Thursday, August 22, 2019

And So it Begins!

We went to the Tulane Cancer Center yesterday to visit Dr. Safah.  She recommends that we continue with Darzalex, but add Pomalyst and Dex to the treatment.

We just had a phone call from Celgene's liaison, Kroger.  They're delivering the chemo (pill form) on Friday afternoon.

Daily for 21 days, then 7 days off.

Meeting with Dr. Calabresi in Slidell on Tuesday, and will probably start the Pomalyst on Wed.

As usual, we're extremely hopeful.

Thanks for the kind words and prayers!

Nan and Dom

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Had Another ER Visit

Dom came home from about a week in the hospital on Thursday afternoon.

He basically stayed in bed on Friday and Saturday.

I was certain that he needed another blood transfusion, or his creatine levels were out of wack, so took him to the ER on Sunday morning.

Over 8 hours later, he was sent home.

His blood was good, and his creatine levels were good.

His attending physician, Dr. Mercadel said that the Samonella and the hospital stay last week wiped him out.

Heading to the Tulane Cancer Center in the morning.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Our Patient is Home!

Wow, we had a ROUGH week!

Dom was hospitalized on Friday afternoon.  Slidell Memorial Hospital.  Christine flew in on Saturday afternoon.

We had one scare after another.

They thought that he had contracted C-Diff and had him in isolation for 2 days.  We later found that this can be deadly.  Thankfully, he dodged that bullet!

Dr. Michael Nguyen was the admitting physician.  Very NICE guy who put together a phenomenal "dream team" for our Dom.

(In the past, I've always chosen to be admitted to another Slidell hospital.  Ochsner.  I might have to change preferences!)

All-day, every day, there was a stream of doctors, nurses, and therapists in and out of his room.

Dom had 2 Kidney Specialists, An Infectious Diseases doctor, A Cardiologist, a Neurologist, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists.

Sadly, Dom is not producing his own blood, thus needing transfusions.  He had 2 units transfused during this hospitalization. The kidney doctors had him on Sodium, Potassium, and Electrolytes.

He was diagnosed with Samonella and was treated with 2 different antibiotics.

He was sent home yesterday afternoon with 8 more days of antibiotics, as well as sodium supplements.

We follow up with his Kidney Specialist, Dr. Kovachev in a couple of weeks.  He'll be keeping an eye on Dom's Creatine levels.

Heading to see Dr. Safah at Tulane on Wed.  Dr. Calabresi (Slidell oncologist) the following Tuesday, then Dr. Kovachev later in the week.

It's been a wild ride.  THANK GOD Dom is home.  I had my doubts last Friday.  He was incoherent.  What a scare.

GOD IS GOOD.  Thank you for all of the prayers and phone calls!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Simple New Ways to Use Chocolate for End of Summer/Back to School

Dom and I LOVE Chocolate!  The good folks at AMERICAN HERITAGE CHOCOLATE were kind enough to send me samples...Yummy!

As the new school year approaches and summer winds down, many of us are looking for end of season and back to school treats, fun ways to incorporate history lessons into family activities and simply new ways to use one of our favorite ingredients - chocolate.

AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate has a unique place in the history of Mars Wrigley Confectionery and in the hearts and minds of people all over America who appreciate an artisanal, authentic approach to making and celebrating chocolate. Conceived of, and crafted by, a dedicated team of historians, AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate is the result of painstaking years of research by a multidisciplinary team of more than 115 experts from around the globe. Culled from the archives of some of the most venerated historic institutions, libraries and private collections in America, and in consultation with leaders in food history - from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the passionate team has developed a chocolate product with a flavor profile drawn directly from the annals of chocolate’s historic past. It is the perfect choice for all of your home baking needs.

Try some of these AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate treats with your loved ones.

Monticello Historic Chocolate Ice Cream - This gem from the book Dining at Monticello may be the oldest American recipe for chocolate ice cream in print. Guests to Thomas Jefferson’s White House reported our third president enjoyed ending meals with a creamy dish of ice cream.



8 tablespoons AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate  Finely Grated Chocolate

3 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 vanilla bean

1 cup sugar


6 large egg yolks


Step 1 - Stir together the milk, cream and vanilla bean in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Step 2 - Add the sugar and a small pinch of salt, stirring until dissolved. Gradually pour in the grated chocolate, stirring constantly, and continue stirring until completely melted.

Step 3 - Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in about 1 cup of the hot chocolate milk and slowly stir the egg yolks back into the simmering liquid.

Step 4 - Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and stir until slightly cooled, about 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean (it can be rinsed, dried and re-used).

Step 5 - Freeze in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions until set but still a little soft. Scoop into a 3-quart mold, or several smaller molds, running the spatula through the ice cream and tapping the mold firmly to remove any air bubbles. Fill the molds completely. Cover and freeze until set, about 2 to 4 hours. The ice cream may also be set without molding it: scoop it into a freezer-safe container and freeze until set.

Step 6 - To serve molded ice cream, dip the mold briefly in hot water, or wrap briefly in a towel heated in a clothes dryer. Run a knife around the top edge to loosen the ice cream from the mold. Invert the mold over a serving dish and gently lift the mold from the ice cream.

Step 7 - If not molded, serve in small scoops.

Chocolate Banana Nut Bread - Whether you like banana bread for breakfast, lunch, or dinner our recipe for Chocolate Banana Nut Bread will spice up your day no matter when you enjoy it! We use AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate to not only add chocolatey twist to your favorite Banana Bread recipe, but, thanks to our unique flavor profile, you’ll taste many historic spices including cinnamon, orange peel, chili pepper, and more!

Back when the Great Depression was affecting families across the county, no one could afford to throw out any scrap of food – bananas included! Around the same time, companies made baking powder and baking soda readily available on a mass production basis. Cookbook writers combined a thrifty mindset with readily available baking ingredients to create banana bread. Previously discarded rotten bananas were now a mainstay on tables around the country!

PREP TIME: about 20 minutes

COOK TIME: 45-50 minutes

TOTAL TIME: about 2 hours

NUMBER OF SERVINGS: Makes two 9-inch by 5-inch loaves


½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for pans

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1⅓  cups AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate  Finely Grated Chocolate

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon coarse salt

6 large bananas, very ripe

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup pecans, roughly chopped


Step 1 - Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Brush two standard 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pans with butter and line with parchment paper, allowing the paper to overhang the long sides by about 2 inches. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, American Heritage Finely Grated Dark Chocolate, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Step 2 - In a large bowl, mash together 4 bananas and sugar until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, stir in eggs, vanilla and applesauce until combined. Stir in flour mixture to create a smooth batter. Gently fold in pecans.

Step 3 - Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Slice remaining bananas in half lengthwise and arrange on surface of batter. Bake loaves until they are firm to the touch and a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cakes in pans for 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or freeze up to 1 month.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Dom is Slowly Improving! No C-Diff, but Salmonella.

When Christine and I arrived at 11 am, the Occupational Therapist had him out of bed and sitting in a chair.

He's no longer in ISOLATION.  He tested NEGATIVE for C-Diff!

The Physical Therapy guys were outside his room, ready to pounce on him.  I told them to "Give him Hell".  They were delighted. 

They WANTED to walk him, but after laying on his back for 5 days, his blood pressure was too low.  They'd test it sitting up.  LOW.  Test it standing up.  LOWER.  They're going to try to get him walking tomorrow.

Dom asked to go back to bed and we all said, "NO!".  He ended up sitting in that chair for more than 2 hours.

Our Slidell Oncologist came in.  Told us that he was SO HAPPY that Dom didn't have C-Diff.  He's lost TWO PATIENTS from that!  He said that he wants to get Dom STRONG before he gets out of the hospital.  His blood counts are dropping, so I'm guessing that he'll need another blood transfusion soon.

Then Dr. Koachev, partner of Dom's Kidney specialist, came in.  He spent almost 30 minutes with us.  Explained that Dom was limited to 2 liters of liquids per day.  Getting IVs of Sodium, Potassium and Electrolytes for his kidneys.  Also told us that his Creatine had jumped from 2.5 yesterday to 3.5 this morning.

Dom's collar bone started killing him, so they put him back in bed with a percocet.  When he started getting dopey, we left.

Did a little shopping, had a late lunch and came home.

Dom called.  The Infectious Diseases Dr. made an appearance.  She said, "You told me that you had Salmonella once.  Well, you've got it again!  No more runny egg yolks!".

She then went on to say that his Creatine number dropped from this morning's 3.5.

Feeling hopeful, gang!