Thursday, May 17, 2012

Too much for one blog

Ben and Caitlin
I increased my dose of steroids today and had the epiphany that I need post some blogs. Yet, so much has happened in the last month that I can't fit it all into one post. Suffice it to say that someone up there must like us as we have seen much joy recently.
First, Caitlin is in love with a wonderful young man named Benjamin Solari.They met (for the second time) on the day he gave his homecoming talk from his mission. He served in Spain (habla espaƱol). They began dating at BYU and got engaged on Caitlin's 19th birthday. We are so excited. Ben is a wonderful guy and is perfect for Caitlin. I know what you are think. How is it possible that our baby is getting married? Yes, Barbie and I find it hard to fathom such an idea, but love does not happen on a schedule.
To make things better, Barbie is done with school so she and Caitlin can plan her dream wedding together without the stress of classwork and studying. They are having a blast. The wedding is planned for July 28, 2012, in the Sacramento Temple. This will occur in the middle of a very busy summer. Our traveling schedule begins this Saturday when we fly to Atlanta for the American Urological Association annual meeting and will end when we move Ben and Caitlin into the house we bought in Provo. (No, we are not moving, we just had an offer that we could not refuse.)
I had an interesting call last Friday from Dr Schrier. He is my oncologist at Stanford and he never calls. I had sent him a copy of my most recent Kappa light chains level which was the lowest that it had ever been; 39 mg/l. (I parenthetically added that the extra steroids I was taking to prevent post-herpetic neuralgia from my recent episode of shingles may have further kicked down the number.) He completely surprised me with the call as he proceeded straight to the point. "What is your treatment protocol?" he asked. "I am on weekly Velcade; four weeks on, one week off and dexamethasone." I said. "What dose of dexamethasone." then followed. I was caught. I had once been told that 20 mg was as good as 40 mg and opted for the lower dose to avoid side effects, but it had become clear recently that I am very dose sensitive to steroids regarding the lowering of my numbers. "I taking 24 mg." "You need to increase it to 40mg." He said without hesitation. "I am very concerned about you." he added. Wait, my numbers are good, I thought. Then I realized what had happened. "This is because of another patient that showed amyloidosis in their new heart." "Yes," he responded, "I'd like to get your numbers as low as possible; even start you on a 3rd line chemotherapy." I wasn't really ready for this. But I said that I would push up my steroid dose (beginning today) and that we could go from there.

Obviously, I will need to expand on some stuff I alluded to above. I promise I will promptly post again to do due justice to those events.

I had a thought last week driving home. Not a new thought, rather an idea that occasionally inserts itself as I consider my current station in life. I can't imagine a happier, more blessed man than I am. My life is so good in so many ways. When I try to discover why this might be, I cannot not escape the realization that the bulk of my daily dose of joy comes from my relationships with others; friends, family and God. I could not be happy alone.
So I thank you, all of you.

P.S. The book is close to being done. I just need to figure out how to get it edited and published.