Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016
Celebrating Christmas at Grandmor & Grandpa Bob's

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Images from the Harvest

The harvesting setup

Passing the time
Stem cells being collected
Harvesting machine
Learning to use an Ipad

Stem cell color chart

Blood flowing in and out

Friday, January 21, 2011

Stem Cell Harvesting

I'm home today resting after 4 days as an outpatient at the hospital harvesting stem cells. And the good news is that the doctors got exactly what they wanted---19.5 million stem cells!! Woo-hoo!! Actually they were hoping for 20 million but they are happy with the total number harvested.

And the whole process makes me aware of how amazing our technology has become and, at the same time, how mundane it can be. Both are a blessing and I thank the Lord for the advances that have been made in treating my disease for they truly are unbelievable. Each day I showed up at the Blood Center, had my blood checked to set a target goal of stem cells, and then was hooked up to the machine that would siphon the stem cells out of my blood. While I was unable to see exactly how that was done, I was able to see the results of that technology in the stem cells collected.  Amazing! Four hours later I was disconnected from the machine and went home. Other than a sense of weariness when I got home there were no significant side-effects.

Next step: the transplant. I've got a week to rest before checking into the hospital for that on January 31. In the meantime, I'll be putting together a list of things to bring to pass the time while I'm there.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Good news! The pain I described yesterday only lasted through the night. By mid-afternoon I was feeling little pain and did not need any more medications to manage it. So far that has continued! Hallelujah!

Enjoying some quality time with Andrew now that he is in. We'll be able to get some things done around the house. That is, after he has had a chance to enjoy his passion, the Cubs Convention, today.

Terri is trying some new recipes tonight--a couple that I found on the Food Network. I've been developing an interest in cooking while I've been home so I'll be stepping in as first assistant. Looking forward to some delicious food.

Tomorrow we start prepping for the stem cell harvest.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dealing with the Pain

 Things keep changing! I was ready to blog yesterday to say that my back pain had significantly improved when a new one came along in the afternoon and hit me hard! Back spasms like a jack hammer going off in my entire back!  1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10!!!!!!  For some crazy reason, I count them when they hit and there are always about 10. I think this one is part of the regimen--a side effect of one of the most recent meds. The medication increases stem cell production which is a good thing for the harvest next week, but the side effect is bone and joint aches. UGH! Thank heavens Elizabeth helped me figure this out last night as I just thought it was the discs in my lower back acting up again. Thank heavens, too, for Tylenol Extra Strength, and another medication which have really helped to control the pain. The key is to catch the pain before it launches again--and to make sure I've allowed enough time between doses of medications. And hopefully it won't hang around too long as well--maybe just a few days! I'll keep you posted.
Terri has to flush the lines to the port on the days that home health care does not come. Here she preps for that by removing the air bubbles in the syringes. She does a great job!

Andrew arrives this afternoon. It will be great for Terri and me to have him around over the long weekend. It's been an especially long week since I can't really venture out anywhere as my cell counts are at their lowest in this whole process. Leaves me susceptible to infection. Been a long week for Terri, too, keeping an eye on me to avoid any chance for infection and fever. We're both glad that we are moving on to the next step in the treatment on Monday--the stem cell harvest. More on that to come next week!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 12 Update

Been home from the hospital now for 4 days and feeling better (or at least holding my own) each day. A little more energy, a little less nausea, a good appetite, a good night's sleep, interest in doing things, and NO HAIR LOSS. Hope it all continues to be so.

Next step in the treatment will be the harvesting of the stem cells next Monday. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Home from the hospital

I got home from the hospital on Friday afternoon after a week of chemotherapy to prepare for the stem cell harvest which will begin on the 17th. Everything went well, but  I am amazed at how fatigued I am since I have come home. After doing nothing all day Saturday I ended up sleeping around the clock and then some that night. Terri and I are adjusting to a number of changes--more medications (I'm getting to the point of being overwhelmed by them), new injections, procedures for Terri to learn, a change in eyesight which makes it difficult for me to read, and some nausea, but no loss of hair yet. That could come later. I've got a great Dr. Seuss hat from Liz and Mike if that should happen!

This week will see my white blood cells drop to their lowest count so I will need to avoid large crowds (no problem there!) and people with colds. I won't be going to the Cubs Convention next weekend with Andrew and Mike, but I'll look forward to hearing all about it from them. Home health care will be coming by every other day to check my blood counts and make sure everything is going well.

So we keep moving forward a day at a time. Thank you for all of your good wishes and prayers as Terri and I walk this journey. I probably won't be able to respond to them but know that they are all greatly appreciated and hold tremendous meaning for both of us.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Schedule for the Transplant

It's a new year and time for the next steps in my treatment.  A lot of you have been asking when that will be so I wanted to share it with you here. I will be checking into the hospital tomorrow (January 3) and will be there through the end of the week (January 7) for one of the last chemo treatments. The rest of the schedule will be as follows:

January 10-16   Resting at home
January 17-21   Harvesting my stem cells on an outpatient basis (usually only takes 2-3 days)
January 22-30   Resting at home
January 31        Admitted to the hospital for the last round of heavy chemo followed by the stem cell transplant
February 15      Tentative date for completion of the transplant and discharge from the hospital

These dates are somewhat tentative and changes can occur depending on what happens during the course of the treatments. I will be updating my blog to keep you informed, but please don't hesitate to be in touch through email, phone calls, notes, or visits. I enjoy hearing from you and like staying connected. Please also keep Terri and me in your thoughts and prayers. We know how powerful they can be.

Thanks to all of you for your support during this challenging time. It means so much to us.


Merry Merry Christmas

Andrew, Katie, and Andrew came in on the 26th so we continued the Christmas celebration.