Thursday, March 23, 2006

Velcade Continues to Do Its Work

Yes, today is the day for the "numbers" report. Today, March 23rd, also marks the one year anniversary of my multiple myeloma diagnosis. First, the numbers: Iggs are down to 2601 from a previous 2837. So, we have moved from 3220 to 2601--more than 600 points in a little over 2 months. I am happy, relieved, encouraged, hopeful, and thankful. I know we are not "there" yet, but we are moving in the right direction and that makes all the difference in how I feel when I get out of bed each morning. My white count is also better than usual. For you numbers watchers: white count at 2.5 today, with neutrophils at 1.4. Usually those numbers plummet as soon as I start my velcade (for example, I expected the white count to be around 1.6 and neutrophils around 800.)

Contrary to what I last reported, I did not go on the herbal regime. I tried it for a couple of days, felt sick to my stomach and started to question why I would want to potentially interfere with a good drug. So I just used a concoction that is mainly pulverized rice powder. Now that the numbers have moved, I don't know whether to stay with that powder or stop it. The numbers did move down more than 200 points. But would they have moved further without its use? or less? who knows?I am waffling, so I will ask you bloggers for your thoughts--continue? or discontinue? I am most anxious to hear from our scientist friend, Molly Johnston. Have I messed up the experiment by adding too many variables? What to do now?

And the final results of the DNA testing of Tom's blood shows he is also a 100% match. That makes both my brothers acceptable donors for a stem cell transplant. Looks like that backyard tussle may have to take place after all--unless I can get into remission on the velcade. Yeh, I like that approach--no more fighting my brothers.

Now, about that 1 year anniversary. One year ago, almost to the hour, I received a call from my internist telling me that my MRI and blood work were leading to the diagnosis of multiple myeloma. He had already faxed my info to Rifkin and talked to him about my diagnosis. He had made an appointment for me with Rifkin for the next day. Susan was in Houston taking care of her brother following his back surgery and I had to call her with the news and ask her to get on a plane to be at the appointment with Rifkin. She arrived at 8 a.m. the following morning, having gotten no sleep. In the year that has passed we have received a prostate cancer diagnosis, and gone through 5 chemo regimes, 2 back surgeries, a stem cell transplant and various other hospitalizations and treatments. But, guess what? In the words of Elton John: I'm Still Standing.

I feel better these days. Better, in fact, than I have in many many months. I believe this is a good drug and it's working. Susan and Catherine know I'm feeling better because I am not as passive as I have been over the past many months. They sometimes would prefer me in a more sedated state. No, not really, just less feisty. What can I say? It's been a long time without energy. I'm still adjusting to this new found energy--still not the energy I used to have but clearly more than I've had since .....oh my god, since June. We are making progress!

And a Julia story: Julia is just completing her spring break. She and a friend spent their 10 day spring break at my cousin's, Kelly Boulger's, in Orange County, CA. Kelly and his wife, Donna, graciously offered to let Julia and her friend, Suzanne, stay with them and explore southern California. Have they lost their minds--offering to house two 18 year girls on spring break? Much to our amazement, Julia accepted his offer, and moved in with them last Thursday! She and her friend Suzanne have "hung out" with Kelly's son, Sean, for much of the week, and gotten to know the new cousins, Kelly's and Donna's other kids: Riley, Shannon, and Corinne. The cousins got along famously, Julia and Suzanne got to experience southern Cal., and Julia got to see my uncle Dabby and aunt Phyllis. Susan and I are very grateful to Kelly and Donna for their hospitality, and are appreciative of what good kids Julia and Suzanne are. Kelly reports they were no problem whatsoever. Definitely not the kind of spring break that makes the news!

Next report? I guess it will be the bone marrow biopsy that should happen in about 2 weeks. Once that report comes in I will know if I am on for another 3 month velcade regime. I hope so. Until then, much love to all. Dan

And from Susan: I have not gone to the last few visits to the cancer center feeling that queasiness in the pit of my stomach as I asked Dan if he wanted me to come along. He would kindly say, "not necessary", and I would walk or pray or wait to hear from him. Today I decided to just go along and I was so glad I did. This strong, brave, determined to get this in remission guy waited too patiently for the numbers. When he read the report I saw the relief in his body and his face. Sometimes, because he never complains and always puts the best face on everything, I forget what a huge mountain he is climbing and how much energy it takes to face the day and this terrible cancer. So I left thinking that I am blessed to be on this journey with such an extraordinary man. It is not what I would have wanted but I will accept it with as much grace as I can for I am so grateful that Dan is still here a year later, thank God.

And he walked in today with the Colorado Super Lawyers Journal. He is named a "Colorado Super Lawyer" for Plaintiff's Personal Injury. This represents the top 5% of the lawyers in Colorado, as voted on by the Colorado Bar. The girls and I are so proud of him. Way to go Dan!!!

13 comments:

Dorothy said...

Didn't we always know Dan as a
"super lawyer"??? Dan and Susan words will never be enough to let you all know how happy we are for the good news. We are also grateful that we have been allowed to be on this journey with you all. The Seal Family continue to light candles and think positive thoughts for "Dan the Man" and the Patterson Family.

Talk to you soon! Love The Seals.

Dan's Mother said...

I feel like Queen Elizabeth II said one year that this has been an annus horribilis.(sp) But I think that Dan is like the Phoenix and is going to rise above the ashes of his cancer and we will all be better people for having experienced what a brave,courageous and loving man he is. You are truly amazing and that is not just a mother talking. Anyopne who has made this year's journey with you knows it. I love and admire you, Dan. Mom Dan's Mom

sigunjoe said...

Dear Dan,

OUF! (pronounced 'oof' -- big sigh of relief) What wonderful, wonderful news!! We will celebrate in a little over a month when Joe and I will be with you all. The second Velcade cycle was so much more productive -- that is so encouraging. And more energy, and Colorado Super Lawyer -- what is next?! Bravo! Bises, Sigun.

Brother Ted said...

What great news, on all fronts. Love to you all. Ted

Shawn and Jaike said...

Wow that is fantastic news!!Hooray!! Love you all.
Shawn

Arlene said...

Ditto!

Molly said...

Dan,
I am flattered that you regard my opinion so highly. Unfortunately, there is very little scientific research done on herbal remedies. Mainly, I think, because there is no chance for drug companies to make the big bucks if the “cure” for cancer is a plant that could be grown in your own backyard. My gut (which by the way, has no scientific knowledge) tells me that it’s very unlikely that herbs or your rice concoction would detrimentally effect your treatment, especially since your numbers continue to move in the right direction. In fact, I would be temped to say that your concoction might be responsible for your increased white count and neutrophils. If the concoction doesn’t make you feel sick, I say stick with it, or at least that’s what I would do if it were me.

You are in my thoughts and prayers on a daily basis and I am grateful your numbers are still moving down.

Love,
Molly

Lynne said...

What super news! And from a super lawyer! Thanks for the update, Dan! You're in our thoughts and prayers always!

Love,
Lynne

Howie said...

Fuzz,

Super lawyer???? Help me out, Is that a good or bad thing??

Seriously, Congratulations! Nice little feather in your cap. I knew long ago, as I suspect many of your friends did, that you'd be good at being a lawyer.

Also glad to hear the valcade is doing its' job and your getting back to being your old fiesty self. We're all hoping it brings the total remission your looking for although I personally was kinda looking forward to the backyard brawl.
Keep building up your strength, I got a feeling you might need it in May or June.

PS. When you get a chance, ask the Queen to define annus horribilis for us southsiders. Sounds like something we might be interested in.

Howie

Dan's Mother said...

This is for Howie and the other Southsiders. Annus horribilis means a horrible year and I think you are pulling my leg about not knowing it. Thank you for being such a good friend to my Dan. Love, Dan's mother

Mrs. Joshwick said...

I think it means horrible asshole----a term with which a Southsider ought to be familiar, and quite comfortable.

Patty Nelms said...

I couldn't agree more! I'm so happy you've been given some good news and the fact that your annus horribilis again, (according to Mrs. Joshwick's definition anyway)is a great sign I think.

Have we planned a party yet? I'll bring the champagne!

Hang in there and hopefully I'll see you this week. Congratulations on being Superlawyer!! We could get you a shirt with a big S on the front and annus horribilis on the back! That's a great idea!
Love, P

Brett said...

Congrats baby! I've thought about you a lot, here in Minneapolis, your old stomping ground. I've walked some of the streets, thinking "Are these the same streets that that super lawyer Dan Patterson used to walk?" I'll see your smiling face soon when I return to Denver in a few days. Until then, keep posting excellent news!!