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!
Friday, August 27, 2010
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
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
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!
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!
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.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
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
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
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
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 ;)
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
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
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
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
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!
Friday, August 6, 2010
Well, dad didn't sleep very well last night so this morning when i called him he was putting off breakfast for a little bit and trying to grab a morning nap to make up for the lack of sleep last night.. then, apparently he got really nauseated and thought he was going to throw up.... thankfully he laid down for another hour and it sort of faded and has not returned. He is pretty sleepy today, but still all in all- feeling good and has a great attitude! We have finished two of our three 1 mile walks and will do one more before i leave!!
Bradley and Chachi are on the road headed here right now and i CANNOT wait to see them!! :) Please pray for their safe travels and mom's safe travels as she gets on the road here early tomorrow morning! Bradley and I plan to grill burgers on the roof tonight! YUM - I'm already hungry!! :)
Please also pray that dad doesn't have any return of the nausea and that he gets a GOOD nights sleep tonight!!
Love to all!
We are feeling so blessed - so far dad has been feeling good!! We went on a search for a puzzle that would fit on the window sill and one that isn't missing a million pieces - well we found some to meet the size requirement but unfortunately they ALL seem to be missing pieces LOL..... i may have to go to wal-mart or somewhere this weekend to see what i can find ;) We also walked our 3 one mile walks - YAY!!! And we had two visitors - Greg in the morning and Brannon in the afternoon!! Thanks for the YUMMY frozen yogurt Brannon! ;) We get a laugh about the masks that everyone has to wear in dad's room - they are nice b/c they sort of sit away from your mouth so it is a little easier to talk and breathe in them compared to the typical masks - however, between their unique shape and the fact that they are yellow - it makes everyone look like they have a bill- at first i was saying "beak" and dad promptly told me that it was a "bill" NOT a "beak" and that there are very BIG differences....... LOL! His wit and mind are certainly holding strong ;) We decided that the masks make everyone look like a duck-billed platypus- which dad says is God's idea of humor! ;)
So, in other news, i haven't mentioned so far, but should- that we have had absolutely wonderful nurses so far - very sweet and accommodating! :)
Okay, well more later!! We are hoping to maybe have a visit from Bobbie and Gary today sometime - since it is almost to the time where dad will no longer be able to really have visitors since his white counts will be dropping and the rules get a lot stricter as far as being in contact with him. It is best if at that point the only people he comes in contact with are his primary caregivers so that we minimize his chance of coming in contact with any colds, germs, infections, etc. They are really strict about ANY signs of illness in even us as his primary caregivers - if we cough, sniffle, sneeze - it is grounds for us to not be able to see him!
Well, I will continue to update everyday! This weekend Bradley and Chachi come to see me - YAY!!!!!! I REALLY REALLY miss my hubby! And mom arrives on Saturday sometime and we can't wait to see her!! So please pray for safe travels for all of them and for more good days and healing for dad :) Love to all!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
So, today was dad's first day of chemo and other than having some light-headedness/ dizziness in the morning (which is caused by the new really strong chemo that crosses some brain/blood barrier and has a tendency to cause seizures - don't worry they pre-medicate him with a LOT of anti-seizure meds prior to infusion) he did GREAT! We even walked almost THREE MILES today!!! They give you an equation of how many laps and where equal a mile :) and that is our goal each day! We split it into 3 separate walks, as they suggest and i think it is going really well! I know that often the effects of the chemo don't "appear" until a few days after initial infusion but we will take all the good days coming our way :) We had fun listening to fun music, chatting, doing a puzzle, walking, watching funny TV..... so i say GREAT DAY! Please pray with us for more of the same :)
Then this evening my Godfather Greg was sweet to offer to take me to dinner and so, he picked me up at the condo and we went to PF Changs (super safe for we gluten free folks) and we had an absolutely fabulous time catching up, sharing, and reminiscing - THANK YOU Greg! :)
Now I am back at the condo and going to bed soon so that I can get an early start in the morning :) - I think Greg is planning to come and see us in the morning before he heads back home to Kingsville :)
Love to all and keep up that WARRIOR PRAYER - it is SO working!!!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Today is our official "admissions day" - which is called "Day -7" - tomorrow will be -6 and so on till Day 0 which is transplant day and then they start counting up from there.
Yesterday, Dad and I went to the last of his outpatient appointments: one with the social worker, one to get a last set of labs, and one with his Stem Cell Transplant Doctor to sign all the final release/consent papers. They all went well but, nothing like all the medical risks and sign-off's to give you a dose of scary reality...... They basically told us that 50% of patients who undergo the transplant, experience no return of their disease, while 25% do have return of their disease and the remaining 25% do not live through the transplant process due to any number of transplant or infection related complications. So, basically we have a 50/50 shot "statistically speaking" and the bad end of the 50% was a little more grimacing than we had realized- with 25% of patients dying of complications...... BUT, we are reporting that, not to be negative- only to share the info with all of our loved ones, so that everyone knows the situation without us having to relay it separately to everyone :) - Please understand that WE feel like dad is already ahead of the stats because of his overall youth and vitality- not to mention his warrior attitude!!! So, we are going forward intending to accept NOTHING LESS than TOTAL SUCCESS & HEALING and a long and healthy, disease FREE future for dad!!! :)
Well, now that that is out of the way, I wanted to share with you the schedule going forward:
Today is Admission Day,
Tomorrow and the following 3 days (so, 4 total) will be when he receives the serious Chemotherapy,
Then he has 2 days of Anti-rejection immune supressing medications,
Then we are at Day 0 = Transplant Day!! (done basically the same way as a blood transfusion in his room)
Followed by 2 days of Rituximab Chemotherapy.
So, that is the basic schedule for the upcoming days!
We enjoyed a nice evening last night - watched an entertaining movie and then hung out on the roof patio for some fresh air and a beautiful view till almost midnight :)
I will update again tonight to let everyone know that he is settled into his room :)
Please keep the prayers coming, along with the positive thoughts - they have not let us down - :) - We have been feeling the incredible power of prayer and God's Hand over all of this :)
Sunday, August 1, 2010
We had a fantastic weekend- Bradley and I arrived on Friday evening and we had a nice relaxing night with mom and dad - grilled on the BEAUTIFUL roof patio! Then Saturday we all did some running around and then had Brannon, Sarah, & Sidney over for dinner - everything was delicious and we had a GREAT time playing a family game of Balderdash - it was HILARIOUS!!!! Then today we all just hung out till about an hour ago when mom and bradley both had to get on the road and head home :(
I just finished getting all unpacked and settled in and dad and I are going to head to church for 5:30 mass and then I will cook us some yummy dinner!
Tomorrow we have a bunch of appointments all day at MD!
The condo is SUPER cool by the way!!!
Love to all!! xoxo