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
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
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!