Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Very Short Update

Dave’s Great Adventure, Book Three
Chapter Six, Verse One
August 9, 2008

I want to send out a quick status report to let all of you know how I’m doing. When I’m silent too long many folks, with good reason, start to worry that I’m not doing well and that there are problems. I’m actually doing well, but there have been problems.

The day I sent out my last message, I had to cut it a bit short and didn’t spend a lot of time polishing it, as I typically like to do, and I haven’t sent out anything since. The reasons were twofold; that very day my platelets finally got “high” enough, at about 80,000, to allow more treatment (remember that normal is about 150,000 to about 350,000 or so). But even at my relatively low level, the folks at M. D. Anderson allowed me to start my sixth round of treatment. And so I did, and I got sick, but now I’m done with all six rounds of this new, experimental treatment. I want to tell you a bit about this last round later, when I have more time.

The second reason I have been silent for the last three weeks is that the day I started my last round of chemotherapy my step-dad, a wonderful and kind gentleman, was discharged from the hospital after a prolonged admission of about two months, but he was discharged to hospice care. Then, the next day, while I was getting my Day Two infusions, he died.

My infusion schedule could have not been worse under these circumstances. If I hadn’t started the infusions we could probably have postponed them, but since I had started them, we couldn’t stop in the middle of the schedule. So I was sick during the time I wanted to be in Iowa with my Mom and my family and relatives for the funeral. My step-dad was such a nice guy that I wanted to be there to show my deep respect for him, but couldn’t. I hated to miss the celebration of his long and wonderful life. He died at the age of ninety-five and I’m pretty sure that, except for the last couple months of his life when he was confined to a hospital room, he enjoyed every year of his full life. I hope to tell you about this remarkable man in a future verse.

Since his death there have been many things the family has had to deal with, one of the primary things being preparing to move our Mom and her belongings to Texas, where much of her family lives. Three of her five children, seven of her ten grandchildren and both of her great-grandchildren live in Texas, and most are clustered around the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, so we’ll be bringing her to town next week. I know she’ll miss her many friends and relatives in Iowa, where she was born, but it’ll be nice for all of us here in Texas to be able to see her so much more often. And even though she was born in Iowa, she’s really a Texan at heart as she lived for decades in San Antonio where she acquired a taste for Tex-Mex cooking. She’ll find plenty of that around here.

Anyway, I’m still recovering from the last round of chemotherapy, am back on the Neupogen because of the usual and expected low while cell counts, and am tired more than I’d like to be, but all in all, I’m doing just great. I’m looking forward to getting back to a more normal life in the coming months, since I won’t be getting whacked with more chemotherapy when I start feeling well this time. I’m going to stop this message at this point and leave you with the promise that in the coming weeks I’ll completely fill you in on my last cycle of poisons in painful, even excruciating, detail. So beware.


“We’re all on the same journey; you can choose to do it with joy.” Sally Hughes Smith, (as quoted in a recent column by Kathleen Parker of the Orlando Sentinel)