December 2008


We have wonderful Christmas news…..Jack’s cancer is no longer active. YEAH!!! His PET scan showed no activity in the areas where his cancer has been or any new areas. He has some spots but they think it is just scar tissue from the tumors and some radiation effects since there is no activity in those areas. It is normal for Hodgkins patients to have scar tissue from their cancer. Praise God! He is so good! We have both been nervous about the results mainly because he didn’t have very many side effects from his chemo so we were wondering if it had made an impact on the cancer. They also did a bone marrow biopsy and he is 99% donor. This means that his donor’s bone marrow is making 99% of the red and white cells along with the platelets. Even though his donors cells are making the blood cells he will continue to need blood transfusions for about a year because the donor’s blood type is different from Jack’s. Eventually Jack’s blood type will switch to the donor’s.  We still have a long road ahead of us. We will continue to stay in Nashville until March so they can monitor his medication and graft-versus host problems if any should arise. We went and celebrated our early Christmas present with lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe here in Nashville and a visit to the Harley Davidson shop. Jack can go out as long as he wears a mask but we still try to hang out at the apartment most of the time to cut down on his risk of catching something.

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Jack and his meds.

Jack and his meds.

Now that Jack is out of the hospital you are probably wondering what his days are like now. Well, he has a new job….pill swallower, water drinker, and temperature taker. Jack says his new job is Self-Contained Chemical Engineer since he has to keep track of all his body chemistry. Jack is now in charge of making sure he is taking all of his medication at the correct times and doses. The first time he had cancer he took 33 pills a day and right now we are at around 20. They are still trying to figure out which meds are needed and how much. So some days he may take a specific dose of a pill only to find out the next day that the dose needs to change or to quit taking that pill totally. They are trying to give him enough meds to combat illnesses that he is susceptible to now that he has no immune system without irritating his kidneys. They also are monitoring his graft-versus host medication because they have to maintain a certain amount to prevent severe graft-versus host disease but allow the new cells to do their job. The hardest part of the job is drinking enough fluids. They would like for him to drink between 2 and 3 liters a day. If his fluids get too level then his kidneys have to work harder and do not function as well because of the meds. So on days when he has not gotten enough fluids the day before we sit at the hosptial getting IV fluids part of the day. He also has to take his temperature several times a day in order to catch any infection early.

Overall, Jack is doing very well. He has a bone marrow biopsy tomorrow to look at how many of his cells are the donors. He will have a PET scan on Thursday to see how much if any cancer is left in his chest. We should know the results on Friday or Monday at the latest.

Jack chilling at the apartment.
Jack chilling at the apartment.

Jack’s counts are now high enough that it is safe for him to leave the hospital. They have also converted all of his meds from IV to pill form today. So they allowed him to come back to the apartment today for a trial run and he will go back tomorrow to be monitored and then released. We will still be here until March because daily they will have to check his  blood counts and monitor his graft-versus host medication. He is excited he will get to sleep all night without being woken up by a nurse.

Hopefully, this link will work. We have so much to celebrate this Christmas with Jack doing so well with his transplant. This link will take you to a fun website so click on it and celebrate with us.

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Anna visiting Daddy.

Anna visiting Daddy.

Jack is doing great! The doctors think his bone marrow is starting to kick in and producing new blood cells a whole week early.  Hmmmm…could it be because of the power of prayer…I think so. There has been some concern about one of his kidneys shutting down but a sonogram today showed both working great. Not much else to report since we are just waiting to see what happens next.

Anna is now back in Indiana with Nana and Papa. We had several girl mornings where we had Christmas pictures made, did some Christmas shopping and went to see Santa. We saw Santa at Bass Pro Shop. They have a great place to see Santa with games, decorations and crafts. She still would not talk to Santa but did write him a letter and mail it to him. She did stand in front of him for a picture but she says her wish list is a secret this year. We decorated our Christmas tree the other night. Anna and I made homemade ornaments for our tree this year since all of ours are in Fort Worth. Our little four foot tree is packed full of oranments. Anna is excited that the tree is the same size as her and she was able to put the topper on this year.