Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Greetings from Ireland, New Numbers, a Family Reunion & Happy 4th!

First, a thank you to our good friend Mari Bush who sent the pictures from Ireland. Mari has been sending me hilarious (and some stupid) cards over the past year without fail, along with her latest in music, which I have greatly appreciated. She was recently in Ireland (for about the 25th time--no exaggeration) and sent the Get Well Pictures. How nice that she took the time to send good wishes while traveling through the Emerald Isle. She's a sweetheart. Thank you Mari.

I always feel that I have to start with the numbers report, so here goes: last Thursday received the IGG report from the blood drawn on Monday (June 26--Cates Birthday). IGGs continue their downward trend and are now around 1415 (not sure of precise number). Down from 1605 last cycle. We are in the band of normal ranges for IGGs (700 to 1700 approx.). The goal is not to get them to zero, as IGGs are a kind of antibody and we all need them. I just produce too many of the IGGs, which then crowd out the other antibodies, which makes me vulnerable to other diseases. The mechanism that is producing the IGGs is the myeloma. The excess antibodies also attack the bone as they multiply. I still probably have myeloma (they haven't done the definitive bone marrow biopsy for many months--no complaints here). I get my last velcadel/steroid infusion on Thursday, then 2 weeks off, then Rifkin plans to devise some sort of maintenance schedule to see if lower and less frequent dosages will hold the numbers down. I am constantly reminded of the events of one year ago and marvel at how far I (we) have all come. I was literally unable to walk last 4th of July and entered the hospital on the 7th needing 4 pints of blood, recently diagnosed with 10 or 11 new vertebral compression fractures, and in terrible straits. The anniversary date of this downturn has haunted me as this holiday has drawn near, and I will be glad to get through this time, as it carries such heavy and difficult memories.

The day of the new numbers report my family also arrived for a celebration of my Mom's 80th birthday. Her birthday is actually August 30th, but we planned this a few months ago for a time we thought I would not be in the hospital, and we were right. My brothers, Mike and Tom, my sister Kathy and her husband John, and my mother and her husband Bob Walton, spent the last 4 days in Denver. Activities were a bit more subdued than the reunion of 24 high school classmates, but it was a fine time. Susan, of course, once again hosted a dinner at our house on Thursday night and we spent the evening on the patio enjoying the company and a beautiful Colorado evening (Julia and Catherine also joined us.). The weekend included a museum trip, a family portrait, a trip to the new Tattered Cover Book Store, and a couple of fine dinners at local eateries. Our friend Doris Sharma also baked a delicious chocolate cake, which we inhaled on Saturday night. Mom hardly looks 80 (could pass for mid 60s) and kept up quite well. I felt it was a fine tribute to everyone who has spent so much time here during the past year helping around the house and keeping my spirits up. Susan once again laid the ultimate compliment on the group after they had left: "your family is really nice, Dan." They are and we love them lots.

We plan on spending a quiet 4th of July around the house. No plans but rest and relaxation. May yours be the same. Love to all.


sigunjoe said...

Dear Dan,

You continue to have good news -- what a relief. Continue like that!

I loved the photos from Ireland (yes, you do have people around the world thinking of you...) and of the Titans. What sweet memories.

Joe and I can't wait to have you with us in exactly one week. We pray that the plane ride won't be too hard on you.

Bises, Sigun.

Shawn and Jaike said...

Great NEWS Dan and Susan!! You must now be in NY and I hope having a wonderful time with your old friends.

Shawn and Jaike said...

Woops, it published before I was finished!!
Jaike, I and Alexis(and all 3 dogs) just got back from a week at the lake in Georgia. It was lovely, big rain storms every afternoon, lots of reading in the hammock, swimming and boating. Alexis loved not working her 2 jobs every day and we enjoyed having her. Lilly, the 63 lb. German Shepherd baby learned to swim (we are soo proud!). We think of you all often and send love and light. Shawn