Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thank you

As Doc's family, we would all like to thank everyone who has reached out to us over this last week. We have felt so loved and cared for. Thank you to everyone who visited, brought food, mowed our lawn, sent cards and flowers, gave hugs, offered rides, lifted us up in prayer, and supported us in countless other ways. It is the grace of God and your loving care that have sustained us over these difficult days. We know that Doc would be honored to have you take such good care of his family.

We would also like to thank everyone for the support of Doc and his blog over the last 6 months. He was so humbled by all the cards and comments everyone sent. They all brought a smile to his face and many gave him a good laugh. He was planning on giving a special thanks to those that wrote poems and songs about him or for him. All of you were a great comfort and encouragement to Doc and to all of us.

We know he will be greatly missed by all. He fought a strong and courageous battle, and now he is at peace spending his time with our Lord. Thank you all again for everything.

-The Fox Family

Monday, April 28, 2008


Thank you so much for your prayers and support for our family during this difficult time.

The visitation will be held on Wednesday evening, from 4:30-7:30 at Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home. The address is 326 W. State in Jacksonville. (The sign outside says Gillham-Buchanan.)

Memorial services will be Thursday morning at 10:30am at Westfair Baptist Church. The address is 1815 W. Lafayette in Jacksonville.

We'll update again as more things are finalized.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. As Pastor Warren just told us, Dr. Fox has fought the good fight, but this morning he finished his course. Dr. Fox passed away peacefully this morning about 8:00am. Please continue to pray for his family and friends as we will miss him so much here on earth, but we know he is with the Lord today in heaven.


Sunday, April 27, 2008


This morning Pastor and Pat came by before church and we had our own church in Dad's room. Pastor recited some Scripture and gave Dad some encouraging words, and we all sang a hymn. It was really nice, and we were so thankful they came by.

Mom was also able to get some rest today, which was an answer to prayer. Now that we're in Jacksonville, she feels more confident in the medical staff, plus there are quite a few of us family members here who can sit with Dad while she rests. I'm glad she's been able to rest better herself. It has been a long couple of weeks for her.

My dad is still hanging in there. He is really a fighter! His labs had actually improved very slightly today, so we're meeting with the doctor tomorrow morning to talk about what exactly that means. Please pray for wisdom as we try to determine how to best honor my dad's wishes for his medical care.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday evening

Dad's resting tonight. He's on a machine that makes breathing a little easier for him. He's been more restless and his heart is getting weaker. On the plus side, he's still been able to communicate with us and even smile at some jokes.

The nurses have been just wonderful for both my dad and my mom. We are so thankful that God has given him such amazing care for this time.

Please pray especially for my mom tonight; that she would be able to get some rest.



This morning, Dad asked to go outside. They wheeled his bed out to the garden area, and we were out there for over an hour. It was beautiful. The sun was shining, there was a bit of a breeze, and my dad was surrounded by family and other people who love him. It was a very special time. We are so thankful to be here at Passavant where the staff are willing to go above and beyond to honor his wishes. We praise the Lord for that.

They took him back inside and he is resting now. Please keep praying.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Back in Jacksonville

My dad asked several times to come back to Jacksonville, so today he was transferred to Passavant. They were hoping to get a helicopter for him, but the weather was too bad. He came via ambulance and did very well during the ride. His vitals were stable the entire time. He's now staying at Passavant. We are confident that he is receiving excellent care. The staff has been amazing so far, and a lot of people worked very hard today to be sure that things would go smoothly for him to be brought here. We are very thankful to everyone that has been helping.

We are so honored and grateful that you all care so much for my dad. But please, call first if you want to visit. We're trying to limit visitors because he is very tired and really needs his rest. We'll let you know how he's doing and whether he's up to a visit or not.

As always, we covet your prayers and are so thankful that you are lifting him up before the throne of our Heavenly Father.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Transplant Day 22

Tonight I ask that everyone pray for Doc. The doctors gave me bad news today. I am very thankful that God sent Pastor and Pat to me. They were here when I got the news. Today they did the second transplant. Doc did not do well for this one. He had a bad reaction to the transplant. They had to stop the transplant twice and did not continue after the second time. Doc's liver has gotten really bad and they said it would take a miracle for him to make it through. We are praying that God will want to share one of those precious miracles with Doc. Today they also told me that Doc's counts went down again. I ask again that you keep him in your prayers. We will try to keep everyone informed on what is going on.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Transplant Day 21

Today we have had mixed blessings. I guess I will start with the beginning of our day. First this morning the doctor came in and said they were going to put the feeding tube in today-that the nurse had told me wrong last night. They checked Doc's platelets this morning since they were going to do the procedure. They were back down to 12 so they gave him platelets before he went down to xray.

After that they had another doctor come in and look at Doc's eye again. They are afraid that maybe the shingles is coming back even though Doc doesn't have any symptoms except the swollen eye. (We were told before when he did have shingles that he wasn't contagious if he didn't have any open sores.) Because of the possibility of shingles they decided to move Doc to the 8 floor ICU. I was not very happy with this plan, because they do not normally let the family stay with the patient on that floor. Doc is still having a hard time making everyone understand him with the mucus problem he has at the back of his throat and the soreness from the chemo. He always has a harder time then most people, because of his previous cancer. I get frustrated when a doctor or nurse can't understand him and then they just ignore him unless I interpret for him. They finally agreed to let me stay in the room with him when they realized it was for their benefit as well as ours. I am thankful for answered prayers again.

The doctors lanced a small area near his eye today to test. If it comes back clean tomorrow afternoon with no trace of shingles they will let him go back down to the transplant floor. Part of the problem with being up here is that as of the time I am writing this blog (9:21 pm) this floor doesn't have any orders for Doc. Most of what they have done so far is what I have told they did downstairs.

When the doctor came in this afternoon he told me that they found another bag of stem cells that Doc was supposed to get from his original donor. The plan right now is to do an infusion tomorrow morning. Hopefully this will help to bring up his counts sooner. I can't help but be a little worried even though I am trusting our Lord to heal him. I just have a hard time especially when I am as worn out as I am.

I talked to the nurse at 6 tonight and asked her if they were going to draw labs (they usually do it at 4). Since she didn't have any orders she didn't know what to draw. I told her the tests we have been following so she drew some blood and ran them. She said if they want something else they could just run it when they get the orders. Most of those labs are back. His bilirubin is up to 21.2. He is looking very yellow. I don't know how high it can go before I really have to start worrying The kidneys are stable, in fact they are a little better. Because of the mix-up and the lack of orders I don't know what the neutrophils are tonight, but I do have some good news. His white blood count is now up to .4. I know it isn't a big jump again, but it is up and I am sure that the neutrophils will also be up when I get those results tomorrow. There is a special formula that the transplant floor uses and the nurse tonight doesn't know what that is. I am very thankful that they are going up. Hopefully tomorrow's stem cells will help bring these counts up more.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. With most of Doc's problems there is improvement. God is listening.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Transplant Day 20

Today Doc is feeling a little better. A lot went on today. First last night I talked the doctor into lowering his morphine pump, because of that he was much more alert today. I asked him all day if he was in pain and he said no. It was nice to be able to talk to him more without him falling asleep all the time. One of the important things I needed to talk to him about was a feeding tube. They wanted to put one in, but Doc has told me before that he did not want one in with all the other problems he has. Doc finally agreed to let them put one in, but then they changed their minds this evening. I suggested the other day that they change the TPN like they did at Memorial, but they didn't listen. Tonight they decided to change the TPN instead of a feeding tube. Doc had a visit by the eye doctor today, because his right eye lid is swollen and he is having a hard time opening it all the way. The eye doctor said that the eye was fine. She did give him some eye drops to help with the dryness from the chemo. He also had a visit from the kidney doctors. They said that they were going to increase his fluids, but they didn't think he was bad enough to put on dialysis. The doctors ordered another ultrasound on Doc, but I haven't heard what the results on that were. The physical therapist came in today and made Doc do some exercises. I think it was great that he was awake enough to do them today. Between all of them, the nurse, his tech and his regular doctors we had a very busy day.

Doc's liver is the only thing that was worse tonight. His bilirubin is now up to 18.5. Our nurse Sarah talked to me today. She told me that isn't as bad as I was thinking it was. The doctors today said they were going to give him higher doses of steroids to help with the liver. They are afraid he may have some graft versus host disease going on. If he does, the steroids are supposed to help. Doc's platelets are 22 tonight so he won't need platelets. With the counts coming up some, the platelets are not dropping as fast. His kidneys are a little better tonight. His BUN is 116 and his creatinine is 2.4. Doc's white blood count did not go up it is still at .3, but his neutrophils are up to 288. They are certainly going up slowly, but they are going up. Thank you Lord!! Doc's vitals were normal again all day. It is so wonderful to see the Lord at work. Overall we had a good day. Thank you again for the continued prayers.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Transplant Day 19

Today is another one of those good news bad news days. First I want to mention what a nice visit we had with Doc's Mom, brother and our son Jon. We also got to visit with Jon's girlfriend Katie. She came to pick Jon up. I think everyone would have enjoyed the visit a little more if Doc was awake more. I have asked them to turn down his pain medicine at least during the day, but no one is listening. I don't think he is in very much pain right now since his hands and feet look so much better. They did get him up in the chair for awhile today, but he spent most of the day sleeping again.

I just got most of Doc's labs for the day. He will need platelets tonight because his count is down to 12. His bilirubin is now up to 17. His kidneys are about the same. The good news is that his white count is up to .3 today and his neutrophils are up to 240. Everyone originally told me that once his counts started going back up that they would start to jump. Today they told me that will probably not happen for Doc. They said because he had so many complications, they are expecting it to go up slowly now. I don't know yet if they are going to give him more white blood cells tonight. His temperature has been normal all day and his other vital signs have also been normal all day. They do still have him on ICU status so they are still keeping a close eye on him. The doctor also decided to put Doc in an air bed today. He has been having a little problem with his skin and now has a place where it has split. They are hoping that this will be easier for him and more comfortable.

I am sorry I have been posting so late every night. I am having trouble getting the labs back so I know if he is doing better or not. Tonight the nurse got on at 7:00, but I didn't see her until after 9:00. Then it took her a while before she was able to get the labs.

I continue to trust in the Lord for Doc's care. I know he is continuing to show improvement in most areas. I just need to be a little more patient and let him do it is his time. It is just hard to see someone you love suffer. I want to thank everyone for the cards again and prayers. Doc got another stack of cards today. Even though I have to read the blog to him because he can't use the computer, he can hold the cards and read them. Please continue to keep Doc in your prayers, right now the liver and kidneys are the most critical. Thank you again.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Transplant Day 18

Today I have good news and bad news. Everyone I talked to asked for the bad news first so here goes. Tonight Doc's bilirubin is now up to 14.2, his creatinine is up to 2.7 and his BUN is 120. The nurse said they are going to discontinue his TPN tonight and talk to the dietitian tomorrow. The nurse tonight also said that the doctors want to talk to me tomorrow about options for the kidneys. Doc is running a low grade fever again tonight although it was normal most of the day.

The good news is that right now they have Doc's vitals under control. His heart is doing much better. When his labs came back tonight his white blood count is now up to .2 (200) and his neutrophils are up to 172. Praise the Lord, isn't HE awesome!! These counts are not jumping by leaps and bounds yet, but they are continuing in the right direction. When they do get up to a normal levels, Doc should be able to eat again and that should help with a lot of the problems. Doc was also a lot more alert most of the morning today. I almost forgot to mention that Doc doesn't need platelets tonight or blood. His counts held today. This is the first time he hasn't needed platelets since his counts started dropping. Another thing to be thankful for what a wonderful Lord we have!

Doug left this morning. I know Doc will miss him. It was really nice seeing him again. Tonight I went to the airport to pick up our son Jon. It was really great seeing him again. He stopped by tonight to visit with Doc, but Doc was so tired he had a hard time keeping his eyes open. Hopefully he will have a nicer visit tomorrow. Tomorrow Doc's Mom and brother John are coming up to visit. I know he is looking forward to seeing them too. Dr. Hinchen also stopped by today to visit Doc. It was nice to see him, but unfortunately by the time he came Doc was very tired from being awake most of the morning and some of the afternoon. I am sure Dr. Hinchen understood.

I didn't get much sleep last night after hearing the great news. I was so excited. I did a lot of Praising the Lord last night. For those of you that keep asking me I did take a short nap today. With Jon hear tonight and Doc's Mom and brother coming tomorrow I knew I need to get some extra rest. I want to thank you for your concern and continued prayers for me as well.

God has been laying His healing hands on Doc. The continued prayers are working, so I ask again that you keep him in your prayers.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Transplant Day 17

I can't Praise the Lord enough!!!! I hadn't posted the blog yet tonight when the nurse came in and told me that Doc's neutrophils went up to 100 tonight. That isn't a lot yet, but this is the first time that this has happened this hospital stay and it is the first sign that the transplant is taking. Thank all of you for your prayers. I will leave the original blog I was going to post. I am tired and would like to get to bed soon. It went as follows:

Praise the Lord Doc had a better day today!! Last night Doug, Doc's best friend for years came, in from Ohio to visit. He got in late, but I sneaked him in to see Doc last night. Doc was so excited to see him. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much Doc rejoiced. It was great, because I hadn't seen him that excited in a while. I also told Doc that the kids were coming to visit today. He got a big smile on his face.

Most of our children came in today to see us. Jon won't be able to be here until tomorrow. I think it is good that we are spacing the visits out some. Doc really enjoyed visiting with everyone. He was more alert today than I have seen him in a long while. It was great to see him smiling again and enjoying listening to everyone. He is still having a lot of trouble talking right now. His throat is a lot better, but his mouth has become so dry from the medicine they are giving him that is very difficult for him to talk right now. I do know he really enjoyed their visit even though he is worn out tonight.

Last night after Doug left Doc's labs came back. His liver had been doing a little better, but tonight it is a lot worse. It went up to 12.5. His kidneys are also getting worse again. His creatinine is up to 2.8. He won't need blood tonight, but he will need platelets again. The good thing about the platelets is, the last couple of nights I have gradually seen his platelet count increase each night. I think he may be starting to retain some of the platelets. His white count is still at 100 again, but I am not too excited, because we have seen it here before and it has gone back to zero. Today when the doctor came in he said they have decided to start Doc on the white blood cell transfusions. They are going to start giving them to him tonight. He also said that they have asked the donor for more stem cells to give him a boost. Doc is also running a fever again. It is 101.2 tonight. It had gone down to normal last night late and stayed there until late this afternoon. The nurse is wanting to delay giving Doc the platelets because of the fever. He has had a higher fever before and they have given him the platelets, but they don't like to give them when they have a high fever. The nurses have said that the fever can eat up the platelets.

I think seeing everyone has given Doc a great spiritual boost, but we are still at the same place if the counts don't start coming back up, but we know that God is in control. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Transplant Day 16

Today I wish I had better news. Doc is not doing well. Last night Doc's heart started into the irregular rapid heart beats again. It has lasted most of the day despite the medicine they have given him. There was a short time today while Pastor and Pat were here visiting that it went back to normal. Unfortunately tonight it is back to doing it again, so they have put him back on ICU status once more. Doc also started running a higher fever last night (it got up to 102.6, I think it was). Most of today it has been around 101. His liver is still really bad. The doctors are getting worried so they are planning on giving him the white blood cells I mentioned a couple of days ago. It will take at least 24 hours for them to be able to do that. The doctor also told me tonight that he is requesting that the donor donate more stem cells. He said they would normally wait for the 21 days to 28 days, but with all of the complications Doc is having they aren't going to wait. The doctor did say if Doc's counts go back up on their own they can cancel the donation. We are praying there won't be a problem with the donor donating again. The doctors still don't seem to have a good reason for why the counts have not started to come back up yet, I guess they really don't know. Doc will need blood tonight, but the platelet count hasn't come back yet so I don't know if he will need platelets again tonight or not. I am sure he probably will since his counts aren't up and he has needed them every night for quite a while.

I want to thank everyone that contributed to the wonderful basket of goodies and the bag of books that Pastor and Pat brought us today. All of the things will help to keep us occupied. It was really nice visiting with them today. The kids are coming to visit tomorrow. I know Doc is looking forward to seeing them and our grandson Ian. We really miss all of them. We understand with everything that is going on for them why they haven't been able to come more often. David will be graduating from law school in a few weeks. Jon is working on his new computer online company that he has started up. Daniel is finishing up his first year at college. Kim is pregnant with our second grandchild and has Ian to take care of. Michael is in high school, in jazz band, is working and is very involved in church. They all lead such busy lives.

I ask that you will continue to pray for Doc's counts to start coming up. The doctors have continued to tell me that if they did, most of Doc's complications would resolve themselves. I know he is in the Lord's hands and the Lord is listening to all of us.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Transplant Day 15

I am afraid last night Doc's neutrophils were still at zero. I guess God has another time in mind. I am praying that tonight will be the night. Some of his labs are back, but not all of them from today. Today we are showing a little more progress on some things. Doc was more alert this morning, his hands and feet are continuing to get a little better each day, the infection in his skin is better today, but his bilirubin is up to 10.0 tonight. Doc's platelets are also down again tonight to 8 so he will be getting more platelets again tonight. Doc's heart was also irregular again today, but not as bad as it was a few days ago. The doctors decided to do another EKG which they said was fine tonight. The doctor also said tonight when he came in that most of Doc's problems will get better once the counts start to come back up. He also told me that Doc's ultrasound yesterday showed that his liver is a little enlarged and fatty (that is what he said), which is caused from the chemo again. That chemo is really hard on the body. I guess we were really fortunate that Doc didn't have more complications than he did in the past from the chemo. God was watching out for Doc.

I decided to take a break and meet my Mom today. She came up from Texas to help out some at home this week. She is heading back tomorrow. We had a good time together, it was nice spending a little time with her. I made sure the nurse knew I was going to be gone so that she would keep an extra eye on Doc. Pastor Warren and Pat were going to come to visit Doc and I today, but I didn't get the message from him until after I had left the hospital and made the arrangements with my Mom. I wasn't sure how Doc was going to be doing today, so I didn't plan on leaving until after I saw. I was glad I caught them before they had left.

Please continue to keep Doc in your prayers. We know they help a lot.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Transplant Day 14

I am not sure quite how to report today. Doc said this morning he felt better then he did yesterday, his speech is a little better today, his hands and feet look a lot better then they did, but he has a lot of problems still. His bilirubin has gone up to 9.2 today (normal is 1.5 here). His creatinine is 2.6 (normal here is also 1.5). He spiked a slight temperature last night, but it has been normal all day. His blood pressure and pulse have been pretty good today. The doctor also decided to start Doc on TPN tonight. He hasn't been able to eat anything for over a week now. Hopefully the nutrition will help him heal faster. The nurses and I have noticed that his left leg and left arm have been a little redder the last couple of days. The doctor said today that he thinks Doc is getting an infection under his skin. The problem is that he is already on the anti-biotic he needs for that. The doctor said if Doc's counts don't start coming up he may have to give him white blood cells. When the doctor examined Doc today his belly was tender so they did an ultra sound. I do not know yet what the results of that were. I am praying tonight that the reason the nurse couldn't give me all of his labs tonight is that maybe his counts are starting to come back up. Normally they just tell me that his counts are zero. She doesn't have the neutrophils count yet which is the big thing we are looking for. She did say his white count is up to 100 today, but it has been up before and then gone back down to zero again.

I had an interesting day today trying to do payroll for the girls at our office. I needed to do it today so they would get paid on Friday. I had to have an internet connection so that I could do direct deposit. With all the trouble we have had getting on the internet I had to go all over the building trying to find a connection. I ended up at information and she directed me to a lady in guest relations who had to take me to a hall where some of their meeting rooms are for me to get a connection. I was very thankful that I could get it done for them to get paid on time. I still can't get over how big this place is and how poor their internet service is.

Doc did sleep most of the day again. I had a hard time keeping him awake long enough to get through all the cards that came in the mail today. He likes to read all of them. We laughed at quite a few of them. Thank you for continuing to keep us in your prayers. With Gods will hopefully tomorrow, I will have better news to post.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Transplant Day 13

Today was a little bit better. Doc's heart went back to normal during the night. Praise the Lord!! I am very thankful for that. His counts are still at zero though. The doctor was just in again and he said that it will still be a few days, but once they do start to go back up Doc will start to feel better. He is going to need blood tonight and platelets, because both are low. His kidneys are a little better today, but his liver is a little worse. Once again he has slept most of the day I guess he still needs the extra rest. I know it is hard for him to get much sleep when they keep coming into the room for one thing or another. I know that is necessary, but as everyone knows it is very hard to get much rest.

My Mom came into town today to help out some at home and to give our good friends the Retzers a break. It will be good for Michael to visit with her some. He has been such a great help with all of the things he is doing at home. I also don't want to forget to mention that Kim and Jeremy have been doing a lot for us too. I don't know what we would do going though all of this without God, good friends and family.

Doc did stay awake long enough to read his cards that were delivered to the hospital and then Jeremy brought some when he brought our mail yesterday. He really enjoyed reading them. I have had to tell him about the blog since he can not type right now (his hands are one big Kerlix wrap). I know he enjoys listening to the comments. With God's healing hands he should be better soon. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Transplant Day 12

Today has been another mixed day. I want to first thank our son-in-law Jeremy for coming to St Louis to donate platelets for Doc. It took some work, but he was able to donate them directly. Doc's platelet count is back down to 6 tonight so they are planning to give Jeremy's to him tonight. That was very nice of him to come all this way to do that for Doc. I did talk to the doctor this morning and ask why they were having so much trouble getting platelets for Doc. He said that doc is CMV negative. Not very many people in the population is still CMV negative so that is why they are having so much trouble. Jeremy is also negative that is why he was able to donate to Doc.

Unfortunately Doc's counts did not go back up today. They did start him on the neupogen shots. Those are the shots he took in the past to help stimulate his counts to come back up quicker. I talked to the main doctor tonight while Jeremy was still here (thank you Lord for bring him back tonight) he said that some people don't start going up for up to 21 days. A lot of you have been asking me how long it could be, but I couldn't answer them. He said that hopefully Doc will start before day 21. He thought that maybe Doc was delayed because of how sick he was from the pre-transplant medicine. As always it will be in God's time.

Today Doc gave me another scare. He felt like he had to get sick this morning while one of the doctors was in the room. He coughed up a huge blood clot. After that his heart went into atrial fibrillation. His pulse kept jumping up and down. It got as high as 182 beats per minute. They had to give him medicine three times before they got it to come down a little and stay under control. They have continued him on some medicine for the rapid and irregular heart beat and as of the time I was writing this blog he is doing much better. He is having problems with his kidneys and his liver right now. The doctors are trying to balance the medicine he needs with these problems.

I want to thank everyone for the continued prayers, cards and well wishes again they continue to humble us. May God continue to bless all of you as he does us.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Transplant Day 11 Part 2

Wow, how awesome God is!!! What a fast answer to prayer. I had just finished the blog and then left the room to say a prayer and then to make a couple of calls. While I was gone the nurse had brought in platelets for Doc and had started them. It is amazing how fast he works. The nurse had just got done telling me she didn't know when they were going to get platelets for him and then they were there. Thank all of you again for your continued prayers they really do help.


Transplant Day 11

Doc hasn't felt very well today. He said he ached all over and just didn't feel well. I am not sure what is causing it yet. Doc again has some bleeding from his mouth and his skin looks like he has freckles all over from the petechiae which is from the low platelets again. There must be a really big shortage on platelets right now in St Louis. The doctor argued with Doc today about whether he needed platelets or not. The nurse that Doc had last night really shocked both of us when she said that they let patients platelet count get down to three. I am not a doctor, but I think that is too low. I have seen what happens when it gets down to five. I just found out from the nurse Doc's platelet count is down to three now and they don't know when they will get platelets in. They still have the shortage. Unfortunately his counts have not started coming back up yet. Although tomorrow will be day 12 and they said that most people's start coming up by then, but not everyone. We do need to count our blessings though he still is not running a fever, his hands and feet are doing better and he is sleeping through most of this. I ask that you continue to pray for his counts to come back up, once that happens then the platelets should start going back up too. I also ask that you pray for people to donate more platelets to help stop the shortage. Thank you again for all the well wishes and continued prayers. May God bless all of you as he does us.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Transplant Day 10

I waited tonight until the labs came back to start the blog. God decided we need to wait a day or two until we find out if the transplant took or not. His counts are still at zero. I guess we will have to continue to be that "patient" patient.

Doc had a pretty good day today, at least after he finally got platelets. Let me explain that. Last night Doc's platelet count was down to 11. The doctors decided this time to not let them get below 20, because Doc has had trouble with some bleeding. The nurses called for platelets for him last night, but both hospitals were completely out. They had to call the Red Cross. The Red Cross didn't bring any until this morning which wouldn't have been so bad except Doc kept bleeding from his mouth all night long. I was worried about him, but a while after they got the platelets in him that stopped. He is still having trouble swallowing, but his mouth was a little better today. The nurse had to peel a lot of the dead skin off of his hands and feet today again, but they are starting to look a lot better. It will still be a while before Doc will be able to type again. His temperature is still normal which is a blessing. During his previous stays this is the time that he had the high temperatures. I am very thankful to God for his healing hand. Thank you for your continued prayers. I will continue to keep you updated on his progress.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Transplant Day 9

Well, today is another day of small improvements. I am not complaining I am very thankful, at least we are going in the right direction. Doc said that his mouth was a little better although he still can't swallow anything without choking on it. He is at least trying something everyday. It won't be much longer before that goes away. Usually when his counts start to go back up then his mouth gets better. The swelling in his hands and feet have also gone down more now. They are not quite back to normal, but are almost there. The big thing with his hands and feet are for the blisters to finish healing. We know that will still take awhile because they were so bad to start with. His vital signs have been doing well the last two days so we are also thankful for that. I didn't want to say anything yesterday, but the hiccups have gotten better. Yesterday I only heard him a couple of times and today I haven't heard him at all. Tomorrow is day ten which is the first day they usually see people's counts start to go back up, but it could take a couple more days. We are waiting to see what God's plan is. Please continue to keep Doc in your prayers.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Transplant Day 8

Doc is doing better today. God has been answering some of our prayers again. Doc’s temperature is back to normal right now. His hands and mouth (or throat) don’t hurt as much today and overall he is feeling better. They have been able to cut some of the blistered skin away today because it has dried out enough. This allows the new skin underneath to heal faster. The doctors have also decreased his pain medicine again because he is feeling so much better. Isn't God great!!! Doc asked the doctors today to check and see if they can get him some wraps to take the rest of the swelling out of his hands and feet so that he can get up and start walking again. His feet are blistered, but not as bad as the hands so he thinks he will be able to get up on them again soon. We are trying to be that “patient” patient again. We are waiting for those counts to start coming back up. We want to thank all of you again for the continued prayers. God is listening!!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Transplant Day 7

Today is another mixed day for Doc. His feet seem to be doing a little better, but his throat and hands are still bad. He has started running a low grade temperature today as well. We know this happens every time he has been through the chemo, it is just hard watching him go through it. The nurses say he is a real trooper. They can't believe that he isn't complaining with everything he is going through, they say he obviously has good reasons to complain. I think that has a lot to do with the fact he knows that God is in control. They had to give him more platelets again today, but they have come up nicely by this evening. The one strange thing that I haven't mentioned on the blog yet is that he has the hiccups. He has had them off and on now for three days. The nurses tell me that 10% of their patients on this floor get them. They are not sure why. At least that is something that is only annoying and not painful.

I am sorry I didn't get to publish this post last night. I was working on it and was kicked off the Internet a few times like usual, but the last time I was kicked off I couldn't get back on. By the time I realized I wasn't going to get back on Kim was already in bed so I couldn't reach her. I kept checking it until after midnight, but it never came back on. I think the hospital must have shut it down this time.

During the night Doc's temp went up to 102.2. It came back down-Praise the Lord!-and as of the time I am writing this it was 99.8. Please continue to keep him in your prayers as he goes through these trials. We know that God is his healer we just need to be patient and let Him do it in His time.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Transplant Day 6

Today Doc has had a mixed day. Doc's hands, feet, knees and elbows have now started oozing because of the blisters popping. The burn doctor didn't come, they sent a wound care nurse which did noting for Doc (they obviously aren't as good as ours are). I am not sure if they are going to have someone else see him or not yet. Doc's nurse today was nice enough to at least wrap gauze around his hands, feet one knee and one elbow (they were the worse). He has also started having more trouble with his throat and mouth like he has in the past. The mouth problems have started a little latter then they have before so maybe they won't be as bad this time. He hasn't been able to eat anything since lunch yesterday. Not even the carnation instant breakfast which he usually has. Several people have asked us when will we know if the transplant has taken or not. The doctors and nurses have told us that most peoples' counts start to come back on transplant day 10 - 12. Since we are on day 6 it could be 4 - 6 days. Not everyone is the same it may be sooner or could be a little latter. Doc has been sitting up in a chair most of the day again today. The nurses have been surprised that he has been up to it. He is much more alert then he was just a few days ago. I know as soon as his feet are well enough to walk on he will be up in the halls again. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Transplant Day 5

Today Doc started out well enough that I came home for the night. I have a lot of things that need to get done that no one else could do. It was very hard for me to leave him, but several of the nurses said I needed a break and I know he is in good hands. I am planning on going back tomorrow morning. I am hoping to get a good night of sleep. I know all of you know how difficult that is in the hospital, between everyone coming in all night long and things beeping all night long.

This morning Doc's platelets were 25, but when I talked to him this evening his count was down to 5 again. They are planning on giving him more platelets tonight. He also said the head of the transplant department was in again this evening. He is on call for the hospital this month so we lucked out (God does know what he is doing!!) When he came in this evening he told Doc that he has asked for a consult with the burn unit. I think that may be a little late, but I guess better late then never (right?). The blisters on Doc's hands are starting to pop now. They are still very sore, but much better then they were in the beginning. I know they are bothering him more because he hasn't been able to do any of his Strat-o-Matic right now. He isn't able to use the computer or write anything with his hands as bad as they are either. At least he has been able to watch some of the Cubs games and I brought a few sports movies that he hadn't seen with to help pass the time. He is still sleeping a lot, but the last couple of days he has been up more. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to eat much today. He did have a good breakfast, but lunch was a problem so he didn't have the nurses order him dinner (with his hands as bad as they are he can't dial the phone to do it himself). His mouth is starting to get sore like it has in the past. This usually lasts awhile. I am praying that it doesn't get as bad as it has a few times before. Other wise Doc had a pretty good day. I have talked with him several times today since I left. We want to thank all of you for your continued prayers again. I don't think we can say enough on how much it has meant to us.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Transplant Day 4

Today has been another good day. Doc spent most of the day sitting up in the chair. He continues to have improvement on his hands and feet. They were able to cut his pain medicine in half since he is doing so much better. He still continues to need platelets daily. This is very common since they give more chemo and other medicine then he has had in the past to get him ready for the transplant. As before it takes a couple of weeks before the effects from the chemo begin to wear off. His other labs have improved, but his neutrophils haven't begun to go back up yet. The nurse last night said that with the dose they give here it takes a little longer for that to go back up. This time it is very important for that to happen. As I said before that is the first sign that the transplant took. We continue to pray that will happen with no rejection problems.

We found out today that this hospital does perform miracles! Elvis was in the house!! We had a visit today from Elvis. He even sang a couple of songs for us. He was very good. I took a couple of pictures.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Transplant Day 3

Doc has had a pretty good day today. His hands are continuing to show a little progress. The swelling and redness is getting less each day. The nurse thought he might be having fluid on his lungs today, so they took an x-ray again, but it was fine. His temp is still normal and his blood pressure was better today.

Doc isn't eating a lot, but he is getting some carnation instant breakfast down with every meal. He is drinking plenty of fluids. He is still sleeping most of the day, because they still have him on the morphine pump. I don't know if it is the pain medicine or what, but he was very funny most of the day when he was awake. The nurses were laughing a lot of the time while they were in here. I really think it is a good sign when he can laugh about what is going on.

God continues to be good to us. We continue to get calls, commits, cards and prayers from so many. We would like to thank all of you again. We continue to be humbled by all the support you have given us. We pray that all of you are having a great weekend. Please have a good time in church tomorrow we will be thinking about you all. The Beene Family will be visiting Westfair tomorrow and we regret missing them. They are very good and we enjoy them every time they come.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Transplant Day 2

Doc has had a mixed day today. His hands look a little better, but unfortunately they are still very sore. They are giving him a lot of platelets and blood, because he has been bleeding from somewhere yesterday and today. They didn't tell me about yesterday until today. Because of everything that is going on his blood pressure has been high today. They have had to give him a lot of pain medicine today which I know he doesn't like. He is the type of person that doesn't even like to take Tylenol unless he really needs it. I just want to cry when I look at his hands and know there is not much that I can do to make them better except pray. The doctors did say they look like they are going in the right direction, but it will take awhile until they are a lot better.

Doc has spent a lot of the day sleeping. I guess that is what he really needs right now. I know his hands and feet are bad right now (they are the worst on the floor and several nurses and doctors have told us that they have never seen anyone with this bad of a reaction), but we have a lot to be thankful for, he isn't running a fever right now, they have still been able to leave him off of ICU watch, his shingles are almost gone and he still has his sense of humor. He continues to joke with the nurses and doctors even though he is in so much pain.

I want to thank everyone for him, for the cards we continue to get, the kind comments on the blog and especially for the prayers. I am still having trouble with the internet here. Unfortunately I keep getting kicked off after being on for a couple of minutes. It takes me a long time to get the blog done because of getting kicked off so much. With this being such a big place you would think that the wireless network would work better.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Transplant Day 1

Overall Doc is doing better today. His hands and feet are still really bad. They are very swollen and red. They also have a lot of blisters on them. To me they look like he has burnt them in a fire. The doctors tell me it is a reaction to the pre-transplant medicine. The swelling did go down just a little today, but he still can't do much with his hands. His platelets are still low today even though they gave him platelets last night. They are planning to give him more tonight. The nurse told us tonight that he has hit bottom on all the counts that matter, now they are just waiting for them to go back up to be able to tell if the transplant took or not. We should know that in a few days. Everyone is different on how long that takes. We did get some good news tonight. Doc is doing well enough that they have taken him off of ICU status. Praise the Lord!!! Not much else new to talk about. Doc is still doing a lot of sleeping. A lot of that is because of the medicine they are giving him. Thank you for keeping him in your prayers.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Transplant Day 0

Today is considered day zero since they did the transplant today. Doc is still doing well. At first they had a little trouble with his blood pressure going up and down, but within a couple of minutes it was stable. We want to thank Pastor Warren for coming down here to be with us during the transplant. It was really nice having him here. Pastor Warren and I were surprised on how small the amount of stem cells was that they gave Doc today. It only took 15-20 minutes to defrost the cells and put it in him. The medicine they gave him before the transplant started did make him very sleepy for most of the day. They are going to give Doc blood tonight because his hemoglobin is low. As of yesterday his white count was at zero. Everyone has told us that his counts will come back up much sooner this time since he has been given the stem cells from a 24 year old donor. Hopefully he will be able to get out of here within two weeks. Then we are supposed to stay in the area for another week before we are allowed to go home. Doc is still in intensive care, but he is doing much better. They now have his blood pressure under control. We praise the Lord for all He has done and we thank all of you for all of your prayers. Please continue to keep Doc in your prayers.

I am praying that I can stay on the internet long enough to get this blog posted. The last couple of days it has been really hard to get on and stay on. Our wireless signal is very low. We will try and keep everyone informed of Doc's progress.


(She didn't stay online long enough to get it published, but I (Kim) was able to get on and publish for her. Hopefully the connection will work better tomorrow.)

Transplant Day!

Mom just called to say the transplant is done! My dad is still sleeping, and will be for most of the afternoon because of the medication they gave him. There was a little bit of a delay because they didn't have the right staff on the floor, so the transplant wasn't done until about 1pm. Everything went smoothly with the transplant. Now it's just a matter of recovering enough to come home. Thanks for your prayers!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Transplant Day -1

This morning started a little rocky again. Doc's blood pressure was low and his pulse was up. They discovered that he had been having an allergic reaction to the rabbit medication he'd been taking, so they've given him a little medicine to help with that. He's swollen from the medicine and that should go away in a few days. Tonight he's been doing better, and he hasn't had any vomiting today.

The transplant is definitely a go for tomorrow. It's scheduled for 11:00am and should take a little less than half an hour. They'll put him to sleep for it because they said the medication feels really strange going in, and it makes a lot of people very anxious. Pastor Warren will be here with me tomorrow. We'll update tomorrow after the transplant.

(Hopefully the internet at the hospital tomorrow will be working! Kim is typing this tonight because we can't get a connection.)

Please pray for the transplant to go well and smoothly, and that God will use this to heal Doc.


Monday, March 31, 2008

Transplant Day -2

Today unfortunately wasn't a great day for Doc. It started last night. He began to spike a temperature and started vomiting after I wrote the blog. Then this morning he started getting a chill and shaking again. Doc then started feeling weak so the nurse took his blood pressure. When the nurse was taking his blood pressure she did it four times because she thought it must be wrong. It was very low so they decided to move him to the ICU. In the transplant unit they have their own ICU so we just had to move down the hall. For those of you that know Doc well he brought everything again. The nurses were saying there are only two people in the room. Doc has brought a lot of stuff to work on including a printer. It is very hard to keep him down. With God's help and his drive he can do anything!! The doctors and nurses have kept a close eye on him today. Thankfully my prayers were answered and he is doing better this evening. They had to delay his last dose of the rabbit medicine, but they were able to get it in. Tonight they will give him his last dose of chemo and tomorrow he will get a chance to rest. Please continue to keep him in you prayers.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Transplant Day -3

Today started out great for Doc. He slept pretty well last night and was feeling fine most of the day. He was able to eat breakfast and lunch. He spent a lot of time working on his strat-o-matic baseball game. He also got in a really good walk this afternoon. He couldn't walk this morning, because they had him hooked up to the monitors while they gave him some of his medicine. Today it only took four hours, but it does restrain his walking. This evening Doc started feeling like he was getting a chill. The tech came in and took his temperature, but he wasn't running a fever. That was great, but soon after he started feeling bad. We called the nurse to get something for nausea, but unfortunately she was too late. She did give him something after he was sick and that has put him to sleep. We can be thankful for the fact that he isn't running a temperature. I am praying that he has a better day tomorrow. Doc has just one more day of medicine and two more nights of chemo then on Tuesday he will get a break. Each day brings us closer to the transplant and him getting well enough to go home again.

We were thinking about everyone at church today. We hope everything is going well. We are praying that it will be God's will for us to be back there soon.

Everyone on the floor we are on in the cancer center is having/or has had a stem cell transplant. There are 16 rooms on this floor that are all private and always full. So they do a lot of transplants here. It has been interesting to talk to some of the other patients and their spouses. We have found out some of what they have gone through and how God is working in their lives.

We ask that you continue to keep Doc in your prayers. Hopefully he will be well enough to write the blog himself tomorrow.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Transplant Day -4

Today has been a much better day! I was able to sleep last night and felt pretty good when I woke up despite the many IV interruptions during the night. I was able to eat today and had no vomiting. Thank you, Lord! I did get a new medicine today called thymoglobulin. It apparently comes from a rabbit. It is used to wipe out the T cells. They are the white blood cells that attack viruses, cancers, etc. This medicine is given over 6 hours and I have to be hooked to a cardiac monitor and blood pressure machine. It can cause a rise in the heart rate, a low blood pressure and can affect your oxygen. Some people have a bad reaction to it and so I was premedicated for it. Since it is from a rabbit, sometimes people get a bad allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. That is another good reason for the premedication. Fortunately, I tolerated it well. That was another blessing for today. They say that if you tolerate it well the first time, there are usually no problems after that. I get a dose that is 2.5 times higher tomorrow and Monday.

After being unhooked from the monitoring equipment at about 4:30 I was able to walk today. I got in a total of 12 laps. That wasn't too bad for a short day. My temperature was also better today. It dropped to normal for part of the day and never went over 100.

My hemoglobin is down around 7 today so I will be getting a transfusion tonight. My platelets and white count are still OK.

I felt a lot better today and was able to do some work on the computer, watch the NCAA basketball games and the Cubs game! I am excited that baseball season will soon be upon us. Teresa was relegated to the computer and the DVD player during the games. She slept a little better last night but nothing is as good as home. I hope I do well enough that she can go home at least once a week till we go home for good. She is planning on picking up our mail and papers the girls have sent home from the office. We also want her to spend a little time with Michael. I know this is hard on him, but he has been great about everything.

We did find out yesterday that in order to go home from the hospital the first week after discharge, you need to be within 60 miles or one hour from the hospital, not the two hours we were previously told. That was a disappointment but we will deal with that.

Michael started at McDonald's this week and had to close last night. He got home about 2:30 AM. He was pretty tired and slept in today.

I will miss going to church this week but I take comfort in the knowledge that my church family(as well as all of you) will be thinking of me and praying for me. Till tomorrow, I pray that God blesses you as He blesses me!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Transplant Day -5

Last night things continued to go in the wrong direction. As Doc said last night we didn't get into his room until late. By the time they did the paper work and started his IV's it was 11:00 pm. The medicine they are giving him takes 7 hours to run. Between the switching of bags and the pump going off because of air in the line we were constantly being woke up. Needless to say we didn't get a lot of sleep.

Today hasn't been a good day for Doc. We are not real sure what is going on yet, but last night shortly after they started him on the chemo and the other medicines they are giving him, he started feeling bad. Today that has continued. He has been vomiting off and on today. Then this afternoon he started running a fever of 102.0. Unfortunately he wasn't able to get in much of a walk today. I know that bothers him since he is so adamant about his patients walking a lot. He does try to practice what he preaches.

We are praying that he will feel better tomorrow. This is very unusual for us to have him start with the temperatures and vomiting this early into the chemo. He is on a study and it might be due to that medicine, but we are not sure. They took some blood cultures today so maybe we will have some more answers tomorrow. Please keep him in your prayers.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Transplant Day -6

Well I finally made it to my room tonight! I guess I should explain the title of the blog before I do anything else. They number things here by the day of the transplant. It is considered day 0. Today is 6 days before the transplant so it is day -6.

Now my story of admission. They told me to come at noon and have lab work and then go to Xray at 1pm or whenever I was done at the lab. I got here at noon and had my lab work done and went to Xray at 10 minutes to 1pm ( I was actually early!). We waited for an hour and a half and Teresa had noticed a sign that said to check with the desk if we waited more than 45 minutes. When she checked, she found out that they had forgotten to put in the computer that I was here! Xray had been looking for me and had called my doctor to see if I had canceled! I finally got back to the rooms for the test and the radiologist wanted to know why they were taking out my old IV when it was still working! I told them it was not my decision, perhaps they should check with my doctor. After checking, they decided to go ahead. The procedure went well and I was done at about 3:40.

We then went over to admissions. I signed in at 3:50. They told us there were no open rooms and it would be a while. I was hungry as I had not eaten anything all day. We got something to eat at the cafeteria and went back to admissions. The TV was showing the movie "Remember the Titans". We got to see all of it and it started a second time when at 8PM they told us admitting was closing but they still had no room! We were sent to the family room on the floor where I was to be admitted until my room was ready. By this time it was 9PM and the cafeteria was closed and if I wanted something to eat I would have to get something out of their pantry. I wound up with a bowl of soup.

I should mention that my shingles were a lot better today. I could almost see normally out of my eye and the pain was less then yesterday. I missed two doses of my medication, though, while waiting to be admitted. I did not bring my medicines from home as I thought I would be admitted and would not need them! I hope I do not have a setback because of that.

As of this writing at 10:40 PM I still have not had any of my chemo, my antibiotics or my home meds. They will hopefully start soon. I do not expect to get much sleep as the chemo takes two hours to run in and the antibiotic takes four. I do not know if they have anything else I need to get IV but that will take me till sunrise. They say a hospital is not the place to get rest and at least for today, that will be correct! Hopefully we are getting all the bugs worked out early in my stay so that the rest will go smoother. I sure wish I could have done this at Passavant! I surely would not have waited so long and would not have been lost in Xray! There is nothing like a hometown hospital!!!

Hopefully I will have a better day tomorrow and will have more to say. They did tell me today that the stem cell infusion(or transplant) only takes about a half an hour or so to run in. It depends somewhat on how much they got from the donor and how thick it is.

The present information to reach me is posted again on the right side, under the picture of Ian and I.

I want to again thank you all for your prayers and comments and get well wishes. It is still humbling to me to realize how many people are pulling for me to get better. God has His plan and it will play out over the next several weeks. In the meantime, I pray that He blesses you as He blesses me!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Last Day at Home before Transplant

Today I got my bone marrow results back, so I decided to post again. It showed I am still in remission Praise the Lord!!! I am ready to go for the transplant! My shingles feel a little better this evening. I took some pain medicine last night and was able to sleep better. I also used some Benadryl. It wasn't my best night's sleep but it was sure better than the night before.

I realized last night that each time I went in for chemo before, I felt pretty good going in. I was eating well, my strength was improved and my stamina was pretty good. After coming home from the chemo I was weaker, lighter and not feeling quite as good. This time I am going in sore with the shingles, weaker than before and with not quite as good of an appetite as normal. So it fits that I should come out feeling better, stronger and with a good appetite (right!!)!

I had labs today and they showed my kidneys were better so I restarted the antibiotic again today. They will probably change antibiotics once I get in the hospital tomorrow.

I get labs drawn tomorrow when I first get there at about noon. After that, I report to x-ray and they will take out my current Hickman catheter(an IV) and replace it with a new one. This is to be sure there is no infection in this one since I have had it in since December 3rd! After that, I get admitted to the transplant unit. They start my five days of chemotherapy tomorrow. I am not sure what to expect. They say it might be easier than my previous chemo. However I also get medications to wipe out my immune system and they can cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and weakness. Hopefully, I won't have too much of that. I get the sixth day off, which is April 1st. Hopefully that is not just an April Fools' joke. Then if all is going well, I get the transplant on Wednesday, April 2nd. How long I stay in the hospital is dependent on whether I get any new infections and/or have any other problems. They expect I will have some transfusions during that time as needed. I will be ready to go home 2-3 weeks after the transplant if all goes well.

I will write some more on the blog tomorrow and will try to update it daily. My transplant and the recovery afterward are now in God's hands. It appears that He thinks now is the time. I will do what I can do and God will do the rest. I appreciate your prayers and would like to have them this week for the chemo and next week for the transplant. I know that they help and make a big difference. In the meantime, I hope God blesses you as He blesses me!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Latest Transplant News

Here is the latest on my transplant. I have not yet heard back about my bone marrow biopsy. Everything else has come back OK so far. My kidney tests are a little worse so the infectious disease doctor told me to stop the antibiotic for now. They will probably start a different one in the hospital. For now, they want me to plan on being admitted on Thursday this week. If all goes well, I will have my transplant April 2nd. My donor was supposed to donate the stem cells today and they would freeze them until I am ready for them.

I also hit another speed bump on the road to the transplant this weekend. I developed a rash on the right side of my head and got swelling around my right eye Saturday morning. I have trouble with eye swelling and rashes sometimes from my cat so I originally thought this was from him. It began to hurt by Sunday. I went to my eye doctor on Monday because it was getting worse and he told me that I have shingles! He put me on an antiviral and talked to my transplant doctor. She said it is not uncommon for this to happen. It may be caused from stress or my immune system being down a bit. It should not interfere with the transplant. It has made it harder to sleep, though.

I did get to spend Easter Sunday at church. We had a good service. My grandson, Ian, got to participate in an Easter egg hunt after church and had a good time as well. Teresa made a turkey and we had a big lunch. Daniel was able to come home from SIU Edwardsville for the weekend. It was nice to see him again. We played some games and had a good time.

Michael got a job at McDonald's and started today. This will help keep him busy while I am in the hospital. School, McDonald's and his job cleaning the office should occupy a lot of his time. He is also involved in the youth group at church and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. With all of that I think it will be hard for him to get into any kind of trouble. We have friends who will spend the night here during the week and he may stay with Kim and her husband on the weekends when Teresa does not come home from St. Louis. He is a good kid so I expect he will be fine. I just hate putting him under this kind of stress at his age.

I will probably not add anything to the blog until I am admitted on Thursday. I hope to have an address, room number and phone number by then.

As I mentioned, we had a great service on Easter. God let me spend time with my family and it looks like he is ready for me to be admitted for the transplant this week. Even with my shingles, I know there are plenty out there worse off than me and that God will be there to get me through this as well. I hope he blesses you as He blesses me. I do ask that you continue to keep me in your prayers as I journey into the next step on my vacation.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

More Transplant News

Today I had my repeat bone marrow biopsy. The results will be out next week. I also had a MUGA scan. The results should be out in a day or so. I will have the repeat brain MRI tomorrow. I will also be having several other tests. Assuming they are all OK, I will be admitted for the transplant on Thursday.

I told you I would let you know more about the transplant so here it is. I will get five days of therapy after admission to wipe out my bone marrow and to treat any cancer cells that are left. The stem cell transplant should be on April 2nd. The stem cells are given through my veins like a transfusion. I am not sure how long it takes but I believe it is only a couple of hours or so. When I am admitted, they will be taking out my current Hickman catheter and replacing it with another catheter of some kind. They are taking the line out because it has been in place since early December and they want to make sure there is no infection in the line.

They expect that I will be in the hospital for about 2 or 3 weeks after the transplant. My counts should return to normal 12-15 days after the transplant. During that time, they will also be giving me anti-rejection medications. I have to be on them for quite a while. I will be discharged as soon as my counts get high enough. That, is provided I don't run a high temperature again. The transplant team wants their patients to stay in the area for a week after discharge if they live more then two hours from St. Louis. They want me to stay because we are about two hours away. I am hoping to convince them to change their mind so that I can come home sooner.

When I first go home, I will have to stay away from things that can cause me an infection. I will have to avoid crowds. I will not be allowed to have my pets stay too near me and certainly they cannot sleep in my bedroom. I cannot do any digging in the yard or be around any remodeling or home repair. They both have a high chance of having some kind of mold or fungus that I would be susceptible to catch. It usually takes about 100 days after the transplant to be able to reduce the anti-rejection medications to a point where I can return to work. I am hoping to be back to work in July or August.

I am looking forward to Easter services this weekend. If any of you do not have a church home, my wife and I would like to invite you to our church. Westfair Baptist Church is located on Lafayette between the fairgrounds and EMI. Sunday morning services start at 10 AM. We would love to see you there. In the meantime we hope that God blesses you as well as He blesses me.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Transplant Date Set

I saw my transplant doctor in St. Louis today. She has been conferring with my infectious disease doctor from St. Louis. After reviewing all the current information, they have decided to admit me on Thursday, March 27th. I will get "conditioning chemotherapy" for 5 days. They will give me some meds to wipe out my current bone marrow and some mild chemotherapy to knock out any remaining leukemia cells. Then I get one day off and then I get the stem cell transplant. If all things go as planned, that will be Wednesday, April 2nd. I still have some tests to do first but at least we have a date now.

I will be having a bone marrow biopsy tomorrow morning. This is to be sure I am still in remission. In the afternoon, I have a MUGA scan. This is a test to be sure my heart still has normal function and I can tolerate the stress of the procedure. Friday I will be having another MRI of the brain to be sure my abscess is improved on the antibiotics I have been taking. I will be getting a chest Xray, some more bloodwork and an EKG to be sure things are still OK. I also will get some pulmonary function tests to be sure my lungs are still OK for this procedure. If these all come out OK, we go ahead with the transplant. They will let me know early next week if everything is still a go.

We also found out today that my donor has had some scheduling difficulties since they moved the transplant back. He is still going to donate, but will be doing so on March 25th. The stem cells will then be frozen and thawed out when I am ready for them. The transplant donation centers frown on this because they do not want the donors going through all this and then the stem cells do not get used for one reason or another. They have agreed to let us donate early this time and freeze the cells, This is not quite as good as getting them fresh but still should be OK. Some people have blood diseases requiring a stem cell transplant where they donate to themselves. In those cases the cells are frozen till the patient is ready to get them. That still works well. Some of the donor cells die during the freezing and thawing but my doctor said that since I have a young healthy donor, there should still be plenty of cells. They have to put a preservative in with the cells and sometimes transplant recipients can have a reaction to that. Usually it is not much but can cause hives, fever, chills, nausea and even shortness of breath. These are all treatable. The preservative is excreted by the lungs and can cause a funny taste in the mouth and the chemicals that are breathed out can actually leave an odor to the room for a couple of days till it is all gone. All in all they say I am better off with frozen cells from a young male donor and a ten point match than to look for a different donor who might not be as young or as good a match.

This means I will be able to be home for Easter and attend services at church on Sunday this week. We had our family Easter dinner last Sunday when Daniel and David were home because they were not sure if they would be back for Easter. They were home for spring break(Even though it wasn't spring yet). We had our good friends, Gene and Marilyn Retzer over too. Daniel will probably be coming home this weekend but David will not be able to come. I will also be able to be home for most of Michael's Easter vacation. He is off Good Friday and all of next week. The delay has let me spend more time with the kids. I am glad God thought of that when he modified the schedule the doctors orginally had planned for me.

My family and I appreciate all the prayers that have been said already for us. We covet your prayers for the coming days and weeks. We also ask that God will have His will in the tests and getting the transplant done and we pray that it will be successful. We also want to thank you again for all the continued cards, it really hummbles us to see how much people really care. In the meantime, we pray that God blesses you as he blesses us!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Latest Transplant News

I heard from Dr. Cashen's office today. They told me that my transplant will be delayed until April. I am not sure why it was pushed back two weeks instead of one from the extra days of antibiotics. I have an appointment next Wednesday(March 19) to see Dr. Cashen. They have asked the donor to change collection dates to either April 2, 3 or 7. My transplant would then be that date or the day after. If the collection date is April 2nd, my admission date would be March 27th. The good news is that I will be home for all of David and Daniel's break this week. I will also be home for Easter. I will be home for at least part of Michael's spring break. I am disappointed that I will have to wait but I am glad to have the extra time with my family. I am also comfortable with taking the antibiotics for a while longer to get the infections under better control before the transplant. There are a few tests I will have to do before the transplant. I need to repeat my Chest Xray, my heart scan(Called a MUGA scan), my pulmonary function tests(breathing tests), and an EKG. I may have to have a repeat bone marrow biopsy as well. I will find that out about all of them by next week.

I have enjoyed the time with my sons this week. All of our vehicles have needed to get their oil changed or more and we have gotten that done as well. We fell a little behind when I spent so much time in the hospital and Teresa was with me so all of the vehicles now needed at least an oil change.

This means I will be able to attend church for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. One potential problem is that David's graduation from law school is May 10th. If I do not get my transplant till the first week of April then I may still be in the hospital for his graduation. Even if I get out in time, I may not be able to be near crowds because of my anti-rejection drugs. I guess God is working everything out in His plan so I just need to wait and see what happens.

May God bless you as He blesses me.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Latest news on transplant

I do not have final information but I thought I would let all of you know, what I know as of today. I had my MRI last week and it was slightly improved. Dr. Dubberke, my infectious disease doctor in St. Louis, has seen the report but has not seen the disks yet. He let me know today that he wants my to take the antibiotic I am on for a total of at least 6 weeks before I undergo the transplant. That takes me out to March 21. He will talk to Dr. Cashen, my transplant doctor, and she will call me and let me know when I will have the transplant. I will let you know when I know more.

Two of my sons are home for spring break this week. If my transplant is delayed I will get to spend more time with my them before they leave on Sunday. Isn't it great how God works things out!

My lab work has been stable. I still run a low potassium and magnesium despite taking supplements. That is from my antibiotic. I guess I will be taking the supplements for a while longer.

I still am feeling well but I get tired at the end of the day. I guess part of that is the low potassium and magnesium and some is from the antibiotic. I am sure some of it is also from the infection. Hopefully, that will all improve after I get over the infection and get off the antibiotics.

I was saddened this weekend when I heard that Dr. Drennan had died at home. He was one of the other surgeons here in town. He was instrumental in getting the paramedic program started here at Passavant hospital. He also flew a plane. A couple of years ago, we went to a meeting in Nashville and he flew us there and back in his plane. He also helped cover my patients when I would go out of town. He told a lot of stories about his time in the Navy. I enjoyed working with him. He was a friend of mine and I will miss him.

I hope to find out more about the timing of my transplant in the next day or two. When I know more, I will post the information. My family and I continue to appreciate your prayers for us. May God continue to bless us all!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 52

I thought I would write some today so you know what is going on. As you know, Jon was home last week for his birthday. He left Saturday morning. We had a good visit but like always, it was much too short. We will miss him till we see him again, probably in May when his brother and girlfriend graduate. After he left, my mom came to visit! One of her nephews was kind enough to pick her up at home and drive her to the train station in Joliet. We then picked her up early Saturday afternoon in Springfield. We stopped for lunch and then visited till she left Monday night. Kim and Jeremy and Ian came over to visit with her, too. We went to church at Westfair Sunday morning and I enjoyed that also. We took her back to the train Monday night. Her train was late so we got to visit for a while longer. Her nephew met her again at the train station to drive her home. We really enjoyed the time we got to spend together and will miss her very much. We know she wants to be here more, but we also know how hard it is on her with her arthritis. She wouldn't be able to make it sitting at the hospital all day. We have asked her not too come when I am in the hospital. We would be so worried about her. We are not sure when we will get to see her again. It may not be till graduation.

I had my labs drawn on the weekend and again Tuesday. My labs are doing fine. I am having to take 6 potassium pills and 2 magnesium pills every day because of my antibiotics. I will get my MRI of the brain on Friday and hopefully it will be improved. After my infectious disease doctor reviews the scan, they will decide if I am enough better to go ahead with the transplant. The tentative dates for my admission are March 12th or March 14th if the MRI looks good. If I go into the hospital, they will be giving me some mild chemotherapy and some other medicines to knock out my immune system. That will be for 5 days. They give me the day off on the 6th day and I get the transplant on the 7th day. That would be March 19th or March 21 as things stand now. Fortunately, my donor is able to change dates with me.

I will let you know a little bit more about the transplant. In the past, a bone marrow transplant involved drilling into the pelvis and taking 300 or more cores of bone marrow from the donor. This was done in surgery. The cores were then placed in surgery into holes drilled in the recipient's pelvis. Nowadays it is actually just a stem cell transplant. The donor is given some medications ahead of time to stimulate his bone marrow. Blood is drawn from him and then spun down to get the stem cells concentrated. The donor cells have to be given the same day. Depending on where the donor is from, the stem cells are driven or flown to Barnes for the infusion. They are then given to the recipient (in this case, me!) just like a blood transfusion over several hours. It is much easier than the old actual bone marrow transplant. Over the next week or two, the stem cells find their way to the bone marrow and begin to grow. They take over the marrow. During this time, I will be getting anti-rejection medications so that the stem cells can grow and not cause any problems by attacking me or by me trying to attack the stem cells. I should be in the hospital about three weeks after the transplant if all goes well. I then have to stay in the area for a week and get checked again. After that, I visit them as an outpatient once a week for a month. They then try to wean me down from the anti-rejection medications. They think that after three months or so, I may be able to return to work if all goes well. They want me to start back slow with no call for a month or more. They would like me to just see patients at the office for the first couple of weeks. I told them about my practice and they suggested I just do scopes(colonoscopies or gastroscopies) when I return to the operating room for the first two or three weeks. If all is going well at that time, I return to work full time and resume taking call.

Daniel will be coming home for spring break on Friday, March 7th and David will be coming home on March 8th. They will be home till they go back to school March 17th. Hopefully, we will get to spend some time together before I go into the hospital.

I will have more information after the MRI has been done and interpreted. That may not be till Monday or Tuesday next week. I have to send the actual pictures to my infectious disease doctor and he will review them and decide if I am improved enough to proceed with the transplant. As soon as I hear something I will be sure to post it here on the blog.

In the meantime, I plan to spend time with my family and get ready for the baseball season and spend Sundays at church. I hope the Lord blesses you as much as He has blessed me.


Friday, February 29, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 47

Well, today I finally have something to write about! Last Friday I had lab work, a Ct scan of my abdomen,pelvis, and chest and an MRI of the brain. My lab work has been fine. My CT scans showed that my abscesses in the liver, spleen and kidneys were improved. The spots on my lungs were improved as well. The MRI of the brain was worse, however. We had a hard time finding it on the first MRI but it was very easy to see on this MRI. We did not have a doctor's visit till the end of this week and nobody really wanted to give us much information till they saw me and my scans.

I saw Dr. Lanzotti yesterday and Dr. Dubberke, my infectious disease doctor today. They both thought I was doing fine. I had a regular exam and a neurologic exam today and both were normal. Dr Lanzotti said he was leaving things up to Dr. Dubberke and Dr. Cashen, my transplant doctor. Dr. Dubberke said today that he is happy with my abdomen and lungs and he thinks my brain is OK, too, but he wants another scan to show it is stable or improved. The doctor thought my spot on my brain must be improving. He said that I would be much sicker by now if it wasn't. Normally you would start running fevers and I would feel really bad. I would have headaches or some other problems. Thanks to our Lord and the medicine I am not having these problems. I had a lot of lab work done at his office two weeks ago to make sure there was no unusual germ causing my infection and all the tests came out OK. Some of the cultures take 6 weeks to get results but everything looks good so far. I will have another MRI on March 7th. I am to send Dr. Dubberke the disks and fax him the reports and then he will decide whether I am ready for the transplant or not. A tentative date of March 12th or March 14th for my admission has been set with the transplant occurring 6 days later. My donor has not had a problem with waiting so I still have an ideal donor waiting for me! Praise the Lord!!!

Daniel was home last weekend and Jon has been home this week. We went out to dinner this week to celebrate Jon's birthday. We played some board games last weekend and this week and had a good time. Daniel will be coming home on March 7th and David will be home March 8th. They both have the week of March 10th off for spring break. It looks like I will be home at least a part of the time they are here. I thought I would miss them completely but now it looks like I will get to spend a little bit of time with them before I go in for the transplant. God has worked things out for me once again in His way!

I will be getting my lab work repeated tomorrow. I am still getting my IV antibiotics at home and will be on it for another 10 or more days. Teresa still continues to do my IVs without any problems. The only thing the visiting nurses come for now are dressing changes every 4 days.

God continues to work things out in His own way. May He bless you as He continues to bless me!


Friday, February 22, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 40

Today was another good day. I had my scans and lab work this morning. I went in at 7 AM and was able to be home by 9 AM. Sometimes it pays to get tests at a smaller hospital. It also helped that they rearranged the schedules so that I could do my MRI right after my CT scans. My hemoglobin is stable at 11.7. My white count and platelet count are normal. My chemistries were all OK and showed that my potassium had improved from 3.2 to 4.2 (normal = 3.5-5.3). My CT scans showed improvement in my spleen, kidneys and lungs. My MRI showed that my abscess had increased in size. I will find out what that means to me and my proposed transplant next week.

Daniel made it home tonight. He will be here for the weekend. We were worried about how the roads would be, but they were OK. It will be nice to have him home this weekend. Jon comes in on Sunday. He will be here about a week.

Kimberly, Jeremy and Ian were over tonight. We started a board game and we will finish it tomorrow.

I am planning on going to church on Sunday and it might be the last time before my transplant, depending on what the doctors think about my scans. I will probably not have a blog entry again till Monday unless something occurs this weekend.

May God bless you as He blesses me.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 39

Today was a pretty good day. Teresa and I both went to our doctor's appointments. Dr. O' Marro said I was doing fine and he wants to see me in 2 weeks unless I am in the hospital with my transplant. If that happens, he wants me to call him when I am discharged. Teresa saw Dr. Stern. He felt her symptoms were worse due to the stress of my illness so he is making some changes in her medication.

I will be getting my scans tomorrow. The hospital called today and told me that they arranged for my MRI to be moved up to right after my CT scan. That was nice of them. This way I do not have to go home in between the scans. I will also be getting some more lab work tomorrow. Hopefully the scans will show improvement. If so, a transplant date may be set.

I trust that this is all part of God's plan and I just need to wait and see what happens. My family and I still covet your prayers. May God continue to bless us all.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 38

Today has been another good day. I did not have to visit a doctor or a hospital at all today. My grandson, Ian, came over today and we spent time together this afternoon. This evening Kimberly and Jeremy came over and we played a board game called Ra. Kimberly won and we had a good time.

Tomorrow Teresa and I both have doctor appointments. I see my Springfield infectious disease doctor and she sees her rheumatologist. Friday I have my CT scans and MRI scan.

I am looking forward this weekend, Daniel coming home on Friday and Jon is coming home on Sunday. It will be nice to spend some time with them again.

God continues to bless me and my family. I hope he blesses you as well.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 37

Today was a pretty good day. I went out to Passavant Hospital today to get some lab work done. Teresa came with as she had some lab work to do also. The registration area was full and many of the patients were ill so I wore a mask till we were taken back to have our blood drawn. My hemoglobin is stable at 11.7. My white count and platelets were normal. My potassium is improved from 2.7 to 3.2(normal = 3.5-5.3). I still have a ways to go till it is normal but at least it is headed in the right direction.

We ran some errands today and saw Dr. Backstrom(one of the emergency room doctors). We talked for a while and he confirmed that all the hospitals are busy now. The other day he was trying to transfer a patient and Memorial, ST. John's, Quincy, Pittsfield and Louisiana, Missouri were all full. This flu bug is getting a lot of people sick and many of them wind up in the hospital.

My visiting nurse came and changed my dressing today. My vital signs were all fine and the dressing change went well.

We heard from my son Daniel tonight and he will be coming home for the weekend. That means I will have all but one of my sons home for at least part of this weekend.

I arranged my CT scans and my MRI for Friday morning. I see Dr. O'Marro, my Springfield infectious disease doctor on Thursday. Teresa is also going to see her rheumatologist, Dr. Stern that day. Her arthritis is acting up some. I have an appointment with my St. Louis infectious disease doctor next week Friday the 29th. After that we will be able to set a date for the transplant, I hope.

I spoke today with my transplant doctor to clarify some of the details of my transplant. We will find out more after the scans and my appointments.

I hope you all had a good day ,too, and that God blessed you as much as He blessed me. Try and keep well, we know so many people that have been sick personally, we are praying that this illness will be out of the area soon.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 36

Today has been a good day. We spent the day with Michael and one of his friends, as they were off school for President's day. We had a good time.

We heard back from the St. Louis infectious disease doctor. He wants me to get a CT scan of my chest , abdomen, and pelvis. He also wants me to repeat the MRI of my head. They want to compare with the other scans to make sure things are getting better. I will do that this Friday and then see the doctor in St. Louis the following Friday. I will be able to do the tests at Passavant. Tomorrow I need to get some lab work done at Passavant.

Hopefully after all these tests are done we can get a date set for the transplant.

My son Jon is coming home for a week or so this weekend. He will get here on Sunday, then has to leave next Saturday. Hopefully we can spend some time together while he is here.

Hopefully God's plan is coming together. We just need to be patient till it becomes more obvious.
May God continue to bless all of us.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 35

Today has been a good day. I was able to go to church with my family this morning. I really enjoyed being back at Westfair Baptist Church today. I really miss my church family when I am unable to attend. I don't know if all of you out there have a church you attend regularly, but you are always welcome to come to our church.

Kimberly was not feeling well today so she stayed home. Teresa and I were able to watch Ian some today. We watched him during his morning nap before church. Then Jeremy and Ian came over and had lunch with us after church. Jeremy , Michael and I played a game called History of the World this afternoon before choir practice. Teresa and I watched Ian while Michael and Jeremy went to choir practice.

Teresa was able to get a nap today. Hopefully she will start feeling better with a little more rest. She continues to do a good job as my nurse.

We plan to spend the day with Michael tomorrow as he is off for President's day.

I have to get my labs drawn on Tuesday and schedule my repeat CT scan for Friday. The doctors will call me from St. Louis and decide whether I also need to repeat my MRI this week.

May God continue to bless you as He blesses me.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 34

Today has been a good day. Kim and Jeremy came over with Ian today and we played some board games. It was good to spend time together. Ian is so adorable, he was so good today while all of us played the games for several hours. That is unusual for his age. He is just so adorable, not that I am prejudiced or anything. lol (What are Grandpa's for?)

I am looking forward to going to church with my family tomorrow. It has been awhile since I was there. I will also probably check my labs as my potassium has been running low and I want to make sure it is better.

We are planning on spending Monday with Michael, since it is a school holiday. I will also get my labs checked again on Tuesday.

I feel fine so far and have tolerated the antibiotic without much trouble.

May God continue to bless us all!


Friday, February 15, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 33

I went to St. Louis today and met with the infectious disease doctor. He reviewed my Xrays and my history. He ordered some more lab work also. He will review my Xrays with his radiologist and discuss my case with Dr. Cashen, my transplant doctor. He will also review my labs and call me back next week. It sounded to me as if he did not think this would delay the transplant much, if any. I am going to repeat my CT scan and MRI this coming Friday so it can be compared to the old ones and see if things are getting better. At that point, I think the final choice of when to do the transplant will be made.

Things are going well otherwise. I am tired still but otherwise seem to be doing fine. Teresa is doing a nice job of hooking up and taking down my antibiotics. We now just have to decide how long to keep them going.

If it turns out that my transplant is delayed, it will give me some more time to spend with my sons. Jon will be home from about the 24th of February till about March 1st. Perhaps God is using my infection to allow me to spend more time with Jon. Even though there may a delay in the transplant, it probably won't give me extra time with David and Daniel. Their spring break starts on March 7th and I think they will have me back in the hospital in St Louis by then. Please continue to keep me and the doctors in your prayers as they have to decide when to proceed with the transplant. Thank you all!!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 32

I saw Dr.Lanzotti today. My labs were OK. We talked about my visit in St. Louis. Dr Lanzotti reviewed a study I was asked to participate in. He had several questions that we need to get the answers to.

Tomorrow I visit the infectious disease doctor and he will help determine how long I am on antibiotics and when I can have my transplant. I will have more details about this visit tomorrow.

I have tolerated my antibiotics so far. Teresa has done a good job as my nurse and hooking up my antibiotics and disconnecting them.

Tomorrow is the next step in my journey. Continue to pray for my travels. May God continue his blessings to us all.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 31

I went to my appointment in St. Louis today. They examined me and asked about my recent stay at Memorial. They arranged for me to see one of their infectious disease doctors this Friday. They believe I will probably have to postpone my transplant till the infections clear up. They would like their doctor to confirm how long I need to be on antibiotics before resetting the transplant date. They do not believe it will be a problem asking the donor to delay a week or two.

We also went on a tour of the transplant unit. We did not get to see an actual room as they were all full. We did find out that Teresa can actually stay in my room. They have laundry facilities for her right on the floor. There is a refrigerator in each room to use also. The floor has a pantry room which has a fridge, a toaster and a microwave to use. Then they also have drinks, crackers peanut butter, jelly, oatmeal, soup, ice cream, fruit cups etc. for the patients and their families. There I will be able to walk the halls as I did at Memorial or I can use an exercise room that they have on the floor. Over all what we saw looked very nice.

I took my second dose of antibiotics at home tonight and all went well. Teresa hooked me up and did a good job.

My labs today were OK except my potassium was low at 2.7 so they asked me to increase my dose. I will be seeing Dr. Lanzotti tomorrow afternoon and they will be rechecking my labs.

God continues with His plan and unveils it a little at a time. Tomorrow I will find out some more and Friday I will find even more. I will let you know what I find out as it is revealed. May God bless you as He blesses me!