Thursday, August 24, 2006

Good Numbers Help Wrap Up a Busy Summer

After a month on the maintenance dose of velcade/steroids the IGGs continue to go down. This week's results show the IGGs at 1231, down from 1338 a month ago. Maintenance isn't just maintaining, its actually driving the numbers down. I also had my first bone density test about 2 weeks ago, to determine whether I was at risk for bone fractures. The results today show my bone density to be essentially normal. My lower back is the worst of the areas tested, but its all fairly good. My orthopedic surgeon was quite surprised by the good results and believes my bone density has improved greatly since last summer when my back collapsed. I guess this test has deprived me of my claim to be fragile, when my daughters try to retaliate for the good natured tickling I like to inflict on them. Everything seems to be on track for the prostatectomy, which is scheduled for September 12th.

This week we had our "Good Bye Eileen" party, to say farewell to Susan's cousin, Eileen Stinson. Eileen treated us all to dinner at one of Denver's fine restaurants. The evening was not only filled with good food, but much laughter. We'll miss Eileen very much as she is truly the 5th member of our family. She arrived at a time when we were mired in the upsets of this disease. Her refreshing stories, big pots of sauce and meatballs, weekly chocolate chip cookies, invitations individually to each of us and together as well added to our continued belief that the worst of times can also be the best of times. Susan's Italian family, including Eileen, as well as Susan's brother Gary, regularly teaches us the meaning of generosity. Eileen's final gift to us was a plaster pig wearing a French beret. The pig is 24 inches high and has a small blackboard for notes. It now sits proudly on the end of our kitchen counter. Eileen's story of trying to get through airport security with "the pig" is hysterical. She was delayed for some time because the security guards believed the pig could be used as a weapon if allowed to be brought on the plane. So, of course, the blackboard attached to the pig now reads, "I am not a weapon."

My brother Tom spent a week with us in early August. This was his 3rd visit this summer and the more we see him, the more we want him to visit. His visit also prompted the visit of a few of his friends who were part of the reunion in early June and who live in Denver. Its nice to keep that connection. Not to be outdone by his younger brother, brother Mike will be here in October.

The days continue to bring ups and downs, but the seesaw nature of this disease seems to be evened out by the knowledge that we have come through 17 months of this struggle. I constantly compare my current situation to where I was a year ago and am so grateful for my improved health and spirits.

Love, Dan

7 comments:

Arlene said...

Hi,

I left my blog via telefono just now. Love you all.

Arlene

Brother Ted said...

Such great news. In addition to your own progress I can't help but think that you are helping doctors to bring better options to countless other survivors who are dealing with Multiple Myeloma. Continue to enjoy all the gifts of your life, Susan and the girls being the most precious.

Ingrid said...

And like your brother Ted says: enjoy every gift of your life, let me add: anjoy every tiny, single moment you feel well.
I know from Susan that the weekends give you a little relief and let you allow to feel better. And as I always said: YOU will make this, just continue the good work.
As you know from Susan, I myself touched death with my stupid diabetes having been for 4 hours in Coma and therefore I can truly tell you, the battle is tough all the time and tougher in special events, you never expect it to be tougher, but when the worse of that moment is over you can appreciate better what you still have, and sometimes all you have left is the love of your most beloved ones.
You and I, we both are lucky to have that, despite all the bad things happening to us. Let's thank God for that.

Love,
Ingrid

Jaike and Shawn said...

Howdy Pardner!
I have been remiss but for some reason just flashed on a memory of our times in CO - hike up the hogback - and thought I would check in.
What truly amazes me is how long this has been going on, 17 months or so? 'Jesum crow', as the New England puritan might say, 'that is quite a spell'.
So, sounds like all is as good as it can be? Hard to truly tell as I am not there but you do seem a bit chipper - comes across that way and you never were good a deceit, a compliment indeed.
We are thinking about gearing up for the two year process of building a house in the woods of Hillsborough - famous town from the Revolutionary War days - and wonder if you can succinctly put in words some adviced you learned from you 'Adventure in the Valley'? Other than 'are you nuts?
Be well Dan, love to Sus and the girls - jw

Arlene said...

Call me nuts, but Suze, speaking of the Revolution, you should have been home this weekend - the troops stormed the Steamboat Dock - http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060825/NEWS03/608250362/1214

"Verplanck's Point to Stony Point"

Enjoy

Beth Klein said...

Dear Superlawer, traveler, recoverer. Good news to see.

Love,

Beth

Jaike and Shawn said...

Great to hear you are doing so well Dan. Your trip to the Hamptons sounds relaxing and wonderful-hooray!! I just got back from moving Alexis to Portland, Oregon. What a friendly and nice city that is!! With more "Doggy Daycares" than you can shake a stick at you know I felt right at home. Lilly continues to grow, now about 70 lbs and still only 8 months old. She certainly keeps me moving with several walks each day. She would love to accompany Susan on her 8 miles per day. We put Kendall on a plane to India yesterday and I am feeling as though my chicks are spread far and wide. Arden is at home and that is an up and down experience in itself. Continue in your vitality and keep us all posted. We love hearing from you.
SW