Thursday, November 5, 2009


This photo of Gil was taken at "the end" of our walk down the block today. He starts the walk smiling but the effort definitely drains his energy and only the dogs are wagging their tails when we climb back up the hill! Hence, a bit of a gruff expression!

He's wearing the USC cap that the kids sent him this week. They told him it would be a conversation starter as in, "Why are you wearing a USC hat in Michigan?"

And Gil's answer would be, "Because my sons both go to medical school there."

And you know what? It worked just like that today.

We were at our clinic appointment and our oncologist said, "Oh. You have a USC hat on today. I did my bone marrow oncology training in LA!"

We spent the day at the clinic. (And I do mean the day! We left at noon. Arrived at 1 pm. Had labwork drawn, saw the nurse practitioner, saw the pharmacist, saw the oncologist. Drove an hour back home arriving in our driveway at 5:30 pm.)

We almost graduated today to once-a-week appointments. But there was some push back from our oncologist on making that change from twice-a-week to once-a-week so early in the recovery period. Even though we promised to come in at the first sign of graft vs. host disease (GVD) symptoms, he said that very often it is the blood work results at each appointment visit that alerts the team to a potential GVD issue that needs to be addressed.

Often the lab work that is drawn at the beginning of each appointment will let them know something isn't right and they will be able to begin treatment even before the patient feels that anything is amiss.

On a fun note, we invited one of Gil's transplant unit friends to come to our house for lunch yesterday. Mark and his wife, Kim, drove from their "temporary" housing apartment at Karmanos to our house here in Milford for an afternoon's outing and visit. They were glad to have some place new and fun to go for the day and I was thrilled to have company!

(Of course, everyone washed their hands a hundred times!)

Gil and Mark are soul mates of sorts. They both had their transplants on the same day. Mark was discharged a day earlier than Gil. Mark had an unrelated donor. (He had a related donor transplant 15 years ago from his Dad.) This was his second transplant.

Gil and Mark reminisced about their time on the unit and their recovery so far. Mark's wife and I commiserated about being the caregivers!

All is going well for Gil. His recovery is, thus far, right on schedule and basically uneventful.

My brother submitted his version of a Haiku and I am including it as a guest entry:

Vortex of dry leaves
Dancing to music they hear
I don't hear it yet.

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