Friday, December 14, 2018

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

I get links to some of the oddest blogs... here's one:
https://www.easyologypets.com/blogs/news/3-things-being-a-cat-person-or-dog-person-reveals-about-you
Cat people are more neurotic? Really? I can't believe that someone would write such a thing about cat people!!! (just kidding... I'm trying to act neurotic!)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Juniper tar and horehound drops

Yesterday, Dwayne's nurse tried crushing some of the myriad of pills that Dwayne is taking and putting them in applesauce to make it easier to get the medicine down... rather than Dwayne needing to swallow a bunch of pills. Unfortunately, the medicine is very bitter, so it made a bitter powder on top of applesauce that the flavor of the applesauce could not combat.

This reminded me of my Granny giving me juniper tar on a teaspoon of sugar when I was very little - probably under 5 years old. I mentioned this to the nurse and he was wondering what it was used for... I don't remember why Granny gave it to me, I just remember that I thought, "Wow, Granny is going to give me a teaspoon full of sugar, that's going to be great!" and then getting the juniper tar on top of it and... well... it wasn't so great! The sugar couldn't overcome the nasty flavor of the juniper tar.

Dwayne's nurse googled juniper tar and the current medical application is externally for skin conditions, not to be taken internally. Obviously, Granny didn't read the internet...

I did some additional searching, and found a blog entry that had information about how other moms and grannys had used juniper tar: http://relhurg1.com/1128/juniper-tar-anyone-ever-hear-of-this-remedyfeed/
It seems that it was used for colds and coughs... some people mentioned (and I kinda remember this) that you got better quickly cuz you didn't want another dose!
There is evidently a bottle of it at the Smithsonian (not currently on display):  http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_715776

Thinking about that remedy reminded me of other home remedies... specifically, overnight I was sucking on a cough drop (the air is so dry that I feel like I need to cough, but I don't think it is related to any sickness) -- and I remembered that Mom would keep horehound drops for us to use as cough drops.
https://www.oldtimecandy.com/blogs/candy-blog/what-the-heck-is-horehound
I still think of horehound drops as medicine, not candy!

I was trying to think of other remedies that we used when I was a kid - Dad used to bring wild daisies and Mom would make a tea that she would put onto poison ivy breakouts on my skin. I dabbed calamine lotion and corn starch on chicken pox to relieve the itching. I still use camphor ice as lip balm (you can buy it on Amazon). Vick's Vapor Rub on the chest with a tee shirt over top of it.

I don't remember ever getting castor oil or goose grease, though I have heard of them being used as home remedies.

I wonder if these simpler solutions were better than what is in use today....

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Does that giraffe have a coat on?

Just down the hall from the oncology wing where Dwayne's room is this week, there is a courtyard with statues of two elephants and a giraffe.

I noticed that the snow made a covering on the giraffe that looked like a custom-made giraffe-coat!

It even has a nice "belt" around the front!
I don't think giraffes in their native environment would ever encounter snow!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A ride on a sled!

While I was at the bus picking up some things today, I thought I heard my great-nephews outside. I peeked out, and they were getting a sled-ride courtesy of their daddy!

They seemed to be having a big time!
 
But it seemed like daddy was doing a lot of work!
Lots of mud around at the farm... but the driveway was pretty clear from snow and ice!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A snowy day

It started snowing sometime in the morning and has snowed all day...
about 10:30am - could still see some of the grass. Sorry for the water on the windshield, I didn't want to go outside to take a picture... and the silver thing to the left is the temperature barrier that we put in the windshield to keep a little of the cold from coming through the glass.

About 2:40pm
It has continued to snow all afternoon... I had to drive the Jeep to the pharmacy so can't judge by the amount of snow on it anymore... It is pretty, but makes doing almost anything much more challenging!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

DispatchHealth

While the home health folks have been visiting us, they have mentioned Dispatch Health - something like a minor urgent care clinic that comes to your home. It is available in limited areas at this time (and the one in the Richmond area does not service out to New Kent, where we are), but it definitely sounds like an interesting option for folks who are in the coverage area. It seems to me it would be particularly good if you have something like flu symptoms - instead of going to a place where you would share those germs with lots of others, get the diagnosis and care at home. And it would also be good for folks like Dwayne whose immune system is compromised, so they don't come in contact with a bunch of sick people.

You can read more here: https://www.dispatchhealth.com/

Friday, December 7, 2018

Operation Magic Carpet

Since today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 8 marks the anniversary of the United States declaring war against Japan, and December 11 against Germany, I thought this might be timely.

I recently was reading the story of "Operation Magic Carpet", the effort to bring all WWII service men and women home by Christmas 1945. I found it fascinating - here is one version of the information:
https://historycollection.co/operation-magic-carpet-bringing-home-heroes-wwii/


Thursday, December 6, 2018

TirePass

We headed to the local Love's Travel Center to get fuel and dump today. When we arrived, there were trucks in all the diesel lanes, and an additional truck waiting in many of the lanes. I found a lane where there was only the truck that was currently fueling and stopped behind it. The next lane over (the most inside lane) had just one truck in it and no one waiting. It had markers that indicated that it was a "TirePass" lane.
I didn't get a very good picture, but there was a Love's employee checking the air pressure and airing up the tires. He had 4(!) air nozzles so he could fill all 4 of the tires on the back at the same time!
No one else came up to get behind the truck in the TirePass lane, and it happened to leave before the truck in front of me, so I pulled over and went in the TirePass lane.

Well, it turns out, that lane is only for folks who are taking advantage of the TirePass service... The fellow who had been doing the service had gone into the store when I decided to pull in -- he told Dwayne after I had left to go into the store to pre-pay for our fuel that we weren't eligible to be in that lane, but that it was okay, he would let us go ahead and fill up our fuel there. When we finished up, he put a barrier down so another errant soul would be prevented from pulling into the lane to fuel unless they were getting the TirePass service.
TirePass: https://www.loves.com/en/truck-solutions/tirepass
I didn't ask whether we would be eligible to get the TirePass service on Miss Doozie or whether it is just for trucks. When we are traveling and need to air-up our tires, if they would check all the tires and air up any that are low for $5, I think it could be cost effective to do that instead of using the "pay for air" pumps.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Calibrating torque wrench

I was looking at pictures that I had not yet posted and found these... while we've been in Virginia, we re-torqued the lug nuts... Jimmy suggested that it might be appropriate to get the torque wrench calibrated to ensure that it is correctly measuring the torque.
Amazing - Jimmy found that there was a shop that would perform this service just a couple of miles away!

It passed as the values were within tolerance.

Additional information on the standards that they use.

I think they normally only check 120, 300, and 600 ft-lb, but since we specifically torque at 450 ft-lb, they added a check for that. You can see the reference value, what tolerance values are for below and high, and what they found on our wrench.
Always fun to learn new stuff! I can't say I understand everything about this, but, getting your equipment checked to make sure that its results are within specification is valuable!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Home!

Dwayne was released from the hospital today - Hallelujah!
This is what it looks like to be wearing real clothes and sitting in a car seat!

At the bus!

Miss Kitty is helping Dwayne take a nap - he didn't need much help...

Monday, December 3, 2018

Duke and Deuce

Right now, there are two Hereford bulls on the farm. For most of the year, they hang out together...
Deuce and Duke were just behind the house, about to check out if there was anything good thrown out in the garbage. Since they grew up together, and since they are Herefords (generally a more placid breed), they seem to get along well with each other, at least if there are no cows around...
When I was back at the farm yesterday, it appeared that they are now each in separate pastures, each with some of the cows, each getting to do his "job" for a few months.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Out and about!

Dwayne was out in the hallway walking today!
Dwayne and I both think that the physical therapist looks a lot like me from the back! The bright pink belt that she has around Dwayne's waist that she is using to steady him is a hint that it isn't Patti!
In the afternoon, I went back to the bus and one of my to-dos was to change the sheets on the bed... the cats were ensconced on the bed, and the fact that I needed to get the sheets off and then put clean ones back on did not concern them whatsoever!
"Whaddya mean, we should get up?"

"You haven't been here, it's OUR bed now!"

Though Tabitha is looking "disgustipated", in reality, she is looking at a lump under the covers that is moving - that would be Miss Kitty!
Neither of them got off the bed! What lazy kitties! Spoiled rotten!

Amazima

One of the ministries that I have followed for a number of years is Amazima -- a ministry started by Katie Davis Majors 10 years ago in Uganda. I have been reading her blog for a long time, got her book, Kisses From Katie (a compilation of stories from her blog) when it came out, and then participated on the launch team of her latest book, Daring to Hope.
https://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2017/08/book-launch.html
https://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2017/10/daring-to-hope-is-to-be-released.html

Amazima has been doing some special events to honor their 10 year milestone. I found one recently, and thought I would share with you:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8-MM46rUuM

Then I watched this one and laughed along as the dog and chickens and monkeys and other birds "helped" with the video!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKnu6Y-4rvk

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Timmy

When I was at the farm a few days ago, I tried to get some pictures of Ricky and Kendra's cat, Timmy, who had come over to visit.
Timmy is a big orange fluffy kitty - here he is getting some cat food on the deck. What I find so interesting about him is his tail carriage. He rolls it up over his back like a Husky or Akita dog!

Unfortunately I have not been able to get any good pictures of him with his tail curled over his back...

... but you can probably tell that it isn't up in the air like many cats would be...

Heading out toward the barn to see if anything good to be found there!
Being so fluffy, and since he seems to love to be in undergrowth hunting, his tail would get full of burrs and stuff if he carried down, but since he curls it over his back, it stays pretty clean!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Some pictures from this week...

A random collection of pictures - most from the hospital...
Someone had said to me that Dwayne's room looks out onto the "Chapel Courtyard" - I hadn't noticed it when we were on 3rd floor, but can see it better from his room on the cardiac floor (2nd). I walked by it one day this past week and took some pictures - above picture shows the inside...

Some of the stained glass in the vestibule area outside the chapel.

Dwayne sitting up in the chair in his room - even while his heart rate was very high, he would try to sit up in the chair for a bit of time each day.

On a visit to the bus, my obligatory picture to send to Dwayne of Miss Kitty. She wonders where "her Dwayne" is!

Starting yesterday, we have this sign on the door...

... and these hanging next to the door.
His neutrophil count is low (expected reaction to the chemotherapy) - at this point we have to be super-vigilant to ensure that he does not come in contact with anyone who is sick.

When Dwayne went for the TEE and cardioversion, he had to take any jewelry off... so I was wearing his wedding band as well as my own rings.
If you want more information on Dwayne's medical journey, I am documenting it on his CaringBridge page: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/dwaynecartwright

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Be careful about your dog trainer choices...

I came across this story today... there are a few "bad" words in it, but it is pretty hilarious about a service dog that is too clever for her own good...
https://www.boredpanda.com/smart-dog-mischief-shenanigans-list-arwen/

Dwayne and I both got some chuckles out of it... and are thankful that our kitties only know how to turn the clearance lights on the bus!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Nap Attack

I was minding my own business on the couch in Dwayne's hospital room when suddenly, Nap Attack!

Credit to Garfield comics: Garfield nap attack

Monday, November 26, 2018

If you were to dig far enough...

A few years ago, just for fun and "conversation", I posted this question on Facebook:
I got a LOT of answers!






So... a former co-worker of mine who lives in England, is currently traveling in Australia and New Zealand. He posted a link on Facebook about what was directly opposite from where he is in New Zealand.
https://mymodernmet.com/interactive-antipodes-map/
https://www.antipodesmap.com/

From where I grew up in New Kent County, Virginia....

I would have ended up in the ocean...

... zooming out a bit, in the ocean, off the west coast of Australia.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

I use BBC as my news source on my phone. I saw this a couple of days ago on their feed and thought you might enjoy it:

In Pictures: The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2018 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-46302730

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Do you live in a "God has a plan" state or an "I can do all things" state?

I often do online research using the BibleGateway site. They sent me an email to have me go to their site and see some results of data collection that they had done - it was an entry that was written about a year ago, and the title was:

Do You Live in a “God Has a Plan” State or an “I Can Do All Things” State?

Check it out - I think it is an interesting article! Which kind of state do you live in?

Then I followed another link, that reflects the frequency of certain search terms depending on the time of the year - this is on 2014-2016 data. I thought the way that it showed how search terms were used was interesting.

https://www.biblegateway.com/year-in-review/2016/

As an example, look for "cross" and see how the date of higher usage of the search term varies by year (I'm guessing based on when Easter was each year).
Check out "bethlehem" with its explosion of use in December each year.
Check out "suffering" and "sickness" - each of them go very low at the end of December, but each had a spike in a specific year - I wonder what was going on in history to prompt that?

I'm a data girl! I like data!!!

Friday, November 23, 2018

"How long does it take to microwave a 25-pound turkey?"

For those of you on social media, you may have seen instances of grown children texting a question to their parents or grandparents, "How long does it take to microwave a 25-pound turkey?" and posting the responses.

Many of the responses indicate that you cannot microwave a turkey, but Butterball says otherwise:

https://www.southernthing.com/butterball-experts-say-you-can-microwave-a-thanksgiving-turkey-even-if-itll-horrify-your-elders-2620885698.html

I remember when microwave ovens were relatively new, we got one for our Mom. It was a pretty large one (I guess they all were then), and for a holiday (either Thanksgiving or Christmas), Mom decided to try microwaving the turkey. The issue was not so much on how long to cook it, but how big the turkey could be... and not so much weight as dimensions. What I remember is that, for some reason, my Dad was sent to the grocery store to get the turkey - I can't imagine why, he didn't do the grocery shopping. But, Mom had put the planned baking dish into the microwave and carefully measured the maximum dimensions, the most critical one being from the dish to the top of the oven, that would be required to have it fit. I am pretty sure even the very large microwave that we had then would not have been able to fit the "25-pound turkey" within the inside configuration of the oven.

I have this minds-eye picture of my Dad at the grocery store with his metal measuring tape sizing up the various frozen turkeys that just makes me grin!

If you read the article about microwaving a turkey - note that it indicates that you start the bird breast side down and then flip it when it is about half baked - that component is also in my mind... imagine "flipping" a 12-14 pound turkey! I don't remember how Mom did it, but I remember analyzing how it could be accomplished.

I'll bet that turkey was cooked and eaten 40 years ago, and it still brings a smile to my face!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all our US friends and family,

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are so thankful to God for all of His blessings!

It seems that it is quite chilly outside today... when I was at "de bus" yesterday, I moved the remote temperature monitoring device that we recently got working to the wet bay of Miss Doozie. We have bay heaters on Miss Doozie, but we really have never been in very cold weather with her, so we haven't had to be sure that they are working, and of course, we are not usually away from the bus for more than a few hours. I don't want the water systems to freeze and cause a problem. We got the remote temperature monitoring system so we can monitor the temperature *inside* Miss Doozie when we are away and it is hot - to be sure that the electricity and air conditioners are keeping the environment from getting too hot for the kitties. I moved the sensor and its probe to the wet bay and have been watching the temperature there via an app on my phone:
I named it "CatEnvTemp" based on what I planned for its normal use. I currently have the app set to send an alert if the temperature gets below 40F. I think that the bay heaters must be set to 50 degrees because the temperature has stayed around that point. If I had been clever, I would have put the sensor in the wet bay and hung the probe so it extended outside the compartment so I could see the difference between the bay temperature and the outside temperature... but I didn't think about that!
I think that tonight is the only time that it is predicted to get down into the 20s - so there should not be any issue.

In case anyone is interested, we got a LaCrosse product:
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0081UR76G
It uses our MiFi device to send the signal out, and there is a subscription fee (after the first 3 months) of $11.88/year ($0.99/month) for the alerts. I don't know but it is possible that you can use the app to monitor without getting text/email alerts without paying the yearly charge. So far, we like it... though if you don't tell your husband that you moved the sensor from the inside of the bus to one of the compartments, he might get worried that the kitties will be getting cold! (whoops! note to self: communicate with your spouse when you move the sensor to a new location!)

This doesn't show up as pretty as it looked, but the sky is a brilliant blue - this is looking up from the couch in Dwayne's room to the outside in the courtyard.
We're praying that all of you in the US have had a blessed Thanksgiving Day, and that you're staying warm wherever you are!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A quick trip "back to de bus"

I made a quick trip from the hospital "back to de bus" this afternoon. While there, I always snap a picture of our "girls" and text it to Dwayne:



My sister-in-law, Regina, is taking care of the girls (in the bus) while we are at the hospital. Regina tells me that Tabitha even lets Regina pet her now! "You bring food, you my bestie!" is Tabitha's mantra!

I'll just mention again that I'm posting updates about Dwayne's medical condition on CaringBridge at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/dwaynecartwright/journal

On my way back to the hospital, I was thinking about a few things I needed at Walmart... and then I thought about what day it was, and what days are coming up... and I decided that it would be better to stop tonight than to wait until Friday or the weekend...
There were directional arrows on the floor of many aisles. I thought they were identifying how lines should form for the checkout registers...

These arrows were leading to the registers, and there were arrows all along that area leading to the checkouts. But the arrows were all through the grocery area too. When I brought up the Walmart app on my phone to pay, it had a new component where I could "plan my trip" through my local Walmart to the Friday specials that I wanted to find... maybe the arrows are associated with that? I don't know, and I don't plan to find out!!!
A friend from grade school, Dawn, texted me while I was there and asked me if there was anything I needed. I texted back, "I'm at Walmart on the day before Thanksgiving, I need to have my head examined!!!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Funny stories

I think it is because we're sleep deprived, but maybe these are really funny things, at any rate, Dwayne and I are easily amused by the things that we see and experience around us...

- When we were in the ER, one of the staff members was asking Dwayne a series of questions that she said she asks every patient. One of the questions was, "Is anyone abusing you?" Dwayne heard, "Is anyone amusing you?" He thought that was a strange question, and at that time, we hadn't really been amused yet... but we hadn't been here long yet!

- Dwayne gets his vitals taken every few hours, including his blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and temperature. One time, we got to chatting with the technician who was doing this, and, distracted, she forgot to remove the wiring that connected her machine to the cuff that was on Dwayne's arm as she prepared to take her machine out of his room. It was quickly apparent that this was going to be trouble as her machine came to a stop when it tried to drag a 150+ pounds (well, more than that considering he was in the bed) with it! Dwayne said that he could have gotten dragged along with her and visit all the other patients as she was checking them! She was laughing and we were laughing by the time she disconnected the machine from him!

- On Monday, I ran out to our favorite store/boondocking location - Walmart - to get a couple of items that Dwayne needed in the room. As I was walking to the store, there was a dark colored SUV with tinted windows that had stopped to let customers pass who were coming out of the store. While it was stopped, I saw a lady at the opened passenger door apologizing for trying to get into their vehicle. She was evidently waiting for someone to pick her up at Walmart in a dark SUV, so she tried getting into a likely looking one! Lesson learned: if you have a common color/model of vehicle, don't pass in front of the Walmart and have to stop if you don't want random people trying to join you in your vehicle!

- Also on Monday, at the hospital, I went to the elevator on the first floor to go up to the third floor. There were three ladies just ahead of me, and one of them pressed the elevator "up" button with her elbow. The ladies were discussing that they shouldn't touch anything (I behave similarly - there are a lot of sick people in hospitals! but I usually use a knuckle instead of my elbow). When they got onto the elevator, one of them pressed a button with her elbow, seeming to have difficulty getting it pressed. When I went to press "3", I noticed no floor was pressed, so I asked them what floor they wanted. They wanted the first floor. I hadn't pressed any button yet, so I pressed the door open and showed them the "1" on the outside of the elevator and said that they had arrived! They were obviously a bit confused, so I asked which room number they were looking for and found a staff person walking toward us and asked where that room would be... so they got going in the right direction.

- Related to the story about the lady about to get into the wrong SUV, we had a man walk into Dwayne's room and see his face go very confused when he saw Dwayne on the bed... he thought he was walking into his wife's room - I bet that would be very disconcerting to see all strangers in what you think is your spouse's room - but also easy to do.

- I walked out of Dwayne's room one day and there was a lady walking slowly in front of it with a piece of paper in her hand. I asked if I could help, and she said, "Do you know where room 3130 is? It is my husband's room and I was there earlier but now I can't find it!" I didn't, but I found a nurse - and she pointed the way, explaining to the lady she just needed to turn the "other" way when she left the elevator. As she started on her way, the lady was mumbling, "I'm never going to leave the room again!"

I'm going to chalk both of these last ones up to "spouse sleep deprivation", and hope that I don't get written up in someone else's report for doing stupid things that I don't know I'm doing!

And, a reminder, I'm doing journalling of Dwayne's medical issues on CaringBridge: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/dwaynecartwright/journal

Monday, November 19, 2018

Diagnosis


I know that many friends and family have been following along with us during this last week as Dwayne was admitted to the hospital a week ago on Monday (11/12), and numerous tests were scheduled and completed. From the beginning, the two doctors assigned to him were a nephrologist (kidney doctor) and hematologist / oncologist (blood / cancer doctor). This made sense because the blood work that we had had done at LabCorp about 2 weeks ago were presenting questionable values on some of the kidney values, and his hemoglobin (iron) was very low (anemic), and when I had bad anemia a few years ago, I was sent to a hematologist / oncologist -- it seems that hematologists are often also oncologists.

From about Wednesday, words such as "leukemia" and "lymphoma" started being used, but the diagnosis was not yet complete. The thing that did not "fit" was the abnormally high lactic acid value. When environmental factors were taken off the table (Dwayne had been in the hospital for 48 hours, so if there was something in Miss Doozie causing the issue it should disappear, but the lactic acid numbers were continuing to be high even while away from the environment of the bus, so something else was producing lactic acid), they used "doctor's google" and found that there were a few incidences of a male with leukemia in the 60+ age range presenting initially with very high lactic acid. The "engine" that goes out of whack and starts creating the cancer cells may also be creating lactic acid cells. The hematologist told us that they needed to be sure that it was leukemia, and the blood flow study should move us toward certainty in that diagnosis. She assured us that leukemia was a treatable chronic disease, and just like high blood pressure or diabetes, it requires medication to control it.

When the blood for the "blood flow study" finally got to the analysis lab, the doctor there immediately identified that she would need a bone marrow biopsy to know the source of the abnormal cells in the blood. There were abnormal blood cells and abnormal lymphocytes. I don't think this was explicitly said, but my understanding was that it could be that the abnormal blood cells caused issues in the lymphatic system because the lymphatic system usually carries waste products away, or it could be that abnormal cells in the lymph system could cause an issue in the making of the blood cells -- the bone marrow would give the information needed to determine which was the causal factor.

So, the bone marrow biopsy was completed on Friday. While Dwayne was gone from the room for the biopsy, I was told that it was usually 24-48 hours before the results of the biopsy would be known. The sample was sent (I think to the same analysis lab and same doctor who analyzed the blood flow study). She called the hematologist very quickly and let her know that, instead of leukemia, she was pretty certain that it was a non-Hodgkins lymphoma called Mantle Cell Lymphoma.

Side note: Hodgkin was a physician who first identified that cancer could start in the lymphatic system. If I understood/remember correctly, he identified 8 kinds of lymphoma, and his analysis indicated that the lymphoma spread by passing from one lymph node/system to the next in an orderly pattern. Later, it was found that some lymphomas pass outside of an orderly pattern, which were then named "non-Hodgkins lymphoma".

The hematologist talked with us about this on Friday... she let us know that the diagnosis was not yet certain, but it was certain enough that she wanted to go ahead and schedule Dwayne for insertion of a port-a-cath - a device that could be used to administer IV treatments (chemo) and also to draw blood. She was pretty certain that this was going to be required, regardless of what the final diagnosis would be. We were kind of glad to hear of this as Dwayne's arms are pretty bruised up what with needing to have an IV in all the time and having to have blood taken for testing at least once, and often multiple times, each day. We met with a surgeon on Friday and got on the schedule to have the port-a-cath installed on Monday afternoon.

The hematologist also talked with us about treatment options for Mantle Cell Lymphoma - it seems that there are three primary potential drugs that can treat it. One she immediately discounted as it is a very tough drug to live through and she would only prescribe it for a younger person in relatively good health. Of the two remaining, she indicated that a drug that was developed originally in East Germany from the same components as mustard gas (!) would be the regimen she would recommend. She indicated that if the diagnosis was determined to be certain and received on Monday, Dwayne could start the first dose of this drug late on Monday.

We asked what would happen if we did nothing. The hematologist indicated that the level of lactic acid in Dwayne's body would kill him. She has done a number of tests on other organs (chest - heart and lungs, abdomen) to ensure that there is no damage (yet) - and at this point, his tests have shown good results.

We have been identifying to friends and family that we didn't have a diagnosis, when we *had* been given information about what the diagnosis might be. I hope no one is upset about this, but we have been praying about it and felt that we wanted to know for certain what we were dealing with before sharing anything specific.

I want to share some other information, about what you can do for us (PRAYER is the most important!), what we've been learning through this time (cherishing our relationship with God and each other are numbers one and two), and future travel and treatment plans (at this point, Dwayne will be getting treatment through the Virginia Cancer Center at least through round 1 (this week) and round 2 (4 weeks away)) -- but I think this post is long enough and I'll try to share that information later.

I have also set up a CaringBridge site - my plan is to share information about Dwayne's medical situation there, and "other" entries on this blog. I have set it up that you need to be a registered CaringBridge user to access it, so you'll need to set up an id/password on that site. Here is the link to his page: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/dwaynecartwright

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Thankfulness

As we enter the week of US Thanksgiving, I was reminded of this video that I saw a couple of years ago. It is a Christmas video, but a great reminder that every day, we open so many "gifts"!
https://www.foresthill.org/on_demand/125
We are truly wonderfully blessed!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Thank you to blood donors!

We got to take advantage of the "other" side of blood donation on Friday evening. Dwayne received a unit of blood that had been donated, probably from someone here in the Richmond area.
Dwayne got a unit of A+ blood! I think his blood type is O+, but he can receive from A or B blood types - so I was thinking that this is like the best grade (A+) of all in the area of blood!
I had never been on *this* side of blood donation. It was interesting to see how precious this gift was treated by the nurses. They also were very attentive during the transfusion process, with a nurse staying with him throughout the first 15 minutes of the transfusion, checking vitals and making sure that he had no negative reaction. Then a nurse checked vitals every 15 minutes through the first hour, and every hour after that. It took about 3 hours to complete the transfusion of one unit of whole blood.

My dad was a big blood donation person. I think he gave every time the Red Cross Bloodmobile came to the county (or the neighboring county) where we lived, and I think they scheduled their visits to be just at the point where the donors from the last visit would be eligible to donate again (8 weeks apart). I think that my brother started donated blood as a teenager, but I didn't until I was in college. I remember my first experience - the donation site was at St Bede's church in Williamsburg, and there was a HUGE line. As I recall, my friend Debbie and I went, and we had to wait a while before we got to the initial check in location where they took our names. Then we went beyond the door and were on pews which seemed to go on forever - sliding down the pew until we got to the end of one and moving on to the next. As I recall, we were in the donation area at this point, so the people who had already made it through the line were on the "lounge chairs" (that's what they were using then) donating in view in front of us. Having no frame of reference, it was very disconcerting watching people get "stuck" - my mind thought of how painful it must be (it wasn't, but my mind was great at imagining!). We finally got to the place where they checked a drop of blood to see if we were anemic. They also asked our weight - I knew that the limit was 110 pounds, and that was about what I weighed then, but I remember lying and saying that I was 120 pounds so they wouldn't weigh me! I didn't want to fail at that point after waiting for 2-3 hours! After donating, in the college town, the local church ladies had made sandwiches for the folks who donated to eat and they were delicious. It was definitely a draw for college students to have homemade sandwiches!

A couple of years ago while we were here in Virginia, we went with my brother and nephew to donate at their church. Dwayne was showing as low iron (not dangerously low, but just too low to donate blood) at that time.
But last year, in December, when we were in Palm Desert, we donated blood:  https://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2017/12/giving-back.html
None of the places that I've donated since college have had sandwiches like the church ladies in Williamsburg made!

Now, having experienced the receiving end, I want to say "Thank You!" to whoever the generous person was who donated this unit of blood in the last few days.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Nothin' like a swift kick in the hip!

Diagnosis update: Dwayne got taken down early on Friday for the bone marrow biopsy. They thoroughly numbed his lower back area and gave him something in his IV to "calm" him... he fell asleep and didn't realize they had completed it! He said he asked them 3 times if they were sure that it was done!

The doctor who did the procedure said that Dwayne would probably feel like he had backed hard into a table by Saturday. At 4pm on Friday afternoon he is still not feeling pain. He is able to get up and "pole dance" his way to the bathroom without any trouble.

I was hoping we would have definitive results today, but the process of examining the tissue takes 24-48 hours. So, now we are praying for definitive results on Monday.

In the meantime, they plan to provide him with a unit or two of blood to try to improve his hemoglobin.

We appreciate all the prayers and well-wishes. Dwayne is still feeling amazingly well (all the care providers are continually surprised at how well he is doing).

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A new skill?

First: no diagnosis today. The blood did make it to the analysis lab, but the results were inconclusive. So, on Friday, Dwayne is scheduled for a bone marrow biopsy. We were hoping it could get scheduled today, but because he had already had breakfast, the lab was not comfortable with having him partially sedated. We are hoping and praying that they will take him early for the sample and that it will be able to be analyzed on Friday.

Now, a story: While here in the hospital, Dwayne is attached to an IV getting Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) in a Dextrose (sugar) solution. (We have discussed that he would prefer to consume his baking soda and sugar in some kind of baked goods instead!)

Any time he gets up, he takes his IV pole with him.
Here he is taking a loop around the halls with his good friend "Pole".
He has been taking walks multiple times a day to keep active. The Care Manager stopped by on Wednesday and said that each day spent in bed results in about a week of recovery time needed! So... he is intent on staying active as much as possible!

The funny thing is that the IV tubing seems intent on getting wrapped around him. When he gets ready to get back in bed, he has become quite adept at spinning one way or the other to get the tube unwrapped from around him. I was telling my sister-in-law this and she commented about his new skill of "pole dancing"!!!