Um, hello. I've been busy these past few weeks. Too busy to write here apparently! So many things to write about, I don't even know where to start.
Let's start with my brother Steve. I haven't written about him in a long time. He is keeping his blog pretty updated, though he hasn't posted anything in the past few days. About three weeks ago he started what they call 'induction chemotherapy.' It is pretty harsh stuff but is supposed to reduce the number of abnormal cells, giving him better chances of a successful transplant. So he spent several days in the hospital and then proceeded to feel like total crap. Mouth sores, incontinence, nausea, you name it. I wrote a little guest post for him when he wasn't feeling very well.
After a few days, he went home and started to feel better and better. Then about a week ago he was admitted to the hospital for an infection, liver problems, and jaundice. Then went home. Then went in again last night because he had a fever (possibly another infection). But his fever went down right away and I think he is going to be released to go back home tomorrow. It's a bit of a rollercoaster.
I know he is disappointed because being admitted over and over again to the hospital feels like setbacks, especially when he had been feeling so much better. But apparently this is not unusual. When your resistance is that low, you can get an infection quicker than you can say "chemotherapy." I am bummed that I haven't seen him in about two weeks or so. We were out of town for awhile and traveling on airplanes, so we didn't want to pass on any unknown germs. Then sure enough, the day after we got home I came down with a nasty cold which I've been fighting for five days now and I think I'm finally at the end of it. So I'm glad I didn't see him right when we got home because I could've passed on a nasty germ.
So after he recovers from this particularly intensive chemotherapy (not like the 'lighter' ones he had before) in a couple more weeks, I think they are planning to start the transplant process possibly in early December. First they start with lots and lots of testing. Then they do total irradiation to wipe out his existing marrow. According to his doctor, this last round of chemotherapy he just had is a "walk in the park" compared to what the irradiation will be like. (That makes me wince...) Then he'll recover from the irradiation, and then finally he will have the bone marrow transplant. Or, more accurately, a stem cell transplant. Stem cells are extracted from the donor's bone marrow and will then be injected into Steve's marrow and will replicate themselves.
One thing you can do is support Steve is to support his friend Nic, who is running 13 races in 12 weeks to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Please consider donating to this great cause! Check out the website here: http://13in12.blogspot.com.
Thanks for listening. I'll write more about the many other things in the coming weeks...