Archive for December, 2009


December 31, 2009

While we did go for our chemotherapy session today, it’s been postponed.  The oncologist reviewed how Mary Jo has responded to the chemotherapy and finds that her body doesn’t rebound like the average person would even with the help of some injections.  Of his patients in chemotherapy, he says he worries most about her.  At first he considered reducing the strength of the chemo, but later said his intuition led him to postpone the chemotherapy until next Tuesday to give her a little more time to recover.  We all agreed.  She has continued to run a fever following the treatments and also has a cough the last few days.  A chest x-ray is clear, however, so she remains something of a mystery. The next chemotherapy is January 5.  

Again, medicine is science but also art and intuition.  All are God’s gifts and we are grateful.

Merry Christmas!

December 29, 2009

We’re still celebrating Christmas this week.  A couple of our daughters with their families are visiting for a few days.  It’s a nice change of pace for Mary Jo and me and a source of energy as well.  It’s been awhile since we had this many at our house.  It does feel good.

This week’s chemotherapy was moved back from today to Wednesday.  We had asked for that change since the kids were coming.  That gives Mary Jo these extra days too, to get her blood cells closer to where they should be.  She’s apparently picked up a little bug of some kind despite our best efforts.  She runs a fever, so she’s staying on the antibiotics until Wednesday.

We wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and thank you all for your well wishes, both in the cards that have come and the ones you send through Dave at church.  So many have said that they keep us in their thoughts and prayers.  It’s part of the privilege of belonging to a faith community that cares.  We know that caring extends out beyond us to Char Vick’s family in their loss and to those in the congregation and community that we know are living with cancer and cancer treatment.  May God’s healing hand be stretched over all.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

2 units

December 22, 2009

A blood test yesterday showed low blood counts as is normal a week after a dose of chemotherapy. Therefore the same regiment of antibiotics and additional bone marrow shots have been added.  The hemoglobin continued to drop to about 7 so it was time to get a transfusion of 2 of units of  blood. We got to visit another area of the clinic we hadn’t seen before, “Ambulatory Infusion.”  It’s tucked away along with the infectious diseases.  It was an all afternoon affair as Mary Jo had to get her blood typed and tested before she could begin.   The “port”  allows easier access to the bodies circulatory system.  The day was not easy but we got through it.  The hope is that this will help  Mary Jo with the fatigue that is very evident for her right now.

We’re learning a lot about complexities of the body and the complexity of one part of it, the blood. The blood is indeed the River of Life.  It carries oxygen and other nutrients to the whole body and carbon dioxide and other wastes away from it.  It fights off invaders of every kind.  What a hard-working system!  We stand in awe of God’s genius.

Mary Jo felt some better toward the end of last week and enjoyed her food a bit more.  We look forward to the arrival of some family right after Christmas.  The next chemotherapy treatment is scheduled for  December 30.

May any who read this have a blessed Christmas!


December 15, 2009

Mary Jo had a pretty good week last week.  She’s been able to do some  decorating for Christmas and has devoted some time to getting out Christmas letters and cards.  We’re grateful for those days.

Monday we went back for round 3 of chemotherapy.  Round 3 because this is an ongoing battle for cure of this breast cancer.  The blood test Monday morning showed that the white cells had rebounded nicely from a very low place a week before.  The red blood cells did not do as well..  They are checking her B12, iron and thyroid levels to see if some medication could help those low level blood counts.  No wonder even a flight of stairs is something of a chore.

After considering a lighter dose of chemo, the cancer doc decided to be aggressive and give her the usual treatment.   They are continuing to find ways to help her body tolerate this dose of chemotherapy.  We moved the next treatment to Wednesday, December 30, which will allow part of our family to join us after Christmas for a few days.

Your continued concern, support and prayers have been a blessing to us.  This is a season of waiting and longing.  Our longing is for wholeness and health.  We are moving in that good direction.

Low counts

December 7, 2009

Today was the day for a blood test.  The results are back and all the counts are low, lower than three weeks ago.  White cells, hemoglobin, and platelets are lower than they should be.  So it’s back on antibiotics again to shore up the immunity defense, some more days on the shots to stimulate the production of bone marrow cells, and some more isolation.  There’s some talk of changing the chemical dose at next Monday’s chemo appointment.  Apparently what they are giving her is too much for her body to handle.  It’s no wonder she has a great deal of fatigue. She’s also still working on getting the nausea under control.  The last couple of days she’s been able to eat small amounts of food, but everything tastes different which makes eating difficult.  So the journey continues.

Bald IS beautiful

December 1, 2009

Who knew? Mary Jo had the last of her hair cut off this morning.  Her hairdresser friend came over and took off what remained.  Dave was privileged to be there.  Turns out that Mary Jo really has a nice shaped head.  Dave said he thought it made her look younger, then he had to go and say, like 2 months old.  A few tears were shed all around, but all went well.  Another hairdresser friend came along and touched up the wig that Mary Jo had bought before she started treatment.  She’s got it on and wore it the rest of the day which included a second chemo treatment.  The wig looks really good,  but the bald head also looks really good.  Mary Jo says it felt like a gift of God to have these two with her in this experience.

It seems that the fever Mary Jo has been running finally has come down.  She still has a slight fever, but nothing like it had been.  Today’s been a good day because she feels more human.  Her appetite is some better, though we’re still figuring out what tastes good.  Dave has been fixing small portions of food that sound good to her.

Chemotherapy went without incident today.  She got the same dosage of the chemicals as the last time.  The doctor has increased the dosage of the shots that will help her bone marrow rejuvenate.  So we’re hopeful that these two weeks will be better than the last three.