Monday, February 27, 2006

It's a Match, and Other Happenings

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my brothers and sister were requested to have blood drawn to see if their blood matched mine, for a possible transplant (called a mini allogenaic transplant). They look at 10 separate antigens. I think it's called HLA testing. Anyway, they have all been subjected to the needle in the arm and had blood sent to the lab for testing. The testing involves 2 steps--a blood serology test and, if that matches, then DNA matching. There is a 25% chance that a sibling will match. If the serology matches, then the odds are 95% in favor of a DNA match. So here's the news: Mike (aka "The Big Fella" or "Mrs. Joshwick" on the blog) is a complete match on both serology and DNA. Tom (aka "Mr. Pete", and apparently now also known as "T-Bone" in Spokane) is a serology match and we are awaiting the DNA testing. They decided not to complete testing of my sister Kathy's blood, after getting Mike's results back, as apparently a woman who has had kids (Kathy has 3) develops antibodies that make the transplant more difficult for the recipient, even if the antigens match. So, in the event I will need another transplant to bring this myeloma under control, I have a match with Mike and also probably with Tom (will know in about 10 days). So here are the questions for you bloggers: For those of you who know Mike, "Is the world ready for 2 Big Fellas?" Should I have them go out into the back yard and take the blood donation from the one who survives? What testing criteria do you suggest to assist me in this very difficult decision? As I told each of them as I was saying goodbye on the phone today, "You take care of yourself, your life isn't just about you anymore!" All joking aside, I am overjoyed that if need be, I have a sibling blood donor to get me through the next transplant.

I had blood drawn today for myeloma testing, but won't know the results until Thursday. I feel quite good after this past week off. I think this velcade is a good drug. I got velcade (I'm starting my 3rd cycle) and zometa today, along with an antinausea drug.

And our abundance of friends continues. This weekend brought more of the same parade of friends through our house. We had such a good time. Both Catherine and Julia were home, which made it all the more fun. Saturday morning our doors opened at around 10 a.m. and Gail and her son Paul arrived. I student taught with Gail (she was my supervising teacher) many years ago (pre law school) and we have remained close friends. Gail is a techno whiz and has been helping us with various technical issues around the house, like DVD's and headphones, etc. Paul made me a "chain" of colored links, to count they days for my release from the hospital after my transplant. Soon after Gail and Paul arrived, Jim and Nancy Neenan showed up just to check in on us. They are the couple who were responsible for the statue of Mary coming to our house a few months ago. While they were here, our friend Devraj dropped by. Soon after that Kathryn McNamee, the principal at our girls' high school came by to go to lunch with Susan. Then Gail's daughter, Molly, and her fiance' Dan stopped in. Molly is getting married this coming summer and Catherine will be her maid of honor. Molly works just up the street in the lab at National Jewish Hospital and has been a great resource for us biologically challenged individuals. Jeff Hammerberg then stopped in, for his 2nd visit of the week, bringing a bouquet of flowers, as he so often does. Jeff had been by earlier in the week with his mother, Dollie, and his brother, Jason, both of whom were here visiting from Minnesota. I should note that I was lounging around in my pajamas when Gail and Paul arrived and I finally had to excuse myself at 1:30 to get dressed before I left for my meditation class. I got home at 6 p.m. and our friends, the Richardsons, arrived at 7 for dinner. Yes, they are still our friends, even after surviving an evening on the town with The Big Fella. (see the posting entitled, "Velcade--Second Cycle Begins"). Chris and Lenie Richardson are going to Italy this summer for their 25th wedding anniversary and we spent the evening talking about all the great places to see, the best restaurants, etc. (along with Julia and Catherine--who spent a semester in Florence). We also had to drink some Italian wine to capture the moment--yes I still imbibe on that week off. Sunday was relatively calm, with only one couple--Kevin and Mary Beall visiting us. Most amazing about these visitors is that (with the exception of the lunch and dinner guests) they were all "drop ins". We are so tickled that our friends are that comfortable that they just drop in to see us. That is usually such a rare occurrence in larger cities, but not in this household. And we are comfortable enough that I just lounge around in my p.j.'s. It is so much fun.

We have a couple of out of town visitors coming in this week. Tim Boulger, one of the cousins from southern California, will be here on Wednesday and Rich Boulger, who grew up with us in North Dakota, will be here on Thursday (for his second visit). I am looking forward to seeing both of them and catching up on all the family gossip.

Despite all the struggles and worries, life feels rich and full. We so enjoy all of our visitors and look forward to the weekends when we know our friends will be dropping in for a visit. I think our daughters are of a similar opinion, as they certainly like to come home for the weekends. All they can say about it is, "This is crazy." Yes, it is. And may it continue. Love, Dan

12 comments:

sigunjoe said...

Dear Dan,

What a good blog that was, and what wonderful news!! Both brothers a match! That truly is a relief. Hope you won't need it, but just in case.

We keep our fingers crossed for Thursday. Unfortunately I won't get your news until we get back from Italy since we are leaving that morning at 6.30 for the airport. Yes, Joe is going to have to get up early that day. But it will be worth it. Keep up the good works! Bises, Sigun.

sigunjoe said...

Dear Dan,

I meant to tell you about a walk Joe and I took in Montmartre yesterday. Joe has a book about interesting walks one can take all over Paris, so he decided we should take this one. And what a delight it was. We got off Place Clichy and walked up and up and up. We had to go slowly, since I have trouble doing hills. We walked past so many old, old buildings and tiny streets. At one point we saw a mill high up on a small hill. When we made it up the hill, we found that it was the Moulin de la Galette. Do you recall the wonderful painting by Renoir called: 'Bal du Moulin de la Galette' (it is in the Phillips Collection in Washington), a painting of people having a wonderful time dancing and eating at the Moulin de la Galette? I always wondered where that took place, and now we found the actual restaurant in the garden from which Renoir made his painting! And the place is still a restaurant! It was truly an epiphany to see it. As we were going down the street on the other side of the 'moulin' (a wind-mill), we walked by an old castle called 'Le Chateau des brouillards', and it explained on a 'plaque' that it was probably called that (brouillard=fog) because of nearby water springs below the castle -- the condensation of the water must have produced some kind of mist. At the bottom of the street there was a cafe called 'L'Abreuvoir' (the trough); a plaque said that it was here that the people would bring their horses to drink water. Utrillo painted in one of the neighboring houses. Then one, gorgeous old house covered with ivy and with an 'enseigne' (a sign hanging from a pole on the side of the house) of a crowned eagle, with a huge painting on the top front of the house of a rooster and a time quadrant pointing to 4,with writing saying: 'when it strikes 4, I crow', stopped us. The official historian of Napoleon and of his 'Grande Armee' lived there. I wonder who lives there now! Then we passed a beautiful house called 'La Maison Rose' where you can get a good crepe or something small. I said to Joe: we will take Suz here, and when she is with us, we will stop at the Maison Rose to have a crepe and a hot chocolate. That is what we plan to do. Then we went up another hill, and came out at the top of the world, or so it seemed. We had all of Paris at our feet, with the Sacre Coeur on our left. There were lots and lots of tourists there (not at all on the quiet streets we took earlier), so we left quickly, but before leaving, we went into a very old looking church dating from the 12th century. The place was not huge, but just so simple and beautiful. The only jarring note were the stained-glass windows, which were beautiful in their own way, but were too modern. The original ones must have been destroyed by the Germans. One thing that thrilled me: on a wall of the church there was a plaque, saying that Adelaide, the wife of King Louis VI (and mother-in-law of Alienor of Aquitaine, about whom I am trying to write) was buried there.

Dan, it was such a nice walk. When you and Suz get back here for a spell, you will have to take it!

Bises, Sigun.

Ingrid said...

After a weekend in San Diego for Byron's business I am back here in Denver again.

It is just great to read what a thrilled weekend you had.

And the best is the matching brother/borthers.

Mike always sounded to be great, for the help he gave you while visiting but now, wow, now he seems to become your number 1 help.

And, I, yes, I truly believe that the Velcade is an answer for you too. So, see how many options you have open. That is wonderful, that is what you get for not giving up. That is, how it should be. Rewards for who does not give up. And that is YOU !!!

I told you since the very first beginning of this journey that YOU will make it, and I am more and more convinced of that.

Good Job man, just continue to show us how to do it, we love to read that.

I will come over soon, hope you're both home.

Love,
I

Kathy said...

Dear Dan,

I know how to settle this between Mike and Tom - a game of Risk. Winner gets to be the donor. As always, they are so tough that I am out of the game before it even starts.

Love, Kathy

sigunjoe said...

Dear Dan,
The criterion is orneriness. Choose the brother who, over a lifetime, has displayed outstanding characteristics of stubbornness, bullheadedness, adamantine immovability and, if possible, a steely determination to ignore all advice and counsel. The theory is that no cancer could withstand such power.
Your log of Saturday's comings and goings reminds me of those English drawing room farces, like Noises Off, where all sorts of people careen in and out banging doors and getting confused as they go. And there is always someone at the center lounging around in pajamas.That such scene was made up of loving friends without agendas, together because they simply wanted to be, brings hope to the world.
Love to all,
Joe

DOUG said...

Dan,
If you are going to play a game of RISK to find out who will give the blood --- them I would like to get tested to see if I am a match and that should give me an in to play the game. You know I could beat them by coming at them from Kampchatka.

Doug Kappy

Howie said...

Fuzz,

I don't think I would be a good match for you, but if it means playing Risk with you,Big Fella, Timber, Dougie and whoever else; count me in. What I wouldn't give to have a good game of Risk again. Those we're some good times.

If your looking for some Sage advice on who to choose for a transplant donor, I would get half a donation from each brother. That way you don't play any favorites, get the best traits of each and no one gets hurt.

I'm enjoying the updates, Keep it up.

Patty Nelms said...

Wow Dan! Wow! That's a great blog. So happy about the match with your brothers. I guess that means the offer to give you my blood takes me off the hook, although just think what lovely traits I'd be passing along. Since Joe thinks the criterion should be orneriness and bullheadedness . . . ding, ding, ding. I'm your donor! I'm rather enjoying the idea of the backyard brawl, as a spectator of course. Can you invite me if you decide to go that route?

Take it easy - stay in your pajamas all day if you want. What a treat! Enjoy this weather. Spring is on the way! I'm thinking a big party with you and all your bloggers is a must! We all have much to celebrate.
Love, P

spike said...

The trouble with Risk is that to much is left to chance. Both T-bone and Mrs. Jostwick have a colorful history unique ways settle things.
I'm sure Tom would lean toward a quick resolution like the "Chicken"competition he had with Dan Cuskelly in front of Trinity too many years ago. Whoever is still standing after the collision is your man.
I suspect Mike would opt for an endurance contest like who can do the most situps in 24 hours. Whoever is able to situp is your man. Either way WE All win!
As far as 2 Big Fellas, I believe the world can handle it as long as they aren't both living in the same small town at the same time. We lived the consequences of that 30 some years ago. I don't think we want a repeat.

Dan said...

Well, I knew posing the question of how to decide who between the two brothers should be the donor would bring some people out of the woodwork. So here is an inside joke for all those who survived those years in the early '70's in Dickinson. Let's see, I'm thinking we meet at my mother's house in Dickinson for a Risk tournament. We announce the competition at the local Community Center (Remember the many times "Party at Pattersons" was announced? Sorry Mom.) We all dress in halloween costumes. We make sure the Christmas lights are turned on and we let the Risk war begin. The invitation list must include the following: all bloggers plus: Mike Weir, Mr. Munch, Spook, The Large One aka "Ziffel", Joey, Schmarvey, Glenn aka John Glenn, Kuhner, Hutz, and anyone else who had a nickname. Doug Kappel gets to start in Kamchatka (he'll never get out of there, as usual). Remember, all bloggers must attend. So, is Dickinson ready for all of us to return (including Rich Boulger and all the other cousins), plus Joe & Sigun, Ingrid, Brother Ted, The Other Ted, Arlene and Jimmy, Patty and Mike, Stacey & Richie, Shawn & Jaike and the many other bloggers? What a time that would be. We'll rent an RV for all of us in Denver and drive up. Patty wants a blogger party so here it is. What fun! Any other suggestions? Quick,let's hear them before the final bell!

T-Bone said...

Fuzz,
Let's see, I guess the appropriate thing here would be to, what ... attack from North America with all my armies using both dice! I don'think that there is much to think about when it comes to whose blood you want. I believe that Gary Kuhn depleted the Big Guy of soooooo much blood that he effectively no longer should be candidate. I appreciate the vote of confidence from Spike on my ability to "think quickly on my feet" - well generally true except in the presence of people like Narum!! At any rate - I'm in the game and on the attack!!

Tom (Pete) aka T-Bone (the cancer killer - yeah I know how to get rid of that crap) Patterson

Dan's Mom said...

I do not know is I could stand another one of the Patterson parties at my age. Of course most of the time I was not home. I never will get over hearing that Spike slept in my bed. But I am so elated about the 100% match that I guess anything goes. If it helps Dan go for it. I have been sending e-mails to Dan about how happy I am about the match and he asked if I was too shy to go on the blog. So here I am. Love,Mom