Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ICU Again

This has not been a good day! I have an infection that has knocked me for a loop. Back in ICU but in the Coronary Unit this time. The next few days will probably not be a good time to visit. All for this time, check back tomorrow.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday night

I must be doing better, I have been ignored most of the day. Small delights I took a shower and the a-fib problem seems to be over. My team of doctors did make their morning visit and said I will be getting out of ICU soon. The problem is I need a private room because of my very low immune system. This morning there was a nice call from an old rugby buddy who has recovered from lymphoma. It is encouraging to hear tales of success. So knock on wood there will be no more complications this week and we will move on to another bone marrow test on Thursday.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


So far my hurdles have been unanticipated. Friday morning I had a bout with atrial fibrillation, my heart rate was racing and my blood pressure was dropping. Needless to say I drew the undivided attention of the nurses and doctors. 24 hours later after being stabbed, punctured and pumped full of drugs and fluid my heart is finally back into normal rhythm. Yesterday would have been a much nicer day without this complication. I have had atrial fibrillation for several years. It only shows up every year or so and usually goes back into normal rhythm without help or coercion.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Last 24 hours

This is the beginning of my last 24 hours of chemo. Then we wait a week and do a bone marrow test to see if the cancer cells have been killed. So far so good, I'm feeling okay and I'm hoping the good continues. The care has been wonderful thanks to all the nurses and the nurse assistants. The only bad thing that happened yesterday was the Giants lost with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the bottom of the ninth.

Side Effects

I have never been one to take much if any medicine. The doctors prescribe, I go to the drugstore and then set the bottle on the dresser and never take them. My mother took tons of pills and they never appeared to cure anything. Here in the hospital I'm stuck they give you a pill and then watch you swallow it. So I developed a little problem Monday and couldn't figure out what was wrong. I asked the doctors for some help and their answer was another pill. Yesterday the nurse gave me a pill to take and Brittany got out her phone, looked up the drug side effects and then read off all the problems I was experiencing. Viola! Problem solved.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I can't say enough about how uplifting it is to have visitors, phone calls and emails. Not that I can't entertain myself but when there is no one around it is much easier to be overcome by the gravity of the situation. I'm feeling fine right now after three days of chemo with four to go. I'm pretty sure the days will get tougher as the chemo does its job. My immune system will be wiped clean and I will be very susceptible to bad bugs. Fever, nausea, antibiotics could be in my immediate future until the bone marrow regenerates and restarts my immune system. The middle of this next week could be difficult.

Friday, May 16, 2014


As you can imagine when the doctor says you have a life threatening disease it is pretty powerful. It took a couple days for it to totally sink in. I have had a good life, great wife and loving children and a job I very much enjoyed. We have lived in the same home for 40 years and we have our creature comforts. Material goods, trinket, doodads, gadgets have never been very important in my life. My closet is ridiculously small. Friend ship is what has given quality and depth to our life. Through trips to Tahoe, Iowa, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Monterey and Europe we have developed and enjoyed many good friends. Now in my emotional time the support from our friends and relatives has been very sincerely appreciated and a touching lift.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Well I'm not really in a daze but this afternoon is the beginning of 7 days of chemo. This means being attached to a drip system 24/7. According to the doc and one of the nurses the really tough part begins next week. Basically the chemo will wipe out my bone marrow which includes my immune system and that is when things get dicey. According to the doc and the nurse everyone reacts differently to the drugs. I can only hope I'm one of the fortunate ones. There are 3 or 4 other people here on the same track with the same diseae. They had talked about my being in clinical trial but evidently the genetic material they were looking for wasn't there. The drug cocktail I am on is an older system which they haven't been able to improve on. I was afraid to ask what the success rate was.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


This the second day at Stanford and I'll be here for a month or so. I had another bone marrow test today and they have been drawing so much blood I'm surprised I have any left. I have a PICC which is a tube in my arm that runs through a vein to my heart. It sounds worse than it is. I was apprehensive about getting this but it was a very nice guy who did the procedure and I really didn't feel a thing. They will use this to take blood and administer the chemo. Hopefully I will find out about my chemo tomorrow as they need some results from my bone marrow. I might not get started until Thursday. I can be on the traditional 7 days a week plan or I might be on a 3 day, 1 day on 1 day off, clinical trial. Last night was tough probably more anxiety than anything else. Having my wife show up this morning was a big emotional lift.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Looking at the glass as half full I have to say I am fortunate that we found this disease early enough to do something about it. What about the person who couldn't or wouldn't go get a checkup? A general physical is where we found the low blood cell counts which led to more blood tests, and two bone marrow tests and finally the diagnosis of leukemia. As I write this I feel fine but the doctors say that won't last long. What about the person who didn't go to the doctor and said he was feeling just fine and had no knowledge of their blood composition. People do die from this disease when the blood becomes clogged with cancer cells and eventually they have a heart attack or stroke. How many people have died who had no knowledge of the underlying issue? We will never know but having health insurance and getting regular checkups are obviously important.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


I have recently been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. This is a very aggressive blood cancer that left untreated will be fatal in a short time. I met with a doctor at Stanford on Wednesday and discussed the treatment. Monday I will be checking in to Stanford Hospital for chemotherapy and an extended stay of approximately 5 weeks. There is a chance that I might not survive the chemo process at Stanford. Of course I am hoping for nothing but the best outcome. This is the beginning, I will continue next week to post my progress.