Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Wednesday's Report and Misc. Musings

In order that my fellow bloggers don't get too disturbed if I don't post a daily note, we have decided that, for the time being, I will post a note on the days that I see the doctor to give you the latest report. I saw Dr. Rifkin today and will be at the clinic again on Friday. Next week I will see him Monday and Thursday (yes!, only 2 visits). His goal is to wean me off the frequent visits and get to once a month. As they say, from his lips to God's ears.

My white cells and neutrophils have dropped, but that is expected (wbc=1.9, anc (absolute neutrophil count)= 1300) MOnday they were 2.9 and 2700. But since I am no longer receiving the neupogen shots, the production of cells is now entirely up to my new immune system--no more stimulants. They are expected to rise within the next week. Platelets went from 16 to 27 and hematocrit (red cells) went from 28 to 30. Both good signs, although the platelets are expected to bounce around a bit. When the platelets hit 50 I can have my "port" or "line" or "hickman catheter" removed. That is a catheter that was placed in my chest in July and has a line that goes directly into a main artery in the heart. It has been used for the drawing of blood, delivery of IV's, chemo, blood, etc, and has allowed me not to be stuck in the arm repeatedly. This port has 3 lines coming out of it, sort of like tassles, each about 4 inches long. Although I have gotten used to it, there are times,I do feel like a Christmas tree with an ornament hanging off me. Sleeping with this hanging out of my chest has been interesting to say the least. I'm looking forward to its removal, as is Susan, as she has had to clean each of the 3 lines daily since July.

Dr. Rifkin will be in Boston this Friday presenting a paper on a clinical trial involving the use of a new drug, Velcade, in patients with MM, who do not obtain complete remission. He told me I might well be a candidate for that clinical trial if we don't obtain remission. My response: Does this mean I can't obtain complete remission? he said no, so I am holding on to that thought. I'm asking you all to stay with me on this one. But, it is nice to know I have a doctor who is on the leading edge of the medicine with this disease. He is also a very nice guy. I am so lucky to have him as my doctor.

My sister's visit has been great. She is such a hard worker, has helped Susan organize her laundry room, has polished all the silver in the house, has "assisted" with meals, has made me lunch daily (I am banned from the kitchen because of bacteria that hangs out there) and has driven me to clinic and waited for hours as I have been infused. This family of mine has been there for me in spades throughout this ordeal.

And finally, I even went down to my office today to see everyone, to sit in my chair in my office, and to show the office to my sister. On one level, I am so ready to be back at it, but I understand it will be months before I can get there. I came home after our visit and had a 2 hour nap. Dan's big day at the office!

I continue to marvel at the staying power of all of you, my friends. We are now 7 months from diagnosis, and if anything, our family of friends has grown. The parade of visitors through the house is constant, the phone calls are never ending, the cards continue to find their way through the mail, and the blog just grows and grows. I see it as a reflection of what wonderful, loving, and caring people you all are and of how lucky I am to have met you and for you to have stayed in my life. Everyone at the clinic is aware of the tremendous support I have and they tell me, in their view, support from family and friends, plus a positive attitude make a huge difference in people's recovery. For that I thank you. Love, Dan


spike said...

We're the lucky ones Dan. Take it easy, get lots of rest and know that you are in our prayers. Love Spike& Lynne

Richie and Stacey said...

I was wondering when and if and how work was going. I bet you cant wait to get back there. I do like your stories. It must have been nice to sit in your chair. Its funny how when you're working so much, you cant wait for a break. But after a long break, its good to go back to work. Our fingers and toes are crossed for you :)

Howie said...


According to my quick take health barometer you must be feeling a lot better. Six whole paragraphs. Wow! Better take a couple hour nap after that.

Seriously, don't be rushing yourself. I'm sure the good doctor will agree that slow and steady is better.


Jaike and Shawn said...

Howdy Dan et al,
Been out of touch for a bit but just caught up to the fact that you are back home. Cool. Not so sure I buy the 'can't go into the kitchen' rule; who did you bribe to get out of dish duty?
Bless Richie and Stacey but I suggest staying away from work for as long as you can; play the Lottery for a sense of possible income and smoke the now legal weed to make this seem a perfectly legitimate way to earn a living. The John Denver inferences are begging, just begging for satirical use here yet I am sure I am not the first with this connection. Ah, Colorado!!
Shawn had to make a quick trip to Florida yesterday - her mom is not well - so I cut short a NYC biz junket and got back here in an amazingly short 4 hours from the time I walked out of the convention center on the Hudson at 11:00 to the time I pulled in to the garage. Fast cabs, no NYC traffic and jet engines are modern day marvels. I may go down to Florida as well this weekend, have Kendall watch the dogs here in the house. However, this does leave it wide open for her boyfriend -yes, she is pretty serious and he is actually a good guy - for romping around in the mansion; can't tell if I am more worried or jealous.
And yes, the White Sox were fabulous. Alexis went to the parade, very proud!
Love you all,

bri said...

just dropped in to see what condition your condition was in. rest up, take it easy and like jake and shawn can now enjoy the weed. aahh...colorado. just keep getting better!

Brother Ted said...

The news continues to be so positive. A good heart, a loving family and lots of friends makes for a good recovery (I guess a good doctor also helps). I also want to thank Susan and you for allowing my grand daughters, my son and my brother, to share in the visit of Blessed Virgin Mary to your home. As my brother Dennis said, "There was such a peaceful feeling in the whole house." The work will still be there when you regain your energy and total health. In the meantime enjoy the walks, time with family and friends and quiet times of meditation. Love Ted