It has been a slow recovery this time. The higher chemo + a fever=me being pretty weak for the past two weeks. I finally seemed to pull out of it on Sunday. I have been taking Anti-biotics to destroy anything left over from the fever/virus that I had. They still are not sure what happened, which does make me a little aprehensive heading into round 27 tomorrow. At times I get frustrated that I am not recovering quicker and do not feel stronger. I have been dropped to my knees so many times it is hard to remember them all. Then I do remember that it has been a long two years. I have had 26 rounds of chemo(4-5 recovery days for each), a radiation treatment, 3 major surgeries, 1 minor surgery and 34 days spent in hospitals. Not to mention that I have cancer in 2-3 organs that wants to slow my body down. Then I get amazed how well I am doing. I still work, help coach soccer and now baseball, help out around the house, teach Sunday School at church, help out Tuesday nights with our Addiction Recovery group and still manage to play Good Guys and Bad Guys with Jaxson when I am strong enough. I truely believe there is only one explanation-God just keeps telling me to get up and He gives me the strength to get up and keep moving forward. Please watch the video link below, click on the link and then click on the screen that comes up, I think this song states it best:
Chemo didn’t go so well last Thursday. My blood numbers weren’t too bad. Actually my Bilirubin number came back down to the normal range, meaning that the Liver is doing much better. The doctor was encouraged by those numbers so he increased my dosage. After I went home though I started to feel a bit chilled. I decided to go to bed at 9 p.m. I woke up at 11 p.m. and had a fever of 103. At that point I am supposed to call the doctor. I decided to try and make it through the night and see what my fever was Friday morning. Friday morning my fever was at 102 and the doctors were not too happy with me. I then was told to report to the ER and told I would be admitted. So I drove myself to Methodist hospital and checked myself in. They ran 3 different types of blood tests and did a chest xray. All of that found nothing. My fever decreased to about 100 by noon. The doc’s were not sure what to do with me so they were going to call Dr. Duane. He asked me what I thought. I told them I was fine with them admitting me to the hospital and filling me up with fluids and antibiotics. So for the 3rd Summer in a row I woke up in a hospital bed on Saturday morning. There were familiar faces on my floor. My RN was one of the one’s I had two years prior. My RNA walked in and said, “Back again?” I also recognized two more RNA’s and one other RN. They were all friendly and helpful. The good news is that by the time they actually got me to my room, my fever was gone. It never went back up again. So on Saturday I was telling them I would go home and eventually they too agreed. I think the on-call oncologist called it something along the lines of a miraculous hospital healing-basically just getting into the hospital healed whatever I had. One last thing, before I left an IV nurse blew out my vein when she pulled the IV. Basically it meant my arm was blowing up like a balloon as blood pooled beneath the skin. That nurse didn’t notice it and left. I didn’t notice it either. I got dressed and was ready to walk out when I saw I had a problem. I showed my RN and she looked at me with a depressed expression and told me I would have to stay. I put ice on it for 10 minutes and the swelling went down right away. I then tried to find my nurse-no luck. I then tried to Page my nurse-no one came. So I wrote them a note and walked out with my ice pack on my hand. It is just a major challenge to get out of those places once they get you in.
All of that has left me tired and fatigued. My doc’s said I am still on schedule for my next chemo on July 28th. Now it is time for me to get up and get my strength and energy back again. I just keep getting knocked down but God just seems to give me just enough strength to get back on my feet and keep going.
Let’s see-two weekends in a row in the ER. I am hoping and praying that there won’t be a third. I ask that when you say a prayer for me this week, that you also say a prayer for my friend Burl(that is Pat Groeper’s husband). He continues to battle for his life against Lymphoma in Chicago. Pat was the one who threw the Baty Bash for us-Burl was in attendance.
Chuck and Dianne brought me down to Mayo Wednesday. I met with Dr. Grothey. Overall I found him to be perceptive, knowledgeable and kind. In a very short time he reviewed my two year battle and seemed to get a very good grasp on me as a patient. I related well to him. He has two boys that are similar in age to Brenden and Jaxson. He said that if he were in my shoes, he would have taken the same very aggressive approach that we have done in the past. One key point he noted right away about my disease and my fight-chemo therapy has always worked. Every time we have tried something else like surgery and radiation, my cancer has taken advantage and grown or expanded. Basically, I should never get off of chemo. Chemo works and I should stick with it. He said he has a patient very similar to me, except at diagnosis her disease was much worse. Her body/cancer reacts the same way so he just keeps her on chemo, reducing the amount some times and switching drugs sometimes. She has been doing that for about 5 years and has very small amounts of the disease left, but he said he will never take her off chemo. He knows of 2 new drugs that are coming and have shown a lot of promise in the fight against Colon Cancer. He will be administering the clinical trials himself. For now he told me to keep doing what I am currently doing, but to keep him in the loop to my general health and any major changes to protocol.
I will put up another post shortly concerning this last round of chemo. It was atypical.
I would love a life of boredom at this point, but it seems that is never the case. Last weekend Karen had food poisoning and Jaxson had a terrible reaction to Benadryl. Jaxson’s reaction ended us up in the ER as he lost his memory of everyone except, Karen and I. He couldn’t even remember his brother, Brenden. The good news is the story ends well. Both Karen and Jaxson rallied and returned to normal on Sunday. Jaxson was in the ER for about 3-4 hours with Karen and I and the doctors monitoring him. They did blood work on him and found that everything was normal other than his white blood cell count being a little low. He just slowly returned to normal as the morning and early afternoon wore on. The came not be said for Karen. By the end of that Karen was in the hospital bed with her stomach issues and Jaxson was running around in his hospital gown. I jokingly said to Karen and Jaxson if the doctor came in and saw the three of us, who would he think was the sickest at that point. Jaxson said Karen. I then asked him who really is the sickest and again Jaxson answered correctly-Daddy.
I survived the last chemo round well. I went to WI with the family and enjoyed the long 4th weekend. Karen and her mom made sure I stayed well rested taking naps or resting each day for about 2 hours. That was really the only side effect I had with that last round-fatigue. I am not complaining. The cold/burning sensations that also accompany these chemicals didn’t hit. I did have a smaller dose though. This week is round 26. That actually starts on Thurs and runs through Sat. Wednesday I go with Karen’s parents down to Mayo to have my 3rd Oncologist opinion.
Overall I am doing well and pretty much look normal. I am about the healthiest looking sick guy you have ever seen. I am still helping coach Brenden’s soccer and Brenden and Jaxson’s baseball(coach pitch). In fact I wore my chemo bottle attached two weeks ago when I coached them. I don’t really want to miss out on life if at all possible-even while I am on chemo. I went through a great prayer session on Sunday and am looking forward to Pray for the Cure next Monday night. I will post later this week to fill you in on my trip to Mayo and my next chemo round.
Hopefully Karen, Brenden and Jaxson have a much duller time than I this week.