Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Just sharing a photo with you...

I meant to post this shot of Mark in the entry that I posted earlier today but got sidetracked. Here it is...I call this one "Mark Vancura: Kicking TPLL's ass one leukemia cell at a time"

(even with that feeding tube, he's just so handsome!!!)

A New Day, In (yet another) New Room

Tuesday Feb. 9, 2010

The first non ICU room they moved Mark to was smaller than small; and with between the number of visitors he gets, the cot they have in there for me, and any machines...it was a tight squeeze in 672. On Friday night they moved us just down the hall to TN659, MUCH MUCH bigger.

Here's what's up:

Mark has been doing so incredibly well that any free time I have, I'm really just spending it with him, so I've been a little lax on the blogging. The rate at which his condition is improving has definitely been sped up, (mostly by him and his sheer determination). Both of his catheters have been removed, all but 1 IV has been removed, (he's still got his antibiotic going, which is actually part of his chemo/bio-therapy treatment), his feeding tube has been removed, and at this point, the only tube he's got left is the chest tube which they've been talking about removing within the next couple of days.

His doctors are very excited about his progress, even Dr. Odenike did a little happy dance when she stopped by to visit a couple of days ago. Everyone is really happy. Best news of all? His white count, (at last record), was at 11. Reminder: a "healthy" count is anywhere from 3.5 to 11; so we're well on our way!!! The plan now however, is that the oncologists plan on "bottoming out" his white count before his transplant, so that they're basically working with a totally clean slate. And the lower his white count goes, the more susceptible he will be to outside illness and infection; so we all have to be extra diligent in keeping healthy if we're going to be around him.

Once his white count is where they want it to be, he'll have a bone marrow biopsy done again to test to see if any leukemia cells are still present. If they are Campath continues until it's eradicated, once that happens, he will most likely be sent home for a handful of days to rest before his transplant. As one of his oncologists explained to me, "he will be very very weak, and his immune system so compromised, we'd rather he be at home than in a hospital where cause for infection is greater than in his own living space. Once he's at home for a handful of days, and rests and gets stronger, we'll bring him back in for the transplant."

They've informed us that once he does go back in for the transplant, that he'll definitely be in the hospital for a sustained amount of time; (an exact amount of time isn't possible to predict now, this depends on many different factors).

As we stand, He's still getting his dialysis treatments; but his kidneys are definitely working, just not yet at their full capacity. (The docs expected this). They're a very slow organ to kick back in to do their job; so it'll be some time before we see any significant progress with them.

Mark's Campath schedule has gone back to the Mon, Wed, Fri doses, rather than the every other day dose. He's also now receiving physical therapy a few times per week to get his strength back; which he has quite a bit since leaving ICU, and it's getting increasingly better each day. You guys should see him, he's walking around his room now, putting himself in chairs, and exercising his legs on his own. It's pretty awesome.

His lungs are so so so SOOOO much better too!!! He's made it through full days without the use of oxygen at all, all the while maintaining a mid 90's pulse ox!!!! How's that for progress??? He's also dealing with his trach very well too; his nurses come in to suction him several times a day and he uses his little "speaking" attachment on the end of it sometimes. I can tell it annoys him though, so most of the time, he just pops it off and covers the trach with his finger to talk to you. (Note: lots of people have asked me if he sounds like that character on South Park. LOL. No, he does not. He's got his own voice, no mechanical-sounding voice at all, it's Mark's voice, just with slightly less volume so you have to be kind of close to him to hear). :)

The trach's days are numbered I'm assuming as well, so everyone keep your fingers crossed and positive vibes coming...he's WELL on his road of recovery.

Once again, thank you to everyone that's stopped by, brought food (Jeanne Ward, you are an angel), sent positive texts and calls, and emails and everything else. You're all very much as in our hearts and thoughts as we are in yours. Thank you.

Lots of love to you all.

Very Sincerely,
Leslie & Mark