Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I don't know where you are while reading this... but our weather is FABULOUS! It's one of those perfect days that you just want to spend every minute outside. I love it!

We saw Dr. Barlogie today. We want to share all we know with you, but just a warning ~ this will be a long entry.

When we were here last, the disease had shown up in 35 new lesions. One of our prayers is that things wouldn't progress in the 2 weeks we were gone. We were happy to fnd out that the PET showed only 34 lesions. I guess he left one in Europe! However, the ones in the spine and pelvis did grow in size. Some of the other markers have increased, but nothing alarming, and not unexpected.

Dr. Barlogie wants to give Frank a 9 drug regimine. For the ones that love detail....
The treatment is BEAM + VTD + Rapamycin + Cisplatin. What is all that, you ask?
It's BCNU, Etopiside, Ara-C, Melphalan, Velcade, Thalidimide, Decadron, Rapamycin, and Cisplatin. All these drugs work a little differently to act on a different stage of cell reproduction. Giving all these will enable the cancer cells to die at each stage of their growth. Sounds good to us!

His heart functions came back with no change from 2006. That was good news. That means his heart has handled all these treatments really well. Of course, we can all look at him and know that! We don't need fancy tests to tell us Frank is strong.

Our hope was that he get started today. But of course, we have to wait on insurance approval. The manager over insurance came to talk to us. I guess you say she was good at her job because she talked to us for a while and she was very kind and friendly. But after she left the room, we realized she wasn't giving us great news, but we didn't realize it until after she left.

She said we were really lucky to have gotten the coverage we've had so far. Many other companies don't cover 5 stem cell transplants. This will be his 6th. She said it would have to be called a transplant (even though sometimes calling it a boost is a more favorable way of getting approval) and we just have to wait and see what they said. It could take 3 days or so. If we didn't want to wait, we could sign this little piece of paper that says we will pay for all of this if without insurance approval. She was so nice and friendly.......

So.... we are waiting. And are resting in the knowledge that we are where we need to be. And God will take care of us. Just as He always has, and we trust Him to always do. Please join us in this prayer.

The kids are with us. That has given me a great deal of peace in the decision we made about school. I was having my doubts a few weeks ago. The change isn't easy, but that doesn't mean it wasn't best. But now that we are all here together, all the planning has come together. We are glad that part has worked out like it has. Chandler is training for a half marathon. Zach has been enjoying the free time, although he misses his soccer team. Chase is going with the flow. We told him he's really in night school, because I work with him after I get back from the hospital with Frank. He's got the mornings off.

Psalm 33: 20-22 Our soul waits for the Lord, He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just a we hope in You.

Frank has the only cell phone with coverage. Me and the kids have no bars at all in the apt. The local number is 501-225-6971.

We'll let you know something as soon as we do...... here's Frank......

My Little Rock days have been a whorl-wind experiance for sure. I arrived in Little Rock Monday around 1:30 and walked right in to the test lab. Blood work, EKG, PET scan, ECHO, MRI, Bone Marrow biopsy, and to wrap it all up I entered an apple bobbing contest. I would of won to but Zach pushed me in the tub.

Day one and two were just stacked with appointments but all very well managed. Hats off to the staff of UAMS, a tightly run ship for sure.

There was one incident of sorts. On Tuesday, I engaged the driving services of Zach Carlton to deliver me to the bone marrow biopsy room. He was happy to drive and eager to watch the proceedure, being that he aspires to be a surgeon one day.

Well all went pretty much as planned. Dad arrived on time, got assigned a room, went in and dropped his pants, got draped and then hopped up on the table. Ryan, the tech, inserted the needles and started screwing the corkscrew device into my hips. Like I said everything was going along pretty well....they started chipping away some bone fragments, and then it was bone marrow pull time. Once they started puling the marrow, ol Frank tensed up for the pain and Ryan the tech started drawnig it out. No sooner than the first RED tube was pulled Ryan's assistant yelled out, "hey we have a problem".

Yep, Dr Zach had started sweating, turned a cold shade of gray, and was sliding right out of his chair onto the floor!

They had to stop messing with me to get some assistants in the room and put Zach on a bed in the next room. Ryan and I were laughing so hard that we had trouble finishing our pulls.

Zach came out of it after some crackers and juice, but we were worried about him for awhile.
He came away from the experiance with a new appreciation of "procedures" from a patient perspective. Seeing his dad in pain didn't sit well with him.

I love you too, son!


Sandy Brody aka Nana said...

Zach, Your are going to be a compassionate Dr. that can identify -- from both sides of 'the needles'!! :0) Love you lot, Nana xoxox

Anonymous said...

What kind of doctor do you want to be Zach? McKennah wants to be one too! That's cool! Y'all can take care of us when we're old! :) well, older-haha! Hurry though, Brad needs his back fixed soon...I don't think he can take much more walking like this old hunchback! :) Our prayers are with you all! Lots of Love from Carlton Corner! Colleen, Brad, Cole & McKennah

Rob V. said...

Tell Dr. Zach he can start practicing on Bogey and work his way up from there.

We love you guys and you're always in our prayers (Sam never forgets!)

Wright and Cindy Cox said...

Lot's of love to the Carlton family from the Cox's. We are praying for you and know that your strength comes from the Lord.

Praise Him for the gift of laughter.

We love y'all and will continue to pray.

Wright, Cindy & family.

Anonymous said...

Praying for God's provision for you all.
I had the sweetest dream last night about Frank. He was at church happy and HEALTHY. Eli had to stop preaching because everyone was lifting their arms laughing and waving filled with joy at the sight of Frank.
Made me smile all day long.
which half marathon?