My Kryptonite

Hi my name is Brandy and my fiance is Donald Fitzgerald. As most of you know Donald has been dubbed "Superman" and for good reason. Donald was diagnosed with ALL (leukemia) when he was 13 years old and relapsed when he was 18. He was cured of this cancer and has gone almost 13 years cancer free. During this time, he has undergone 2 hip replacements and a partial shoulder replacement due to the high doses of steroids he had to take. Then, on March 24th 2011, 3 months after his 32nd birthday, we got the devastating news that the cancer had come back. We are now at UMC about to undergo the long process of Chemo once again. He will have to stay in the hospital for a minimum of 30 days for the initial treatment. He is strong and will beat this once again but we need everyone's prayers. God is in control and there is nothing out of his hands. As someone posted once on facebook "The deals not done until God's done dealing".

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Still Waiting

We still don't know if Donald is in remission. The doctor said she didn't have enough information to determine if he is in remission or not. She advised it would be tomorrow before we would know anything. The Lord is teaching us patience each and every day. Donald is still very sore from the multiple biopsy's but he is doing very well. His kidneys look great and his labs are pretty normal. His white count has come up to 2.0 which is absolutely wonderful. He had to get blood and platelets yesterday and only had to get platelets today.  The doctor has ordered a steroid for him to take with his platelets now to keep him from spiking a fever. So far it is working great. He hasn't had a fever in several days. His jaw is healed for the most part. There is only a tiny little knot left right under his jaw bone.  Doctor Elkin wouldn't say when he might go home. She wants to wait for the biopsy results. It's hard to believe we have been in the hospital now for 3 months, except for those 4 short days he was able to go home in the beginning. It's like our second home. Thanking the Lord for his wonderful blessings and continued healing. Praying still for remission and also that Donald's platelet level will start to rise on its own.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Biopsy Complete

They were able to do Donald's bone marrow biopsy within 20 minutes this morning. It hurt pretty bad but it was nothing like yesterday. The doctor said we should know the results of the aspirate tomorrow and the biopsy by Friday. He also advised that if Donald is in remission they will let him go home for a few days but they want to get him in for the transplant as soon as possible. Dr. Herrin said he spoke with Bone Marrow yesterday and they have everything complete for when he is in remission. So, he could possibly be going to transplant as early as next week. We are all praying he is in remission and the transition to bone marrow transplant will be go smoothly. We are all anxious about the results but we just have to leave it in God's hands.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Praying

Donald is still hurting from the attempt at the biopsy this morning. He is very anxious about having to go through it all over again in the morning. We are praying it is much less painful and stressful. He had such a bad morning. He is still pretty worked up over it. I am really hoping he will be able to sleep tonight. They are doing the biopsy about 8 am. I am glad the actual heme doctor is going to do it this time instead of one of his trainees. I know the Lord is going to take care of him. On a brighter note! When I came back to the hospital after work today he was eating his dinner. It's so good to see he is getting his appetite back. His jaw continues to heal a little each day and the only thing we are waiting on is his platelets to come up and his calcium to go down. All of his other labs are fine. Thanking God for his blessings and praying he continues to bless us. Like the Casting Crowns song says " I will praise you in this storm".

Biopsy Failed

They tried for over an hour to get a biopsy on Donald with no success. The doctor advised that his bones have been softened from all of the Chemo which makes it very difficult to get the aspirate. Dr. Herrin has rescheduled the biopsy for tomorrow morning. He is going to try to get aspirate but if not he will just get a piece of bone and they should be able to obtain all the information they need from that. The doctor said that even that will be a challenge because soft bone doesn't like to stick inside the needle like hard bone. I am putting my faith in God that he is going to allow everything to go smoothly tomorrow and they will be able to obtain everything they need from the biopsy. I know that my GOD is all powerful and it doesn't matter what the doctors say. HE is the Great Physician and can do all things. I pray that God will guide the hands of the doctor and allow him to get it on the first try. I put my Faith in HIM.

Update

Sorry I have not blogged in a few days. Donald is still doing good. His jaw is almost healed. He now only has a small swollen spot on his neck and has been able to start eating a little. He has been pretty restless over the past few days in anticipation of the upcoming events. He is getting a bone marrow biopsy this morning which makes him anxious. We will hopefully know by tomorrow afternoon if he is in remission. He has had to have platelets everyday for the past few days and had to get blood last night. The doctor says everything is looking good and he should be able to go home soon. Praying he is in remission and that he is well enough to return home this week. I know he will feel so much better when he is home. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Still Looking Good

Today was an okay day. Donald didn't feet great but what do you expect when you have been in the hospital for as long as he has? His chest X-Ray came back with a small amount of fluid in them with the potential for infection so the doctor told him to get out of bed and move around. He also advised him to do his breathing exercises. His jaw looks so much better this afternoon but it is still hurting quite bad. He had to get platelets today and spiked a fever during the transfusion but it has began to go back down. He didn't have to get any blood today and all of his lab work looks great accept his calcium which is still pretty high. They are still giving him lots of fluids to try and bring his calcium levels down. Hopefully we will soon see some good results in that department. He was awake all day today and is now sound asleep. Praying he is able to to rest tonight. Thanking the Lord for a great day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Donald has not felt very good today. His jaw has been hurting him pretty bad and he, I think, is just exhausted from being in the hospital. His lab work came back good today and if it wasn't for the infection in his jaw he would probably be going home by this weekend. His calcium is the only thing that is high. I'm not sure what they plan to do to bring that down. He had not ran fever for almost 2 days and it creeped up just a little this afternoon.  The ENT came by again today and said she thinks he should stay on the IV antibiotics for 2 weeks and they would just watch it. That was great news because one of the other doctors was talking about sending him to surgery to cut it open. The swelling appears to be going down and the antibiotics are working from what we can tell. She said she would check into getting a nurse to come to the house and give him his IV meds so he could go home for a few weeks and rest. The only set back is his central line. For some reason they don't like to send you home with those. Donald is supposed to have his bone marrow biopsy Saturday but the doctors said they are probably going to wait and do it the first of the week. We are praying he is in remission. Donald told me tonight that he just doesn't know how much more he can handle. He is getting worn down with everything that keeps popping up. I wish with all of my heart there was something I could do to make all of this better. A way to take away his pain. I know there are better days ahead and all of this will just be a memory but it's really hard to sit by and wait knowing there is nothing you can do. Donald and I have started watching the movie series Love Comes Softly and it has really opened our eyes to many things. Thanking the Lord again for another good day and for His continued healing. He has answered so many prayers thus far and I believe the best is yet to come.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chillin!

Donald hasn't ran a fever all day today. Praise the Lord!!! The highest it got was when he got platelets this afternoon which was only 99.4. Hence the title!!! His neck/jaw looks better today and they changed his antibiotics yet again to give him the same coverage without having to give him the antibiotics so often. All he had to get today was platelets and they didn't have to run any tests. He has had a pretty easy day, considering. He is also talking more like himself too. He is still having a little trouble remembering things but he is much better than he was. He is doing great overall. Giving God all the Glory. Without Him Donald wouldn't be doing as good as he is. Still praying for his continued healing and that he will soon be able to go home and rest for a little while.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Doing Better

Donald is doing better today. He still has a slight temperature and his jaw is still swollen but he has been talking a little more normal today. They are still not 100% sure what is causing the swelling in his jaw. One doctor says it could be MRSA and one says its just a swollen gland. The ENT doc came in this afternoon and stuck a very large gauge needle in his neck to see if she could get anything to drain but nothing came out. It's good in the sense that there is no infection in there but it's bad in the sense that it didn't provide any relief. For now, he is to keep swishing with his 3 mouth rinses and keep applying warm compresses. They changed his antibiotics again today to see if they can get him on something that will treat the "infection". We are just praying and waiting to see what will happen. Hopefully these new antibiotics will get rid of whatever it is. He is still not able to eat solid food and it is very difficult to take his pills. He went from turning up all of his pills and swallowing them down in one gulp to taking them one at a time. He didn't have to have any blood or platelets today and his white count has continued to rise, which is a good thing. The higher his white count gets, the better able he will be to fight off these infections. We continue to pray for healing and strength. Thanking the Lord for all of his blessings. I once read somewhere that you can't ask God "why me Lord?" for all of the bad things that happen in your life if you don't ask the same of the good things that happen. So often we take for granted the many blessings we have.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Constant Battle

Donald has not been feeling very well today. It started yesterday when his fever jumped to 103. His jaw has more than double in size over the past few days and they still are not positive what is causing it. They called in the ENT today and she thinks it could be an infection in one of his spit glands. She recommends warm compresses and massages along with the antibiotics he is currently taking. He went down for a CT of his jaw and also for his head because he has been talking kind of loopy lately. He will be talking to you about one thing one minute and the next minute he is off in another world talking about something totally random that doesn't make any sense. The doctors say it's from his calcium being so high but again they are not positive on that either. He is just not himself. He is confused all of the time and has a hard time rationalizing things. I am worried about him but I know that is just Satan talking. He is trying to get into my mind and make me worry and get me down. I remain faithful unto the Lord and trust He is going to heal Donald. He may have to endure and overcome a few things along the way but there are better days ahead. God loves him and is going to take care of him. He watches over us and is there for us in our darkest hour.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

More Blood and Platelets

Donald was able to sleep again last night and didn't actually wake up until about lunch today. He is doing okay. He is spiking fevers again for some reason and the doctor says it will take some time for the new antibiotic to start working. He is getting his platelets right now and will then get 2 units of blood when they finish. He feels kinda crummy but it's probably due to low platelets and blood. Once they get some "go go juice", as he calls it, pumped into him he should feel much better. If we could just get his jaw to stop hurting he would be great. He will be getting his final round of Chemo in the morning and then we wait. Praying he is in remission and will get to go home soon to rest.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

So Blessed!

Donald has had a great 24 hours. His fever has come down significantly. He slept almost all night and has been awake all day. I was able to get him in the shower today and to also sit on the couch for a little while to eat his lunch. I had a little help coaxing him to sit on the couch though. My mom and Aunt came to visit today so it was 1 against 4. (women no less) Me, Pat, Mom and Granny. LOL!!! He had platelets today and they gave him some more magnesium through his IV. They also changed his antibiotic to try and help with his jaw swelling. The swelling has gone down a lot but it still hurts pretty bad. The doctor said she is pretty sure it's just an infection (abscess). Hopefully it will heal without problems. It should, considering all the medications and mouthwashes he is own. He is now up to 3 different mouth rinses. Needless to say he has a very clean mouth. All of his cultures came back negative and his EKG looked good. His white count has come up to 0.6 which is good since it has been a 0 for the past few weeks. After he has his last Chemo treatment it will have to be above 1.0 in order to go home and his blood levels and platelets will have to be stable as well. His doctor says he will be in here at least another week. But, that all depends on him and how fast his counts come up. I say God will decide when he gets to go home. I am still shooting for him to be home by next Friday. I told him that could be my birthday present. :) Everything seems to be going much better and aside from a few minor set backs he has been truly blessed throughout this whole ordeal. Our God is and always will be an Awesome God and he has a plan. Thank you Lord for all that you have done and all that you will do.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who Turned Up the Heat?

Donald has not had a very good day today. He has kept a fever and it is still running at 102 degrees. The doctors have yet to find the culprit. All they are saying is they will keep an eye on it and added another antibiotic the other day. Needless to say it is making Donald very anxious and he just feels terrible. His kidney function is slightly better today but still not at a normal range. They are still giving him fluids to try and flush his kidneys. He had to get platelets again today and he is now getting his first of two units of blood for the night. His jaw is still slightly swollen but it doesn't look any worse. Donald says it still hurts pretty bad and he is unable to eat still. He is worn out but I can't seem to get him to go to sleep. I think he is afraid he might miss something. LOL! He is so tired that he is having these random conversations about all kinds of things that don't make any sense. He will start to tell me something and completely forget what he was saying or fall asleep mid sentence. I really hope he gets to go home soon so that he can get some much needed rest. They had to give him some medication through his IV to lower his calcium because it was getting pretty high. We will not know until in the morning if it worked. Please pray that Donald is able to rest tonight and that his kidneys and calcium levels improve. Also, pray his fever breaks and the swelling in his jaw goes down. The Lord knows what is best for Donald and will see him through this. Only God can heal him.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No News is Good News!

Donald's cultures came back negative, his X-Rays appear to be clear and no red flags as to his jaw swelling being serious. It could just be a bacterial infection from him biting the inside of his cheek in his sleep the other night. It is a little more swollen today but not too bad. He hasn't eaten much over the past few days because he can't open his mouth very wide and it hurts to chew. His labs still look okay but his kidney function is still decreasing a little. They gave him extra fluids today to try and correct the problem. He only has one more round of Chemo on Monday and then hopefully we will be close to going home for a week or two. Praying the Lord will heal his kidneys and his jaw and give him strength endure what is ahead.

But those who trust in the Lord with find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.     Isaiah 40:31

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Symptom

Over that past few days Donald has had a slight pain in his jaw down into his neck. It started out small but today it hurts really bad. He can hardly eat. They took him down today to do X-Rays and we have not heard anything back from that yet. The doctor said his Lymph Node feels slightly swollen but he is not sure what is causing it. That is more than likely the source of his fever. He has been running fever since yesterday and it is making him feel pretty bad. He is still tired and his stomach has began to give him trouble again since they added another antibiotic yesterday. They had to give him platelets again today and he did fine. His kidney function has been fluctuating from normal to slightly abnormal this past week. We are praying everything will go smoothly over the next few weeks and he will be able to go home sometime next week for at least a week. Please pray there is nothing serious going on with his jaw/neck and that his white count will return to normal. Pray also for his kidneys and that his stomach trouble will correct itself. Thank you all for your constant support and for all of your prayers and cards. It means a lot to Donald to get a card in the mail. It lets him know he is not alone and there are many people praying for him everyday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Play Along!

Okay, as you can see to your right, there is a poll. Donald and I would like your honest opinion. Okay we are just having fun but we still would like your opinion. So, play along and cast your vote. Donald thought my poll question was pretty funny but doesn't think anyone will vote so lets prove him wrong. :)

Donald had a rough start to the morning! He woke up with fever and began to panic. The doctor told him that he doesn't think there is anything to worry about because he looks good and his labs are good. He said that he is surprised Donald has not ran a fever before now with such a low white count. Donald has been very blessed to be fever free up until this point. They drew some labs and cultured his blood and urine. They will not know anything from the blood cultures until tomorrow. They gave him platelets this afternoon and he tolerated them very well. He was extremely relieved that everything went well after the last time. The doctor told him this morning that sometimes people will have a reaction to platelets because of what the donor ate for breakfast that morning, weird. Anyway, he is doing good tonight. He was able to rest for a few hours today and aside from the, now, low grade fever he is feeling pretty good. The doctor has changed his order to only have vitals taken every 8 hours so maybe he will be able to sleep some tonight. Praying for a restful night and an even better day tomorrow. Praying the Lord will take his fever away and heal his body.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reaction!!!

We are taking it easy after a long night of platelets and blood. They didn't start Donald's blood products until about 6:30 last night and he had a slight reaction to this round of platelets. His eyes and lips started to swell and his throat started to feel itchy and had a burning sensation down his esophagus. They gave him some extra benedryl and it finally started to improve so that he was able to start getting his blood at 10:30 last night. So, we were up most of the night because they have to constantly check your vitals while you are getting blood products and it took about 2 1/2 - 3 hours for each bag of blood to run in. They finally finished running it in around 4:30 this morning. Then, they came to draw his blood about 5:30 and the day begins because around 6 am the nurses, nursing assistant and doctors begin there final rounds and the next shift begins their morning rounds. So, we had someone in the room every hour until 12 noon today. Finally, everyone cleared out and Donald was able to go to sleep and rest for a short while. His nap was short lived because he was having a nightmare and woke up in a panic about an hour later. He told me he was dreaming that the doctors kept running all kinds of test trying to find something and saying "we've got to find it, we've got to find it". Nothing like being in the hospital and dreaming about undergoing horrible testing to find something else other than what you already have. He has since taken something for anxiety and calmed down again. He is now resting peacefully.  He is so exhausted from the events of this week.

We spoke to the doctor and now have a better idea of what we can expect. She said that if all goes as planned he should be able to go home after his last chemo treatment. That is, once his white count come up above 1,000. Right now it is at 0 which means he has absolutely no immune system. Once his counts improve he will go home for 1-2 weeks. He will then come into the clinic for a bone marrow biopsy and return home to wait for the results. We are praying he is in remission. If he is in remission they will then schedule him to be admitted into the bone marrow transplant unit to begin his chemo for the transplant. That is the plan anyway. But as we all know things can change in an instant.

Over the past 2 nights we have met 2 of the bone marrow nurses because they are so short on patients in bone marrow transplant that some of the bone marrow nurses are working on the cancer floor. They have been extremely nice and very informative about the bone marrow unit. I think, aside from what he will be going through, he is going to feel more at home and like the bone marrow unit much more than the cancer floor. The nurses seem so much more caring and seem to really enjoy what they do. They want the very best for their patients.  We have had an extraordinary nurse during the day this weekend. She is always smiling and loves to talk. She has this bubbly personality that almost makes you forget why you are here. I wish all nurses were that way.

My prayer is that God will heal Donald's body. I pray he continues to give him strength and courage to endure what lies ahead. I pray the Lord will continue to work in Donald's life and draw him nearer to God and not let Satan plant those little seeds of doubt that cause him to lose focus. Our God is an Awesome God and I know he will see us through to the end. He is with us always. All we have to do is call on him and he is there to offer comfort in times of trouble.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ooops!!!

Okay so our day began at 5:00 this morning. Why? Well.....the nursing assistant came in bright and early this morning to do Donald's vitals and was just about to leave the room when she realized she had one more urinal to empty. I can still see it in my mind. It's almost like a movie where they show someone dropping something in slow motion. The assistant heads toward the side tray table and as she reaches for Donald's very full urinal she hits the urinal. Urine splashes out as it topples over and pours into Donald's bed and onto the floor. Donald immediately gets out of bed and changes his socks and shorts and wipes down with a wash cloth while the assistant is changing his linens and cleaning up the urine. Donald returns to his bed and his nurse enters the room inquiring as to what is going on and we explained. The assistant leaves the room and the nurse notices there is still urine on the floor, the tray table and, get this, Donald's phone. The nurse gets a towel and wipes up the urine and then wipes down the tray table with a disinfectant wipe. Donald opened his phone and poured the urine out of it and the nurse dried all of the parts with a wash cloth. I took some alcohol wipes and wiped down his phone as best I could but it still smelled like urine. Donald was okay with the urine on him and the bed but when he discovered his phone was hit he was not so chipper. It wasn't very funny this morning but looking back all I can do is laugh. Luckily, that was not a sign of how the rest of the day was going to go. He had a pretty good day other than that little mishap. He didn't have to have any blood or platelets today and all of his labs look very good. We are going to have to talk to the doctor more tomorrow about what the plan is with his treatment because from what the doctor said this morning Donald may not get to go home until after his bone marrow transplant which will put him staying in the hospital until August/September. I really hate that for him if that is the case because he wants to go home so bad. If only for just a day or two. I am not going to worry though because God has a plan and he will make sure Donald is where he needs to be to get better. God is still in control and if we will just be patient and let him guide us we will see the bigger picture.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

All Alone

Well Donald made it through his first day alone at the hospital. I went back to work this week and Patricia wasn't feeling well today so he had to make it on in own today. He did pretty good though.  He only called me twice. I think it has been harder on me to go back to work than it has been for him. All I do is think about how he is doing while I'm at work.  I went to see him on my lunch break because he was getting a little anxious about some things (and maybe because I missed him and just wanted to check on him). He calmed down and took a little nap after I left. Almost all of his labs were normal today. He didn't have to have platelets, blood or any additional test today. It was just an uneventful day for him. That worked out great because you have to watch everything these nurses do. They sometimes don't pay attention and have slight oversights. He is in a good mood this evening and appears to be on the mend. He has been very talkative and I think he missed me just a little. :) He only has 2 more chemo treatments and then hopefully he will be able to go home for a week or two. Wish the treatments didn't have to be so far apart. His last treatment will be on the 20th and then we will start watching his counts. After the last chemo treatment it's all up to his body, which is controlled by GOD, as to when he can get out of here. He will feel so much better at home.  Praying for healing, strength and patience. God is all powerful and continues to bless us each and every day.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Long Stressful Day

Well, I had to return to work today. Leaving the hospital this morning was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It's really hard to work when all you can do is think about what's happening at the hospital. It was a little easier knowing that Patricia was there with him but, as you all know, it's nothing like actually being there. I talked to Donald several times today and each time I talked to him he was little more irritated and anxious than the time before. He and his nurse kind of butted heads today. Their personalities just don't mesh well. She had him pretty irritated by the time I got back to the hospital. Not good. Also, I think a lot of his anxiety was related to not getting any sleep last night because they didn't hang his blood and platelets until after 8 last night. They finished running it in around 3am.  He was supposed to have Chemo first thing this morning but they had to get his potassium and magnesium up before they could give it to him. They didn't get started with the IV supplements until after lunch which had to run over about 2 hours and then they had to wait to draw blood to see if it came up. They drew lab work shortly after I arrived this afternoon to check his levels.  Finally, around 7pm everything was good to go and they hung his Chemo. It ran over a 2 hour period. Donald has tolerated the chemo very good so far. He was just slightly nauseated but a little phenergan took care of that. He was able to eat a big bowl of soup and crackers and he is now eating a chocolate chip cookie. YUM!!! I am praying he has a much better day tomorrow. I am sure he will.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Drawing Nearer

Well we are only a day away from having another Chemo treatment. Donald is still doing about the same. He is still really tired and is stomach issues have not resolved very much. He hasn't felt very well today. He is sounding a little nasally like he may have a cold. He has been chewing on the inside of his cheeks and lips from being anxious so he has blood blisters in his mouth. His magnesium and potassium were low again today so he had an extra dose of magnesium and they also gave him an awful tub of potassium supplement that Donald said felt like it was going to melt his tongue. So, you can only imagine how it felt on the inside of his cheeks.  He is trying hard to stay positive and really wants to go home. He has at least 3 weeks left before he will be able to go home for a little while. We are prayerful that all will go well and he will be able go home and stay home for the full 2 weeks this time, if not longer. Thanking God for all of his blessings and praying for Donald to keep his strength up and continue to heal.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Little Better!

Donald slept most of the night and all morning. He woke up around lunch time and has been awake all afternoon. His stomach is getting a little better as the days go by. He has eaten more today than yesterday without getting sick so that's good. I spoke with the Bone Marrow Transplant team and they have found 2 good matches for Donald. They are going to do further testing to see which one is the best. They will still check new donor's as they register to see if they are a better match though until he is ready for the transplant because the better the match the better his chances. So, everyone that is interested in being a donor please don't hesitate to register with Be The Match. It will be at least a month before he will be able to have the transplant because he has to complete this chemo protocol and be in remission before they can start the process. We are praying all will go well and he will be in remission this time. Everyone please pray that his tummy issues resolve quickly as well because it is tiring him tremendously. Thanks to all who have continued to pray for him and follow his progress. It means so much to have so many people pulling for him. God is Great and we are blessed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sleeping Like a Baby!

Donald once again slept most of the night and all day. He had several visitors today but didn't get to visit with all of them because he was just too tired. The doctor seems to think Donald is finally catching up on his sleep after not sleeping for days. The Chemo treatments also make him pretty tired. One of the side effects is being unusually tired and sleeping more than normal. I am glad to see him sleeping for a change. He really needs the rest.   He had to get a bag of platelets, they gave him some potassium and are still giving him magnesium supplements. He hasn't had much of a appetite today. He is still having tummy trouble and has been nauseated. He got sick late this evening and gave the nurse something to clean up in the bathroom sink. Guess that's better than the floor. Praying the Lord will take away this stomach trouble and he will be able to eat better tomorrow.