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.