Monday, October 23, 2006


Today is my 27th day in the hospital. By the day's end I will have had my 25th dosage of Arsenic Trioxide, which my doctors assure me is going well. I remain mystified by their lingo, and my stats remain stubbornly fixed in a neutral position. The doctors remind me each day that average remission is 30 days, and for some up to 60 days.
I am tired, have laryngitis, and get violent chills in the evening, despite having no fever (it is an effect of the arsenic).
So to all gentle readers: I hope you appreciate this day, your health, etc. I don't intend to write until there is something new to report.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Nice Prayer

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who seek the grace of Thy protection, being delivered from all evils, may serve Thee in quietness of mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ Saint Andrew's Missal


I've begun my third week at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital today. I am feeling fine, mostly because I caught this relapse early, and also the chemotherapy used is Arsenic Trioxide, which has almost no side effects.

It is boring waiting for your leukemic cells to die off and be replaced by normal ones. The average wait is between 23-30 days. So I have some time yet. My room is a solo, as are all cancer rooms in this hospital, and the staff are great. Even the food, which you order by menu, isn't too bad. None of this would be bearable without the constant presence and support of my wife Deb, and the love my family and friends continually show me. The NHL season has started, so I am bummed by having to watch baseball. I miss my Rangers.

I don't know why this happened to me again. 80% of patients with my form of leukemia never replapse ~ so I guess I am special. I won't say that there are no theological implications here ~ there are plenty, but I am resisting getting angry with God. I console myself with dreams of moving to Florida to be near my parents and soon both of my daughters (who have been great through all of this ~ I love you Emmy and Sarah!). I would like to get through this and then feel the sun on my face. Prayer seems oddly futile at the moment. One just abandons oneself to divine providence, or what have you. I do thank God for my iPod, laptop, and PSP.

I can't have many visitors, as my white blood cells are still low, but I appreciate the cards, email, and phone calls. I get tired easily, so I will go back to reading. I am reading Douglas Adams' The Ultimate Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. It is hysterical and just what I needed. Tomorrow my parents are coming for a visit, which should be nice. My advice to all who come across this is to Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying.

- Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Daily Bread Better than Hospital Food

From today's Psalter reading (according to the St. James Daily Devotional Guide):

"Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet Your commandments are my delights (Psalm 119:144).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Well now....

Or rather decidedly not well now! as my once "cured" APL (Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia ~ 5+ years in remission) decided to reactivate itself, resulting in the creation of immature white blood cells that meander about, bumping into each other and hindering wellness. I diagnosed myself getting out of the shower, when I noticed a glaring bruise on my foot that was not there the evening before. So in a panic I scheduled a blood test, and tried to think happy thoughts. The results were devastating. I was neutropenic, which means my white blood cell level was just under 1. My platelets were also down two-thirds (hence the bruising). So I trecked on down to the Cancer Institute of NJ in New Brunswick, where I was admitted and put into isolation. Tonight my wife brought up the laptop, which allows me to inform you of some of the the things going on. I'm kind of pooped at the moment, so I will let you know more tomorrow. Dr. Strair, my hero, is confident that I will soon be on the mend, or at least at home mending. "The first time was your innoculation," he says, "this time it's a booster shot." Yeah, okay.