Monday, September 24, 2012

Back So Soon??

End of the Trail - 10.4 miles later (I only have 10 fingers, but close enough)

HI friends, I know it's only been a week since I posted, but I wanted to share with you how I chose to mark my 9th moniversary (made-up word that means 9 months, instead of "anniversary" where "anni" specifies years) of being reborn, i.e., my transplant.

My pal Mike Nix and I have enjoyed hiking together over the years and done a few camping/backpacking outings with our boys (he has three).  He and I hiked 10.4 miles along the North Carolina Mountains to Sea Trail, which meanders through Wake county along the south shore of Falls Lake.  This was yesterday, by the way, so my gams are still a hurtin'.

Just after completing 1st 3.6 mile section and crossing NC route 98

The actual moniversary was Sept. 21, last Friday....that day I saw Jessica, who is Dr. Kritz' APN (advanced practice nurse;  she has a masters' degree from Duke).  I don't see Dr. Kritz that much anymore because I'm doing so well.  Anyway, that day, my moniversary, was about the best day I've had at the doc in a long time....first, I got my first round of childhood immunizations - that's good because I'm getting them about 3 months earlier than normal because my 'graft' is so stable - i.e., no transplant complications, no graft-versus-host disease, no issues after the suppression drug had been stopped.  So, while I didn't enjoy being shot 5 times, it was for good and valid reasons.  Second, my counts were as good as they have ever been, with no assistance from Neupogen....whites at 5900, neutrophils at 3300, hemoglobin at 13.8, platelets at 121K.  Third, as a result of all this outstandingness, Jessica told me to come back in 3 weeks(!) - this will be the longest time between doctor visits since the transplant (assuming all goes well).

So, I continue to be amazed at the capabilities of today's medical professionals and at the payoff in lives saved by the dedication and commitment of the researchers who develop these incredible treatments.  And I continue to be amazed at the loving God we serve, who created the universe out of nothing, and our bodies, minds, and consciousness out of carbon and DNA (massive oversimplification, I know!).  How amazing that a God so great would be mindful of me....and every day is a gift from Him.

Signing off for now...........Dan

Mike contemplates the pain in his gluteus maximus as he gazes out over a quiet cove on Falls Lake

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The New Normal Life........

I see that my last post was a full month ago.  No doubt the biggest reason is that there hasn't been anything really newsworthy on the medical front.  That, in and of itself, is a wonderful thing.  More good news - I'm not posting because there is anything negative to report.  I just feel like I ought to check in and let you know what's going on.  The biggest medical news is that I developed a cold a few weeks ago, and just before I was supposed to go on the big annual western trout fishing trip.  Of course my counts responded by dropping, but we started the neupogen and they came back up....we also started an antibiotic to help prevent the dreaded infections.  It all worked like a charm, and the trip came off fantastically, as you can see:

On the Clark Fork (of the Columbia River), with Scott Nicolarson, Trout guide par excellence, August '12

Brother-in-law Scott with a fat Montana Rainbow and guide, Chris

Dad and I on a cool Montana morning

Other happenings have included a visit from my sister Laure and her family, a harrowing surgery for our oldest dog, Shiloh (he's recovering well), and as of this week, 2 months back at work for me.  I feel well and strong;  I am planning to do a 10-mile hike to commemorate 9 months since my transplant (that anniversary will be September 21, a few days from now).  My next full re-staging will be in Houston, November 6 and 7.  

This week is the one-year anniversary of my hospitalization for pneumonia, which led to the lung cancer, then lymphoma, then Richter's transformation diagnoses, and all that came after.  It is hard to believe it really happened.  Among the things I will never forget is the support and love that surrounded me and my family.  I will always be grateful for it.
God's best to you and your family.  Trust in Him;  He will not fail you, for He has your eternity in his hands.  

Dan and Renee