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Friday, February 28, 2014

108 and Counting....

Many of you know that Trevor's first blood work appointment was yesterday. We so appreciate all the prayers and texts and phone calls. We continue to be overwhelmed by the sweet support we have received.

When we came back to Pleasant Grove this week we discovered a "box of sunshine" on our porch. You cannot mention the name "Miss Lindsay" around our house without Ivie immediately looking for a beach towel and her swimming suit. Lindsay is our darling swim teacher - and pretty much a celebrity in our kiddo's world. She is a beautiful girl, and I've rarely encountered another more genuine, sweet soul. So I wasn't surprised that this sweet lady and put together an incredibly thoughtful package that made very single one of us smile--and made me cry a bit as well. The box was full of "sunshine" in the form of lots of yellow treats, bubbles for the kids, fingernail polish for me and Burt's Bees chapstick. It contained clothes for the kids, puzzles and books for the grown-ups and simply a whole lot of love. What a sweet, sweet lift for the week.
Ivie sporting her "sunshine" outfit from Miss Lindsay
Miss Lindsay also sent us this spectacular book - which we have been devouring. I love Jeffrey R. Holland, and this collection is simply lovely. 
We also have been enjoying more sibling love this week. Trev's brother and sister (Hillary and J) came. We so enjoy having them in our home--they are incredibly helpful with the kids and the general running of this place. Hillary has dishes done and my kitchen clean before I can even turn around and sweet Justin has snuggled Liam and watched an unimaginable number of showings of Shrek (Ivie's current favorite). Justin and Hillary were sweet to go to SLC for Trev's lab and bloodwork appointments to I didn't have to chase around babysitters. 

And here is the news they brought back:

Let me begin with saying that everything right now is in an acceptable range for Trevor to continue the current chemo schedule we are really hoping to stay on (5 days of high dose chemo, 20 days off). This schedule pretty much knocks our main guy out for a week to ten days, but then he feels mostly normal on the off days--this gives us the most functionality and a family to do fun things like hike, bike and play. So overall, this is a POSITIVE report.
Enjoyed ourselves some biking in sunny St. George this past week. 

Angel bike riding babies

Does life get any lovelier? 
It's also just an easier mental task to only take those nasty pills for five days instead of for 20 days and only have 5 off (last time we did the cancer thing Trev's body couldn't sustain the high dose schedule, resulting in smaller doses of chemo every day. This means Trev feels consta-sick and doesn't really ever get a break). 

However- Trev's blood platelets are just barely in range. His level before beginning the chemo dose was 170, and yesterday it was 108. If it drops below 100 the platelet levels become too dangerous and we will have to adjust the chemo schedule. If you are further interested in the reasons for this, check out the colored text section below about the role platelets play in sustaining our bodies and how chemotherapy impacts them. 

Platelets are clotting mechanisms in our blood produced by bone marrow. Our bodies produce platelets at a fast rate and this is the reason they are so easily impacted by chemotherapy. Most types of chemotherapy target fast-growing cells in the body--because usually the fastest growing cells are cancer cells. Because platelets are rapidly created in our bodies they are inadvertently often targeted for animation by they chemotherapy compounds. Without enough platelets blood is unable to clot, presenting serious health risks. 

Trevor's white blood counts were also a little higher than the doctors like to see, but we are hopeful that this is because his immune system was trying to kick it up a notch to fight off the cold he got nailed with last week.

Trevor's liver is also showing signs of "irritation." This is something that we will continue to watch.

So, while those things all sound concerning, things are still positive. However, before Trevor begins his next chemo cycle on March 6th they want to do lab work again to further consider the chemo dosage. 

We continue to feel the power of prayer and hope and meditation from all those thinking of us. As we move forward we invite you to join us in praying and hoping for these specific things:
  • Trev's doctors will be blessed with knowledge and be able to recommend the best treatment course for Trevor--and that they will be further blessed for their kindness in the sustaining work that they do for so many. 
  • Trevor's platelet levels can rise so that his body can better tolerate the high chemo dosing. 
  • The Temador chemotherapy will prove effective (we will find this out after the second round in March) and a more aggressive kind of chemo will not be needed at this time.
  • That we can all continue to find joy in every day. 
On my end, I've been doing some research on how to support low platelet levels and there is a body of interesting research that suggests in as many as 40% of patients eliminating all sugar and processed food from a diet can help encourage higher platelet counts. 

I figure, why not? It's healthier for everyone anyway - so I'm purging our house of junk (sending home the candy stashes with Hillary and J). However, this sort of diet is new to me and my sweet tooth. If any readers out there practice these sorts of dietary measures will you share your best secrets of success with me? I'm also looking for tips on macrobiotic diets and recipes that can maximize the use of fresh veggies that are rich in Vitamin K and calcium (kale, collards, etc.). Please, please, if you have knowledge in these areas I'd love to buy you a sugar-processed free lunch and hear all about it. :) 


Heather Johnston said...

You should look into Reliv or herbalife. I did Reliv and i didnt crave sweets at all. It does amazing for your body and i heard some people who have cancer have used it also. So hope you look into it.. good luck. Big hugs.

Samantha Jackson said...

To help make the diet transition a little "smoother" you could start doing green smoothies (you see what I did there ;) ). Then you can load them with kale or spinach (and other veggies) but use fruits to make them taste sweeter! Josh and I don't do this but one of my uncles is not big on the veggie eating so he makes a smoothy for breakfast or dessert almost every day so that he gets all his servings of veggies. He has told me more than once how he has tons more energy too. Food for thought to help curb the sweet tooth. :) And yummy recipes are easy to find.