12/28/14 – Groundhog Day

It has been almost another week since the femur surgery was postponed for the second time.  That makes a total of about three weeks that I have been told to stay off my right leg.  About three weeks of not going out.  About three weeks of walking through my house with a walker.  It is like the movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray wakes up and every day is the same.  And no matter what I do … I don’t have a ton of choices to make each day any different than it was the day before.

Every day I wake up, eat my berries, drink my orange juice, take my medicine and then hit the couch.  I watch a couple of episodes of House of Cards.  I just finished season one yesterday.  Thankfully, on work days, I can make calls or send emails to stay on top of my business.  I also have a ton of projects I am working on to help my business run more efficiently in 2015 while I go through the stem cell transplant process again.

It goes back to CONTROL.  The most frustrating thing about cancer is that I have to give up CONTROL of my life.  I am limited in what I can do because the cancer has eaten the femur and so I can’t put any pressure on the bone until we stabilize it with the rod.  Hence, the walker AND the fact that I can’t go outside.  The weather here has been phenomenal for late December.  Sixty degrees the past two days – but I can’t even take a walk around the block and enjoy it.  My kids are in Florida.  What I wouldn’t give to be there with them swimming, playing tennis or basketball … or, heck, just walking around like a regular guy.  I haven’t seen one of Victor’s basketball games nor have I been able to go to any of Ava’s cheer tournaments.  NOT ONE!

Cancer has taken away my favorite parts of being a dad.  So I look forward to having my surgery Tuesday and getting on with life.  Living it the way I want to live it and not the way cancer dictates I should live it.

The SILVER LINING in all of this is that I get to spend my days with Helene.  I don’t care if we are just sitting on the couch all day and night – just the fact that we are together, alone and peaceful is wonderful.  We are both usually so busy that just chilling out together doesn’t happen that often.  She is busy with the kids, their activities, volunteering at school, working out, planning Victor’s Bar Mitzvah and I am usually busy working.  This past week, though, has been about nothing.  Doing nothing.  Enjoying each other’s company – and it has been really nice.

Some cancer news to report out of Penn:  The four day chemo regimen worked to some degree.  My Kappa chains came down significantly.  The sour part is that the M Spike rose slightly.  So … how do we interpret that data?  In every combination of chemo that I have done, the Kappa chains were always the most volatile.  They were the first to go down after treatment cycles and the first to rise when that treatment became ineffective.  Dr. G says that I seem to feel better physically and mentally when my Kappa numbers are decreasing so that is a good sign.  The M Spike might be related to the Myeloma activity in my femur.  He feels that once the rod is placed via the surgery, we should radiate that area and after radiation the M Spike should drop as the other numbers have.  All in all I am glad that the chemo had a positive effect – even though it wasn’t as dramatic as I would have liked.  At least things are moving in the right direction for the most part.

We are still on track for a January 7th T-Cell harvest and transplant thereafter – maybe beginning of February.  Dr. G isn’t sure whether or not he will repeat the chemo dose he gave me a few weeks ago.  We will draw blood work in the hospital this week after surgery and see if the needle moved any further.  He will also do blood work on the 7th at the harvest and then determine whether or not more chemo is necessary.

So … one more day – today – of Groundhog Day.  Tomorrow, we draw labs to make sure my platelets are high enough for surgery on Tuesday.  They have been moving up so I am hopeful we can get it done this week.

I thank everyone for their love and support over the past few weeks.  It has been tough being so limited but I manage to get through it all thinking about the great community we live in and the great people who care so much.  I say it all the time but it is easy to fight cancer with friends like ours.

11 responses to “12/28/14 – Groundhog Day

  1. Hang in there, Brad. If Cancer teaches us nothing more, it teaches us that the unexpected will happen, to have patience, and to be grateful for the good people in our lives who genuinely care about us. Stay positive and we will keep a prayer in our hearts for you. Victor and Ava are gorgeous children. We saw them at the airport with your Mom and Dad Ike.
    Sheryl & Michael Moss.

  2. Thank you for the email. I am sure like so many other people…I wait all the time to see the “Bradstrong” email pop up in my new emails. Is it strange that I can’t wait to hear what you are going to write when I am not a friend that is SO close you? You and the coolest person and I have learned so much about you and the family. I always new Helene was amazing. Feel good and I will keep praying for improvements and things to go smoothly.
    Thank you again for sharing.

  3. I’m so glad it’s all going in the right direction, even if it is slow.
    The one thing I remember when I went thru chemo and then SCT, that I just stayed home, didn’t go to the stores a lot etc. it was always a little weird to think of ALL THE SO CALLED NORMAL people, just popping in the grocery store or target or where ever. Cancer makes us rethink who we are in many ways. Now, that I’m on Revlimid and dex, I keep a fairly normal schedule, but on Dex days, I don’t drive or do things that take a lot of brain power.
    Best to you for the rod going in next week , and of course , the transplant.

  4. Glad to hear you are feeling well and hope the plan moves forward as it should. I have said before that my daughters story sounds similar to yours. The DCEP did not knock her numbers down as much as they wanted. Now she is dealing with a plasctoma(sp) near her eye and will be having radiation. We are heading to Penn in a couple of weeks to see Dr. Adam Cohen. Her doctors at Jefferson in Philly recommend this. Always interested in your story since it is like my daughters. Sending positive energy that all goes well .

  5. You are in our hearts… with G-d’s blessings.
    Lots of good wishes and love, Charlotte and Harvey (Palm Beach Gardens)

  6. We like moving in the right direction. Sorry you are not here. We are in PGA this winter and have the pleasure of seeing your folks. I have to tell you, you have two traffic kids. Victor is one of the sweetest. He is DJ’s, our 6 year old grandson, best buddy. A little hero worship. Ava is adorable and so sweet to all around her. You may not be here but just know you and Helene have raised two wonderful children.
    Sending a lot of prayers and love for a ‘2015’ of moving forward.
    We will send lots of positive energy for next Tuesday!!

  7. Tomorrow is going to be a banner day for you. Your platelets will be high enough for surgery and you will be on your way to the next step. I’m sending you lots of positive energy for a successful surgery and progression to the transplant and t-cell process.
    Nancy in Phila

  8. You’ve been on my mind frerquently over the past few months, but constantly during this past week. Our Westfield connection, PGA connection with your mom & Ike & also a cancer connection. Here’s hoping the rod occurs tomorrow so there won’t be any more waiting…just moving forward. It WILL happen!!!

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