Saturday, July 3, 2010

Relapse

I didn’t want to kick-start this blog again. Ever.

But fate has cast her spell, and we’re back at war. Dori has relapsed. The leukemia is back.

The whole week has been terrible. On Monday, Chuck Hendry, Dori’s dear friend from 11 North at Vanderbilt, passed away after courageously battling AML. The beast didn’t win. Chuck did.

Cancer thinks it wins, but it’s wrong. Chuck faced his mortality with grace. His dignity and love for his family, his poise and fight, and his love for God in the face of being served up the biggest s**t sandwich of all were exemplary. His funeral was both hard and uplifting. We love him and will miss him, and we continue to pray for his wonderful family.

Dori called me Thursday at work from Vanderbilt with the words, “I don’t want to alarm you. My counts have dropped, and they’re concerned.” A few days earlier, Dori was running in 95 degree weather in South Carolina on vacation, biking with us and playing tennis. Run that by me again, sweetheart?

She decided she had to know, so she asked for a bone marrow biopsy. An hour later, Round 2 was no better. The blood work looks “suspicious,” we were told. That night, we were told they were almost sure it was back. Friday afternoon, they said they were sure. Relapse.

The exhausting week has been so hard that I’m looking for a descriptive word besides “surreal.” It won’t seem to do in this circumstance, when things had finally returned to normal in our lives.

We don’t know what’s next. We’ll enjoy the long weekend and regroup. We’ll be talking to the doctors next week when they’ve had time to analyze and suggest options.

Unfortunately, I’ll be in touch.

9 comments:

Alia said...

Jim,
I was completely heartbroken to hear Dori's horrible news!!! And to happen the same week that Chuck died just seems even more tragic. I have kept up with Dori via email periodically and was so happy to see how wonderful she was doing. She was by far my favorite patient from my time on 11 North (I now work for Tennessee Oncology). She was the first patient I followed from before diagnosis through the entire transplant process. Dori and your family taught me so much about handling this disease with dignity and grace and it was such a great pleasure to care for her during that time. I am truly a better nurse and person for having been a small part of your lives! I will pray for you and your family every day! Now that I have a 4 month old daughter I understand even more how much a mother wants to be there for her children! Much love to you all and please let me know if I can do anything for you!
-Alia

Jim said...

Alia, we love you and are so glad to hear you're doing well. So glad you're a Mom! This is a wonderful message that only bolsters our family. Take care. Jim

lawmonkey13 said...

Jim,
I was glad when you were able to close down this blog, and I truly hate that y'all are back. We'll be praying for you guys. Keep the faith, brutha.
Joel

lawmonkey13 said...
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Summer said...

Such a surprise to see another post here. We're sending our prayers and healing vibes from across the miles...

lcreekmo said...

Dammit. I am not happy about this post.

OK Jim....keep us informed. And let us all know what we can do!

Go Dori, go! You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Ronni Gordon said...

Jim and Dori,

I am devastated by your news. As you know, second transplants are relatively common, and Dori sounds so strong she will probably sail through. You probably know that I had a similar problem. When I reached two years after my auto, they said break out the Champagne, it is unlikely that it will return. Three and a half years later, I was playing tennis, running and leading a normal life and then WHAM, relapse. You ask yourself, 'What the f---?"

But the process has come so far and the doctors have many tricks up their sleeve. It sure sucks to go through it again, in any case, but remember to take advantage of the cool drugs (my favorites: Ativan and Demerol.)

Ann said...

I hate that this is happening to Dori and your family. As a second-transplant survivory, I know Dori has the moxie and gumption to defeat this beast. Chris and I will always be here for you both.

Jim said...

Thanks to all for the posts. Ann and Ronni, we loved your notes and hope all is well in LA and MA. Love Jim