Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hello Everyone, this past week brought lots of activity for the Carlton Gang.

Whenever I return from Little Rock I always pay a visit to my local Oncologist, Dr Johnson. We saw him and reported all that had transpired. Afterward I got labs drawn and started attempting to return "normal" life. For me that means going back to work. For the first week I only worked half days but this past week I actually had the strenght to stay all day. I'm happy that my stamina is returning.

My labs have been pretty stable. I dodged having to get a bag of blood one day. Platelets hover around 21. Hct 26, Hct, 9. White count steady at 2.

Peggy and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary this week. We enjoyed a night out for dinner at Elfo's Italian Resturant. It was a really nice evening and the food was pretty good, too. I give Elfo's a 4 out of 5 stars! The food was actually really something I wanted and it tasted good for the first time in a while.

Believe it or not, Peggy and the kids put up the Christmas tree. Since we are returning to Little Rock so close to Christmas for re-staging, I think they wanted to "be ready" for the holidays. It's bringing in the Christmas cheer in a little early.

We are going to Thanksgiving in Madison, MS to see mom, dad, Neely and Scott and their families. We're looking forward to chilling out and having a good time relaxing with family.

Well, thats it for now,


Monday, November 10, 2008

Home.... nothing like it! Watching TV all curled up on the sofa......visiting with friends......... the pets wanting to be loved on......... the feeling of your own bed......... sleeping late on Saturday......... the sound of your child about to throw up......... Wait... that wasn't suppose to happen !

But it did. Zach woke up Saturday not feeling well. I shot up in the bed yelling at him to get in the bathroom! It must have been a 24 hours bug, because by Sunday he was fine. Zach has bragging rights ~ and cashes in on them often ~ about how he never gets sick. The last time he threw up he was 4 yrs old and doesn't remember it.

Frank was happy to have gotten his "get out of jail" card from Little Rock. We were all so excited to be home. He enjoyed his Sat. morning doing his solitary errands in the wee morning hours. He loves getting up early and having that time. He went to the office, the garden to pick turnip greens and, of course, Starbucks. I think he surprised himself at how tired it made him. He slept the rest of the day. He ran fever all weekend and is having some N/V issues too. He's anxious to get his strength back and jump back into work.

We'll see Dr. Johnson here at West Clinic tomorrow and set up weekly labs. Then return to Little Rock around the 15th of Dec for a full work up. Until then, we'll pray that Frank continues to re cooperate as his body gets stronger each day. He didn't replace the pain patch to see how his body feels without anything since the procedures on the vertabrae. We are hopeful to notice a difference.

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yep, you're in the right place.... the site looks different I know. People watching in the waiting room has gotten boring, so I grabbed the computer and started playing around.

After his platelets this morning, he got the bump to 51. That's what I call living on the edge! They have to be 50 to do the procedure. After we talked to the staff in radiology, we found out he's having several of the vertebrae done, not just the one at T5. And because they are doing so many, he needs to come back to tomorrow. They can't do them all in the same day.

It's about 4 pm and Frank is still in the recovery area. He has to lay flat on his back for 2 hours so the cement will harden. I'm sitting here beside him giving him peanut butter, crackers and Dr. Pepper. Then he drifts off, which is good cause laying still cannot be that easy. The time will pass more quickly if he's sleeping. It was done on IV sedation and he said it was nowhere near the discomfort of a bone marrow biopsy. He said it didn't hurt. I am so glad of that.

He is craving The American Burger Co. He said he will eat all he can before round 2 tomorrow.

We are so encouraged. The nurses here said a lot of people that get these feel immediate relief from back pain. They ended up starting at T4, saying he had a fracture there. All that area is higher in the back inbetween the shoulder blades, which is where most of his pain is. Oh, I hope and pray this the relief he needs to be pain free. That would be wonderful news!

Ooo.. they are here to get him up. More later

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I think I can see the bridge!

It's late Wednesday... it's been another long day, but hopefully the last one for a while!

Frank and I got the hospital early this morning for labs.
WBC is 5.67 coming back down after the growth shots.
Hct 32.8
Hgb 10.5
Platelets 32, up from 29 on Monday.

He's not going down in anything, which means his body is generating it's own cells. Nice transplant!

Your platelets have to be 50 to pull the CVL line, so they gave him some. Then, a 'not so short' wait in radiology and he was FREE from all appendages hanging off of him. He was so so excited about that. He said he felt human again.

We grabbed a quick bite of lunch to prepare us for the long wait to see the doctor. You know how that goes! We signed in at 2 and saw him at 5. Left at 6:30. Not too bad! We celebrated out last night here with dinner at The Purple Cow! The kids love it .... great milk shakes. We laughed so much we caused a scene.....we're so excited it's time to go home.

Dr. Barlogie said to come back in about a month and we'll see how this is holding. Our hope and his ~ and yours too ~ is that we would return with no lesions.

"And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord, it shall rejoice in his salvation. All my bones shall say, "Lord, who is like You?" Ps 35:9-10a

In the morning, Frank will have the vertebroplasty. They put liquid bone cement in between the vertebrae to keep the space open. They are working on T5, I think! We'll get there early for another bag of platelets (to keep them above 50), and head to radiology again. We should be out of there by 1pm.

The kids and I will pack up the apt while he rests and then..... we should be able to leave!!

Frank and I had that moment today.... that long stare in each others eyes.... that says SO much without saying a word..... and then.... we just High-fived!!! The realization that we're going home without any major complications, admissions, infections, etc. What a miracle. We've mentioned it many times, but we were so much more content this trip. The kids being here made a big difference. We are so proud of their attitudes and the adjustments they've made for our family.

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 as we hope in You.

And for you... our faithful prayer partners!! We pray God would bring you peace and joy and blessings overflowing!

"I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you." Romans 1:12

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday was another routine day at the hospital for me. I reported for labs, waited a while for the results, then discussed everything.

I did get good news which will help me to finally get out of here. I have started making platelets!!! My Plts were 25 Sunday & 29 on Monday, so my APN told me that it shouldn't be much longer. We anticipate by Friday.

I also got a confirmation on the vertebralplasty. I go in at 7:00am Friday to have my T5 "solidified". I'm looking forward to that.

I was such a good patient that I also got the day off on Tuesday. I think the UAMS staff figured that on election day there would be enough blood letting so why drag me into the mix. So please everyone, go vote.

But enough about me and all that stuff, our big surprise on Monday was the fact that Chandler's buddy Gretchen drove over for a surprise visit. That was really cool for Chandler especially because everything had been kept a total secret. They had fun doing girly things; you'll have to ask them what that means.

We're all hanging out in Little Rock dreaming of being at home soon,


Excerpted from Jesus Calling: 'When you don't know what to do, wait while I open the way before you. Trust that I know what I am doing, and be ready to follow my lead. I will give strength to you, and I will bless you with peace.'

"Psalm 29:11 The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hello Everyone!

I hope that you all had a pleasant Sunday because we sure did.

We were so appreciative that the change to daylight savings time gave us an extra hour of sleep. And it was sunny and bright today which made it just beautiful.

Not really much to report from our end. Peggy, Chase, and I went to church today. It was really nice to worship but we are anxious to be home.

I reported to UAMS this afternoon for labs and fortunately didn't need to be "augmented". Of course, once again I thank you for all your prayers for my healing. If my body can start making enough platlets on its own we can get out of here.

Chandler and Zach spent one more night in Memphis and strolled into Little Rock around 4:30.

Tomorrow, we will be trying to track down the Dr. that is going to make the call on my vertebroplasty. We still don't know for certain IF I am having this done. And if it is going to happen, when. Please pray that we get clarity on this issue.


Romans 15:13a "I pray God, who gives hope, will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in Him."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or treating for us was definitely a Treat. We passed out candy in our own house.... that's right.... in Germantown! :)

I've always heard that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, but we were good and got permission. Frank had to have platelets and Potassium on Friday, but we got an afternoon appointment for Saturday. Even if for a few hours, going home was very refreshing.

We made it home by 5. The kids got dressed and went to ECS vs Briarcrest game, and then to a Halloween party. I'm so glad they were able to recharge their batteries with their friends.

Frank and I stayed home. We had pizza, saw neighbors, family and passed out candy to our precious neighborhood kids. Seeing the kids was so moving. Several of the kids ~ 5th grade and younger ~ in our cove came up to door and asked for Frank, asked if they could hug him and told them they were praying for him every night. That just melts our hearts!

It was hard to do... but by noon, we were packing the car back up. We made it back to the hospital for labs by 3pm. His platelets were 14, so he got a bag. But afterwards, he felt good enough to go out. So we met my friend Heather and her daughter, ate some dinner and saw a movie. His white count sure wasn't an issue... it's a lot lower today at 19.8!

He's been 2 days without the growth factor shots, and I can tell a difference in how he's walking. The pain patch seems to be giving him a more consistant relief. Thank you Lord! He's still hurting, but he says he's not as sore. His shoulders and hips are what hurts the most.

We are praying his blood counts will stabilize and his platelets will come up without assistance. They want his platelet count to be at least 50 to do the vertebroplasty and pull the CVL line, which we need to do before we go home.

Much love....

2 Chronicles 20:15 "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's."