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be there for my parents

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donah1007 21 months ago


donah1007its been difficult

I’m working so many hours. My parents live 90 minutes away. This is the last week for my summer classes. I’m busy planning my daughter’s wedding. I haven’t been able to see my parents in a few weeks.

I’m happy to say both of my brothers have stepped up. They visit my parents every weekend. They’ve helped them do some improvements on their home. They’ve dome a lot of yard work.

I’ve talked to my parents on the phone as often as I can. Its not the same as being there in person, but I’m trying my best. 20 months ago


donah1007chemo

began today. I’m not handling this very well. Very emotional 21 months ago


donah1007not sure how I feel about the latest news

The lab results finally come in. The fluid in his was indeed caused by the CLL. The doctor doesn’t know if that means the CLL is progressing more rapidly than we thought it would or if it’s just now flaring up after many years.

Let me break that down. I was terribly confused by the CLL diagnosis and the high white cell count, etc. Dad went to the doctor about a month ago. If I’m not mistaken, it was a regularly scheduled appointment with his family doctor. Dad was having trouble with his appetite along with back pain. The doctor did a routine blood test. Dad’s white cell count was elevated. When Dr. Brody couldn’t find a reason for the high count, he referred Dad to Dr. Doyle, a hematology oncologist. She scheduled dad for gene mapping. The gene mapping is how they discovered the CLL.

Here’s where my confusion came in. I thought the high white cell count was the first “symptom”. Turns out, CLL doesn’t really have any symptoms. CLL can develop and exist in a person’s body for many years without any indication. This was the first time the CLL had done anything. We don’t know if he’s had it for many years, or if it just developed. The high white count came about as a result of the fluid build up in dad’s chest. That fluid was a result of the CLL flaring up. The white blood cells responded as they should by multiplying and trying to attack what it saw as an invasion.

Dad begins chemo next Tuesday. He will go once a month for 6 months. The chemo won’t affect the CLL. The goal is to knock out the white blood cells and reduce them to a “normal” level. They are going to keep a close eye on his red cell count during this process. The CLL affects the red cells causing abnormalities. The doctors want to make sure there aren’t any changes during the chemo.

I have very mixed feelings about all of this. 21 months ago


donah1007July 5th

Dad has an appointment with his family doctor today, as well as his hematology oncologist. I’m anxiously awaiting news about this visits.

If there aren’t any tests results today I will be calling his doctors directly myself. We are still waiting to hear the results about the fluid they removed from his chest 10 days ago. 21 months ago


donah1007still waiting for test results

I can’t believe it’s taking so long. I realize the tests take time, but it’s difficult not knowing.

Dad seems to be doing well with the oxygen. He bought a pulse oximeter yesterday. His oxygen level is staying around 97. I’m so happy to hear that. He was dropping into the mid 80’s before the oxygen. 21 months ago


donah1007cancer sucks

My dad was diagnosed with CLL (Chronic Lymphatic Lukemia) last Thursday. His doctor also found fluid in his right lung. Her office was going to schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist. By Sunday, the fluid was causing so much pressure he couldn’t breathe. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital. I was working. It took a little time to find someone to cover for me and make the drive (usually 1 1/2 hours… made it in 70 minutes).

When I was about 10 minutes from the hospital my brother texted and said they were going to release him and let him wait to hear from the pulmonologist. They took dad off oxygen and were preparing to send him home. Not 5 minutes later his oxygen level fell again and they decided to transfer him to the hospital in downtown Indianapolis (where I had just come from). We waited at the hospital for the transfer to be arranged. After an hour and a half my brother, my mom and I decided to go to her house so she could get somethings together and prepare to stay at my house for the week.

They finally arranged the transfer 2 hours after the initial decision to release him. It was another 45 minutes before the ambulance carrying my dad left for Indianapolis.

I drove mom to meet him (2 hours from her house). We got him settled in the hospital and went home for the night. It was 12:45 a.m. when we arrived home.

On Monday the doctors removed just over a liter of fluid from dad’s chest cavity. Turns out it was not in his lung, but in between the lung and his ribcage.

As of today (Wednesday), the only thing we know for sure is that the fluid was NOT caused by infection. We are still waiting for lab results to tell us if the fluid is a result of the CLL or if it contains a different form of cancerous cells. We thought we would hear something today but we didn’t. If it is CLL, it is progressing much faster than the doctor thought it should. We can’t discuss any kind of treatment until we know for sure what we’re dealing with.

Dad is anxious to be released. His is still on oxygen. We were told today he will need to remain on oxygen from now on. He’s not thrilled with that news, but he’s dealing with it pretty well.

Any prayers for my dad will be greatly appreciated. 21 months ago


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