Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 13 "It's Been a Good Day"

I'm going to interrupt my usual quirky series to give you a more straightforward update on Paul since he isn't up to it today.

This is day 13 and as best as I can tell he's handled Day 13 really awesome. You see, we've been told that a Leukemia patient receives Chemo for 7 days and the Chemo continues to work it's, er, magic for another week. On Day 14 everything is at its lowest. Days 13-14 are also generally the toughest days on the Leukemia patient. So that's where Paul is at. And in light of this I have to say that he is doing amazingly well! At one point today he quoted that amazing 13th Warrior, "It's been a good day."

His day started really early with a transfusion of Platelets. Later in the morning he received two pints of blood. Those things all make him feel better.

He had a lot of trouble this morning with what I would have to describe as violent chills. He got out of bed as little as possible so as to avoid those shiverings. He stayed wrapped up in blankets and a shawl most of the day.

At one point he asked me to crawl into bed with him. We huddled (Did y'all see March of the Penguins?) to keep him warm. That was a very sweet time for me. We stayed cuddled while he slept for a good while.

The chemo kills all rapidly reproducing cells and that includes saliva. As a result he's got a couple of mouth sores (a common side effect) he's working around. There's a magic formula he can take called "Miracle Mouthwash" and it numbs those sores immediately. Paul has a routine worked out now and he generally applies that just before eating. Today, however, he stuck with a baking soda/salt rinse they also gave him and he didn't eat much in the way of solids. That's in part due to mouth sores, in part in an effort to cut down on eliminations (those 'rhoids are still there), and lastly in part to the beginnings of nausea.

So up to this point he has mouth sores, chills, some nausea, and hemorrhoid issues. He's dealing with stuff at the top, in the middle, and the bottom. He's managed all of this amazingly well. He takes a pain pill when he needs to go to the bathroom to help with that and somehow there was Benadryl added on this morning. That makes him very groggy so he dozed on and off pretty much the entire day.

Then this afternoon his temperature started going up. When it got to 103 they started him on an IV with antibiotics. They drew some blood to check for infection. His PICC site is just a little red and could be a possible cause of the fever.

Louise, our wonderful wonderful nurse today also said that Neutropenic fevers are not uncommon. (Neutropenic has to do with having very little or no little something or anothers in your blood)
His temperature kept going up and down but never exceeded 103. It mostly stayed around 101 and this evening (they also gave him some Tylenol) it was back to 98.something. Through all this Paul mostly laid quietly in bed. He's letting things do what they need to do. And every once in a while his radiant smile pokes through.

Tomorrow is the big day! Tomorrow they do a bone marrow biopsy to see if they killed all the Leukemia (and other) cells. If not, he will have to do another round of Chemo. This round was a 7/3 - 7 days of one thing combined with 3 days of another. They would do a 5/3 (I think) if they were unable to get all the cells this last time. Obviously we are hoping to get an "all clear" result. I know many are praying.

If it is all clear then Paul will stay here for 4-6 weeks while his body rebuilds using only healthy cells. After that he should be released for a while. There will be two "consolidation" sessions which are short Chemo blasts to double check that they didn't miss anything. I'm not sure how long he'll be admitted for those. Then after that they will begin the discussions on bone marrow transplant.

(I hope I'm getting all this info correct. Describing scenes rather than imparting technical info are much more my forte.)

We have a little news on finding a donor. They checked the national donor bank and came up with three potential matches. They are contacting them now to begin the screening process. When they look for matches they do tests on six things to find a match. I have no idea what those six things are but I know that ethnic background plays a big part. His sister was a 4/6 match. They said that it is possible to use that though they would prefer a 6/6. The doctor said that they are also going to check the international donor bank and he's hoping they may come up with something as Paul is half Portuguese. That's pretty much all we know on that at this point. You can pray with Paul for that process in finding a donor (though Paul isn't really praying in this picture, he's trying to stay warm)

And I'll leave you with this sneak preview picture which will be included in my next post entitled, "The Handsome Doctors (Smart too!)" I've got some great stuff for that post! Stay Tuned!


  1. Thanks for the update Hannah. Praying every day. You two are awesome.

  2. Thanks for keeping us up to date with your lovely descriptions of what you feel and see. I much prefer those to any technical report. We love and miss you both. We picked up Doug, Tera, and Brandon yesterday and as I write they are sleeping soundly. We can't wait to see you. Love abba

  3. Oh my! I am going back through these, and I am not used to dad with a beard anymore!