Thursday, February 22, 2007

Gearing Up!

Well, Jeff's back on track and gearing up for his third cycle of bio-chemo which will likely start on February 28th. He really turned the corner on Tuesday afternoon and has been eating well since then. In some ways, his reaction to the second cycle has mimicked his reaction to the first. After the first round, he felt completely exhausted and drug-out. He ate very little for the first few days and slept a lot. During the first round, he was released from the hospital on a Wednesday feeling generally terrible. However, the following Monday, he turned the corner and felt like his old self again. That's when he really began to eat and rest well. He began to put on weight and take big walks.

After the second cycle, Jeff spent several days feeling nauseous and throwing up. But, almost as soon as his white blood counts rebounded, so did he and by late Tuesday he was eating and sleeping well again. Thankfully, he has a solid week to regain his weight and strength. I know he is very anxious to see the kids. I'm sure that will be the best medicine of all. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who is making our trip possible--to the people who donated money to our family fund for airline tickets, to the people who brought the kids games and other distractions for the plane ride, to my partners and paralegal at work who are on the front-lines of my practice while I'm gone, to our next-door neighbor who always makes sure our driveway is clear of snow whether we're there or not! You have all been too wonderful for words.

And in special thanks to all the people who have donated to our Family Fund, I thought it might be fun for you to see some of the costs your generous donations defray (ala the ole' MasterCard theme . . .)

Dr. Legha's hospital visits (5 days) . . . . . . . . . . . .$2,500.00
(he doesn't take insurance, ya know!)
5 days of chemotherapy (drugs only) . . . . . . . . . .$23,000
(OK--this IS covered by insurance, but I thought you'd like to see just how much these freaking drugs cost!)
5 plane tickets to Houston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$1,428
(for me and Mary to change posts and for the kids to see Daddy)
6 days of Hospital Cafeteria Food . . . . . . . . . . . . .$180
(Apparently, the same hospital policy that allows them to charge $8 for one Tylenol tablet also allows them to charge $2.29 for four ounces of milk. Plus, I can't eat McDonald's EVERY day).
Being a 5 year-old boy and getting to watch
the Superbowl on your Dad's lap . . . . . . . . . . . . . .PRICELESS!!
(I have a cute picture of Jeff and Jack watching the game together at the Medical Apartment on the kids' first trip to Houston--I'll post it if I can figure out how to load pictures).

These are just a few fun examples of the expenses we are incurring (Multiply all of these times six treatment cycles!). They don't include many other costs such as the exorbitant parking fees at the hospital; travel to and from Chicago for flights; insurance co-pays; the time (and, therefore, money) Jeff and I have lost at work, etc. It is heartbreaking to think of all the people in Jeff's situation who do not have such generous friends and family members to help them. We really do appreciate it so much. More than anything, your generosity relieves our stress and gives us peace of mind by helping us avoid hard decisions that would otherwise have to be made on the basis of finances. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

In the meantime, please continue to pray for good scans for Jeff. And, if you wouldn't mind, please throw in a prayer for safe travels for me and the kids. I only have a couple more opportunities after this to go to Houston before I'll be side-lined by my pregnancy, so the kids and I will make the most of every trip!

P.S. I heard that Britney Spears was so inspired by Jeff that she shaved her head to show her support! Or, she did it because she's crazy. (I know it was one or the other).



Michelle & Jeff said...

I can just picture Jack sitting on Jeff's lap watching the big game...what a special memory. You and Jeff are such incredible people it is no wonder that so many people have reached out to help and will continue to do so. You both deserve all the blessings that are coming your way. I'll be praying that you and the kids have a safe journey to Houston. I'm getting so excited to see them and you and Jeff very SOON! YAY!
Jeff - It was great hearing your voice today. You sounded wonderful! I love you all! Have a great week together.

Patrick and Tracy said...

Hey fam:
Kelly - Your strength and humor continue to be inspirational. Aubrey, Regan, Jack-have fun flying to Houston. Michelle and Jeff- Have fun flying home from San Diego - Can you believe the day has come? You are going home!!! Mom - I hope you know what a special mother you are. Dad - You're amazing and UPS knows it now, too. Jeff - You are my hero. Keep it up. You are the "Fighting Irish". We love you all. Talk to you soon-
Uncle Pat and Aunt Tracy

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

The deleted comment was from me, all it said was, "hello". The google account I had was causing me problems, anyway, I thought I would tell you two stories, both describe the most outstanding display of courage I've ever seen and should hopefully motivate you. I will send each story as a seperate comment so that they aren't all jumbled together.

Jim said...

The Leopard and the Baboons
This is true because I actually watched it on t.v. years ago. There was a mama leopard living in an area and had a couple of babies. In another area nearby there was an extremely large population of baboons that had moved in. The leopard was concerned about her babies safety and wanted the baboons gone. She hid the babies and then went to the baboons. What it showed was a hillside covered up with baboons. There were so many baboons that you could barely see the ground. The mama leopard approached the hillside covered with wild baboons and then broke into a run and charged straight into the baboons. The sea of baboons shifted in one fluid motion as they tried to get away from this mama leopard. The leopard was quickly in the center of baboon town. The baboons re-grouped and then fought back. The mama leopard fought valiantly despite being greatly out numbered and alone. The mama leopard was completely overwhelmed by the baboons and no longer visible. She then emerged from amongst the baboons and retreated. She did not return for a second confrontation, but the baboons got the hint and move completely out of the location. That mama leopard was the most courageous animal I'd ever seen and performed the act selflessly and 100% for the good of her babies and didn't know how the incident would turn out but met the baboons head on anyway. Have the courage of a Leopard Jeff and meet those damn dirty baboon cancer cells head on!:)

Jim said...

The Bull Terrier vs the Raging Bull

This is another true story again because I saw it on t.v. first hand.
There was a bull arena in Mexico. Things went completely wrong and a raging bull injured a man in the arena. The bull was relentless and was mauling the man. The bull was out of control and killing the man, yet no one would even attempt to help the man. I suppose they were afraid that the bull would add them to his death list. The man continued to be mauled by this raging bull for a little while without any aid, then helped arrived. Out of nowhere, a pure white little dog came charging full speed across the arena. Fearlessly charged straight up to the gigantic bull (who was busy killing)and attacked. The dog went straight for the bulls face and attacked and attacked. The bull knocked the dog around, but the dog would rebound and then attack again. The dog eventually latched on to the bulls face and wouldn't let go. Now that the bull was engaged in a battle with a more formidable adversary, he injured man was safe. Some people ran in, pulled the man out of the arena and left the dog alone to continue fight (for his own life now). The dog was shaken off from the bulls face, shook it off and latched onto the bulls face again. (as you can imagine, no one was helping the dog to escape). The bull shook the dog off again and stomped him, the dog yelped a little and then scrambled away and out of the arena. After it was all over the man lived and so did the dog. There was a camera man there that located the dog and he was fine. He was panting, happy-go-lucky, and very friendly. It was then known that the dog was a bull terrier (an ugly looking spuds mackenzie dog). If it hadn't been for that dog, the man would've died right there on the arena floor. I have to repeat what I said about the leopard, it was the most courageous animal I'd ever seen. The dog saved a man's life while risking his own. The dog did not even know the man and didn't know how the fight would turn out, but charge in head on anyway. Be strong Jeff, your cancer is a raging bull, but you are the Bull Terrier, meet him HEAD ON!