Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Appointment

Terry had his scheduled appointment yesterday and red blood counts were high enough that he didn't need any red cell transfusion. 
RBC = 3.06(L)
HGB = 9.3(L)
HCT = 27(L)

However, the platelets weren't a great number, so they did one bag of platelets. 
Platelets = 3(LL)

It took a couple hours for them to arrive, but that wasn't a problem because I (Elaine) had a lot of shopping to do in preparation for an upcoming family reunion.  (FYI - BJo was there to help me and it was a good thing or I'd still be there dragging heavy carts around by myself.  I couldn't believe how long it took us ..., and we hurried.)

The problem actually ended up being that Terry had to sit in the clinic for a few hours waiting for me. He often sits in the car when I do my shopping, but it was 108 degrees when he got done, and we decided it would be best if he waited inside a cool building rather than out in the heat.

Terry's other counts were about the same.
WBC = 0.2(LL)
ANC = 0.00(LL)

His next appointment is Thursday and they are already set up for red blood cell and platelets transfusions at 8:00 in the morning. 

He is very slow and aching and lacks energy, but is pushing himself to do a few odds and ends around the house and farm.  He hates sitting and doing nothing, especially when the need is so great, and he wants to accomplish something.  It hurts me to see him so warn out.  I'll feel better when he can feel like he doesn't have to push so hard ..., he will feel better too.  ;) 


I went searching for a quote and within one minute I found this quote that fits perfectly here.  I'll try to stop "stressing" now ..., I mean right now!  ;)

Don't Stress, Trust God's Timing
image found here

"Stress makes you believe that everything has to happen right now. 
Faith reassures you that everything will happen in God's timing!"


Have a great day everyone!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Short Stay

We made the trip to the clinic to check blood counts and get transfusions as needed.  His counts were about the same.

WBC = 0.2(LL)
RBC = 3.03(L)
HGB = 9.2(L)
HCT = 26.7(L)
Platelets = 4(LL)
ANC = 0.1(LL)

You may have noticed that the reds were up a bit - increased numbers meant that Terry only needed one bag of red blood cells and one bag of platelets.  That made for a short stay on the hospital floor.

Well, I guess I'll stop here, making it a short post for a short stay.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Another Day at the Clinic

Today was Terry's regularly scheduled weekly doctor visit.  Today was quite normal in some respects, but different in others.

Terry saw a man at the clinic that he recognized from a government office he has visited regularly through the past several years of farming.  He has always admired this man, especially for his willingness and eagerness to help in any way, and his ability to do so, even with a physical ailment.  We cannot share info with doctors, but when you find someone in the chemo/infusion room there is no hiding the reason they are there.  It hurts ones heart to see such good people suffer with such things in life.  We pray for him and his family.

The hospital floor must have been full today because we had to go to the second floor/surgery center for the transfusion.  Oh what a change that was.  Chairs instead of beds, small and cramped areas instead of large rooms, and nurses that are new to the transfusion routine.  They were all kind and helpful and we were out of there just after 5:00pm, so they did do their job with haste, but we sure wondered what we were getting ourselves into for the first half hour or so.

Terry did get a transfusion.
RBC = 2.92 (L)  and  HCT = 26.1(L) - these counts made the decision to have 2 bags of red blood cells.
Platelets were 4(LL) - which meant he received one bag of platelets.

Those numbers were all disappointing, however the ANC was different today.  When you look at the chart for the last several weeks you will see that the counts have been 0.0(LL).   Well, if it was different today then you know it only has one direction to go and that is up.  Don't cheer too loud and long because it only went up to 0.1(LL), but we like any little change we can get as often as we can get it.  0.0 and 0.1 are really the same count, but doesn't it just look a little better to see that 1 there.  ;)


That's about it for the news, so here is a quote for today -

image from here
 
"Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed.  It means the damage no longer controls your life."
 
 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Friday Chemo and Transfusion

Terry had chemo yesterday and it went well.  This was the last day of the 5 day treatment.

It has been kind of fun this week to watch the chemo nurses learn a new computer program and see just how difficult it is making things for them.  They are all good natured about it, and they realize the benefits of it, but it has certainly been a source of confusion.  There are maybe a dozen nurses (and we know each one of them) and they are smiling and pleasant about it all, all of the time.  There has been a specialist there each day to help them along and teach them how to use this program and each day they have learned a little more and become a little better.   We could see and hear that they would learn that there was still so much more to learn, which brings to mind the saying that goes something like this - "The more I know the more I know I don't know." 
The more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. The less you know, the more you think you know.  ~David T. Freeman
visual from here


This new process created some slower moments in the infusion room, but the hospital floor still holds the record for slow moments ..., by far.   Note:  I'm saying that with a smile. 

After the Dacogen infusion we went to the 3rd floor (hospital floor) for the red blood cell and platelets transfusions. 

Terry's counts today:
WBC = 0.3(LL)  [same as Tuesday]
RBC = 2.78(L) [3.21(L) Tuesday]
HGB = 8.5(L) [9.8(L) Tuesday]
HCT = 24.8(LL) [28.3(L) Tuesday]
Platelets = 5(LL) [6(L) Tuesday]
(The reds, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelets were all down some so doctor wanted the transfusions today.)

As I calculated the time it might take after hearing the blood was ready I thought we might get home by 5:00pm.  Then we learned that with this new program comes a new "orders" form and that form gave instruction for the blood to be transfused over 2 hours instead of 1 hour per bag.  OH BOTHER!   We may have left the hospital around 5:30pm.  

Things went well for the first few hours, but about 4:00pm Terry started to shiver and chill.  His temperature (45 or 60 minutes later) was 103.5 - NOT GOOD!  The trick those nurses use is to have the patient cough and breathe heavy for a minute or two and take the temperature again.  This has taken the temp down about one degree before, but this time it went to 100.9, and a minute later was 98.something ... I don't remember for sure. 

Terry did throw up a little during the fever/coughing time.  He wants to blame it on the coughing since hard coughing does often make him feel that way.  I was concerned that some sort of infection is present again.  The nurse didn't seem to be too concerned about anything and sent us home.  Okay!  I like going home, but I like making sure all is well too. 

The chilling subsided about 10 to 20 minutes after we got in the car, but the fever returned as we got closer to home so we gave him some Tylenol.  

I'm sure the smoke in the air isn't helping with his sinus and coughing issues.  The smoke was really bad in Wenatchee.  It looked like it was starting to snow when I got out of the car, but it was small pieces of ash floating around in the air.  I spent a few hours doing some shopping and by the end of the day my clothes smelled like I'd been at a camp fire.

Terry had an okay night and is doing fine this morning ..., at least that is what we keep telling ourselves ;)   No fever, just weary and achy (and whatever else he doesn't share out loud).  That's fine ..., right?


image from here
 
I thought I'd add this little story (I found with the image above) for a SMILE -  ;)

A farmer who's been involved in a terrible
road accident with a large truck ended up in court fighting for a
big compensation claim. "I understand you're claiming damages for
the injuries you're supposed to have suffered?" Stated the counsel
for the insurance company.

"Yes, that's right," replied the farmer,
nodding his head.

"You claim you were injured in the accident, yet I
have a signed police statement that says that when the attending
police officer asked you how you were feeling, you replied, 'I've
never felt better in my life.' Is that the case?"

"Yeah, but"
stammered the farmer. "A simple yes or not will suffice," counsel
interrupted quickly. "Yes," Replied the farmer.

Then it was the turn
of the farmer's counsel to ask him questions. "Please tell the court
the exact circumstance of events following the accident when you
made your statement of health," his lawyer said.

"Certainly,"
replied the farmer. "After the accident my horse was thrashing
around with a broken leg and my poor old dog was howling in pain.
This cop comes along, takes one look at my horse and shoots him
dead. "Then he goes over to my dog, looks at him and shoots him dead
too. Then he come straight over to me and asked me how I was
feeling. "Now, mate, what the [heck] would you have said to him?"



I smiled!  How 'bout you?

It reminds me that "it's all relative!"

HAVE A GREAT DAY!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

:) DAY!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to TERRY!

Dacogen infusion went well today! 
It was quick and easy as far as infusions go.  Terry doesn't have much in the way of side affects with this chemo drug, but he is feeling more achy the last few days.  We are hoping that means things are beginning to work inside.  It could mean that he has been up and doing a bit more than before and is paying for it with achy bones. 



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The last twenty four hours and a few memories ...

This week brought us warm weather, smoky skies, chemo treatments, and a trek for the two youngest in the family.  It has also brought other things ..., there is much to do around here ....

Monday night BJo and Anthony began to paint the swing set - waiting till evening when the heat wasn't as bad.

This is a BEFORE (with a few family and friends enjoying them) ...

Summer 2014

And this is the DURING ...

Anthony and BJo Summer 2014 (bonus: Ginger and Michael in the background changing water :)
 
I'm lovin' the new color!

Have I told you - my dad made this swing set many, many years ago when I was young.  My siblings and I played on these swings and created many great memories together.  (So, the BEFORE picture should really be a picture of when it was in our yard as I was growing up, but I don't have one of those at the moment.)

When my parents moved in 1982 they couldn't take the swings so Terry and I got to bring them to our house where our children and grandchildren have enjoyed them, and will continue to enjoy them for many years.

Gregory, Elaine, Brandon, Terry, Summer 1985
 
On occasion my siblings and their children and grandchildren have also been able to enjoy them in our yard, and we hope for many more of those opportunities.

Cousins 1991
My sister and her children were here when we moved them from the old house (as seen above) to the new house (as seen below), and what a grand memory that is.

August 1998
They had a lot of fun on them after they were moved over.

Cousins 1998

And, most recently we had family come for Turner's baby shower in May and again for BrittanyJo's graduation in June and my dad had just put new boards on the seats.  My brother and his grandchildren enjoyed them that day, with a few other friends too.

Family 2014
So much fun!  Much more fun to come!

You'll have to wait a while for the AFTER painted picture because it will be a few days before it is completed.

Moving on ...
Tuesday brought us to crossroads going every-which-way.  Anthony and BrittanyJo left for a pioneer trek with the youth of the Othello Stake.



We hope the hot weather doesn't wear all those trekkers down too fast, and we hope they all enjoy their time, even though it is going to be rough.  We can do hard things!  And, doing hard things with the proper attitude makes us better people.

Chase was heading out to work this morning and Terry and I were heading to Wenatchee again, for day two chemo (Dacogen), a doctor visit, and blood cell transfusions.

So next up is our medical report.
We learned that all of Terry's counts were either the same or slightly better, and that is good for Terry.  The white blood counts (WBC) went from 0.1 on Friday to 0.3 today.   You'll see on the chart below that 0.3 hasn't been on the chart for awhile now, even with twice a week transfusions, so that is good.
You'll also see that the reds (RBC) are up, the Hemoglobin (HGB) is up, and the Hematocrit (HCT) is up.  Excellent!  Well, the counts are not excellent, but the fact that they are up a slight amount is excellent.
Platelets remained at 6, but remember, he didn't have platelets on Friday.  YEAH!
We love it when a number increases, even ever so slightly.  This means that Terry must finally be producing more of his own cells.  We are hoping and praying that this trend continues.


You might have noticed that there are some counts missing, especially the Absolute Neutrophils (ANC), but they weren't back in time to be printed.  We checked My Chart on line and found that they are still 0.0(LL).   That didn't surprise us. 

So, we had our doctor visit and the Dacogen infusion, but we didn't have the red blood cell or platelets transfusions today because the doctor wanted to wait a few days to see what the counts will do on their own.  ;)   No long day at the clinic/hospital for us today.  :)


I love good news and just wanted to share it today, but now I must get up and start doing something to check things off my TO DO list, especially since I'm home tonight and can do that.   We hope you have a great day and find some good news in your life too, even if it is ever so slightly good. 

We send our love to all!  We know that if you are reading this you are cherished family or friends (and some we have not even met yet) and we love you!  




Saturday, July 12, 2014

Celebrating Royal City and a little about Terry's counts

We went to the Royal City community day parade this morning.  SUMMERFEST!

Anthony marched in the band, playing the drums - he is wearing white framed sunglasses, khaki shorts, and black and white shoes.


This guy got us wet!
And we thought he was our friend!  ;)


Hmm, I guess he is ..., it actually cooled the area nicely.  It was a warm day and this little sprinkle of water was refreshing.

Here is another friend - an awesome young man!


We missed a few other friends, but here is one more ...



We didn't stay for any of the other events because we have to be more and more careful with Terry's health since he has no infection fighting properties. His white blood cells are 0.1, and his absolute neutrophils are 0.0 - these numbers aren't small, they are non-existent.  We know what it's like to suffer from infections and we don't want to do that again.

The red blood cell count is not too bad since he gets transfusions twice a week.  This is what gives him more color too.

The platelets count went up slightly, from 2 to 6.  We were surprised that the doctor thought 6 was good enough and they didn't give him platelets Friday.  It used to be if he was under 10 he got platelets.  If he was going to have a procedure he had to have even more.  For his sinus operation last fall he had to have over 100, so they transfused platelets to get him there.   These numbers are still so low that we are always careful to make sure he doesn't fall or otherwise cause any bleeding, because it's not likely that it would stop if it began.

Lastly, Boston got his first taste of popsicle today. 


His grandpa got to feed it to him, and he seemed to enjoy it ..., wanting more.  Grandpa held him for the first time today too.  He tried to stay away from the babies while he had the infection, but he's free from that right now, so today was the day.  Both seemed to enjoy it.  ;)




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Haying ...

The last three nights have been sleepless in Royal since second crop alfalfa began on Monday at our farm.   We have no photos to document the occasion, except for some Chase took while on the tractor during the night. I stole one of those from facebook to add here -



What a sky that is!

And, here is a photo from Thomas' phone, where we can see three of the six tractors/balers in the field.


The colors in these photos are oddly amazing.

While many were out in the field, some of us were inside sleeping.  With all the extras added to our calendars we didn't get to see the grandkids for very long, but they went to sleep here and woke up here. 

One night when Boston woke up (at 4:30am) Terry and I talked with him and had a fun several minutes while waiting for Dana to come in.  He was smiling and we were enjoying the moment.  We almost blew it because we woke him up so that he didn't go right back to sleep, but he was good and just laid awake quietly until he fell asleep again.  Lucky!   The next night we tried to not talk and play with him, and he did go to sleep better that time.    He is such a good little boy.

We love to see our grandchildren and enjoy time together.  It's fun to have them wake up at our house ..., it makes us all smile. 

We are done for this round, and everyone looks forward to some rest now.  And we also look forward to the next cutting.  ;)



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Visit and Transfusions

Today's doctor visit was as usual - things are pretty much the same.

The white blood count hasn't changed the last 5 visits - WBC = 0.2(LL), normal is 3.6-11.3

Reds are still low, but the transfusions bring those numbers up a bit - RBC = 2.31(L), and he had two days of transfusions last week. normal is 3.72-5.85

HCT = 20.1(LL), normal is 36.9-49.9

Platelets this week surprised me at a whoppin' 2.  Platelets have been 3 and 4 the last 5 visits and he had two transfusions last week to help the numbers but it's still at it's lowest. 

Absolute neutrophil count remains the same for four weeks in a row. ANC = 0.0(LL), can't go down from there, so things can only look better for this, even if it returns to highest count on record for the last 6 weeks, and that is only 0.1(LL).  normal ANC is 1.2-8.0

Terry has more color in his face due to the red blood cell transfusions.  He's getting 3 units/bags of reds twice a week.  He receives one bag of platelets twice a week, but the platelets are still so low that he bruises easily and we need to remain vigilant in making sure he doesn't fall or otherwise get hurt and have internal bleeding. 

Our wait for blood products this day was maybe an hour and a half, and once we got started they kept coming, so things went pretty well.  We entered the room a little before 10:00am and left a little after 5:30pm, getting home about 7:00pm.  It was still a long day because our first appointment was at 8:30am, but we've had longer, so this was a good day.

We will do it all again on Friday and then start chemo next week.


image from here
I think we missed this exit somewhere, years ago.
but even then, we are happy
 
happy health
image from here
 
 
 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Perfect Pictures!

I was cleaning this morning and saw these cute pictures that we received over the last few days.  I should have added them to a couple of my recent posts, but since I hadn't already done that I decided that now would be a good time to share them.  They make me smile!  Maybe they will make you smile too!

Auger drew and painted the semi truck and trailer and Akleigh painted the Up, up and away for my birthday.  Claire created the sticker/handprint page for us.



We love our grandchildren!


Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day!

We enjoyed our Royal Wards flag raising ceremony and breakfast this morning (but didn't take a picture).

We then enjoyed a visit with family ...
Here are four of our ten beautiful grandchildren.



We played with a few pop its and small fireworks ...








We had lunch ...

 



We also relaxed and watched a bit of TV.  Later the boys tried a few more fireworks, then went to bed.



We try to not add too much to our days anymore, so there was nothing fancy today, just a relaxing day after our long day Thursday. 

It's a great day to have a great day!
 
God Bless America Wood mini stacker independence summer flag military 4th of July America primitive country personalized
from here

AND WE DID!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Long Day!

Terry is having two days of transfusions a week, starting this week.  So, we all went Thursday for that appointment.  The kids and I did some shopping while Terry was in getting the blood products.  We left his room a little before noon thinking he would get that blood started anytime, and learned that he didn't get his first bag started until after 4:00pm.  Oh Bother!

We were hoping he would be done around 5:00pm, but that wasn't going to happen - he didn't get done until after 9:00pm, so we were late getting home Thursday night.

I don't know why it should take over 4 hours to get a bag of platelets or red blood cells, but it did. 

Terry's platelets were 3(LL) before transfusion Tuesday and had only gone up to 4(LL) when checked Thursday before transfusion.  That was a big surprise because we thought platelets infusions raised that number by at least 10 to 16 each time.  I guess they don't last very long.

HCT went from 19.5(LL) on Tuesday to 23.6(LL) Thursday, but of course there was no difference in the WBC that remained at 0.2(LL). 

There really is no good news at this point, except that Terry is fine.   


image from here





Wednesday, July 2, 2014

:) Day!

I had a birthday!
We followed tradition and had cake and ice cream for breakfast.  Anthony even added the candles for me to blow out.



We have all enjoyed having Chase home ...


We also enjoyed a visit and meal with Terry's siblings and their spouses ...
We are missing the Hebdon reunion this year because of Terry's concerns and needs, so it was nice of them to come visit for the evening.



image from here

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Medical Report

We went to the doctor today!
We knew Terry needed his weekly transfusion of blood products because of all of the signs telling us so.  When the platelets are low (to none) it begins to tell on itself by sending little red spots all over the body (some big ones too) and that was happening worse than ever for Terry this week. He had no energy so that walking was difficult.  We knew he had to be careful with any movement so he wouldn't fall and cause any internal bleeding since he is so lacking in those necessary platelets.

We asked to begin transfusions twice a week now due to the tell tale signs of need.  He needs so much of so many things.  We wish we could get white cells too, but I guess those would just cause the MDS to worsen faster.

ANC is 0.0 - yip you can't get any lower than that. 
Platelets are 3 and that is probably because they can't count much lower than that.
WBC is 0.2
RBC is 2.19 - I don't know what they'd be if he didn't get two bags every week.
HCT is 19.5
HGB is 6.7

Terry has mentioned several times that he is living on borrowed blood.  He certainly doesn't create any of his own right now.  Today he received 3 bags of red cells and one platelets.  He will go in on Thursday for more.

Anthony went with us today and spent some time with his cousins and with us at the clinic hospital. 
I did a little shopping while Terry was sleeping.

Well, that's our day in the medical field.