Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lorie on Leukemia (LOL?)

Well, it's been a while since I posted here on this blog. I needed to give everyone a chance to get used to the news that Paul has Leukemia before I started poking fun at it. Hey - Paul does! Why can't I?!!!

So yeah, he started a blog entitled, "Thrilled to Death" and as those who follow us on facebook already know, I threatened to start a blog entitled, "You're Killing Me!"

We finally made it to Vanderbilt and I gladly handed over the reigns that tried to keep that exuberant (and sometimes reckless) guy rested and nourished and now I just get to enjoy each day with him. And he makes that so very easy to do! He's just been absolutely amazing! (Uh, I'll try not to end every single sentence of this post with an exclamation point. Though there are so many points to exclaim about lately...)

Things have been so busy since we arrived at Vanderbilt last Thursday. Actually today feels like our first real day here. We arrived on Thursday, went through a lot of admitting stuff, and finally got to our room around 4:30 in the afternoon. I took that evening to unpack us and get settled in. Paul spent the time delighting and invigorating the lovely staff that care for us here in the Leukemia ward. I think he might have gone "out and about" - which is limited to the Leukemia ward, sealed behind closed doors - and met a couple fellow patients as well.

And he's proven to be quite helpful. Let's see. He does the math (quickly) for the nurses when they need to make adjustments to the IV drip speeds, oh, and he helped Paula - a very accomplished nurse, mind you - figure out an easier way to close a new little contraption-an outer covering of sorts on IV lines. I came in one day to find Paul and the nurse with their heads bent over that contraption, completely absorbed in the mechanics of it all. Paul figured out how to make it quickly snap into place. She says she's used it ever since. Paula has such a lovely smile. They all do. We will not be able to say enough about the wonderfulness of the staff here.

Then Paul made a first for a resident doctor this morning. He was exercising around 7:30 a.m. or so when the resident dr came by. "This is the first time I came looking for a morning patient and found him on the exercise bike!"

Then Roy and Laura along with the kids arrived on Friday. "Uncle Dave" (Paul's brother) flew in that day and we also got a lovely visit from Ashima traveling through on her way back to the village. They seem to be handling all of this pretty well (I'm not sure they have a choice when the Leukemia patient who happens to also be their son, brother, and father is handling it so amazingly!)

In the middle of that they relocated us to a bigger room which was great - it just meant repacking really quickly and then resettling in on the other side. Thank God I married an adventurous man who helps keep my settling roots short. It's so much easier to up and move at a moment's notice!

All the guys got to watch the Women's World Cup soccer game with Paul in his room on Sunday. Though USA did not win, still it was great! The guys were all excited recounting bits and pieces afterwards. I enjoyed a movie with Manu and Lani that I hadn't seen yet (A Series of Unfortunate Events - now I'll be able to keep up when references are made) and some girl-ie chat time with Janelle and Kay. We pretty much figured out who everyone should marry in the village so if you have any questions just let me know...just joking of course...we only figured out half...

All too soon it was time for them to leave.

Paul is on his 5th bag of Chemo. I think Chemo has come a long way. He's doing great. They anticipate some of the side effects and give him meds ahead of time to ward them off as much as possible. He has not experienced any nausea or pain yet. His hands are slightly shaky when he tries to do small dexterous things. Other than that, he's doing great. He wrote about his experience with Lasix that resulted in 30+ comments on facebook and Rushie & Becky pulling out measuring cups for a visual on amounts of, er, liquid described in his post. He's hilarious.

The first day we were here they promptly put him on a low-neutrophil diet. That means nothing fresh whatsoever. Everything ultra cooked so as to ensure no living bacteria. That threw me at first but I switched gears and went to Trader Joe's to buy the healthiest processed food I could find! :s

We laugh a lot. Paul is always saying the funniest, most outrageous things. He's just doing amazing. I was geared up - you know me - to be the next "perfect nurse" (a term coined by Amy Carmichael for one of the ladies who cared for her.) I planned to be the lady who floats in with angelic music playing in the background, always knowing the perfect thing to do or say in that perfect quiet and gentle angelic voice...knowing whether to quote a scripture, or provide a fresh cool cup of water. SNORT. There has been no place for such a creature in this Leukemia patient's room!

The doctor did confirm today that a bone marrow transplant is what they want to do. Paul wrote a great update on that here: "The Plan" along with updated pictures on those bumps on his back which are FLAT!!! I have been amazed at how quickly all of this has worked.

We really see all of this as a midway tune-up. Well, more like a major overhaul but hey! at the end (I throw me with my back into this mix) we'll both be as good as new, ready for whatever our Father has planned for our second half of life (here on earth!) And we are excited. Looking forward to it. It's going to be good. I just know it.

The adventure of a lifetime HAS JUST BEGUN!!!!!


  1. Loved everything you shared. Thanks so much for the awesome update! Love you lots. Give that AMAZING guy Paul a big hug from me. :)

  2. You're doing awesome too :) Thanks for the update. I love you!

  3. Incredible, Hannah. Yes, thanks for sharing. And thanks for sharing Lei Lani with us; I just got the news you want her back for a month, so I'm adjusting...but a free apartment?! Who is like our God!! The journey he has you both on is amazing.....truly a journey of pure unexplicable overflowing joy. Keep on blogging; we love keeping up with it all. :) Love, Hash

  4. I am thrilled to hear the excitment through all that you wrote. Love you Sister!

  5. I love you guys so much! I love the part about papa shammah helping the nurses, and I love your description of the angelic nurse!!! :)