Saturday, May 29, 2010


This has been a week of recuperation after a long haul of exhausting work.

Last weekend, we had the big moving/yard/garage/rummage sale and that nearly did me in. Both days I was kicked inside by noon by my caregivers and put to bed with fevers.

The week before, I went to the Mayo for a regular 90-day checkup and the news was good/bad. The good was that the NHL was still in clinical remission - no sign of disease. The bad was that my lungs were worse - more stuff showing up in the CT scan. So we decided that I would go off the experimental drug for 28 days, the maximum allowed under the rules of the study, to see if I could clear up the chronic lung/sinus problems that have been plaguing me for the last two years.

Then there were the fevers. I felt the first on come on as my daughter and I were returning home after picking her up in Madison at the end of the school year. For two weeks I was running mostly low-grade fevers that left me racked with chills and sweats and with no energy whatsoever. This made preparations for the big sale even more difficult. Fortunately there were lots of others chipping in to make it work. We moved a lot of stuff out and made enough to keep the family in groceries for a while.

So, back to the medical side for a minute. After the sale, I could barely get out of bed. The coughing had risen to new levels and I had to irrigate my sinuses each morning to clear out the gremlins that had taken up residence over night. Not good. Plus the fevers started to spike higher.

I consulted with my GP and we decided to see a Pulmonologist. I was able to get in last Wednesday and am now on a high-dose steroid regimen that will taper down over the next three weeks (my deadline for the lung fix). In addition, I am taking a strong antibiotic to counter act the immune system depression caused by the prednisone.

Is it working? Well, no fevers for four out of the past five days. My sinuses have improved dramatically and I can breath through the night. The coughing has improved but has quite a way to go. I have more energy and can actually enjoy the days again.

I am optimistic at this point. I need to kick this thing because when I go back to the Mayo in three weeks for another scan, I need to show improvement. If not, I am probably out of the study.

We will see. More later.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Here is a long over due update on all things Casa du Nord.

We have just finished a week long, 150 band, musical celebration called Home Grown Duluth. We saw only a small percentage of the groups, but it was a chance to get out and listen to new music and see old friends.

In between music and celebrations (and the results of celebrating), we have been trying to get ready for our first annual spring junk sale. All of the garages are full with our stuff that we have decided to recycle into the greater community. All of the cars are sad, sitting out in the cold Duluth weather.

Speaking of weather, we had the usual Duluth bait-n-switch scam run on us this year (as we do every year) where we get a string of really nice days that make us put the summer tires on our cars, plant all kinds of seedlings for an indoor start, and start pulling those summer clothes out of storage. Oh cruel fate. Our wishes and prayers were dashed when the temps plummeted again into the twenties, several inches of snow fell last weekend, and the morning glories have climbed eight feet up their strings and are taking over the living room ceiling.

It's also end of the school year around here and that means proms, honors banquets, parties, and those pesky checks to the graduates to help them on their way into the entitlement economy. Joe is finishing up his junior year, but because so many of his friends are seniors, it's just like going through a practice run. I keep raising the subject of college but so far the fire does not appear to have been lit. He did take the ACT test and got a decent score, but he says he wants to do it again and do better. I take that as a positive sign.

I leave this Friday to pick up Kate in Madison. She appears to have had a successful year. Because she has reached the age of emancipation, the college does not give me access to her grades, preferring that she share that info with me directly. And, even though I have not heard from her on that subject, I have great confidence in her.

I did get a call from her last week where she broke the news that she had been elected Chief Justice of the student judiciary for next year. The is a huge honor for her and even carries a financial stipend that will allow her to cover most of her room and board as well. Congrats to her.

And for me - well, I haven't been feeling well to be honest. It's not the kind of "ill" that I associate with the return of NHL, but rather like having a low-grade flu all the time. As I have reported before, the experimental drug I am taking through the Mayo study has proven successful at driving my NHL into remission, but at a secondary cost. I have a chronic lung and sinus condition that keeps me supporting the Kleenex industry single handedly. All of this has me just this side of a serious infection - similar to the one that put me in the hospital nearly a year ago. I don't want to repeat that, but I also don't want to stop taking the drug. It's a quandary.

I am scheduled to go down to the Mayo next week for my quarterly checkup and we will see what they say.

Well, that's about it and even though the world appears to be going to hell in a hand basket, I remain hopeful that we can bring a little peace and calm to this little piece of the planet.