Monday, August 11, 2008

From where, o where, has my anemia come?

I just reread this post and realize how unintelligible it was. This is a modified and more literate version . . .

Hi. I had a visit with Dr. Richards in Chicago today. I had hoped he would be able to provide some answers about why I had anemia, whether it was a good sign or a bad sign, and how I could alleviate the pain and fatigue as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, he could not. The doctor said anemia is not typically associated with ipilimumab and so he doubted that the treatment was the source of the trouble. He was concerned about my pain and fatigue, though, so he moved up my schedule for CTs from end of September to end of August. And he told me to schedule a follow up with the palliative care team to determine if I need another blood transfusion. He also doubled my dosage for oxycodone, which should help me stay ahead of the pain.

So why am I feeling so crummy? I really don't know. I'm not passing blood. I'm eating a regular diet and maintaining my weight. I probably won't get any real answers until my CT scans come through in a few weeks. Hopefully the answers will be positive. I am trying my best to focus on the fact that my symptoms could be signs that the treatments are working. Let me tell you, though, it's awfully difficult to stay cheery when you feel like you've been beaten to a pulp and your wife has to feed you because you can barely hold a spoon. And it's difficult to stay cheery when you look at yourself in the mirror and, instead of seeing the trim physique of an active man, you see the edges of bones and atrophied muscle and lumps under the skin that shouldn't be there.

Please pray for me in the coming weeks. I know many of you are, but I could really use an extra dose of strength right about now. Even more importantly, please pray for Kelly and the kids. This cancer cross is as much theirs to bear as it is mine. They are really amazing in their willingness to help me in whatever way possible, but I know it takes a toll on them even if they don't let on that it does.

Jeff

PS. A big thanks to Barb, a wonderful woman and mother of one of Aubrey's best friends, for serving as my chauffeur today. She was very patient with my pain and fatigue, and she provided pleasant conversation even when all I could do in response is nod or mumble. Thank God for good friends.

9 comments:

Kara Smith said...

Jeff, Kelly, and family,
I AM praying harder and more than ever for you as these trying days come. I will also lift your name in our community, so that you can have as much prayer power as possible pulling for you!

Katie Clancy said...

Jeff, you have our extra strength prayers as does the whole Dodd squad. I hope the medical specialists are able to solve the mystery soon and give you the "dose" of affirmation that the pain is from tumors shrinking and retreating. I know you have said to me that if the pain is for a positive reason it would be easier to bear, and would be all worthwhile. May you feel that comfort now with the faith that there is a good purpose. Remember those powerful words.. you keep fighting this....
Katie

Peggy Wilkins said...

We will storm the heavens.

Johnny said...

Gotta love this stuff huh?
Of course its working and your tumors are irratated...
Now get on it and irritate 'em more!
Thinking about you and you are getting positive energy from the west coast too!

mka said...

Anemia sucks. It makes you tired and forgetful and did I say tired? I pray all the time for you, your family and just hope you start feeling a little better at least. I know it takes time to get over being anemic, and I don't care how anemic I would be, I could never eat liver. ACK! (I just know liver has a lot of iron in it.)Good luck on the upcoming Dr. visits. Love, Myrna

Mark said...

Dear Jeff,
Mark and I have been meaning to write for quite awhile. I cannot tell you how much of an inspiration you have been to all of us. You have an amazing family. We send our love and prayers to you more than ever as you and yours have come across some difficult days. As you probably know, Mark is a dermatologist/Mohs surgeon so he really gets alot of information from you on all the clinical trials. Keep up thr great fight! We are pulling for you! Love to all of you!

Mark and Amy Fleischman
Pius 1991

Terri said...

Jeff, I hope and pray that this is all for the positive and everything is shrinking. You and your family are in our prayers!!! Just remember that things sometimes get worst before they can get better.
Terri

michelle wait said...

Jeff,
Thanks for the update. You're words are so powerful. I love you,
Michelle

PJ said...

Peace, love, and prayers to you all.