Monday, March 31, 2008

Treatment 13 to a Cure!

Hello Everyone,

We started the second phase of treatments today. Everything went well!

I got treatment at a satellite center of UofM where everything is supposed to be nice and calm. We saw two people get taking by ambulance to UofM Hospital. The nurse told me this was not a common occurrence; but two in 1 day what is a guy to think.

We have a friend who works at this facility, Dr. Larry McMaster, who was able to join Tammy and I with his lovely wife Collen for lunch. It was pretty interesting, here I am getting a whole bunch of drugs, (11) if you count all the different types of pills, having a great lunch with great people. Really, it is amazing, I don't get this nice of a lunch when I'm feeling great! Collen and and Larry thanks for making the day a bit nicer.

So, we came home to a nice chicken and pasta dinner (Acts of Kindness strikes again) which was simply awesome.

We go back Tuesday and Wednesday for a few hours.

By the way I am working the entire time. Doctors told me to keep working! I love it!

Thanks for checking in,


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Acts of Kindness

Hello Everyone,
We have been keeping a journal of all the "Acts of Kindness" that people have been providing our family and we wanted to express our heart felt gratitude. Without naming everyone we felt it would be more appropriate to just list out all the "Acts of Kindness".

In no particular order:
- We have had lots of yummy dinners over the past months and this has been a great help!
Dinner out at a Resturant with Friends
- We like to get out and spend time with our friends talking, etc.
Snow Shovelling
- Multiple times people have shoveled our driveway and walks... what a great feeling to have the snow gone when we get home.
Caring Phone Calls
- Believe me it feels great to have people call and genuinely have concern for us.
Encouraging Cards
- We have gotten funny, serious, religious, exciting, and musical cards all encouraging me to get better and stay calm.
Rides to Activities for the Kids
- Everyone knows how much this can help during busy times to have rides for the kids.
Rides to UofM
- It made it much easier to be able to get to UofM and have Tammy show up a bit later!
Bread, Bread, Bread
- I love the Bread!
Pie, Pie, Pie
- Can we all say Mmmmmmmm!
Grapes, Grapes, Grapes
- Green Grapes Are So Good from Joe's
- Craig loves his watermelon
Chemo Chaperon
- People who come with me to Chemo and suffer through the boredom.
Hot Cross Buns
- Have you ever had a Hot Cross Bun, you must try it if you haven't.
- Who wants a cookie... everyone!
- We have received many wonderful books!
- Mmmm, Mmmm, Homemade Good!
- I love it!
- I love it
Pot Roast
- Meat and Potatoes, Mmmmm.
- Cluck Cluck Mmmmm.
- I love the chili
- We love it!
Visits from Denver
- It is always good to see my older sister!
- Keep them coming!
Blog Comments
- Blogging is fun!
Words of Encouragement
- It always helps for positive reinforcement
Taking our kids out to Dinner
- It is nice to be by ourselves knowing the kids are in good hands.
Watching the Dog
- Tootsie loves to visit
Treats from far away
- I love getting stuff in the mail.
Gifts of all types,
- Some small, some large, but all having great meaning to us!
and finally and most importantly,
- The power of prayer is more important than any other thing people can do for me. I trust Jesus for my healing and it always helps to have a few prayers coming in for me.

We probably didn't get everything but all we can say is


Gary & Tammy

Friday, March 28, 2008

Visit to U of M


Tammy and I met with the UofM people yesterday and Platelets are up even further! Good News!

Since there is no time like the present, we will begin Phase II on Monday, March 31.

I will be getting treatments at UofM Canton Medical Center.

The program is a bit different than what we thought going in. I will receive treatment Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and then wait 25 days and do it all over again.

It looks like I will be getting tested every two months to check my progress.

I feel and look great, Remember it's not how you feel but how you look darling!

Seriously, I do feel good!

I will be working the whole time, which makes me pretty happy!

Thanks for all the prayers and support!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Visit to OSU

Hello Everyone,

We arrived home last night from OSU at 11:30 pm; we actually left our last doctor at 8:00 pm. Good News! My blood numbers are better (Platelets up 50%)! The specialist we saw wants me to go through two months of treatment and check and see where I am at. He suggested that I might not have to go through the 6 months I thought I was going to have to do. We go to UofM to get the schedule for the treatments on Thursday. My doctor wants me to continue to work during the treatments which actually made me happy.

Final Four
Brackets: I am in first place at work and tied for first place at home. I have chosen North Carolina to go all the way!

Check out the new name of the Blog “Latham’s Lowdown”. (Thanks Holly!)



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Treatment 12 to a Cure!

Hello Everyone,

I have been slacking! Treatment 12 done gone and ended! I do not have to go to Rituxan treatment anymore!

More Good News, the platelet number rose 25% on Friday up to 25! Positive news!

Over the weekend Hannah got the Flu and had to stay at Grandma Kahl's house. Both, Tammy and I started taking Tamiflu preventatively.

Tammy had to drive Craig to a soccer tournament in Richmond Virgina and it took abut 12 hours one-way. No fun!

On Sunday before they started back Craig got the flu, so, Tammy started him on Tamiflu.

Everyone if you get the flu, get your doctor to give you a prescription of Tamiflu. It works! Hannah was back to school on Monday and Craig was back on Wednesday.

My sister, BJ, was in town over the weekend and we had a good time just visiting. We never get to talk for more than a few hours, so, it was nice to talk for a few days.

We go to OSU and UofM next week. We will keep you posted.

Have a great Easter,


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Treatment 11 to a Cure!

Hello Everyone,

Treatment 11 done and gone! One more to go!

Remember, I told you that I had to start letting the nurses use my forearm for the IV, well today I offered up the forearm but the nurse said I can use your hand. So, I said great! She missed… POKE 2 (I have already given blood for … POKE 1). After she missed she had to go do something so Nurse 2 stops by POKE 3… Ok I am starting to get upset but you got to keep your cool with the Nurses. POKE 4… Success! All is better.

I only have one more IV before a few weeks of no Hospital! The current schedule is to meet Dr. Byrd at OSU on March 24, right after Easter and then meet with Dr. Kujawski at UofM on March 27. I think it is kind of funny that I have to see doctors at arguably the biggest rival in sports.

We should know what we are going to do next after we meet with the doctors, but if you want my guess, I think we are going to start Chemo – Fludarabine, Cytoxon, and Rituxan (FCR) on March 31. Here is how it works:

Month 1

  • Week 1 – Receive Chemo Monday through Friday; it will take about 6 to 8 hours each day
  • Week 2 – Recover; Feel tired around day 10 – 14; Able to catch colds easier; stay at home
    Week 3 – Recover; Possibility to lose hair, I didn’t last time, so I am hoping I do not this time.
  • Week 4 – Regain strength; feel better

Month 2 – 6

Repeat Week 1 – 4 You probably noticed we have changed the title of the blog a few times. Tammy thought we could improve the blog with the new title. Let us know if you like it?

Thanks to everyone for the dinners, cards, rides, and sitting with me during chemo! All of you have made it a lot easier for us.



Monday, March 10, 2008

Treatment 10 to a Cure!

Hello Everyone,

Treatment 10 complete! We had a bit of good news today my blood numbers got better. :)

I decided to allow the nurse today to put the IV in my arm. I am a bit funny about the place where they poke me. Normally, I let them use my hands but lately (actually 4 out of the last 5 times) they have had to poke me twice because my hands need a rest (to many IV and blood draws). So, I let them go out of my forearm. I didn't want to but Tammy was saying, "You're a baby let them use your arm. Be a man. Where's your purse Alice?" so, as you can see, I was forced to offer up my forearm. Well, once I showed the nurse my virgin arm she was like, "Why have you been keeping this from me. This is a goldmine. Oh, I can't wait to get your IV started."

It hurt, real bad! She made me bleed my own blood! :0 I almost cried but I held back my tears. I'm just kidding, it did not hurt too bad and I will probably start letting them use my arms.

We saw the PA and have decided to continue the Rituxan and wait until March 24th to see the doctor. Probably in April I will start Hardcore Chemo... actually I suspect I should be able to handle it fairly well. The chemo will take about 6 months.

My sister is visiting this weekend from Denver and Tammy is going to take Craig to a soccer tournament in Richmond, VA.

Thanks for checking in,


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Treatment 9 to a Cure

Howdy Partners,

Treatment 9 done and over! Ok, my blood numbers are basically what they were when I started. So, the way I figure it they should only get better from here on out.

Some of you might have been noticing that I am not shaking hands or giving out kisses (Ha Ha) anymore. The reason is that I can catch a cold much easier than the normal person. A side effect of the DRUGS, see my rapid defense immune system is on siesta ("nap" for you non-Spanish speaking individuals).

So, what is the proper protocol when greeting Gary? Well, I would prefer everyone bow and then kneel down but that might be a bit over the top, so, how about we just say “Howdy Partner” (Ha Ha). Really it is pretty easy, just greet me the same way you always do and I will remember to tell you I can’t shake hands.

Life is pretty good right now, I was able to coach Craig’s basketball team, and (OK, actually Dan Welch coached and I took notes. THANKS DAN), I coached Hannah’s basketball team (I really did! Ok, Todd Statezny coached and I took notes. THANKS Todd), and I setup the PowerPoint at the Green Gala (I Did!).

Everyone thanks for everything! Keep the comments coming!

Stay Happy and Enjoy Life!


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Treatment 8 to a cure!

Hello Everyone,

Glad everyone is still checking in on the blog. Well, Wednesday was an OK day not good and a little bad. We should all realize that Leukemia is not an easy disease to control or cure. As a matter of fact, it is very difficult to control and cure, so everything doesn’t always go according to plan.
You might have guessed that my blood numbers are not responding as expected with the Rituxan. We have a theory but I will not bore you with the technical mumbo jumbo, let’s just say that Rituxan attaches to the cancer cell and expects the immune system to come by and kill the cancer. In practice this works if your immune system is operating properly, unfortunately my immune system is compromised so we are not seeing the progress we would like to have seen by now. I spoke to the doctors on this and they want to forge ahead for another week. I feel we have wasted three weeks. But, as with all various treatments you move on and figure out what to do next.
So, after I got home yesterday, I was in a bit of a bad mood. I am over it! I just keep telling myself that the goal is to win the war not every battle.

My spirits were lifted when my beautiful daughter, Hannah, showed me just how grown up she is getting when she performed perfectly in her school play. She played the character from the Cat in the Hat, Sally. She was great! I am very proud of her. Next time you get a chance ask her about it.

On a lighter side people in my neighborhood will be happy that we have finally put up a blind on our back window. It took three hours and looks great!

I go back to U of M on Friday for treatment 9.

Talk with you then,

Monday, March 3, 2008

Treatment 7 to a Cure!

Hello Everyone,

We just got back from U of M and everything went well. Blood numbers are still improving.

We are planning to go see our Ohio State University doctor on March 24th to determine the next phase of treatments. We are hopeful that the Rituxan treatments will be sufficient to get me into Complete Remission, so I can start the Stem Cell transplant. But, we know that the probabilities are low this will happen. We can still pray for it!

I am going to be starting a “Random Acts of Kindness” posting, so, look for in the next few days! I decided to do this because many wonderful people have respond with dinners, rides, having the kids over, snow shoveling, staying with me at treatment, gifts, phone calls, emails, cards, and most important prayers. It amazes me how small acts of kindness like these have a huge impact in my life and my family’s life. So, keep a look out for the “Random Acts of Kindness” posting.

One last important item for those who are in the Novi Community School District, please consider attending the Novi Educational Foundation “Green Gala 2008” this coming Saturday, March 8th at 7:00 pm held at the Rock Financial Showplace. I am a trustee for the NEF and we have the annual fundraiser to support the teacher grants and scholarships we issue each school year. You can purchase tickets by calling: 248-449-1206 and please just ask to purchase “Green Gala” tickets. You can find more information at the NCSD website:

Hope to see you there!

Until we meet again,