Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Been a Good Week

Happy (ok, thrilled) to report that we have had a good week :)
Brandon is feeling ok - a bit tired at moments, but overall gaining his strength back.

He has been taking Dana to school, he headed into work a few times, has cooked for us, made it to the golf course (for 1 hole) and has bought the BIG BBQ to start the summer off right.

I am so proud of him - he really is doing his best to resume life BC (before cancer) and is succeeding for the most part.

I LOVE having him home and so do the kids.
So far the Dr's are also happy with his progress.

BIG SIGH

Monday, April 26, 2010

An "almost" normal weekend

We just spent our first weekend at home with the WHOLE family and it was great!

On Friday night Brandon's parents came over and we had a traditional Shabbat dinner - lit candles, ate challah, sang some songs with the kids...It was nice to make a toast with everyone.

Saturday we had brunch with my sister and her family - Brandon cooked up a batch of his special crepes. Saturday night we even went to a movie together!
Sunday was a lazy day spent with friends indoors.

Although Brandon is extremely tired, he is determined to get back to normal and is trying his best - to the point of taking the kids Sunday morning so I could sleep in a bit.

My prince is finally home and we are cherishing every moment.

And in case I have not mentioned it lately - I am absolutely in love with this man!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Home at last - officially

Yesterday Brandon was officially discharged from the hospital!

He is now home, with the family, where he belongs.

He is thrilled, kids are overwhelmed and I am ecstatic!

What a great feeling to wake up this morning with him by my side.
And daddy took Dana to school today :)

Here's hoping we've turned a corner and the road ahead has fewer bumps...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Surprise :)

The front door opens last night at about 6:30 and in walks Brandon!

He was feeling well so they let him leave the hospital for a few hours...he arranged to have one of our friends bring him home :)

He played with the kids (who were going nuts with excitement) and we ate dinner together and enjoyed some belated birthday cake.

Tough to say goodbye at the end of the night, but we sure cherished every moment!!

What a wonderful surprise!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shit!!!

Well - all the glorious plans and hopes for a happy birthday return home went to shit last night.

Brandon did come home...and then proceeded to puke his guts out the entire night. What a nightmare!! Poor him.

We drove home at about 4pm, walked into the house and our darling Koby immediately started yelling "dadda dadda". Tears filled Brandon's eyes as father and son were reunited :) I honestly was not sure how Koby would react, but he made me so proud!

Then about an hour later Dana arrived home, saw Brandon and a huge smile lit up her face as she rushed to her daddy (who by this time was lying flat on the couch unable to move). She tried to give him a hug and kiss, but Brandon could not even manage that. True to form, my daughter announces "daddy, you know I love you so so much!". She then takes a good look at his face, at his very swollen lips and says "daddy's lips look like a goldfish". Amazing how that girl can always make me laugh.

Unfortunately Brandon began vomiting and Dana's face showed her horror. So quick decision that it would be best to eat dinner and have her sleep at Bubby's house. Brandon never made it to the dinner table, never had his requested cake, never opened his gifts.

My heart sank as Dana came to Brandon with balloons and a gift, only to have him open his eyes and nod at her. She asked "will daddy open his present now...when are we blowing candles...." only to be told "daddy is too sick today". "Will daddy sleep at home or the hospital?" At home. "Yay!" She is amazing!!

So Dana went to sleep at bubby's. Brandon moved upstairs (not an easy trip) and then spent the night vomiting pure bile.

At 8am we drove back to the hospital, they connected him to multiple IVs and he is finally sleeping.

Not a great birthday at all!
So now we wait again and hope that he improves here over the next few days.
He is suffering so much.
Enough already!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRANDON!

The Princess invited 3 fairies to the celebration - Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
(For those sans kids - these are Sleeping Beauty's fairies - that we read EVERY night)

Flora gave Brandon the gift of love.
Fauna gave Brandon the gift of family.
But before Merryweather could give her gift, the evil fairy Malificent appeared. She was furious because she hadn't been invited. She pointed at Brandon and said - "Before the sun sets on his 34th birthday, he shall get sick."
Luckily, Merryweather still hadn't given Brandon her gift. She could not undo Malificent's curse, but she could change it - "Brandon shall be sick, but he will receive a gift of bone marrow and then live a wonderful, long and healthy life."

So my fairytale friends - As Brandon celebrates his 34th birthday - let's show that evil fairy that she can NOT mess with my prince!!

Happy Birthday my love!!!
You are my life, my hero and gratefully my husband - I am so proud of you and I love you more than anything!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Year 33 comes to and end...and we are ready!

Tomorrow is my Love's birthday, and there is a good chance he will be allowed home to celebrate :))))
Would that not be the most amazing gift for us all!!!

He is doing better, yet VERY exhausted!!!

Big milestone yesterday as he was allowed out of isolation for the first time...so we travelled from floor 14 to floor 1, grabbed a water, and headed to the rooftop deck of the hospital for some seriously lacking fresh air.... Brandon soaked it up for a few minutes, then we headed back in as he was tired.

Looking forward to having him home - with me and the kids - FINALLY!!!

FINGERS CROSSED, KNOCK ON WOOD, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring is in the Air

Sun is shining, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and Brandon is engrafting!!

The numbers are looking good (poo poo) - so good that even the Drs are surprised with the results -
Hgb - 115
WBC - 2.3
Neutrophils - 1.1
Platelets - 294

Brandon's mouth and throat are healing slowly so he is able to eat and drink a little bit now - good thing as he is getting way to skinny for me :)

He is experiencing some Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD) in the form of a skin rash on his body - this is actually a positive as it shows that the new immune system is working and recognizing foreign objects (in this case Brandon). They will keep this under control with medication.

2 days until Brandon's birthday and he is determined to be home to celebrate - what a gift that would be!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Resurgence of The Numbers

All through the first round of chemo (induction) we were daily and diligently watching Brandon's blood counts. At the time we needed to see them hit zero (to indicate death to the cancer) and then rise (to show the recovery of Brandon's immune system).

Now we are back to the daily report. This time we are looking to see evidence that the newly transplanted stem cells have engrafted and are starting to grow into a new HEALTHY immune system. The speed at which this happens varies from one person to the next, but depends heavily on the match quality (related donor is best, Brandon was lucky to find a non-related 10/10 match) and on the Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD) that can occur.

Well we are THRILLED to report that at day +12 (12 days post transplant), Brandon is starting to show signs of success (knock on wood). His platelets have started to rise on their own and his white blood cell count has increased ever so slightly!!

BIG PHEW!!!

In terms of how Brandon is feeling - the last 3 days have been REALLY tough - the toughest thus far. His mouth and throat are covered in sores and these are so painful that he can't eat or drink anything (not even water) and he can't even speak. They are giving him some morphine which dulls the pain a bit and allows him to sleep. He has lost quite a bit of weight already and his hair has fallen out again. Apparently he should start feeling better as his numbers continue to increase so we are hopeful that in a few days there will be some relief.

As for his spirit - what can I say? It is inspiring!! This Friday will be Brandon's birthday and he is 'convincing' his Dr that he will be home to celebrate. I hope this one birthday wish can come true so that he can spend it with the kids!

So he fights, and we wait -We celebrate the great news and we hope the tough moments start to diminish.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Prince Charming, Prince Eric, Prince Philip....can't compare in the least!

Brandon is doing great!
He is sick, nauseous at times, has some pain, his throat is burning off...but he is doing great!

First off - all these symptoms were expected. And although they suck (and Brandon would stress that they REALLY do), I prefer these to an unexpected reaction to the transplant.

Second - Brandon has remained positive and he is fighting with all he has...Although EXTREMELY weak, he got on the exercise bike yesterday for 10 minutes; although his throat is in horrible pain and he has no taste buds, he forced himself to eat some food. And although he is tired, he lets me visit with him and chat and spend time.

My prince rocks!!!!

I can't wait for him to be home! I miss him so so much!!! And so do the kids.
As Brandon so nicely put it - "I am looking forward to being boring." We have had enough drama over the last 2 years....can't wait to answer the question "what's new" with "nothing".

Saturday, April 3, 2010

And here we go...

Now day 4 post transplant and just as "promised" Brandon is feeling worse by the hour. He has officially stopped eating, is vomiting at a consistent click and is quite weak. Also his blood pressure is through the roof and his pulse is low (not sure what that means - the dr.s don't seem too concerned). Mentally, he has very little patience, he is upset and very antsy and anxious.

Hard for my love to go through, hard for me to watch.

He wishes for and welcomes sleep, as that is a temporary escape from reality. In his own words "I wish I could wake up on June 1 and walk out of here feeling great."

The kids can no longer see him as he is now in isolation for a few weeks. We have skype, but Brandon has little patience and I'm not sure this is the best way for the kids to see him. They do talk to him on the phone, and yesterday Dana let him now that "I like it better when you are at home daddy".

The crazy part is that factually he is going to get a lot worse in the next 2 weeks. And that makes this really tough for everyone! I feel so bad for him - he does not deserve this! Nobody deserves this, but he has had enough!

Yesterday a woman came to visit Brandon - she was here to say hi to the nurses as she celebrates her 1 year post transplant. She looks and feels great and is living life back to normal. I am looking forward to having Brandon visit this ward in the same way next year.

So I sit with him now as he finally sleeps. Too bad 'True Love's Kiss' can not yet work its magic. But soon enough...