Friday, February 27, 2009

A lot sure can go on in a week.... the Carlton Gang’s week has been another busy one.

The cool thing is that it's mostly good stuff. Our lives have been blessed, eventful, and busy. One can never say it's never dull around here.

As we described from last weekend, we held the funeral for my mom’s Aunt Alice Ruth George. As funerals go, it was truly a celebration of her life and what a wonderful giving spirit she exemplified while alive. Her life in heaven will be a joyous reunion of her and her family and that is a beautiful thing. After the funeral, with family in tow, we all had a good time catching up.

For those who prayed for Chandler and her getting over the flu, she did get better and she was able to make her trip with Lauren to Cincinnati. They had fun and enjoyed visiting the Univ. of Cincinnati campus and Lauren's grandparents.

As for me, I am still struggling with these “yo-yo” mystery fevers. Some nights I’m all clear, other nights I run 101.7 fevers and sweat up a storm. I also got some strange results from my labs and blood work on Wednesday.
Dr. Weir is calling in an Infectious Disease specialist and we are going to see him soon. I guess this means they're going to “put the lime in the coconut and call me in the morning”. Infectious Disease Doctor, sounds serious. We will let everyone know as soon as we know something.

Here’s some more good news. The egg shaped Myeloma knots that were on top of my head have pretty much gone away. Even the ladies in the radiation department have been impressed by that recovery. My shoulder is better, not fully recovered, but better. And with 3 radiation treatments down I already feel my hips getting loser. Praise God for this! By getting a little bit of relief, it makes me feel more like the person I am on the outside as much as I feel like ole Frank on the inside.

Bill has recuperated to a point where the doctors we able to proceed with his cardioversion to fix the heart arrhythmia. It was this morning, and it worked, first attempt. Yee Ha! God is so good!

Finally, because of my broken tooth incident, I got a new opportunity to share my testimony this coming Wednesday at another church. I am so excited by this, because one of my goals all along has been to try and find ways to honor God with all these “struggles”.

The HOPE that I have in Christ can and is meant to be offered to others that may be facing tough times. God wants us to lean on Him for understanding, He wants us to trust in His promises, and He wants us to cast our worries on Him.

I (we) have had to do this in so many ways and I consider it a privilege to tell others how faithful He has been to me.

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We hope your week has been good so far. Ours has been eventful and busy. It's never dull around here, you know.

With Monday being a holiday, the kids enjoyed getting out of the house and being with friends. We've also enjoyed spending time at the Athletic club attempting to be more healthy. They have PE this semester and the membership has come in handy.

Frank has been having what we call "yo-yo" days. He'll have a fever for an hour, chills, sweat, and then... not. Since he's pulsing the steroid, the days he comes off, are usually not as good as the days he's on the drug. He takes Dex every other day, hence the "yo-yo". His patch and pain pills still give him good pain relief as long as we stay on top of the timing like we should.

Monday night, Chandler started feeling bad and by Tues morning, she was running over 100 fever. I took her in to see our doctor. While we were there she ran 103 and after a few tests, they said she had the flu. I am so sorry she is sick, but am really mad at myself. I tried to get the kids their flu shots in Little Rock and couldn't get them. The place I went wouldn't give them to minors. After we got home, we were all so caught up with things I didn't take them. They didn't want them and argued they never get the flu. Mother guilt... nothing like it! She has stayed in her room most of the time, away from everyone, esp Frank and is feeling a little better all the time.

Frank did wake this morning with 101.6 fever and "gooky" eyes. When we called the doctor, he wanted a chest xray before we saw him today - just in case. We got in and out of Baptist pretty fast and as always had a good visit with Dr. Weir. He said he thinks the fever Frank's having is disease related. He called it tumor fever. The chest xray didn't show anything infection related, but did show a rib fracture. Frank could've told you that. It hurts.

We discussed radiation options vs some chemo vs doing what he's doing. Frank is going to stay on the Dex and Revlimid for the next few weeks and see Dr. Lee for radiation to a few spots that bother him the most. We meet with Dr. Lee, the radiologist this week.

Overall, Frank and I have talked about how pleased he's been with the mobility and freedom he's had to do some fun things he's wanted to do. Things that being in Little Rock wouldn't have allowed him to do. No one knows Frank's heart as well as he does, but from my view into his heart, he seems to still be at peace with the decision he has made. For me and the kids, that means a lot to us.

Chase has enjoyed his substitute teacher in my frequent absences. My niece, Lauren, came home from graduating college, awaiting her law school admission letter to help out where needed. We have been in need and Chase isn't upset at all about her taking my place. He hugs me real tight in the morning and say.... "Is Lauren coming over?". Who would blame him?? Not me. We are so grateful for the help and fresh perspective she brings to the table for Chase. Julie, my other niece, has been Chandler and Zach's Spanish since last Aug. She's been coming over once a week to grade work and have lab with them. Chase feels special now!

This weekend we will see a lot of Frank's family here in Memphis. Frances' aunt passed away this week and we will celebrate her life this weekend. Aunt Alice Ruth loved much and was loved my many and we will miss her.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. We are praying for:
*quick healing from the flu without anyone else getting it
*wisdom for doctors as they make radiation decisions
*God's grace over Alice Ruth's family as they grieve their loved one

We are praising God for all the blessings and answered prayer He has so graciously given us.

Heb 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I think the Carlton Gang has the traveling bug in its veins.

Last week, we went to Starkville, MS for a basketball game. This week, we jumped into the car and went down to Greenville, MS to drop in on my dad for his birthday. He turned 74, and he’s a young 74, I must say. We surprised him by showing up at a restaurant where we and mom enjoy going. I do believe he was caught off guard. Since we have never done something like this before - drop-in on him for a mid-week visit - I think he really got a kick out it. The food was good, the company was grand, and a good time was had by all.

As we last reported, my treatments and the after effects have been pretty mild. I am still taking Dexamethasone and Revlimid at home. This protocol has me experiencing some good days and some bad days, meaning that my fatigue and pain level vary from day to day. In general though, my pain management has been good.

My lab values from last week fluctuated a bit with my platelets falling down to around 23, and my potassium got low a few times, but overall my labs were stable as well.

We did have one scare this past week, and it came in an unusual way. On Thursday, while we celebrated Alexis and Bill’s birthday I had an accident. I took a bite of chili and somehow cracked a tooth. For most people cracking a tooth on a bite of chili is kind of a weird thing. For me, it’s pretty weird too.

For me, it presents a series of problems that include avoiding infection, considering which treatment option to use because of my low platelets, and long term, I have to watch my temperature really close because it seems to fluctuate so much.

So, here’s where the really cool stuff comes into play. Peggy and I didn’t sleep well that night since we were not sure what we would do next. Well, praise God for the way He can “walk in our footsteps” many times before we even take them. The next morning Peggy and I got up to find the phone number for Dana. Dana is our dental hygienist, friend, fellow soccer mom. She has also walked a journey or her own this year with cancer and knows all to well the sensitive issues you can find yourself in. Dana, and Dr. Clark were so sweet to see us on their day off.

We are so happy for the blessings God gave us. First after checking the x-rays, the crack in my tooth was no where near as deep as we first imagined. It was shallow and clean, meaning it wouldn't have to be pulled, avoiding the platelet issue. Secondly, after the repair had been sealed, Dr. Clark, Dana, Peggy, and I bowed our heads and praised God for the ease of repair and the fact that as believers we can be thankful that in moments like these. We knew that God had prepared the way for this event and had turned what could have been a disaster into a blessing.

God is so good, He is so good to me!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Carlton Gang is so appreciative for all the kindness that has been shown to us. Especially since last Friday, our family and friends have been so gracious. In these past weeks we’ve seen our prayers answered, and in general it seems as though a “blue bird has been on my shoulder”.

For instance, last Friday we got the idea to attempt a family Road Trip to Starkville, MS. We had read in the paper that State was playing Ole Miss so we made some phone calls to see if it was something we could pull off. We are so thankful to Peggy’s cousin Scott, because without his graciousness, none of it would have been possible. It was also great to see family we don't see very often.
The team lost the game but, we were able to console ourselves by going to the BullDog Deli. We ordered up some sandwiches from the establishment where Peggy and I first met. Saturday brought back so many fond memories for Peggy and I and it was fun to show the kids where we used to hang out.

Treatment wise, I’ve been pretty low maintenance. We went in for labs on Monday and to our surprise (and in answer to prayer) my platelets were sitting at 35. (fresh from a different machine). The rest of my lab values were in line as well, so I got to go home without any additional treatment. Man it sure is good to be “healthy”. It takes some of the stress out of our busy schedule. I am still getting the IV antibiotics at home which Peggy can administer. I'm also so thankful that is being done without being an impatient, or needing a home health nurse.

We are praying Mr. Blue Bird will find Peggy's daddy as fast as he found me. God is good, and he is now out of ICU, and on a step down unit, but still needs your prayers. The pneumonia is getting better, but all the medicine has put stress on the kidneys. Please keep he and Sandy in your prayers.