Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Little Problem Solver

Just had to share.  We have two wagons--one big and one little.  Robbie wanted to play with both this afternoon, which was allowed but with the proviso that he put bring both of them back in.  He came up with what I thought was a pretty good solution for a six-year-old.   If you click on the picture above, you'll see that he's pulled out the back 'gate' of the big wagon and used the upright to anchor the bail on the handle of the little wagon.  That way he could pull both at once.

One follow-on admin note:  remember the rash from three posts ago?  Well, according to both Katherine and Jenny, it probably wasn't a Revlimid-caused rash.  So now I have a good idea of what didn't cause the rash, I just have no idea what did.  Yea!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Is that a tent peg in your pelvis, or are you just happy to see me?

First  a quick hello to the former Cinda S., an friend of longstanding (but not an old friend), who was the first girl to ever con me into eating a raw oyster.  I did it wrong.  We 'reunited' via Facebook and I just shared the address of my blog with her.  Hey, Cindy!

Also, incidently, it has been just over a year since I started this blog.  Doesn't seem possible somehow--then I do some reading and think, "Been a hell of a year."

ANYway, went to Georgetown yesterday for my fourth (FOURTH!) bone marrow biopsy.  [ed. note:  see the February 27, 2009 entry for the story of the first bone marrow biopsy.  Pretty good stuff, if I say so myself]  I left very early in anticipation of blizzard-like conditions, but was pleasantly surprised by a beautiful, windy morning.  Arriving at G-town at 8:15 for a 10:00 appointment, I had time to wander around the student union and to coordinate by Blackberry a response to a frantic data call by my boss (thanks, Denise and Vic).

Got back to the waiting area by 9:40, got my vitals taken (BP:  126/67, Pulse: 86, Weight: Mind your own damn business), and was in the treatment room by 10:00.  This is the first time I've ever been in a treatment room at the time of my appointment.  There with me were all the accoutrement needed for today's hip bone penetration.  As long as the lidocaine was there, I was OK with the rest.  Interestingly enough, by your fourth marrow draw you can get rather blase about the whole procedure.  SO there I was at 10:00, waiting for the lovely Katherine, with only the smallest of butterflies in my abdomen.

Unfortunately, Katherine's schedule had gotten rather muddled that morning and she kinda forgot that I was waiting.  She finally arrived at 10:30, apologizing profusely.  I told her, "That's OK.  Being seen at 10:30 for a 10:00 appointment may be a record.  Besides, it gave me a chance to finish the magazine article I was reading."  What?  You think I'm not going to kiss up to the lady about to jab a pointy metallic bendy straw in my hip bone?

Incidentally, Katherine is glowing pregnant, and is due in the middle of May.  She is truly a wonderful, sweet person and a consummate professional.

Anyway, she had me lay down on the procedure table, helped me drop trou (no, thank You!), swabbed the target area, and numbed me up.  The lidocaine shots were the most painful part of the procedure and in the grand scheme of things, didn't really hurt that badly.  She harpooned me without me being aware that she was in the bone--it was the best of the four procedures through which I've gone.  I actually asked "Are you in?" [a question guys fear above all other], to which she replied "We're already about halfway through."

There was a eight second period of discomfort while she sucked a marrow sample out of the bone, but that was pretty much the limit of the 'owwiee'.  Katherine bandaged my wound and had me lay on a cold pack for about 20 minutes, during which we discussed the advantages of having a baby in the middle of May.

The good news yesterday was that the CT scan that I thought necessary was not necessary at all.  Jenny--the trials coordination nurse--delivered that news.   No quart of blueberry-flavored library paste to drink yesterday.  I was on the road by noon and back in the office by two o'clock.  My arrival surprised at least one of my employees who, figuring I wasn't coming in after such an ordeal, had parked in my parking space (did I mention that one of the few perks of my job is that I have my own parking space?).  Anyway, after I had her car towed by security, we laughed and laughed.  OK, I didn't have her car towed.

In a random conversation yesterday, I discovered that Rob, a guy with whom I don't work and I would have never suspected, keeps up with my blog.  I'll tell you the truth (and I apologize if this seems like whining), but many times--when I'm feeling sorry for myself--I'll think, "Why write this?  What makes you think anyone anyone outside of Kim, Peggy and Meno is reading it?"  Then I stumble across someone who out of the blue says, "I keep up with your blog."  Blows me away.  To all of you, to all of you who read this, thank you.  Please feel free to leave a comment--comments make me feel like a kid on Christmas morning.  But even if you never leave a comment, thank you for reading my ramblings.

Without saying why, let me say that I am once again tremendously proud of my little guy, Robbie.  For those keeping track, at six years and two months, he is one inch shy of being four feet tall.   Be warned:  he looks like his mom, but he has my sense of humor.  And he has me to mentor him.  I feel a little like the emperor when he first met Anakin Skywalker, but substitute 'warped sense of humor' for 'the Dark Side'.

Hope your weekend is great.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Let's Not Do Anything Rash...

Before I get going with tonight's tale, I want to offer an apology to one of my friends of longest tenure, Mike F.   Mike is one of the most fervent Saints fans I know.  He used to usher at the Super Dome and may have been one of the first bag wearers in the days of the 'Aints.  We met in Johnston Hall dormitory on our first day as freshmen at LSU, shared a suite as sophomores, were in each other's weddings, and now live within a hour's drive of each other.  He introduced me to Monty Python, for God's sake.  Of all my friends, he logically should have been one of the first I told.  He's been one of the last.  Not sure where the reluctance to tell him came from.  I guess I felt guilty for not staying in more regular contact with him and his wife, Mary, and I didn't want my "How Ya Doin' " phone call to be about this topic.   I emailed him tonight, explained the situation, and gave him the URL to my blog.  Hopefully he's reading this. Sorry, Mikey.  I should have told you--I owed that to you.

Now this weekend's exciting adventure in clinical trials:

I warn you in advance, this is not the most pleasant post I've logged, but it does actually pertain to things medical, so I'll share.  Stop reading now if you don't like reading about rashes. (and sorry, I'm not posting a picture).

This weekend was a non-stop itch fest.  It really sucked.  Apparently, one of the side effects that Revlimid users can see is a raised rash.  Actually, it's a raised rash that itches like poison ivy and wakes the sufferer from a sound sleep scratching like a dog with fleas.  How do I know this?  Need you ask?

What started as a small raised patch on my right flank Friday morning spread like proverbial wildfire over the weekend until it involved both my legs (with extra attention to the thighs), my arms, and enough hard to reach places on my torso to round things out nicely.  Even with Benadryl, I couldn't sleep more than two straight hours on Saturday night.  I was truly starting to despair--at worst, this could mean that I would be out of the trial.  The rash hung around all day Sunday, seeming to move around from leg to leg, appearing and disappearing.  I called and left messages with the folks at Georgetown that this crap was going on.

Liz did some Googling and found that this rash is common among Revlimid users and that it sometimes resolves on its own.  Other times, it takes heavy duty steroids to knock it down.  Knowing how my luck usually works, I anticipated several more nights of sleeplessness with the strong possibility of having to suspend participation in the trial for a while.

I dreaded Sunday night.  Liz and Robbie went to bed; I sat in my chair watching TV and waiting for the Benadryl to kick in.  After a while, I got sleepy and the itching seemed to recede, so I went to bed in the guest room, where I slept like a rock until morning.  I woke up this morning to find my legs were clear.  The rash was pretty much gone.  Halle-frickin'-lujah.

As I sit and type this, I still have a few small patches on my legs and arms, but nothing like Sunday.  Don't know if this is a reprieve or if I've 'beaten' the rash.  Tonight was my last Revlimid for this cycle, so I'll get a week to clear my system.  Let you know how things work out.

One last:  I'm proud to announce I'm a new great uncle.  My niece Heather, supported by her husband Paul, gave birth on Saturday to an 8 lb 9 oz baby boy.  Ladies and gentlemen, I'm pleased to present Graham Bishop Dalton.  Welcome aboard, Graham.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

We're Slowly Coming Out of the Snow

Hi all,

Going in this week for another marrow biopsy and another CT scan.  Oh boy.

Family news:  My niece, Heather, gave birth to an 8 lb 9 oz baby boy today.  Congratulations to her and to her husband Paul--life as you knew it is now over.  Welcome to your new life.

I have had a side effect from the new medication--I've got an annoying rash here and there that itches like a fiend.  Took some Benadryl and will be going to bed soon.

I did get the Mini Cooper back up the driveway today, so I've saved myself that walk now.

Going to bed.

Take care.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Sucks

We are in Week 3 of Winter's Icy Grip.  With Liz's help, I finally got the Mini Cooper down the driveway and out into circulation.  It took me two hours to get it two-thirds the way down our 300' drive.  I had to stop six times to dig out when it got stuck.  Liz got back from grocery and helped me the rest of the way.  With her driving and me pushing, we got the car down the finally 100'.  At the bottom, in the space where the van was parked (see photo in previous post), I rediscovered that:  1)  Wet ice is very slippery, 2) Gravity still works, and 3) There is no graceful way to take that fall.  All the way down, I was thinking of ways to minimize the damage.  Must have worked, because I got away with a bruised elbow and a slightly sprained wrist.  The Mini is now free and after ice and Ibuprofin, I'm relatively pain free.

Nothing new medically.  I'm not convinced that the new drug is doing anything, but that was one of the outcomes that was on the table when I agreed to participate in this trial.  Even if this doesn't work, at least I've contributed to the body of knowlege.  Hopefully, someone else is in a trial at another hospital that will help with my condition.  I get more insight on the 25th when I go back for another marrow biopsy and another CT scan.

Hope your Valentine's Day is at least non-snowy.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful (Again)

Hi all, 

Had two G-town visits this week.  Total time spent interacting with medical professionals:  33 min. (max).  Total time spent driving to enjoy those 33 minutes:  4 hours.  Total leave taken to spend with the G-town folk:  14 hours.

Had to go Tuesday for blood work to begin my third Revlimid cycle, and it has to be done the same day I start the cycle.  No time to have the local labs turn it around.  Thursday was my well-baby visit.  Dr. Cheson was on call in the main hospital, so I met with Katherine (now visibly and glowingly pregnant) and with Jenny.  All is well medically, though I am scheduled for another bone marrow biopsy on February 25th.  I did some shopping on the way home ahead of our blizzard.

It's currently 8:45 p.m.  Snow started falling around 11:00 a.m., and there's an accumulation of about 3 inches now.  The heavy stuff and the wind is supposed to hit tonight.  I'll post before and after pictures of the van after the storm, which is parked at the bottom of the driveway facing the road (Robbie's suggestion).  I've been keeping up with friends on Facebook--we're all pretty hunkered in now.   I've got plenty of the essentials:  bread, milk, toilet paper, Kaluha, vodka, hot chocolate, and firewood.

I'll post the pics on Sunday when the snow should be gone.  Wish us luck!

Multimedia message

Car parked at the bottom of the driveway--Robbie's idea.

Multimedia message

Here's the official "before" picture of the table on our back deck. I'll take the after when the snow stops.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010