Thursday, July 30, 2009

Busy week

I guess that once you start to feel better, life comes at you fast. Saturday we drove just north of Truckee to pick up Caitlin who had just finished a three day reenactment of the Mormon pioneers as they pulled handcarts for miles up through the Sierras. It is apropos since she is descendant from two different ancestral lines that were in those original ill-fated handcart companies that got stuck in the snow at Devil's Gate Wyoming in 1856. She had a wonderful time.
We have had many visitors this week, both family and friends. I am one of nine children in my family. Monday we had a family get-together at our house that included 7 of my 9 siblings. Five of us live in Northern California. Additionally My sister Mindy and her family came from Ohio and my sister Elaine and her family were visiting from Utah. It was a wonderful evening to re-connect and I have never seen so many people in our pool at one time. (It was 102 degrees).
Tuesday, Barbie and I went back to Santa Clara for my 1st annual heart transplant evaluation. This takes two days because it includes an extensive doctor visit, an ECG, chest x-ray, multiple labs, and an echocardiogram on day one. Day two I then underwent both a right (through the femoral vein) heart catheterization to check pressures and do a heart biopsy; as well as a left (through the femoral artery) catherterization to check the coronary vessels. In sum, the heart looks great. The vessels are wide open, the pressures are in an excellent range and the biopsy just came back showing 1a or very minimal rejection. This is doubly reassuring since I am just finishing my first course of Revlimid which was thought to have caused my severe heart rejection back in November. However, this time they treated me with cyclophospahamide to reduce the chance of the theoretical risk of rejection that Revlimid might have. It worked. This is quite significant in that it means that post heart transplant patients can have Revlimid as a treatment option. Next week I will get a light chain level to determine if the Revlimid was successful in controlling my amyloidosis.
The trip was even more memorable as Barbie suggested we not stay in Santa Clara (yet again) so we found a resort in Santa Cruz called the Chaminade Resort and Spa and spent the evening walking on the beach and found ourselves mesmerized by the flocks of brown pelicans diving and feeding in the surf just off the beach. We then drove down the coast to Capitola and dined at the Shadowbrook restaurant. It was a beautiful old three level building built on a hill overlooking a small inlet of water. The food was divine. I had a fillet Mignon with Bearnaise sauce and potatoes gratin and Barbie had the chicken Saltimboca with baked polenta. We shared a fresh peach cobbler with cinnamon gelato. It was strange to recollect that only four weeks ago I could even look at soup without a sense of nausea. I feel the miracle of good health and it feels wonderful. Again I am left with a profound sense of gratitude for all of the prayers and fasting on my behalf. How amazing it is that while I daily struggled to eat, there were other that chose to go without food so that my appetite might return. I haven't felt this good in recent memory and I have a good memory. I look forward each day to get up and go to work. Life feels so normal. The only downside is that my warped sense of humor has returned and I am driving Barbie crazy with my quips and puns. Things have reversed as the health is good and the humor is sick.

May this continue forever.



Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin, so glad to read your blog today. I'm happy you are doing so well. Thank God. I am doing ok. Still feeling fatigue and the nausea is still there, especially at night. Other than that doing ok. I miss seeing everyone and hope I will see you at the next heart transplant support group. The last one was great seeing everyone after my stem cell transplant. I will begin Decadron (YUK) and Velcade soon. I hate Decadron. I don't understand why they are not having me start with the Revalin (spell?) too. Maybe you are the ginny pig again! I will do this for 3 months and then they will look at things then. I wish I could just not do anything, cause I feel good not being on Decadron. Well hope to see you soon. Glad you are back to work, cause I know how much you love it. Take care. love,

Corey Stipp said...

Kevin this is great to hear! I am so glad to hear you are feeling well and that the news has been so positive. Take care : )

Patty Kuntzmann said...

Kevin ~
I am so glad to hear that you are feeling good and life is well. What a blessing! Next time you come down this way, we should have dinner. We miss you guys so much! Love to you and Barbie!
Take care,

Kristin said...

This is all such good news! We are so glad you are feeling good and hope it continues for a very very long time. And we love your sense of humor that we are just getting to know! Can't wait to spend more time with you and Barbie, Neal is especially anxious, due to arrive next week!!

Ben Anderson said...

Glad to hear the humor is healthily twisted. Hope to see you soon.


Wendy said...

Love this post! So happy to hear this!! We are going to be in your neck of the woods at the end of Aug. We hope to see you, if it works for you. Love you guys!

Aunt Renie said...

What a change, to hear details of a restaurant menu instead of the chemo menu!
May your humor always be worse than your health.
love, Aunt Renie

Anonymous said...
Monday, Aug. 3
Laughter is carbonated holiness.
Anne Lamott