Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another busy couple of days-

TODAY, Tuesday 9/30:

Headed to Covington to fight a traffic ticket. A St.Tammany Sheriff's Deputy ticketed Dom for driving on the shoulder while traffic was at a dead stop, as he pulled into a gas station. (passing 3 or 4 cars in the process).

"You can't get away with that around here, boy", said the little snot-face when he saw Dom's Mississippi plates.

When Dominic got home, he made a call to find that the fine for "driving in an emergency lane" was going to be a whopping total of $218!!!!!

So, off we went for our court appearance. We'd been advised to find an assistant DA, cut a deal, blah, blah, blah.

Ummmmmm- nope. The place was a flippin' madhouse. We weren't going to be able to talk to ANYBODY, much less an ADA.

Nanette was then informed that she could not enter the courtroom dressed in shorts. Get this.....I looked stunning with very conservative striped white and black silk shorts, a silk black blouse with big white buttons. A really sharp ensemble.

Meanwhile, I'm surrounded by gangstas with their torn jeans half way down their arses, their CHEE WEE haircuts sticking out at bizarre angles, skull t-shirts, but nevermind..... Nanette was dressed inappropriately. *sighing*

So, poor Dom entered the courtroom on his own.... for several hours.

I peeked in through the courtroom window when I wasn't hanging with a new smoking buddy. He was a lovely, charming, soft-spoken man.... as he fed me cigarettes, he told me that he was waiting for his attorney.... he'd gotten into a fist fight with a state cop. *cringing* They were both in "bad moods", it appears. *grinning* One cannot always count on first impressions, ehh?

When all was said and done, the judge knocked twenty bucks off of the fine and is keeping it from our insurance company. In Louisiana, you can pull this off once every 5 years for moving violations. So, I guess it was worth the trip across the state line.

MONDAY, Sept. 29th:

We were introduced into the Veteran's Administration machine via the Biloxi VA Hospital. Very impressive. Liked our doctor.... Nigerian. A little difficult to understand, but very pleasant and helpful. It appears that the VA will be supplying Dom with almost all of his "regular" meds, as well as each Cancer med.

We need to see a VA Oncologist soon for the Thalidomide prescription. This guy can't prescribe it by law..... super regulated.

They did some bloodwork, and we were out of there in no time.

We hadn't been along the Biloxi Gulf Coast since Katrina. Oh, my God. It was "gone". All of our restaurants, most of the casinos..... everything has moved or been rebuilt North of I-10 because of storm surge.

Apparently the VA HOSPITAL was wiped out, because they're now in temporary buildings.

Stopped at Ruby Tuesday for a burger and headed home to the critters.
Yet another productive couple of days. Geez, how I want to SLEEP IN!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Best joke I've seen all week.... had to share!

A cruise on the Pacific goes all wrong.

The ship sinks and there are 3 Survivors; Bob, Tom and Debbie.

They manage to swim to a small island and they live there for a couple of years doing what's natural for men and women to do.

After several years of casual sex, Debbie felt absolutely horrible about what she was doing.

She felt having sex with both Bob and Tom was too immoral and she killed herself.

It was tragic but Bob and Tom managed to get through it.

After a while, Bob's and Tom's resistance to nature's urgings returned and the inevitable happened.

Well, a couple more years went by and Bob and Tom began to feel absolutely horrible about what they were doing.

So they buried Debbie.

(My thanks to WADE! Keep 'em coming, baby!)

Busy, busy, busy!

Well, it's been a very productive week. We've certainly been on-the-go.

Had a full day on Thursday. Stopped to visit with Dominic's 94 year old mother for awhile, then headed into New Orleans.

Tulane, once again, knocked us out!

Parked our car at 12:10 pm. Signed in at the Cancer Center, had blood drawn, spoke to "our nurse, Amy" who gave us proof of medical diagnosis for the VA, walked across the street to Tulane Hospital, had a CT SCAN of his ribcage (that was scheduled for 2 pm, but they took him EARLY), walked back to our parking garage, and was sitting in our car at 12:48! All of that in less than forty minutes. Unreal.

Then, it was off to BEST CHEVROLET in Kenner to look at this beauty. Dom had seen it in the paper, called the salesman, and told him that he wanted to take a look at it.

It's a 2008 convertible. Only 15,000 miles. It was a "program car" for a Corvette executive in Tampa.

It's ours now. *grinning*

We're picking it up on Wednesday.
Today, we did a little banking, had a nice Chinese lunch, then headed over to the local VA office to drop off our marriage certificate and our doctor's proof of our Agent Orange Claim.

We're home, and looking forward to doing NOTHING on Sat. and Sun. (other than watch football and drink beer) Then, it all starts again on Monday...... *sighing*

Have a great weekend, gang. We have every intention of doing the same!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So far, So good-

Well, things are rolling right along, gang.

Monday, Dom got the ball rolling with the VA. A wonderful gal in our county, Cindy, has been most helpful with administrative stuff.

She called yesterday to say that Dom has an appointment at the VA Hospital in Biloxi. We've driven by many, many times. Lovely location, hoping the experience is a good one.

Dom's dear childhood friend, "Tom in Alaska" has been pushing him for YEARS to "get into the system". It appears that he's in, and will be getting a bit of compensation, as the VA acknowledges this to be AGENT ORANGE RELATED. (THANKS, TOM..... we love you, man!) *smiling*

Dominic also started his new medications on Monday. So far, OK. Neither of us slept last night...dunno if it was Dom's steroids, my fretting, or a combination of the both. (likely) He had a minor cut on his hand yesterday, and bled like crazy.... the Coumadin is apparently doing its' stuff.
Off to Tulane Hospital tomorrow for a CT SCAN of his ribcage. Still feeling some discomfort, so glad we're dealing with it. Then, across the walkway to the Cancer Center for more bloodwork....they need to check how the Coumadin is working- will probably be modified off and on, until they get it right.
Then, off to Metairie to look at Corvettes. *smiling*

Will close down for now. Got plenty of stuff to do for DAYS, but won't bore you all at once.

Dominic is feeling well. Positive. A little sleepy today, but might just be from his lack of sleep and not the Thalidomide.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday Mass

We went to church yesterday.

I've NEVER been to a mass...... in fact, as
a little girl, mom had to bribe me with a shopping trip for a new toy
after attending Catechism. (For my father's benefit- she couldn't
have cared less). The bribes lasted for about 3 weeks. I finally
announced that I "hated the nuns" and the toys weren't worth it. I was a Catechism drop-out.

So, we showed up at 10:30 mass. Honestly, I was a bit
intimidated. Was wondering if I'd get the "Eureka" moment....
"Wow! This is what I've been missing all of my life".


I enjoyed the "ritualistic" aspect of the service, but that was about
it. *sighing*

We'd been threatening to go to a Catholic church for about 10 years.
Dom's cancer was our catalyst. He announced on Friday that we were
going. Figured "what the hell".

Dom said that he feels a little better already. That's what matters.

Wait until he finds out that he has to buy me bribes every week! *grinning*

Friday, September 19, 2008

Photos and downloadable Ireland report...

Photos for y'all.....

With any luck, soon there'll be a photo of a new CORVETTE. Dominic figures, "What the hell....you only live once". Hey- If he's happy, I'm happy!





Meds Will Start on Monday- Full Speed Ahead

Well, the phone has been ringing off the hook today. I've spoken to Dr. Safah's nurse, Amy, quite a bit.

Because of the threat of blood clots from the Thalidomide, Dom is also going to be taking Coumadin to thin his blood.

Medications will start on Monday. Local Walgreens had to special order the stuff.

We're headed back to Tulane next Thursday......

His chest xray showed "a small irregularity on his 9th rib", so Doc has ordered a CT SCAN of his chest. (Possibly from the Myeloma). Then, we need to get blood work done.... PT IR (?) to check how thin his blood will be after taking the Cumidin for a few days. Might take a few tweaks to get it just right.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Today's Diagnosis: MULTIPLE MYELOMA

Well, gang- We got the news that we didn't want to hear today. Dom's got Multiple Myeloma. Last week's bone marrow biopsy and blood work showed that 60% of his bone marrow has been invaded by "Immature Aggressive Plasma Cells".

He's also a little Anemic.

Kidneys are OK.

After looking at the important two "MARKERS" from her blood work, she said that one was "good" and one was "excellent". (Don't ask me what the hell markers are). She said that he'll "DO WELL" with treatment.

Without any treatment, she gave him 56 months to live.... just under 5 years. *groaning*

Let me backtrack. Once again, Tulane knocked us out. Easy in/out/parking. On time. Smooth as glass. I'm impressed.

Upon going into the examining room, we were surprised when Dr. Safah entered with 3 other individuals. (Dom said that it reminded him of clowns pouring out of a little car at the circus). He asked if they were students..... nope. Herself, a Resident (graduate of Tulane), a Nurse Practitioner, and Doc's nurse, Amy. (who we adore)

Anyway.... here's the scoop......

For the next FOUR MONTHS, Dominic will be orally taking THALIDOMIDE. You might remember that this was the drug that they used to prescribe to pregnant women to fight morning sickness..... causes horrid birth defects.... hands growing out of shoulders, feet out of hips, etc.

This drug was taken off of the market, but has been found to do wonders with this type of cancer. It's highly regulated. Dom has to "interview" with the Feds by phone before they'll give him a prescription.... guaranteeing them that his wife, nor anyone else will become pregnant while he's taking it. (I was informed that I can't even TOUCH one of the pills).

During the first TWO MONTHS of Thalidomide, he will be taking a weekly STEROID. "Decadrone".

Theoretically, the combination of these 2 drugs will kill these renegade plasma cells, putting him into "REMISSION".

We have an appt. with her on Jan. 16th. At that point, she'll do further bloodwork to confirm that this nasty shit has done it's stuff, and then begin growing Dom's own STEM CELLS for a transplant.

So, we're looking at 4 months before we know anything. The only concern about Thalidomide, other than pregnancy, is an increased chance of blood clots. If his legs or arms begin to ache, we'll have to head to the ER..... though, usually blood thinners or even asprin will do the trick.

He can expect to feel pinprick sensations in his toes and fingers. Perhaps pain in his feet.

Doc also ordered an xray of his ribcage, which was a bit tender the other day. (but fine now). Again, this was a breeze. Crossed a pedestrian bridge to the hospital, got a quick series of xrays, and off we went. They've really got their shit together.

So, hopefully, "we" will begin fighting this crap by Monday.

Multiple Myeloma side effects would be: weakness, damage to kindeys, liver, heart, broken bones and susceptibility for infection .

Hopefully we're nipping this shit in the bud!

Think positive thoughts, my friends and loved ones. Thanks for all prayers and good wishes. We love you guys-


Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Delightful Visitor! My David!

Yesterday was GREAT FUN for Dom and I. Allow me to introduce to you "DAVID". I met this mad-man at the age of 13 years old when I joined the school's SKI CLUB. He was one of the advisers.

Along with teaching me how to ski and becoming my teacher as a senior in high school, he also had alot to do with developing my work ethic and my world view...... questioning authority, protesting the Perry, OH nuclear power plant, the plight of American Indians and such reading material as the Carlos Castenada/Don Juan series. (Yeah....David was REALLY POPULAR with the school board in Ohio) *grinning and rolling my eyes*

This Ohio boy ended up down here in an effort to help clean up the devastation caused by Hurricane Gustav a few weeks ago. Having done his "civic duty", he stopped here for the night on the way back home to resume his normal life.

Loved having him and begged him to stay longer, but alas, was not to be! Guess it's back to "normal life" here for Dom and I. Dave was a fun, fun "diversion"!

I can count on ONE HAND the folks that I consider a TRUE FRIEND. This guy is right at the top of the list. If you read this, Dave...... Thanks, honey...... I love you, man!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cause for a bit of laughter- bone marrow biopsy-

Well, of all things to be giggling about, Dom and I have been snickering over his biopsy yesterday.

He'd originally had one done at our hospital in Slidell, LA. It was quite the "big deal". Dom's Oncologist, a couple of nurses, sterile environment, glass enclosed cubicle, masks, gloves, robes.... like something out of television- I was banished to a waiting area.

Flash forward a few weeks to the Tulane Cancer Center in New Orleans yesterday:

Dom's knock-out doctor had her nurse make a phone call to get the "biopsy guy" down to our examing room. Guys... this is an ordinary, run of the mill, examining room.

Our charming technician came down, introduced himself and said that he was going to be the one performing the biopsy..... in THAT room.....by himself.

So, I shook his hand, kissed Dom and excused myself from the examining room.

Mr. Charming said, "Hey! You don't have to leave! Wouldn't you like to see this???".

Oh boy, oh boy! What a fun guy!

So, poor Dom is laying on his stomach while this guy is prepping his rear end with some type of sterile soap. I was sitting in one of the chairs off to the side.

My new friend urged me to stand across from him so I could watch everything.

Oh boy, oh boy! What fun!

He was explaining everything to Dom..... what he was about to do, what he'd feel, etc. He suggested that Dom breath deeply out of his mouth.

At that point, the guy looked at ME and said, "Are you ready?". Dominic replied, "Yes".

The guy said, "I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to your wife!".

I thought that was hysterical. Dom wasn't too amused at the time, but can now see the humor in it!

Wanted to share that chuckle with you guys-


Our first Tulane Cancer Center Appointment.

Yesterday, we met with Dr. Hana Safah, Director, Tulane Cancer Center's Stem Cell Transplant Program. In the words of Dominic, she's "effing HOT". *grinning* Beautiful woman....Indian or Pakistani... friendly, easy to talk to. This photo doesn't do her justice....trust me.

We were really impressed with the hospital. Being in the "Belly of the Beast" in New Orleans, I didn't expect such a nice, well run place. 'twas quite impressive. They were really organized and pleasant....in fact, this was probably the smoothest hospital/doctor's appointment that either of us has ever experienced.

In a nutshell:
*Doc refused to diagnose Dom with Multiple Myeloma. At this point, she's referring to it as a "Plasma Cell Disorder".

*Alot of the numbers that came from bloodwork and bone marrow biopsy from our Oncologist don't make alot of sense to her. So..... while we were there, she basically started from scratch. She had one of her guys perform a new Bone Marrow Biopsy, and did new bloodwork with additional tests.

*Said that Dom is "not suffering from systemic symptoms". This type of "Cancer of Plasma Cells" NORMALLY affect the kidneys, Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells, Platelets and eat away at the skeleton. Dom isn't showing ANYTHING.

*IF Dom DOES, indeed have Multiple Myeloma, she said that he's a great candidate for her program. Said that many people prefer to try to "fight" this cancer, and then do the transplant as an afterthought. She wants to jump right into it, as "treatment" will "beat-up his body", and she wants him strong.

*We return next Thursday, 9/18 to get the results. Conclusively. Thank God.

All in all, it was a good visit. Didn't hear any "good news", but nothing "bad", either. I was fully expecting gloom and doom.... "get your affairs in order", etc.
******** SO.....
I won't be posting anything until next Thursday night or Friday. If you're interested in what's happening, all of the information will be posted here.

I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE for not keeping up with replying to your wonderful letters of support and encouragement. It's become rather overwhelming, so I'm going the "blog" route.


Love to all of you,