Wheat & Chaff

Harvesting in Minnesota – just in time for the Minnesota State Fair!

We had a bunch of news today. All of the health related news was good, and all of the other type of news not so good. But not so bad, just not great.

But news – good, bad or indifferent – can be overwhelming when it all comes at once! The hard part is separating the good from the bad – the wheat from the chaff. Good thing we have a separator.

Gerry had his third day of cell harvesting today, and it’s been a bumper crop!

So far they’re obtaining a lot of cells from his collection – almost 9 million in 3 days (1.3M on day 1, 3.1M on day 2 & 4.4M on day 3!)

We’re hopeful that Gerry’ll have a relatively short time remaining with those awful long needles up his veins. If he does this well tomorrow (knock wood) then we’ll have our full collection. Then we can dance the dance of the stem cell harvest!

My husband, some hotshot.

After all of this blood separating, though, he’s absolutely WIPED OUT during and after this procedure, but he’s looking better today than he has all week!

After the collections, Gerry slept most of Mon & Tues. Today he stayed awake, reading the paper and puttering around. I’m afraid that if he doesn’t rest he’ll not have the output he’d like tomorrow. I feel like a Jewish mama. Sleep, sleep!

Note: Gerry will have a central line for the chemo & infusion, but they prefer to harvest though an arm vein if possible due to less complication s from a central line. Gerry has “good veins” so this means that each day of harvest starts with some painful poking, but a complication would be more painful!

Second Note to Jan: Yes, Gerry’s using his own stem cells, they’re the best match for him. They’ll treat them to get rid of as many plasma cells (the bad cancer cells) as they can. The chemo should take care of most of the plasma cells in his body. Then his cleaned stem cells will be infused back into his veins where they will go into his bone marrow and – hopefully – start making new stem cell babies. The second best match would be with his brother or sister, which is not as good of a match as his own cells.

I went out for coffee and knitting with friends tonight – what a wonderful group! I really feel at home with these women, they’re so kind and so much fun! The nice woman who sent me an email was there this evening, and when she introduced herself I know I looked at her like she had two heads (it took a while for me to put 2 + 2 together!)

On the way I picked up a friend I met, a lovely woman and knitter named Cathy who is here with her husband – also undergoing a BMT for MM. It was fun to introduce her to my new knitting & coffee friends at Dunn Bros, I love seeing nice folks network and meet each other.

And, like me, I know she could use a break from hospitals and cancer related talk.

Gerry and I went to dinner the other night and the waitress told us it was Happy Hour. When she walked away Gerry said, sotto voce and in mock indignation, “Happy Hour? I’m not happy. I have cancer. When are they going to have CANCER hour?”

We chatted about how much we love our husbands but how frustrated we can get. I showed her the cliff I threaten to toss Gerry off of every now and then. The things that wives of cancer patients can only share with each other… Don’t tell anyone, okay?

And now, the Bad (ish) news;

The Electric Inspector looked at our house this week and approved of the work we’ve had done so far. But there’s a problem with previous work done on the house, before we moved in. Apparently a new electrical breaker box was added (this was a selling point for the house) but no permit was ever pulled, and it’s sitting too close to a water source in the basement. Two no-no’s which may mean fines – we have to see what the official letter from St. Paul says.

One fix is to move the breaker box – but that would be expensive.

Another fix is to put a wall between the existing box and the water source. This actually wouldn’t be all bad as we could configure it so that it gives us a closet-ish type area where we can store fans and A/C units, seasonal stuff. But, once again, we have to pay for this.

It’s a bother – and it will cost.

Apparently there’s a letter on it’s way to us – may already be at our house – from the city of St. Paul telling us we have 30 days to resolve the situation. Our real estate agent emailed us the portion of the sellers disclosure where the previous owners claimed that the work was done by a licensed contractor, in which case a permit should have been pulled.

So either

  • The permit was pulled but went missing (lost, not in the system),
  • The contractor didn’t pull a permit and thus is at fault or
  • The previous owners didn’t use a contractor.

It’s a headache, but that’s what life is sometimes. A headache. And I’ve had a killer all week.

The floor that we ordered will be a few days late coming in. Not a huge deal. So instead of having the floor before Labor Day, we’ll have it after. Eh.

I wish it weren’t so, but sometimes things show up later than we’d hope.

I don’t think it will be a big headache for my sister in law when she’s up there with the kids – I hope not – they should be able to get the small area of floor down in one day (so says our contractor – who I trust!)

Apparently during one of Hannah’s sleepover sessions with her friends back in NJ a whole bunch of little ‘friends’ decided to nest in her hair. Well, hers and everyone else’s. If you don’t have kids, you may be grossed out by this.

But if you do have kids you’ll realize that it’s become
more common (at least more so than when I was a kid) to find outbreaks of lice every now and then. Ick.

So Hannah is staying with the kindest family in the world – folks who weren’t even involved in any of this outbreak stuff – and they’ve agree to let her stay with them for another week so that she doesn’t have to fly with this contagion or share it with her cousins up in Boston. My friend, Alison, is the absolute best person in the world. Ever.

Hannah’s sad not to be seeing her cousin, but thrilled to be able to spend more time with J, one of her best friends.

It took me a LONG time on the phone with Continental to get all of this straightened out – basically she’ll be skipping the NJ – Boston and Boston – NJ portion of her trip. So after (literally) an hour with two different folks, it’s all squared away.

As soon as I hung up the hotel phone, our cell phone rang and – guess what? Yep, Maxie has the “L” word, too.
My gut feeling – shave his head.

Eh, maybe not. So now we have two kids far away from us who require heavy duty care above and beyond what any normal person should have to do. Maybe shaving his head ISN’T such a bad idea. He does need a haircut…
I’m spinning out of control and rambling – time to end this post. Too much news and too much re-working, re-organizing, re-scheduling for one day. I bought myself a bottle of Bailey’s last night and tonight I’ll have a glass. Headache? What headache?

Here’s a link to some pictures I took at the Plummer bldg yesterday – an amazingly beautiful place.

What a nice respite from the other stuff. Architecture is truly one of the most uplifting of the arts, it can touch my soul in places that nothing else can reach.

Gerry and I really want to get to Plummer House in the next few days, before he starts his chemo and may have a harder time getting around.

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