Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A wee update, and a laughing baby.

Well hello there, friends and fellow myelomen and women. At almost 50 days post-transplant number two, we here at the Brabbs house are all alive and well. Phil's recovery has been much tougher this time around, and by that I mean he's generally more run-down and more easily tuckered out than at this point after the first transplant. Of course some of that could also be attributed to the addition of another child to the mix which, as most of you know, multiplies the workload and saps the energy stores exponentially.

I apologize for my absence. It's a funny thing, this process. Bone marrow transplants are often mistaken for surgery, but the procedure itself is nothing more than the push of a syringe into a bloodstream. However, the recovery is also unlike that of a surgery since the effects of the transplant continue for much longer than it would take to recover from an appendectomy, for example. Fatigue, food aversions, susceptibility to infection and a general feeling of "blah" can affect the patient for months. It's difficult to explain to people who expect that, after this procedure, the patient will feel better and be able or inclined to return to their normal life. The reality is that chemo bombs take a toll on the body, and a baby immune system takes time to grow.

With that in mind, for a time after both transplants I felt the need to close ranks and be in solitude, focusing on the health and well-being of our family. While thankfully usually a simple process for us, treatment has been emotionally overwhelming for me and I've tended to need some privacy in order to process the events of the last few months. I think it will continue to be a long road but overall I feel positively about Phil's treatment and care and how we've all emerged rather unscathed given the gravity of the situation. And I want to thank you all for your continued support, even in our silence.

We got the results back from Phil's 30-day check, and his M-spike is at .4, which is slightly lower than it was going into transplant. Our friend Nick kindly reminded me that it takes a while for one's body to catch up to the effects of transplant, so we're looking forward to getting the numbers at 60 days and 100 days to give us a more accurate picture of what's going on. At that point Phil will begin a maintenance regimen of a few different chemo drugs to make his body inhospitable to the cancer cells, hopefully altogether eradicating the myeloma.

While Phil's numbers and health continue to gradually improve, we're enjoying the remainder of the summer, and the remainder of meals in our freezer that our friends so generously provided. Not to mention the sweet treats that our neighbor friend keeps bringing over for us to devour. Yum! Most importantly, Phil just celebrated his second birthday since diagnosis and, we've discovered, birthdays take on new meaning in situations such as these.

I will leave you, for now, with a video of Ruby laughing. Because who doesn't love a laughing baby?


video

13 comments:

Preferred Customer/ Janice said...

Dear Cassie and Phil, I was getting ready to send a private email to your friend to see how you were both doing. Glad you could post. Yes having a new baby is a huge accomplishment by itself, let alone 2 young children who probably need attention as well. The good Lord will give you the strength to get through it all. Phil, Yes it is a tough road to hoe, and I am sure you will overcome. Do Not expect to be the infallible football player that conquers the world in a short time. It will come with patience, prayer and keeping positive. I wish you all a pleasant and restful week.

Sandy said...

Ah, yes, the laughter of a baby has such healing energy that even watching that lil darlin' makes me smile, too.

StC#2 invariably is slower than #1... from all that I have observed and even though you are individually and collectively "in retreat" it does not mean you are not thought of every day with the intent that complete healing is in your future...

Kindred Spirit said...

It's so very good to read your post and to see that happy little baby Ruby! I pray for you all every day, and I am certain that God is watching over you every moment. May your days be filled with peace and the joy of knowing that you are truly loved.

goodbloodbadblood said...

Thanks for the update. The best measure of your health is not the M-Spike. It's the love that parents give and receive from their children. Obviously, you are all doing great!

Alysa said...

Thank you for taking the time to give us an update and a giggle :)

Amy said...

Thanks so much for this!! I was thinking of y'all this week and wondering how you were. Praying for peace and health for all you Brabbses! ;)

And that Ruby is just too good to be true. Almost makes me want a 4th. (Please slap me now.)

Susie Hemingway said...

So good to have your update and to know that all is progressing well. We send all positive thoughts and prayers from here in the UK for continue improvement to complete remission.
You beautiful little one brought a much needed smile to my face. God bless.X

峻胡邦慧v帆 said...

看了你的日誌 覺得今天好充實 晚安瞜.................................[/url]...............

翊翊翊翊張瑜翊翊翊 said...

變天了~~注意身體,別感冒囉!............................................................

feresaknit said...

Happy MM birthday to you all and Happy belated Birthday to Phil.

佳張張張張燕張張張張張 said...

時間就是塑造生命的材料。

惠邱邱邱邱雯 said...

感覺很用心經營呢!鼓勵鼓勵............................................................

dr.gregory b. harris said...

cassie and phil-i'll bet none of your doctors ever taught you how to fight cancer with food. no chemo, rad, or other drugs are needed. please consider contacting me. i teach my patients how to prevent/reverse cancer and other chronic diseases and think i can be of benefit to you and your family. 775 223 8260 dr.gbh