We’re All In This Together

Today, I’m at the clinic, basically for testing the chemotherapy they plan before my transplant. I took a big dose, then they’ve been taking blood samples every half hour. Some time between now and the 21st, the pharmacist will review the results and develop a perfect schedule for me to take my chemo.

In between tests, I decided to get up and walk some laps, and when I came around to the area where they do all the incoming blood tests, there was a patient there who I recognized. A celebrity.

I knew he had AML, and he’s from Atlanta, so it made sense he would come here. But it shows me that we’re all the same. We come to clinic and we get healed.

Now, I know this person was, at one time, waiting to get into remission so he could have another transplant. You see, his leukemia relapsed. It happens a lot. And I wanted to stop and ask him how he was doing. Is he in remission? He seemed as happy as any of us here. Maybe he was.

But, something told me to leave him to himself. I imagine I’ll read an update on him soon enough. So, on one of my laps, I nodded, and he nodded back.

And I prayed for him, again. And we went our ways.

Happy Independence Day

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Since I will be just a little over a week from my bone marrow transplant come July 4, it’s very likely that I won’t get to attend the annual festivities at our friends’ home this year.

But that doesn’t mean I can provide the barbecue again. Today I’m smoking a Boston butt, but I plan to leave it about 3 hours short of where it would be if we were planning to enjoy it today. Then, it will cool and go in the freezer, and on the 3rd, our friends can set it out to thaw, and then cook it another 3 hours, wrapped.

Of course, I’m not letting good smoke go to waste.

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That’s ribs and kielbasa for us, tonight.

Also, for those so inclined, I’ll let you know I always play the Star Spangled Banner when I light my smoker or grill. Because America.

(I’ve cut a version with 30 seconds of drum roll at the beginning, so I can light it all over and come to attention. Email me and I’ll be happy to share if anyone else is interested.)

Thank God for the Little Things

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Trust me, there was a time when this would be a gross thing to write about. Ask Vicki.

Almost all my life I’ve suffered from athlete’s foot. I would treat it with sprays and creams, and they would get better. But, to be honest, as soon as they would start looking better, I’d slack off. Then in a little while, they were back to their old selves.

But, after chemotherapy, when my immune system was in the tank, I started taking antifungal pills twice a day. And what do you know, after two months, combined with lotion every night, my feet look like normal feet.

Now the spray is going on under my socks prophylactically. I like them like this.

Thank God for the little things.

Hurry Up and Wait

My plan with this blog is two-fold: to document my battle with leukemia so far (as much for me as for you, dear Reader), and to document my ongoing treatment and recovery. Today I’ll start with the latter.

Yesterday, I made a visit to the clinic, which is short for the Blood and Marrow Transplant Group of Georgia office, in the tower at Northside Hospital in Sandy Springs, Georgia. This is where I’ve been coming for follow up after discharge from Northside as an inpatient, on April 19.

I was there to have a bone marrow biopsy, so we can know that my bone marrow transplant that’s planned for June 28 won’t be putting good marrow in with bad. I’m not concerned, as this was the third biopsy I’ve had since finishing chemotherapy, and the other two were negative. But that didn’t make it feel any better.

For those who don’t know, a bone marrow biopsy involves drilling into my hip bone and sucking out marrow. And, while I get some topical anesthetic, it feels like it sounds like it feels. The only thing worse than feeling it would be to have to watch it, which is why my wife Vicki chooses not to.

After the biopsy, my hip and backside hurt all day, but today it’s better.

Most of my clinic visits have been after my chemotherapy treatments, so we were watching the reaction of my bone marrow. This means taking blood samples and running a CBC, or complete blood count. We’re either looking for the counts of red and white blood cells to be going down, after chemo, or coming up, as the marrow recovers.

My marrow has pretty much recovered from the last chemo, and the biopsy results should also show that I remain in remission, or cancer free.

So from there comes another chemotherapy treatment to knock the marrow back again, and when it’s at the bottom, we’ll do the transplant.

So for now, I’m waiting for all that to come.

Up next – how all this has changed my view of God.

Welcome to Plumb Mad Dog Mean

On March 15, 2016, I received word that I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or AML. Needless to say, my world changed.

I want to start this blog for a lot of reasons . . .

  • To tell my story, to get it off my chest, and to share my experiences with my family and friends.
  • To share my victories with others who are suffering from this disease.
  • To share hope with everyone who faces a terrible event or process in their lives, to help them see that they are not alone, and to share God’s mercy and grace, as He has shared with me.

God has wonderful things in store for me. How do I know? Because He has already done wonderful things for me, and I can only imagine what’s next. Thank you for sharing it with me.