Saturday, April 14, 2007

Quick update: trends going in right direction!

Hi, all. Thanks so much for your phone calls and emails and waves of good wishes. It all seems to be working!

My liver enzymes show significant improvement-- not normal yet, but definitely headed back in that direction. Bilirubin's headed down, and so are the other ones that are just initials to me, and that's a good sign. As of today the dose of Medrol (the steroid) has been reduced from 160 milligrams a day to 128-- still a lot, but less, and that makes me feel much better. Everything else stays the same for now.

Dr. Andersson, my regular transplant doctor, is back in Houston, so Dr. Jones has handed me back over to him and that's who I'll see when I go again in 10 days. Anyone who feels like giving me a ride to Houston and back on the 25th? it would help Anna a whole lot...

We made it back to Austin last night and got to Asti-- our favorite restaurant, which also happens to be just a few blocks up the street, a dangerous combination!-- for a wonderful dinner, both of us feeling a strong sense of relief, like we can start to breathe again without having realized we'd stopped... We had pretty good weather pretty much all the way, though we'd been hearing all day about thunderstorms and a big cold front. By the time we came out of Asti, though, it was raining pretty hard and the temperature had dropped considerably, and when Anna went to check her email the network had gone belly-up. So the Cable-Modem guy came today and, after some finagling, seems to have gotten it all working again. Another sigh of relief!

We saw a couple of good friends yesterday during our short visit to Houston. Ran into Dan Trachtetnberg, from the Jewish volunteer services, when we went into the cafeteria to grab a little sustenance-- I had a baked potato and Anna had the "pyramidal" lunch, a scary notion if ever there was one!-- and we sat down with Dan for a little while. He's a lovely man, and it was great to see him. And then Glenda Macddonald from the Chaplain's office caught up with us while we were waiting for Dr. Jones to come into the examining room, and that was good too-- another chance to catch up. She says the support group for caregivers that got started while we were up in the ATRC last fall is still going, with 7 participants right now-- all men, as it turns out, whereas previously they were all women. It's just how the demographics shift from moment to moment-- who's sick and who's well, who can afford time away from work or can't leave kids unattended at home, etc. Fascinating. And while we were sitting in the waiting area a man started a conversation with me about Dillon, which moved quickly from Dillon to how we're both doing. I said I was having a little touch of GVHD but said I was doing OK; he commiserated; I asked if he was OK, and I could all but hear a slow, sad shake of the head as he said no, he had lost his mama to cancer last night and was just there taking care of the final paperwork. My heart broke. He was so gentle, so compassionate, so softly spoken, so grief-stricken; yet he had time and room for me and for Dillon, time and room to be genuinely interested and concerned. We talked for a minute about what an amazing place M.D. Anderson is-- everyone from medical staff to patients. Then we talked a bit more about dogs and their 14-year-old cocker spaniel back in Puerto Rico, where they have their home. And then the nurse called me back into the examining area and that was that. Astonishing,

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