Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Platelets, and Nosebleeds, and Lumps: OH MY!

William got kicked out of chemo again, today. He was supposed to get his last dose of the easy drug, Gemzar, but he turned out to have so many bizarre new glitches that they said he couldn't have treatment until next week.

First: His Nose (Grossness factor in this paragraph: Very High)

His nose has gone wild, and he has to see a specialist on Monday. (As in some earlier blogs, I warn you that if you are eating or drinking anything red, stop reading NOW.) In Beth Parlance, a nose has "gone wild" when it has begun to emit HUGE amounts of blood (description about to get really gross now) and big blood clots. These are not nosebleeds. This is something different. This is constant vast amounts of blood pouring out of his sinuses so that he has to blow it constantly and nothing comes out but tons of blood. REEEEEEEALLY weird! He is not using nosedrops, so that's not the cause. He rinses his sinuses with gentle saline solution, but it's not getting better. In fact, if he doesn't blow his nose all night, his sinuses fill up, until he completely can't breathe through his nose.

So Monday, he will be seen by a specialist to figure this out.

Second: His New Lump

He has discovered a weird lump on the inside of his left elbow. At first, it was suspected of being a blood clot, but they ruled that out. Now they are going to have to do a sonogram to see what it is.

Finally: Platelets

Nothing new here, but there IS a new treatment. His blood platelets were too low again, so his new treatment is that he has to have a transfusion! Crikey! I asked if I could donate platelets for him. I would love to think he had my platelets in there, helping him fight the good fight. But my platelets would want to watch reruns of Dexter while his would want to watch ESPN, and it would never work. (Real reason is that it would take too long to process my platelets, and he needs them right away).

So some unknown generous soul, somewhere in the lowlands, who, sometime recently, generously donated their platelets to the world at large, will have their platelets shipped up to the mountains in a truck tomorrow and infused into Bill's veins, helping him fight.

I wish that person could know that their platelets went into the sweetest veins in the world. Thank you, anonymous person, who helped save my husband.

I'll write more tomorrow after the transfusion.

Love and Happy New Year and Happy Editing of Last Year's Memories!


Monday, December 21, 2009

A Rough Sunday and A Lot of Snow to Dig Out

Hey all. Billy had a terrible, terrible Sunday, but is better today. (I get in such an awful funk when he feels bad.) He was SO queasy, feverish, aching, metal mouthed, and sick feeling.

Uck. You wouldn't have wanted to be here yesterday. Nothing we tried would cheer either one of us up.

And the Packers had to lose by one point, too.

Oh, and I got a split lip when I was kissing one of the dogs with the other dog on my lap, and the one on my lap suddenly popped his head up really fast, unexpectedly, and slammed into my mouth, and there was blood everywhere.

AND all the paper mache creatures I was making yesterday to cheer myself up came out HIDEOUS.

AND the only movie I wanted to watch yesterday was unavailable because of snow on the stupid dish.

Today is much better, though.

But now we have to dig out the 4-wheel-drive SUV so we can slide down the winding mountain roads and try to get to his Neupogen shot by this afternoon. We had TWO FEET of snow, and it's all still out there. And he's not really in a condition to be digging cars out of snow, so really, I should do it.

But it could all be so much worse!

And, this, too, shall pass.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

All the News is Purty Dang Good

(I have a feeling that I slightly annoy some blog readers by not posting more often. I also have a feeling that I slightly annoy some other blog readers by talking about how I annoy the first set of blog readers because I don't post more often. Officially acknowledging, therefore, that I either do or don't annoy some or all blog readers, and my mind having officially shut down trying to figure out what I just wrote, let us begin...)

Billy our Pony Boy had a MUCH better than expected experience this week! HeeeRAYYYY!

After the megatron bomb drips of last week, followed by the two Neupogen shots this week, we thought we were going to end up in a fetal position in a closet somewhere.

But nay.

Bill did feel like something on a shingle for a few days, and his nausea seems to be increasing gradually with every round, and he can't sleep too well, and he can't stand most of his old favorite foods any more, and he can't sip his Glenlivet 21 single malt with pleasure any more (I almost wrote "approbriously" but not sure that was the right word. Sometimes vocabulary words I memorized for the GRE pop into my head of their own accord. Chimerically.), and he's tired all the time, and, after the Neupogen shots, his hips and sternum felt like they had transmogrified into boiling lava lamps, but OTHER THAN THAT, he was fine.

(Transmogrified? Am I drinking too much coffee this morning?)

I actually didn't mean for that paragraph about his negative side effects to be ironic. We both actually are extremely grateful that things were not much worse.

His oncologist gave him a new kind of pain pill (Percocet), because the Vicodins were doing nothing for him, and these Percocets got him through the nights where he previously could only sit up, awake, groaning with pain in his bones.

So, as of today, he is feeling fairly great. As I type this, he is sleeping. We had a whole bunch of fun last night at an Italian restaurant. See how good he is that he could do that? YyyyyAY!

Today, he gets a blood test, and if he's okay, he will get his Gemzar drip (the not-so-bad chemical).

But most of the Gemzar drip days have turned into surprise packages of Go-Home-ness after they look at his blood, so who knows what they'll find in his blood today. Maybe some fettucini and meatballs from last night. Or maybe the cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving is still in there. But I'll let you know!

Wishing you love, light, peace, happiness, and lots and lots of sweet, gooey holiday treats that don't make you gain weight.

Seriously: thank you for your love and prayers and caring.

Beffie Weffie

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Finally, All Went Well!

(Sorry this post is late. My blog was down/server down for a while.)

At last, I have NOTHING STRANGE TO REPORT this time! Yay for stuff being regular!

Bill got his Gemzar on Thursday and his Cisplatin on Friday and NOTHING WAS BIZARRE!

Part of the reason is that he has missed a bunch of chemotherapies in a row due to blood problems, so it was something like three weeks since he'd had a dose, and his body finally was able to bounce back and was completely normal.

So we were able to start wrecking it again. Hmmmm. Zat how it's s'posed to go?


He is the most proud of the fact that he finished the semester of teaching yesterday (last exam given). He said it was one of the hardest things he has ever done, showing up for all those classes throughout the diagnosis of cancer, and the cancer problems at the beginning, and then throughout all the chemotherapy and side effects. He even went to every class when he was instructed not to go anywhere near crowds, and was nauseated, exhausted, in pain, and even bleeding. He had every excuse to stay home, but he showed up and taught.

He's like a war hero! I wish I had a little medal I could give him. Maybe I'll buy him a cowboy badge in the toy section of Walmart, and he can wear that for a while. But all kidding aside, what he did was a magnificent testament to who he really is, and was a truly courageous thing.

And as they say, courage can only exist in the presence of fear. So that's one up side of being afraid. It allows you the chance to demonstrate courage. And Bill truly did.


Monday and Tuesday he has Neupogen shots. They cause him SEVERE pain during the night, and we're both scared about that. This Sunday night, he will probably have flu symptoms, fever, body aches, nausea. And theoretically, next Thursday, he will get another dose of Gemzar, the not-so-bad drug.

But soon we call the surgeon at Duke and schedule his surgery. It will be in early March. Bill says he is the most afraid of the surgery, more than of any other part of this experience. He said he is worried he won't survive it, since it is 8 hours long, 12 days in the hospital, and he is 66 and it's such a dramatic type of surgery. So I try to help by finding comforting statistics for him and assure him that all the prayers and love are going to see him through.

THANK YOU SO UNBELIEVABLY MUCH for the prayers and notes and cards and emails and home made soup and new laugh-intensive friendships and invitations, and yesterday a certain ANGEL gave us a Poinsettia, to top it all off. You can't BELIEVE how much comfort and joy we get from your love. I mean, it's life changing.

As for me, I'm working hard to keep myself cheerful. Not that easy since I can't walk in the woods or garden in winter. This week, I'm making a bunch of papier mache bad-art-looking creatures and painting them weird colors. I'm calling them Ugly Loveables, and each one has a name. So far, Calvin is a messed-up looking way-too-thin dinosaur who is black with orange and red and green spots and a totally screwed up tail. And Wedgewood is a silver genetic-accident-looking thing with a string tail and big ears. And a couple other little guys who look like they attended a nuclear accident or two. But they make me laugh. That's sayin somethin.

Thank you and thanks especially to God who has blessed us so profoundly through all of you.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kicked Out of Chemo Again

We're home early. Bill's blood test results got him kicked out Chateau Chemo without getting his dose of Gemzar.

THIS time, it was low white cells. Remember when we thought a white cell count of ONE was bad? Now his white cell count is down to point eight.

Bill is instructed to get under the covers and hide for the next week.

Juss kiddin about the covers.

But the point eight is for real. That is incredibly low.

Furthermore, we got to talk to the Oncologist Doctor today about the coagulated blood drama of last week, which occurred while she was on vacation. Let's just say that she was less than impressed by the vast wealth of knowledge I had accumulated doing a day's worth of google research. She said that if there were such a study as showed the results I was explaining, then no one would be getting Gemzar and Cisplatin, so therefore, the study must have been worthless.

After listening to her logic, I had only one question remaining: "HUH?"

But I know when a doctor doesn't like what I'm saying, so I let it drop. Although before I did, I let rip a thoroughly graphic description of what the clots of blood looked like in the syringe so that, just for my peace of mind, I was sure I did get the point across.

So now, nothing will be happening until next week when Bill gets the double whammo doses of both chemicals on Thursday and Friday. After that, he gets daily Neupogen shots, which make his bones hurt so much that he has to remain on pain medicine during those days in order to stand it.

At least we are officially half way finished with chemo now.

On a cheerier note, here's some Tiger Woods humor for the day:

Q: What is the difference between a car and a golf ball?
A: Tiger can drive a golf ball 400 yards.