Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Blood/Brain Barrier...

So, we're back at Vanderbilt for Paul's 3rd (and hopefully last) round of Chemo before his stem cell transplant.

This Chemo is targeting his central nervous system as they found blasts (baby cancer cells which I refer to as blasted blasts!) in the spinal fluid. Apparently not all Chemotherapy can cross the blood/brain barrier but this stuff will. So he's getting 2 potent bags every day for 6 days. Here's his blog which gives the details and how he's doing with all of this: Thrilled to Death.

It will take one week to administer the Chemo, one week for it to brew inside, killing those blasted blasts, then another week or two for his immune system to come back up to normal levels.

I'm spending evenings/nights there with him at the hospital and then I go over to the apartment during the day to help the kids with their schooling and visit with whichever lady is there from our village.

I can honestly say at this time that Life is Good!

So, I stay in the mornings until after the doctors make their rounds. I love that we get to see and hear from the team working on Paul's case each and every morning. Our current head doctor (I'm sure there's a more impressive title to use there but I'm not sure what it is) is Dr Greer.

He's the older gentleman with the snazzy tie, casually leaning on the end of the bed. One feels as though one (or one's husband) is in good hands with Dr Greer.

But I confess to experiencing some brain/blood barriers myself with these visits.

If you had distinguished people coming to your room each morning, what would you do? Well, I would fold up the blankets, tidy up the place, fix my hair, and hold off going to the bathroom so as not to miss their visit. (I have to walk a good distance to use the restroom. The one in our room is reserved for Paul while he's receiving Chemo.)

This morning Dr Greer and his team were a bit later than usual...

Now don't panic. I'm not going to go through my Depends! story again.

As we waited for Dr Greer's team to arrive, my brain started finding myriads of minuscule details to attend to. Here's what it looked like:

Brain: "Oh! Those blankets are folded really sloppy!" Arms reached out and quickly refolded blankets.

Brain: "Ugh! Are those my shoes I smell? I REALLY need to clean those!" Arms dug into bag quickly-before the doctors arrived- for Lysol to disinfect the air (Doesn't everyone carry travel-size Lysol in their bag?!)

Brain: "Is this shirt too wrinkled?" Body quickly moved to mirror to inspect the shirt. While there, fingers fluffed hair. Hair then proceeded to fall back into the exact place it was before the fluffing. And on and on it went. Brain busy. Blood seemingly barred from brain.

Then Paul got up and announced that he was going to the exercise bike. He suggested the doctors could look for him on the exercise bike in the hall if they came before he returned.

Brain finally stopped fidgeting. Besides, everything was ready. We just needed the doctors to arrive.

A few minutes later - and I mean minutes - the doctor and his entourage were at our door! (Of course!)

Sigh. Brain thoughts: "They're going to go see him at the exercise bike. I've straightened up and cleaned up and Lysol-ed up for nothing. Oh well. The polite thing would be to go ahead and tell them where he is."

I opened the door and found myself face to face with Dr Greer. I sweetly told him where he could find Paul. He gazed back in his polite way as I talked and agreeably planned to go find Paul on the exercise bike.

I pulled my head back inside the room and THEN - only then - remembered that I NEVER BRUSHED MY TEETH this morning! Talk about a blood/brain barrier!

I'm quite certain I delivered that sweet face to face message to that distinguished gentleman with my most awful morning dragon breath! ARRRGH! And to his credit he never flinched even a little. Not even an eyelid flicker!

So, that's life at Vanderbilt at this time. I'll leave you with this awesome picture of PiccMan minus the cape! I may be failing at being awesome, but I assure you he is not!


  1. You are soooo funny. That's a lot like I would have felt. Thanks for the virtual journey. Much love Noah

  2. ROFL!!!! I love the way you write! That's exactly what I would've done...keep writing Hannah!

  3. You are great!!! One of the funniest women I know! I wonder how much you'd get if you did a stand-up comedy routine somewhere in Nashville?....Hmmmm, we should look into this! :) Love you!

  4. Chavvah: I'd starve! Which is not necessarily a bad thing. I could stand to lose a few pounds...

  5. We miss you guys and especially your very great sense of humor. You guys are our hero's! We are here by your side in everything.

  6. LOL! miss you and the family. Glad you got to go to the concert. xxxoooooxxxxxx

  7. Love it!!!! You are amazing Hannah and I love your honest to goodness realness :) I miss you tons!

  8. You both are totally awesome!!!!!! I love and miss you tons :) Praying for you and your family. Love always,

  9. LOL! You really have a way of making people feel like they are there in the room watching the whole thing happen.