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Trials and Tibbles-A look back at the start of it all

Well, it has been quite a journey over the past few months. It has not been until now that I have really had the chance to sit back and really reflect on what has happened in the past year. I have been negligent in really keeping up with this blog and recording the whole of the experience. My plan is to parse this story out into pieces based on subject and timeline. So in all, there should be several blogs coming out in rapid succession. That is the plan but rarely do plans ever follow their intended path. Lets see how this goes.
I really think I should back up a little bit. I had previously posted a summary of the events of last year with big help from Space. Without her throughout everything, she might be writing this blog. We will get into that more and more as this “plan” progresses. I really think I should back up to last August. Rae had just started 5th grade and was really enjoying the new environment. She had just started here new swim team and kicking ass. My mother was still there helping me cope with everything especially after my third dose of R-CHOP chemo. It had hit me pretty hard. I had recently lost my hair and it was dragging me out pretty hard. I was trying to get a full days work in every day I could but I had to face facts. My body was no longer capable of sustaining that level of activity. I was even still trying to run. A mile was all I could get out. My awesome employers at V&C Manufacturing understood the situation and allowed me to put in what ever time I could on site and work from home as well. The hardest part was that I spent so much time asleep after I got home from work that I was unable to spend a lot of time with my Rae. The next hardest part was that my Space was not there and I missed her deeply.
It all sounds pretty bad but all in all I may have been tired and sick from the treatment and the remnants of the tumors in my lungs but things were really looking up. I had a scheduled PET scan coming up at the end of the month that was going to show us just how much we kicked the crap out of this cancer. I just knew it was going to be a whole bunch of negative (in this case negative is positive). Sure I had my doubts and nervousness about it. Hells bells, I even freaked out a little bit in the PET scanner. If I can sleep in it then I am okay but this one had me freaked. Either way, I was sure of the results. Then a whole bunch of hurt came down on me. The awesome Dr. Reddy showed me the scan and where the tumors had not completely gone away and I was also lit up like a christmas tree with a bunch of subcutaneous tumors. They were going to changed the chemo treatment to R-ICE, which is much harsher with none of the buzz, and get me a stem cell transplant. The odd thing is that some of the new spots corresponded to some lumps that I had for quite awhile. The would show up and go away on my arms and legs. The idea was to biopsy one and try to figure out what it was.
The news was obviously not good and I knew I could not do it with just my mother. The transplant plan at Vanderbilt was an outpatient thing where I would be coming in everyday for up too 100 days. I would need someone to take care of me 24/7 for this. With out my Space, who would take care of Rae. I knew right then that I could not stay in Tennessee. It sucked because I really liked the place and I loved the new job. I passed along the news to Space and we started making plans for Rae and I to move of to her grandparents place near Philly where Space had been staying. The great part was that Space was still working at Thomas Jefferson Hospital and I got the top two docs asking to take my case. Dr. Mark Weis for the treatment and Dr. Neal Flomenburg for the stem cell transplant. This was awesome but a few things had to happen first.
First, second and third, I had to move and this is where the family stepped up to the plate. My awesome father, mother and brother in law made plans to come down and help with the packing and moving. Also, the guys at V&C made very short work of loading the truck for us.
Rae was pretty pissed about moving and changing schools twice in 6 months but she is a tough kid and took the rapid change like a champ. Before the move I had my first dose of R-ICE. It was administered over a three day period starting the day after Labor day. It kicked me in the hind end real hard and I decided not to get out of bed that Friday. I am not sure about how Saturday and Sunday went but I do remember my mother nagging me till I got up and ate something.
I made it to one more day of work before it all went to hell. I got a fever that night and got admitted to the hospital. It sucked. I really wanted to help with the move and transition out at work so things could get up to speed in my absence. My man Sumo Joe came to visit for a bit and my mother stayed with me till she had to leave for a visit to my grandmother and aunt in Texas. Then Space came to wait out my stay. After a few days of being poked, fevered, prodded and examined I finally got out. Before anything else could happen we hopped in the Blue Meanie (my car with the crack in time on the front bumper) and sped out of there toward Pennsylvania.
We arrived without incident. And I got settled into my new home and spent some quality days doing very little and spending some time with the PsychoRae. Now comes the new trials. That can wait for another time.


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