A Hiccup in the Plan

The cancer family of diseases are nasty, very nasty. The word “family” doesn’t seem appropriate here. While I’m grateful for all the new treatments for cancer, which we didn’t have just a few years ago, we must find a more humane way of treating this terrible disease. We need treatments and cures that are beyond radical surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and, like what I had, stem cell transplants.

There are two types of stem cell transplants, autologous and allogeneic. I had the autologous type, where my own stem cells were used. This process greatly reduces complications and duration of treatment.

While I spent about 25 days in the hospital, I met allogenic stem cell transplant patients who had been hospitalized and re-hospitalized for several months. They look to me with some jealously that I may be discharged on this coming Friday. With that said, the process has been brutal for me (and my experience is average).

I left the hospital 8 days ago on a positive note. My symptoms (fatigue, altered taste, cramping, diarrhea and vomiting) were improving. Then, around July 4th, my symptoms started to get much worse. I’m now on day 27 of diarrhea and severe abdominal cramps as well as nausea and vomiting (sounds like  Pepto Bismol commercial).

My team is trying to get to the bottom of this. On Friday, I had an IV infusion to help correct my electrolytes. On Saturday, we started the process of trying to find out if I have some opportunistic infection of my GI tract. I should know the results in the morning. If this is not caused by an infection, the next likely possibility is a disorder called “pseudo host Vs Graft Syndrome.” In this case, it is where my digestive tract is attempting to reject my stem cells, although they are my own. This latter problem is usually easy to treat (high dose steroids) but we must rule out the infective cause first.

After having, what feels like, the stomach flu from hell for 27 straight days, I feel exhausted from it. The abdominal pain is almost unbearable at times. I pray that these symptoms will end, that my team can get to the bottom of this, and there will be better and better treatments for cancer that are not so toxic. I also pray that this hiccup will not derail my discharge to come home. Of course I dream about going home, however, I don’t want to go back to Anacortes in my present state of discomfort.


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2 responses to “A Hiccup in the Plan”

  1. Sorry for the hiccup and sending you positive thoughts and warm wishes for your health to trend up. I’m in admiration of your strength and look forward to each post although I feel a little guilty hoping you will take time out to update those of us that are following along. Sure wish there was something else I could do for you…


  2. Mornin Mike, Darn it! I’m so sorry. I’m lighting a long burning, 4 day candle there on my east window sill, in front of a beautiful stained glass piece that was made for me by a friend to help me on my healing journey. Many other things live on that window sill which make it a healing place of prayer. Many a candle have been lit there over the 20 years I’ve lived here in this special home place. I am visualizing you healthy and smiling, doing something you love. I hope and pray Denise is holding up alright.It would be great if your dog could come see you…keep in your minds eye that we are all here for you. I for one will be with you two the whole way.
    By the way, Riley is almost there with his healing. Just a very small wound to keep clean now. There’ is very little discharge now. Yeah for both of us. It’s been pretty hard on both of us with both ears. It’s a good thing that I’ve had plenty of experience having to figure out what to do in different instances in my ranch segment of this life. That knowledge has sure come in handy. He still doesn’t have a whole lot of energy some of the time, but he’s a very happy guy, so I’m very happy too. I hope and pray that we’ll get an opportunity to touch hearts with you when this horror is over and you’ve had plenty of time to heal and recover fully.
    Blessed be you, Mike and Denise!


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