Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blood Drive and Surgery Follow Up

On June 30th, we had a replacement blood drive for Steve.  My ex-coworker/manager organized the event. She is awesome!!! Thank you, Stacey Boldt!!!  We had a GREAT turnout.  We signed up 42 blood donators and 9 platelet donators (this was the max amount od blood and platelet donators allowed!).  There was a mishap with the mobile unit that was sent out.  We were supposed to have a 6 bed unit and only ended up with a 4 bed unit.  Needless to say, it was a crazy busy day for the MD Anderson blood drive workers. They handled it great though!  We ended up with 57 people attempting whole blood donations and 42 actual whole blood donations (some were turned away due to low iron, illness, no ID, etc)  and 6 platelet donations!  For those that have not heard me mention it before, it takes SIX whole blood donations to equal ONE platelet donation AND platelets are only good for FORTY EIGHT hours!  So, having the 6 platelet donations was AWESOME!  It takes about 1 1/2-2 hours to donate platelets, so kuddos to all of the platelet donators for hanging in there with us for that long.  (Had we had the 6 bed unit, we may have been able to squeeze in a couple of more platelet donations.  We were lucky enough to have plenty of willing donors!)  Thank you to everyone who came out and donated, attempted to donate, etc!  Thank you to Stacey for organizing the event.  Thank you to Bunny for hanging out all day!  Thank you to Town and Country Insurance for allowing the blood drive to take place in your parking lot and letting us use your building for potty, kitchen, etc.  Thank you to MD Anderson for keeping up with the steady flow of donors we had and for a great day!

The Mobile Unit
The sign hanging on the door of Town and Country Insurance
Stacey - The organizer and platelet donor!
Blood and platelets flowing 
Cisco with MD Anderson - Very sweet!!
Me donating platelets and trying not to pass out :)  My step dad in the background donating blood. 
Mom donating blood :)

I tried to get pictures of everyone, and I got a lot of people, most of those pictures are posted on my Facebook page.

On Monday, July 2nd, Steven had his follow up appointment with his surgeon, Dr. Lee.  Dr. Lee said that his incision is healing GREAT and that everything (pertaining to the surgery) looks great.  Steve had decided to stop taking his pain pills (lots of pain medication along with anesthesia will make you very constipated!) and had several days of withdrawal like symptoms.  On the day of the follow up appointment was the first day the withdrawal symptoms had subsided.   He is still having some pain, and has been overdoing things a bit.  He was not supposed to lift anything over 5 pounds for 6-8 weeks, and of course he has been.  So, he is starting to feel the pain again, and has started to take the pain meds again, but no where near as many as he was having to take.  Dr. Lee said he should still take his pain pills as needed but was glad that he took a break to get his bowels moving again.  So, hopefully within the next couple of weeks the pain will completely subside and he will be able to completely stop taking the pain meds.

We spoke to the Dr. Lee about future surgeries.  Of course all treatment decisions will be made through Steve's melanoma specialist, Dr. Kim.  But, we asked Dr. Lee if Steve's scans later this month show no new growths if it would be a good idea or possibility to go in and remove the swollen clavicular lymph node (where we first found that he had cancer).  Dr. Lee very eagerly said, "Yes!"  He said he thought it would make a lot of sense to remove that lymph node if everything is still going ok and there are no new growths.  Again, we would have to clear this with Dr. Kim, but it was good to hear that Dr. Lee was on board considering that they all have to meet and agree on things.  At least we know where Dr. Lee stands.  Dr. Lee said the lymph node surgery is much, much less invasive than the adrenal gland surgery.  You are typically only in the hospital 1-2 days.  If Steve had the surgery, he would go home with a drain tube for about 7 days and then would have the drain tube removed. Another option instead of diving right in to surgery would be to have another fine needle biopsy to see if there were any cancerous cells in the lymph node.  If there were not, Steve could possibly just skip the surgery.  I don't know how I feel about that option?  I kinda feel like if it is still swollen, dead cancer cells or live cancer cells, just take it out!  So, we will get a little more information later this month.

On Sunday, July 1st, Steven's Uncle Darril passed away.  Uncle Darril had a lot of medical hurdles the last few years.  He had open heart surgery, a lung transplant, a hip replacement surgery, and then the last couple of months dealt with skin cancer.  I was originally told Uncle Darril had melanoma also, but I found out at the funeral that he actually had another type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma.  This is a non melanoma form of skin cancer  Uncle Darril had a wonderful turnout at his services.  He was a great husband, dad, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, brother, and friend to many.  He will truly be missed.  

Steven went back to work today for the first time in over a month.  He is also going to a co-workers home after work to play poker.  It sure is nice to have a little "normalcy" in our lives.  These days we are home together all day and all night, 24/7......I think I'm going to miss him today :)

Here are some photos over the last month or so......

Daddy and Ashlynn swimming 

Daddy and his girls on Father's Day 

Ashlynn, the birthday girl!!


  1. Hi. I got here via Stump's blog.

    Best wishes for health for your husband and your family.

    1. Thank you so much!! If you know Stump, best wishes to you too ;) Just kidding! I love that kiddo!