Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Sunday!

Frank is doing great. He's definitely feeling the effects of the chemo now. He's sleeping most of the day and doesn't really want to eat anything. I'm talking him into eggs and pasta. Ramen noodles are his favorite.

Frank's family left this morning. We had a sweet visit with them. Chandler and Zach got back yesterday afternoon from Memphis. They left a little later waiting on the rain to clear up, but then they got stuck in a bad interstate wreck that delayed them an hour of so. We were happy to see Chase Friday night. The bus was passing through Little Rock and stopped here for dinner, so we just met them at the McDonalds and snatched him!! He had a great time in Colorado.

Frank's blood work is starting its usual, and expected decline. His platelets were 52 today, and he's going home with a potassium infuser again today. Everything else is stable.
Tomorrow's the big day. He'll receive his 5th bag of stem cells in the morning. He had 2 in 2003, 1 in 2006, and 2 for 2008.

We knew we were blessed and grateful for him to have had a good collection 5 years ago. But the big picture really comes into focus now that we're several years out. He'll have 2 bags left after this, and we are so thankful to still have those precious cells.

Have a wonderful Sunday. We'll see you again tomorrow!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Psalm 146: 1,2 "PRAISE THE LORD! Praise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being."

Frank, his brother Scott, and I got here at 6am for his PET scan. Then we rushed over to the chemo room for his bags to be changed, and then over to Dr. Barlogie to await the news. It didn't take long..... He didn't even take a seat.... He just smiled and said:

"We went from 7 to 4 and the lights are out!"

Yeah! Praise the Lord!! Now.... slow down and say that again.

"7 of the lesions have been reduced to 4. The other places that previously 'lit' up, are now very dim."

Praises! So, now we're back over in the chemo room and getting the rest of the treatments. We are overjoyed... and hungry! Frank and Frances are coming up with lunch soon and Neely should be here soon.

The rest of the news is standard. His magnesium and potassium are low, platelets 79, but he'll take that orally. Everything is else is good!

Chandler and Zach are already in Memphis. Driving home alone was a big deal ~ for Frank and I ~ and I think for them too. But she did great driving and Zach did great keeping me updated every 30 minutes or so. I am proud of them. I also can't believe we are at this stage in parenting!!

Thank you for you FAITHFUL prayers for Frank and our family! I know you will be rejoicing with us today! Have a wonderful Friday!

Under His magnificent grace, Peggy and Frank

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today is the start of a long, long day, the first of two days of concentrated chemotherapy that will hopefully put the myeloma on the run.

I am now hooked up to infusers that will pump 8 hours of continuous drugs into me and I will leave here with a “tote” bag that pumps in more drugs during the night.

We will be returning to UAMS at 6:00am tomorrow to have a PET scan, then I will get back on the infusers. There may be some tweaking of the medicines based on the PET test results, but otherwise we will be here for another full day on Friday.

I am just happy to be on “offense” for a change. Once we knew that the disease had returned, it felt like I was just sitting around letting the disease tear me up inside. Now we are fighting back. Being here makes me feel better already.

Speaking of making me feel better, all the thoughtful notes and e-mails are so, so special. All of you have made such an impact on me and my entire family. We love you too !


Good morning,

Frank and I were both updating the website at the same time!

We finally able to get into the apt yesterday afternoon. We anxiously drove over and got the key out of the box.... only to find out we were given a handicap unit. No counters or drawers in either bathroom. Altered tubs. No under cabinets in the kitchen. Only the exposed pipes and garbage disposal! No storage! I needed pills ~ or something~ at that point. We've had a lot of problems with the apt rental this time and it's been frustrating. But God was good. We called and they were able to switch us to another unit in the same complex within the hour. Oh... finally!!!

Several of you have asked for the address.
1526 Parham Point Drive
Apt 12M
Little Rock, AR 72204

More importantly, the local phone number is


Frank is the only one that doesn't use roaming minutes, so we are very conservative with talking on the phone. But we can talk all we want from the apt.... so feel free to call there anytime day or night! If we're in the bed, apparently Zach can answer. Frank noticed he was still up at 3am!! :)

Please pray today that
1. this chemo will be effective and that it will be evident on tomorrow's PET scan.
2. for frank to be comfortable. he's sore from the central line placement.
3. protection over him in every way... physically, and emotionally.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Well, it was an early start to the day. Frank and I arrived at 8 to meet with the nurse and the insurance lady about how the events of the next few days will unfold.

We are sitting the waiting room waiting (a room by any other name....) for Frank to be worked in for his central line placement. Getting worked is another word for "plan to sit here all day long". But we're not complaining. They said they didn't have an appointment for this until Friday. We were even going to try and get this done in Memphis. But they said they could work him in today. So, we're happy to... sit here all day long. :)

We have the list of meds now, for our medical friends and patients, or just for those of who like detail. MED PAC: M: mesna. This isn't chemo. It's given to prevent bleeding from the bladder when the cytoxan. E: etoposide. D: dexamethasone P: platinum (cisplatinum) A: ara-c This is the new one. This is a leukemia drug. C: cytoxan.

The nurse we met with today said basically the same thing we learned yesterday. She said they have been using this for about 2 months on less than a dozen people. No written data yet, but it's well tolerated. Frank will do great!

He'll get chemo Thursday morning. Then Friday at 6am, he'll have a PET scan. Dr. B will read it stat, and then he'll adjust chemo if needed and he'll get chemo right after that. He'll get disconnected Sat with labs over the weekend and stem cells on Monday.

You know everything we know!!

Frank's family is coming in for the weekend. We're looking forward to spending time with them. And I can't wait to see Chase and hear all about his trip. He's been in Colorado since last Sat. He has waited ~ not so patiently~ to finally be old enough for the church trips. We talked to him once and he was having a blast.

First thing we did this morning was read your encouraging comments. They mean so much to us! Thanks.

Love, Peggy

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Psalm 118:14 "The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation."

Hello! You guys are so sweet! Frank and I have loved reading the comments you leave. It makes him feel so loved and cared for. It also puts you on our minds too and we have your face in our mind when thanking the Lord for you ~ the faithful ones praying for us. We are so very blessed with such sweet friends and family. We love you so much.

Frank got up early and went to his MRI of the his head. (We don't have results back yet) He thought it would be a fast scan. They can do his hips in less than 5 minutes! 2 and 1/2 hours later, I'm getting worried. He said it was a bigger deal than he expected. They took lots of pictures and then added contrast dye. Not to worry, they said that was normal procedure because the head has so many little bones.

We saw Dr. Barlogie this afternoon. Chandler and Zach went with us. Everyone loved seeing them and made over them. I'm sure being 16 and 14 years old, they just loved that!
Dr. Barlogie came in the room deep in thought and concentration. There were long periods of silence while we just watched him sit there and think and write. He obviously has a plan.
It's another transplant but not with Melphalan, the traditional drug used to treat Myeloma for transplant. It's 6 different drugs. Some of which he's had. 2 are new. This is a new cocktail they've made up for patients that aren't responding to other treatments. Frank will be about the 16th person to receive this combination. The data isn't in yet about how well it's working. It hasn't been enough time, but the initial respones have been positive!! Yeah!! Our nurse said that it's tolerated well. Meaning... it shouldn't cause a lot uncomfortable side effects, which is good. And Frank has veins of steel anyway.... he has always taken his chemo well. He makes other patients jealous when he skips into the clinic while they shuffle in from weakness. God has been good and we feel blessed that Frank is very strong in that regard.

The treatment is called MED PAC. You know how it works by now... each letter is a drug. The M and the A are the new ones. I think it's called Mesna and the other one is a leukemia drug. Frank's single port line won't work this time because the drugs aren't compatible with each other, so he'll have to have a central line put in tomorrow. The last time he needed one of those was April 2003 for his collection.

He'll get stem cell support on Monday. That will leave him 2 bags left. Dr. B is talking about trying to collect again after this treatment. The central line will already be in and it'll be a good time to try. That makes us feel really good.

God timing is always so good. Chase is on a church trip, and Chandler and Zach are here with us. The time here with them had been good. We've laughed so hard our sides hurt, but 10 minutes later one of us is teary eyed. We've had some really honest conversations too. They don't last too long. It's been emotionally hard, but it's been good for us. We've had conversations I don't think the kids would have had in front of their little brother. I miss him, but I can tell that they are glad to be here with some more "grown up" time with us.

Chandler is enjoying having some freedom ~ and her car. She is reading in Barnes and Noble by herself tonight. In the car earlier she said, "i know what I'll do... I'll just go up there and read so I don't have to buy the book"... She was proud of herself for thinking of a new concept! Don't tell her...... but didn't someone already invent the library??

We'll update often so you know how to be praying. Right now, our prayer request are:
1. no insurance issues
2. central line placement tomorrow (they are working him in a full schedule)
3. tolerance with the chemo
4. Healing!!! For the meds to kill each and every ugly cell now and forever
5. save travel for Chase as he comes home Friday, and for Chandler and Zach as they go home.

Psalm 36:5 Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Joshua 1:9 “I have commanded you, be strong and of good courage for the Lord God is with you wherever you go, right there with you; watch and listen for Him!”

Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is a very difficult situation, perhaps one of the most difficult that anyone ever faces.

As I sit in this chair, typing these words I am very cognizant of the disease that is eating away at me from the inside. My hips are sore, I have pains in my back, and my jaw is numb for some reason.

Over these past days I have had occasions where tears well up in the corners of my eyes as I watch my wife and my children interact. Thoughts of not being with them to laugh or play or to just simply sit and watch them weighs heavily on me.

Yet, in the midst of this kind of turmoil my God has commanded me to be strong and of good courage!

Well, to everyone that reads this page I want to reiterate that I intend to do exactly as I have been instructed……I lay claim to His provision, with His help I will be as strong and as courageous as I possibly can, and most importantly, I will watch and listen for Him.

We will visit with Dr. Barlogie on Tuesday afternoon to find out what the treatment plan will be. Once we start down that road, it will be several weeks before we know if “it’s working”.

I think we (people in general) tend to not think about how God works in our lives and it takes difficulties to make us refocus and declare, at least to ourselves, how we will respond.

I truly believe that God is totally in charge and I am so grateful that He is on my side.

As always all of your prayers, comments, and offers of help are greatly appreciated.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Good morning,

Frank and I are both ready to see Dr. Barlogie today and "get the news over with" one way or the other. Waiting isn't a stress release. Frank is not as anxious today as he says he was yesterday. In his words over breakfast he says he's expecting the worst, so anything else will be good news to him. I don't feel the same way. I am not convinced. I'm holding out that things haven't progressed and he'll move forward with the next Mel-VTD-PACE chemo he was originally scheduled for. I like it when we're NOT on the same wave link. It allows one to be strong for the other ~ whoever needs it at the time. And with Frank's competitive nature, it's something for us to bet on. Whose right, and what is the prize? :)

I do feel better after having breakfast. It was a "living devotion" for me. As we walk into the lobby to eat, the first thing I noticed is how crowded it was, unlike yesterday. Crowded with families and small children. Then, I started noticing that several had special needs children. One in a wheelchair, one with Downs. Then I saw a Granddaddy with a Special Olympics t-shirt on. Common sense has kicked in at this point, only because I had already had coffee in the room.

As we sat at our table discussing our own trials, all I could think of was how awesome our heavenly Father is. We are so frail in our humanity. So needy. So broken. How can any of us make it through without His grace and strength?? Each table represented to me how each of us have our own trials and burdens we carry. I saw the family with the Downs toddler fold their hands as the little boy said the prayer. You couldn't understand him... but God could. Are we not the same way? Sometimes I just mumble my scared and anxious heart to the Lord. I can't always make sense of it all..... but God can.

I realize as we wait to see the doctor, that we have close friends also battling cancer. Their child is fighting cancer, or Lyme disease. But even if we don't have a disease we can name, we have insecurities, broken relationships.. all sorts of things that bring us to our knees with our Savior, our Healer... our Comforter. And His grace is sufficient for ALL our needs. That's what we're holding onto as we wait to see Dr Barlogie................

Heb. 4: 14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

4:15 pm

We just saw Dr. Barlogie. Frank was right. Numb is the only word that comes to mind right now. Frank is quiet. He said he's played this moment over many times in the past week. Dr. Barlogie wants to run more tests on Monday morning. Frank will have another scan of the head to find out more to explain the numbness in the face. There are many new lesions in the hip, spine and ribs. He wants a bone marrow too. He doesn't know what to do yet, but said to come back prepared for 3 weeks at least.

So, we are on our way to Memphis.

Much love for each one of you. peg

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Journey Begins Again.....................

Hello from Peggy, Frank, Chandler, Zach, &' been a whole month since we posted so we thought would get back in the habit of updating the site.

The Carlton's have been on a vacation of sorts these past weeks. When we left Little Rock in May, we were told to go home and recouperate then come back in a month. Since then we have gone to a fish fry, painted Chandler's room, spent time doodleing in the yard, gone and seen old friends, and in general just done normal summer time stuff.

I will be returning to Little Rock on Wednesday to begin the next round of tests and then treatments. We haven't decided if everyone is leaving on Wednesday or not, but one way or another we will all be in LR by weeks end to see if we can make this Myeloma stay away.

We certainly hope this trip will be stay tuned we'll let you know as the journey progresses..............


“In the world you will have trouble but take courage for I have conquered the world.” - Jesus