Update: Episode 67 (3/9/19)

Title of today’s episode: “If there’s a speed bump or pothole out there we will find it…”
Sending this out because you may have heard something and wanted everyone on the same page. As you recall, we are at Hopkins this week getting chemo (week delayed because of illness). On Thursday morning I got up from lying down to answer my cell phone (TURNED OUT TO BE TELEMARKETER – ARRG!!), and apparently got up too quickly and blacked out for a second.  I fell backward and hit my bum and then my head on the floor.
Terri immediately came to my side, told me what happened and started making calls (we were staying next to the hospital for the week).  We were at the hospital within 10 min with a really sore backside and huge bump on my head.
They did a CT scan (I’m really low on platelets) and found I had an acute “subdural hematoma” –  thats bleeding on the brain for us non-medical types.  They immediately admitted me, put me on heart monitoring, and started doing those neurological tests (“squeeze my fingers, push against my hands…”) every four hours and giving me platelet transfusions, using the platelets to try and stop the bleed.  If not stopped, I would start to lose functions beginning with. Since I had low platelets, its inadvisable to do intubations or chest compressions which could just further cause internal bleeding.
We contacted immediate family and Shannon, Connor and local siblings came to visit – thanks to all. I had two subsequent CTs over the next 24 hours that showed the bleeding stopped and the blood receding, and passed all the other tests – Praise God!  It was a very scary day and a half.  Thanks to our church’s prayer group for jumping in and helping us throw it up to God
They’ve kept me in the hospital since, giving me two or three daily infusions of platelets and the occasional red blood cells.  Best we can figure out the cause was I got up too quickly, and with low blood pressure, that caused the blackout portion, with gravity doing the rest.  The great news is I have no head ache, the bump on my has gone down and there’s been no indication of neurological issues (except I’m still a dumb ass some times).  They even restarted the chemo today so things are returning to “normal”.  We should be going home in a couple of days
My bum is still really sore but I’ll take it all things considered!  We got great care from the team at Hopkins and are most appreciative.  Hopefully this will just be ANOTHER blip on the map as we continue on our day by day journey.  Its been quite a week…I’m looking forward to less drama in the near future!
God’s blessing,
Paul and Terri
Terri’s PS…. let’s just say I don’t want to repeat the past few days,  Very scary, but all things considered, Paul has yet again beat the odds and come out the other side.  His strength and calm continue to amaze me!

Update: Episode 66 (3/1/19)

Title of today’s episode: “It was the best of times and the roughest of times”.
It’s been a busy time for us since the last update.  My apologies for the Dickensian misquote in the title, but that’s what its been like.
As far as the best part, after closely working with my doctors regarding chemo and transfusion schedules, Terri, Shannon, Connor and I were able to make our long planned trip to Hawaii.  We visited Oahu and the Big Island, and I was able to show the gang my old stomping grounds (I spent 3.5 years in early ’80s in Oahu.)  We visited my favorite beaches (Bellows, Sunset, Waikiki), saw my old homes, and enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery. On to the Big Island where we toured a coffee plantation, checked out a black sand beach and looked into the Kilauea Volcano caldera.
One of most beautiful moments was when we got back from dinner the night we stayed at Kilauea Military Camp where there was no ambient light.  The stars completely filled the sky and it was such an awe-inspiring, moving experience – showing our insignificance in the universe.
One of my challenges was having to wear a giant, heavy mask for the approximately 20+ hours of flight, primarily to fight disease.  It appears not completely successful (as we enter the tough part).  I had a virus and pneumonia and was wiped out for a couple of weeks (including the medicines).  My partner in crime had issues as well so we were a couple of sad sacks.  Good news we are on the mend and feeling much better.
We did shift my next round of chemo to next week to give me more time to recover.  We are still on the same treatment plan, and will be on the alert to when we need to change it up, which will likely be sooner than we hope.  This almost 63 month journey continues with the help from prayer, medicine, support from all of you, and most of all Terri (xoxo).
Finally, our church is having a “Night of Worship” fundraiser in honor of LLS on April 7 at 6pm at Crossroads United Methodist Church at Ashburn, VA.  It will essentially be a concert playing some of our favorite music. We will have a reception (also at the church) afterward so folks can visit with us if they’d like.  Terri and I will be part of the celebration and hope to see you there.  if you can’t make it and feel moved please donate to LLS, a great p\organization that helps fast track new protocols for blood cancers and who are specifically focused on AML, Paul’s type of leukemia.
God’s blessings,
Paul and Terri
Terri’s PS:  I will have a donation url in the next couple of days, haven’t gotten the campaign set up yet.  🙂 . Paul has been such a trooper through pneumonia andpulmonary virus.  The doctor has been impressed with his recovery and not needing to be checked into hospital.  He continues to beat the odds!  Yay!