Monday, January 9, 2012

Day -8: Getting Ready for the Home Stretch!

I added another blog to my blogroll today. It is a Christian lady who is facing a stem cell transplant as soon as they find a donor. She's doing a lot better getting matched than I did, so she'll be using a "matched unrelated donor" rather than a baby's umbilical cord and placenta, like I am.

Her blog's encouraging and delightful.

My Update

I got my last brain radiation today. It was no problem. I had a small bit of fatigue in the afternoon, probably not as bad as many of you face who get the "after-lunch blues." Otherwise, nothing, not even any nausea.

Tomorrow, we'll be leaving the apartment by 6:45 a.m. I'll show up at the stem cell transplant clinic, and they'll give me anti-nausea drugs and a big dose of fluids, about as much as they can pump into me in half an hour. Then it's downstairs to the radiology oncology clinic for my first dose of "TBI," Total Body Irradiation.

I'll try to get a picture of that for you.

I have to sit on this bicycle seat, which allows me to bend my legs just a little, then hold onto two handle for support. No back to this one-legged stool with a bicycle-seat top.

It takes about 20 minutes to give me TBI, including the time needed to turn me around at the halfway point.

That will happen around 8:00. When I'm done, they'll give me a time to come back six hours later. There has to be a six hour gap between the two doses.

We'll do that for the next three days.

Tomorrow, it will be one week exactly until the transplant. I think I get admitted to the hospital Thursday after radiation so I can get the weekend of chemo and then the actual stem cell transplant on Tuesday. I'll be released the day after the transplant.

I think.


We had German chocolate cake with Jerry and his wife today at their apartment. It was fun.

Apparently, the doctor gave Jerry a "hey, you made it" comment today. Basically, he said it was smooth cruising from here. Jerry's got a slight rash on the right side of his face, but the Graft-vs-Host is under control and looking good.

That came from his excellent blood counts. Everything is in the normal range except his red blood cell count, which is around 3.8 and should be over 4.1.

I would have been jealous had he already been in the normal range on the red blood. Some transplant patients don't achieve that for over a year. Right now, I can't get normal on anything. Everything has settled in on low to almost dangerously low, and it's not getting better.

We're replacing that broken system next week (and basically burning it to the ground this week).


We've been talking about possibly staying in Nashville after the transplant. This free apartment, donated by the American Cancer Society and Open Arms (and which the apartments provide at half price to those organizations), is available to me until April 30. (Thank you to those organizations!)

We believe that the church is supposed to be a whole lot more than an organization that people "attend." We believe it's supposed to be a family, quite literally, for those without families, and that Christians are supposed to put Christ, his church, and his people even before their mother, father, and children. Jesus said that directly a few times, so we're just taking him at his word.

Anyway, we like to help Christians come into the wonderful power and joy of that unity, and we were hoping we might be able to do that in Nashville when this is all over. We've even had a family from back home at Rose Creek Village offer to come out and help with that.

On Saturday, I was having coffee with one of my favorite people here, whose name is Dan. Dan informed me that he owns and rents houses as a side business.

As it turns out, he happens to own a 7-bedroom, 3-story house that is basically two houses in one. It has two kitchens, at least two living rooms, and a bathroom on every floor. It's right in our price range, though it's an old house that doesn't have central heat and air.

I could hardly believe it.

Maybe that's an open door. We have a couple (younger) families out in California doing the same thing, and God provided a house that they can share as well, just today. That's a lot more amazing in California than it is out here in Nashville.

Anyway, we're excited about that, too.

Okay, on to the big push tomorrow. Thank you for joining me on this journey and for your prayers!


  1. hey dad did you see the house yet?

  2. and do you know if we will get it yet?

  3. Hi Dear Daughter!

    I have only seen the house on Google maps, and we want to get it if the Lord wills. We will have to see if it's available; people are living in it now.

    We also have to make sure it's good enough to live in, but the landlord is now a good friend, so if it has problems, we'll probably want to help him fix it up. It's an old house.

  4. Thank you, Paul, for adding me to your blogroll. :) I spoke to my MUD Coordinator the other day, and another blood test came in from a M-47 for further testing. It seems that I have numerous DP many that she thought I must have had a blood transfusion in the past. I haven't. So she said that the likelihood of my match not having some DP antibody issue is minimal. So after the search continues for a bit longer, F-22/13 of 14/with the DP antibody conflict may end up being my best shot. We'll see how M-47 turns out! Love keeping up with your journey. Praying!

  5. I left a note for you, Tamara, on your other comment. The feeling about keeping up with the journey is mutual. We're all part of a mutual support time, one good thing about the internet.