Saturday, December 27, 2008

What Makes It Worth It!

Hello Everyone, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We did! The Latham's started Christmas Eve at church, then over to our good friends for Christmas Eve dinner and finally we headed home to get to bed before Santa showed up.

Christmas morning came early when Scott got up at 6:00 am. The kids were all up fairly soon after Scott had surveyed the Santa presents.

Tammy's parents showed up around 8:30 and we had a great day opening presents, watching snow fall, playing games, eating ham, and just enjoying everyone.

As I reflect on the past year I have so much to be thankful for but I am most thankful for my beautiful wife, Tammy, and my three awesome kids, Craig - 13, Hannah - 11, and Scott - 9.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am hoping that 2009 holds wonderful experiences for you and yours and I wish everyone happiness and success in the coming year.

Happy New!

Thanks for checking in,

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dec. 23 - Last Chemo for 2008!

Hello Everyone,

Well, got the last Chemo for 2008 yesterday! It was Great! Ha Ha

Actually, the chemo was pretty easy but the platelet transfusion was a bit tricky. I reacted notice the picture and all the hives that appeared on my lovely face. Well, they went away as quickly as the came out. The doctors jumped all over it and shot me up with 3 meds. I left the hospital looking as lovely as I walked in.

My neighbor Steve Olsen was the greatest he drove us down to Columbus Ohio on Monday afternoon and when we got there to what to my wonder eyes did he have was a full blown dinner. See second picture!

We ended up watching the Bears vs. Green Bay (Bears won in OT 20-17) Actually a fun night.

We got started the next morning bright and early and made it over to the hospital at 7:30 am. We thought we were going to get out of the hospital by 3:30 but the doctors did not like my platelet levels so after the chemo they gave me 5-1 pack of platelets (five peoples platelets in one pack). Well, I had a reaction to the platelets (see picture) which slowed us down. We were in Steve's SUV at 6:00 pm.

Of course, the weather did not cooperate and Steve had do drive home in freezing rain, black ice, and finally snow. We were making good time until we hit I75 and a massive traffic jam. We ended getting home at 11:15 pm! We were both tired.

I tell you before you volunteer you better make sure your driving skills in winter weather are updated based on the last two drives back from Columbus.

Well, I don't go back until Jan. 5 and will be with my Mother for the week I have to spend down there! I get to come back Jan. 10. They are going to be adding a new drug to the regiment and they want to see the effects of the combination of the two chemo drugs. Good news the initial test results of Day 1 came back and the drug did what the researchers were expecting (killing cancer cells).

I want to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year! :) I will be spending Christmas with people I love very much, Tammy, Craig, Hannah, and Scott, My Beautiful Family!

Thanks for checking in,

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Day

It's my time to tattle on Gary. We had a snow day on Friday about 10 inches in Novi Michigan. It was very hard for Gary to stay inside and let the rest of us clear the driveway and sidewalks. He tried several times to go outside but each time stopped by his lovely wife and kids :) Well on Saturday morning I had to leave to take Craig to basketball practice. When I returned I found Gary outside with the snowblower. Apparently our snow clearing needed "alittle fixing". Well Gary's snow blowing got too close to the Christmas lights and gobbled up a strand of lights. Did he learn his lesson to stay inside warm and cozy by the fire? Probably not!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Vocabulary Word: Neutropenic

Hello Everyone,
I had a hard working support team with me yesterday at the Hospital, here is Rich taking advantage of a comfy chair while preparing for the long a treacherous ride back to Detroit.

Yesterday, went good except for the horrendous drive home. But, sitting behind the Wheel was my trusty driver and good friend Rich Duntley. He was steady Eddie never wavering with coffee in his veins, an eagle eye, and ever so gentle touch of the breaks and gas, Rich was able to maneuver through freezing rain, ice, heavy snow, large trucks, bad drivers, and basically terrible road conditions. We got home safe and sound but it took and extra 1.5 hours.

Once home, I got real tired and weak and went to bed! It appears the drugs are working and are definitely the harshest drugs I have ever taken. I am working at of home today and will go back to the office on Thursday.

My side effects were dramatically less this second time. I did not experience any Diarrhea or Vomiting which was very welcome. I felt fine most of the day and only at the end of the day did I start getting pretty tired.

I feel OK today but still feel weak and tired but better than last night.

I am Neutropenic which means my 1st line infection fighting immune cells are very low. So, I will not be going to places with crowds or paling around people with colds. I have to be very diligent in hand washing and mouth care.

How can you help us not introduce colds into the Latham household by just realizing if you have a cold or been near a person with a cold. If this is the case then call or email but don't stop over and take few days and get yourself well. Also, during the time where you have a cold in house don't have Scott, Hannah, or Craig over. It is all pretty much common sense!

I have one more round on Dec. 23 and then I am off until Jan. 5.

I hope you all are getting ready of Christmas and celebrate with family and friends. We will staying around Novi most of the break (Dec. 22 to Jan 5) and it is needed.

Thanks for checking in,


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Back to OSU for Round 2

Hello Everyone,

Christmas Lights Contest
First, could everyone vote for our neighbors Christmas lights display: Vote for 24023 Elizabeth Lane, Novi at the following link:

I am returning to OSU on Monday night for Tuesday treatment. I was told that it should go a bit smoother than last time.

I will keep everyone posted!

My daughter, Hannah, says Hi! She Loves all of you! <333333 (heart) <== Hannah typed this!

Bye for now,


Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Update

We made it back home safely. Gary had blood draw on Thursday morning and then we were all set to go. It is great to be back home! We missed our kids! Gary is feeling ok- lots of drugs working inside of him. His mind is alittle foggy and body weak but you won't hear him complain. We filled 5 prescriptions at Wallgreens before we left Columbus. He returns to Columbus on Monday night for another dose of chemo on Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I feel better! Thank God! :)

Hello Everyone,

I am glad Tuesday is over! It was not fun. I started on time and received the Flavoripodol at 8:00 to 12:30. It is a powerful drug and causes cell death very quickly which can overload the kidneys, so, we monitor the potassium levels very closely. I never went high on my potassium because the doctors would not let me they intervened the moment it began to rise.

I first took medicine the causes diarrhea and then took medicine to cause urination and the combined drugs caused vomiting. So, I literally was going from all ends all day long. Needless to say I did not feel very well. My night was much better I took a sleeping pill and slept like a baby.

I feel much better today about 85% and was able to sit on the bike and pedal for 15 minutes to work it out a bit.

I should be getting checked out around noon and hopefully go shopping with Tammy for Christmas presents. We still need to remain in Columbus until tomorrow when I have to give one more blood draw. We expect to back home Thursday afternoon.

Here is the Good News:

- My WBC dropped in 1/2 from 7.7 to 3.2
- My visible lymph nodes under my arms shrunk to normal levels
- My other blood numbers look good with the exception of the pesky platelets which are now 27 (low)

Summary: The drug appears to be initially working as advertised! :)

Thanks for checking in,


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not Much Fun!

We now understand why Gary had to be hospitalized for this treatment- wow! He did not have any major drug reactions but lots of drug induced discomfort. We have lost count but in addition to the chemo drug he had at least 8 other drugs. If his blood levels are not where they want them to be (checked every few hours) they give him a drug to get them back in line. Sleep in the hospital is not easy so he is also very tired. He feels better this evening and plans to say "yes" to the sleeping pill tonight.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In the Hospital at OSU!

Hello Everyone,

We checked in to the hospital today at 2:00 pm and are sitting getting ready for the drugs tomorrow morning bright and early at 5:00 am.

You know how the devil is in the details, well, I am learning a whole lot more about this clinical trail process. Here is what I have learned so far:


  • I am on the transplant floor and they measure everything that goes in and out of my body (literally... Not fun)
  • 10:00 pm receive saline through Port (All Night: I will be peeing a lot)


  • 5:00 am receive IV in arm for blood labs
  • Receive drugs to lower potassium (makes you go #1 and #2) not fun :(
  • Receive chemo at 8:00 am and 9:00 am (2 bags takes 4 1/2 hours)
  • Blood Labs 5:00am, 8:30, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00pm, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 7:00, 8:30


  • Blood Labs 8:30 am,
  • Discharge from Hospital
  • Stay in Hotel Wednesday


  • Blood Labs 8:30 am
  • Go Home!

Met with the doctors and nurses and all have been very nice and pleasant! I am very impressed with their attention to detail! I feel that I am in very good hands!

My platelets are still misbehaving so we need to deal with them! They are at 40 today! :(

All in all I am very comfortable and ready to begin the trail tomorrow! Tammy is right by my side and drilling the doctors and nurses with lots of questions! I love her!

Well, thanks for checking in. I will post again tomorrow to keep everyone up to date with what is happening.

Until tomorrow,


Friday, December 5, 2008

The Port Is In !

This is Tammy with a quick update. A double lumen port was installed in Gary's upper right chest yesterday. The day did not go smooth unfortunately. The darn platelets that we have been monitoring closely every week decided to take a significant dive (47 to 33) which is below the number required for a port to be installed. So Gary has first blood transfusion which consisted of a yellow bag of 5 different peoples platelets. He decided that he didn't like other people platelets in his body so he broke out in hives. Nothing alittle Benedryl and Tylenol couldn't take care of. He is back to work today but quite sore. If you see him this weekend please no friendly punches in the shoulder :) His mother comes to town on Saturday and we leave for Columbus on Monday to start treatment.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We made it back from OSU!

Hello Everyone,

Boy am I glad Monday is over.

Tammy and I took the kids down to Columbus on Sunday to see the Hospital and where I go when seeing the doctors. We hope it helps them understand more about the whole process.

On Monday, I had to be at the hospital at 9:00 AM

Here was my day
  • Arrive at 9:00
  • Check In & Wait
  • Sign 20 page contract for clinical study & Wait
  • Get IV & Wait
  • Give 10 vials of blood & Wait
  • Get a Bone Marrow Biopsy & Wait
  • Drink barium (2 vanilla containers) & Wait
  • Get CT Scan & Wait
  • Drive Home with Family (Tammy Drove)

It was a full day and a lot of waiting!

Everything went fine and I am doing good!

Next Up: Port install on Thursday!

Thanks for checking in,