Friday, February 16, 2007

Watching and Waiting

Hi All:

Sorry for the delay between postings. Time really gets away from me during transition week. So, where in the world are the Dodds? Mary is now in Houston with Jeff; I am home with the kids; Mary Margaret is picking Grandma Myrna up at the airport in Chicago tonight and dropping-off Grandma Helen at the airport tomorrow morning. So, we are having a "Changing of the Grandmas" this weekend. I've been home less than 24 hours, but in some ways it feels like I never left. And even though I saw Jeff yesterday morning before leaving, it seems like I've been away from him forever. I dreamed about him last night walking silently toward me smiling in his green winter coat, jeans, and new Notre Dame hat (the one Dad and Rita sent). I woke up happy remembering how healthy he looked. His face was full and his gait was strong and deliberate. I hope it's a premonition of things to come!

I waited to post this until after Jeff had his blood tests and follow-up appointment with Dr. Legha this afternoon. Jeff qualified the appointment as "good." His blood counts were low (as expected) so he has to continue with the Neupogen shots. He'll have his blood checked again on Monday with hope that the problem will have corrected itself by then. Dr. Legha also pronounced that Jeff will have his follow-up scans (PET and CT) on February 27th. This will be a BIG DAY. Jeff cannot continue with his bio-chemo regimen if the scans show that the tumors have not shrunk "substantially." I asked Dr. Legha what "substantially" means--how much counts as "substantial?" He said that the lesions have to have shrunk by 50 percent or more. That's a very tall order. However, he informed Jeff that his lesions are small and that small lesions are good responders. He encouraged Jeff to "hope for the best" but hinted that he may still have a few tricks up his sleeve if this regimen is not working.

It will be very disheartening if we find out that Jeff has gone through these very grueling bio-chemo treatments without success and we would rather not have to feel that odd combination of panic, resolve, and uncertainty that would come from having to "start over" with a yet-undetermined course of action. So, please make an extra effort to pray that the treatments are working and that Jeff's tumors are responding. You've all got a head start so get going! :-)

Otherwise, Jeff reports that he feels much better today than he did yesterday and that he was somewhat surprised his blood counts were down given how good he feels. He had been getting sick (the nausea finally got the better of him) off and on since Monday night, so the doctor sent him home with a prescription for the anti-nausea drug "Compazine." However, the Compazine was affecting his jaw (making his teeth chatter even though he wasn't cold) so the doctor took him off of it. He seems to be doing well without it and has managed to eat without throwing up since then. Turns out, the Compazine can have other bizarre neurological side effects, so Jeff was lucky it didn't affect him more. (If he declares himself to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby I'll know it's the Compazine talkin'). Ha!

Also, I gave Jeff another haircut to mitigate the inconvenience of it falling out. He still looks as handsome as ever but, at the moment, resembles a Marine recruit with an extreme crew-cut. My mom told me that when my cousin had breast cancer and her hair fell out--it returned much darker and curlier than it had been before. This is a phenomenon I've heard others repeat, as well. Therefore, we are hoping Jeff's hair will come back in a luscious 'fro so he can put a pick in it.

Well, I'll sign off before I get too silly, but I just wanted to update everyone and start you all down the path of praying for good scans. Dr. Legha told us from the outset that this treatment is "make or break" in the first six weeks. So, we're almost there--he really needs all of you to help push him through so he can continue with the regimen and keep working toward a complete and durable remission.

Much love, Kelly


Jim Winchester said...

Hi Jeff,
Just wanted to let you know you remain in my prayers. I know you wanted to get out this cold weather here in Milwaukee...but isn't getting sick like this a little overboard? Seriously, I continue to follow the posts and I have faith you have some good results coming up! God Bless. --jim ND '95

TheRamFam said...

Thanks for the update Kelly.

Keep fighting the good fight Jeff!

What tho' the odds be great or small...

Heal like a Champion Today


Mary M Clay said...

Hey Kelly! Thank you for the update! It was great to see you tonight, and thanks for filling us in on everything.

Jeff: We love you and will keep praying for a successful scan. Hopefully I will get to see you soon, and I love you very much. Keep fighting!
Love, MM

Cathy said...

Lots of prayers for great test results from me. I will stop by the Cenacle in Houston and put the sisters there to work praying for great outcomes from the tests as well. Cathy C

Katie Clancy said...

Jeff in a 'fro.. now THAT is a visual that brings a good laugh! Jeff, continued best wishes and positive thinking. You're doing awesome and all reports sound positive and promising. Kelly - kudos on all the travel and challenges you're facing too, and still having a wonderful sense of humor and outlook. PS. I think you should name the baby Legha Dodd. Love, Katie

aubrey kate said...

hi mom! I'm sitting right across from u in our computer lab but whatever! i love the idea of dad growing a 'fro!

Mary M Clay said...

Aubrey - I love the idea of a 'fro as well! It's a secret in the Dodd household that I actually had a 'fro while in Junior High. But don't ask to see any pictures...I have disposed of any evidence! You can ask your dad for a detailed description! :)
Love you,
Aunt MM

Patrick and Tracy said...

God has answered all our prayers so far, I don't see why he won't answer this one. Your scan will be a success! You stay tough. You are a rock and you can do this. We love you and God is listening.
We'll talk to you soon-
Patrick and Tracy