October 20, 2013

by kpw413

Today is ASCT +4. It is also the birthday of my dad, Francis, or Frank as all who knew him called him.

Still the same complaints that are in reasonable control, nausea, hiccups, and horrible appetite. Kathleen says I have lost weight; that the belly is smaller. The nurses have advised that my appetite will return slowly – maybe I can get rid of these 10 pounds I’ve been fighting with?

Last evening, I was given a Neupogen infusion. Yes, this the same drug that I was given in preparation for my apheresis. The goal here is similar, to stimulate the production of white blood cells. So both my WBC and ANC (absolute neutrophil count) were up nicely. The only downward number was platelets. The nurses also advise that the platelets are the last of the blood cells to come back after a transplant. It seems that my release will, at least in part, be based on how quickly my platelets move upward.

When the doc came in this morning, I told him that I was on the early release program, looking to be discharged by the end of this week. He said more likely Mon or Tue next week. Any body want to start a pool on what day I get out?

For reasons I cannot entirely explain, I am finding this anniversary of my Dad’s birth more poignant than last year. He had been diagnosed with lymphoma when in his 50s. It was put into remission by oral Cytoxin (cyclophosphamide – one of the drugs in my first regimen). Later, after he retired, it came back in a much more virulent way, and killed him at 67. As I sit here with myself and Monteverdi’s music, I recall his love of choral music.

Dad was a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. He also received his MA from Columbia University Teachers College. He was an accomplished organist, vocalist, voice teacher and director of choral groups. He Joined the University of Vermont in 1950 in the Music Department and stayed there until is retirement in 1984. During his tenure, he started various singing groups including a Madrigal group. He also founded the Burlington Choral Society (originally the Burlington Oratorio Society) which continues to this day.

It has only been over the last four years, that Kathleen and I have grown to appreciate opera. I would love to have had the chance to go with him to a performance and to be able to review the performances of all. But isn’t this the nature of life? That we do not take advantage of opportunities that were available to us for a host of reasons? Life just gets in the way. So the trick is to really listen to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit trying to get through to us through all the noise. Lord, help me to better listen to you. Amen.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for my healing and for the healing of those we pray for, Leighton, Barbara, Herman, Berris, Nicola, Sylvia, Mike, and Joe.