Monday, October 18, 2010

A Celebration of Dad's Life

As most of you have already heard my brave and courageous father has gone Home to be with the Lord.  We are all so sad that this was the final outcome to this long and difficult journey, but we are trying to gain strength from knowing that he is now in Heaven with the Lord and will no longer have to suffer or fight.  He passed on Oct. 16th about 10 minutes before midnight- Mom, Dan, Kay, Bradley, and I were all with him and it was a very peaceful passing.  We would like to share with you the details for the final arrangements.  

Wednesday, October 20th
Visitation beginning at 10:00am followed by
a Mass to begin at 11:00am at
St. Anselm Catholic Church
306 St. Mary Street
Madisonville, LA 70447


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A time for all things - and its time for us to come home.

Dear Family, Friends, Prayer Warriors, Loved ones,
It is with a heavy heart that we post today - to share with you all the news that we have received.  It turns out that dads leukemia is back and strong- so strong that we are no longer able to combat it.  The transplant was unsuccessful and he is not strong enough to endure or be eligible for another one, nor is he able to have any more chemo.  So, it is now time to bring him home.  They have been slowly tapering him off of all his medications here and they will give him his last transfusion today with the platelets that Daniel donated before heading home yesterday.  They are giving him morphine to keep his as comfortable as possible.  We are waiting on the final arrangements from hospice and the ambulance transport.  We are thinking that he will be transported via ambulance tomorrow morning- mom will ride with him in the ambulance and I will follow driving her car.  They will bring him to our house and that is where hospice will be set up.  He was very lucid and aware when we received the news and made all the decisions and this is how he wants it.  He is now less and less lucid, sort of in and out of knowing what is going on.  Mom and I are at the hospital and staying with him, camping out on the recliner and pull down bed till we can get him home.  
We want all of you to know how much all of your love, support, and prayers have meant to us through these very difficult months - you truly carried us through on your prayer shoulders.  We feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many loving and caring people, and we will continue to rely on your prayers and support to get us through the difficult time ahead of us.  Dad has really fought the tough fight and we all prayed the turnout would be different, but God has the reigns and we know His Plan is Sovereign, we just have to put our Faith there and be strong as we surround Dudley as he Journeys Home.
God Bless and we will keep you posted as we learn the particulars of the transport etc.  Love to All

Monday, October 11, 2010

Repeat Bone Marrow Biopsy

Hi all,
Just wanted to let everyone know that because the docs could not get any bone marrow from the aspiration last week, they are repeating the bone marrow biopsy either tonight or tomorrow morning and we would just like to ask for everyone to say prayers for good news.
Will update again tomorrow. Love to all!

My Second Donation for the Radioactive Isotope Treatment test!

Hey Everyone!
Well, yesterday I donated for my second time so that they can take my platelets and treat them with radioactive isotopes - they are scheduled to transfuse them into dad today and then scan him today and everyday  now thru friday to track and see my lil platelets inside of him - where they are going and where the problem is happening inside of him...... the docs are suspecting his spleen as the culprit and this test should give us that answer!  Dad's platelets have held over the last day a LITTLE better than the last few, so we are hoping that is some sort of good sign - we will see what comes over the next few!  I think it must be all those AMAZING single donor bags from all of our donation WARRIORS this weekend!!!!
Last I spoke to mom a few minutes ago the new set of docs had still not yet made it to the room, but as soon as they do and we know anything else I will post :) 
As far as, dad's overall update- he is still really wiped out and out of it - we have a hard time keeping him awake long enough to answer questions, make decision, etc - the docs keep telling us that this is all part of the same same problem as the blood and platelets and that they believe when they find the answer to that and fix it, that all the other symptoms will fall in line as well.  That is OBVIOUSLY what we are hoping for as well!  Because lately Dudley is just not the Dudley we all know so well - and if you have happened to talk to him over the last week I'm sure you have noticed bouts of that - we can't WAIT to have him back to his OLE' self ;).
We will keep you updated and please please keep the WARRIOR prayers coming and coming and COMING!!!  And make those prayers for him, for his docs- their discernment, and for our family - this has been really tough and we need the prayers for strength and encouragement :) We love you all!!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hi Everyone!
Well I just have to say:  we have the absolute BEST most AMAZING incredibly PHENOMENAL group of FAMILY and FRIENDS that ANYone could EVER EVER EVER hope to have!!!
And that is probably STILL an UNDERstatement! - That's TOUCHED and BLESSED we feel!!!  
We had an OUTSTANDING number of people show up on Friday and Saturday to donate platelets and blood for dad!!!  We can't possibly pull together a big enough THANK YOU to adequately express our gratitude!!  That said, I at least want to give everyone reading a nice picture show of our WARRIOR DONORS who traveled from far and wide to lend a helping hand or should I say a helping vein! ;)
The first to arrive on the scene Friday were mom's 4 friends from were work who were incredibly GRACIOUS to take a vacation day from work to drive in from the northshore to houston just to donate platelets and blood and then return home.  So, thank you so much to Elaine, Carmella, Evelina, and Cindy!!!  And among them we had a SUPER PLATELET PRODUCING MARVEL- Elaine's platelet count was the highest we have seen yet - a whopping 355!!!! She was able to donate TWO WHOLE bags and a bag of blood too!!! WOW!! Kudos to you Elaine - that is INCREDIBLE!!! thank you all SO SO SO much for coming in and helping us out in this incredible way!
Also, Rachel showed up to donate platelets with a giving heart and unfortunately fell upon some bad luck, poor thing she was cleared, stuck, extracting happily and her machine broke down :( - they had to take the needle out and then couldn't find a vein in her other arm to hook her to a new machine :( but we thank you all the same and more for all your trouble and you can trust they did NOT waste whatever you did get out and you still scored dad a single donor bag credit!! thank you so so much!
Then we had Daniel back for his second dedicated bag extraction - he made thru like a champ once again!
And next to arrive were Brannon and Terry who both donated with smiles and hearts of gold- as in bags of liquid GOLD ;)
Then the Foret family made their second appearance on the blood product donation scene and this time all three were cleared to donate platelets!!  YAY Forets!
We just want to say a HUGE HUGE thanks to all our friday donors - it was like a family and friends reunion at the blood bank ;) - go figure!  But just goes to show how your family and friends are really who come thru for you when the going gets rough and I get tears in my eyes every time i think about the incredible love and support all of you showed us in seriously tangible form- God Bless you all and THANK YOU more than words can express!!!
and wait - did you think that was all?!?! its NOT!!!!!! Saturday brought more LOVE and SUPPORT to the scene here in Houston at the Blood bank!  We had a FABULOUS group once again!!  Aunt Lisa drove in with Andrew and Amanda all the way from Destrahan - THANK YOU GUYS!!!!!  We knew aunt lisa would not be able to donate as she was with us at the wedding in the DR and we haven't passed that one year mark yet - but Amanda ended up not cleared past the pre-screen - so Andrew took the reins as head donor and did it like a champ and Lisa and Amanda cheered him on the whole way through!   Even got creative for the pic to send to dad!!! Which scored a Dudley Chuckle which is worth its weight in gold or platelets HA HA fun to play on words ;) We thank and love all of you for driving in to help in this amazing wonderful way!  
We also had dads two FABULOUS BUDDIES from way back WHEN and still ;) - Danny and Kory who both donated like CHAMPS!!!  We can't tell you how MUCH we love you guys and appreciate it more than you can know!  and Kory............. we didn't get our pinetree delivery.. just sayin' LOL!
In conclusion - you are all probably wondering if it would EVER come...... well, it was long but WOW there were SO SO SO many LOVED ones to thank and I didn't want anyone to mistake how MUCH we REALLY REALLY REALLY SUPER DUPER SUPER thank ALL OF YOU for your AMAZING INCREDIBLE PHENOMENAL FABULOUS OUTSTANDING support love commitment and DONATION of YOURSELF- literally - it mean SO MUCH MORE to us than you could possibly know - we are SO BLESSED and we THANK GOD for each and EVERY one of you being in our lives and showing us the TRUEST most AMAZING form of CHRISTIAN LOVE AND SUPPORT - you guys ROCK!  (someone is SURE to fed ex me a thesaurus by morning ;) ) Till morning.......... love to all!






 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day +58

Hi Everyone,
Well, to catch everyone up from where we left off yesterday - Dad's platelet count of course went from a 1 to a 15 after Dan's platelets were transfused, then by the time his nightly count was taken it was back down to a 10, then they gave him another single donor bag transfusion last night and this morning his count was an 8.  So, he is having another transfusion today (and maybe another tonight).
The doctors said that I will be the one to donate the platelets on Sunday for them to treat with the radioactive isotopes for the test that begins Monday.  And so, Dan will be doing another bag for dad tomorrow in the meantime.  So, Bradley and I will be headed to Houston on Saturday and then my appointment is at 12:15 on Sunday for the extraction.  Please pray that Daniel's extraction tomorrow goes as smoothly and uneventfully as last time and please pray for mine on sunday to go smoother than my last one :) 
Tomorrow our cousin Brannon and uncle Terry are going to be going to donate single donor bags of platelets for dad!!  We want to thank them so so so much!!!!  Also, our uncle Gary and cousin Jen are both going to try and donate single donor bags for dad tomorrow and we want to thank them!! hopefully i will have some pics of all of them and dan to post tomorrow!  Also, we want to send a HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you out to Jen for getting her principal at the school where she teaches to approve holding a blood drive for dad!!!!!!!!!!  This is SUCH great news and we are SO thankful to Jen for taking the initiative to do that!!  xoxo
Also, Diane and Lenny are already signed up to donate platelets for dad on Monday - so we are excited about that and i will hopefully get pics to post! :) 
I just spoke on the phone with dad and I am SO happy to say that he sounded more "NORMAL" than I have heard him sound in DAYS!!!  He said he and Dan have already gone on TWO walks - YAY!!! Please please please pray that that improvement keeps up and holds!!  Because the last two days he has been 100% NOT himself - totally out of it and it was REALLY scary to see :( In fact, he didn't even understand that mom had gone home until the subject was re-visited this morning - pretty freaky :(  which by the way, mom made it home safely and is at work today trying to catch up on a zillion things today and tomorrow and then she will be returning to houston on satruday.  So, please pray for us all to have safe travels.
That is all we have to report for now but i will keep you posted - and love to all!
ps- i know that that post must have had to have a RECORD number of run-on sentences - LOL! oh well our brains are NOT all functioning at 100% these days ;)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Daniel's Magic Platelets!!!

Hi All!
I am very excited to tell you that Dan made it through this platelet extraction yesterday like a champ!  He is with dad now at the hospital and they transfused the platelets this morning AND ........... his count FLEW up from a mere 1 to a MUCH better 15!!!!!!  This is excellent news!!!!  Dan said that he can already see a change in dad for the better!  The doctors, as I mentioned the other day are interested in exploring a new theory about why dad isn't making or keeping platelets and blood cells and it has to do with his spleen (or maybe if not, then his liver) there is a test that they want to run that goes from Monday thru Friday so, they need a bag of platelets from either Daniel or I on Sunday which they will treat with radioactive isotopes and then transfuse them to dad.  Then each day of the Monday thru Friday run they are going to scan him and the platelets will be visible to them and they will be able to tell if the spleen is potentially our roadblock or not.  We will find out tomorrow from the doctors whether they want my cells or dan's for the important Sunday donation and whichever of us it isn't will donate on Friday to keep him going.  So, we will let you know more when we hear from them!
In the meantime - here are the pics from Dan's extraction, his bag of liquid gold, and Dan while they are being transfused to Dad!



That is really the only news to report other than the fact that last night and this morning he was acting more and more "out of it" - not able to stay awake, moving his arms all around in sort of tremors, talking in his sleep - but Dan just told me that those symptoms have improved since the transfusion - thank GOD!  So, I will update again tomorrow with more news- until then please pray for further increase in Dad's platelet count and also for the numbers to HOLD! Love to all!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thank you SO much to Aunt Diane!!!




Hi All!
Well, as I mentioned yesterday - my aunt diane has joined the gracious platelet donating troops!! :) She had her appointment yesterday and fared just fine :) She did mention that her lips went numb/ tingling and then we later learned that Bobbie's did too and neither of them mentioned it to the nurse- i mention this b/c if you happen to donate and have that happen to you it is a normal side effect having to do with a drop in your calcium due to the anti-coagulant meds they have you on during the extraction.  Definitely let them know if it starts to happen to you and they will give you some tums to bring your calcium back up and the tingling/ numbness in your lips or fingertips should subside :)  Anyway we just want to send diane a HUGE thank you for helping us in this incredible way :) WE LOVE YOU and we APPRECIATE it SO SO much!!! xoxo
As for an update on dad, he is getting up and around much much more these last couple of days which is GREAT! and the docs want him to continue increasing his physical activity- so, if you speak with him - encouragement welcome!! :)
As for his counts there is not much change- he did get his platelet level up to 10 yesterday evening after a single donor bag of platelets, but this morning it was back down to a 3..... So, we gotta keep those single donor bags coming for him :) Today Daniel is on the road headed to Houston and he has an appointment at 4pm today to donate his platelets for dad as a dedicated bag!!  We have high hopes for what Dan's specific platelets can do for dad given that he and i are his closest genetic matches - so please say some prayers for Dan that he makes it thru the extraction like a champ and that his cells work WONDERS for dad!!! 
Oh and we have heard that there are many many folks driving in this weekend to GRACIOUSLY donate more single donor bags of platelets for dad - we can't tell you how much this incredible out-pouring of support from our family and friends means to us - we feel SO SO SO BLESSED to have all of you in our lives!!!  And please if you come in this weekend (or anytime) please try and let us know so that we can attempt to keep track of the credits he should have coming his way :) Also, if you don't mind we would LOVE to have a pic of you "in donating action" and a pic of your beautiful liquid gold donation bag!!! You can email or mms/text them to me- pics from your camera on your phone work just great!  I would love to post them here and get the chance to thank you for what you are doing for dad! :) And Kory et Krewe- feel free to be creative and deliver some laughs with your photos ;-) you guys give us such incredible healing in the way of comic relief  :-)
That's all for now - i will have some pics of dan in action for the next post! :) Love to all!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thank you SO much to the Foret Family!!!

Hi Everyone!
Well, as we announced a few days ago, dad is in desperate need of single donor bags of platelets.  Well, we have had a really encouraging response from our friends and family in the Houston area and even from our LA fam and friends :) We can't tell all of you how much it SUPER means to us that everyone is so willing to help!!  We did inquire about whether or not there was anywhere in the nola/ northshore area that people can donate in his name- unfortunately they don't make this easy and there is not any way to donate in his name for use at MD Anderson except AT the two Houston blood bank donation centers (listed in the last blog post)  We wish there was another way but there isn't....... Also, if you are in the Houston area and looking to donate we strongly suggest making an appointment with one of the two centers prior to showing up b/c once again - they don't seem to make things as easy as they SHOULD!  Just don't want anyone to get all the way there only to find out that they don't have any chairs/ machines available.

So, all that being said Gary, Bobbie, and Jen Foret- part of our loving family that resides in the Houston area GRACIOUSLY went down to the blood donation center yesterday to donate for dad- turns out Jen had some slightly off numbers that should correct themselves in a few days (when she will be trying again) that made her ineligible and one of the Rx's that Gary is on took him out of the running BUT he WAS able to donate blood for dad - which is fabulous!  And Bobbie was cleared for platelet donation and did just that!!!  Also, Jen is going to talk to her principal at school about organizing a drive for dad and talked to the lady at the blood bank about the details already - so we have our fingers crossed that that will work out!! We just want to thank all three of you for being SO AWESOME and helping us out!!! Here are some pics of our fearless donors!  As you may notice in Bobbie's picture, when you donate platelets- since it is sort of a long process they give you a portable dvd player and earphones so that you can watch a movie to pass the time - I believe they have a small selection of movies there that you can choose from but you are also welcome to bring your own. :) 
Please make sure and let us know if you do decide to go and donate so that we can keep track of the credits that dad should have coming his way :) also, please send pics of you donating and a pic of your bag of liquid gold - we really enjoy sharing the pics on the blog and having the opportunity to thank you SO SO MUCH for what you are doing for us :)
My Aunt Diane is at the donation center as we speak donating platelets and I am waiting on her pics so that I can do a thank you post for her as well! :)
As, for further update on dad - the docs basically said that his DNA is now 87% the donors and the rest still his - so, the transplant is showing great signs of engraftment but the disease and his body are still causing some sort of "mis-fire" in that he is still not making his own white, red, or platelets cells and not only that he isn't but his body seems to be rejecting the transfusions  - so, their next "guess" at what may be the underlying cause is something wrong with either his spleen or his liver - they want to test the spleen first - - we do not have the exact details on the "how" yet except that apparently the test must be run from a monday to a friday and so they want to start it next monday but before they do they want another dedicated bag of platelets from me on saturday or sunday to be transfused to him before they start the process.... so, that is what we are planning to do.  As far as an update on the bladder virus, they seem to feel it is running out its course but regardless of that progress he has to have clear urine and no blood clots for at least 24-48 hours before they will consider taking the catheter out - and he hasn't been able to keep the blood out that long yet b/c his platelets keep bottoming out at a 1 everyday which means there isn't a way to stop the blood in his bladder :( - so it is frustrating to say the least but we are doing everything we can to help the situation... so, we have to keep up the single donor bags available to dad and keep up the warrior prayers for divine intervention!  Oh the only other news to report is that he did unfortunately spike a high fever last night -which seems to be gone now but we don't yet know what this evening will bring - in the mean time they are running blood cultures to test for infection and we don't have the results yet.
Love to you all and more later :) 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Donation Center Details

I suppose I should have included all the donation center details ;)
We suggest calling to make an appointment 713-792-7777 the number is the same for both locations so you have to specify which you prefer and remember to tell them that it is a specific donation for Melvin Larsen - and that he is currently inpatient for Stem Cell Transplantation. Let me know if you have ANY other questions!!

Blood Donor Center - Holly Hall (this is where i donated and they were WONDERFUL!)
2555 Holly Hall Street
Houston, TX 77054
Hours:
M-F - 10am- 7pm
S&S - 10am - 5pm
Free Parking Available

Blood Donor Center - Mays Clinic
Mays Clinic Building Floor 2, near the Tree Sculpture, ACB (connected to the main building by sky walk)
1220 Holcombe Blvd
Houston, TX 77030
Parking validated upon request for Mays Clinic Garage
Hours:
M-F 10am- 5pm

Platelet Transfusion


Hi Everyone!
Well, as most of you know already I managed to survive the platelet extraction!  Mom was with me the whole time THANK GOD and witnessed it getting a little shaky a few times but the nurses were really sweet and the important thing is that we successfully completed it! ;) The nurse that that I had really clear buttery colored healthy platelets and a really good volume of them - in fact, she said she could tell by the color and clarity of my platelets that I eat really healthy :) Here are some pics from the whole ordeal:
The first one is obviously me during the extraction - super cute i know- HA HA!
The next are the platelets - the all important platelets!!

Then this one is the next morning after they got my platelets to the room- mom, dad, and I all held hands and put the platelet tube in the circle too and prayed over the cells- that God would bless them and let them be well accepted and healing in dad's body!  And then I headed back home to my hubby and pup, and while I was still on the road mom had already sent me the last pic of dad up in the chair and working on the puzzle to show me that my donation was already making a difference - this whole last week has been really really really rough on dad and so just seeing him able to sit up in that position and feeling well enough to focus on something other than feeling bad was REALLY REALLY good to see!!!  Last night when they checked his platelet count it was only up to a 9 which we were (in our heads) hoping for a more dramatically high number... they had to give him another mixed bag in the evening.  Then his count this morning was an 8.  But, the doctor said that they feel like my platelets ARE making a difference b/c it is making the platelets HOLD - and he has now gone 24 hours with no blood in his urine, no bladder spasms, and no blood clots in the bladder - which is a HUGE improvement!  The doctor only wants dad to have single donor bags of platelets now b/c it is so crucial that we keep this hold going so that he can hopefully get this catheter OUT in the next 48 hours or so....... SO- that comes with a HUGE REQUEST to any of you - our friends and family in the Houston area - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you are able to go to MD Anderson or to there other location at 2555 Holly Hall Street (that is where we did it and they were WONDERFUL!) and donate platelets in Dad's Name and with his medical record number we would REALLY REALLY REALLY appreciate it!!!!  The blood bank is almost ALWAYS out of them and the only way dad can get the bags he needs is if people go and donate in his name!  We are in a really unique situation where by our whole family and many of our extended family were all in the Domincan Republic for Bradley and I's wedding last november - - - that DIS-qualifies you from being able to donate for an entire year - the ONLY exception that they are making is for dan and i to have our platelets go directly to dad b/c of our high genetic HLA match with him.  They will not make that exception for any one else and so mom, brad, kay, etc can't even give in his name to get him credits b/c they won't accept their cells.  So, we are asking anyone who is able to donate (that was not on the trip with us) if you could please donate for him we would be SO GRATEFUL!   Already my aunt diane has stepped up and offered to donate for him and she already has her appointment set-up and everything and we want to send her a HUGE THANK YOU!!!!!!  Please email me, text me, or comment here if you are able to do this for us or if you have any questions :) - If you are going to do it I need to give you his medical records number and we want to know about it so that we can THANK YOU but also so that we can make SURE he IS getting the credit and the single donor bags as a result of your donation :) Thank you so so so much in advance - We love you all and we will update again soon! 









Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day +50

Hi All!
I am back in Houston tonight with mom and we got mom back to the condo to FINALLY get a REAL night's sleep.  Dad is having his bladder flush contantly running and now also has his bladder irrigated every two hours so they assign a nurse to ONLY him for day and nightime and they are literally in the room with him every 15 minutes so he is being very well cared for :) I am back so quickly b/c the docs have a new idea to hopefully solve the problem with him rejecting more platelets from the transfusions than he is keeping.... His platelet count as of tonight is back down to a mere 2 :( - so, they now want dan and I to have our platelets extracted to transfuse for dad - with the hopes that since we are his closest genetic matches that he will not reject them and they could be the "golden ticket" :) - So, I had to go and get a pre-screen blood test today and then I am scheduled to have my platelets extracted for him tomorrow and he should have them in his body by tomorrow evening!  So, this involves two very specific prayer requests - the first is that I make it through the donating process - it is super scary for a needle phobic like me ;) and if i pass out or vomit they will stop the procedure - so please send me happy strong thoughts!  The second request and biggest one is that the platelets they get from me WORK WONDERS FOR DAD!!!  It is really crazy that in my pre-screening test my platelet level was a 228 and dad's is only 2 - put quite a perspective spin on the story for me ;) - it is about a 2 hour procedure to donate and you can only do it every 72 hours so, if this works they may have me do it again on saturday.  Then daniel gets to town wednesday and will be able to do his donation - we are both needle queesy so please do the same two prayers for him!! 
We will update tomorrow and let you know how all this goes!  So goodnight for now and keep those warrior prayers coming! Love to all!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Some Relief & Some News

Hey Everyone,
After an UNbelievably difficult and painful weekend for dad, yesterday finally brought some relief for him where the bladder virus is concerned.  He had significantly less and less intense bladder spasms and that made a big difference, he slept most of yesterday since he did not get ANY sleep at all on Saturday night- neither did mom for that matter - I REALLY hope they BOTH slept well last night - I will let you know after I talk to them this morning.  He started taking morphine yesterday which managed his pain quite well.
As for his counts, they unfortunately are still really low and not holding.  They also discussed with us yesterday that the first bone marrow biopsy that he did on the 9th is showing positive signs of the donor's cells taking over which is a GOOD thing, however it did show 6% blasts and dysplastic cells- which is evidence of the persistent myelodysplastic syndrome (the leukemia)............ So, there is the good part and the bad part.  What they are hoping is that the results from this most recent biopsy will show a decrease in the disease and an increase if engraftment of the donor's cells- so that is what we need to pray for!  If the biopsy comes back and doesn't show more positive engraftment then they will be pursuing more cells to be donated by the donor and a second transplant of them.  Whether or not we would have to do more chemo in conjunction with that 2nd transplant remains to be seen - what we WANT is to not have to resort to this and instead we want him to have that "turnaround day" where he begins making his own cells and then have the biopsy results come back negative for the disease!!  The preliminary results of the most recent biopsy show a reduction in blasts to 2% now and so that is moving the right direction- lets band together and pray for a result of 0% to be right around the corner!! 
Love to all and i will update again later!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's been QUITE a day....

Hi Everyone,
Bradley and I are in Houston this weekend with mom, and Brad and I stayed at the hospital all day today with him.  Dad had a REALLY rough day, they have discovered a virus in his bladder and he now has a catheter in and they are running a constant flush of his bladder.  The virus is causing really severe spasms of his bladder and it is really painful for him - unfortunately we had a very intense day full of them.  They are giving him anti-spasm medicine but it can take a few days before it builds up enough of a level in his blood to really alleviate the spasms and pain.  We are HOPING that the worst of it was today and that tonight and tomorrow will start to bring some relief.  The virus is sort of tricky and can last up to two weeks and they have to continue this constant flush for the duration of the virus so we need SERIOUS PRAYERS that we can beat this thing FASTER than that!!  
As for his other counts they are still very low and he had 2 units of blood and 2 units of platelets - so we need BIG time prayers for that turnaround as well!
Thank you all so much for you love prayers and support - please keep those prayers flowing - dad has been feeling like every day just brings worse and worse news and symptoms and we need that day with BETTER news something terrible!!
Love to all and more tomorrow!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another Bone Marrow Biopsy.........

Hi All, 
Well yesterday dad had to endure another bone marrow biopsy :( - the docs wanted to get another one in the works since the results take so long so that they can have a basis for comparison against the one that they did on the 9th...... this is because he is still not producing his own platelets and blood cells and they are trying to solve that mystery.  He was really really out of it for a LONG time after the procedure because of the drugs they gave him so hopefully he slept well last night.  They actually preformed the procedure in his room and mom got to watch - YUCK! lol........
As for other updates, we still do not have all the "final" answers from the last biopsy - but as soon as we do we will share them with you guys- i promise.  He is still having off and on fevers and some blood in his urine and so last night they took him for more x-rays and did more blood and urine cultures so we should have some results later today.  He is also still carrying about 20-25 pounds of fluid that we are hoping as his exercise level comes up the fluid will start to come down - and he is increasing his activity and did well with it yesterday which is great!
More later when we know more - please please keep the prayers rolling in - we really really need them for that ever elusive turnaround day! Love to all!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day +41 - still need those prayers......

Hey Everyone,
Well once again unfortunately not much new to report..... Dad had a blood transfusion and two platelet transfusions yesterday and it barely moved his red counts up at all and his platelets stayed at the low 5 count, in addition, his white counts also slipped to below 1.  Not what we wanted or were hoping for, but we forge on... He also had fever spikes and chills last night and again this morning which they treat with a steroid to break it and keep it at bay.  He is also now having blood in his urine, which they are hoping is "just" another symptom of the ongoing low platelet numbers.  These stretches of days are definitely the ones that are the hardest to stay positive during, but we are doing our best and we love the encouraging comments that we get here - we read them to dad and it brings a smile to his face (and ours of course) - I have to give props to Kory for being the comment king as of late - and send him a HUGE thank you! 
Mom has been sleeping at the hospital the last few nights and is doing such an amazing job of standing by her man ;) - please keep her in your foremost prayers- that she can feel encouraged and energized in the face of total exhaustion.  Its NOT an easy job!
Today I'm gonna do a little something different and share with you a little something that has meant a lot to me and to mom - its a song that sort of fits our feelings quite perfectly right now and brings us that incredible faith that is available to us through the Holy Spirit inside just dying to remind us that we NEVER leave God's Hands no matter what trials we may be facing, and that Those Hands are the strongest you could ever hope to rely on in life!
So, I hope it touches some of you the way it touches me every time i hear it or read the lyrics!
this is a link to listen:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlL8LayF0uw
and here are the lyrics written out:
Your Hands
by JJ Heller

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands  

Love to all!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Keep on Keepin' on....

Hi All,
Well, there isn't too much "new" news to report today... Dad is still in the hospital and last night he spiked some high fevers.  They decided this morning that today they will ct scan his sinuses to see if there is an infection that could be the culprit.  They also told him that he has GOT to start moving around and exercising more because that is how he can combat the fluid in his lungs and if he can't get it to go down then they are threatening to tap his lungs and drain them - YUCK!  Hopefully that serves as a very MOTIVATING factor!  
His platelet count was a 10 this morning which is still way too low and that is after 2 transfusions yesterday - he is getting 2 more transfusions of platelets today as well.  His blood counts dropped more and he is going to get 2 units of blood transfused today.  His white count also slipped a little more.... So, no great news there.....  
We still don't have all of our results back but we do have SOME of the DNA results and what we saw appears to be encouraging that the donor's cells are engrafting and taking over - which is a GOOD thing.... and as far as the biopsy - we still don't have full results but there were no "blasts" found as i reported a few days ago, but they did say today that there are some "abnormalities" - we don't have the full explanation of what that really "means" but we are working on it!  So, i will report more when we know more..... 
THIS JUST IN: - dad DID go on a walk today and DID do his arm exercises YAY!!! 
Please keep up all of your amazing prayers - we need them and we love them!
Love to all!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

well - back to needing SERIOUS prayers

Hi All,
I wish I had more good news like I had last post, but unfortunately I don't :(.... Yesterday we had good numbers and were thinking that dad would be discharged today, then he started with fever.  So, they ran some x-rays and tests.  This morning we got his numbers in and much to our dismay his platelets have dropped all the way back down to a 5 and all of his other climbing counts took a plummet as well.  It is frustrating, discouraging, and all around not the news we wanted.  The docs are suggesting that dad should participate in a clinical trial drug study to see if it can spur his body to finally start making platelets....... however, there are some scary potential side effects- one of which is lymphoma...... i'm sure i don't have to explain why that is a scary thought for us.  We are not sure what direction we will go or when we will make the decision since we still do not have the complete dna or biopsy results back in yet.  They are also beginning some pro-active measures because one of the x-rays showed some fluid in his lungs which could be the start of pneumonia- so they are trying to stop it before it takes hold.  
All in all today is a TOUGH one and we are trying very hard to keep the faith and stay positive - please pray for dad and for all of us as we strive to remain positive and optimistic!  We need that strength of spirit that only GOD can offer so join us in asking Him to provide us all with STRENGTH OF FAITH!  
As far as looking forward, obviously given all the news today they are not considering discharge any time soon now and they are going to start pumping platelet transfusions twice a day.  I will keep you updated as soon as we know any more about any of this news.  
Love to all!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Improvement CONTINUES - PRAISE GOD!!

Calling all PRAYER WARRIORS - we have a HUGE THANK YOU to deliver!!!!!!!!  Those amazing prayers to our INCREDIBLE GOD and FATHER are working OVERTIME!
ALL of dad's counts have come up!!  His white blood has come up to 4.2, his red blood is holding the transfusion numbers and his platelets are at a recent record high of 16!!!  (50 is normal so we still have a lot of growing to do - but MAN its NICE to see some DOUBLE digits FINALLY!) 
He is currently getting a cat scan and we are still waiting on a bunch of various test results but all in all the docs are LIKING the progress and i think if his numbers hold tomorrow they may discharge him back to the condo - we shall see!  
Also, we are trying to get him moving and exercising more which isn't the easiest when he is feeling tired and wiped out - so, anytime any of you happen to talk to him maybe you can help us by encouraging him to exercise or asking him how the exercising is going etc?  The occupational therapist and docs have re-iterated to him how IMPORTANT it is to push himself in that realm that it will help his overall progress LOTS!
LOVE TO ALL and KEEP UP THOSE PRAYERS!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Doing Better!

Well looks like being in the hospital was just the ticket!  Dad being able to get better access to care and transfusions seems to be agreeing with him!  His platelet level raised to a 7!  (which is still low BUT SO MUCH higher than we have seen in DAYS!)  Also, all of his other counts are on the rise as well- slowly but surely!  So, they are thinking they want to keep him in the hospital while they try a few new things including pumping his platelets instead of gravity feeding them and giving him IV nutrients to hopefully help his body and bone marrow to heal and begin to produce blood and platelet cells the way that it should!  They would like to see his counts rise a bit more and hold before they send him home again - and that is what he and we are most comfortable with as well!  He also got a visit from the occupational therapist today who encouraged him to get more exercise than he is getting by offering a few new classes and ways to go about that!  
We want to thank all of our trusty PRAYER WARRIORS, because we of course credit GOD with the healing and turn around we are experiencing today and that means YOUR prayers are WORKING - please oh please keep them coming - we have a long long way to go but we love celebrating the little victories as we are blessed with them! :) 
Love to all!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day +36- Being RE-admitted to the hospital as an in-patient....

Hello All,
Well dad slept pretty well last night but may not sleep as well tonight as it will be back in the hospital.  His platelets dropped back down to a 2, which is not good considering he had a transfusion yesterday; his red blood held its own- which is not bad and his white count increased by 0.2........... he was able to get a big bag of single donor platelets today which we found encouraging..... then, he discovered blood in his stool while still at the hospital - that is of course a symptom that they take very seriously!  So, as a result he is being re-admitted to the hospital as an in-patient and they are going to give him a 2nd platelet transfusion tonight and a unit of blood.  He is still carrying a lot of fluid even though there has been some reduction, his stomach area is really bloated.  The sores in his mouth have improved some, and the blood in his nose has gotten a little better as well.  We still do not have the rest of the biopsy, antibody, or DNA testing results back, and probably won't until mid-week next week.  PLEASE PLEASE say prayers that they quickly figure out what is going wrong and that the find it easy and fast to fix!  We are all pretty emotionally exhausted with all of the ups and downs......so, please pray for us to all feel encouragement from the BIG GUY in the SKY!  Also, please pray for mom specifically - she has been so steadfast and strong at his side taking the best care anyone could of him!  Love to all and more as soon as we know more!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day +35 Keeping the Faith

Hey Everyone,
I'm sorry for the brief absence from the blog - but i'm back :) Yesterday dad had a small increase in his platelet count bringing it from 4 to 5 which is still WAY too low but at least moved in the RIGHT direction, all of his other counts unfortunately continue to creep downward.  He received both blood and platelet transfusions yesterday and the day before that.  We also received preliminary results back from the the bone marrow aspiration - it showed no "blasts" which is a GOOD sign :) - we will not however have the complete results for a few more days so we will let you know as soon as we know.... they are also waiting on some blood results that will let us know how much the donor's stem cells have or have not en-grafted so far- which may be very important in figuring out why he is still not producing his own blood and platelets yet..... SO, LOTS to pray for and about and we are doing our very best to stay positive and to keep the faith with and for dad.  Hoping and PRAYING that when i get the text from mom this morning with dad's counts that we find IMPROVEMENT!  As far as his daily symptoms the blood running in his nose and throat have improved slightly with the slight platelet increase which is movement in the right direction, however with his white counts creeping lower each day he has developed mouth sores again which is cause for concern and discomfort :( we are hoping today that they will give him a shot to help his white counts go up, even if it is just superficially to help his mouth heal.  He is also still having fevers off and on most days and just super weak, achy, and exhausted all the time.  So, please join us in keeping his thoughts and conversations positive and encouraging as well as joining us in SERIOUS PRAYERS for his improvement :) Love to all and i will update this afternoon with the latest!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day +30 - Bone Marrow Aspiration Day

Hey Everyone,
As most of you already know, today is the day dad has his bone marrow aspirated to test to see the state of the disease or HOPEFULLY lack there of!  Lots of you know this because my aunt lisa organized a prayer vigil to carry us all through this pivotal day, and we THANK YOU for the BOTTOMS of our HEARTS!!!  You have all been so amazing for all of us through all of this - today his counts were not what we were hoping for - his platelets slipped back down to a 3 and all of his other counts dropped as well............ they gave him a platelet transfusion this morning to try and get the count up prior to the procedure.  We had some concern over him doing the procedure with the state of his counts, but they assured us that they needed to go ahead with it b/c it is very important for us to have the results as quickly as possible.  So, I just talked to mom and they just took him back to start the aspiration.  Mom is sitting in the waiting room meditating and praying- she has been such a rock through all of this, what an amazing wife and mom!  Please join us in praying during the procedure, for it to go well, and for the results to be GOOD!  I will of course update the MINUTE we know anything- For now we keep the faith! 
Love to all!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day +29 - well its not bad and not great.........

Hey all!
Well, they just got dad's labs in and the platelets dropped to a 5 from yesterday's 6, but it is better than going back down to a 2........... and his white cells actually went up a little so that is GOOD!  He is retaining a LOT of fluid - nearly 20 lbs of it to be exact..... so, we are assuming they will be giving him something to help with that today along with his platelet transfusion.  He also continues to run a fever every night that is not present during the daytime hours - they ran some extra blood cultures to try and solve that mystery - we don't have results yet.  That's all for now - keep praying for that elusive TURNAROUND we are still hoping everyday will be "THE DAY" ;) 
love to all!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

FINALLY some progress in PLATELET LAND!

Good Morning everyone!
Thank you so so much for all your warrior prayers that you have been lifting up for dad!! His platelet count FINALLY saw some improvement today!!  It went from a 2 yesterday to a 6 today - which is still very low but at LEAST it is moving in the CORRECT direction finally!  So we will take the good news!  Dad has been really anxious and discouraged and last night was a really long restless one so THANK GOD for the good turn today!  His blood is still really low today and he will be getting transfusions of both blood and platelets today.  We are PRAYING HARD that things will continue to improve over the next several days so that we can experience that POSITIVE TURNAROUND that we are SO ready for!  Thank you again to ALL OF YOU for all of your STRONG WARRIOR PRAYERS- please please keep them coming!!  I will update again soon :) love to all!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Serious Prayer Request!

Ok - calling all PRAYER WARRIORS!!!  We need some serious prayers .... Dad is still not able to make his own blood or platelets yet and we are all struggling to escape discouragement.  Dad has had platelet transfusions every single day and his platelet count continues to fall- today he is at a mere 2 (normal is 50) - this is a cause of not only worry for us and dad but of discomfort- when his platelets are this low his nose and throat among other things continuously bleed.  They have not been able to figure out why his body is rejecting the platelet transfusions- they even tried switching to single donor bags yesterday but based on his low number this morning that wasn't the solution.  So, please please please pray hard for him today and for us - especially for mom who is being SO strong standing right by him as all of this is happening.
We want everyone to know how MUCH your prayers, support, and love have meant to us through this whole thing and how much they continue to be such a source of strength and hope for us!  I do want to ask however that if you are talking to any of us (me, mom, especially dad! and i don't want to speak for dan but ya know) that you please please rely on these blog posts for info and updates on dad's condition as it is really difficult for us to talk about right now and we are trying to keep our focus strong and positive and talking about the "scary stuff" accomplishes the opposite for us... that said we DO want to keep everyone informed and "in the loop" so i am trying to update lots and PLEASE feel FREE to comment with questions if you have them and i will happily share what i know- or you can email me and i will do the same.  If you want to call dad please do - but share a funny story or happy memory - you wouldn't believe how MUCH he perks up when someone calls and makes him laugh and forget about all the "tough stuff" for a while!! It is such great medicine for him :) His mental and emotional strength are just as important to his health as anything else right now and so we want to minimize the amount of sick talk he has to do - thank you all so so so much with you help with this and for your understanding :) Keep praying please - we need them and they mean SO MUCH! 
Love to all!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day +22 - Prayers NEEDED!

Hi All!
Well, today things went very smoothly and efficiently at the hospital- which was VERY nice and a NEW experience ha ha - we actually got to eat dinner at dinner time and not bed time ;) so, thank you b/c that MUST mean that after reading this morning's frustration filled entry that you guys all prayed for a better experience today! and it WORKED!! :) 
So, i must request all of you motivated prayer warriors to give us a different "boost" for tomorrow :) Dad had low grade fever during the night last night and it persisted through the day today :( - this is of some concern to the doctors especially when paired with the fact that he has not started producing his own blood cells and platelets yet.... they told us today that they feel like now by day +22, he should be doing that now and there are many different factors that could be the culprit, including but not limited to, some sort of underlying infection that they have not identified- they will be taking some new blood cultures and extra tests tomorrow to investigate that possibility......... so, please please please say SERIOUS prayers that he DOES have a turnaround day and SOON....... like TOMORROW..... so that we and he can feel more confident about EVERYthing - his energy has been SO low due to the lack of blood that our walks have been totally on hold yesterday and today and it is very discouraging to dad to see the people that we were on the transplant floor with (that he used to run laps around!) looking as though they are doing much better than him now...... we are concerned but of course trying to stay hopeful and optimistic that tomorrow could be OUR DAY!  it is exhausting that there are so so many ups and downs throughout this process it is TRULY a marathon and not a sprint!  we love you all and you and your prayers have carried us through SO much - please pray hard for us tonight!!!  love to all and more in the morning! xoxo

Day +22

Hi All!
Well I arrived back in Houston yesterday and Dan and Kay went home; they did a GREAT job taking care of dad and the condo- thanks guys!!
We spent noon till 7pm at the hospital yesterday doing transfusions and labs, got his dressing changed etc... we decided that PART of why did feels SO tired and worn out is that things were a LOT easier to handle when he was in the hospital - laying in a bed for all the techs, transfusions, etc to come to him..... now that he is out they have you running ALL over the hospital only to have EVERY thing run LATE, everything is UN-organized and out of sync - - - they WEAR YOU OUT both mentally and physically....... ah well
Last night dad didn't not sleep very much didn't feel very well - this morning is more of that - please say some "revitalizing" prayers for him this morning as we head into another FULL day at the hospital!
Love to all and more later :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Definitely DISCHARGE DAY!

Well the news is official!!!  Dad is definitely getting to go home to the condo this evening!!! YAY!!! Thank you all so much for your prayers -please keep them coming to ensure a safe and happy transition!! :)
Love to all!

Could be Discharge Day!

Hey All!
Sorry for the gap in updates - Daniel and Kay arrived in Houston Wednesday afternoon and I headed back to Austin - they will be with him until Tuesday and I am enjoying some time back at home with my hubby!  Yesterday dad still showed marked improvement in his mouth and in his blood counts, still needed blood and platelet transfusions on wednesday and platelets again yesterday but his white count is climbing which is GREAT!  Yesterday he did have one stumble when he threw up his breakfast, but we are hoping that was a fluke.... If he can not vomit today, drink at least 3 liters of water, and still show good blood counts then they could be discharging him from the hospital this evening to go back to the condo with Dan and Kay!!  As soon as i hear word from Dan this afternoon I will of course pass the news on to all of you :) He would be out of the hospital ahead of schedule if he is in fact discharged today - his target was Sept. 2nd - so, all that walking everyday and all of your prayers have WORKED!!!  Once discharged he will still have to go to the hospital everyday for vital checks, blood work, potential transfusions etc but it would start the clock on the 100 days - so all good news!! :) 
love to all and more later!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dare I say we have made it "over the hump" :)

good morning all!
yesterday was heads and tails better over saturday and we give all the credit to God and all of your loving prayers to Him on dad's behalf! :) dad's white blood cell count went from 0.1 to 0.6 and that is GREAT news!!  we are hoping for another climb today!!  His mouth and throat are far less swollen and beginning to heal :) i think today we may even get back to 3 walks a day instead of just 2 :) i will update again later from the hospital with an update - please keep up those prayers for continued improvement and healing :) love to all!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Improving!

Thank you SO much to all of our PRAYER WARRIORS out there who flooded the "Prayer-ways" to help dad this morning - it is WORKING!!!!  Dad is looking and sounding much better!  We just went for a walk and he is breathing a little easier :) - Also, he is eating a yogurt as we speak - so that is all MUCH PROGRESS from the state we found him in this morning!!  Please keep them coming, let's turn today into that "turnaround day" :) 
love to all!

Just Saw the Doc

Here is the update:
They said the "mucusitis" and swelling in the throat and mouth are yet another side-effect of the chemo.... So, they approved and just now administered a high dose steroid and hopefully within 2-3 hours we will start to experience some reduction of the swelling.  Meanwhile, he spiked a little fever this morning and so they upped the dosage of his anti-fungal and anti-viral and switched them back to IV form... also, they started him on a strong IV anti-biotic.  They were supposed to give him another drug today as part of the protocol post-transplant that they are skipping b/c it could make the mucusitis worse.... So, for now BB and I are just trying to keep him distracted as the time passes by watching movies b/c he can't really speak with his throat like this and HOPEFULLY the steroid is going to reduce the swelling hence making it easier for him to breathe and then we will attempt a walk.  and maybe maybe just maybe he will regain the ability to swallow and get to eat or drink something :)
Please keep the prayers coming - we need them big time today!! I hope i have a great report to send in a few hours :) love to all!


Day +11 - oh man

Good Morning All,
Well Bradley got in town safely last night - Thanks God :) and we awoke bright and early to my dad calling to say to get here as quickly as we can b/c he is can barely breathe now b/c his throat and mouth as so swollen. :( Please rally your prayers, not being able to breathe well is freaking him and us out and he can't get anything down, even water just comes right back out of his mouth.  The nurse said that there is a steroid that he may be able to take that could help but that we have to wait for the docs to come around and ok it - well based on history that could be in a few minutes or after noon ..... i am about to go and talk to her and see what other options there may be - in the meantime please please pray and pray hard :) 
we love you and i will update again in a little while.
jess

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day +9 - hanging in there but the symptoms continue to worsen

Hey All,
Well dad's symptoms continued to get worse :( his tongue and throat are very swollen and full of sores making it very difficult and painful to talk and eat .... His energy and strength also continue to worsen.  All of this is "to be expected" according to the doctors who are in no way alarmed by any of this - according to them everyday we get thru without contracting infection, pneumonia, or other complication is a GOOD day.  so, we just have to keep making it thru - as i stated yesterday we have finally sort of mastered the right pain pill protocol so, honestly he sleeps almost constantly which is probably just as well.  he did wake and manage through two walks today which was wonderful!!  and he managed to eat "some" at each meal.  
please pray that tomorrow would be the day when his symptoms and situation start taking that incredibly anticipated turn for the BETTER!  
a lot of you have asked, how will we know when dad's transplant was a success?  and there is not a simple answer to that question - as this is not an exact science in terms of when we know the real results...  we are just waiting for the day to come when his counts start climbing and his bad symptoms start to fade and that will be a very very promising sign that the transplant was successful :) for now, he is still in the "worse before better" stage and his counts are all still bottomed out, he is not able to keep or make blood or platelets yet, so he is still receiving lots of transfusions.  i hope that kind of explains the scenario - and we will continue to keep you posted each day as to his progress...... presently we just need all the prayers we can rally for him to reach that BLESSED day when things start to turn around :) 
We love you all and thank you so much for all of your love, prayers, and support!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day +8 - a little better :)

Hey Everyone!  Dad didn't have a great night last night but there was a little Light in the morning :) - I think we have finally pegged the pain pill protocol for being able to successfully make it through meals with as little pain as possible - they are liquid meals but even those were painful - so this is an improvement!!  Of course they also make him pretty sleepy so he is kinda groggy through most of the day now BUT that is better than the alternative!  We made a walk at lunch time and are aiming for one more at about 4pm - so hopefully that goes well :) - He is getting a blood transfusion as we speak right now and also had a chemo dose this morning.
Please keep those prayers coming - we are so reliant on them and all of your prayers last night and this morning for a better day today WORKED!!!  Love to all!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day +7 - they are getting rougher :(

hey all,
so today was a little worse than yesterday- he had a little low grade fever this morning and started developing sores on his tongue - eating has become a painful event.  Other than while he is eating the pain in the mouth doesn't really bother him.  But, he is definitely weaker and slower - he was only able to do one walk today and barely made it through it.  Please pray that tomorrow is better and not worse again - talking to the nurse, it is entirely possible that it does continue to get worse over the next 3 days or so but we are still holding out HOPE that it won't..... love to all and thank you as always for your continued prayers, love, and support!

Monday, August 16, 2010

update

hey all - so, today was so so - dad had a lot of tongue and mouth pain (side-effect of chemo) this morning and i believe due to everyone's rapid prayer response it subsided- only to return when eating.  he also had several bouts of nausea during the day but none resulted in vomiting so that was a victory of sorts ;)  the docs basically told us this morning that today and tomorrow are sort of statistically the "peak" of the YUCKY SYMPTOM days following all of the chemo he took pre-transplant.... so we are hoping and PRAYING that we experience a turn-around SOON!  he is super tired and worn out lately and is also experiencing some super fun BM related issues that if you talked to him today you got to hear ALL ABOUT - lovely for you all i am sure ;) that is all i will say about that- seeing as how while we do share serious similarities i won't "go there" ;) you are welcome ! lol
please pray that dad's peak day was today and that tomorrow won't bring on any further discomfort so that we can celebrate being over the "side-effect hump"!!  
for those of you who are wondering - all signs are looking good - as far as he has not had anymore fever to speak of and his counts looked a bit better today, they canceled one of his antibiotics and lowered his dose of one of the anti-rejection drugs - all things we take as encouraging signs!! :) however, his blood type has not changed yet and his counts don't show the definitive signs of rebound yet by a long shot - so, it is still heavy on our minds that we don't know that this whole procedure is a success just yet - we are in the thick of "wait and see" which can be very taxing as much as we try for it not to be for both him and us - so please PRAYER WARRIORS we are CALLING ON YOU - PRAY - the next 5-10 days are quite crucial and we have every reason to be optimistic and so we ARE but your prayers -ALL of them are SO appreciated and SO making a difference - we KNOW it!  we love you all for the concern, prayer, love and support you are sending our way :) - i promise to update again tomorrow!!
ps - one super encouraging fact is that dad is gaining QUITE the reputation around the floor for being the Tasmanian Devil of the required daily walking - almost all of the other walking patients- younger or older- make comments like "watch out! patient coming around corner FAST!!"  they all can't believe what a hasty pace he is able to keep - so we are encouraged AND entertained by it - i think he is too ;)

Update - Sorry for the delay!

Hey Everyone!
Sorry for the lapse in updates - I went back to Austin to surprise my hubby with a weekend visit since mom was staying in houston till sunday.  Well, we had an awesome weekend and mom is now back in Madisonville and I am at the condo in Houston again as of yesterday evening.  I drove straight to the hospital when i got in and spent about 3 hours with dad last night - he is very tired, frequently nauseous, and having throat pain.  Not so fun :( but we worked on a new puzzle for a while and took his last walk of the day and then ordered him some dinner.  Please say prayers that his throat and mouth pain begin to subside instead of worsening and that his nausea subsides.  He called me this morning and told me to pack a bag in case i need to stay with him tonight because they are talking about giving him pain killers and they make him pretty nuts - i am sincerely hoping that we can get him some pain relief using far less severe methods - so please say prayers for success!! 
Love to all and more later!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day +1 Pretty Smooth - but several delays ...

Hi all!
All in all today has gone pretty well - unfortunately dad ran a little fever this morning so they immediately had to start him on IV antibiotics, run more blood culture tests, and are going to run a chest x-ray.  Which dad is STILL waiting on transport for :( - he got his chemo-therapy this afternoon, but still needs a blood transfusion and they will be starting a new anti-rejection/ immune suppressing drug and they can't do either of those things till he gets back from the x-ray so things including ordering his dinner are all on hold waiting for that x-ray....... We made it through 2 of our one mile walks but we are fore-going the final one because dad is SOOO tired due to needing his blood transfusion and so it is best we don't.
Please say lots of prayers for dad to have another UN-eventful night tonight - mom and I are about to head out and go to the grocery store and back to the condo for dinner :) and HOPEFULLY mom gets to sleep at the condo tonight and actually get a GOOD NIGHTS sleep!!  We gotta keep us well to be able to effectively help dad :) 
love to all and more tomorrow!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Transplant Day- Part two ;)

Well -hello prayer warriors!! - Dad was SO amazing today compared to yesterday - looked more like himself, acted more like himself, miraculous - for which i give all the credit to GOD and ALL OF YOU for Praying to HIM!!!! WOW - i am in awe!!!  His cells, as you know arrived successfully at the hospital this morning - as we waited on them to be processed dad, mom, and i worked on our current jig-saw puzzle in serious anticipation :) - here is a shot of dad enjoying his olive-loaf "sam-ich" and doing the puzzle ;)
then here is a shot of mom and i dressed in our super cute matching outfits ;) and then - the MIRACULOUS cells arrived in the room and we PRAYED over those BABIES and asked GOD to be with dad, in those cells, and with us - to bring HIS amazing healing hand to dad's very core and to HEAL him and RESTORE his health :) - THANK YOU AGAIN to the PHENOMENAL woman who SELFLESSLY sacrificed to donate those kool-aid punch colored BEAUTIFUL stem cells - we owe SO MUCH to her!! :) and speaking of those beautiful cells - that brings us to the transfusion in action (next pics down the line ;)) 
so then this part is for all of dad's friends who have been picking on him in only the uplifting way that they can:
only 30 minutes after the transfusion was complete - and LOOK - dad is ALREADY trying to dress like mom and i  ;) - LOL!!!!!!!!!!!  for those of you who aren't privy to the jokes - they have been joking with him and saying how he was going to get all girly after being infused with female DNA ;) LOL!!!  he went along with the pic - b/c he LOVES a good laugh as much as anyone - and THANK GOD for that! ;)  so to dad's "dudley" friends - that one was for you ;)  we love you guys so much and you have NO IDEA how MUCH he perks up and smiles when he gets to talk to you guys - you are all AWESOME!
We just want ALL of our family and friends to know HOW MUCH we SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO APPREICATE all of the LOVE, SUPPORT, PRAYER, and CONCERN that we received today!!!!!! 
We could not have made it without you guys!!!!! :)  Mom and I came back to the condo for dinner tonight - brannon and greg joined us for grilling some chicken wings and we had a FABULOUS time - mom is now back at the hospital spending the night with dad - just to ensure another restful and hopefully uneventful night!! 
I will of course report again in the morning- i am hoping to have nothing but good news to report!
Basically, over the next many days (his target date to be released from the hospital is Sept. 2nd) they will be monitoring him VERY closely for complications such as his body attacking the donor's cells, or the donor's cells attacking his body, or infection, pneumonia, etc....  we are not out of the woods or even possibly through the worst yet - one of our nurses last week told us that the week after the transplant is sometimes the hardest...... we will just have to wait and see and PRAY our way through the upcoming days and weeks!!  But all of your support means MORE than the world to us!  I will keep you all posted and informed i promise! :) GOOD NIGHT AND GOD BLESS - we love you ALL! :) xoxo

The BIG day!!!!

Hey all!
Well today is the BIG TRANSPLANT DAY!!! I am running around trying to get out of the condo and to the hospital but i wanted to send a quick update out to everyone to let you all know that your warrior prayers are already working!!! Dad had a GREAT night last night - no fever, no complications!!  And the stem cell donation has OFFICALLY arrived at MD Anderson and they are processing them RIGHT NOW!!!  We are hoping that the transplant transfusion will begin sometime around noon! :) 
So, that is the good news so far - i will definitely update again this evening with more information :) Thank you again to everyone!!! LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!
Please feel free to leave us comments here on the blog - we love to read them to dad :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day "-1" - oh what a difference a couple days makes..........

Hey Everyone,
I apologize for the lapse in updates..... Well, the drugs are definitely setting in and taking their toll on poor dad :( ... He is having pretty adverse reactions to the anti-rejection meds, which isn't out of the ordinary but NOT fun for dad!  He was doing ok Saturday during the day while bb, me, and mom were all with him at the hospital; but then mom decided to sleep at the hospital with him that night, and after dinner sometime he started with high fevers and chills, they had to medicate him for the side-effects and that made him loopy/ drunkish and it turned out it was a really good thing mom was there to help him in and out of bed, etc...... Well, then Sunday when i got there and mom and I were with him for a long time - he was doing fine, we got our 3 miles of walking in....  Then, b/c he was doing so well we left to go and cook dinner for us at the condo and let mom get a normal nights sleep with me at the condo........ well, he didn't call us (even though he SHOULD have ;)) and last night was a REALLY ROUGH night for him..... vomiting, fever, chills, the WORKS :( 
When we got there this morning his platelet counts were super low and he had popped many of the blood vessels in his eyes throwing up :( Also, his white blood cell count bottomed out today and so the rules for being around him changed and mom and i have to wear these SUPER cute matching yellow gowns with our bright blue gloves ;) - don't worry we took pictures - which i will post as soon as i have the cable for mom's camera!  Dad said, "see how much i like yall- i got you matching dresses!" LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!  he was totally in and out of "sound mind" today, which i guess is expected- but still really strange to see from someone who you are used to being SUPER alert and "with it" - he sort of hallucinates and has half awake, half asleep encounters ;) he went from telling me "i thought i was telling someone something who was standing right in front of me, but then all of a sudden i would open my eyes and no one was there......." LOL! then the nurse came in and said something about hard head catfish and dad propped right up and relayed the entire accurate findings of a taste test study that was reported in the Louisiana Sportsman last month.... LOL!!  So, in and out is the ONLY way to describe it!  
Tonight Uncle Greg got back in town and took mom and I to dinner - it was delicious and we had a GREAT time with him and thank him SO much for the sweet gesture and fun time!! 
Mom just left and is headed back to the hospital to spend the night in the room with dad - he really wanted her to come back and it can potentially keep him from having such a hard time again - i have to stay at the condo b/c they only allow one caregiver to sleep over - no slumber parties - WHAT GIVES? just KIDDING!  
i will head back first thing in the morning and we won't know till probably mid-morning exactly when the stem cell transplant transfusion will occur - all depends on a million details that we aren't allowed to know about the donor, her whereabouts, the time of her extraction appointment, the extraction method, etc..... BUT, here is what we DO know - we are asking for SERIOUS prayers in thanksgiving and for healing for her - b/c she is a COMPLETE stranger willing to undergo this potentially risky and painful process to save a complete stranger's life - in this case OUR DAD, OUR HUSBAND, OUR BROTHER, OUR SON and THANK GOD for HER!!!!!!!!  She is absoutely an angel and a blessing delivered DIRECTLY from GOD!  And we COULD NOT be MORE thankful!!!!!!!!!!!!  
We are now so intimately acquainted with what a HUGE need there is out there for MORE people just like HER!!!  I hope that touches all of us in a very special way and drives us to do whatever our situations and lives allow us to to help our fellow man :)
For now, Good night and GOD Bless - I will update tomorrow as soon as we know more and as soon as we can get online...... for those of you who may not know- in my absent mindedness i managed to put my I-Phone thru the wash with a load of sheets so it is out of commission (hopefully only temporarily) but for now i have mom's personal cell and she has her work one ;) so, if you call or text one and get the other that is why :)
Love to ALL!