Finding Glitter

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Life ain’t always glitter and rainbows... how much you choose to be negative about directly influences how your life will end up. I will always find glitter in old soggy confetti. 

15 vials

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These 15 vials of blood represent hope... 6 months of hospital stays, chemo, crap load of drugs and uncertainty and it is all coming to a head. A couple of weeks ago we found out that my little sister is a half match for a bone marrow transplant! My sister is saving my life, I still don't think I've processed it completely. I don't know how to thank her... I thought this would be a easy post. I'm just now realizing the gravity of it all... she is saving more than a brother. She is saving a son, a husband and a father. My little sister is saving my life, the person I called Monkey Face Jones all through high school is saving me. I'm trying not to cry while I type this (at the dentist). I'm at a loss for words right now... but am also in a good place and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'll make a more cohesive post when I can gather my thoughts. 

Casi ahí

Ask not for a lighter burden but for broader shoulders. - Jewish proverb 

Almost there, just have to strap in and push through. 

Bone biopsy & tools of the trade

Bone biopsies are weird, I've had 6 and don't remember a single one. I know years ago when you received a bone biopsy it was carried out with just local anesthetic. Well I'm a big baby, so they knocked me out every time and I'm very grateful for such kindness. I received a non pain medicated spinal tap once... NEVER AGAIN! I learned quickly that I don't like pain. Ha... ha.. ha... 

12, 4, 8, 12, 4, 8,

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12, 4, 8, 12, 4, 8... those are the times that I have my vitals checked. Blood pressure, pulse rate, oxygen and temperature, nothing too bad. I'm asked frequently " doesn't that get irritating?" My simple answer to that is NO. Simply put, if you had a bomb strapped to your chest and you couldn't reach it... the timer was set for detonation every four hours and five minutes wouldn't you want some one to come in everytime to disarm it? Pretty extreme way of thinking about it I know, but it hits home none the less.

Bordem is the loneliest number

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What matters most

When I'm out of the hospital for a week or 2 weeks I try to document my family as much as I can. They are definitely a huge part of my life.

Influx

One of the saddest things about being in a hospital for 3 weeks has nothing to do with me. It is seeing the amount of people being life flighted in everyday. I see this helicopter fly in at least 3-4 times a day... hopefully the people they fly in get to walk out.  

Side effects

There are somethings you can't avoid... no matter how healthy you are. In some shape, way or form side effects from either chemotherapy or assisting drugs will be present. My side effects have been pretty mild considering what others have gone through. I've only had some appetite problems and acne (from methyl prednisone). Nothing really to complain about, but a side effect none the less. My mindset is "It can always be worse", and with cancer it most definitely can be. I've learned to deal with my ever changing body... as long as I'm alive to see it change and hopefully progress to a place where I can mold it back to where I was before. 

Keep moving

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My chemo cocktail

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Methotrexate is used to treat certain types of cancer or to control severe psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis that has not responded to other treatments. It may also be used to control juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate belongs to a class of drugs known as antimetabolites. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells and suppressing the immune system.

Side effects: 

Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, drowsiness, or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacistpromptly.

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended. Mouth sores, diarrhea, signs of anemia (such as unusual tiredness, pale skin), signs of liver problems (such as dark urine, persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin), easy bruising/bleeding, black stools, enlarged glands/lymph nodes, bone pain, unusual pain and discoloration of the skin, signs of kidneyproblems (such as change in the amount of urine), dry cough, muscle weakness, weakness on one side of the body, neck stiffness, severe headache, vision changes, irregular heartbeat, mental/mood changes, seizures.

This medication may lower your ability to fight infections. This may make you more likely to get a serious (rarely fatal) infection or make any infection you have worse. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection (such as fever, chills, persistent sore throat, cough).

This medication can affect sperm production, an effect that may lower male fertility. Consult your doctor for more details.

 

Leucovorin

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Reducing the toxic effects of methotrexate and certain other medicines (folic acid antagonists). It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Leucovorin is a folic acid derivative. Methotrexate and the folic acid antagonists block the body's production of folate. Leucovorin works by replacing folate in the body.

Side effects: 

Though these are very rare,  Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); fainting; seizures.

Cytarabine

 Cytarabine is used alone or with other medications to treat various types of cancer. It is a chemotherapy drug that works by slowing or stopping cancer cell growth.

Side effects: 

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and pain/swelling/redness at the injection site may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, drug therapy may be needed to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Not eating before your treatment may help relieve vomiting. Changes in diet such as eating several small meals or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. 

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hairgrowth should return after treatment has ended. Fever with body aches, muscle/bone pain, chest pain, eyeredness/itching/pain, painful/difficult swallowing, anal sores, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine), painful/difficult urination, joint/side/back pain, pain/redness/swelling of the arms/legs/feet, numbness or tingling of hands/feet, freckling, big toe pain, trouble breathing, black/bloody stools, blood in the urine, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, vision problems (including blindness), mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion), unexplained drowsiness, unconsciousness, enlarged abdomen, trouble walking, muscle weakness, loss of coordination, inability to move (paralysis), seizures.

This medication can lower the body's ability to fight an infection. Notify your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, chills, unusual cough, or persistent sore throat.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but get medical help right away if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rashitching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

4/14/17

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I took this image on the day my life changed for ever. My doctor called me and told me to go to the nearest ER because my platelets were extremely low and I was at risk. On the way to 2nd ER (the first was a 24 hr Small ER) my lower back pain was excruciating, my one smidge of comfort came when I folded myself up and put my feet on the dashboard.

After 6 hrs and many, many vials of blood later, I had my diagnosis. Z and I cried for a minute... to be honest, as soon as I heard the words "Leukemia" Zoey popped in my head. I started to think about all the things I wouldn't be able to teach her and all the memories I'd miss. That's why I cried... I didn't give a damn about what was wrong with me. People get diagnosed with cancer everyday, I am no different.

Now this post isn't gonna be all sad and mushy, I'm happy to say I've been in remission since late May. My job is to keep that streak going and that's exactly what I will do. I will be around for a very, very long time friends. 

In this together

What can I say, that you haven't already shown. This has been a hard journey for both of us, one day you had a husband there to help raise our sweet (and stupid energetic) Zoey... then the next you didn't. I'm sorry, I'm so, so, sorry... I know it is out of our hands but I want to be there. I miss ya'll something terrible and can't wait for that FaceTime at the end of the day. We've cried on each others shoulders (I kinda had to stoop for yours) but I am certain this is just a temporary learning block. We've argued about your need for rest and you not making the trek over here. We aren't perfect but when we make it through this, we'll be able to make it through anything thrown our way. Thank you and I'm honored to be your husband. I love you Zenaida Campbell.

Wrap it up

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Ahhhh old ole shower time! Hold up, not so quick... gotta wrap that pic line. You don't want to get it wet since that can cause the growth of bacteria and all kinds of fun stuff. Slide your arm in a two ended plastic bag then put Coban on top and bottom with a little tape to seal it up and you're all set!  

Home

Home sweet home! After 29 days (round one chemo) of being away from Z, Zoey and my home... I just wanted to relax with them. You never truly know how blessed you are until it is taken away. Hold everyone you hold dear tight... very tight, for they could be taken away as soon as they step outside the door.

The contortionist box

The title says it all... at the beginning it took me more time to get "in" the restroom than it took to "go" to the restroom.  Since this is my 4th round here, I'm a damn pro at maneuvering my IV stand in such a small space. Gotta remember to put that down in my resume.