Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Last Round Started

On Monday Josh started the last round of chemo in Amarillo. He got 4 high doses of one of the chemo's and an injection in his leg of another. The high doses over a short period of time cause headaches and fever. He also gets very tired as his blood counts get wiped out. e were able to leave the hospital by Wednesday afternoon and got him home and settled in to rest. Although he is running a fever, the doctor is not to concerned about it as it is from the chemo. We will finish up this round next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as they redo the same treatment.

The doctor again reaffirmed that he is doing well. The bone marrow biopsy results showed that there were no leukemia blasts seem in his bone marrow. They are very pleased with his weight gain as he gained 13 pounds over the holiday.

We anticipate him running a fever and needing to go back into the hospital after his treatment next week, but then he should start to recover by the middle of January. At this point they say he will get blood tests every week for about a month after chemo and then once a month for the next year.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

White Christmas

We had a beautiful white Christmas at home. The snow from the other day stuck around, and we even had a few flurry's throughout the day. Last night we had a candlelight Christmas Eve service at church, that was very well attended and then this morning we got up early, fixed the traditional breakfast of bacon, eggs, cinnamon rolls and potatoes.

We sat around the tree and opened presents. Josh and Sarah helped pick out most of their presents as we weren't sure if we would be home, or have a tree. Ilene and I were able to surprise them both with a gift that they didn't expect, but the best gift was being home as a family with Josh feeling better.

We stuck lunch in the oven and went to church. It was the first time in almost 6 months that Josh was at church with us. His counts are a little low still, but we took the risk because it was Christmas. We will check his counts in the morning and then head for Amarillo if his ANC's are over 1000.

Josh has a friend over playing video games (Drew) and they are having a great time. Drew's dad is the pastor of one of the other churches in town and he has his foot in a cast from a motorcycle accident a few weeks ago.

Sarah has one of her friends over, they watched a christmas movie and are listening to music. Life almost seems normal, with the music playing and the christmas lights on. We are ready to be done with chemo.

Thank you all for your continued prayers. We received many cards and letters this year from those of you who have been following our journey. Our best gift this year has been God's faithfulness in our lives when life was out of our control. We pray that the new year will bring you all closer to God.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Waiting Again - Under Blizzard Warning

We had Josh's blood drawn again this afternoon, confident that we would need to head for the hospital in the morning. To add to the excitement, there is a blizzard heading our way with expected snow accumulation of 12-16 inches with 30 mile an hour winds.

We really were not ready to leave tonight, but the county judge called up the National Guard to assist with people getting stranded in the snow, so we started thinking about leaving tonight. The problem was, we had a lunch meeting after church and then the staff was hosting a reception for the church body in the evening. We didn't expect to get done until 8 PM, which would mean spending 2 hours packing and then 1 1/2 hours driving.

Before we had to make the decision, we heard back that his ANC's are still not high enough and the doctor said to wait until after Christmas to come in. Josh is unhappy with that as he is concerned that it may allow the leukemia to come back and he is ready to get this all over with. We are glad that he will be healthy on Christmas day, and although we would prefer to get things started so that we can be finished, we know that God has a plan and we trust Him, especially when things like blood counts are out of our control.

Pray for protection on our community as this storm blows in tomorrow. Many of the people who are headed to the mountains to ski or to Colorado for Christmas travel though our small town. When we get these blizzards, the hotels get filled up, and then the roads get closed so we end up opening up the church to house stranded people.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Puppies Are Ready for Your Christmas Stockings

In the middle of this journey, our dogs (we have 3  Dachshunds  ) decided that it was time to have puppies. So on one of our trips to the hospital, both of the females had puppies within a few days of each other. The puppies are now 7 weeks old (born between October 31st and November 2nd); they are weened and as cute as can be. Both Josh and Sarah would love to keep them all, but we can't imagine having 8 dogs (I think there is a law against it).

Here are the pictures of the puppies. We are selling them for $200 a piece, so call Ilene if you would like one at (806) 884-9964.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday December 15

Josh will have his blood tests today to see if his counts are high enough to start chemo. His spirits have been better and he seems to have more energy than he has had in a while. We are all looking forward to this part of the journey being done.

We should know the results of the blood test by 10 AM CST. If they are high enough we will head to the hospital.

Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Home Again

Josh's blood counts (ANC's) were not high enough to start chemo so they did the bone marrow biopsy and sent us home. We are to check his blood counts again on Thursday and hopefully we can start chemo then.

The preliminary results from the bone marrow biopsy came back and there are no "blasts" visible, which is a good sign. They should send them out for further analysis and may find out why his blood counts are not coming back as quickly as they should.

Thank you for your continued prayers. We are all tired but thankful to be home, even though we would have preferred to get the chemo started.

Hoping to Start Final Round Today

Today we are hoping to start the last round of chemo. At 8am we will go to the hospital for blood tests. Then they will prep Josh for the bone marrow biopsy which is scheduled for 10 am.

When they checked his blood counts last week, his ANC's were not high enough to start chemo, but we have been praying that they have improved enough over the last 4 days to start today.

As hard as it is to see Josh knocked down by the chemo each time, we are anxious to be finished and start the recovery process. If his ANC's are not high enough, they will send his bone marrow biopsy out to evaluate why he is not producing the blood cells they way he should be. They will delay chemo until we have some results.

Last night we came into Amarillo to spend the night so that we could be here by 8 am.
When we got to town, we had some time to drive around and see some Christmas lights. It was nice to do something that felt almost normal.

Thank you for your continued prayers. We will keep you updated.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Waiting For the Last Round

Over all, Josh has had a good week. We rescheduled his doctors appointment to today because of snow. He has been feeling stronger, and his appetite is back.

Ilene left early this morning with Josh and Sarah and headed for Amarillo. Josh had his echo cardiogram which showed that his heart function is still a little diminished. They will keep him on his heart medication and change his potassium medication. Everything else looked okay, but it took them all day to get the results back from the lab on his CBC's (blood counts).

After waiting most of the day in Amarillo, Ilene found out that he doesn't need a transfusion, but his ANC's (absolute neutrophil count) is still to low to start chemo. They will have us come back in on Monday to do a bone marrow biopsy to see if they can tell why his counts aren't coming back. If his ANC's have improved enough by then, they will start chemo.

We are again reminded that life does not function on our time schedule. Every once in  while the hour glass gets tipped over and we have to wait. Each day our prayers are the same. "Father, protect Josh from infection and heal him". And each day we wait and watch for his answer. We wait longingly for his mercy.
In Psalm 143 the psalmist expresses well the way we feel.

6 I lift my hands to you in prayer.
      I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.                 

 7 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
      for my depression deepens.
   Don’t turn away from me,
      or I will die.
 8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
      for I am trusting you.
   Show me where to walk,
      for I give myself to you.
 9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
      I run to you to hide me.
 10 Teach me to do your will,
      for you are my God.
   May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
      on a firm footing.

It seems like we are so close to being done with the chemotherapy and the long stays in the hospital. Our hope is in the Lord

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Sunday night after church, we watched the musical White Christmas together as a family. Ilene had made some chili so we sat and had chili and watched a Christmas movie together. We usually start  watching Christmas specials on Thanksgiving day, but this year we got started a little late. Josh slept most of the day Sunday, I think he was tired out from being up most of the day on Saturday, helping us decorate the tree.

Last night it started to snow, and snowed on and off all night. There was a light dusting of snow (around an inch) over everything this morning and it has continued to snow most of the morning. With the wind and the cold, we know that winter is here.

Josh talked us into letting him come to the office for break-time. His mentor, Domingo is one of our custodians, so we we bundled him up and I drove him over to spend an hour with his friends.

With all of the snow and cold weather, we rescheduled his doctors appointment to later in the week. He seems to be getting stronger each day so we are thankful for that. We are looking forward to being finished with the chemotherapy and get some normalcy back in our lives.

We pray that you are all blessed.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Snow, Tree Decorating and Platelets

Yesterday we all slept in a little (Josh and I were up at 5:30 for his antibiotics) Saturday morning. At around 9 am Ilene, Sarah and I headed out and got some breakfast at one of our favorite breakfast places, Martha's, and then went and got our Christmas tree and some decorations out.

Ilene and Sarah put the tree up, and then we all put the decorations on it. It was nice to sit at home with a fire going, Christmas music playing and talk about Christmas's past and some of the funny things that have happened. We have some old handmade (school craft not antique) Christmas ornaments that have stories behind them that always find their way onto the tree.

Then around 2 pm Dr. Matt texted me that Josh's platelets were low the day before and were we getting a transfusion today. The oncologist was going to wait until they were below 20, so we had home health come and do a blood test again. An hour later, Josh and I were headed to Amarillo for a transfusion.

When the doctor got there Josh told him that his ankle had been hurting and he also had a few "bumps" under his skin. One on his right arm and then one on each leg. The doctor looked at the bumps and said he would watch them and ordered and x-ray for his ankle.

It had snowed the night before and it was still cold so I expected a little bit of an adventure, but the roads were clear and dry both directions. We spent about 5 hours in the hospital while they gave him platelets, his antibiotics and x-rayed his left ankle.

It was almost 11 pm by the time we got home. Ilene and Sarah had hung lights on the front porch and finished the decorations in the living room. We all headed for bed, thankful to be sleeping in our own beds.