Written in Boston, Wednesday 12th September 2012.
“Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with singing……The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad.”. Psalm 126: 2-3
“A merry heart does good, like medicine… ” Proverbs 17: 22
Over a year ago when Noel was first taken ill and diagnosed with cancer we both decided that we would trust in the Lord our God to have a plan for our good, we would not be downhearted or allow anything to rob us of our joy. So we praise the Lord that we have been able to keep our focus on the positive and have been able to remain cheerful and our lives have been filled with much joy and laughter… some people may find us a little strange but hopefully they find us encouraging too.
From one week to the next time seems to go increasingly fast and this week sees Noel at +93 days since his transplant. Back in June, day +100 seemed so far away but now it is just one week away… For us it will bring two changes… After next week Noel moves on to fortnightly appointments at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, so long as nothing unusual suddenly happens with his progress. And he will have the Hickman Line removed… he will be glad not to have to stick on a waterproof cover every time he takes a shower and for me to not have to flush out his access lines each night. Although no longer having it will mean at each appointment he will have to have an IV put into his arm so they can draw the 9 to 13 vials of blood they use for his tests and if needed to receive blood products through, although this will be removed after each appointment.
This week Noel saw Dr Soiffer and he had a Harvard medical student with him as the Dana Faber is also a teaching hospital. Dr Soiffer said it is still early days in this long recovery process, Noel’s blood test results this week show little change from last week, just very slightly lower but Noel feels well and looks good so Dr S. is not too concerned.
Dr S. looked at Noel’s right foot as last Friday Noel had called him because his foot was suddenly and inexplicably extremely painful. Dr S. said he thought it was gout (!) and that Noel should see his Primary Care doctor, which he did on Friday afternoon; he also thought it was gout… prescribed pain killers and suggested Noel went back to drinking the 3 liters of water a day. Thankfully his foot is now looking much better and the pain has gone.
This weeks Blood test results. Still low but Praise the Lord… relativity stable.
Red Blood cells 2.93 — Last week 3.12 — Normal 4.2 – 5.6
White Blood cells 2.3 — Last week 2.5 — Normal 3.8 – 9.2
Platelets 37 — Last week 38 — Normal 155 – 410
You may remember I wrote about a DNA test called a Chimerism. When I said Noel’s DNA was 14% his own and 86% his donors… Noel and I had misunderstood the result that was being sought… We thought we were waiting to see the DNA being 100% Noel’s but what we are actually waiting to see is for Noel’s blood DNA to be 100% that of his donor! This seems a little strange but since the blood manufacturing stem cells in Noel’s bone marrow are those that were transplanted from the donor it actually makes sense. At this stage some transplant patients blood changes and becomes the same blood type as their donor but Noel was fortunate as his donor was A Positive, the same as he is.
We are so blessed to be able to stay here at the American Cancer Society’s AstraZeneca Hope Lodge… Accommodation is offered here to cancer patients and their care givers free of charge no matter if your stay is for several months or just a few days… funding for this is provided through fund raising and donations to the American Cancer Society and by the drug company AstraZeneca. This evening we had a group of research scientists from the company come to give us a presentation about their work in developing new cancer drugs… which was most interesting. They also brought a light supper of sandwiches and cookies for us all to enjoy (except for the transplant patients, including Noel, who sadly cannot have outside food: Noel cast his eyes longingly over the delicious ham, cheese and salad rolls!)
Family news is all good. Our granddaughters Charlotte and Eve both took big school in their stride and seem to be doing great. And everybody else is doing well… and keeping very busy.
Although the daytimes here in the Northeast are still very warm the nights are definitely getting cooler and Fall (Autumn) is on the way… we are looking forward to the changing colors of the leaves as we drive to and from Boston… the New England area is famous for the beautiful foliage at this time of the year.
We have continued to be blessed this past week by your support, cards, messages and telephone calls of encouragement along with a visit from our good friend Michael, the first English man we met in Glens Falls five years ago, and a visit from Deacon Dave and his wife Barbara, who shared the blessing of the Reserved Sacrament with us. We are not sure when we will be allowed by the Doctor to attend Church again… Noel’s blood counts need to be higher before he can be with groups of people again. I could of course attend Church but have decided to avoid being around people as much as possible as if I was to catch even just a slight infection it could be very serious for Noel if I passed it on to him…
Please continue to pray along the same lines as other weeks, travel safety, rise in blood counts and general well being for us both and give the Lord all the Glory for answered prayers and His provision for our needs.
You are all in our prayers, God Bless you and your loved ones.