Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Finally Home

Dad finally got to go home on Tuesday morning! His blood counts were sufficiently up to let him go home. He is still pretty tired but looks good overall. They will probably give him a couple of weeks off before starting the next round of treatment.

Monday, July 23, 2007

An excellent wekeend

After a rough week most of last week, by the weekend Dad was visibly felling better. Finally, his blood counts started to come up as well! As of this morning, the doctor was very happy with his response, so much so, that he was taken off of the IV antibiotics and switched to an oral antibiotic.

All of his counts were up, WBC and platelets were back up to normal, and the red counts (still low) but are trending up all weekend.

What does all this mean? Dad may get to go home in the next few days! They want to watch him for a couple of more days on this new antibiotic and make sure that no infections pop back up. But a light at the tunnel.

We know there are a couple of more rounds of treatment to come, but the thought of at least getting to go home after a full 4 weeks in the hospital sounds pretty good right now!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Slow battle back up the hill

These last few days have been fairly rough. Dad's blood counts hit bottom this weekend. That is part of the plan of chemo, but it obviously makes him very prone to infection as well. It also calls several infusions to keep the blood count up. He had had 3 infusions as of yesterday. One thing he was in need of late was platelets. He had a nose bleed that just would not stop over the weekend. Most people are CMV positive and Dad is CMV negative, so it took a little while to track down some platelets.

They have also started started him on a drug (newgen?) to start rebuilding the white blood counts. It is a daily injection that is fairly painful and one of the side effects is bone pain.

In the meantime, he started having some serious pain in his right toe (the opposite leg as the other infection). It looks now like it may be gaut caused by the guild up in uric acid in his system. The added a new regiment of drugs to try and fight that.

He fought a low grade fever all weekend while the docs pumped him full of antibiotics all weekend to to try wane off any infections. He got through most of the weekend ok, but spiked a high fever last night and they running some new blood tests to see if they can determine an unseen infection. They are also changing the regiment of antibiotics up to try and fight this stuff off.

On the good news side, his blood counts have gone up (slightly) over the past two days. We are hoping that maybe this means he is turning a corner. If we can keep the infections at bay here for a few more days and give the white blood counts time to recover, he may get through this first round and get to go home in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Got through the weekend

Well we made it through the weekend. It turned out that a nurse forgot to change out a IV bag at some point during the weekend, so Dad had to tack 12 more hours onto the end of the treatment so he finished up at about 11 p.m. last night.

It was kind of tough weekend. He had a lot more nausea from the drugs, and got sick a few times. They gave him some Phenergan to fight the nausea, but that basically knocked him out. Apparently, it stops nausea by completely shutting down your whole body. He said that even his mouth was numb. They could also give Zofran for that type of reaction, but the Oncologist said it would react to some of the other drugs he is on. So they cut the dosage in half and trying it again.

The drugs have seemed to help. He was feeling alot stronger yesterday. We know this is the tough week, because the chemo drugs will basically drop his white blood count (and everything else) no nothing. But hopefully, he can start the road to recovery next week.

Friday, July 6, 2007

One drug down, one to go

Dad is starting Day 5 of his chemo, which means the end of one of his drugs. Still has three more days to go on the second drug. Overall he is still feeling fairly good. He has some nausea and has completely lost his appetite. But the docs gave him some meds to help the nausea (which made him pretty sleepy) and he feels a lot better.

Blood work was still about the same, which as the doctor put it "Boring is good". We should start seeing the effects of the chemo over the next week as the cells get killed off.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Polo Shirts

I guess with summer here, I have been wearing a lot of polo shirts lately. Everytime I wear one Landry points at the Polo symbol on the chest and gets excited and says "Polo, Daddy".

Yesterday, I was wearing some other sort of shirt, with no symbol on it, and she had a very distraught look on her face ans asked me "Where'd Polo go?".

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Still feeling good

Well, Dad has two and half days of chemo down. So far so good. He is still feeling good with little or no side effects from the treatment. We know that it is a matter of time before this catches up, but it is great that his body is able to withstand the treatment regiment that was chosen. Obviously, this protocol is the top choice, and they would have altered it if he was having a strong reaction to the drugs.

The Raines came up to visit today from Dallas today which was very nice to catch up with them. I think Dad really liked talking to to Ronnie since he had to go through a lot of this not too long ago.

Luckily his room is facing almost directly south, so Mom and Dad should be able to see the city fireworks tonight from the room.

Also, for the next two weeks we expect his immune system to drop to virtually nothing. In order to protect him during this time, we are going to try and limit his visitations to give him the best shot at a full recovery. Too many times, we may be carrying viruses/bacteria that we don't even know about until later. Feel free to call him, post a note to him, or send an email.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Starting Chemotherapy . . .

Dad is starting chemotherapy this morning. He will be on on a continuous intravenous drip 24/7 for the next 7 days. Over that time he will get daunorubicin for all seven of those days, which is a type of anthracycline. For the first four of those days he will also receive a second drug (I can't remember the name).

The doctor describe this like fertilizer. We will spread this fertilizer out for a week or so, but it will take up to a week for all of the bone marrow cells to die off (which is the idea). It will take another two weeks to rebuild his cell count. He will be in the hospital all of that time. Ugh.

The freakiest part of this is the toxicity of these drugs. The nurses glove and smock up, to avoid any contact with the drug. It can be very corrosive to the skin. They also warned my Mom, that if he vomits to treat it like toxic waste. In otherwords, don't touch it, glove up and dispose of it in plastic baggies. One treatment that we have talked about involves pumping arsenic into the blood stream. ARSENIC! What the hell!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

iBible Video

David's church in Naperville puts together some great video snippets that they run as part of their services. This was one they ran when I was there (I am sure to take advantage of the iPhone hype). Hilarious.