01 December 2010

Triple Loop

Triple loop personal best is now 14.

Ford

03 November 2010

PRs

Today I extended the triple back weave outdoor record from 21 to 22.

The double back loop record of 18 was set in mid October.

Ford

29 October 2010

Three month checkup

Yesterday was Ford's followup day at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital. He was scheduled for a 7:30 am PET scan, followed by a blood draw. His appointment with Dr. Glenn was scheduled for 4:40 pm. This large gap in time was to allow time for the results of the PET scan to be completed by the radiologist and then sent to Dr. Glenn.

We had made arrangements to fill that time. Ford needed to move information from his old computer to his new computer and Apple had told us they would need approximately 24 hours to complete that task. We figured that as long as we were going to do that transfer, it would be a good time to retrieve information from our old computers and move them to the computer that I would be using. This included a MAC Performa that was purchased in 1994. The long and short of it all was that all of our computers were at the Apple Store in downtown SLC. Since we estimated that the appointment at the HCH would be done about 6 pm on Thursday, that was no problem. We even scheduled a workshop for Ford to attend from 3 to 4 pm at the Apple Store leaving us enough time to get back to the 4:40 pm appointment.

When the PET scan was completed and we checked in for the lab work, the nurse told us that there was a possibility that we could come in at 12:30 pm instead of waiting until 4:40 pm. Okay. That was probably a good thing. Then we would get the results earlier and would ease the tension of awaiting the pending outcome a bit.

We left the HCH and went to the U of U Guest House where we had stayed overnight. We had asked for a late checkout, but if we hurried we could check out by the normal 11 am time. We were back in our room at about 10:20 am and were getting things gathered and packed when the phone rang. It was Nurse Debbie asking if we could come right back in and see the Dr. now. We dropped everything and made it back up to the HCH. We were ushered right back into a room and there we waited... for about 30 minutes before Nurse Debbie stopped in to apologize, tell us that the opening they thought they had, had closed up very quickly. Then, as if she had anticipated our anxiousness, assured us that we had not been called back immediately because they had found some abnormality in the scan or blood work. ~whew~ So we waited a bit longer, about 30 or 40 minutes more. When Dr. Glenn came in, she checked the meds chart for updates and said she was glad that Ford was off the coumadin. She asked the usual questions about pain, abnormalities, activity level, endurance, etc. Then she told us that while the results of the PET scan were not yet completed, she had taken a look at the pictures and she could not detect any difference between the previous tests. The MALT was not advancing and there was no sign of the Diffuse Large B-cell lymphoma. The blood work looked wonderful. All the numbers were where they were supposed to be. She was happy, because the previous check there was abnormal results with the hemoglobin and she had been concerned. Those were now normal. She questioned him about his nice tan and then there was a bit of a discussion about sun exposure, sun screen, and protection. Then she told us that unless the report from the radiologist had something different than what she had observed, she would see him in another 3 months. She did reiterate that there was the option of irradiating the areas in the stomach that showed the MALT and they could completely get rid of the lymphoma or they could wait until Ford showed some signs of problems. Ford said that he would wait and she commented that she thought that is what he would respond, but was just checking. Nurse Debbie told us that when the results came in from the radiologist she would email them to us. That was great! Now we just needed to get a computer back from the Apple Store so we could receive the email when we got home.
We left the HCH about 12:20 pm, finished checking out from the Guest House and went to lunch. Then Ford attended the workshop and afterwards asked about his computer. We checked in and were put in line and waited. About thirty minutes into our wait, the young man that was managing the flow of customers and customer service began to get concerned at how long we had been waiting. (The store was really crowded and there were a lot of people waiting for help of one type or another.) After some confusion about who to ask, where that person was, and which computer we were needing, we were connected with the right person and told that Ford's computer would be about another 30 minutes. The others would be ready in a day or two. While waiting the next 30 minutes, it dawned on us to check the email through Ford's phone. We did and only found a test email to make sure that the email address was correct before sending medical information. Finally, a little after 5 pm, we loaded up the computer and headed home. The first thing we did when we arrived home was to set the computer up and check the email. The results from the radiologist were just as Dr. Glenn had observed. Everything looked essentially the same. Hooray! It would have been great had things lessened a bit (like the last PET scan had shown), but with no advancing and no recurrences, we will take it and be grateful.

We are glad it is over with for another 3 months and will continue to look for ways to improve.

30 September 2010

Two PRs

I set two personal records yesterday.

I extended the double back weave record from 35 to 36.

I also counted to 10 for the first time in a triple loop. A triple loop is throw, throw, throw, catch, throw, catch, throw, catch... (this is a triple loop of 3 because there are 3 catches). Three disks in the air some of the time.

Ford

27 September 2010

Double Back Loop


I set a personal best of 14 in a double back loop on the beach. A double back loop is two disks, each catch behind the back, using only one hand.

The beach after 10am has a stronger, more consistent wind than I am used to. It is much to strong for multiple disks at my current skill level. So, I worked on fundamentals. A left-handed throw directly down the beach would come back to me. A right-handed throw 30 degrees to sea would come back to me. I do not remember seeing this pattern before. Fun!

There exists video proof that I was in the water...

Ford



23 September 2010

July Check

July was checkup time at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital. This time it was just a blood draw and a look over/q & a time with the doctor. A new Fellow doctor came in the exam room and hmmm'd. Then asked how long Ford had been anemic. ??? That was a first. At no time had anyone mentioned or indicated that Ford was anemic (it sure explains the lack of energy, however). We both shrugged and looked back at him blankly. Bright fellow that he was, he sensed that this was something new. He pointed out on the reports that the hemoglobin numbers had been going down the past three checkups. He indicated that it was not an iron deficiency. He continued with the general questions and then left the room to find and consult with Dr. Glenn. When Dr. Glenn came into the room, she looked at Ford with an amazed look we see with all doctors' visits. She told him how good he looked. Then she began asking whether he was bleeding out anywhere. Was he bruising or retaining fluids? No and no were the responses. Evidently, one of the causes of the type of anemia that Ford was exhibiting is caused by blood loss. He really does know what that looks like now after the experience he had after his knee surgery and he was 4 units low. She thought a few minutes, then continued with the rest of the exam. She asked about his coumadin, made some notes, and said that she would see him in October when the PET scan would be done along with blood work. Other than the drop in hemoglobin, all looked good.

This was the one year mark since ending the chemo treatment.

13 September 2010

WR

World Record today. Double back weave: 35.

If your sport is obscure enough, any personal best is a world record.


So, two frisbees. That is the double. Catch behind the back. That is

the back. Throw right, catch left; throw left, catch right. That is the
weave. Double back weave. Who else does this?

Thirty-five consecutive throws and catches. Personal best.


Marched about 60 meters into an inconsistent light wind.


Ford

12 September 2010

Why the Half Marathon?

In January of this year, our oldest daughter phoned Ford and asked if he would be her training buddy to run a half marathon (I will refer to her in this blog as "S"). The Utah Valley Marathon was scheduled for 12 June 2010. The route: from a point just south of the tunnel in Provo Canyon straight down University Avenue turning west into the Prove Towne Center Mall parking area in south Provo. She had also enlisted one of her sisters, our second daughter, (who was not living in Utah) to train and run it also (I will refer to her as "E"). "S" had a great plan worked out on how to get them all in shape and be able to train on a schedule preparing them for a half marathon. She sent them each a guide so they would all be working from the same information. Each would run certain days on their own. Ford and "S" would get together once or twice a week and run together. As often as possible, "E" would make arrangements to be in Utah to run with them. They began running portions of the route increasing the distance each time. Together they had set a goal for finishing the race under 4 hours, easily doable without creating stress or injury. They wanted to be able to enjoy this whole experience as well as accomplish the actual running of the race.

They made a great team supporting each other. As they began to progress, their confidence increased with their abilities. They talked, planned out every detail, and they ran.

There were a few days and weeks that Ford had to take off due to injury. Usually this was when he had tried to work beyond the scheduled training and push too hard. (Great learning opportunity.)

The day came to pick up the race packets. The excitement really began to build. "E" came to Provo several days before the race. The big day came. The runners had to be delivered up to the starting point early.
If I remember correctly, there were over 1,000 runners in the half marathon category. The full marathon runners were starting their route further up the canyon at the Wallsburg turnoff. The weather was cloudy and cool. Not long after dropping them off, it began to mist in the canyon. It rained hard along the route.

Ford, "S," and "E" stretched, warmed up, and then, after a bit of a delay in the start, were off and running. They talked each other through the jitters and excitement of wanting to take off too fast in the beginning. They kept to the pace and strategy that they had worked on. Family members were leapfrogging along the race route to cheer, encourage, and give them support. By the time the runners began exiting the canyon, the rain had stopped. The three of them looked good all the way. They were talking and smiling and giving the "thumbs up." At about the turnoff point from University Avenue into the mall area, "E" got this burst of energy and began a sprint. Ford and "S" pursued. Ford felt great and easily caught up and they crossed the finish line in with great strides. They had not only completed the race and enjoyed the run, they exceeded their goal by running it under 3 hours. For their first time, they felt this was awesome! Most all of us have felt that just training and running the race was awesome. The two daughters have plans to continue running, however Ford said that he was done and will return to his recumbent trike and frisbee.

The response of each of the doctors that Ford has follow-ups with is basically the same. They express amazement at how good he looks, shake their heads when they hear that he has run a half marathon, and are delighted with his continued progress.

That about sums up the response and feelings most of us have. That and an immense feeling of gratitude.

10 September 2010

Greetings!

Greetings to all who might still be keeping an interest in our adventures! A few of you have mentioned the fact that there have been no posts for many months. Apologies to all. Time has moved very fast.

Since the last post was in June and it is currently September, I have pondered whether to "start from today" or "catch up."

Realizing that starting from today would lead to a number of questions from a lack of background, I've decided to post a brief current status and then attempt to "catch up."

On 12 June 2010, Ford completed his first (and has declared: his last) 1/2 marathon. The last post gave a brief announcement about his accomplishment. I had hopes that Ford himself would sit down and give details. Days turned into weeks and then months and hence, I failed to post any other updates.
(Is that an excuse or disclaimer?) sigh

In January of 2009, when Ford had received the diagnosis of cancer and he decided to receive chemo treatments, we discussed whether it would be prudent to have his braces removed. Not knowing what lie ahead, yet having friends and associates that have experienced extensive vomiting, blistering sores in the mouth and throat, and being overall miserable, having braces would be one more thing to be concerned about. So he had them removed. This turned out to be a very good decision. However, most, if not all, progress that had been made was lost. On 30 August 2010, his braces were put back on. He is dealing with the realities of braces, ie: pain, flossing, broken brackets, loss of freedom of eating many things he enjoys. As is usual for Ford, he is dealing very well with it all.

He also has been experiencing headaches for about 6-8 weeks. As as is also usual for Ford, he revealed that pain to me about week 4. We are currently researching, asking a lot of questions, and trying to determine what to do. More on this later.

Suffice it to say that Ford is looking great, feeling good (with the above exceptions), he is working full time, playing as much as he can, and loving his opportunities to serve in the Provo Temple. On Wednesday, 8 September 2010, we were delighted to be able to recognize and celebrate another birthday with him. Life is sweet and we have much for which we are grateful.

And we still would not trade our experiences with any one else....



12 June 2010

New accomplishment

Today Ford added a new accomplishment to his list. He ran and finished his first half marathon.

We will post more detail a little later, however, just wanted to let any interested know that he and two daughters met their goal of finishing under 3 hours. They are amazing!!

22 April 2010

Such a Good Day

Today has been one of those days where you pray for the best and then brace yourself for whatever may come.

Ford's first appointment at the Huntsman Cancer Institute today was at 6:30 am. When we opened the garage door at 5:20 am, we could not believe our eyes. Snow?! We had expected rain, but snow? No way. The past three days have been record highs in the 70's. The roads were wet and the storm increased as we made our way to SLC. For me, it was a white-knuckle drive. I used to love to drive in all sorts of weather. I guess I am getting old. The fact that the lines on I-15 are all screwy because of the construction sure didn't help. With the precipitation, the dark, and the glare of headlights, it was hard at times to see where the lanes were.

Anyway, we made good time and closer to the HCI, the roads were clearer. The first appointment was for the PET scan. The procedure usually takes around 2.5 hours although the tech told me to expect about 3.5 this morning. Ford had some difficulty with the insertion of the IV, but said that he really got woozy when the radioactive sugar began to flow. He said that he struggled with not passing out. He came through with flying colors and the test took only 3 hours. We had anticipated staying in SLC until the time came for the labs to be done, followed by the appointment with Dr. Glenn, the oncologist, for the test results and checkup.

Instead, we opted to drive back to Provo (the sun was out by this time and the weather had cleared significantly). Ford was able to enjoy his usual breakfast routine and we both took time to get some more sleep.

It turned out to be a fairly beautiful day. The drive back up to SLC was uneventful. We were a bit early when we checked in yet it was only a very short wait before they called Ford back for his blood draw. For the first time in 15 months, I did not shadow him. I sat out in the waiting area because it typically takes less than 5 minutes, they send us back out to wait, and then call us back for weigh in and to take other vital information. This time I figured it would be a breeze because the morning crew had left the IV connection in so it would be easier to draw labs. I waited and waited and waited. After about 20 minutes, I asked if I could go in and see where Ford was. He wasn't in the general lab area. I was a little nervous. The area where they usually have inserted the IV before doing the chemo treatments was a little way down the hall and that is to where I was directed next. Sure enough there he was. He was sitting in a comfy chair that could recline, if needed (and it was needed). The lab tech was getting ready to fetch him some juice to drink to see if he would help him.....he was very sensitive today to the procedures and again was feeling faint. Even after this short recovery time, we made it back into a room 25 to 30 minutes ahead of our scheduled appointment. Our doctor usually has so many patients to see that she is often later than the scheduled time. I was just beginning to get a bit anxious about what the results might be, when she walked in. She was smiling as she announced that "Everything looked good!" "In fact," she said, "the irritation in the stomach (the MALT lymphoma that we were told was incurable at the present) shows a decrease."

I let out a huge sigh of relief. WOW! Not only is Ford doing well with his recovery, and not only has the Diffuse Large B Cell lymphoma been kept in check, the other cancer seems to be receding!!!! Ford and I were ecstatic. Dr. Glenn gave a slight chuckle as we celebrated with high fives. After checking him over and getting answers to all the important questions, she told us she would see us in three more months. We were actually leaving 10 minutes before our appointment time.

It has been a good day. And we are very grateful for the healing Ford has been blessed with. The short, simple expression says it all: God is Good! And especially today, we are filled with an immense gratitude for His goodness.

Oh, BTW, Ford's INR on Tuesday was 2.4. !!!!!!

13 April 2010

On a Roll

Last Tuesday Ford's INR was a 2.1. )-: While this was still in the GOOD range, it was a drop from the week before (2.6). There was disappointment that it was in the downward direction. Ford had started back with running the day before, so this may have impacted the results. There is no really good way to tell except to wait until the next week and see what happens.

Today was next week. His INR came in at a 2.3. Hurray! We may, just maybe, have found a balance. The next INR is one week away. If it comes in within the desired range, then the INR checks go to two weeks.

Next Thursday, 22 April 2010, is Ford's check at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Bright and early (don't know how bright it will be at 6:30 am) he is scheduled for the PET scan. That is the test where radioactive sugar is run through his system via an IV and then tracked to see where it goes. If it gathers in any particular area, this is referred to as a hot spot. A hot spot indicates cancer (cancer feeds off sugar). We do not want to see any. We anticipate that there will be an area in his stomach where the MALT lymphoma was centered at the last check. It would be fantastic if this area was a no-show. The bigger question at this point is whether there are hot spots any where else. Last January 2009, there were hot spots in the stomach, lungs, and bones from the Diffuse Large B Cell lymphoma. In June 2009, after the chemo treatments were completed, those areas were no longer considered hot. We are hoping and praying that this is still the results. In the afternoon, Ford has his appointment with Dr. Glenn (and the resident Fellow doctor).

Thank you to all who are still tracking us and are caring and praying for us. There have been so many in our neighborhood that have had need of prayers and healing. Many have been in critical situations and had miracles happen. A few have literally been brought back from death's door. What a great witness of the power of God! We are so blessed with dear family, friends, co-workers, and amazing neighbors!!

01 April 2010

No Foolin'

Our normal unusual routine has been delightfully interrupted this week with the visit of our daughter and granddaughter, therefore, the INR news of the week has been delayed in getting posted.

With a week of no exercise due to a pulled muscle, and with no lettuce on his regular veggie Subway (lettuce is an almost instant coagulator), Ford's INR result this week was a whopping 2.6. That is a record so far since he began this round of coumadin!

(While today is 1 April--April Fool's Day--this is a legitimate result and blog.)


18 March 2010

Looking Good

When I picked Ford up from work this evening, I asked how he was doing. He quickly replied: "BYU won in double overtime and I am off the Lovenox injections." Enough said?

At his appointment with Dr. Alward, his INR was a 2.1!!!! Dr. Alward checked him out and looked over all the reports. He commented several times how good Ford looked. He does not think that either altitude or exercise had anything to do with the drop in Ford's INR. He didn't venture to explain what he thought it was. Ultimately, the important part is that the INR number is back up into the normal range. The next check with Dr. Alward is 6 months, all things being normal. He also did not seem to think that radiation was an option for Ford, given his history. Radiation is what Dr. Glenn was suggesting will happen if the PET scan in April turns out with good results, good results meaning that there is no sign of the Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma and that the MALT has stayed in the stomach area.

One step at a time. For now, that completes all the checks and re-checks for this month for Ford.

Whew, it is barely half way through and it has already been a long March.

Think 2

Tuesday Ford has his INR checked again. His number was up to a 1.8. Hoorah! This afternoon is his 4 month check with Dr. Alward. We are all concentrating on thinking 2, the magic number that will let Ford discontinue the Lovenox shots. His stomach is already rainbow colored with a lot of purple, blue, and yellows. He says that it doesn't hurt, it just looks really bad. So today, please think 2.

13 March 2010

Downer

Ford's INR went down between the Tuesday to Friday check: 1.4. There is another adjustment to his Warfarin and he will continue the Lovenox injections. His stomach seems to be adjusting.

11 March 2010

Side Effects

Tuesday morning Ford mentioned that his stomach was not doing well. He wasn't able to describe much of what was wrong, just that it wasn't right. He decided to go to work and see how things went during the day. He came home early and went to bed. My mind is racing through a list of things that might be causing this upset (flu, ulcer, constipation, food poisoning, or the MALT [the cancer that is slow growing, non-curable, centered in the stomach, and possibly what spawned the second form of cancer with which Ford was diagnosed). "A pain, but not really" and "it is more of an off taste" and "food makes it feel better" are descriptions that I had to go on. I could feel his frustration at not being able to give a more accurate account. Since stomach issues are one of the Red Flags that our doctor at the Huntsman said to watch for, I contacted the nurse we work with up there. After a few questions, she said that with such a general description, it really was a "wait and see what else happens." She did agree that the increase in exercise could cause an increase in metabolizing the Coumadin. Best guess is the stomach disturbance could be a side effect of the Lovenox. Our eldest daughter needed to take Lovenox during her last pregnancy (she inherited her dad's Factor V Leiden) and she remembered that it made her stomach sensitive for a while.

Yesterday Ford took things pretty easy. With his diagnosis last year, it was recommended that he visit a dermatologist regularly because his risk of Melanoma has gone up due to the cancer and chemo. Yesterday was one of those full body checks. Except for one tiny spot that needs to be observed over time, he passed the exam.

He is slightly improved today. We are praying for an increase in the INR enough to be able to discontinue the Lovenox.

Part
of me (the cynicism/irony/sarcasm part) says that "Of course he will be able to come off the Lovenox." That will happen just as the 30 day supply finally arrives. You see, Lovenox is very expensive, approximately $113 for five syringes. If we coordinate through Medco/Acredo (DMBA's mail order pharmacy), the cost drops to $85 for 30 syringes. Dr. Alward's staff began the process with Acredo early last week. A fax, a phone call, another fax, many more phone calls, another fax, and practically the whole day Tuesday on the phone--being helped, being transferred, on hold, awaiting a return phone call, to infinity and beyond.....No one at Acredo was able to find a doctor's prescription in any form. Because of regulations, they would not approve using the prescription that was on file with 10 more refills that we were using last year, because after three months, it is no longer valid. When were the three months up? The middle of February, of course. Finally, last night the call came that the Lovenox would be shipped Thursday (today) via overnight delivery to arrive on Friday.

Ford will have his INR checked Friday morning. Honestly,
even after all that process, I would be delighted if his INR is a 2.0 or greater.

As I look back and take a deep breath, I am grateful for the patience and kindness of all those people at Acredo that I interacted with on Tuesday. Dr. Alward's staff is amazing. And, we are blessed that there is such a thing as Lovenox that will help prevent Ford from having blood clots which could be fatal. We are thankful that we have insurance that helps cover medical costs and for Ford's employment. There is no doubt in our minds or hearts that God is gracious, loving, and generous. Each day of life is an incredible opportunity. All is well.

09 March 2010

Coincidence?

Seldom do I believe in coincidences.

Since both Ford and I are on Coumadin (actually we are taking the generic Warfarin), we both get our INR checked. We get it checked in different clinics. It did not take too long for me to get in a good range when I began the Coumadin. My number has been fairly consistent between a 2.4 & a 2.6. So consistent that the interval between checks has been a month to a month and a half. My INR check was yesterday and the number was a 1.3. ???? That is a tremendous drop. Just like Ford's was a significant drop. I am positive that I did not exercise 3 hours a day while on vacation. No, we did not change our diet. The thing that we have in common is the vacation. Coincidence? I think not.

So today at Ford's check I asked if altitude changes make a difference. "Of course," was the response. So far food, sleep, exercise, and altitude can change the levels. Oh, and the fact that using a generic brand instead of the true blue Coumadin can make a difference.....makes me wonder what other thousand things in the universe can have an affect on the INR level that we are not aware of.

The real question for me is: "Is there anything that we can personally do to help Ford maintain his INR in the level necessary to prevent blood clots?"

BTW, his INR today was up 1/10 to a 1.5. Still creeping upward, but causing a quandary with the doctor's staff.

06 March 2010

Going Up

The INR check on Friday was up .2 to a 1.4. We continue with the Lovenox until back in the normal range.

Ford is settling back in to a less rigorous exercise routine of about an hour and a half workout instead of the three hour workout he had enjoyed while on vacation.

All is well.

03 March 2010

March-ing

When the number came up for the result of Ford's INR check, I thought for a moment that I might be dyslexic. I blinked and asked if that really was a 1.2 I was looking at. The nurse was also surprised at the number. Does going on vacation result in a drop in the INR? Ford has been very diligent in taking his blood thinners. His diet has not change significantly. Why the drop? The only thing that he has changed in his routine is exercise. The whole time we were on vacation he worked out for about three hours total: running/walking (training for the half marathon), throwing and catching frisbees on the beach, and time on the stationary recumbent bike. Guess what. That can create the change. Who knew.

Well...it is back to the Lovenox injections until his levels improve. He is a trooper. He does not complain. He simply complies. I have no doubt that his visit with Dr. Alward in a couple of weeks will be interesting.

In the meantime, we are doing incredibly well, the glass is half-full, and we are tremendously blessed. We have been awed by the beauty of God's creations. We so are grateful for the generosity of my dear brother and wonderful sister-in-law. We have had so much fun being with them. Mahalo!

16 February 2010

Fail/Pass

From Fail to Pass, just inside the parameter, Ford's INR today was a 2.0.

Slowly, slowly he is making his way back up to where his levels need to be. For that we are grateful.

The next check will be in 2 weeks.

Ford has also taken on a new challenge. For at least two days of the week during his workout time, he is running. He has set some pretty challenging physical goals for the next several months. He has a proven ability to discipline himself to attain whatever he sets out to do.
It will be exciting to see him achieve his goals.

Tomorrow, 17 February, will mark the one year anniversary of his first chemo treatment. Subsequently, the 18th marks the anniversary of one of the most frightening days of my life, the day his sodium dropped dramatically and he had a seizure. He has no memory of that day or the events of the four days that followed while he was in ICU. That is probably a good thing.

We are both grateful that those days are over and that he is doing remarkable well.

09 February 2010

On the Way Up

Ford's 2.0 INR may not have been a short term success. The drop to 1.3 actually may have been a short term drop. Today his INR was back up to a 1.9. Woo hoo!

While on vacation, Ford did not drink his usual amount of water and was a bit dehydrated. And there was a miscommunication about nutritional supplements. Apparently a few small adjustments can make all the difference.

05 February 2010

Short Term Success

Ford was able to get a decent night's sleep last night. However, he failed his INR test this morning. The drop was significant enough (1.3) that it is being deliberated whether or not to add a Lovenox shot today. Other factors being questioned are whether his blood thinner is name brand or generic and whether any change in diet has affected his levels.

We will know when the doctor has time to look over the situation and make a decision.

04 February 2010

Sleep Solution

One residual effect of chemo has been that many times Ford has a difficult time falling asleep at night. We have tried many different things but nothing has worked all the time.

We finally found something that allowed him to go to sleep and stay asleep: Vacation.

I have not seen him look so relaxed and at ease for quite some time as I did on our short trip to Texas. The very first night Ford went right to sleep and slept for almost 9 hours. Then he also took 2 naps during the day. Wow! The only night he had trouble sleeping was the last night of our vacation when he new we would have to be getting up early to get everything packed and get off to the airport.

BTW: It is very disappointing to anticipate warm Texas weather only to find that a cold front was blowing through and it was actually warmer in Provo than it was in Texas! But we had a good time in spite of that.
I loved being back in Texas and found myself yearning to spend more time. Many of the places we visited brought back tons of memories of growing up in South Texas.

26 January 2010

Pass/Fail

Each INR check Ford rates as a Pass or Fail. The past four checks, for him, have been all Fail, even though two consecutive weeks were moving in the right direction. Finally, today, he had a Pass. His number went up to a 2.0. Hoorah! That is 2/10ths of jump from last week. The range that is desired is in-between a 2.0 and a 2.5. We are so grateful to our friend Dr. J.W. and his lovely wife who have given us valuable information and help.

21 January 2010

Second Three-month Check

This afternoon was Ford's second three-month follow-up since he finished with his chemo.

The blood tests came back with nothing irregular, no flags, no spikes, no markers. Dr. Glenn said that all appears to be going well. She said that at the next three-month check, Ford will have a PET scan done. If the lesion in the lining of his stomach from the MALT lymphoma has increased, that they will look at treating it with radiation. She explained that they usually do not consider radiation therapy when someone has been diagnosed with a cancer that is considered systemic. However, Ford seems to have done well enough and if the PET scan shows no irregularities anywhere else, they will consider treatment just for the stomach area. She said that this would keep the lesion in check and hopefully prevent any trouble from perforation or other things.

However, if the PET scan shows anything suspicious indicating there is more than just the MALT lymphoma, then she will go back to the plan for stem cell transplant.

We are enjoying the good news from today and appreciating the good progress Ford has made since this time last year. Hoorah!!

19 January 2010

INR

Someone once told me that even the smallest increment forward is still progress.

The INR result for Ford this morning was 1.8. A small increase from last week, yet still an increase.

We'll take it and be happy.

14 January 2010

In the Right Direction

Ford had his INR checked on Tuesday morning. It had improved from a 1.5 to a 1.7. That is in the right direction and we are encouraged. He is to continue with his dose of 10 ml of coumadin three times a week with 7.5 ml. the rest of the time. Ford is also willing to keep taking the "natural" stuff we added to see if it would improve his levels. Although it has a reputation for tasting nasty, if it helps...it beats many of the alternatives.

09 January 2010

The More You Learn...

Somewhere in the educational process I remember a teacher telling the class that the more you learn, the more you find out how much more there is to learn. (It may have been as simple as the more you know the more you find out how much you don't know. Pretty much the same thing.)

For the past several INR checks for Ford (checking the clotting rate while on Coumadin), his numbers have been decreasing. The numbers need to be between a 2 and a 2.5 and his has dropped to a 1.5.

As this has happened, the light bulb has come on and I realize that this is what Dr. Alward meant using the term Coumadin Failure.

If I am understanding correctly, blood thinners are all a form of heparin. I have read that there are many types of blood thinners (many more than I realized) and Coumadin seems to be the most common used, partly because of low costs. The low-molcular-weight heparins like Lovenox are much more costly. The success/failure rate of heparins is individual, depending on various factors of medical conditions.

People that have cancer have a higher risk of blood clots and the medicine used in cancer therapy increases that risk. Coumadin is not always the heparin that works in these cases. That is part of what makes Ford a candidate for Coumadin failure.

Monday, 4 January 2010, Ford's INR was 1.5. His dosage of Coumadin was increased to 10 ml and his INR was checked again yesterday, Friday. It was 1.5. No change. He will be rechecked on Tuesday.

We are making an adjustment in his diet to see if that will make a difference. There is much to read and understand about how much diet makes a difference. We are also fortunate to have friends with training and experience in this area that can give us some valuable suggestions.

Other than the Coumadin issue, Ford seems to be doing quite well. The ice and snow has limited his biking for the time being. Actually it is the low, low temperatures that have hindered him. He has accepted that temps below 20 degrees just might not be good for skin, i.e. frostbite. The poor air quality in Utah County due to inversions also is a deterrent. Salt Lake and Utah Counties have alternated as having the worst air quality in the USA. I find that fairly amazing considering air conditions in places like LA and other big cities with habitual smog. News reports explain that the particulates in this pollution can embed themselves in the lungs and create severe health problems, some which can surface years later, especially in children. That is a might frightening.

Anyway...Ford is doing well. His next check at the Huntsman is 21 January 2010. This will be blood tests only. If something unusual shows in his blood levels, then more tests will be done.

Results will be posted. Until next time...