4-28-10

 I have colorful and cheerful get well cards on the wall; always uplifting to look at them.

 Status: 8.0/10.

Events: Had a rough night  with night sweats and alternating chilliness and feeling too hot.  So didn’t get a good night’s sleep.  Felt kinda punky most of the day.  Lisa was here as always to comfort me.

   One of the nurses in doing her standard assessment looked at my throat and saw what can best be described as “spots.”  Small, less than a pencil eraser-sized, white, non-painful, perfectly round, sugar cookie-shaped things on the roof of my mouth.  Didn’t look like “thrush.”  The team came by, and I instantly became a teaching case.  None of them had seen anything like it either.  They swabbed it for bacteria, fungi, and viruses.  Nice to be unique, huh.

   Later, the cultures that are done routinely each Monday did come back positive for yeast (thrush).  Still don’t know what the UFOs are.

Comments:  Your orifices, the contact you have with the outside world, makes them a natural home for all sorts of micro-organisms.  Most of them harmless, living in a symbiotic relationship, and actually doing a lot of good by making it difficult for disease-causing bacteria to get a foothold.  Even fungi, including the common Candida albicans (the cause of thrush in the throat and the all too familiar yeast infection in women) take up residence.  Their growth is inhibited by all the good bacteria taking up space and nutrients.  But taking broad-spectrum antibiotics, like the ones I’m on, kills off all the good bacteria, and Candida has the playground all to itself.  To combat its overgrowth, they have me on a 4 times a day, liquid, anti-fungal regimen that I swish and swallow.

   My normal white cells are down too very low levels on their way to zero.  The likelihood is that without them I’ll soon spike a fever just from the normal bacteria in my body.   When that happens they’ll start additional antbiotics.

   It’s a common misconception that antibiotics cure infection.  It’s really your immune system and its white cells that do the battle.  Antibiotics are given so they can quickly reduce the bacterial numbers and make it a fair fight.  I have to wage war over the next several weeks with a reduced number of troops.

   Tomorrow is the last day of chemotherapy, but it goes out with a bang.  It’s a drug called mitoxantrone that’s infamous for causing hard shaking chills, what doctors call rigors (RYE-gurs).  They refer to it as “shake and bake,” and it leaves you feeling like you had the flu.  So Lisa may end up taking dictation for a day or two.  She’s a journalist par excellence and likely will put my words to shame.   They‘ll  give it  to me at 6 PM, so you may not hear about the roller coaster ride until Friday.

   Wish me luck.  Those who know my habits at theme parks will testify that I’ve never liked roller coasters.  Now I know why.

 Love,

 -B

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14 Responses to “”

  1. Susan and Larry Says:

    Wishing you the easiest treatment possible. A positive attitude gets the best results. You definitely have the proper attitude. We look forward to your blog each day. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Know everything will be fine. Keep moving ahead. You have a great loving family. Love The Weiss’

  2. Jonathan Says:

    Bruce & Lisa-

    I sent an email, but wanted to drop a note here too. I just spoke with mom and she said that the brothers and sister are checking to see if they are a bone marrow match. I don’t know what it would entail, but if I can offer myself up and into the mix, I would be honored to help.

    Let me know what I can do.

    Love,
    Jonathan

  3. Judi Golding-Baker Says:

    My Dear Bruce
    This is the roller coaster in hell, but it will come to end and you will get some rest. Hang on my dear cousin, as I know you will. My thoughts and prayers and love are with you.

    Hug and kiss to you and Lisa
    Judi

  4. Peggie Neill Says:

    Bruce –
    Your knowledge of things (as a doctor) is making this both harder, and easier. I pray for you daily, and for your family. This part of the chemo has many metaphors – roller coaster, storm, etc. But you have many metaphors, too – a cork on the water – can’t control where you go, but you stay afloat; a doctor who tells of his experiences with chemo, etc.
    All of us believe in you; keep the faith (Jonah and Noah did) – one came out of the whale, the other landed the boat on a mountain, and you’ll land on the other side of the chemo.
    Trust me – Irish Catholic people know stuff like this. I am trying to pay you back for when you rescued me when I broke my ankle during EIS.
    Here is a hug, and love,
    Peggie

  5. wendy Says:

    B-Just remember that it has been said that nothing is worse than child birth and Lisa did it twice. And your Mom did it 4 times. So they say the storms a comin.’ At least you know it’s coming and being prepared is the best medical practice, right!

    I’m banking on how well you’ve done so far and and 8 out of 10 on a bad nite is pretty damn good.

    Humor is the best medicine.. so laugh in the face of those cancer cells and let them know they’ve taken on the best of what the Dan’s and Bespalow’s have to offer and they don’t stand a chance !!

    love wendy

  6. Marsha Says:

    Hi Bruce,
    Just wanted to send you some extra-special wishes for you last day of treatment. Have some soothing thoughts in mind for when your body is shaking and baking – maybe lounging on the beach with a cool breeze blowing?? Or maybe think about that waiter with his finger in the soup – Jerry and I really enjoyed that one!!

    We’ll be looking forward to hearing from you on Friday. Whip those cells and buggers into shape. You might be missing some of your internal army, but it sounds like you have a load of friends and family in the reserves!

    We’ll speak to you soon –
    Love,
    Marsha

  7. Donna Hill Howes Says:

    Hi from chilly Chicago, Bruce!
    I join the choir of those in awe of your spirit, even when feeling punk, and of course, the amazing Lisa. What an amazing role model she is for so many of us….so bright, vibrant, loving and fun…all wrapped up in a gorgeous package…Lisa, your smile has always been infectious. I marvel at the mom you are, the wife you are, the professional you are…and the friend you are.
    I’m hoping to see you next week, and please know that we are only a day away from news on the Dedicated Blood Donation Drive in Bruce’s name. We have folks all across the country ready to role up their sleeves….from Taylor and all her young friends in CA to the MediMedia family of companies across the US to good friends in FL at ITV….and on and on….more as it develops!
    Sending you both our love.
    Donna

  8. Bill Israel Says:

    I avoid roller coasters and sea-going travel like the plague, Bruce – I *like* feeling as if I have solid ground under my feet. As you swish and swallow, think spring and robins, rather than thrush. And if for the moment it’s shake, rattle and roll — think boogeying with Lisa! Thinking of you, and wishing you speedy recovery.

  9. Dennis Powell Says:

    Thrush .. yucky …

    Doesn’t sound like you’ll be wanting my world famous banana pudding any time soon ?? (You’ll let me know)

    Sending good and positive thoughts your way !!

  10. Karen Jaffe Says:

    Hi Bruce on Thursday. Since this is a rough day perhaps you won’t be reading any mail (ok it’ll be there the next day) but I just wanted you to know that you have zillions of friends and family channeling your discomfort and willing it away. You can’t see us but we’re there.

    xxooKaren

  11. Margot Mahoney Says:

    Bruce,
    Well I can certainly relate to the night-sweats and chills – but the Thrush only one of my twins can empathize with. Do the windows open? Can we send you a light weight all-cotton nighty? Keep water nearby and when you wake up in a cranky mood – feel freeeeee to let it fly for a while. (Shall I send David up to be the 1st one to have to greet you in the morning? He’s a early riser and all too experienced at being on the receiving end of the joy of sharing the morning with someone who had a lousy night’s sleep!?)

    I hope this last treatment goes well and the rigors subside in record time. Just try to go with it and know that they will end – and curse and yell until they do! You certainly are entitled. Our positive vibes and prayers are with you.
    XX and OOOs Margot and the rest

  12. joel steinberg Says:

    Hang in there Bruce. Everyone is rooting for you. Joel and Margaret

  13. Lori & Skip Okeon Says:

    Ji Bruce-

    Skip and I are following your daily experiences as you fight this disease. Know that you are very much on our mind and in our hearts these days….

    We hope your recovery progresses quickly and as pleasant as possible. Your determination and positive outlook along with the love and support of Lisa & the kids will speed this along.
    Love
    Lori & Skip

  14. Nancy Bandell Says:

    It finally came to me! You are my Dr. Wilson W. Wilson, Jr.

    Wilson traveled the globe and learned much from virtually every culture in existence. He had a PhD in Cultural Studies and had to learn extinct languages and forgotten cultures to get his doctorate. Wilson helped his neighbors with their problems often using a philosophical or historical quotation to make his point (including many long words). Wilson always knew what to say to solve a problem.

    When I visit your blog, I become one of your “neighborettes” peeking over the fence to learn from your teachings, grow from your strength and wisdom and laugh about new uses for Depends. Yes, you are my Wilson. I can not see your face, but I hear your, “Hi-de-ho good neighbor” when I peek over the fence each day. And, I always feel your love.

    Thinking of you every day, all day long. Love, Nancy

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