Friday, October 20, 2006

October 20th - 24th: "I Feel Good"... at Least for a While

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2006 10:24 PM, PDT

Parent’s Note:

Keith is home again. I could leave it at that and it would be a complete journal entry by my reckoning. But I’ll go on for a bit…

This might have been the ‘easiest’ of all of the cycles he has had so far. He has not felt sick so far (to the credit of the nursing staff) and we are keeping up his meds at home so it stays that way.

He’s of course happy to be home again and made the usual rounds to say hi to Kirby. He also brought home with him his killer gaming skills honed at the hospital and was looking wherever he could for someone he could victimize at Monopoly, GameCube or chicken-foot dominos.

We have filed an appeal with our insurer to have Keith’s bone marrow transplant at Children’s but as a backup, we have been also looking into having his transplant done at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and have set up a consultation meeting on Wednesday of next week. If Keith is feeling up to it we would like to take him down to see the doctors and the facility.

We’re looking forward to a great weekend at home.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2006 10:38 PM, PDT

Parent’s Note:

We pulled his cap out of the vault and plugged it in to his head once again. Sure ‘nuf he did his magic again and the #2 Wolverines are on track for the big showdown with the Buckeyes for bragging rights to the best team in college football. 8–0 and counting…

( If you are a Buckeye fan DO NOT click this link... )

Despite being exhausted by all of his efforts, he still was in the mood to seek out some Halloween décor and so we piled into the car and returned with two large pumpkins (one tall and skinny, the other wide and height challenged), an assortment of gourds and some Indian corn. He also had plans for several art craft projects that we just didn't have time for and will push off to tomorrow. You know, it’s just not too early to get into the holiday spirit when you moonlight as a red ghoul …

Keith demonstrated a surprisingly avid appetite today, starting with the standard morning fare of cereal but moving quickly along to an eclectic selection of homemade tacos (thanks Gabe!), a BLT – double bacon x 2, and salmon wrapped in prosciutto with a tomato / potato gallette and a bean medley (thanks Pam!). For an appetizer he had an infusion of G-CSF.

To continue his culinary extravaganza Keith is hoping to go to San Francisco’s Chinatown to have lunch at his favorite ‘floatie boatie’ sushi restaurant (I know, seems like the wrong neighborhood for a sushi restaurant). Both Keith and Scott love to go to there whenever we drag them into the City. Don has been working hard for the last several days in the garden outside our kitchen window and it really shows: where once dirt and a retaining wall were the focus now a great cascading rock garden takes the stage: it looks amazing. I like to think of it as a healing garden, offering great comfort to all of us. Rumor has it that the deer think it is pretty special too…

Keith has been feeling great all day long. We are so relieved that he has had a relatively comfortable week given what he has just been through. He really deserved a break like this one and we are all happy for him.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2006 11:59 PM, PDT

Parent’s Note:

Just when we thought we were in the clear from the residual effects of chemo, we had a day like today. Keith woke up feeling fine, but soon afterward started to feel queasy and he became sick to his stomach. Unfortunately we were just not able to ever get ahead of the nausea and for the rest of the day he was sick, sick, sick. By the evening he was so exhausted we realized that there was no way we were going to beat this on our own and we could see Keith was becoming ever weaker and severely dehydrated. We made the call and soon afterwards were in the car heading for the ER at Children’s.

There was initially some hope that we would get some fluids in him and return home later in the evening, but the physicians felt the best option was to keep Keith overnight. He was moved upstairs to the 5th floor and is now comfortably resting and looking a whole lot better than he did earlier in the evening.

So that is where he is for now and he should be able to return home in the morning sometime. Seems like every day is an adventure.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2006 10:27 PM, PDT

Keith has just one thing to say.........

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2006 10:32 PM, PDT

Parent’s Note:

Because last night’s journal was a bit brief, I’ll try to catch everyone up on the highlights of the last two days. Keith’s grandparents Annie and Don are safely back in Michigan after spending almost two weeks with us. Sad to see them leave, but we already have travel reservations for them to return in December. Ah, but we have a new houseguest this week: Keith’s uncle Jack arrived on Sunday from North Andover and has been doing a great job of helping with anything that needs help while keeping lots of smiles on Keith’s face.

Scott has been going through his own little ordeal – with his orthodontist. He had upper braces placed a week ago and it took several days before he could really eat anything solid. Much to his dismay, however, a band slipped out of place and he went in again today to have it fixed. They must have tightened the wire pretty well this time and now his teeth are aching again. I don’t think he thinks it’s a whole lotta’ fun.

Keith returned from his little hospital stay Monday afternoon and looked and felt much better after spending Sunday night plugged in, getting re-hydrated and gaining the upper hand on his difficult nausea episode. Today the pink bucket only had to make an appearance one time.

We are scheduled for a consultation with the bone marrow transplant team at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (Stanford) Wednesday afternoon. Our expedited appeal to stay at Children’s Oakland was flatly denied by our insurance company. So in preparation for the hand-off, Keith needed to make another rendezvous to the day hospital at Children’s Oakland earlier today to have a battery of blood samples drawn so the folks at Stanford can accurately assess his condition. We have mixed feelings about splitting our care between two institutions but we’re open to giving it a try as long as everybody talks to each other. Keith will come with us to Stanford to meet the doctors and to see for himself the facilities.

Excellent news came back from the detailed assessment of the bone marrow samples taken a little over a week ago. Apparently the test can identify one cancer cell in a million and there was no detectable cancer in either of the two samples. While it doesn’t mean that his cancer is gone, it does mean his bone marrow appears ‘free’ of cancer and so it’s time to collect his peripheral blood stem cells as the next step in his protocol. This will happen before his next scheduled chemotherapy course and could happen as soon as the end of the month or sometime in early November depending on his recovery from the last chemo cycle.

Should be an eventful period coming up.

BTW, looks like over 15,000 visits to Keith's page. Thanks for checking in!

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