Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Super News!

I am home from the hospital! My doctor surprised me with the news this morning. He said they had been waiting for me to be able to eat before sending me home. They took me off the TPN (IV nutrition) this morning. My mouth is not completely healed, but it's slowly getting there. I can eat soup, pureed stuff, applesauce and anything liquid.

They sent me home with oxygen, which I hope is only a temporary thing. I don't use it all the time, just when I get short of breath. They also sent a bedside commode, which may come in handy in the days and weeks to come. I've had no graft vs. host disease yet, but that will be the next thing. The nurse said it could be any time from day 22 after the transplant up until day 100, and sometimes it never happens at all. My doctor said it's a good thing to have a little bit of it, though. It makes the immune system stronger. I am at day 20 after transplant now.

I'll be going into the BMT clinic every day for awhile for labs and to get transfusions, IV medications, etc. They will keep a very close eye on everything.

I have a big bag of meds I need to go through and organize so that I'm taking what I'm supposed to when I'm supposed to. It's so hard to keep track of all of that.

I'm not neutropenic right now. My white counts and platelets are good, but my red blood cells are down a bit. I'll probably get blood tomorrow.

Reece and the girls were delighted to see me, and I was happy to see them, too. Reece just held me and held me. He wasn't saying a word, just loving me. It was so sweet and precious. He wanted to see my "bald hair," and thought it looked cute. I love the way he likes to rub my head. He got a haircut, too, while I was gone, and looks adorable.

I'll keep you updated! Thank you all so much for your prayers and love.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

And may God bless us, every one.

I've had a really rough week, but my Christmas present this morning is that my white count is up, and my beautiful new stem cells are engrafting. We should see a big change over the next week, in the mucositis and everything else.

It's been a hard month, and to be very truthful, there were a couple of times when I wasn't sure I would see a new year. I'm sure those were the times your prayers and love were holding me up and getting me through.

I'm really tired of the hospital, but I'll probably be here for awhile longer. Although the recovery has begun, I have a long way to go. The staff here has been incredible; so kind and patient and helpful.

I am off to take a shower--not a bed bath--a real shower!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mini Post

Just a quick post to say that I'm still hanging in there. I'm probably at my lowest point right now, and things should start to look up soon. Feel pretty bad.

Please pray for my sweet doctor Dr. B who deployed to Afghanistan in November. I've been thinking of him so much the past couple of days. I sure miss him.

Hope your Christmas prep is going well.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm Here

Checking in while I still feel halfway decent.

I've had a couple or rough days, especially Tuesday. That day I got 2 units of blood, some magnesium and the methotrexate. It took hours to infuse them all, and sometimes they were doing two at a time. I got the worst headache I've ever had. Oxycodone did nothing for it, so they gave me a little bit of morphine. Even that didn't work for awhile. It wasn't until I was unhooked from all the IVs that I felt better. They did a CT scan of my head to make sure there was nothing else wrong, like a bleed or something. It looked good, no problems.

The mucositis is in what I hope is full bloom. I don't want it to get worse than this. I can hardly open my mouth, can't eat anything except liquids and soft food like jello and pudding. Even those thing hurt. It is in my mouth and throat. They've given me a couple of mouthwash type meds that numb it and make it feel better briefly, but regular pain meds don't help much because it is so localized.

Yesterday I was so tired and sleepy I could barely stay awake; I'm sure from the horrible day before. But by the time Ron came in the evening after work, I felt a little better and was able to walk with him. They want to keep me up and moving.

My platelets were low today, so they gave me a platelet transfusion this morning.

My doc tells me that this should last another 4 or 5 days, then as my new cells begin to engraft, I'll slowly start to feel better. I'm at day 8 out from my transplant now.

Needless to say, I haven't been home since Monday. I miss the kids, but I feel so rotten that I'd be bad company anyway.

Just wanted to let you know that I'm still in the land of the living, and I'm hanging in there. I can get through anything if I know it won't last forever, and this won't.

Prayers always appreciated. Thank you!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Chatter

That's Kelly and Reece doing some Christmas decorating. Kelly came over yesterday (Sunday) to finish decorating the tree. It looks pretty. The little girls "helped." :o)

We had a good weekend. I came home from the hospital on passes both days, and I'm home again today. It's been such a blessing to be able to leave the hospital every day; it keeps my spirits up. I'm fortunate that we live pretty close, so there's no problem going back and forth.

I'm still doing very well, but I have the beginnings of mucositis in my mouth. I've been gargling and swishing with saline solution, and if it gets bad they can give me pain medications. So far it hasn't interfered with eating or drinking, but my tongue feels swollen.

It's cold and rainy today. I'm happy for the rain, but I don't like the cold. Lately I have been cold when everyone around me is hot.

We are trying to find a Leap Pad for Reece for Christmas, and no one seems to have them (except the places that want $200 or more for them). He loves playing games on my Kindle. I downloaded some free kids books for him, and a bubble game Johnnie likes. He's used it more than I have. :o)

Hope you're all having a good Monday. I'm going to take a nap.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another New Birthday

The stem cell transplant went great. It happened at 9:45 Wednesday morning, and took less than half an hour for me to get over 4 million of Johnnie's stem cells. They collected over 10 million cells from her. The ones they took on Monday are frozen and will be saved for me in case I need them in the future. So, my new birthday is December 7, Pearl Harbor Day. :o)

I've had so few problems that they've let me go home on a pass the last three days. I know this will not last indefinitely, so I'm enjoying it as much as possible. I have to go back at night, but I can spend the afternoons and evenings with my family. I get to go again today. Kelly and Johnnie have been with us each day I've been home, but today Johnnie is flying home. I'm going to miss her so much!

Kelly is starting to decorate my house for Christmas. They got the tree up, but half the lights didn't come on, so she went to buy some lights to fill in the dark spots. She put garland and lights on the stairs, and will finish the tree this weekend. The kids were having fun playing with the nativity sets when I got home yesterday.

I haven't done one bit of Christmas shopping. I'll do it online this year.

My sister Sandi will be here this weekend to take Mom back home with her for awhile longer, until I recover. It helps so much to know that Mom is happy and cared for while I'm dealing with all this.

I want to thank those of you who are praying for me. I'm certain it is because of all your prayers that I am doing so well. Please continue to pray--they keep telling me the worst is yet to come. They don't know the power of my prayer army, though. :o) Thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Out On A Pass

I'm home! I got to come home on a day pass, but have to go back to the hospital at 10 PM tonight. I was a little worried they wouldn't let me out because my white count was low, but I'm not quite neutropenic yet, so they let me go. They warned me not to eat salad (which I've been craving), or be around anyone coughing.

Reece is still at school. He will be surprised to find me here when he gets home. The little girls were happy and excited to see me. I'll read to them and put them down for their naps after they finish lunch. (They went to bed after a story and some songs).

The pictures in this post are random ones from my photo album. The first one is a vintage tablecloth that belongs to my mom. I remember it from my childhood. We always used it for holiday dinners. Mom found it a couple of years ago in a box at her place, so we got it out to use for Thanksgiving. To see it sure brings back lots of memories.

The second one is Reece's Teddy Rabbit having a tea party. Reece calls him that because he used to watch Frances, the little badger, and she had a Teddy Rabbit.

Cyrise took the picture of Gina with Josh's phone and sent it to me. I love her little shirt that says "Grandma's Sweetie." She certainly is that.

Off to take a shower in my very own bathroom rather than using the one at the hospital.

PS: Johnnie and Ron are finished at Wilford Hall. They were able to collect twice as many stem cells as needed yesterday, and got even more today. They are going to call her to let her know the count. She sounded like she was feeling good. I know she is happy to be finished with all this and anxious to get home to her family on Friday. I'm sure going to miss her, though.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Chatter

I had the last chemo treatment today. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a "rest day;" no chemo or anything else going on. So I will probably get to go home on a pass for the day. They won't let me stay overnight, though.

Johnnie had her stem cells harvested this morning, and she did very well. She felt achy and sore from sitting in one place for so long, she said. She will have one more day of neupogen shots, they will harvest her cells again tomorrow, and then we believe she will be finished. They got lots of beautiful, good cells today. There is a slight possibility that they would need to harvest one more day, but after tomorrow we will probably have more than enough stem cells.

I will receive the stem cells they harvest tomorrow on Wednesday, fresh not frozen. :o) They've been giving me all kind of meds to make things work--anti-rejection medication, anti-nausea, anti-inflammatories, anti-biotics--all kinds of antis. I'm just eager to get on with all of it.

I finished reading The Help on my Kindle. It was a good book. I finished knitting one little girl sweater, but still have to block it and sew it together. I've started on the other one, and love the purple color of it.

Appetite is still pretty good. Nausea is under control. I felt a little weak and tired a few times, but guess that is not unexpected. No mouth or throat sores, no diarrhea, no headaches. Yet.

Someone from physical therapy came up on Sunday. She gave me an exam and some exercises to do and told me to continue walking as much as possible to keep my muscles strong.

We talked with the kids on Skype yesterday and today for awhile, but I find it frustrating. The picture kept freezing, I think because Aubrey was moving the mouse around, and it's hard to hear what they are saying because they talk at the same time or there is too much background noise. It also makes me miss holding Reece close, and I miss his smell.

Ron brought me dinner from home last night. Cyrise made Willie Strange's Good Soup and rice and it was so delicious. I get tired of hospital food really fast. Tonight Ron went and got Popeye's chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and a biscuit for me. It tasted so good. I had hospital food for breakfast and lunch.

Sandi went home yesterday. She will be back at the end of the week to get Gran again. She has out of town meetings this week, so Gran is staying here at her own apartment. They said Gran was delighted to see Teddy. I hope to see them tomorrow.

Things are moving along. I hope I won't still be in here for Christmas, but it could be several weeks before I recover enough from the transplant to go home. Prayers are still appreciated. Thank you!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Skype and Wonderful Lives

Josh picked up a camera for his computer tonight, so that we can use Skype to talk to each other. What a great invention! Tonight Kelly, Johnnie, Sandi and Ron were all here at the hospital, and we were able to get the Skype hooked up and talk to the kids at home. They were so cute. They just took it all for granted; it wasn't anything unusual to them. They kept wanting to see Papa, not me. :o)

We've been using a lot of "new technology." Ron downloaded the book The Help onto my Kindle Fire. I'm enjoying it very much. I've downloaded a couple of older books, and someone put Angry Birds on it.

All that new technology, and what am I doing? Watching It's A Wonderful Life from 1946 on TV. :o)

Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he? Clarence Oddbody

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Update

The neatest thing happened this afternoon. One of the volunteers stopped in and asked if I would like to receive Communion. I told her I'd like to see a priest. So one stopped by earlier today. He was so wonderful!

I confessed, he absolved me, I received the anointing of the sick and the Eucharist. Absolutely wonderful!

He's the parish priest at one of our famous San Antonio Mission churches. He invited me to come for a tour when I'm better, and I am definitely going to take him up on it.

Things are going okay. I finished the chemo I was taking for two days, twice a day. The other one continues for the next three days, but it's just once a day and only takes 30 minutes. They've been urging me to walk as much as possible, and to use the spirometer. My doctor has a physical therapist coming up for a consult. They are trying to keep me strong.

Johnnie started her neupogen shots today, and has had no ill effects from them so far. They can cause bone pain--feels like growing pains only worse. I hope she won't get any. Sometimes people don't. She has pain meds, just in case.

She and Ron have been in and out today. They've spent so much time with me, and I love that, but I don't want them to wear themselves out, either. They did go out to lunch and to do some shopping. Johnnie brought me 2 pair of those lotion socks from Bath and Body Works, and little bottle of lotion and shower gel. She's so thoughtful.

My sister Sandi and Mom are coming tomorrow. My sister has a conference in Austin mid-week, and she will leave Mom at her apartment here for the week. Mom is going to be happy to see Teddy, I imagine. :o) And to be at home again. She's been gone since the weekend before Thanksgiving.

I am missing Reece and the little girls so much. They aren't allowed up here, so I won't be seeing them for awhile. I'm not supposed to be exposed to germs, anyway, and they've all had runny noses, so I guess there's a silver lining to that gray cloud. My immune system is only going to get worse, not better, though, at least for awhile.

It's cold and drizzling outside, and supposed to get really cold by Sunday. I hope we don't get freezing temps with this drizzle, or we'll be a sheet of ice.

In spite of the chemo, feeling really tired (I didn't get much sleep last night), missing the kids, and being cold, I'm in good spirits. Thank you all for praying for me. I'm sure the prayers are what keep me in good spirits.

Prayer for Healing

This prayer was in my email this morning, from Johnnie. It's perfect for this time in our lives.

For Healing

Lord, You invite all who are burdened to come to You.
Allow your healing hand to heal me.
Touch my soul with Your compassion for others.
Touch my heart with Your courage and infinite love for all.
Touch my mind with Your wisdom, that my mouth may always proclaim Your praise.
Teach me to reach out to You in my need,
and help me to lead others to You by my example.
Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit
that I may serve You with all my strength.
Touch gently this life which You have created, now and forever.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bunny Ears

Can you tell we're sisters? :o)

That's Johnnie on the left, me on the right. We are covered with our prayer blankets. And she is making bunny ears on me, 'cause that's just how she is. :o)

I've been getting the chemo, and so far it's going well. I'll get another dose tonight, then one dose every day for the next four days.

Johnnie will start the neupogen shots tomorrow and continue them through Monday. They will collect her stem cells on Monday and Tuesday, and give me fresh ones on Wednesday.

Continued prayers are much appreciated!