Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

His numbers are going as expected.  Hemoglobin continues to hover around 82-84.  No transfusion necessary yet.
His platelets are getting low.....65.... expected.
And, his white blood count is 2.8.  This is expected as well.

Not sure when they will give him blood to compensate for this.  I'm dragging my behind this morning as I know I'll be there tonight with my husband for that Midnight countdown.  Wouldn't miss being with him for the world.

Looking forward to spending New Year's Eve at the hospital.
Stay safe everyone.
Don't drink and drive.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

No changes

These past two days have been the same.  He is doing great.  Numbers are beginning to go down, which is expected, with Thursday being his lowest and afterwards climbing to normal.  Will still be in hospital for about another 10-12 days.
Only issue is constipation.  Hospital food and chemo has that effect on people :(
Although we have been bringing him food.  Steroids is giving him an appetite, so he eats both.
And yes, we've tried everything.
One thing left to try......but he says not yet.
Hope it happens overnight.
Need your prayers for something a little different tonight.  LOL

Friday, December 27, 2013

December 27, 2013 - 11:15am Happy Birthday Tony!

Stem Cell Transplant Day.
The day we've been waiting for.  Months and months of waiting for this day.
Humber River Hospital used to say "our job is to get you all ready for transplant day. That's the goal".
But, the many hurtles we faced delayed this day.
But it came!

My brother came with me to the hospital.  I was glad to have company for the drive down, as well as during the procedure.  Didn't think I did, but I did.
They had given him pre-meds about one hour before.  Steroids and benedryl.
Also gave him anti nausea.
The nurse, before they began, explained that he would feel a funny taste in his mouth and a tickle, perhaps making him cough.  So they gave him a breath mint.  She said he might feel tingly and something with his abdominal area.  Tony's face was so red before.  She said it was the steroids.  I think he was anxious.  We all were.  This took place in his regular hospital bed.  I watched the lab technician who brought it over open the container where it was held frozen.  All that was missing was the music like when you watch futuristic movies.  I just felt like a miracle was about to happen.  It was in a steel framed container about the size of 4" x 8" and about 1/2" thick.  Both the technician and nurse kept checking the code numbers and spelling his name, checking and double checking they had the right patient and right stem cells.  At one point, the technician spelled his name T.O.N.I.  nope......repeat again.  Perhaps they were nervous too.  She took the pouch out of the steel container and put it in a water solution, temperature controlled to thaw out the stem cells.  That took a couple of minutes.  Didn't take long at all.  You need about 2 million cells in order for this to take effect and Tony had 8 million.  Oh, and they said that Tony would be emitting an odour that smelled like corn.  It had to do with the additives to the collection of cells.  But seeing that his sample was 8 million, he probably didn't need too much of this solution.  I never did smell the odour during the day. Perhaps that's why? Don't know.
Then the technician gave the pouch to the nurse.  Again, they checked the name and codes.  All good.  She hooked him up to the IV and began.  They also said that his blood pressure would drop during this.  And it did.  He started at 153 and after about 2 minutes it had dropped to 133.  She kept taking his blood pressure and temperature.  The giving back of his stem cells took about 4-5 minutes.  He did cough during this and the nurse pointed it out to him.  He did feel the tickle weird feeling in his throat.  She said it was his body reacting to the stem cells going through him.
Cannot believe this day has finally come.

Appetite still good.  Gout is gone.  Nurses say tomorrow or Sunday appetite will diminish.  For now, he is eating and loving food.  As the days pass, his condition will be worse and the effects of chemo will appear. Five more days and he will be at his worst.

He has been so brave and courageous during this entire journey.  So proud of him.
Happy Birthday Tony!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

They call today, "zero minus 1 day"

Today, he received his chemo (Mephlan).
Before they gave it to him, they had him started on hydration through his IV around 5am. Also, one hour before the chemo, he was told to chew on ice chips to shrink up his blood vessels.  This chemo destroys the lining of the mouth and throat.  Chewing on the ice chips helps.  Can't remember the name of the condition this causes. I'm getting bad at remembering new medical terms!  Not like me.  As well, he received steroids. Anyways, the chemo ran for 30 minutes.  Didn't feel a thing.  All day, no real reaction to this.  Yet.  Still has his appetite and taste for now.  His roommate was going to leave this Friday.  He has the same thing.  But, today, his roommate developed diarrhea and the beginning of pneumonia......Gosh, this better not happen to Tony.  It may, but it better not!  Must remember to encourage walking alot during his stay.  
Oh, and I forgot!!!!!!!  Holy cow.  Prior to Christmas Day, he indulged in beef and pork jerky.  Well, the nag that I am kept saying it wasn't good for his gout.  But, no, did he listen to me?  Oh, and then for Christmas Eve dinner, we eat fish.....and my contribution was crab legs and his mom cooked shrimp.  All excellent contributors to gout.  So, Christmas day morning, he was beginning to feel the gout pains.  Didn't tell me.  This morning when I saw him, he couldn't walk.  LOL  So he confessed to me.  Poor Tony.  And me!  I was so careful in food selections for his gout over the last several weeks, that I totally forgot about the fish.  Fortunately, they weren't concerned about it effecting the chemo and transplant.  By this afternoon, he was already feeling much better.  Whew!

Tomorrow will be transplant day.
Tomorrow will be "zero" day.
Tomorrow will be his new birthday. December 27, 2013 at 11am.  At least that's what all the Multiple Myeloma bloggers write.  So I guess tomorrow's blog will be titled Happy Birthday to Tony.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

After months and months and months and months, this day has finally come!

Let me begin by saying that this is the first Christmas without my mom.  Felt strange all day long.  My morning was very difficult.  Happy/nervous for Tony and a tremendous sadness of missing my mom today. Very emotional.  I was gifted an angel ornament with my mom's name on it.  Today I began a tradition. Wherever my brother and I are for Christmas, together, this angel ornament follows us.  It was a touching moment with my brother putting this angel on his tree today. (sniffle sniffle)

Now, back to Tony.  He was quiet and tired all day today.  In fact, after a huge Italian meal, he fell asleep on the couch and slept with lots of Christmas noise all around him.  Before we all departed our separate ways, we took a family photo by the tree.

We left my brother's house after 6pm to check in to the hospital.  My son joined us, which was nice.  I needed company on the drive home.  (roads were really bad)  We checked in with the nurse.  They gave us a tour of the place.  It was so warm, inviting  and friendly.  A great staff!  They took his blood and did vital signs.  His blood pressure was 173 over something.....that's high.  He blamed it on the walking tour of the ward.  (He had stopped taking high blood pressure pills because of his weight loss.  It had become more normal).  The doctor then came in and explained what would be happening in the next few days.  Did a physical as well. After a while of lying in the bed, they took his blood pressure again.  150 over something.  Better.

What's in store for the next two days:
At 5:30am they will begin hydration through IV.
At 11am they will give him his chemo dosage through IV.  That runs for 30 minutes.  (Can't remember the chemo name)
Friday, they do the transplant.  Which is basically giving him back his own stem cells to help recover from the chemo.  This is given back to him through the IV.
Chemo effects will begin after 7 days of getting it.

I shall keep my followers posted.
Good night everyone!
Hope your Christmas this year was a memorable one.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We got the call !!!!!

The hospital called today at 1pm to say a bed is now available.
On Christmas Eve.
The best present ever.
On Christmas Eve.
Good news is that they asked if we celebrated Christmas and it would be ok with them if he checked in by 8pm on Wednesday, Christmas Day.  If he went in today, all they would do is hydrate him.  They said it could wait till tomorrow......WOOHOO!!!!
The best news ever AND we get to enjoy family time tonight and tomorrow.
So, after Christmas lunch tomorrow, off we go to check him in at the Hospital.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and best wishes during this holiday season.  Everyone has just been wonderful.  And, my mom, for watching over Tony from Heaven.

This ice storm has put out many people. Many continue to be without power during these holidays.  My heart goes out to them.

God bless you all during these festive holiday times.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Still waiting

No phone calls all weekend long.
Trust me, all phones are close to us and we are just waiting.
I shall phone PMH in the morning.

Friday, December 20, 2013

CT Scan results

We went in yesterday for a blood count check.  His platelets were on the low side, but no transfusion.
He did receive the 2 1/2 hour drip with pamidronate, the bone strengthening meds. It was different than when Humber River Hospital administered it.  Tony was mobile this time, so we were able to leave the clinic, have lunch and just wander around.
While there I asked the doctor for a copy of the CT Scan report.  I just needed to see it for my own eyes and plus I was curious as to the size of the tumors.
I'm going to quote the most exciting read ever!

" There has been near total resolution of the left-sided periaortic mass seen previously, with very minimal soft tissue remaining, as seen on image 80 of series 2, measuring approximately 24mm x 14mm compared to 8.3 cm x 6.4 cm before"

"Also, near total resolution of 8.1cm x 7.6cm soft tissue mass seen previously in the left lower quadrant, with just minimal regional residual stranding"

Need I say more?

Happy Christmas shopping everyone!
Now we wait for that phone call.  Luggage is ready and waiting.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Transplant is a go!

Today, at 6:06pm we received an email:

"Much improvement on the scans. Tony is good to go for the transplant as soon as there is a bed. Have his bags packed and be prepared for the phone call."

WOW  It's a go!  
I cannot believe it.  The stress of waiting and waiting for two days for this news was ginormous! 
I'm getting a kink in my neck from all the stress.  And the Christmas stress too!  But, the weight has been lifted.  
Tomorrow, he has a scheduled appointment to do a blood count check.   
Tomorrow, I will have a bounce to my walk :D

Good night everyone!
Oh, and thank you to Tony's Angel in Heaven.  I know she's up there watching over us.
I miss you ma.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Still waiting on CT scan results....

Very nervous day for me.
No emails or phone calls.
Should hear from them by tomorrow.....Wednesday.
I should have been doing some Christmas shopping today, but just couldn't get my act in gear.
I feel like my Christmas is on hold till we know the next step.  I've been a walking zombie all day at home.
Tomorrow cannot come fast enough.
If we don't hear from them by tomorrow, should I phone them?
Tony's next appointment is this Thursday.
Oh goodness.

Friday, December 13, 2013

He continues to get better.

Knock on wood.
Tony has had a really good week.  He just keeps getting stronger and stronger.  He even made three appearances at the office this past week.
His blood counts are good.  The best in months and months!
Yesterday's appointment was only a blood count check.  We went over what would happen next week.
Oh, and by the way, he will be in a "normal" room for the stem cell transplant throughout his stay.  We are prepared to get the phone call to go in as early as Thursday, next week.  This all depends on the results of his CT scan this coming Monday.  Fingers crossed.  We've been close so many times and have come so far for this moment.  We are so so so close!
Today we were at Toronto General Hospital.  He got his Hickman line put in.  Went smoothly. As the numbness wore off, he did feel a bit discomfort.  They did say to him, before signing that release form, that 1 person, every 2-3 years, dies due to hickman lines......Ya, ok, I'll sign.  OMG!  Why do these doctors continue to remind us of these stats, especially before signing and certain procedures.  Anyways, about one hour after the procedure, I was able to take a close look at this line and noticed a red stain on his t-shirt. About a 3 inch diameter circle.  Luckily, it wasn't getting worse.
We are away for a much needed break from city life this weekend.  My dad continues to miss my mom.  We all do......We took him away with us to have a change of scenery.  Supposed to be quite the snowfall over the next few days.  Should be pretty and very cold.  It's the calm before the storm right now.  Let's see what the coming week shows us.
Stay warm everyone.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Another blood transfusion

Tony has his appetite back.  He even came grocery shopping with me yesterday.  The first in many months!  But this morning he woke up tired.  We had a friend drive him to Princess Margaret today, thinking it would be a fast blood work check up.  I needed to be at work.  I'm so behind in paperwork for our business. Serious behind!  But around noon, he texted saying his hemoglobin dropped to 81 (88 last Thursday).  He received two units of blood today.  Our friend had somewhere to be mid afternoon, so after work, I picked him up.
His appetite continues to thrive even tonight!
Thursday, we see the oncologist and Friday he gets his picc line removed and they give him a hick man line. Yikes!  He needs it for the transplant........

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sing: It's beginning to look alot like Christmas......Aaaaaaat P.M.H.

Monday's appointment went ok.  He needed magnesium.  Two hour IV drip.  Another long day.
Thursday's appointment was great!  He got his blood work done and we found out all was good!!!!
No further blood tweaking with IV drips.
Since our staff company Christmas party was Friday night, we wanted to hear from the doctor whether he was well enough to attend with his immunity.  We got the ok from the transplant coordinator.  He also shared with us that once they get the results from his CT scan (Dec.16) they will hopefully initiate the transplant. Which means, Tony can get a call shortly afterwards.
Which means, he will be in hospital during the holidays.
Which means, this will be the best Christmas present ever.
Which means, perhaps there's an angel in Heaven watching over us and blessing us with this news.
Awe, life is good again.
Tony, "the boss", attended the company Christmas party tonight.  He looked great. Perhaps others may have thought he looked pale and fragile, but in my eyes, he looked great.  He had lots to say and lots of smiles. Yes, he felt the need to sit all the time.
Yes, he had no appetite.
Yes, he's lost about 30 pounds since diagnosed.
Yes, but to me he looked great!
I love you Tony.
I'm so proud of the business you've developed.
I'm so proud of our boys stepping up to the plate and hitting that ball out of the park!  They have taken over the business.  Both customers and employees respect them like they continue to respect you and to root root for you!
Life feels good again.