Monday, April 30, 2012

Home Sweet Home

So, as most of you know by now, we are home.  I got lazy with the blog the last couple of days, and did not get to update.  It was probably a good thing for all you readers as there was nothing remarkable to blog about. I had a wedding to go to on Saturday, so I had to leave Steve around noon and didn't get back till about 8pm.  It was not too happy about me leaving.  He doesn't like hospitals as it is, not to mention being alone.  But, he made it without me :)  We didn't sleep well Saturday night.  Steve didn't feel good in the night, we were woken up numerous times, etc.  Same song different verse.

Sunday, one of the guys (Jory) that I met while I was giving platelets came by to visit with us and to give Steve a book.  It was nice visiting with him and he had lots of crazy, wild stories to entertain us with!  The lab was running slow on Sunday, so we didn't get all of Steve's lab results back until around noon.  Everything came back good and we were packed up and gone by 2pm.  Usually when we are discharged, Steve feels so yucky that he wants to come straight home and get in bed and send me to get the kids (or have mom drop them off).  While we were on the way home, he told me he thought he felt good enough to ride with me to get the kids.  He was having some pain from having his pic line removed and needed to take a pain pill.  He asked if I could stop somewhere and get him a drink.  I was starving since we hadn't eaten lunch yet and it was about 2:30 at this point.  We happened to be right by a Taco Bell, so I asked if he minded if I ran through the drive thru and I would get him a drink and me some food.  To my surprise, he asked me to get him a beef meximelt too!  He ate about 3/4 of it!  Other than cereal, that was the first "food" he had all week.  All of his other "meals" this week were milkshakes.

We picked the kiddos up from moms.  The car was packed FULL between all of our stuff and all of their stuff.  When we got home, I figured Steve would go straight in and get in bed.....NOPE!  Our neighbors, Shane and Karen were outside and he stood outside and visited with them for about 5 minutes and then came inside and sat in his recliner in the living room.  He looked at tickets to the Saints home opener - for our anniversary ;) - and also at hotel rooms.  He ate dinner, and stayed up till midnight.  I would say this was a very unusual first day home.  He pretty much seemed completely "normal" last night.  No complaints of pain, nausea, fatigue, nothing........ I have a feeling he will be wiped out all day today though, but we shall see!

We do not go to have labs drawn until Thursday, so I will let you all know how it goes.  Have a good week everyone!

Friday, April 27, 2012

On the home stretch.......

Well, Steve had a rough night.  He woke up around 3 am with an upset stomach.  He spent an hour trying to get his stomach calmed down.  Then just as he finally got his stomach under control, they came in to do his nightly blood draw.  I think we finally went back to sleep around 5am.  It seems to be a pattern.  Every round he will have one day where he is awake most of the day followed by a day of sleeping all day.  Today was the sleep all day day!  He has felt miserable and tired all day.  He has gotten several different nausea medications also to help with his tummy.  Even though he has had an upset stomach he has managed to eat and drink a little for every meal.  When Dr. Davies made his rounds today, he said that all Steve's labs continue to be where they need to be.  They went ahead and did a blood typing (a blood typing is only good for 72 hours) in case his numbers drop over the weekend and he needs a blood transfusion.  They also usually order labs 3-4 days after we are discharged but this time ordered labs for Monday.  They want to keep a close eye on everything.  

All of Steve's medicines for this round will be complete around 1:30 am.  So, tomorrow will start day 1 of "recovery".  Steve has only been up one time to walk around the nurses station, so I need to get him up and moving tomorrow.  I have to leave him here for several hours tomorrow while I go home and get ready for and then attend my Aunt's wedding.  I hate leaving him, but at least it is on recovery day.

Happy Friday to everyone!

Missing "Princess Bully".....

.......and "Punky" too!!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 4 of Round 4

Hello everyone!  Another not too much to blog about kind of day.  I guess that's good news though, right?  Steve woke up around 7:30 this morning and was ready to eat breakfast and shower.  The doctor usually makes rounds around 8:30 am, so I told him we could order breakfast and wait to shower until after the doctor came by.  Wouldn't you know the doctor didn't come till around 11:30 today!  The doctor said that Steve's counts all look good (well where they should be I should say..... a .87 white blood cell count is not "good").  His hemoglobin actually went up a tad bit too, so that was good news.  I had to leave the room around 1:30 to get to my platelet donation appointment.  By the time I walked over, got checked in, and got hooked up, I didn't get started until 3:00.  Then it took 2 full hours, so I didn't get back to the room till after 5:00.  I hated to leave Steve that long, but he seemed to be feeling "decent" and we were texting also.  Platelet donation was an adventure.  The guy checking me in was so very sweet, but so very long winded.  He had 100 stories.  They were all good stories, so I didn't mind too much.  I met 2 guys in there that were donating platelets for their friend who has Leukemia.  1 of the guys passes out and the other guy recorded it.  I was a little nervous going in, but seeing him pass out definitely made me more nervous!!  (The video is on my Facebook page)  Then I met a sweet guy who was just donating blood.  His wife was getting chemo but she didn't need blood, so he donated it to Steve.  That was so very sweet!  I met another sweet guy from Houston whose brother is battling Leukemia.  A couple came in to check their blood type.  The guy had a prosthetic leg.  I asked him if I could take a picture of it.  He was happy to model for me and give me several angles :)

Do you know your blood type?  I don't.  Steve is B+. They will mail me mine in about 2 weeks. 

Info on why you should donate Platelets. 

Me all hooked up and ready to DONATE!!!

The crazy guys who entertained me.

The cool prosthetic leg.

He wanted me to take all angles :)

So, I did :)

Even the back!!!!

Steve and I are just hanging out in the room now, watching the NFL draft (booooooring!!!!) and fixing to order dinner.  I will update again tomorrow :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Not too much to update

Well, there is not a whole lot to update today.  Steve had the blood transfusion yesterday and they drew his blood in the night.  Dr. Davies came in this morning and let us know that Steve's hemoglobin was at 9.1.  This was a good increase from yesterday and he thinks it will help with the fatigue.  Steve's platelets and white blood cell counts are still low, but they did not drop too much more.  So, overall everything is looking ok.  Even though Steve had the blood and his hemoglobin increased, he still slept most of the day.  We got up @ 8:30, ate breakfast (In addition to his cereal for breakfast, he had a chocolate milkshake for lunch and a vanilla shake with Boost for dinner. So, he is getting some calories in), watched some TV, and our friend Josh came to visit.  While Josh was visiting Steve starting feeling bad.  He said he was fine when the nurse came in to check on him, but I could tell something was wrong.  It turns out, the chills were coming on and he needed Demerol but was playing Mr. Tough Guy since we had a guest.  Finally he couldn't take it anymore.  Josh left, and Steve took the Demerol.  So, he basically slept most of the day after that.

While Steve slept, I played poker.  I didn't win, but it was nice to play again and I had a nice view while playing.  When we called for admissions on Monday morning I requested a corner room if one was available and we were lucky enough to get one. The middle rooms are TINY and we were spoiled when we had a corner room on his first treatment.  We just assumed all of the rooms were that big.....WRONG!

It was nice to get up out of the chair/bed and sit in a regular chair and play poker with the great view.  I always bring family photos and pictures of the kiddos too.  Gotta let these doctors and nurses know what we are fighting for!!!

More of the view from our room. 

I just like watching the traffic and people coming and going. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Well, Steve got treatment underway late last night.   They started some of his pre-meds around 9:30, but I don't think all of his drugs were officially started until around 11pm.  Steve and I both slept pretty well through the night.  The nurse came in to draw blood around 3:00 am.  Since she has to draw from his arm on my side of the bed, I have to actually get up out of the chair/bed, move the chair out enough for the nurse to be able to get in there and wait for her to draw the blood.  Luckily I am able to sleep while standing :)

We got up around 8am and I ordered our standard breakfast. Honey-Nut Cheerios for Steve and Cheerios, Banana, and Seasonal fruit for me.  Steve ate his breakfast but went right back to sleep.  The doctors made their rounds early today.  Dr. Davies is in charge of making rounds this week.  He came in and said that the numbers on Steve's lab work had significantly dropped already.  They wanted to go ahead and redraw the blood to make sure it was not a lab error considering he started the drugs at @ 11pm and blood was drawn @ 3 am, it seemed pretty drastic in a matter of only a few hours.  They redrew labs and came back again and let us know it was not an error.  His white blood cell counts yesterday were 3.5 and with the 3am blood draw were 1.2.  His platelets were 146 and were now 99.  His Hemoglobin was 9 and was now 7.9.   Dr. Davies also ordered a blood transfusion.  The blood did not get here until around 4:00 pm and will take about 3 hours to complete.  So, they are going to watch his labs closely and may even have to start drawing labs several times a day versus just the one time in the night.  If the numbers keep dropping drastically, they will probably stop 1 or more of the meds.  The key is to always keep the IL-2 going.  That is the most effective drug against melanoma in his drug regimen.
Blood!!!  Let's hope it helps his energy levels!

The nutritionist stopped by this afternoon.  She asked how Steve's appetite is.  I let her know that he eats breakfast every day, but barely eats the rest of the day.  She asked what he has for breakfast and I let her know he has cereal and milk and she quickly let me know that was not enough!  She said she would like for him to change from the low calorie Gatorade to the regular full calorie Gatorade.  She also suggested that he start drinking milkshakes and maybe even ask the dining service to add some Boost to the milkshake.  After she left, I asked Steve if he wanted to try a milkshake.  He said that he would try.  I asked if he wanted to add some Boost for extra calories.  I think he had too much pride to have the Boost added (I think I will make a sneak call next time and have them add it in).  Once the milkshake got here, he just stared at it since he has no appetite.  I asked him to just try it.  He did, and he drank the whole thing!!  Yay!  He really needs the extra calories to help with his energy levels.

Steve's Gatorade stockpile

It's been a pretty quiet day.  Steve has slept all day for the most part.  The good news is he has not had any chills so far.  That is always the worse!  (EDIT: 6pm CHILLS - YUCK) They are going to start day 2 meds @ 8 pm tonight.  He has started running a low grade fever and started to turn red. This is standard and always happens, so no biggie.

I will update again if needed tonight or sometime tomorrow.

Love you all!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday - Day 1-4

Well, today is the big day.  The first day of round 4 of biochemo.  Monday's are always sooooo long.  Here is an idea of how Monday's go:

6:30 Wake up and shower, dress, etc
7:00 Wake up kids and get kids ready
7:30 Take kids to daycare
7:40 Pack Steve and my stuff for the week (yes, I waited till the morning of)
8:15 Pack up car
8:30 Get on the road
8:45 Grab a quick breakfast and get back on the road
9:30 Check into Steve's first appointment to have his pic line put in
10:00 Steve gets called back to get pic line put in
12:00 Steve is finished getting pic line in
12:05 Check in to get Xray to be sure pic line is in the proper place
12:15 Get Xray
12:20 Go back to pic line department to wait for Xray results
12:25 Xray results fine
12:30 Check in for blood draw
1:00 Get blood drawn
1:10 Catch shuttle back to main building
1:15 Grab lunch in the cafeteria
2:15 Check in for appointment with Dr. Kim (Steve's Melanoma doctor)
3:00 Get called back to see Dr Kim
4:00 Finally see Dr. Kim
4:45 Go to car and get all of our stuff
5:00 Get to room, rearrange room, and unpack all of our stuff
6:15 Grabbed dinner
9:30 Just getting started on some pre-meds

Mondays are long, exhausting, lots of walking, lots of waiting, and just overall blah!

Ok, enough complaining.

We always see Dr. Kim before Steve is admitted to discuss the last round, what has gone on between rounds, etc.  For those of you following the blog, you know that Steve did not do too well after his last round.  He ended up having to have 2 platelet transfusions (I have an appointment to donate tomorrow at 3:00 pm!), his white blood cell count was extremely low, and his hemoglobin was very low.  After looking over his labs today, the platelets and white blood cell counts look great!  The hemoglobin is still very low which is probably causing Steve's extreme fatigue.  It is at a 9 and they transfuse at anything under 8.  So, since they draw labs every night, there is a high likely hood that he will end up getting a blood transfusion at some point while we are here.  Dr. Kim also wanted to try and prevent a repeat of the last round, so he decided to drop the Vinblastine (1 of the chemo's) from the treatment this cycle.  Dr. Kim feels that this is the least effective drug of the 5 and should help his white blood cell count, platelet count, etc not get so low. If his counts continue to drop, Dr. Kim may lower the dosage of some of the meds for rounds 5 and 6.  We will see how this round goes and also how the scans look before round 5.

Steve waiting to get started. 

It is 9:45 pm and one of our favorite nurses (Jeff) is in starting Steve's meds.  So, round 1 is officially underway.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Here is a post from Steve's Facebook page on his birthday, 4-19-2012.

Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes today! In case you aren't friends with my wife and/or have managed to miss many of the posts, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma in January and have been fighting it with the help of MD Anderson since. 

I just wanted to say a few things to all my friends:

1) If I don't respond to an email or a text message from you, please don't take it personal. There are stretches of days sometimes where I'm so wiped out that I barely get out of bed. So when you send me a text or FB msg that says "How you feelin?", and you don't get a reply. Just know that it still really makes me feel good to know that you care, and helps me stay positive throughout this whole ordeal.

2) Go see a dermatologist and get your moles checked out. Even just once a year at your General Practitioner doctor is good enough. And if you notice a mole start itching, changing color, bleeding, or changing shape, then RUN to the doctor. Stage 0/1 melanoma treatment is simple. Thank God they have invented a lot of new Stage 4 treatments, but they are super super hard on your body and still fairly close to 50/50 propositions. (FYI, mine started under the skin where there was no detecting it. You guys know me, I am NOT a sun person, lol!)

3) STOP GOING TO TANNING BOOTHS, unless you are just using a spray booth. From, "Women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer."

4) GET YOUR VITAMIN D level checked!!! Most standard blood tests don't test it. DEMAND IT from your doctor! If your doctor refuses, find a "wellness clinic" that will. Until you get it checked, start taking 5k IU daily. Don't worry, you can't overdose on it and it can't hurt your baby. They did a study with pregnant women taking 100k IU, and there were no side effects. If you are low, take 10k IU daily until you are no longer deficient. The scientific link between D deficiency and skin cancer is growing everyday, and my level of anecdotal evidence from spending weeks on an entire floor of nothing but skin cancer patients makes me believe it!

5) I have a 10 yr old and a 2 yr old daughter. My grand goal of sitting on the second story porch of my as-of-yet unbuilt house with my wife in one hand and my drink in the other and watching the sun go down feels more like a pipe dream now. My new grand goal is being around long enough to watch my kids graduate high school and maybe college. Take the suggestions I made above to heart, they could save your life and save your family lots of heart ache.

I love you all so much for caring about me and keeping me in your prayers!


Steve eating Mexican food on his birthday before we went to see The Hunger Games

Steve hanging outside Perry's Grille the day after his birthday.  They had a promo for .79 cent pork chop lunch special for the 1st 100 people!

We were # 17 and 18 

The best pork chop you will EVER have!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Better Numbers

Well, Steve had a new blood draw today.  I spoke to the nurse (Effie) filling in for our regular nurse (Delores) and she said that Steve's white blood cell count is up to 4.1 (yay, we were able to go have lunch for my birthday today!!), his hemoglobin was 7.8 and now it is 8.3, so it is still low but has went up a little bit.  This is why he still isn't feeling completely up to par though.  It basically means his anemic.  Anyone who is anemic knows how tired and weak it can make you.  His platelets are at 46 which is much better than the 16 that they were at, but they have to be at least 100 for him to start treatment (which he is scheduled to start on Monday).  Effie let me know she would talk to Dr. Kim and call me back.

Effie called back a few hours later and let me know that Dr. Kim wants to postpone Steve's next treatment by 1 week.  So, instead of starting on the week of the 16th, he will start on the week of the 23rd.  I know Steve is happy.  He had already asked me if we could ask Dr. Kim to postpone it a week.  His body just needs more time to recuperate.  Also, Steve's birthday is a week from today, so he would have been in the hospital on his birthday.  Who really wants to spend their birthday in the hospital?  This also means Steve will get to see both weekends of Sadie's performance. I know Sadie is happy about that!

So, I guess we get a week "vacation" so to speak.  Steve doesn't even have to have his blood drawn again until next Friday, the 20th.  Thanks to everyone for everything!  I will keep you all posted if there are any changes or updates.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Today was a good day

I think today may finally be the turning point where Steve starts to feel "normal" again.  He did have to have a platelet transfusion today.  The doctor ordered 6 units and he got a little over 4.  I tried to understand why they dont give exactly what the doctor ordered, but I guess I'm just not "getting" it.  Anyhow, we got to go to the Bay Area location for this transfusion.  That was helpful, considering it's about a 15 minute drive versus about a 45 minute drive to the Main Campus.  We got to the appointment at 9:35 am and we were gone by 12:05 pm.  Not too bad....2 1/2 hours total.  It would have went a little quicker, but the first IV the nurse tried to start, she could not get going.  Steve was a little dehydrated and also had some scarring in that vein.  The nurse called another nurse in and she was working on starting an IV in his hand.  His vein was rolling, but she finally got it going.  The drip itself (a gravity drip) only took about 25 minutes.

Waiting to get started.

My babe <3

He actually sat and worked from his phone most of the time.....crazy!

After we got home from the transfusion, Steve had some lunch.  I was really exhausted and decided to just sleep until it was time to pick up Sadie Rae.  So, I got about an hour and a half nap in....that was nice!  Steve stayed up and has been working and playing on his computer all day.  I know he must feel better because he A-hasn't napped any today B-has much more color to his face today and C-is playing on his computer in the computer room.  When he feels bad he is in the living room in his recliner or in bed.   So, I'm really hoping he has a good rest of the week/weekend.  He is scheduled to start treatment again next Monday.  Neither one of us is looking forward to it, but it will be #4.  That will put us just a couple of weeks away from new CAT scans.  He will have the new scans a day or so before treatment #5.  Tomorrow we have NO appointments.....none for me, none for him, none for the kids......NOTHING!  I am going to enjoy the day.  I need a pedicure, and need to shop for a dress for my Aunt's wedding.  Other than that I am going to sit at home and do nothing, except maybe sleep!  Thursday is a busy day.  Its my birthday (boooo!!), Steve has a blood draw, and Ashlynn has a follow up appointment from her adenoid surgery a couple of weeks ago.  Friday, we are hoping Steve's numbers are up enough that we can go to the movies.  We want to go see The Hunger Games.  Saturday is Sadie's play and Sunday if Steve's numbers are up, we may take the kids to ride some rides at the fair (and pack us up for a week at the hospital and the kids for a week at Hamol and Hapaw's) So, again, tomorrow is our RELAXING day!  I will update again on Thursday and let everyone know how Steve's numbers look. 

Monday, April 9, 2012


After spending all day trying to get back in touch with the nurse to find out when we needed to go for the transfusion, I found out @ 3:00 pm that it is scheduled for tomorrow morning.  I literally dealt with this from 11-3......sigh.  The good news though is that Dr. Kim called me back to explain everything to me (that the nurse could not).  All of Steve's counts are low - red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, you name it.  So, I was real curious as to why they were only giving him platelets. I know it is very important to keep the platelets above 10.  But why were they not also concerned about the red and white blood cells?  Dr. Kim said that they usually do not transfuse blood unless the counts get below 7.  Steve's is at an 8.  Steve is young and "hopefully" his count will go up over the next few days.  If he got blood now, he would be taking blood from someone more needy.  He is not having any "symptoms" other than fatigue and that is just to be expected after treatment.  In addition to that reasoning, your body can become immune to blood transfusions and so it is better to save them for when your levels actually reach the 6-7 mark or you need it for some other reason.  Ok, that all makes sense.  Then I asked about the white blood cells, he basically said that even though Steve basically has no white blood cells at this time, he thinks they are going to start going up and as long as he stays out of the public and practices good hand washing he will be ok.  So, I guess all is good-ish.

More Transfusions.....Sigh

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!

Well, to catch everyone up since Friday. Steve had his platelet transfusion Friday evening.  It went very smooth.  We were in and out in about an hour.  Unfortunately, since Steven only got platelets and no whole blood, it did not help his energy levels.

Steven's brother and family were coming in town for Easter weekend and actually beat us to the house.  We had a good time visiting, the kids played on the moonwalk/waterslide that I rented, dyed eggs, had an egg hunt, and went to Main Event.  Stuart and Dana helped me get the garage cleaned up, put up a shed in the backyard, and made a patio with a white picket fence for Ashlynn's playhouse.  We cooked every night and all in all had a very nice visit.

Steven was still very weak and tired the whole weekend.  He managed to stay up most days and even went outside a few times to watch the girls on the moonwalk, do the egg hunt, watch us clean the garage, etc.  He had an episode on Saturday night/morning that has never happened before.  He woke up out of a dead sleep and ran to the bathroom and started dry heaving.  I got him some anti nausea meds, and some anxiety meds and he was able to go back to sleep relatively quickly.  He slept till about 11 am on Sunday morning.  When he woke up I noticed it looked like he had black eyes under his eyes.  Apparently when he was dry heaving some capillaries under his eyes broke and some blood was pooled under there.  It kinda freaked me out, but it already looks about 90% better this morning.  Steven was due to have his blood drawn again this morning.   Eric, a friend of Steve's was coming through town on his way home from his family Easter trip and wanted to meet him for lunch. We were hoping for good numbers from the lab so we could meet him - Yes, I was inviting myself to come along :)  I tried several times to get in touch with the nurse, Fertina (our regular nurse is out today) but she was in with patients.  After about an hour or so, I was finally able to get in touch with her.  Steve's platelets were at 14 (they were 16 Friday BEFORE the transfusion), his white blood cell count said incomplete, his hemoglobin was very low, his neutrophil count was very low (a neutrophil is a type of white blood cell).  So, overall, EVERYTHING dropped.  Everything should be going back up at this point in the treatment.  As I am typing this, the nurse just called and said that the Dr. is ordering 6 more units of platelets for a platelet transfusion.  I questioned her on why they are not also going to give him whole blood?  He has no energy, and his red blood cell, and hemoglobin counts are very low??  She said she will talk to the doctor and call me back.  Regardless, he will definitely be getting a platelet transfusion at the least today.  I will keep everyone posted once I know more.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Did I mention I really HATE cancer?

Well, Steve had his blood redrawn this morning.  We were hoping for increased white blood cell counts and increased platelets.  Instead the nurse (Delores) called us back with just the opposite.  His white blood cell count had dropped to 0.8 and his platelets have dropped to 16.  Delores paged Dr. Kim and let me know she would call me back and let me know what Dr. Kim wants us to do.  Delores called me back and let me know that Dr. Kim wants Steve to have a platelet transfusion of 6 units.  He also has to be extra cautious of being around sick people and watch for any signs of infections or fevers.  If he gets any excessive bleeding or fevers we have to go straight to the emergency room.  Steve is sleeping now, I haven't told him yet that he has to get the infusion (although he knew there was a high possibility).  Now, I am waiting on Delores to call me back and let me know what time we have to be there for the infusion.

THIS IS A SIDE EFFECT FROM THE MEDICATION, AND NOT FROM THE CANCER!  I keep reminding Steve of this everyday so he doesn't get any more depressed than he already is.  We have 8 weeks until this treatment is over.  That also means these side effects will go away.  If dealing with 8 weeks of crappy side effects means living longer and beating cancer, we will just have to deal with 8 weeks of crappy side effects!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Quick Update

Just a quick update.  Steve had his blood redrawn today due to his low counts yesterday.  Yesterday his white blood cell count was 4.0 (normal is 4-11, so 4 was good) and his platelet count was 27 (normal is 150-450).  I spoke with Dr. Kim's nurse this afternoon.  She let me know that the platelet count did drop, but only to 25.  They only transfuse if it gets below 10, so that small drop was not too worrisome.  His white blood cell count also dropped.  It dropped to for now, no going outside, going in public, coming into contact with anyone sick, etc.  They say that after a chemo treatment, your counts are usually at their lowest about 10 days after treatment starts.  So, that would be right about now.  Today would be about 9 days ago that his last chemo treatment started.  He has another blood draw on Friday.  We are hoping for better numbers. Better numbers will help Steve's energy level, his brother and family are coming in town on Friday and I know he wants to have more energy for their visit.  And even more importantly, better numbers mean less risk for complications.  I think even though the numbers sound scary right now, everything is ok.  We have been told from the beginning that the treatments/medicine is cumulative.  Meaning, each cycle his counts will probably be lower and lower because some of the medication from each cycle is still in his system each time he starts a new cycle.  Hopefully he will never have to do a transfusion, but if we are being realistic, he has 3 cycles left and there is a very good chance that he will end up having to do a transfusion at one point.  We are ok with that, as long as the meds keep kicking the cancer to the curb!  We have to keep in mind that the low counts are side effects from the medications NOT side effects from the cancer!  Steven still has no "cancer side effects".  The cancer isn't spreading, we are halfway finished with treatment......we can do this!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I hate Cancer

Steve and I were able to come home Saturday evening.  He was actually feeling decent (in chemo/cancer terms) Saturday night.  Sunday he started feeling pretty bad.  He started feeling very weak, was very pale, and slept quite a lot.  Monday was even worse.  He didn't sleep much Sunday night because even though he was tired his anxiety was so bad it was keeping him awake (even after taking meds).  Monday morning he got a pretty bad nose bleed.  This happened to him after he was home from treatment cycle 1 also.  It took about 20-30 minutes to get the bleeding to completely stop.  He was very pale and frail looking yesterday.  I hate to see him that way.  His appetite has still not returned.  He did eat a grilled cheese and tomato soup a couple of days ago, but other than that since he has been home he has only had a few bites of cereal, and a few bites of pudding.  Standard protocol after leaving the hospital is to have your blood drawn every 2-3 days to check your platelets, white blood cell counts, etc.  Today was his scheduled today to go have his blood drawn.  It took every ounce of energy for him to get dressed, get to the car and get to the lab.  He came home and watched a little tv and then went back to sleep.  The nurse called me about 1:00pm and let me know that Steve's platelet count is 27.  This is very low. (This is why he got the nose bleed). A normal platelet count is 150-450.  Typically his runs between 40-60 at this stage of the treatment.  Even though he was not scheduled to have labs drawn again until Friday, they want him to go back tomorrow.   If his platelet count drops below 10, they will have to do a transfusion.   Hopefully when we go back tomorrow his counts will have come up!!!  We don't realllly want to have to do a transfusion!  If the blood count gets below 10, it is extremely dangerous.  It could cause fatal internal bleeding.  However, if it does go below 10, we will gladly take the transfusion!

UPDATE: Just got a call from the nurse. She said that after Dr. Kim looked further at Steven's blood work, he feels that it will be ok to wait until Friday to get his next blood draw. He thinks the numbers are low but where they should be on cycle #3. I asked if we could go ahead and do the blood work anyhow, because I know Steven and I will both be nervous waiting all the way until Friday! She said we could go ahead and have it redrawn, but to know that it could still go down a little more and not to be alarmed unless it is under 10. (Easy for her to say!)