Blazing Saddles!
Monday December 31st 2007, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Leukemia

Watching Blazing Saddles!

Hair’s falling out in clumps. Dad bought a shaver, gonna take it all off!

–Reid.



New Year’s Eve In The Hospital
Monday December 31st 2007, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Leukemia

Had some back problems today. Spinal x-ray revealed no fractures. Need to get some more ultrasounds to check for more clots tomorrow.

Dad picking up Bennet’s BBQ for dinner!

Home tomorrow sounds pretty likely if no further complications. Who knows?

Off prednisone on Friday! Woo!!!

Sisters back Stateside, they’re in DC for the next few days. Excited to see them.

–Reid.



Clotting Keeping Me Clung!
Sunday December 30th 2007, 4:18 pm
Filed under: Leukemia

Still in the hospital, will be here through tomorrow for sure.

The clot in my arm is not any bigger than it was before, but it definitely seems to be a clot. I’ve been giving myself anti-clotting injections which seem to be working to prevent further clots.

I’ve been having very low sodium levels, and no one could quite figure out where the sodium was going. Turns out that the prednisone has probably been putting it into my legs, making them swell. So today I took some stuff to draw the sodium out from everywhere in my body and make me pee it out. Hopefully the swelling will go down.

The anti-clotting med is only available by delivery, not prescription. So we have to setup receiving it.

Will be staying the hospital overnight again with the plan to leave tomorrow barring unforseen new complications! HAH!

It’s already December 30, that’s crazy. Not many more days on the prednisone.

Today I found out the head radiation will make me dumber for a short period of time.

–Reid.



Will Be Here Through Tomorrow, Possible Clotting
Sunday December 30th 2007, 1:00 am
Filed under: Leukemia

I had a brief loss of vision in my left eye yesterday. This happened to me once a couple of months ago while I was out with the Machines. Just like yesterday, it cleared up within a short period of time.

But with all of the other stuff going on, including my right arm swelling and not my left one, and of course the leukemia, and prednisone–always the prednisone–we had to do some tests.

Tests were frustrating for various reasons, but revealed no major brain problems: this is important.

(fast forward a couple of hours)

Yesterday was frustrating, concerns over clotting, treating possibilities of clotting as clotting. Will do test tomorrow to know more for sure tomorrow.

Lots of pain today. Lots of anxiety. On lots of morphine right now.

Loren and Reiman came by today. Was really great, thank you guys.

Hopefully going to get some sleep. Hopefully will get to go home tomorrow, don’t know though.

–Reid.



Still In
Saturday December 29th 2007, 12:56 am
Filed under: Leukemia

Staying tonight. Long really frustrating day. Woke up feeling good, very good mood. Bad sorts right now.

Going to take Ambien, go to sleep. Will be here at least through tomorrow night.

–Reid.



Longish Day Ahead, Getting Chemo
Friday December 28th 2007, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Leukemia

I’m feeling good! I walked around a lot today, took my first shower in weeks without feeling like I was going to pass out, and played some Wii with my dad. We’re both terrible at it, and it was a blast.

My legs are still massively swollen, and now so is my right arm. I look like Popeye on one side. It’s gross. This is almost certainly caused by the steroids (oh, the steroids). I’m getting two bags of hemoglobin today, which will hopefully move the fluids and oxygen to other parts of my body, but there’s a (high) chance this is just another thing that’s going to keep getting worse during the first month due to the prednisone. Everything else might get swollen too!

My bilirubin has come down low enough to get the full dose of one of the chemo drugs today and a half dose of the other.

They’re also going to do an ultrasound just to check on my swollen arm to make sure there’s not a blood clot since it is on the same side as my mediport. Not sure if I’ve written about the mediport here before, but it’s a little two-port reservoir that was installed in my chest that connects to some major veins that they connect IVs into so they always have a good blood line. It’s where I get my chemo and other drugs, and where they draw blood from. So it’s important to make sure it’s working okay.

I have another port in my brain so I don’t need to get spinal taps, too.

My fingers are very tingly these days and my hands are shaky, and now on top of it all, my right arm is really swollen, so it’s getting harder to write and type. Sort of annoying!

Grandma is bringing me Taco Bell! Their website is incredibly specific about nutrition information. Not that it’s the healthiest thing I can be eating right now, but when I need to say exactly what I’m eating, it has been by far the most impressive, comprehensive restaurant we’ve had in the past few weeks. Red Robin and Cheesecake Factory won’t tell you any of their info!

I’m supposedly going home tonight.

–Reid.



Giant Feet Feelin’ Fine!
Friday December 28th 2007, 2:19 am
Filed under: Leukemia

I had some friends visit me in the hospital tonight which was very comforting. Lifted my spirits and really had a wonderful time just sitting around chatting with some people I haven’t been able to see in a long time. Reminded of what wonderful friends I’ve made over the years and how lucky I’ve been to keep them.

However, as they were leaving, I noticed that my legs and feet have swollen to an absurd level and I freaked out! I feel like they’re double the size of what they normally are. I’m a big guy, but have always had skinny legs and feet. These things look like glazed hams!

After a quick inspection, I was assured that there is no clotting or sign of infection or anything like that, but that due to my lack of movement (for all the myriad reasons from the chemo), I have to try to keep my legs up or else all the liquid just sort of saps downwards. This is good to know and easy to deal with! Right now I have some stylish leggings on to help diffuse them a bit and am kicking them up comfortably.

And actually despite having weird elephant-like legs, I felt up to–and really quite motivated–to walk around the room and clean up after people left. It felt good to move some stuff around for myself and get some stuff done. It wasn’t anything major, but it felt good to feel good enough to do minor tasks on my own.

Again, I want to emphasize that coming to terms with taking painkillers today was a major breakthrough. I’m not going to get addicted, I’m not taking them for fun, and hell, I’m in pain. I’m not going to be in pain like this forever, so I won’t have to take them forever. I feel like I can function a bit better now.

Had an ultrasound today that showed I don’t have any stones or organ infections or anything. All good news.

Tonight’s late night bilirubin test will determine what happens with my chemo tomorrow. I still think my eyes look pretty yellow, so I’m betting on some sort of modification of the plan. That’s fine–I certainly prefer not to have my body poison itself–and as has been explained to me, we can safely delay or reduce the treatment.

Here’s hoping I feel better after chemo tomorrow than I have in the past few weeks. At least I can say that at the night farthest from my last chemo, I feel better than I’ve felt all week. I have something to look forward to: I know I can achieve feeling better. It does happen.

–Reid.



Good News Among Hospital Stay
Thursday December 27th 2007, 4:17 pm
Filed under: Leukemia

My sodium, which had been very low, is rising again. My bilirubin (causing the jaundice, and indicating the toxicity of the chemo drugs) is slowly decreasing.

The bilirubin levels may not be low enough tomorrow to give me the full dose of chemo, but we will adjust accordingly by either giving a smaller dose or waiting a few days for my regularly scheduled dose. I am assured that these things are normal and will not create undue problems.

In other good news, I am producing some healthy red blood cells with good nuclei. This is a sign that hopefully remission is near on track, despite the high volume of leukemia found in my bone marrow on day 15. The day 28 bone marrow aspirate remains the critical measure of this, but it is nice to have some good news building up to then.

I discussed with one of the doctors today that I will probably be feeling the worst during induction (first month) (which I had known) but even then, I’m not going to feel like me for months and months. The hope is that after this first month, the constant pain will be lessened, and that by the third month I’ll start to actually feel better. An interesting sub-roadmap to look forward to.

Without a large centralized pain in my gut or my arm, I’m definitely feeling the effects of everything all over–very sore, painful, and swollen. I had concerns about the pain meds, but I think we’ve addressed those and I feel more comfortable using them now.

–Reid.



Bhutto Thoughts
Thursday December 27th 2007, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Liberty!

Bhutto placed herself in harm’s way, yes. Does that mean she should not have returned? Does that mean that she should not have been campaigning? Does that mean that assassinating her was justified? No; these are not even reasonable questions. Bhutto knowingly placing herself in harm’s way does not mean that there should not have been a real push for actual democratic reform in Pakistan.

She was not a good leader for Pakistan before; I do not dispute this. But this does not mean that she should not have been running, and it does not mean that a real, EU-sanctioned election could not have been a catalyst for real reform in Pakistan.

It means that Pakistan is an even more dangerous place than we have been thinking–and by most thinking, we’ve been considering it pretty dangerous for a while now. It’s a powder keg for so many reasons, and hopefully with the help of the international community–which Musharraf has shown great disdain for in recent months–a peaceful resolution and forward plan will be reached soon.

We can watch, we can hope, we can offer support, but ultimately we can only hope for the best right now. And we must hope for the best, because of the importance of the country in the world today.

–Reid.



Bhutto and Pakistain
Thursday December 27th 2007, 10:47 am
Filed under: Liberty!

Stunned to wake up to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Say what you will of the woman, this is disastrous.

So much shock about what it means for the region. It will be very scary and important for us to pay attention in the coming days.

–Reid.