Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Back to Work

Dave has slowly gained strength over the last two days, and he's going to try a half day of work today. Things are looking up.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Dave's sister left yesterday morning. No chemo this weekend, so it's "rest" days. Good thing, because we were both so exhausted that we went to bed at 5pm and slept for 14 hours.

Roger and Leigh stopped by earlier in the day to help move furniture - we're still emptying out the old painting studio and getting it ready to paint. Then we'll make it the new bedroom. Pam and John came by later to say hi and drop off some skin salve. I'm afraid we were zombie-like hosts. Apologies in advance to any visitors we fall asleep on.

Dave was still pretty whipped this morning, and getting worried about having the energy to return to work on Tuesday. He's been hanging out in the "dead elephant" today (see above.) That's the chair my brother brought over here a couple of months ago, for reasons too complicated to go into right now. Dave didn't like the chair, and he dubbed it the "dead elephant." As soon as possible, he banished it from the living room, so I used it in my studio. But with all the furniture rearranging around here, the elephant landed back in the living room and Dave's been using it more and more. Today he finally announced that it was a great chair and he was glad to have it.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Last Day of Chemo (for now)

Dave was pretty wiped out this morning, so he slept in and rested before heading over to the hospital for his third chemo infusion. Afterwards, he was feeling a little better, so we went to the Zephyr Caffe for tea and then home for a little soup. He's still pretty tired, but he's taking this chemo regimen way better than I'd expected.

His multi-medication schedule (at home) is so complicated, I had to put it into a spreadsheet just to make sense of it. Also hassle - setting the alarm for midnight & 6am to take medications. Still, it's better than being in the hospital.

Image above: Dave at the pharmacy, picking up more meds to go.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Second Day on the Level

Dave was still wired this morning and after breakfast he went out to Costco with Susan and me, to look for a giant bottle of alcohol hand sanitizer (which we never found.)

Then it was on over to his second day of IV chemo this afternoon. This time Susan & I stayed out in the waiting room while Dave went in by himself. He was able to chat and compare notes with the other guys getting chemo, as they sat in their recliners. He almost seemed to enjoy it and when he left he was anxious to get over to the garage to shoot some photos from the roof.

He was slowing down a bit by the time we got home and about mid-way through dinner he finally bonked. He barely made it to bed before dropping off to sleep.

He's been having increasing episodes of hiccups, which are causing him some distress, but no nausea so far.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

First Day of IV Chemo

Today was a long session at the Oncology Clinic Infusion Center. We were there for almost 3 hours, but mostly we were meeting people, listening to instructions and waiting . . . lots of waiting. The infusion itself was actually anticlimactic. Afterwards, Dave felt so good, he wanted to go to Mel's for a late lunch. He's getting Mitoxantrone and Fludarabine, plus Decadron. The Decadron had him so buzzed, it was like he'd had three cups of coffee, and he's been in high spirits for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

We just got back from the hospital. The official diagnosis is chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Dave's going to the hospital (as an outpatient) for the next three days, for IV chemo. Then he has 4 weeks of "rest," then another 3 days of chemo, then 4 weeks off, and so on, for 6 months.

Then, assuming his tests show a satisfactory improvement, he will have 18 to 24 months of "normal" life. Satisfactory test results mean that the percentage of cancer cells in his bone marrow drops from (the current level of 80) to 20 or less. The cancer will slowly return, and when the levels get too high, he will return for another round of chemo.

The prognosis for this kind of cancer is about 10 to 15 years. Better than the 1 to 3 months they first offered us, but not not good enough for Dave. He's a little pissed right now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Echo today

Dave had more tests today, including an Echocardiogram (which is what he's doing in the photo above.) Nothing painful or too scary, and we got out of the hospital earlier than we'd expected.

Tomorrow is the big day - the meeting with the Oncology team to hear the complete diagnosis and treatment plan. Dave's sister Susan and I will be going with him, to make sure all his questions get answered and to make sure he gets the best care.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Some Good News

Thanks for all your good wishes - Dave has been really touched by the responses from his friends. We had some good news yesterday - the preliminary pathology reports showed that his leukemia was actually the chronic type, rather than the acute type, and since "chronic" implies persisting for a long time, it sure sounds better the previous scenario, which had him checking out in the next few weeks to months.

He's handling this first chemo routine pretty well, with just fatique, mental fuzziness and mild nausea so far.

We still don't know much more than that, though. He's going for more tests Monday, then the big oncology meeting on Tuesday, which is when we hope to find out exactly WHAT he has, what kind of TREATMENT they're planning, what the PROGNOSIS is, and what the financial implications will be.

Dave's sister is flying onto town tomorrow and I think she'll be here a week. By the end of that time, we should have a better idea of what's going on and what kind of help we may need. The most immediate thing that I can think of is rides to and from the hospital for his treatments. Once I know what kind of schedule he'll be on, I'll let everyone know.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dave has leukemia

Dave was diagnosed yesterday with acute leukemia (exact type is still pending.) I'll know more about the prognosis, etc on Monday, but it's not good. He's already receiving chemo and he'll be in the hospital for a month. If he makes it through this first round, he'll be in for several more. He's coping fairly well, considering. He's not in too much pain, and what pain he does have is from the hospital procedures, rather than the disease itself. He's got the usual chemo discomforts, and I expect that those will increase in the coming weeks. He can't have flowers or uncooked fruits or vegetables. His appetite is rapidly vanishing. He wants to be taking photos, but we haven't figured out (yet) how to do that in the hospital. His visitors are extremely restricted because of the severe risk of infection. I'll be contacting everyone again next week about how he's doing and if/when/where people can visit.