(Almost) Weekly Updates: Wednesday 28th June, 2017

Brother Dan and wife Sue with their daughter Christy and her daughter Gracie and Great Grandma Shirley all stayed with us as originally planned for one week, but it turned into two weeks.  Christy developed autoimmune reaction and lost the function of her kidneys when she was 17 years old.  She received her mother’s kidney after a period on dialysis and it lasted nine years.  A repeat transplant occurred after receiving her father’s kidney, which seems, even until present, to be functioning very well.  However, because of all the anti-rejection medications she’d been subjected to over these many years, they have now caused her to have liver issues.  She had been sick since January but rallied for this trip and made it out here to Seattle!!  Unfortunately, starting Saturday after her arrival, she developed relentless headaches, fever, and difficulty in breathing.  She visited Harrison ER on two occasions and was finally admitted to Swedish Hospital as an in-patient by Dr. Koval last Thursday 22 June.  The work-ups yielded no definitive diagnosis, but finally settled on non-specific FUO (fever of unknown origin) with severe Headaches.  Happily she has recovered sufficiently to be able to board a plane home tomorrow.  Dan and Sue rearranged their flights to accompany her and Gracie on the same flight.  It has been difficult but Christies’ attitude is superb, enjoying family as much as possible even with unyielding HA’s.  Hopefully in the future looking back, this was an unforgettable adventure trip.

My health status had been a steady and constant progression towards normality.  Taking advantage of the weather and his presence, I play 4 rounds of golf with Brother Dan, twice at Discovery Bay, once at Meadowmeer, and yesterday at Highlands in Tacoma with 6 year-old grand nephew Rocket who recently won the tournament among ages 10 and below golfers in Columbus, Ohio.

Today I returned to VM for my two month follow-up CT scan exam.  First the nurses accessed my Power port and drew blood for studies.  I am still anemic, but the WBC’s are adequate to continue Chemotherpy.  The blood protein and albumin are still below normal.  All liver functions are now normal.  The Cancer marker also improved from 76.7 to 43.7, (normal being 37 and below).  The CT scan showed no new lesions, no lymph node involvements, and improvement of the R lung cavity pleural effusion.  Of the two golf ball size lesions in the R lobe of the liver; the smaller one appears dim to absent, the larger one remains much the same but not any bigger.  There are no visible new lesions noted.

Clinically I am improving.  Per Dr. Picozzi’s physical evaluation, he seemed unconcerned.  Lab test values are all heading towards the right direction.  The only real question is why the large metastatic lesion remains unchanged?  Great that it has not enlarged, but is there any progress subsequent to the Chemotherapy?

Plan is to continue 4 more sessions of every other week infusion and re assess in two months.

I’ll try to give weekly updates as they develop.

Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is mystery, Today is a Present.

Thanks sincerely for your visits and encouraging comments.  Keep your prayers and good vibes coming.

Weekly Updates: Thursday 15 June, 2017

Since the day of the week for my treatment schedule has been altered, it makes no sense for writing Monday updates with no information.  Because I’ve committed to submit a report each week, I decided to write after the visits and name this as weekly updates.

Wednesday 6/14, Linnea and I went to Seattle on the 7:05 commuter ferry and left the house at 6:30 fearing overload.  We were safely in line.  The appointment went very smoothly.  My WBC came up to 6200 from 4000.  The leukocyte count which necessitated the postponement of treatment last week rose from 520 to 1490.  My Monocytes registered 1050, which is high.  Monocytes are phagocytes which attack and eat foreign invaders; hopefully they are going after the bad cancer cells!

The rest of the treatment schedule went ‘smooth as silk.’  We returned on the 1:10 ferry.  We were greeted at home by Mom, Brother Dan/wife Sue then daughter Christy and granddaughter Gracie who had arrived from Ohio the night before.  Well, actually it was just earlier that morning because their plane was delayed and we all reached Bainbridge around 1:30am.  Short night!  The guests were soundly resting when we left.

In two weeks, we repeat the CT scan and will learn a lot more regarding this insidious disease.  I’ll be grateful for your continued prayers, good thoughts and wishes.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday Update on Wednesday 7 June, 2017

Because Dr. Picozzi was attending the world wide symposium on pancreatic cancer, my Chemo treatment was scheduled for today. Linnea and I got up early and prepared ourselves to spend much of today at the VM, a beautiful NW summer day! We arrived at the clinic for our 10am appointment. I checked in and was expeditious taken to the treatment room and the nurse accessed my port and drew blood for testing. Dr. Picozzi came and examined me and found everything satisfactory. He was about to prescribe my Chemo dosage for the day but suddenly changed his mind. He came back and announced that, ‘breaking news’, I will not be receiving any treatment today because my leucocytes were too low. We’ll postpone treatment for one week.

Usually we wait for Dr. Picozzi and meanwhile the nurses would print out the lab reports for us. But today Linnea and I hadn’t had a chance to look at any report before Dr. P showed up so we were surprised at this finding. When we did get the results, the white cell count was 4000, but lymphocytes represented 70%, monocytes 17% and the polymorpholeucocytes numbered 520 or 13%. (Normal = more than 50%.) The Chemo must be pretty potent to have knocked my ability to produce wbc to such a degree! Then the other factor we keep a close tap is the Cancer marker. Today it is 76.7, still a little high but improving and heading the right direction, (normal being <=37.0.) It was 114.5 two weeks ago and 143.3 two weeks prior to that.

I was not disappointed to not being treated today. I am feeling stronger every day. I played 18 holes with friends at White Horse yesterday, felt a little tired afterwards but recovered completely today. My side effects are totally tolerable. So we wait until next Wednesday to continue this journey. Meanwhile my nephew Billy, my twin William’s son, is visiting for a week. We should have quality time since I did not have treatment today. All’s good.

Thanks for visiting. I’ll give an update next week. Meanwhile I’ll try to write another biographical vignette. Keep the Good Vibes and Prayers coming my way! I very much appreciate each of you.