Thursday, July 30, 2009

Heading Home Soon! Day +13......

Dom is doing GREAT. Almost all of his mouth sores have disappeared. He can swallow without pain. They moved him from liquids to soft foods.... puddings, yogurts, mashed potatoes, etc.

Everything still goes right through him, though. He had 14 bouts of diarrhea yesterday! (Glad that he doesn't read this blog.... he'd be horrified that I'm telling stories about his bodily functions!)

They'll be taking him off of the Kepivance (?) once his ANC reaches 10,000. Get a load out of these newest numbers, gang:

Day +11
HCT: 29.5
WBC: 3.2
ANC: 2912
Platelets: 41

Day +12
HCT: 28.3
WBC: 5.9
ANC: ---------------
Platelets: 38

Day +13:
HCT: 30.5
WBC: 10.1
ANC: 8282
Platelets: 38

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wow! Check Out These Numbers, Gang!

Day +10
HCT: 24.3 (got 2 units)
WBC: 1.0
ANC: 840 Should have read 300 yesterday...the nurse goofed.
Platelets: 45

Drs. Safah and Verghese are very pleased. They've upped the antibiotics for his bowel infection, but are otherwise happy. Man! What a flippin' emotional rollercoaster! He still can't eat or drink anything, but feels much better....and not nearly as stoned as he has been.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

His Stem Cells are Cooperating!

Today is a great day, gang. Dom's stem cells are doing their thing. White Blood Cell and ANC count are beginning to rise:

Day +9
HCT: 26.0
WBC: 0.3
ANC: 300
PLATELETS: 47 got platelets to bring them up to 66

Our patient is finally able to swallow. He hasn't had the violent diarrhea for hours. He's still not allowed to eat or drink anything...just chew on ice chips. They began feeding him through his Pic Line. This might be the reason that his Sodium Level shot up..... making him a little "loopy" on top of the Morphine.

The weekend doctor came in and was pleased. He told us, "All that we've done is stick our finger in the dike, Dominic. Your white blood cells are fighting off the infection on their own!". There's still a team of surgeons keeping an eye on him, but things are looking good.

HAPPY Sunday, gang.... it is for us!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Final Saturday Report.... our patient is higher than a kite...

Hey guys....

Rather than call Dom, I called his nurse a little while ago. He's been knocked out all day. I MIGHT call him this evening.... he needs his sleep.

Did 60 lengths in the pool today. Feel great.

Amy, best childhood friend in Ohio, booked a flight for Friday. Spending 4 nights- her husband is being a doll about it.

Here's today's numbers. BTW: Nurse Colleen told me that on DAY 10, we can start looking for an increase in his White Blood Cells. I told Dom to CONCENTRATE!!!!!!!

Day +8
HCT: 25.8
WBC: 0.1
ANC: 0
PLATELETS: 48 (getting more today....trying to keep him above 50)

Will head in tomorrow with a Sunday paper for him. Adios, gang....

Bowel Infection, Antibiotics and Morphine

Hello gang.

Just returned from a visit with Dom. Spoke to the weekend doctor this morning. Confirmed that he has ulcers from his mouth, all the way down through his intestines. Appendix is OK.

He's developed a bad infection in the wall of his lower bowel. He's on a constant antibiotic drip. With any luck, he'll start developing White Blood Cells within the next 4 or 5 days to beat this thing.

The doctor has ordered a surgeon to be waiting in the wings... if this infection causes a tear in his bowel's lining, poison would leak into his stomach, calling for emergency surgery. He made it very clear that he doesn't expect this, but they have to have a "Plan B", just in case.

Dom's doped up with Morphine. His nurse was going to see about getting him a morphine pump. He's not allowed any food or water for another 3 or 4 days. I'd very much like him to sleep for the next couple of days.

His nurse, Colleen, told me just what Teresa said.... he might not remember any of this. At times, patients "lose" an entire week. Hope that happens in Dom's case.

When his eyes went to half-mast and he reported that "wow- everything in the room is such a pretty shade of green", I kissed him goodbye for the day. Hope he has pleasant green dreams!

Have a good weekend, gang. Will post new numbers later....about the same.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday PM Update....

Just hung up the phone with Dom's nurse, Teresa. (A DOLL). There was a hold up on his CT SCAN. It's scheduled for 7 pm my time.

Meanwhile, he's choking down some type of liquid for the test.

They've given him 2 MG of MORPHINE through an IV. Knocked him out, and now he's sitting up in his chair, "feeling and looking better than he has all day".

Been trying to call him, but his line is busy.

That's all I have to report. Will be up and at 'em tomorrow morning.


Have I Mentioned that RADIATION IS A BITCH?

Oh, guys.... my poor Dom is miserable!

The ulcers that started in his mouth, have moved throughout his body..... all the way down into his bowels. He's in great distress/pain.

They cut off his food and water this morning for "a few days" to give his gut a rest. Non-stop diarrhea- let's just say "explosive".

Talked to Dr. Safah today. She's a bit concerned about the tenderness near his appendix. She ordered a stomach MRI to check for appendicitis. We do NOT want that. He has no immune system, and it wouldn't be good to open him up.

Thankfully, his nurse, Teresa (who both of us adore) said that the pain and tenderness is from the radiation. No his appendix. She's seen it before. Also went on to say that "things will get even worse before they get better". *sighing*

Another strange thing is the development of quarter-sized water blisters along his left waistline. Teresa said that they're pumping him so full of liquids, that it's basically causing these blisters.

Will update when I know something later. Going to call the nurse around 6 pm.

Today's numbers:
Day +7
HCT 25.8
WBC 0.1
PLATELETS 17 Got platelets, bringing him up to 37. Getting one more dose later.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Radiation is a BITCH.....

Dom's hurting. He's developed Mucucitis. His mouth and throat have developed ulcers making it difficult to swallow even a pill. Only time will heal it, but in the meanwhile, they've given him a "Magic Mouthwash" with Lanacain and Benedryl (spelling???) that numbs his throat, thus allowing him to swallow without pain.

Needless to say, he's not eating, but sucking down Ensure, trying to get calories.

Spent less than 2 hours with him this morning, as he felt weak and wanted to try to sleep.


Wed. Day +5
HCT: 23.7 (received 2 units of red blood cells)
WBC: 0.2
ANC: 0

Thurs. Day +6
HCT: 26
WBC: 0.1
ANC: 0
PLATELETS: 9 (received platelets)

Went to the theatre to see Dirty Truth last night... special sneak preview viewing. Great flick. Very vulgar comedy. Opens Friday. Rated R. I liked it much more than the critics did!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Wednesday, gang!

All is OK here. Dom is resting comfortably in a chair next to his window...enjoying the a cat. *smiling*

Stopped in yesterday morning to bring him a newspaper and a McDonald's "sweet tea". He hates the canned Lipton stuff that they have at Tulane.

Much to my dismay, he was a MESS. Running a fever. Chilled. Having difficulty eating.

I found my John and he gave me a long talk. Said that he feared that they failed to inform me of what was to come. At that point, one of Dom's docs that I don't really care for, interrupted with "I TOLD him yesterday.....blah, blah, blah". I said to the guy "Well, ANOTHER doctor TOLD ME that he might breeze through this stage". That shut him up.

John went on to explain what was going on with his body....last week's radiation and chemo has caught up with him. He has no immune system now. The radiation causes sores and tears in the stomach wall. (normally a coating of mucus protecting the stomach lining). Bacteria (from inside his bowels) found their way into these openings. Again, to be expected. Luckily, they know how to treat this. He went on to say that another Doc never should have told me such a thing....with total body irradiation, this is what happens. (I didn't mention the doc's name as I like the guy). So, giving him antibiotics to stop the bacteria from going crazy in his body. It will be up to Dom's bloodcells to fight the infection, which will come in time.

His numbers YESTERDAY morning:

Day +4
HCT: 26.5
WBC: 0.1
ANC: 0
Platelets: 10 (Received some platelets yesterday)

After a short visit, I hit the road. Stopped at the L&C for 2 beers and a nice visit with Skeet and Pat. Bought them a round on the way out.

Got home to find that Richard McM had done a lovely job on the lawn.

I've still got 4 sassy cats. Geez, I miss them. We had quite the "love-in".

Both of my phone lines were knocked out.... noticed that Coast Electric was trimming trees underneath our power lines. They must have run over a pedestal or something. Anyway, had a pleasant day with the television and cats.

Got an early start today....packed up some frozen food for the apartment, did a little banking, ran into horrific traffic in Mandeville, and am now at the apartment.

Called Dom. He's feeling MUCH better. Ate breakfast, although with difficulty. He's having problems swallowing...again from the radiation and meds that he's on.

Going to go see a movie with Linda tonite, then hit the road early tomorrow...back to my sweetie.

Love to all of you!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Day +3.....a day of Superlatives!

Hi gang-

Today can be summed up with one word: "WOW"!

Dr. Safah came in to see Dominic. She described him as "doing GREAT", "wonderful" and "super"!

I then asked her if other patients at this timeline do worse.... she rolled her eyes, looked me in the eye and said: "This is PERFECT. Things couldn't be any better. We're all very excited about his progress!"

Man, did that make us feel great. Apparently, he's her new star patient!

My boyfriend John came in to give me the newest numbers. He warned that Dom might get sick this week from last week's radiation.... but, it's to be expected. Here are his latest numbers:

HCT: 27.6
WBC: 0.2
ANC: 100

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day +2 All is fine

Hello, gang-

Just returned from Tulane. Dom is doing just fine. His doctors are pleased, and his numbers are just where they expected them to be.

Once his white blood cells reach ZERO, he'll be at "Nadir". (The low point of a curve). He's almost there:

HCT: 27.3
WBC: 0.8
ANC: 710
PLATELET: 38 (if/when he dips below 10, he'll have to get a couple units of Platelets)

I'm done with the hospital for the day. Lovely Linda is coming over soon, and we're going to frolic in the pool, and head up to Oscar's on Metairie Road for an "Oscarletta".... mufaletta on French. Yummy!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Great "Day +1"

All is groovy, gang. Spent a couple/three hours with our patient this morning. He's looking as good as ever....feeling the same way.

Going to post his blood numbers now, then a bit of info about the days to come and medicines that he's on:

HCT: 28.6

WBC: 2.8

Dr. Lewis, who we really like, was the attending physician today. I questioned him about days to come. He said that he WILL "bottom out". White Blood Cells will reach ZERO for some time. He went on to say that during this phase (can't remember what he called it, but picture an up/down graft.... when Dom reaches the bottom, he'll stay there for awhile before shooting back up) some patients don't even realize where they're at. As I'm keeping track of his numbers, I'll know..... but some patients breeze right through it- let's hope that's the case with our dear patient)
He's currently getting the following:

* antibiotic, due to a fever on the 15th. NO FEVER NOW.
* prevent mouth ulcers. His mouth is extremely dry now...water doesn't seem to help.
*Neupogen... boosts his white blood cell count
*Lovenox....a blood thinner....had that blood clot....shoots it in his gut twice a day
*Oral Rinse...4 times daily...not allowed to use a toothbrush

Dom walked a bit today, did a MILE on the exercise bike, breathing exercises, and some other physical stuff that his therapist instructed him on. He's feeling great.
Doctor Nanette blew out of there prior to noon. (Not feeling guilty, as he was feeling so good) Hung out at the pool, did 50 lengths in between ciggies and beer!) Lovely Linda is coming over tomorrow for the day....gonna frolic in the pool and make merriment all over the place!

Happy Saturday, gang. Hope your weekend is as happy as ours is.

Friday, July 17, 2009

DAY 0's Last Update

Just hung up the phone with "super patient". He did 5 "laps" around the floor, and 1/2 mile on the exercise bike. I'm so proud of his great attitude.

Heading in for the day tomorrow morning....might even sleep in for a change.... what's with this automatic 6:30 wake-up???? I don't even think about getting out of bed at "home" until at LEAST 10 am!

Good night! It is for US!

Transplant has Finished

Dom looks good and feels good. They've got him hooked up to monitors, but those are coming off in about a half an hour! All is well with our world.

For those of you following his bloodwork, here it is. Unable to email from this hospital connection:

DAY 0 Transplant Day

HCT: 27.3 (elevated from the 2 units of red blood cells yesterday)
WBC: 3.1
ANC: 3000

Dom and I both send our love to you guys!

DAY 0..... Happy Birthday to Dominic!

Well, gang.... today is the day. Our patient both looks and feels well.

A MOB of doctors and nurses came in to check on him about an hour ago. His kidneys are fine. Dr. Safah said that he was dehydrated, and everything is back to normal. Said that he was "doing great". That's good to hear!

They threw me out of his room a half an hour ago. The transplant (stem cell infusion) should have started at 11am. 5 bags. Should take a couple of hours.

They'll be checking his vital signs constantly. We're excited.

When they allow me back into his room, I'll give an update.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Day -1" was a BREEZE!

We had a great day today. Dom looked and felt GREAT. Flew through both of his radiation treatments.... didn't need any breaks. Great appetite. His normal charming self. The erotic sponge bath that I gave him didn't hurt! *grinning* We even did some walking today.

Had a talk with "my John" this morning. Apparently, something showed up elevated, signaling a possible problem with his Kidneys. (From the chemo and drugs). They did an ultrasound. Got him on alot of fluid drips. Theoretically, the condition will heal itself. Said this was probably no big deal, and not to freak out over it. Have I mentioned how crazy about John I am????? *grinning*

For those of you following his bloodwork:

HCT: 24.3
WBC: 4.1

Because his HCT dipped below 25, he got 2 units of Red Blood Cells

Tomorrow will be his big day. His "new birthday". Transplant is scheduled for 11am. Depending on how many they give him, the infusion will take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours.

I'm not allowed in his room while they do it. There'll be a shitload of nurses- constantly checking vital signs.

The room becomes spic and span tomorrow. I'm no longer allowed to eat or drink anything in there. I'll be curious to see how close I can get to him. He's in the back of the room with his own air filtration set-up. There's a glass partition that pretty much cuts the room in half...with an opening. I can drink my coffee, etc, in that area.

It was explained to me that tomorrow will be a piece of cake... just like getting a couple of units of blood. The "shit will hit the fan" in the coming days/weeks.

Taking my laptop in with me tomorrow, so will report. Going to spend time with Dom in the a.m., get thrown out of his room, then visit after transplant.

Today was really, really UPBEAT.

Keep the prayers coming. We love you guys!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We've got a "Hurtin' Little Cowboy", gang....

What a difference a few hours makes!

Yesterday morning, when I spoke to Dom, he was feeling great. Good appetite, good spirits. Several hours later, he was miserable.

They pulled the Pic Line out of his arm. He was all swollen. An ultrasound showed a big blood clot. He was exhausted.... sweating, chills, etc.

They spent about an hour on his "good arm" to place a new Pic Line with no luck. He was miserable.

I spent the day in MS yesterday while all of this was going on. The house was standing, the kitties were sassy, all was fine.

Got to Tulane around 9am, to find our patient gone. Checked with his nurse to find that they were putting the new Pic Line in him. He'd had his morning radiation, which didn't go well. Had to stop a couple of times.

When they wheeled him back to the room, he looked horrid. And, he sure wasn't his normal charming self.

While I was there (until about 3:30), the Occupational Therapist visited, as did his Physical Therapist. She was the last broad that he wanted to see, and told her to scram. She persisted and had him out of bed for a short time.

His fingers and bad arm started cramping.... the pain woke him up. I called the nurse, and she got a painkiller for him. It helped. Gave him another shot in the gut for the blood clot, which you can't even see anymore.

Radiation picked him up at about 1:30. While he was gone, I straightened his bed, got him another pillow, tidied up in general.

To my delight, when they wheeled him back, he had a smile on his face. Looked a thousand times better than after his first bout with radiation.

I've mentioned "John Rink" before. Probably mentioned that he was "the man that I really love". *smiling*

We had a good talk today. He assured me that although the blood clot wasn't normal., the rest of his problems were expected after total body irradiation. He then went on to basically tell me to "toughen up", and that "this is nothing". "It's not a sprint,'s a marathon.... you're going to be dealing with much worse than chills and sweats. Dom will get through this just fine".

Yeah....John's a doll.

Headed back tomorrow morning, Thursday, which is "Day -1". Two more bouts of radiation, and then his transplant on Friday. Keep the prayers/good vibes coming.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Our Patient is doing WELL!

Let's see...where to start-

All of his Kepivance treatments last weej went very smoothly. Less than an hour from start to finish. His mouth and tongue felt "chalky" to him on Sat. night. No big deal.

He was admitted on Sunday: Room 6225 Direct Phone Line- (504) 988-5276 (for those of you guys who know our Dom!)

He had Chemo on Sunday PM. A drug called "MELPHA". He didn't get ill. Hurray!

I spent a couple of hours with him, then came home, made gaspacho (this eating out constantly is making me feel a bit tubby.... just call me "Jumbo"), then did 30 lengths in the pool.

This morning, I headed to a local Chevy dealership.... on the way to the hospital yesterday morning, my "Check Engine Soon" light came on. Talk about shitty timing. I was certain that I'd breakdown in a bad neighborhood on Tulane. Alas, my little car made it home.

So- spent over FIVE hours at the dealership. Couldn't even tell you what was wrong.... told 'em to FIX IT. Something about fuel injectors or points, or some other kind of boy-stuff. Anyway, the car is running great.

Because of all of the waiting, I blew off Tulane today.

Dom had 2 radiation treatments today. So far, so good. He kept down breakfast, and is going to attempt a late lunch.

So.... all good things to report today!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another easy day!

Hello again!

Yesterday afternoon/evening was very pleasant. Went to a joint on our service road...City Diner... (MAYBE 1/2 mile from here). Had a few cold beers. Dom had a monster breakfast, and I had a club sandwich. Very pleasant. I have no doubt that I'll often stop there on the way home from Tulane, order a sandwich to go, and sip on a beer while I'm waiting.

Met a few of the powers-that-be there. Very pleasant folks. One gal recognized me from the pic I use on a local food forum. Tickled me!

As we were on our way out, I asked the manager/owner ??? about the bar right around the corner... the Sanctuary. We thought we'd pop in for a quick beer before rushing home to Big Brother.

Glad that I asked. Jason told us that it was a lesbian bar, and they wouldn't have even allowed Dom in the door. There was a strip place next door, but Dom wanted no part of that, either.

Had a 10:30 appointment for Dom's infusion this morning.... we were outta there in an hour. Stopped at "my" new Rouses and did some shopping. Loved the joint. Beer prices were I need to find a discount cigarette shop.... there's loads of 'em in our old area....haven't seen anything here yet.

Came home, unpacked groceries, then I did some laps in the pool. Other than that, nothing. Had a tuna-melt for dinner, and hitting the sack early. Neither of us have slept much, and we have to be back at Tulane for 8am.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Radiation Measurements, Kepivance and High Speed!

Hello, friends and family:

Posting this entry via my Cox Cable High Speed Modem. HOTCHA!

All is well here. We got an early start yesterday. Said goodbye to my darling kitties, and hit the road for NOLA. Dom had an 11am appointment with the radiation department. They didn't get to him until after noon.

They took every measurement imaginable, as well as a chest xray. Had a team of several guys working on him. They explained to us that they'll be building "blocks" to fit his body.... since he's having TOTAL BODY radiation, they need to protect some vital organs.

After that, we had to stick around another half and hour or so until the doc took a look at the xray.

Headed into Metairie, and made a GREAT stop. A beer joint with food on Metairie Road....OSCAR'S. We had a beer and split an "Oscarlotta"..... Muffaletta Po Boy. Best flippin' sandwich that I've had for years!

Came home and struggled with my internet connection. Finally got things right.... had a few beers and hit the sack by 10 pm.

Today, had a quick day at Tulane. Got his first infusion of Keptivance. So far, so good. Stopped for a quickie oil change, then picked up some resin patio furniture.

Going to have a sandwich and a few beers at the City Diner this afternoon.... then home for BIG BROTHER at 7pm!

All is well, guys.... will report soon. Love to all of you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our First Overnighter at the New Apartment

We had a GREAT DAY yesterday!

Got an early start, and got across the Causeway for 11am. We decided to stop for lunch at Mr. Gyros on West Esplanade and Causeway. When we walked in, we were the only ones there... shortly after 11am. Cute, cute place. White tablecloths, fresh flowers on each table.

We each ordered a beer and a gyro. OMG! The sandwich was out of this world. They used both lamb AND beef....the meat practically melted in your mouth. As tender as could be. Served with excellent fat-fries.... steaming hot, right out of the fryer.

By the time we left, the joint was filling up. I can understand why. I told the gal that I'd be back.

Then something amusing..... we had to go a couple of blocks West before we could pop a U-Turn to head back to Causeway Blvd. Christ! There was restaurant, after restaurant, after restaurant. I was oooohing and ahhhhing at all of the fun places to eat. Like a kid in a candy store.... or like Nanette at a martini bar.....anyway........

After "restaurant row", we passed "ROSIE'S" Fashions for full figured/portly broads. Dom made it a point to comment that if I didn't cool it, I'd be buying my clothes there. *smiling*

Spent a couple hours drinking beer with Chris, who came for a fun visit.

At shortly after 4pm, my sanitizing guy showed up. What a little doll. Only 25 years old, and one heck of a work ethic! He really went to work. Left us extra stuff. Before he fogged the joint, he asked us to go hang out at the pool for awhile. I asked him if I could just cut him a check at that time. He sheepishly said, "How does $300 sound". You could have knocked me over with a feather! I never once asked him about money, because it didn't wasn't an issue... it would be what it would be.... I asked him if HE was OK with only $300. He's a little doll!

Got a pizza delivered at about 9pm. Hated it. Can't think of the name of the joint.... maybe "ROMA". Twenty bucks for the smallest "Large Deluxe" pizza I've ever seen. Very little sauce. Very thin crust. I need to find a local joint that I like.

Cable guy came this morning, and moved so fast to hook up cable and internet, that my head spun. When he left, Dom and I looked at each other and literally started laughing.... "Ummmm...... what the hell just happened here?????". I THINK I got the packages that I wanted. Time will tell!

Went to our post office to arrange to have mail delivered the 1 day per week that I'll be coming home. That'll work out great. All that I have to do is call them the day before, and they'll deliver.

So, was a good day. The shit hits the fan on Wednesday.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Both Timely and Amusing Political Cartoon......

Had a fun "Moving Day" on the First

Hi gang..... hope that everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend. I'm guessing that most of you are off.

All is well here. Just having a lazy day.... reached a whopping 105 degrees here yesterday. Headed for the same today, so trying to pack, straighten up, limiting myself to indoor/air-conditioned activities.

On Wednesday, July 1st, we began to move to our new apartment in Metairie. Keeping things down to bare necessities, as I'm to keep the joint spotless.

Got to the Gatehouse, signed our lease, and eyeballed the parking close to our apartment. A bit difficult with Dom's Silverado with a 16 ft. trailer attached to it.

Chris, Dennis, and his two teenagers arrived at 4pm. Surprisingly, we were all unloaded and drinking beer at 5pm.

Stopped by Dennis' house to hear him start up his restored '46 Ford with a new big engine. It sounded like a flippin' dragstrip. Didn't do anything for me, but the guys "ooooohed" and "ahhhhhed". Boy stuff, I guess.

We're headed back to our apartment on SUNDAY. Our dude is coming to sanitize, steamclean, fog, wipe down cabinets, etc.

Going to spend the night, and HOPE that the "Cox Cable Guy" will do his thing in the morning.... then back home for our last Home Health visit.

Have a FABULOUS holiday weekend, gang!