Friday, December 30, 2011

Winter Update

It's been a busy December -- family, kids, grandkids, church, friends...

Some good news: It looks like Sabine's first round of chemotherapy is working!  After one cycle with Velcade+Dexamethasone she is in "normal" limits!

Bad news -- she picked up a respiratory infection and is now being treated with an antibiotic called the "Z-pak." Lot of coughing.... some temperature rises... and a worried husband.

More to soon to come.

Love and blessings to our blog friends!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In the Trench!

Sabine dialyzing on the train coming back from San Antonio
this summer.
We are back in the "trench" (that's what I call chemotherapy and I'm only the support person!
It's been a great summer. Sabine has had almost 6 months off without chemo. But we have seen the "numbers" slowly creep back up and now we have come to the point that Dr Sheehan believes some chemical intervention is necessary.

Starting next week, it's chemo infusion (IV) two days a week at the U.W. hospital for a two week cycle followed by a week off.

Off we go. Back in the trench -- but being back in the trench means the shots fly over your head, right?

The really bad thing for Sabine is that this means we can't go south to warm up this winter.

We will see. Maybe a weekend at a local water park?

Christmas is coming. Life is still a blessing. And we begin our 5th year of fighting cancer together!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sabine dialyzes on the train from San Antonio

This was a bit of a challenge on the rockin' rollin' train but we did it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Riding the Rails

A journey to see daughter Yumi who, after returning from Afghanistan, is now studying to be an Army social worker in San Antonio at the Army Graduate School.

So, with another cancer blood test coming up next month (and the strong possibility of going back to a regimen of chemotherapy, we decided to jump on the train with our dialysis equipment and head out to sunny San Antonio.

Relaxing in the top bunk on the Amtrak train.

Ever the writer...

Worshiping with Yumi and Rees at their church,
St Mark's Episcopal in downtown S.A.

Sabine, Rees, Yumi and me outside of St Marks.

Lunch after church with Yumi and friends, Jane and Mike.
The morning "blood washing." After that, we headed out
to the Riverwalk downtown. Maybe some tamales?

One of the problems I have it hitting that vein when Sabine's arm is
in a  different position than I am used to at home... sometimes
I have to make numerous "sticks." Ugh.

We arrived after about 20+ hours on the train (we had a compartment so we could dialyze on the way back (I will report on how that went!). But in the meantime we do our daily exercise, dialyze in our hotel room, visit with Yumi and her beau, Rees, and explore the city.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sabine's Summer

Some pictures to capture Sabine's "no-chemotherapy" summer!

Our first-ever family "restoration houseboat cruise on the Mississippi River

Tandem cycling on the 400 Trail near Reedsburg.

It took 30 years to get Sabine back on a tandem! She seems to be enjoying it.

Our annual vacation time with sister Barb and hubby Ken (this has been going on for 30 years!)

On the Mississippi -- and lovin' it and her.

Sabine relaxing poolside. I thought when women grew old they wore purple?

Constructing Sabine's bridge at our farm.

A great kayaking summer on the Rock, Pine, Baraboo, Grant and Yahara  rivers.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Yesterday, we returned to the UW Cancer Center after a 12-week hiatus. Earlier, the lab results on Sabine's cancer were encouraging. The numbers were slowly (not exponentially) increasing. That was good news. Dr Sheehan looked at Sabine's labs, checked her out, and said, "I'll see you in 12 weeks." Twelve weeks? That's great. It seems that the last year in Revlimid has significantly slowed down the growth of Sabine's blood cancer.

All I can say is "praise God from whom all blessings flow!" And thanks for your prayers, friendship, and concern.

The battle continues but with a little less desperation (at least on my part!).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

False Alarm

Sabine's back tests all proved negative. Whew! (Maybe she pulled a muscle kayaking two days in a row a couple of weeks ago.) Next stop -- Dr Sheehan's office next Wednesday and looking at the blood test results of the cancer activity. Little, I pray.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Summer (Almost) Without Cancer

The Couper family's "Restoration Cruise" this summer.

This Spring Sabine received a 12 week respite from her daily regimen of chemotherapy. It was a welcome break which enabled us to forget (almost) her cancer this summer. Next week is the 12th week and time for the blood test and conference with Dr Sheehan that will tell us what the cancer is doing or (hopefully) has not doing.

The respite permitted us to have a more flexible dialysis schedule, take a number of kayak trips, attend plays at the APT, and engage fully in my family’s “restoration cruise” on the Mississippi River last month (see
Sabine with granddaughter Taylor.

So, it has been a good summer. But for me, it always seems that I am looking over my shoulder, warily watching out for the cancer which seems to stalk us. Yes, I worry... but it seems that this summer I have worried less than I have the past two summers. And that’s an improvement.

But last week Sabine had some back pain. Alert! Warning bell! The urinalysis was negative but we have not heard back on the Xrays. Waiting. Worrying.

Sabine continues to exercise daily and reports the pain it not as bad as it was last week. Still back pain (and the complications regarding bone loss with Multiple Myeloma and dialysis) is something I will continue to worry about.

So, it’s back to see Dr Sheehan next week at the UW Cancer Clinic and formulating some next steps depending on what those nasty light chains in Sabine’s blood were up to (or not up to) this summer.

In January, we will enter our 4th year living with cancer. I know we both are grateful to God for the time we have been given and the family and friends who continue to pour out their love upon us. Yes, life is good! In fact, it is very good!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Six Week Numbers

 Sabine has been now six weeks without chemotherapy. The "cancer numbers," though not zero (as we continue to hope and pray for) have not risen too dramatically. When we stopped the chemo she was at 26 (normal free lambda light chain range is 5.7-26.3).

Now the blood test revealed that it had risen to 42. My prediction is that Dr Sheehan will not take action and wait until the 12 weeks without chemo are completed. The next test in 6 weeks will tell us the rate of the increase and dictate our next steps.

In the meantime, Sabine is enjoying the summer by being active -- exercising for about an hour each day, kayaking, cycling and, after seeing "The Jersey Boys" in Milwaukee this week, humming all those great songs from the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons -- "C'mon Marianne, Ragdoll, Silence is Golden, Bye Bye Baby, and Can't Take My Eyes Off of You..."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lazy Summer (so far)

Here we are at the mid-point. The summer off -- no chemotherapy for Sabine.  Tweleve whole weeks! Now it's at the half-way point and today Sabine goes for a blood test to check and see what the cancer has been doing (or, hopefully, NOT doing!). It has now been six weeks without chemotherapy and this coming week we will know what has been going on in Sabine's blood... and what our next step is...

Nevertheless, it has been a hot, but nice summer. We have been exercising daily, kayaking the Rock River, tandem cycling in Penninsula State Park in Door County and attending the American Players Theater in nearby Spring Gree.

Son Michael came for a few days and went cycling with me. It's been 28 years since we went cycling together. Nostalgia.

And in less than a month, the Couper side of the family is getting together on the Mississippi River at Lansing, IA, to do some serious houseboating!

Carpe diem!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sabine's Newsletter Submission

(The following is an article Sabine recently submitted for the Wisconsin Dialysis Center Newsletter)

It has been a long time since I have written an article for the newsletter. Some of you may recall that I was diagnosed 3-1/2 years ago with multiple myeloma (a “terminal” blood cancer) which usually carries a prognosis of five years. My cancer first presented itself through acute kidney failure. So, in January, 2008, I not only started chemotherapy to try and control my cancer, but also began dialysis due to my kidney problems (end-stage renal failure).

At first this was extremely overwhelming! I had only retired five years earlier from policing at age 50 and had many plans including visiting our adult children spread across five states. I chose early retirement because my husband, David Couper, who had retired from the Madison Police Department five years earlier, was older than I was and I wanted to be able to spend more time with him. Dialysis, however, complicated everything – or so I thought.

My HMO would only pay for my treatments at the Wisconsin Dialysis Center so it was not feasible for us to consider doing any out-state travel. I was devastated because I knew our children had limited time to get away from their jobs and busy lives. Six months into our thrice-weekly clinic dialysis schedule we were presented with an alternative – home hemodialysis. It would require training, but would permit us to travel. For the past three years we have gone to Florida two weeks during the winter season. Home dialysis permitted us to continue to have a winter vacation in a sunny and warm place. So, two years ago, we purchased a slide-in camper for our pickup truck and drove to Glacier Park, hiked, camped, and dialyzed in, perhaps, some of the most beautiful mountain settings! This year we have two more road trips – house boating on the Mississippi with kids and grandkids and, in the fall, going to Branson, Missouri.

All of this, however, has not been smooth sailing! It took three failed fistulas before we were able to button hole and get rid of the tunnel catheter in my chest. I was fortunate enough to be able to receive a stem cell transplant in the Spring of 2009. This put my cancer under control for a while and I was working toward getting on the kidney transplant list and possible transplant if my cancer behaved itself for 24 months. I didn’t and it returned. I was back on chemotherapy and, again, devastated. I gave myself twenty-four hours to cry, feel sorry for myself, and used word I hadn’t used since our children arrived!

Back on chemotherapy and dialysis, I refused to waste any more of my precious time in such a wasteful, unconstructive way. My husband, David, gave me a great insight recently. He questioned, when something terrible happens to us, how do we know it’s not a blessing? With my original cancer diagnosis, I first assumed it was a disaster. But now looking back at the past 3-1/2 years, I know it was really a blessing. He and I have spent more time together, we choose our travel carefully and deliberately, we both take much better care of our bodies (daily exercise, eating healthy, and regular check-ups) as well as improving our minds and cultivating our spirits. He would have continued full-time work in ministry and I would have continued my part-time work at Lands’ End. This would have resulted in us seeing each other after work (usually tired and drained) or on weekends (doing yard work and other domestic chores). Why? Because we all assume there will be more time to do things together (even to work on our relationship) in the future. We all know that a slower day will never come. All we really have is now.

Each of us has a responsibility to live our lives fully and celebrate our life every day.

Health and happiness,


Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Time of Rest

The cancer "numbers" are now within standard range and so Dr Sheehan has decided to suspend the chemotherapy for 12 weeks and has given Sabine a chemical-free summer! There will be a mid-term blood chemistry check at six weeks to see how things are progressing (or, hopefully, NOT progressing).

Our prayer is that the cancer remains "restrained" from growth and God guide the hands, hearts and minds of those doing research in Multiple Myeloma seeking a cure.

We know at this time that this cancer is not "cureable," but hopefully "manageable."

Life is still good.  Love trumps!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


After about seven Revlimid cycles of chemotherapy, Sabine's "lambda light chains" are just in standard range (26.3) [standard range: 5.7-26.3].

My prediction would be that Dr Sheehan will go ahead and give her a "rest" from the chemotherapy and see what the cancer does. Sort of a "wait and see."

Sabine gets pretty tired by the end of the chemo cycle, but continues to exercise six days a week. Hemoglobin and platelets are down but not to the point of danger.

We have a busy summer ahead. This weekend hosting 20+ Coupers and Lobtiz's... and then there is the big Couper family reunion in August.

We continue to serve at St Peter's in North Lake.

Life is good.

Thanks be to God!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring has FINALLY arrived!

This has been a cold and dreary spring until this week. Eighty degrees and sun!  Our old bones are moving again as we hike the trails, do yard work, and bring out the lawn furniture and get the pool ready.

Sabine has been tired (but she is not slowing down!) with this chemo regimen.  We are taking blood this week in anticipation of our meet with Dr Sheehan next week.  We are hoping and praying that those nasty proteins are being diminished and that Sabine's blood chemistry withstands the chemical assault.  It's a balance between killing off the cancer and preserving her blood chemistry.

All in all, things are stable.  Life (so far) is good!

Here are some spring pics:

Napping poolside in the screen house with our trusty companion, Mocha

Dinner and a night in Chicago

Spring has come to New Journey Farm, flowers and our creek in the background.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trying to get it right

Dialysis.  Sounds simple, right? Just hook up and away you go! 

I wish it was that simple and easy.  Sometimes the body does not want to do what the operator (me) is intending to do. 

On each of our five days of dialysis each week I must place two needles (arterial and venous connections) into Sabine's arm to begin the dialysis.  I cannot hook her up to the hemodialysis machine and start the run unless those two "connections" are made. And that "connecting" means putting a needle into her arm squarely into the vein, getting a "flash" back indicating it's "in;" flushing the needle and plastic tube and then connecting the machine (artificial kidney) to the tube in order to being the process.

Now even if all this looks good (connected, a flash, and flushed) if the pressures are too high we might have to reposition the needles, start at a slower speed (and longer process) and constantly re-evaluate the procedure based on machine pressures.

The connection goal is to place a "blunt" needle into something called a "buttonhole" in Sabine's arm. The buttonhole is made by inserting a sharp needle for a number of weeks into the same site and same angle each time -- thereby creating a "buttonhole" which can be accessed by a blunt needle through the same "hole" (which, obviously, is a better method than using a sharp needle at a different site on her arm each day!).

But of course, the body is not like working on a car engine.  Machines are predictable and usually if you have to connect a hose to a machine it's fairly simple; that it, the site nor the angles don't change from day to day.

We have been struggling with connections this past week.  The week before everything went "textbook." When problems start to happen, we either have to make the connection with a sharp needle in the buttonhole (something we want to try and avoid) or discontinue the treatment cycle.

When this occurs, it causes a lot of tension (and frustration) on my part.  Why can't I get this to work?  What's wrong with me -- or my technique? 

Sabine seems to do much better than me in these situation.  She is always calm and re-assures me that her body is simply not cooperating today and it's not me or my technique.  Still, I feel bad when all this doesn't work.  Sometimes I have to call the clinic in Madison for reassurance and we go through my actions and talk about "options" like discontinue for today, use a sharp, or (worst yet) come on down to the clinic and they will give it a try.  Thankfully, we haven't had to do the clinic option for some time!

So, that's our life as patient and practitioner.  Most of the time dialysis goes like a whiz.  But on days like this, when things don't go right, when I simply cannot get the needles into the "fistula" and have to try again and again and then resort to a "sharp," I feel the pressure (and it's not from Sabine, it's the pressure I put on myself and the frustration I feel). 

What's the spiritual lesson?  I know.  It's being calm.  Accepting what is. And being grateful for the fact she is still here with me and I am still able to hold her and love her!

So what am I complaining about again? Life is good.

Peace.  Spring is coming -- I see Robins, wet and cold Robins!

Soon we will all dry out.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Chart

The "Numbers"
We see Dr Sheehan this coming Wednesday.  And since I usually get the lab results before we see him I have started making a chart of the cancer numbers as a "visual cancer aid."  This way I can see better what is going on. 

So, this month is a good return (#59).  Another depression in the cancer numbers (the amount of "free lambda light chains; those nasty proteins that have clogged up Sabine's kidneys and messed up her blood)!

To the left of the chart is the time after her stem cell transplant; then a climbing of the numbers to #133 and then the oral chemotherapy (Revlimid + Dexamethasone).

I think what is going on here is that Sabine needs to take enough of the chemo to repress the cancer but not so much as will destroy her blood chemistry.  For example, her hemoglobin is around 10 (normally 14 or so) and her platelets around 100 (normally 150+).

Meanwhile, Sabine keeps up her joyful spirit and exercises daily!  Life is still good!

And Resurrection Sunday is on the horizon -- and it is both a faith and life event for the two of us!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Energizer Bunny

That's us, spring camping in the Rockies -- circa 198os
Sabine was born on Easter Sunday and her family often called her "Bunny" in German (Haase?). So I have often thought of her over these cancer years as begining the Energizer Bunny of the battery commercials!  We celebrated our birthday last week (yes, we both were born on April 5 but in different years) and every birthday with cancer is a good birthday.

Sabine has been on chemotherapy with the oral drug, Revlimid, since November and it has steadily repressed the cancer and still is.  Something to be greatly thankful! (And on top of all that she continues to exercize each day and teach Sunday School!)

So we had a good birthday week with lots of contact from friends and family.

We drew blood for tests this week and will be seeing Dr Sheehan next week for the results. 

Summer is coming... and Sabine is looking forward to spending time on the farm and for another Couper family reunion which this summer will be houseboating on the Mississippi River!  Anchors aweigh!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Home Dialysis

5 of 7
a week
260 out of
the time
we jokingly call
“blood washing”
the machine
the supplies
the cartridge
2 by
11 inch
out with
the bad
& in with
the good stuff
redder than red
cleaner than clean
60 plus
like lovemaking
we do it
at home
or camper
these days
keep you
going yes
each day
we set up
tape needles syringes
gauze, swabs, pads
masks, gloves
& picks
to find those
those pokes
(most of the
time a buttonhole
soon off we go
three hours of
& cleaning
from the magic
& us
up on your feet
out the door
our life
for a time
free at last
& yes thank God
free until

Monday, March 14, 2011

March Update

I know many of you look for updates on Sabine's cancer fight (and you know that for the most part, NO news is GOOD news)!  So, my "quietness" has been because Sabine's increased chem has been going along pretty well.  Yes, she is tired, but she still gets her exercise in every morning!

We recently got her "labs" back and the "numbers" were reduced (last month they were 100 and now with the increased dosage of Revlimid they fell to 75).  We meet with Dr Sheehan on Wednesday and we expect that he will be happy with the treatment results.  However, Sabine's hemoglobin and platelets have also dropped (hence the tiredness associated with this chemo) and I am sure Dr Sheehan will have us continue to monitor her blood work (which otherwise looks pretty good).

We both are anxiously awaiting the warm winds of Spring!  It's been a long winter!

Gratefully, I remain.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Visiting Hospice

First of all, the medical report: good.  Sabine is more tired but tolerating the increase chemo dosage. We check the "numbers" again in a couple of weeks and see how the cancer is responding.  Otherwise, we both anxiously await the tide of spring!

Now for more:

A dear friend from one of our support groups checked into the hospice center last week.  They called us to tell us about the progress of the cancer and what had happened.  You know, it's so easy and comfortable to live in your head.  Oh, the hospice center that I had heard so much about but never had anyone I knew in it.  A good time to visit, to see her and her husband and to check the place out... all rational "head stuff." 

But once there, that old question from clinical pastoral training came into my mind as Sabine and I opened the front door. "What's this like? What's the feelings?

Sabine and I had errands to do so we arrived and left in two separate cars.  I sat for some time in my car pondering these questions and writing the following poem...

a call to visit
a friend in hospice on
a wintery day
that's what i do
(or so i thought)
and then
a gnawing
appears and takes
"i must leave" you
and i
feeling stupid
to ever think this
was less
it was
and what i thought
would be
just another
medical visit
becomes to each of
that day
the day in which
we, too,
will open these
large wooden
enter together
but only
one of

Monday, February 28, 2011

Update, February 2011

The old adage still prevails: "No news is good news!"

Thus, my silence...

Since our last post, Sabine has had to increase her Revlimid dosage from 10 to 15 mg. in order to try and arrest the growing blood cancer.

So far, so good.  She is experiencing more tiredness, but is still her usually "bubbly" self and still into daily excercise (we just did a 5 mile walk up two major hills with our trusty canine companion, Mocha!).

We go back and see Dr Sheehan in a couple of weeks and take a look what Sabine's blood work reveals.

We had a great time in Florida and our anxiously awaiting the warm breezes of spring!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Valentine to a Cancer Patient

i started to
write direct
for this day
of hearts
i found the words
not quite
i go to my preferred
broken verse
as these words
they become
(to me)
both whole and
thoughts of these
years together
the cancer time
which to
would be the
the distancing
but to me
these are the special
the bonding time
cementing a love
which I thought
could never be
more stronger
its become
a love
so deep
so marvelous
no tragedy
no loss
no grief
no cancer
can erode
can fracture
this bond between

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Avoiding Snow / Recharging engines!

Usually, we love our Wisconsin winters -- snowshoeing and skiing.  But each winter Sabine loves to "go south."  And that means Florida for us.  So what does Sabine do when she comes to Florida?

She visits and plays with family.
She dances.
She takes long beach walks.
She eats.
She works out at the gym.
She goes to a performance  .
She gets a massage.

Getting it on at the Cafe Tu Tu Tango in Orlando.

Hikin' the beach!

Moving those muscles at the gym.

A patio massage with the seabreeze and surf in the background.

The fabulous "Flamenco Express" danced at the Lyric Theater in nearby Stuart.

Lunch at the marina at Fort Pierce.

The Isaac Byrd, Jr. Jazz Band at Stuart's Riverwalk.
Breakfast on St Pete's beach.

Grand daughter and great-grand kids!



Saturday, February 5, 2011

On the Road Again (with our trusty dialysis machine!)

There is something liberating and peaceful about our vacation time.  I was really looking forward to our trip to Florida.  My expectations were certainly met with our visits to new family members (the Gowers) and reconnecting with daughters Catherine and Jennifer and their families in nearby St Petersburg.

Of course, Sabine loves vacations!  She always has.  And the chemotherapy seems to be going well (we will check the numbers again when we return).  I also can report that the on-the-road hemo dialysis has been going well and I have been able to make the vein connections without complications (thanks be to God!).

Just before we left Orlando and headed off to the beach on the east coast (Hutchinson Island) the dialysis machine failed.  Not completely, but started to give us some worrying signals the last hour of treatment.  We made it through and called our dialysis nurses in Madison and then the manufacturer of the machine -- NextStage on the east coast.  (Yes, they had just been snowed in with a tremendous blizzard).

We took the next day off (Friday) and drove to Hutchinson Beach where NextStage said they would deliver a NEW machine after 5 pm.  We arrived at the condo, unpacked, and soon had a call from the desk that our machine had arrived from the airport in Miami.  Magic!

So we have a new machine for this morning's treatment as we spend our last week on the beach.  The weather has been great (up to 80 degrees yesterday) and plenty of sunshine. Just what Sabine needs!

Here's a few pics!

Sabine and friends at the Cafe Tu Tu Tango in Orlando

On St Petersburg Beach

Bowling with kids and grandkids at the Ten Pin Lanes

Fresh grouper at the marina in Fort Pierce

The view from our condo on Hutchinson Island near Jensen Beach

Friday, January 28, 2011


[Coughing, wheezing, sniffling, hacking] "Well, we just might as well be sick in warm Florida than in freezing Wisconsin!" So we headed south, drove 800 miles before we saw grass and even though we scraped our windows in Lake City, we were in Florida and it had to get warmer.

I was worried that Sabine's cough could be related to her cancer -- so, when I finally caught a cold, I was relieved...  Such is the nature of a caregiver/battle buddy.

Here's some pics from our stop at my granddaughter Nikki and four GREAT grandkids in southern Illinois and at our timeshare in Orlando near Disney World.

(Oh, yes, our colds have seem to disappear with the frost...]

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Good To Go!

Sabine likes to get up for her cancer doc!  And with sub-zero weather all around us, why not think SOUTH -- sort of a mid-winter luau at the cancer clinic!  (NO, we don't dress up like this in the main lobby!  We change after we get into Dr Sheehan's office and before he comes in!).

So here we are.  Dr Sheehan gets to pick whether we get to go south for a couple of weeks vacation:

Guess which on he picked?

Monday, January 17, 2011


We meet with Dr Sheehan next week just before our vacation; our “run to the south.” I am worried. We got the blood test “numbers” back today and they had, again, increased. And this is despite the chemotherapy intervention. One side of me (the rational one) wants to look at the increase as being statistically insignificant – an increase, yes, but not a big one. Then there is the cough…

We are monitoring a strange cough that Sabine has. We have discussed it with at the clinic and we are watching and seeing whether or not another chest x-ray is warranted. No temp, no tell-tale mucus signs, but a persistent cough. I am watchful for pneumonia that stalks many multiple myeloma patients.

The other side of me says, “whoa!” We’re not going anywhere until the cough gets under control. And I don’t like an increase in any of the cancer markers – even those deemed “statistically insignificant.” I hunker down. I internally shout, “Circle the wagons,” and diligently watch for any kind of trouble.

This is really the “ups and downs” of cancer. You got it. You get it under control. You watch. You wait. And then you’re back in the fight again.

Stay tuned until Wednesday when we have our scheduled appointment with Dr Sheehan.

P.S. For those of you who are number-watchers the free lambda light chains have gone from 19 in Nov., 2009 six months after the stem-cell transplant and this was still holding into last May. Then last August the numbers jumped to 42, September was 64, and 133 in November when we started the Revlimid/Dexamethasone intervention. Within 4 weeks it has reduced the numbers to 71. Now, in her second 28-day cycle of chemo the numbers have now increased to 106 (which was the lowest Sabine got in her initial Velcade chemotherapy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Colds

So far, the chemotherapy has been going well.  But I have to remember that Sabine's immune system is depressed while this is going one -- and that means to BEWARE of viruses and other bugs.  She has been struggling with her second cold this season and this gets me on edge.  I suspect it is her immune system because I have caught none of these bugs (and in the past, if one of us had a cold the other would soon follow). It is now primarily a night-time cough, but thankfully no temperature spiking.  So we are on watch.  Still planning and running south in a couple of weeks after we consult with Dr Sheehan.  Otherwise, live is good and we are grateful!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Update 2011

It's been a while since I have posted.  As you know, "no news is good news!" (At least in my blogging life).  Dialysis has gone well for us and we are encouraged by Sabine's reponse to the chemotherapy.  It is deep and cold winter here in Wisconsin and we now are looking south for our annual "run to the sun" for a few weeks to thaw out and help us get through the rest of our winter.

We take blood for the cancer test on Monday and then see Dr Sheehan again on the 19th -- just before we head south (that is if all goes well!).

Christmas is now past -- the Feast of the Epiphany was on Thursday and that means the days are getting longer and the light shines out more powerfully (linking Christian theology with the natural world!).

Sabine and I wish you all a blessed New Year.  We are anticipating an great new year in 2011 -- we hope you will join us as a people of hope!