Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bad to the bone...

Some good, and some mostly crummy details on the eve of my back surgery.

First, the final count on stem cell collection was 28 mil stem cells. Assuming I don't change the surface area of my body too much (i.e. by getting fat) this should provide me with enough cells or 7 to 8 transplants should that be necessary. The current protocol envisions two. The remaining cells will be kept indefinitely and could be used for long term autologous transplants down the road, or for entirely different uses, some of which may not be disease related at all.

I'm a little concerned about my ability to type -- it's taken a real blow these last couple of weeks and I am hoping it's just one part being out of practice and one part sitting in the wrong position or it could have a real impact on my typing speed and potentially other elements of manual dexterity upon which I rely (i.e. guitar, piano, etc.)

The doctor delivered some sobering news about my back today -- we all still expect a high likelihood of a full recovery, but she cautioned that it might not be 100% fixed after one procedure, and perhaps worse that the back is still going to be weak for the next couple of years. I'll need to go on something like Zometa, which is a bone strengthener typically given to little old ladies for ostheoperosis. This will help strengthen the bone but has a lot of complications -- I can't have any oral surgery, for example -- which is a non-trivial concern given that there may be a root canal in the next few years on my left side. Oh well...this is the new reality.

The other depressing aspect of the new reality is that I won' be able to play with my kids as actively as I had hoped -- indeed as actively as I had told Parker. A lot of the simple but strenuous stuff we used to do together will be off limits for at least a couple of years.

Coughing is still a nightmare -- there are still sheets of phlegm in there that need to come out but which are stubborn and without the strength in my back to sustain a concerted effort to get rid of it all, it's lingering. Nonetheless, an important infection marker in my blood is coming down so that's a good sign where the lung infection is concerned. I am back on an antiviral medication that will hopefully help me get rid of it the rest of the way.

I did't have the presence of mind to ask about golf or tennis but I hope both these activities are greenlit -- running was not approved, for example.

: (


  1. Overall, it sure seems like things are looking up. So happy about that.

    I wouldn't worry about the dexterity thing in terms of guitar. Everyone knows heavy metal doesn't require dexterity ;-)

    Sure hope you get the green light for golf. There are so many members we haven't beaned yet.

  2. Ahh, the waiting....and the waiting....and the waiting.... Soon this surgery will be behind you and you will be moving onward and upward in your fight. You may find that there will be lots of "new normals" but they are not all bad, and all of it beats no future!!! Two years out from diagnosis and still in treatment and just about at complete remission, we know this is true. You will beat this and come out the other side a whole and strong man!! We'll be thinking of you and praying for the very best!