Saturday, July 23, 2011

Leukemia - It's got Perks!

So who would have thought there'd be perks to having Leukemia?!

We (Paul and I) ordered online "business" cards (the free ones) for each of us since we are continually giving out blog addresses to people here. Having a little card to hand out will be so much easier than spelling out blog addresses all the time. Paul's card has "Thrilled to Death" in large print. Mine is more demure with a "LOL"...

So here's the perk - The "I have Leukemia" card: Paul got a sales call last night from the company he ordered with. And the girl was as slick as a baby's runny nose (sorry - I claim no skill for creating great similes) and she was ending her sales pitch with a, "Does that work for you?" - which included a monthly subscription to something or another. Paul responded with, "So if I don't cancel you're going to charge me $29.99 a month?!" She started to reiterate the advantages to this unsolicited product when Paul interrupted her:

"Well, here, let me tell you where I'm at. I'm at Vanderbilt hospital and I'm being treated for Acute Leukemia. (At this point the sales girl began to sputter a bit) I'm getting treated with Chemo right now and can probably expect to be here for the next 4-6 weeks..." Needless to say, the conversation was quickly and efficiently brought to an end with no further suggestions from the sales girl. It definitely made me smile. I did feel for the girl. I'm sure she's just doing her job. But you've got to admit that it's GREAT to get out of those slippery conversations by having the sales person in a hurry to end the call!

Oh, here's another GREAT perk for the patients here at 11 North (Vanderbilt lingo for Leukemia ward, located on 11th floor)- check out the stylin' no-slip yellow booties:

As many of you have probably heard, we have been given an apartment for FREE for the duration of this Leukemia journey here in Nashville. Our children are moving in already - the younger ones, the boys will come up on weekends as they work full time. Thank goodness for our Village! The children can relocate easily and there are people to take care of them. Paul and I can join them when he's released in 4-6 weeks while we prepare/wait for his bone marrow transplant. And then our family can continue to stay the duration of the transplant and recovery time. Is that incredible or what?! We are so so grateful. And it's a very nice apartment! The kids love the pool of course.

This is completely funded by the American Cancer Society (yes, those people referred to in Paul's is so full of ironies!)

Let me take this moment to plug all these things I myself have not paid much attention to until now. Cancer research organizations -- they have helped us all along the way here as you can see. Please consider donating as we could never repay what we've been given by others who've donated before us. Bone marrow donor - EVERYONE SHOULD DO THIS!!! This is a free and simple process. You go to your doctor or local health department and they swab the saliva in your cheek. THAT's IT! From there your info goes into a central bone marrow bank that doctors then search when looking for a bone marrow donor. The donor bank is relatively small compared to the number of humans in existence and I believe that's in part to a lack of awareness. Hence this paragraph! A very small amount of donors are called upon to actually donate. Only if you're a match for someone and the process is fairly simple. It seems tragic that someone would die simply because others didn't know they could save them at no risk to themselves! Spread the word about this! Lastly, give blood! Paul would already be dead but others have given their blood.

Paul continues to do well though he did experience some side effects yesterday. As they involve hemorrhoids and stuff I'll let you read his, er, cleaned up version.

In the midst of yesterday he was able to figure out that getting up and moving around helps everything. I enjoyed watching him deactivate his recently learned habits. He got off his IV yesterday (milestone!) but the habit of grabbing for it before walking remained. More than once yesterday I watched him grab at mid-air.

Then this morning as the nurse was checking in with him at the start of her shift (Susan - who has been attending the past couple of days so is familiar with where he's at) Paul told her that he figured out one of the problems from yesterday. He realized he was having trouble burping and when he does burp it completely relieves the symptoms. He suggested the need to be put on someone's shoulder from time to time and patted on the back. Susan responded with a dry, "So you want us to burp you every day?" I laughed. Her tone was perfect. She continued with a, "I'm sorry but that's outside my field of practice!"

I'll leave you with this picture taken this morning of Paul and Susan. As his shirt says (a lovely gift from little Katie - thank you!) IT'S ALL GOOD!


  1. Another great blog, Hannah. You are a great writer also. Maybe you & your hubby should team up on a book. ;-D

  2. The yellow slippers made me laugh and remember - of course yellow - he is, after all, Tom Bombadil.

  3. As for the blood, let me just amen what she said above about giving blood. And, after research, my recommendation is we simply GIVE OUR BLOOD without trying to DESIGNATE it for Shammah. Vanderbilt gets their blood from the American Red Cross. Yes, blood can be given directly to a patient, if the doctor will give his orders, but there is a cost involved each time, and it is not their preference. The same thing has to be done to our blood as everyone else's, so giving blood to a particular patient simply adds to their work. And it really isn't necessary, as others have given before us, as Hannah said, and Shammah will get what ne needs. The Nashville Red Cross did say THERE IS HIGH NEED for blood right now. So, I encourage everyone to SIMPLY GIVE BLOOD. Here's a calendar for the LIFELINE bloodmobile It shows they were in Selmer July 11th, and I believe they are there every 2nd Monday. But there's some other locations that wouldn't be hard to catch them at as well...Hope this helps.

  4. Love you so much, you two are such a hoot. Miss you terribly but doing well here in Kenya. The struggles here are as the struggles there.... ahhh; different country same problems. Humans are the same everywhere, they desperately need Christ.
    Hallelujah we get to live this life. When we return we want to reserve some time out with you and Shammah. Love you tons abba

  5. I didn't go to a doctor to get typed for bone marrow, but I ordered a kit for free from Be the Match marrow registry. They'll send a kit to anyone who requests one and it's super easy to do. You swab your cheeks 4 times and send it back (it's already pre-paid). Then they add you to their registry and if you end up being a match for someone, they'll contact you and let you know. You can learn a few details about the person you matched, and possibly meet them one day, which is a really neat thought! Anyway, just wanted to put that out there... :)