Sunday, November 04, 2007

Catching Up -- Again!

Well, you would think that since I am retired I would be able to keep this blog updated, but I really think I lose track of time much easier now. I figured I better update the latest before my good friends, the Dunns, send a big, burly, San Angelo cowboy down here to slap me around.

OK, lots of news and it is all good! I had my heart doctor appointment and he told me the enlarged heart thing was really nothing to worry about and that many people my age have enlarged hearts and don't know it. Hmm, "people my age"?????????? The young whippersnapper!

(A paste from the Word Detective: "Whippersnapper" is a somewhat archaic term, rarely heard today outside of movies, and then usually from the mouth of a character portrayed as chronologically-challenged and hopelessly old-fashioned to boot. A "whippersnapper" is an impertinent young person, usually a young man, whose lack of proper respect for the older generation is matched only by his laziness and lack of motivation to better himself.
One might imagine that the term derives from the understandable temptation among more productive citizens to "snap a whip" at such sullen layabouts, but the whips in question actually belonged to the whippersnappers themselves. Such ne'er-do-wells were originally known as "whip snappers" in the 17th century, after their habit of standing around on street corners all day, idly snapping whips to pass the time. The term was been based on the already-existing phrase, "snipper-snapper," also meaning a worthless young man, but in any case, "whip snapper" became "whippersnapper" fairly rapidly.
Though "whippersnapper" originally referred to a young man with no visible ambition, the term has changed somewhat over the years, and today is more likely to be applied to a youngster with an excess of both ambition and impertinence.)


But I digress (as usual). He said to be on the safe side he was going to send me for a chemically induced stress test and nuclear test (inject radioactive dye). Bottom line, I had the tests and everything looked very good and even plaque build-up that showed years ago seems to be gone.

I then had my monthly oncology appointment and my blood tests looked good. My platelets made it up over 100 again (they have really been bouncing) but my neutrophils are low. Lymphocytes still climbing slowly and the percentage is up over 80%. Now I know the percentage isn't that important and it is the absolute count that matters, but for some reason my doctor puts a lot of stock and emphasis on the percentage. He is really looking forward to my appointment at MD Anderson in Houston on the 12th. He made an appointment to see him again the very next week.

Another piece of good news is that my insurance finally approved the IVIg infusions. The nurse called me Thursday and it is set up for Monday, tomorrow, over at the hospital. Now initially when we were talking about this, my doctor talked about being in the hospital and the first time it would be given over a number of days, however that has changed. I will be at the hospital, but it will all be given at one time. He said to plan on five to seven hours this first time as it has to go very slowly as they watch for adverse reactions. I have initially been approved for once a month for five months, but he told me on the phone I may be getting this once a month for the rest of my life. This stuff is antibodies to help me fight infections and I wrote about it in a May blog entry which you can read HERE. I have had nine infections since last January, including pneumonia twice, bronchitis, ear infections, throat infection, and sinus infections. I really pray it helps as Dr. Hamblin posted in a reply to me last time, "The clinical trials have only shown a benefit in CLL for patients with IgG levels less than 300 who have had more than one bacterial infection in the past year." Mine are in the low 400s (723 to 1685 is normal at my lab) but I do have it beat on the number of infections!

And talk about time sneaking up on me, last Saturday was the annual Light the Night Walk fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Now I have participated in it for the last three years and through the wonderful support of family and friends, I have raised thousands of dollars. This year I didn't even set up my page until the Monday before and sent out the emails asking for support that Monday. But then the site messed up and the emails never went out. The email finally went late Tuesday and early Wednesday! However, folks came through again and by walk time on Saturday I raised $1,111. Not as much as previous years, but fantastic in such a short time. I still have a couple of other folks who have promised to donate and I have until the end of November to turn in the money. I really believe in the work they do as I personally know folks who benefited. My fundraising page can be found HERE. It was a good night with several thousand people walking. It was at a new location this year and was at the old hospital grounds where they recently opened the new Dell Children's Hospital. We walked past the hospital and they had the children on the oncology ward lined up at the window's waving to us and of course we waved back as we walked by. Here is a picture from the night with Snickers.


Our grandson who is living with us this school year, Jimmy (oops, "James") had a rough couple of weeks, but his medication has been adjusted and things are back on track. Most of his problems happened here at home (daily) and the two incidents at school were minor (compared to last year). His three week progress report came out and he has four A's, two B's, and two C's. That is such a huge improvement over last year when he had all C's and F's. We are so very proud of what he is accomplishing this year. Since he passed, he is back playing football. I hope I get done with my treatment tomorrow so I can go see him play in his last game.


Jonathan, my other grandson, got all A's and one B and I think my granddaughter also had all A's and one B. They get their smarts from their grandmother.


This morning a lady in my Sunday School class told us she just found out she has breast cancer. On the fifteenth she will have a lumpectomy and then radiation treatments. I don't want to put her name here as I didn't ask her for permission, but I would appreciate prayers for her. God will know who you mean.

Well, that is it for now -- all the news that's fit to print and some that ain't.

2 comments:

David E said...

John,
Glad this post is full of good news!!
Nice hat!

Anonymous said...

What wonderful news all around for your family! It's a wonderful feeling to have your grandchildren or children make good progress and succeed. Hope Jimmy feels good about himself too. We just got back from Searcy, Arkansas for Bison Daze/Homecoming. I took my oldest two so they could check out Harding University. A great time was had by all. Of course, there is nothing like getting home safely and back in your own bed.
Sheri