finally starting to creep up. That was very good news since he can’t go home until he gets that back up. The doctors were worried about his labs on his liver today, because they have been going up the last couple of days. We did get good news from the ultra sound they took today of his liver though, it was normal. Then for the first time since the chemotherapy his temperature went down to normal. It was there most of the day. It has started going up again this evening, but that is to be expected. Doc did have problems again today from hives when they gave him more platelets. This also happened yesterday, but we didn’t know for sure that the platelets were the cause. They gave him some benadryl and that helped with the problem. Doc got up and did several laps around the room today. This is definitely progress. He was awake most of the day and didn’t take a nap until his temperature started rising again. With the high temperatures and not feeling well he had been napping a lot.

It is still too early to open visitation to everyone yet, but we did have a very nice visit today from our Pastor Warren and his lovely wife Pat. They spent a little time with Doc and then prayed with us. This meant a lot to us. I then spent a very nice lunch with them. We are also very happy that two of our boys made it home safely tonight. Doc is really looking forward to seeing them tomorrow and hopes he has another good day to spend with them. Thanks again for all your prayers as you can see they are working!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A better day

Doc thinks it was a better day today since he was able to get up and get a bath. He hasn’t really felt up to one for a few days. He also was able to get up and walk around the room a couple of times today. He hasn’t done that for quite a few days either. His temperature is still a problem. Doc’s temperature was up to 103.2° early this morning, but it was down most of the day around 100°. Now it is back up to 101.3°. We are still on that roller coaster. Unfortunately the vomiting occurred again today, but it wasn’t as bad as some days. Doctor Lanzotti had some encouragement on his blood count today. The lab saw some monocytes in his blood. If this is real it might be the beginning of the turn around of his blood counts. We are praising our Lord for this. We know he has His hands in Doc’s care. His platelets were low again so they had to give him more platelets. Doctor Lanzotti also said they will have to cut him back some on the Tylenol for his temperature because his liver functions were elevated. We hope that this doesn’t cause his temperature to go back up high again.

Tomorrow two of our sons are coming in to see us for the weekend. They have been in school so it has been hard for them to get away. We are praying that Doc is up to a nice visit with them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Another mixed day

Doc’s temperature went back up again today. Unfortunately it got back up to 104 and spent most of the day there. He is very tired again from the fever and the chills. On the good side his vomiting was better today and the diarrhea problem has improved. Doc has realized now that he is losing some of his hair. Like most of us he isn’t real happy about that. I do know that some people are lucky enough not to have that happen, but it doesn’t look like he is going to be one of them.

We did find out that the bone marrow test the hospital had messed up was saved. They were able to send a sample to a hospital that does their matching from the DNA. They found out his HLA typing. We are still praying that he won’t need this, but if he does at least they can look for a donor for him if his brother doesn’t match. This was good news since we were very worried that they wouldn’t be able to match him if he needs a bone marrow transplant.

Not much else new today. I want to thank Karis Ervin for coming up to visit me today and having lunch with me. It did help to take my mind off of things for awhile. We would like to ask everyone to still keep Doc in your prayers. We are seeing progress even if it is only in small steps.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Poor morning turns into better evening

Yesterday evening until early this morning, Doc was the best he had been for a long time. He had a very nice visit with his Mom and watched some TV with us. His temperature had gone down to 102. This morning started out bad though with more vomiting. The day progressed about the same with the temp staying about the same. We have to praise our Lord for answering some of our prayers though. This evening his temperature finally broke. It is down to 99.9 as of the time we were writing this blog. That is the lowest it has been since he started on the chemotherapy. He still hasn’t been able to eat anything, but he did at least try a popsicle tonight. I just wish he had better luck getting things down.

We were thankful that Doc was feeling up to a short visit this morning when our daughter and our grandson stopped by. She wanted to see Dad and visit with Grandma before she left. Kim remarked on how much better her Dad looked than the last time she had seen him. Doc’s mom left this afternoon. We would like to thank the man (Rick) who drove her home safely. We are really glad Doc was feeling better last night so they could visit more. We are still asking people to wait and let him recover a little more before we start back with visitors other them family. We don’t want to tire him out too much so that he starts running a high temperature again.

Doc also wanted me to mention how important he thinks the plan of care board in the patient’s room is to keep up to date. He appreciates knowing what day it is and who his care givers are at the time. He said he didn’t realize how important it was until he was the patient. He hasn’t been very happy when the board isn’t kept up to date.

We want to thank everyone for their continued prayers. We are praying once again that he continues to get better. Unfortunately we still haven’t gotten word back on all of his tests, so please continue to pray for those results.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fever still high

Doc’s fever is hanging around 104 today still, although he did have more time today when he was feeling a little better. He is thankful that he was able to spend a little more quality time with his Mom today. He does look rather strange today though. Right now he looks like he has the chicken pox. He has what they call petechiae. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is bleeding under the skin from his very low platelet count yesterday of 4. They have been much better today about making sure it doesn’t get that low again. I am very thankful for that. The bleeding he had yesterday out of his nose and mouth has stopped. Doc has been on TPN (calories by vain) for quite a few days now. He hasn’t been able to eat anything for almost two weeks now. From being on the TPN his blood sugars have been up and down so much that they are now sticking his finger several times per day, this is something else new for him.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bad fever

Today hasn’t been a good day again. The fever has gone the highest since Doc checked in. Doc’s temperature got up to 104 today. When I was writing this blog the Lord had answered our prayers and it had gone down to 102. It is still high, but that is better then the 104. His potassium is critically low and so is his platelet count. We found out that the doctor filling in wasn’t told of the low platelet count, so we asked the nurse to call him. The doctor decided to give him some more platelets. Hopefully this will help stop the bleeding that he has had today from his mouth and his nose. They have also given him more potassium today so hopefully that will bring up his counts. He also needed another transfusion today so I think this makes at least 10 pints of blood that he has been given. With the fever we are very concerned about him so please keep him in your prayers.

Doc is really disappointed that he is so sick today. His mom came down from Franklin Park, a suburb of Chicago. He was looking forward to seeing her and wanted to be feeling better instead of worse. We are very thankful to Brad Stephens (he is the mayor of Rosemont) for arranging the ride down here and putting her up in a hotel that is close to the hospital. He wanted to make sure that she was close to visit Doc. We really appreciate it. The young couple that drove her down is Jamie and Mike. We want to thank them very much. His mom will be here for a couple of days and then another nice gentlemen also named Rick is driving her home. Rick also gave Doc a book from the Strike at Cancer Foundation. You can visit their web site at: It is wonderful to know there are some really kind people out there who ask for nothing in return.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. We appreciate your prayers and encouragement.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Mixed Day Today

The temperature has been up still, but the vomiting was less. We are hoping that his temperature goes down and that the vomiting stops all together. He was able to have a nice visit with our daughter, our son-in-law and our grandson Ian again this morning. I was glad they came up since I had some errands that I had to run this morning. I usually try to get here early. After they left he took a very long nap which I think helped a lot.

This evening Katie, Jon’s girlfriend, was able to come up for a visit. She wanted to stop by since it is so hard on Jon being in Colorado right now and having his dad in the hospital. He is working very hard to get his new company up and going so it is hard to get away at this time. Katie has become like one of the family since they have been going together for so long, so she wanted to represent Jon and herself.

I think over all Doc is doing a little better again today. It is hard on him just taking baby steps. As Kim said yesterday it is hard for him to be patient. Doc’s Mom is coming in tomorrow. I know he is looking forward to seeing her, I just pray he is up to the visit. She will be here for a couple of days. Someone has been nice enough to drive her down and arrange a hotel room for her.

Doc still wasn’t up to writing today, but he did enjoy the cards and comments that I read to him. Please keep up all of the prayers, we know they are helping. For those of you that have been after me to get more rest. I did get to bed early last night and got a good night of sleep. Thank heaven for sleeping pills...


Friday, November 2, 2007

Rollercoaster ride

After a better day yesterday, things went kind of sour again for my dad.

He had a rough night last night and a rough day today. He's been sick again and his mouth is swollen and sore from the chemo and infections. He's still exhausted. His fever continues to go up and down. We're thankful that it hasn't gotten out of control.

There was some very good news today. They tried to do another bone marrow draw and it was dry. That means that all the cancerous bone marrow is gone. This is not a guarantee that he will go into remission, but if he will go into remission, this is the first step. It's definitely a positive sign and we praise God for that.

The next step is watching Dad. If things are going well, then within the next week he should start to make healthy blood cells again. That should make a big improvement in how he is feeling.

Dad says that at least in surgery, when you do the surgery you get some answers and you can fix things or at least know what the next step is. It's kind of frustrating to not be getting the answers he needs. Several test results haven't come back yet or have been inconclusive. I know he's eager to get the whole picture of what he's up against and what the steps are to beat it, and it's really tough for him to be a patient patient and just wait for the answers.

Today Dad sent Mom home early. She just hasn't been able to get the rest she needs because she's been at the hospital with Dad all day, every day. Today he finally convinced her to go home by dinnertime so she could get some extra rest this evening. Hopefully that will help her get a little bit of a break.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Some improvement today

Doc started out with a pretty good day today. He was feeling a little better and even got out of bed to move around a little. The girls at the office sent up a poster that they had put together of what they have been doing while Doc is away. He laughed a lot, and said he hoped that they have gotten all of the popcorn cleaned up. We will have to bring it to the office for everyone to see when he gets back to work. I know you will enjoy it as much as we have. The girls have pictures of themselves supposedly playing poker, running surgery specials, doing their own surgery on patients, pulling the mailman off the street to have something to do, running a beauty shop from the office and selling mag. Citrate like lemonade. Poor Dr. Gerberding! Doc will have to get back to the office soon to whip them back into shape. He was happy to have a visit this evening from our daughter, son-in-law and our cute grandson. He was glad that he was up to their visit. Unfortunately a while after they left the vomiting and diarrhea came back with a vengeance. His temperature has also gone up this evening. It is at 39 Celsius (102.2F) right now; hopefully that will go back down soon. His blood glucose also went very high this morning, but the doctors are working on that and it came down some by this afternoon. We would still like to ask everyone to give Doc a little more time to get better before we start back with the visitors. We are only keeping it to our family right now and this was the first time we had them come up in several days. We want to thank you once again for all the prayers, comments, cards and well wishes.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Another rough day

Tonight Doc still isn’t up to writing this. He asked me if I would write it for him. (This is his wife Teresa.) Doc is about the same, maybe just a little better. He was up most of the night with diarrhea and some vomiting, but this afternoon it has calmed down. His temperature is still about the same. It has been going up and down like a roller coaster, but we are thankful that it hasn’t gotten out of control. His body is still worn out, so he is trying to get a lot of rest. He did seem to be a little bit better than yesterday. I know he is sorry that he hasn’t been up to writing the blog the last couple of days, but at least I am reading what everyone has written to him. He enjoys the humor, prayers and all of the well wishes. I know all of you have been a great encouragement to him and all of our family. Please continue to keep him in your prayers. We know in our hearts that they do help. We have seen in the past what miracles God can do when He helped him through the last cancer.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Good news and bad news

Today has been a mixed day. The bad news is that Dad is still not feeling well. He's been very nauseous and has actually vomited blood a few times. He is pretty weak and overall feeling lousy. I hope he gets to feeling better soon.

The good news for today is that my grandma, my dad's mom, was able to get on a webcam to see and talk to him from Chicago! If you have ever met my grandma, you know what a huge step this is. She has never wanted to own or use a computer at all. She was volunteering at the senior citizen center and some ladies offered to help her, so they worked for quite awhile to get everything set up. It worked, and it was worth it! I know it was a big encouragement for both my dad and my grandma. It's too long of a trip for her to make right now to come and see him, so this was a great arrangement. And now that it's set up, she'll be able to talk to my dad several times a week. She may even sign up for a computer class!

Keep the prayers coming. I know that my dad is doing as well as he is because of all your prayers. Thanks also for all the cards and comments on the blog-it means a lot to Dad, especially now that he's not really up for in-person visits.


Visitors on hold

My dad is having another rough day today. Even though the chemo is over, all the effects are still taking a toll on him and he is feeling pretty sick.

He has been so encouraged by all the visits, cards, and comments. For the next few days though, we're going to ask that you not come up and visit. He really needs the rest and even though he loves having visitors, it takes a lot out of him.

In lieu of visiting, please feel free to post a message on this blog-just click "Comments" below this post. He reads those every day and it really boosts his spirits to know you are checking on him and continuing to pray for him.

You could also send a note or card, either to the hospital address or to his home. Those addresses are:

Dr. Richard Fox
Room E266
Memorial Medical Center
701 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62702

Dr. Richard Fox
183 S. Grand Ave
Jacksonville, IL 62650

The cards are decorating his walls and really brightening things up, especially since he's not allowed to have flowers in the room. He keeps running out of thumbtacks and that's a great problem to have. The other day, the nurses said he won the prize for the most hospital mail that day. I know that made him feel good!

If you must visit, please call first (217-788-7962) to see how he is doing and if he is up to a visitor for even a few minutes.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers for my dad and all you have been doing to encourage him. It is very much appreciated and hopefully soon we'll be able to post that he's feeling up to visitors again.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Infection

I had kind of a mixed day today. My fever has gradually gotten worse and they grew some yeast out of my blood. Therefore they changed me to even stronger antibiotics. They took a chest XRay but I do not know what it showed.

My friend Doug came to visit today and we had a good time. Unfortunately, I had to take a couple of naps while he was here. He did get me set up to have video conferencing with a web cam on my computer. Hopefully we can visit face to face over the internet once in a while this way. It was great for him to take a whole day out of his busy schedule to see me on short notice. I am hoping to find a way to get my mom near a computer with a web cam so she can see me and talk to me without having to make the long trip down here.

Later this week, I get another bone marrow biopsy to see if the chemo is working, They will probably do that on Friday.

I had several more visitors today but it is getting harder and harder to see them when I am so tired and have a fever.

I did get another walk in today but can't quite stay strong enough or without nausea long enough to get more in.

I am still unable to eat and therefore they started me on some calories IV today till I can eat again. Then this evening I had another episode of vomiting. I am hoping that stops soon.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. God gives me the strength to get through each day but I am weak and need lots of help.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vomiting Again

Not a great name for today's post but it tells my day. I started out fair and got permission to walk in the halls again. I was able to get one walk in before things went downhill. I got one Ensure down this morning and was feeling fair. This afternoon, however, I got sick again. It was probably the worst one yet. I actually took some antinausea medicine for it and it took most of the afternoon to get over it.

This morning, my platelet count was low so I got a transfusion. Platelets help keep you from bleeding. I got premedicated with Benadryl before the platelets and that may have made me a little tired today.

Dr. Dolz came up to visit me and so did two of my patients, Laura and Louann Lyons. It was good to see them. Unfortunately, when Dr. Dolz was getting ready to leave I got sick. I feel bad that he had to watch that. I also had several phone calls today and they continue to be an encouragement.

I fell asleep during the Bears game today. I understand that I did not miss much. I saw the first half, then heard occasional plays of the second half while sleeping.

I am watching the World Series tonight. It does not look good for the Rockies. It is looking like the baseball season will be over tonight.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Continuous chemo ends!

I finished my continuous chemo today but it hasn't been a great day. I did get some visitors and phone calls today but I still can't eat. I vomited last night and again this evening. My fever is also up a bit. I did keep down some ensure( A calorie supplement) earlier today. I am hoping I will feel better when the chemo gets out of my system.

I was able to play some strat-o-matic again this afternoon. Unfortunately, I lost 2 of 3 again. I did have fun. My family continues to be very supportive but I still worry about my wife and her rest. My best friend is coming in from Ohio to see me Monday. I sure hope I am feeling better by then. We usually golf when he comes here or I go there. I am hoping he doesn't expect any golf this time!

I have been having some loose stools so they checked me for a bowel infection called c. difficile. Fortunately the cultures came back no infection. My blood cultures have all been negative so far also.

I am watching the baseball game tonight but it is not much of a game so far. I may get to go to bed early! I doubt it. I am sure I will watch it to the last out!

More tomorrow

Friday, October 26, 2007

Chemo Day 7

Today has been an OK day. I broke my fever last night, but it came back later today. I had lots of visitors and phone calls today. Very encouraging! I still do not have much of an appetite and have asked to see dietary to see about supplements.

I started my last day of chemo this afternoon about 4 PM. Hopefully, I will finish tomorrow afternoon and get to feeling better. I still just don't feel as good as I would like but I guess that is supposed to happen when you are taking 2 kinds of poisin (chemo) and lots of antibiotics. I hope I get better enough to resume walking and getting out and about.

I was able to play some Strat-o-matic baseball tonight. That helped my spirits. For those of you who do not know what that is, it is a baseball game I have played for over 40 years. I play it over the internet and was able to do so from the hospital tonight. I lost 2 out of 3 but the games were close and it was good to play again.

I have been getting more rest but I am beginning to get worried about my wife. She comes early and stays late. She is not getting enough rest and is wearing down. After my passing out episode, I think she is afriad to leave me herer alone for very long. It would not matter how many people are here, she still worries about me. It is great to have someone that cares that much but I do not want her to get worn down, either. I guess I am going to have to get better so she can rest easier!

Well now I have to start getting my rest so will write again tomorrow!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chemo Day 6

Well, I am more than half the way through my continuous chemo. I hope to be done with round 1 by Saturday night. As I guess you know, yesterday was not a good day. I guess it was a full moon. I did not feel well most of the day and developed a fever. Then I guess I scared everyone when I passed out. I felt much better by last night. I was able to watch the World Series even though it was not much of a game.

Today started out as a better day. I am still running a temperature between 100 and 101 but it has been stable. It has been very nice to have all the cards and phone calls and visitors that I have had. People are really nice!

This afternoon I got a little nauseated. It started out a little like yesterday so this time I asked for something and almost headed it off. At least I did not pass out. After about an hour, I felt better. I had another CAT scan tonight to make sure I am OK. They have not come rushing in here since so I guess it is OK. Interestingly enough, my CAT scan tonight is being read by Dr. Shawn Vasireddy. His father is a radiologist at the hospital where I work and he used to be our next door neighbor. He has grown up quite a bit! Hopefully, he will like what he sees on my scan.

I am still waiting for the fever to go away, but it is not any worse so I guess that is good. I am still not sure when I will get to go home. I guess it will still be a couple of weeks.

I am going to try and watch the ballgame tonight and hopefully it will be a more interesting game than last night. Thank you all again for all your kind thoughts and prayers. More info tomorrow hopefully.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Some setbacks

Today my dad isn't feeling well, so I (Kim) am writing for him.

This morning he spiked his first fever, which is a sign of infection. This was fully expected since the chemo wipes out his immune system, and the doctors had warned us several times that it wasn't a matter of "if", but "when" he got an infection. Still, I know Dad was discouraged by the fever and by how much sicker he felt today. They started him on antibiotics for the infection.

Later today he actually passed out at one point. You can just imagine how panicked my mom was when suddenly he wasn't responding to her anymore. The doctors said it's just a side effect of all the medicine he's on and the stress his body is under fighting everything, so while it's scary, it's normal. But as a precaution, they put my dad on bedrest so he doesn't get hurt if he passes out again. That was another discouraging thing, since my dad is such a huge advocate of walking in the hospital and had been making sure to take several walks a day. But honestly, I don't think he'd be up to walking with the fever anyway, so it's probably good that he doesn't even have the temptation to feel like he should.

He had several visitors today, which definitely cheered him up. Elaine Robinson from our church came by, as well as Dr. Trace and Dr. Dolz from Passavant. Even though he wasn't feeling good, I could see that he really appreciated people coming to visit. He's already run out of room on the bulletin board for his cards. That's really nice, especially since he's not allowed to have flowers in his room. He enjoys looking at all of them.

Dad was watching the World Series tonight. He'd never be too sick to watch the baseball game! He just misses having his Tivo to skip all the commercials!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day 4 of chemo

Nothing real new today. My chemo is going fine. I have less of an appetite than a couple of days ago and got tired a little sooner this evening but otherwise I seem to be doing OK. Dr. Vasireddy(Radiologist at Passavant hospital) visited me today and brought some Swedish fish and a nice coffee cup. He is a nice man. My office nurse Sarah was up to see me tonight with gifts from the office. That was very nice. My best friend Doug called today as well as Dr. Mahmood(Radiation therapist from Jacksonville). It is nice to hear from all these people. Time to get some rest and get ready for another busy day tomorrow. The World Series starts tomorrow night as well! Thanks for all your prayers.

Getting Sicker?

I wonder if they think I am getting sicker. The last two nights I was only awakened once at 5 AM to do my vitals and draw blood! I have slept in till almost 8AM both days. We all know that they have to wake you frequently at night in the hospital when you are trying to get well. So I must be getting sicker. Surprisingly I feel fine and I have no fever. I continue to walk a lot and seem to be doing well. I think it must be due to all the prayer lists I am on and all the prayers that I am getting from family, friends, patients, colleagues,etc. and all the well wishers I have heard from. I know the power of prayer worked for me last time and am counting on it again this time! Keep it up!

By the way, You will see something new on the blog site when posting a comment. There is a place to add comments to a comment and to vote thumbs up or thumbs down on the comment. This is thanks to some revolutionary software developed by my son, Jon. He has been trying to tell me all summer how it works. I guess I had to get sick and need this blog so he could finally show it to me in a way that I can understand!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chemo Day3

Today is my third and final dose for this round of one of my chemo meds. The premedication has helped so far. I have had no nausea but have noticed the last day or so that my appetite is a little less. I now have 4 more days of continuous therapy of my other chemo drug to go. Then we see how low my counts go and what kind of infection I get. They tell me that everyone gets some kind of infection. It usually takes a couple of weeks to get everything cleared up from that. When that occurs I may get to go home.

Marc Steinberg from Passavant was up to see me tonight. He is one of the administrators and has been a good friend. His wife helped us buy our first house in Jacksonville and sold our last house for us. They have been trying to get together with my daughter and her husband and Teresa and I to take us out to a Thai restaurant in Springfield. They would like to see if Kim thinks it is close to what they had in Thailand. When they first offered last year when Kim came home, she had appendicitis and then was still pregnant. After Ian was born, she did not feel she could leave him for very long while she was nursing and did not want to take him with so we have been waiting to get together. Now that Ian is over a year old, it is easier to watch him for a longer time and he could have his food with so now we are just trying to find a time that works.
Maybe when I get out of here we can do it!

Peter Trace also called me today to offer his best wishes. We started at Passavant Hospital within a month of each other and shared office space in the beginning. He also delivered Jon, Daniel and Michael for us and also was Ian's obstetrician! He is a Cubs fan like I am and a good friend.

Dr. Walter Meyer also called today. He is a retired doctor in Jacksonville. He is very well respected and we served on the board of directors together for more than 10 years. I remember when I first started that he was an Icon for Jacksonville. He was one of the docs who made house calls, delivered babies and saw a hundred patients some days between the ER , the office and house calls and covering for other physicians. It took me over a year before I was able to call him by his first name instead of Dr. Meyer. I knew I was accepted in Jacksonville when he started to refer patients to me. He is my hero also as he got to practice in what I believe was the golden age of medicine. There was plenty of new technology like the CAT scanner but it was before the takeover of medical care by government bureaucracy and insurance companies. He also retired while he still had a good reputation and has stayed involved in medicine in many ways including a stroke support group among others. While on the board we worked for many years to try and get a shortcut from the ER to the radiology department. The last couple of years, they remodeled part of XRay and we got them to put in the shortcut! I am not sure whether we decided it was the Fox-Meyer hallway or the Meyer-Fox hallway but it is there and we are both happy because it cuts down the time an ER patient has to spend traveling to and from the CAT scanner or ultrasound and that can be important for a sick or injured patient!

Teresa and I spent some time on the computer today. I am teaching her how to keep track our home and office finances on the computer. She used to do it all when we just wrote checks. When we switched to computer, I did it all. I showed her how to do it before when I was sick but that was 10 years ago and she needed a refresher course. It was something we've been trying to do for a long time but just had not gotten around to it. Now seems like a good time for the computer class!

Now it is just the waiting game, waiting to see what the final bone marrow reports show and waiting to see how low my counts go and what kind of infection I get. Those of you who know me know that I am not a good "waiter". So I am trying to keep busy with other things. I walk 6-8 times a day and have been using my breathing machine(spirometer) to help lessen the chance of blood clots and pneumonia. I am also writing this blog, checking email and keeping track of things at the office. I want to be sure my patients are being taken care of while I am "on vacation". Phone calls and visitors have also helped pass the time as well as reading comments on this blog. Thanks to all who have been a part of that. Got to get my rest now. More tomorrow!