Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Round Two, Well Under Way

Sorry, sorry, sorry. I will continue to try to do better because I know this post is two weeks overdue. On Friday June 27, I had my last visit with the nurse practitioner for my follow up for neutropenic pathway. The doctors told me that my blood cell counts had rebounded incredibly quickly, and they asked me if my bones hurt. I contribute this blessing in part to my age but mostly to everyone’s prayers.

On Saturday June 28, I was feeling so much better that we decided to venture out. After looking up “101 Things to Do in Houston” which included on their list a tour of MD Anderson Hospital and scouring the hospital waiting rooms for celebrities, we knew we had to look outside of Houston for our entertainment. The one item on the list that actually caught our eye was a visit to Old Town Spring, a small town outside of Houston with “over 150 eclectic shops.” We had a good time and true to its description Spring had tons of little boutiques in old houses and cottages. We had bar-b-que on an old caboose, and we enjoyed being tourists for the day.

Sunday June 29, we enjoyed a day of rest while we waited for my brother Frankie and his wife Doris to arrive from West Tennessee. Frankie and Doris arrived around 10 pm. As excited as we were for their arrival we had only a brief visit and we quickly retired.

Late Monday morning, June 30, after catching up on rest and missing breakfast, Frankie and Doris picked us up and we went to lunch at a local bar-b-que restaurant. Although I was feeling better with each passing day my poor appetite was the one thing that really lingered. Lunch was fantastic, but I ended up taking most of it home with me. Despite the fact that we all slept in, we decided that an afternoon nap was just what we needed. Frankie and Doris came back over around 6 pm, and we opted for another Astros game. We did learn something from our previous Astros experience that it is okay to buy tickets at the gate. Houston Astros’ games never sell out, unlike the Atlanta Braves.

Tuesday July 1, Frankie and Doris were planning to leave around 9 am, and my parents decided to leave and ride back with them to give us a little space and take care of things at home. They told me they would come back at the drop of a hat if I needed them to.

So now Marissa and I are on our own with all of our families on standby. Wednesday July 2, we had an appointment with an occupational therapist to go over my wheel chair assessment, that we had requested a month before when my pain was at its worst. MD Anderson actually measured me to fit me for a new wheel chair that is rented on a month to month basis. It can be kept as long or as little as I want, and it can also be picked up and returned even if I go back home to Atlanta for treatment. Wednesday was also a day of errands as I was scheduled to start chemotherapy again on Thursday. This way we would have anything and everything I could possibly need so Marissa would not have to leave me alone during my treatment. We saved the best errand for last, to go to the Social Security Administration Office and enroll for Social Security Disability. While we thought this would be a nightmarish task, it actually turned out to not be so bad. A couple of nice gentlemen helped us, and we were out of there in about two hours.

Thursday July 3, I had routine blood work in the morning as well as a chest x-ray. I had an afternoon appointment with Dr. Trent just for a check-up and question/ answer session before I began my second round of chemotherapy. He said that my blood work came back normal and that my chest x-ray was clear. This in itself was great news because had these tests not come back normal I would not have been able to start my second round of chemotherapy. Dr. Trent was interested in how I tolerated round one of chemotherapy. Since my nausea began on day 3 last time and lasted until after it was over, he added a long lasting nausea medicine to my daily chemo regimen. He also prescribed Diflucan, an anti-fungal medicine, to prevent me from getting thrush again this round. I was also prescribed Levoquin, an antibiotic that will prevent infections. This will hopefully prevent me from ending up in the Emergency Center with another fever. He followed up with a physical exam. After feeling the mass in my abdomen he said that it appeared to be softening. He commented, “That’s encouraging,” which we hope we did not take out of context because most doctors, and especially Dr. Trent, are not into making comments for the sake of encouragement. Overall we were thrilled with the news, and we proceeded to check in for chemotherapy after 5 pm.

Friday the 4th of July we reported to the Cancer Center for day two of chemotherapy. During the chemo treatment all I could think about was being in the Cancer Center on the 4th of July. I had to see some fireworks to liven my spirits. I asked the nurse where we could catch the best show of fireworks and she said without a doubt, Clear Lake City. Clear Lake City turned out to be about a thirty minute drive, and my IV drip was scheduled to end at 7:50 pm. We knew the schedule was tight as we rushed out of the Cancer Center. The fireworks were scheduled to begin at 9:30 pm, and I couldn’t miss the show. We drove into Clear Lake City around 9:15 pm, just in time to sit in a traffic jam on the bay bridge. As it turned out that traffic jam ended up not moving for the entire duration of the fireworks, giving us a perfect view of the show over the water.

Saturday and Sunday, July 5 and 6, were both uneventful days. Life as a cancer patient on chemotherapy becomes a cycle of 21 days, with day 1 being the first day of chemotherapy. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (days 3, 4, and 5) I felt much better than I did on days 3, 4, and 5 of the first cycle. I did not experience the nausea as I did previously, but on days 6, and 7 (Tuesday and Wednesday) I felt worse than last time.

Today, Wednesday July 9, I am still feeling incredibly fatigued, but fortunately that is really my only complaint. As the chemo works its magic it takes some “good” cells with the “bad” ones. They warned me about “chemo brain,” the effect the chemotherapy would have on my mental capacity. I have noticed that my thoughts are not as clear, and that my attention is not as devoted. This has shown an effect on my blog posts. The solution may be to blog more often so that I do not have to remember as much, we’ll see how that goes over. Special thank you to Marissa for helping me remember past days and typing my posts as I lay here and dictate.

22 comments:

  1. Hey Bradley and Marissa,

    I was really glad to see a new post today and happy to know that round 2 is behind you! It's so amazing to read your posts and to read the comments that people leave. You make such an impression on the lives of so many people!

    Jesse and I got hitched this weekend. It was a really great day. Maison, Ashleigh, and Nathan were there to celebrate with us which was wonderful.

    We are thinking of you all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bradley,
    You look GREAT!! Only you could pull off looking that good with no hair! We are all thinking and praying for you and Marissa and I know the next few weeks are very important. I'm so glad your second round is done and things are very positive. I agree with you about Dr. Trent, most doctors do not tend to give encouraging news unless they are quite certain about what they are saying. That should make you and Marissa feel very good about things!
    Things around here are same old same old. We did get some rain which should help everyone's yards and plants. Jack is at his Mimi and Jax house today and I have to travel to Carrollton-yuck. Nate has school and is studying for a quiz he has in Art History. I sure don't miss that! Jack is developing quite a personality and we tried to change up his oatmeal to a different brand the other day and he launched the bowl across the room. Apparently he likes the old stuff! I need to hit the road but we are all rooting for you!
    Love,
    Meaghan and Jack

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bradley and Marissa,
    What great news that your doctor is encouraged with your progress!! I know you must be relieved to have that second round of chemo behind you! Bradley, I hope your fatigue wears off in the coming days. We are praying for you daily.
    Love,
    Kim Morrison and family

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bradley, glad you got some good news from the pain management doctor. Also, glad round two is over. Have been getting some rain. Marissa, I sent you a surprise in the mail. So be on the look out. Hope you two can do something fun tomorrow. Love, mom

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hope you are feeling better today. We have gotten a crazy amount of rain the past few days. The pool is almost about to overflow. I hope you all get to come home soon!

    Maison, Ashleigh & Owen

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey guys!
    I'm so glad you got to see some fireworks on the 4th. We took Owen for the first time and he really wasn't that into it. He said "Don't like it, want to go home" "want to go inside, loud noise". Maison went to the car and I covered his ears with my hands, he put his hands over mine and then started to enjoy it a bit. He was commenting on how they looked like "wheels on a car". So, overall it wasn't a bust. He is getting so big and talking so much, you won't believe it! This weekend he should be in his "big boy" room if all goes as planned.

    That is really encouraging to hear what the doctors had to say. They are definitley not there to just make you feel good with encouraging comments. It's nice to see your wall of cards, and your picture, you really look great! Keep hanging in there, there are so many people praying and thinking about you everyday.We really enjoy reading your blogs so keep them coming!
    Love,
    Maison, Ashleigh & Owen

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Looks like another hot and humid day. Gary is going to put the jet ski in. It will be ready for you when you come and visit. Nothing else exciting going on. Hope you have a good day today. The dogs already ate and were walked. Yogi is pretty good around Louisa. Has not chased her yet. Love, mom

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good Morning - woke up to clouds and rain. So much nicer than hot sticky, humid weather. Hope you have a chance to do something fun today. Hope Bradley feels well enough to get out. Love, mom

    ReplyDelete
  9. Samantha ( Butler) Crawford and FamilyJuly 14, 2008 at 10:56 AM

    Hello Bradley. I hope everything is going as well as possible.. I just wanted to let you know that you and your family are in my prays.. Keep your head up.. Dyersburg is thinking about you guys.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Bradley and Marissa! Glad to hear, Bradley, that you are through round two! We will be praying for you extra hard during the next few weeks, as we know it is an important time. Stay strong and keep your amazing positive attitudes!
    Love,
    Jenny and Steve

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi! Sorry I am late with my blog. The weather is nice today. The dogs have been out a lot and Paddington was in the water barking at the waves. Quite a few boats out today. Glad to hear Bradley is feeling better. Enjoy Culver's Have a Butter Burger for me! Love, mom

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hey Bradley! This is Jessica Buck. I just wanted to let you know I'm praying for you and your family. i hope you have a great day : )

    ReplyDelete
  13. David & BeverlyJuly 14, 2008 at 6:29 PM

    We just wanted to send a note to remind you of our continued thoughts and prayers. As you wait for your next round of tests, may you be strengthened by knowing that multitudes of people are uplifting your needs in prayer. We appreciate the information, and the pictures, you share on the blog. Keep trusting and believing that a miracle is on the way. We love you and pray God's richest blessings be upon you.

    Love & prayers,
    David & Beverly

    ReplyDelete
  14. Lisa "Spain" Hicks and familyJuly 15, 2008 at 9:41 AM

    i know it has to be hard on you guys to post these blogs with all that you have going on, but we love to read them and catch up on how you are doing. that was so cool of chad to come all that way and see you. we love the pics! you look good. we're thinking about you guys and are in our prayers. both of you stay strong.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey guys! I am home with Jack this afternoon since he is not feeling so well. He has a tiny ear infection and needs some mom time! We really miss you both and can't wait for you to come home. I am glad round two is done and soon you will have the good news that the chemo is doing its job. Hope you do something fun today although it sounds like Houston is not the most exciting of towns! It is so hot here I am not even up for doing much. I am reading a pretty good book called The Friday Night Knitting Club that I will finish today and pass along to mom to take to Houston so you both can read it Marissa. I am in charge of dinner tonight and think I will do breakfast for dinner-that is always a favorite even though my cooking is pretty lame. Thats all for now-we are always thinking and praying for you both.
    Love,
    Meaghan and Jack

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey Bradley and Marissa! Glad mom got to Houston okay-she was very worried about flying alone and got to the airport super early. But, as Nathan says, I am the queen of missing my flight so who am I to talk! Hope you have a good visit with mom and we are praying for only the best news on Wednesday!
    Love,
    Meaghan and Jack

    ReplyDelete
  17. We are praying for great news on Wednesday!
    Mr. Mike and Ms. Allicia Ladd

    ReplyDelete
  18. The French FamilyJuly 23, 2008 at 6:37 PM

    We are anxious to hear the results of your tests. We have been thinking of you every day, but especially today. We're praying that all the results were good.

    Mike, Emilee, Aaron & Clark French
    Newbern, TN

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey Bradley and Marissa! Everyone is very anxious and asking about how your results went and very happy for the good news! They keep asking for a blog update! We are counting down the days until you come home and we are so excited to be getting you back! Last night Heather, Jason, Breanne and Nicole came over for dinner along with our friend Bridget and her boyfriend Johan so it was nice to see everyone. Breanne was petting Jack's head like a dog for quite awhile until he got mad and yelled at her. Nicole bought Jack some Georgia Bulldogs outfits that are super cute that he can wear this fall. Hope this round of chemo goes well and you are in daily thoughts and prayers. Love, Meaghan and Jack

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Bradley and Marissa,

    Congratulations on such wonderful news! We are so happy for you and very grateful to God that the chemo is working. We wanted to wish you a very happy but belated birthday. There will be something in the mail for you both, hopefully, by the weekend. Hope you can get out and treat yourselves to something nice. You sure deserve it!! You both are very strong and we are so proud and
    truly admire your wonderful attitudes. We pray that we will have continued good news for a long time to come!

    With our love and very best to you,

    Uncle Charlie and Aunt Joanie

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hey man, I hope you made out with a bunch of birthday loot. I am sure you didnt think you would be spending it in Texas last year. Well you are almost another week closer to sleeping in your own bed. We all cant wait to see you. Keep up that fighting spirit and well see you both soon!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Marissa,

    Thank you so much for your telephone call. I truly enjoyed our talk, and it was the nicest conversation I have had in a super long time!! It is definitely the highlight of my week! If you ever need an extra ear or just need to vent or talk, please don't ever hesitate to call me. I am sorry, I forgot to ask you to give our love and our very best to Bradley. I was so caught up in our conversation that it slipped my mind. But please send him our very best and all our love too. Take good care of yourself. We send our love and very best to you too!!

    Love,

    Aunt Joanie

    ReplyDelete