Monday, January 14, 2008

Mmmmm....Chicken Pot Pie!

The last eight months has been an adventure for Sharon and I.  After chicken-pot-pie I was diagnosed with lymphoma in May and started chemotherapy in June,  there has been alot of uncertainty associated with my condition and treatment.  To be honest, I was darn lucky on the first course of chemo.  The side effects were minimal and I was able to carry on a fairly normal life and work schedule.  We feel that we were definitely blessed that it wasn't worse than it was.  The uncertainty continues as I undergo another round of treatment, this one using a stronger drug called Fludarabine.  It hasn't been as easy this time around.  The treatment calls for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday IV treatments.  I feel ok until about Wednesday night or Thursday, when it hits me like a ton of bricks, and I spend most of the next 3-4 days in bed and miserable.  The January  treatment had a stronger effect than did the December treatment which probably indicates that my immune system is more affected as the treatments go on.  I canceled my trip to Spokane this week because of the way I still feel, the first time I've had to cancel a trip since this started. Gee, I get to look forward to this every four weeks for the next four months!!

Rebecca called on Saturday and said that she and Troy were going to bring us dinner  on Sunday.  She gave me the choice of roast beef or chicken pot pie.  Anyone who knows me knows of my love for roast of the beast, but I chose the pie.  Why?  Well, when nothing sounded appetizing, a chicken pot pie sounded good.  It's considered a comfort food,  and this brings me to the subject....chicken pot pie.  Not so much the chicken pot pie that you eat, but chicken pot pies in general and what they represent. Comfort.

The most important chicken pot pie in my life is my wife.  She is and has been the greatest during this, all while coping with her own problems that aren't small by any stretch of the imagination.  She is the poster child for compassion and I love her for it.  I just wish that I had the same ability to show compassion to others like she does, because I know that I have done a lousy job in years past. I love you, honey.

The other chicken pot pies in our life are our five children, Bryan, Spencer, Melissa, Rebecca and Nate.  When this all started, Spencer made a schedule for doing the yard work and could get pretty upset if someone didn't keep the schedule, not to mention the dressing down I got if I tried to do it myself.  Bryan, Spencer, and Troy have been there when needed to do the things that I was unable to do like mowing the lawn, "TRIMMING THE LAWN", shoveling snow, moving furntiture, (by the way Troy, we need to move the piano...can you help?) and just being there with an offer for help.  It's been hard for Melissa and Nate because they live out of state, but they have done their part when visiting and I know that they would be right in the middle of it if they were closer.  Rebecca, and Amber have brought dinner in numerous times when Sharon and I were feeling lousy.  Sometimes, it's just a phone call from one of the kids to see how I am feeling and ask if there is anything they can do. 

Also very important is the love we have felt from our sweet grandchildren.  I know that they don't really understand what's going on with grandpa, but they are being taught to pray for me and grandma and have the beautiful ability to show love in the most comforting ways.  They are such a blessing to us (even though Caleb pooped all over the family room last night).

Sometimes, when you can't take away the pain or the discomfort, a simple act of compassion goes a long way.  I am not lacking in acts of kindness and compassion from the chicken pot pies in my life.  Thanks you guys.  I have noticed, I appreciate it, and please know of my profound love for each and every one of you.


Monday, January 7, 2008


5:30 am--I'm awake.  Good, it's only 5:30....I don't need to get up for another 30-45 minutes.......

cancer sucks7:00 am--CRAP.  I have to be at the clinic in one hour.  Quick shower, I'll shave tomorrow, two pieces of toast.

7:30 am--Out the door.  It's cold.  The car is frozen up solid.  My ice scraper won't event cut through the ice on the windshield.

8:05--9:00 am--  Check in, pay the $25 co-pay.  Ricky, the new medical assistant ( he's the third I have had.  The other two, Trevor and Sara have both left to go to nursing school full time) weighs me, takes my blood pressure, temperature and oxygen  level.  Mary, the phlebotomist usually draws blood  for a CBC but since I'm getting a treatment today, Charlotte, my chemo nurse  puts in the IV line and draws blood for the test.  I meet with Dr.Shehadeh.   My blood count is sufficiently high that I can have my treatment today.  Luck y me.

9:00 am--Charlotte hooks me up.  I take two Tylenol and she starts a drip of Benadryl that will help to relax me and will eventually put me to sleep for a while.

9:15 am--Benadryl done.  Now I'm getting a nausea medicine that in effect lasts for a week.  Nausea medicine is a good thing.  BTW, in an effort to get here on time, I left my book at home.  All day, and I don't have a book to read.  Glad I brought the laptop. I'm starting to feel a little drowsy, woozy, etc.  Probably from the Benadryl taking charge.

9:40 am--Charlotte starts the Rituxan.  This is the drug that I have had every time since June.  With this treatment, they increase the dosage, so from  now on, I will get a larger dose each month.  This will take several hours to drip in.

11:20 am-- Took a nap.  Probably slept about 45 minutes.  The Rituxin drip is about 1/4 of the way through.  They gradually increase the drip every 30 minutes for the 1st couple of hours to see how you react to it, so I am at full drip now.

12:30 pm--I'm s little more than 1/2 way through the Rituxan.  I'm enjoying "24" season five as I sit here and "wait."  Jack Bauer is awesome. I'll bet even Jason Bourne wouldn't stand a chance against Jack.  President Logan is EVIL!!  I'm feeling pretty good right now.  I've been extremely fortunate that the side effects from the chemotherapy have been as mild as they have been so far.  I can only hope that it continues in that way and that this is getting the job done.

1:25 pm--The Rituxan is finished.  Now I am getting the Fludarabine, the main drug that is new in this series of treatments.   This is the one that we are hoping, along with the other two will do the trick for me.  I will get Fludarabine all three days this week, along with the Cytoxin.  I only get Rituxan on the first day.

2:00 pm--The Fludarabine is done and I am now getting the Cytoxin and President Logan just begged Jack Bauer to help him find the nerve gas canisters.  I can't stand the suspense.

2:30 pm-- I'm done for today.  Pretty exciting stuff, huh?  Now I get to go home and come back tomorrow at 3:00 for more Fludarabine and Cytoxin.  BTW, Walt Cummings just hung himself.  I can't wait for season 7, but it's been delayed because of the writer's strike.  Don't know when it will start this season.  I've seen a trailer, and Tony Almeida is back and he is a BAD guy!!!!  Sorry if this is too much information for some of you.  I'm going home now.