Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What's Happening

The surgery I had two weeks ago today to remove the large kidney stone (more like a kidney boulder) went well and did me an incredible amount of good. I could tell I was better almost immediately after surgery. I spent a few days in the hospital, then came home to continue recovery. I am now working almost full days. Carol can give a list of "good health" things that I can do now that I could not do a short while ago, and "being sick" things that I no longer do that I was doing a short while ago. I am blessed to have her as a wife. While in my mind, I know she is right, all I can look at is how far from 100% I am. I guess I am now feeling good enough to feel somewhat bad.

I went to see my regular cancer doctor this afternoon. He puts a lot of stock in how people look and says I am looking really good. Carol agrees. What looking good means to a cancer doc, however, means that I'm probably healthy enough to resume chemotherapy for the myeloma, which has been on the rise during the break to fight the bladder and kidney problems. That cancer is the highest it has been in a couple of years. I will order the medicine tomorrow and get started back in a few days. The goal is to beat the cancer down and get the bone marrow to making better blood, which should fix a variety of problems related to energy, fatigue, breathing, etc.

Thanks to all for your love, prayers, encouragement and concern!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Daryl and His Recidivism

Here's just a quick update on some of my recent medical adventures, as well as some adventures planned for the next few weeks, based on meetings with doctors on Monday of this week through today.

Surgeries:  I will have two surgeries between now and May 1. The first one is a pre-surgery surgery tomorrow afternoon, 4/20. Its purpose is to install a drain to pull off infectious material to enable the doctor to see clearly on the 5/1 surgery, and to prescribe an antibiotic to take prior to surgery. Tomorrow's surgery should last about 90 minutes. They will keep me overnight and then most likely release me on Friday as part of their "catch, tag and release" program.

The 5/1 surgery is to remove a very large stone from one of my kidneys. They will go in by small incision, attempt to remove the stone by grinding and vacuum, and keep me in the hospital that night. The next day, they will perform a CT scan to make sure they got all the fragments. If they got it all, they will let me go home. If not, there will be a repeat surgery on 5/3. So, I will be in the hospital 2-3 days, then recover at home through 5/7.

We have a name for people like you, Daryl. It's called recidivism. Can you say recidivism, Daryl? Do you know what that means?

Chemotherapy for multiple myeloma: This last round was tough, but it did decrease the cancer by about 20% (overall decrease of about 40% since early February). I will need to discontinue chemotherapy until surgeries and recovery are complete.

Shortness of breath: The reason for my extreme shortness of breath of late is poor quality blood, likely caused by the bone marrow not making good blood due to the cancer, side effects of the chemotherapy drug, and lack of activity brought on by poor quality blood (#vicious cycle).

As always, our hope and trust is in the Lord, along with our gratitude for His sustaining power and provision thus far, and thanks to you for your friendship, encouragement and prayers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Update March 2018

I went by to see the local cancer doc yesterday (for myeloma, the cancer in the bone marrow) to discuss test results on a blood sample taken last week. The bad news portion of the visit is that the bone marrow is not making good blood. I could have guessed that without the lab work. It could be that the marrow is gummed up be the cancer cells, which had risen a lot at prior visit, or it could be that I am still recovering from December's major surgery. Either way, it leaves me tired, short of breath, and somewhat dizzy a lot of the time.

The good news is that the brief time I was on chemotherapy this past month made a significant drop in the cancer level - it decreased by about 40%. Hopefully, both the chemo and the cancer decrease will continue and help clear up the bone marrow, and the marrow will start making better blood. We are now working with my new insurance company to get the next batch of chemo drugs ordered, and I will resume chemotherapy when it arrives, probably sometime next week.

Tomorrow will make 3 months since December's surgery. I will go see the doctor who did that surgery in early April, and then go back to see the myeloma cancer doc in mid April. I am still working partial days (thanks to a mighty God, a gracious employer, and a capable staff), but I have not yet been able to resume exercising. Perhaps as I can, that too will help with blood improvement and alleviation of those problems.

As always, thank you for you love, prayers, support and encouragement!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Cancer Fronts Update

It has been a very medically-packed couple of months since the bladder cancer surgery on 12/15, including two return trips with hospitalization stays, with entry through the ER. I have so much to give thanks to my God through all this, for His sustaining and restoring power, good medical care, provision of daily needs, and support of friends and family.

But more on the recovery later. Big news is that I went to see the multiple myeloma cancer doc (the first cancer) last week, and discussed the results of a blood sample taken the week prior. This cancer has increased by 50% since January 3, and by 100% since December 4, and it is now time to resume the chemotherapy that had to be put on hold for the bladder surgery. I still had the remaining doses of that medication, and resumed that chemotherapy last week. Other than that, the doc thinks I am looking and acting pretty good. I will go back to see him in a month.

So far as recovering from the bladder surgery, it has been a progress at first measured in centimeters, and then in inches, per day. Neighbors and all of our kids were a tremendous help during this recovery time. Following the latest release from the hospital in mid-January, Carol was too concerned about leaving me alone for the day, but had missed work for a month (many nights of which were spent sleeping on a hospital couch), and really needed to get back to work with peace of mind about me. She, some of our kids, and some folks at church set up a system for some of the retired men at the church to come and hang out with me in shifts throughout the day for a while. They were times of great fellowship that were much appreciated.

I would rate myself at about 50% recovered from the bladder surgery. I'm able to work about 4 hours a day, and still need lots of sleep. I went back into the pool twice last week, and walked about 600 yards in the water each time. I am still in the process of building strength, still learning tricks of dressing to cover my new hardware, and still investigating other hardware available to me.

Thanks for all the visits, prayers and expressions of concern during these past weeks, and in the future.

Guest Blogger Carol: If you're reading this, Daryl caved in and let me get by with a P.S. :-)  I have to say that Daryl is one of the bravest people I know.  He faces all of these trials with a deep  confidence that God will not allow any trial to come his way without it being according to His will.  This is a deeply safe place to be.  He often softens the truths of how hard this road is on him, and how many daily challenges both cancers have placed on his life.  He faces each day without complaint. Wow! These days have also held many joys...we got a whole month together to learn what we needed to do. We had the help of our kids and friends. People ask me how we manage it, and I quickly tell them we have not had to do this alone! Thank you all from my heart for the calls, emails, texts, gifts, meals, distractions and assistance you have given us. Even those who stayed away because of illness...that's love! Thank you for ignoring the fact that I have not written thank you notes for all the kindnesses! May the Lord's blessings be yours!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Post Op Visit

I had the post op visit with the urology surgeon this afternoon. He removed all sorts of tubes, patches, drains, staples, etc. (OUCH!), and sent me home with only permanent hardware remaining. The post-op pathology report said that the (removed) bladder definitely had cancer in the muscle wall, but the lymph nodes surrounding the bladder did not have cancer. In other words, they think they got all of the cancer, and I won't need to got through chemotherapy to kill any remaining cells. I will go back for a CT scan and check up in three months, but that's it with treatment for this cancer for now. 

Coming weeks will involve a continued slow recovery and learning how to live, dress, work, swim, etc. with the new hardware on my side. Thanks to all for the love, visits, care and help over the past weeks.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Meanwhile, back at the myeloma ranch

In the midst of many appointments, phone calls and website messages with doctors regarding the bladder cancer, I went to see my regular cancer doc yesterday. I came away from our meeting with 3 things:
  1. He has really cool Christmas bow ties.
  2. He was constantly affirming that we are doing the right thing with this bladder surgery. We spent almost the entire time talking about the bladder cancer and surgery and why this is the right thing, the only choice to be pursuing. He has really taken ownership of this cancer, too, with conversations with the surgeon Dr. Raj at UTSW, and that is very encouraging.
  3. We barely spoke of the multiple myeloma, but he did observe from the lab work that it is not taking off and going crazy right now, so we can not worry with that chemotherapy at this time. I did manage to get in one week of chemo for the myeloma over the past month, and we actually saw a small drop in the M-spike.
This has been a very busy few weeks. In addition to doctors and insurance calls and emails, we have both been trying to get things ready at work to be out for a couple of weeks, or longer for me, and do a few Christmas items, too.

We will go to the hospital before sunrise tomorrow morning for the surgery. Thanks for the thoughts, prayers, and encouragement.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A Date Has Been Set

December 15 has been set as the date for the surgery mentioned in the prior blog post. I should be in the hospital at the hospital (UTSW Clements in Dallas) for about a week after the surgery, and then "in the hospital at home" for another week after that, which just about wraps up December and 2017. Following that, I should be able to transition back into a normal schedule over the month of January.

Thanks for so many expressions of caring and concern.   Daryl