Sunday, November 3, 2013

Improper Update

Experimenting with hypnotherapy to grow and strengthen red blood cells. I play this CD six minutes before therapy or exercise, for example...

Praying for all of us trying to outlive lung cancer, may we all share another year with our family and friends, amen.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Update about updates.

Still Megan posting, but dad wanted to let you all know that small updates will be posted periodically at his facebook page until he can get to a full screen computer and post these himself.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Interlude, Daughter Guest Blogging from the Hospital

Don't let the title alarm you too much. Patrick is currently in the hospital and I asked if it would be okay to post an update on his behalf.

My dad mentioned low white blood cells in his last post and wondered about an infection. Last Wednesday we got our answer when I woke up and found he was unable to get up from the chair where he'd spent the night after staying up late to watch Sons of Anarchy. After arriving by ambulance at the hospital, they determined his white blood cells were the worst they'd ever been because he'd managed to contact pneumonia.

He claims I'm patient zero, I blame the cat, and who knows who she blames.

We had a scary two days where he did not respond to antibiotics, but after a 31 hour wait, we finally moved up from the emergency room into a private neutropenic hospital room. His vitals remained steady and his blood work finally began to improve.

As it is, I've made you read too much to get to the point and my dad would grade my blogging poorly! His infection is mostly gone and being fought off. He's mostly healthy again. They did the MRI scan as requested by his doctor and found only improvement and stability when compared to the one he had done in July. Dad would've hugged the doctor who told us if he could have.

But...note my overuse of the word 'mostly'. It's been two weeks since his fifth round of chemo, and he went through a huge ordeal this past week and it's left him very physically weak. He'll be discharged to somewhere that deals with inpatient physical therapy so he can regain his strength and independence.

We haven't found out where that place will be yet, but I am sure one of the first goals he will set will be to be dexterous enough that I trust him with my laptop so he can tell everyone how he's doing on his own! And don't worry he won't be able to see your comments - I fully plan to read them out loud to him, maybe even the ones from spam bots.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Round 5 Chemotherapy I've fallen and I can't get up

"I've fallen… and I can't get up!" was a catchphrase of the late 1980s and early 1990s based upon a line from a television commercial for LifeCall.

Saturday it happened to me as I tripped over a blanket and dove head first into my bedroom carpet. … What do you do? … Cell phone as well as land line was in the next room. Round 5 Chemotherapy plus whomp on the head had so weakened me I was useless.

Laying there I remember a conversation from the chemo lounge about a fellow patient who fell twice … even once having to drive herself to the ER with a bloody towel pressed against her head wound.

Fortunately Megan who had been playing with our cat in the yard arrived to the rescue … weight and strength would negate the one person unassisted transfer I have used for Patti for decades … instead Megan found a trick on Google of positioning a heavy stiff backed chair in front of me for me to pull up on while sliding my wheeled office chair under me.  …. Patti's old wheelchairs unfortunately do not have lateral movement.

Now …. if only I could successfully open bottle tops, cans and medicine bottles … it’s so annoying the little things we take for granted … even trying to plunge a commode with no upper arm strength.

This morning heading in for a saline drip I was feeling good … that was until I started up the accessibility ramp.  An onset of dizziness at first steep grade caused me to grasp the ramp bar and go down to one knee while Megan fetched the oncology cavalry! … Safely transferred to a wheel chair I continued in to the chemo lounge chairs …. 

Given a once over by oncology nurses and one of the two senior partners I was pronounced good to go for saline drip and none the worse for the wear except my cool looking rug burn mark on my head.

The trip was determined to be likely just that … I tripped. The moment of weakness / dizziness this morning was likely dehydration … which I there for anyway.

Good news red blood counts remain high!!!!! … while blood cells were curiously low … infection?  No other signs such as fever … and my vitals have not been better in months.

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Round 5 Chemotherapy for Stage 4 Lung Cancer

Went for a sunset walk with my daughter today in 62°F (16.6°)C fall temperatures.

Yeah it was only a quarter mile contrasted to 5K over a year ago … then again my DX in August '12 was Stage 1 Lung Cancer and I was still getting NED (no evidence of active disease) scans …

Today I began "Round 5" of Chemotherapy (carboplatin + Altima) for Stage 4 Lung Cancer with brain mets.

Each round of chemotherapy is brutal and bittersweet, especially today as I tried to balance excitement over my soaring blood counts and learning that two of the 11 “survivors” I met at the Harrisburg Free to Breathe Lung Cancer 5K Run/Walk on August 24th, died over the past 4 weeks. … Stage 4 is a vulnerable existence.

I grab at little things like being handed a 60 tablet RX … or a pulse oximeter reading of 100% for lungs with a wedge out of one lung and three tumors in the other lung ... what makes us smile is likely very different than others.

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stage 4 Lung Cancer Dawn peeing like a race horse

Today day #150 since chemotherapy began, I was supposed to begin Round 5 of chemotherapy, mo’ carboplatin + altima,  over these past two weeks … however blood counts were out of whack, anemia ruled and instead I have needed two separate blood plasma transfers ... or a total of 4 bags of blood plasma ... with even a small bag of lasix thrown in ... in the meantime it’s force liquids … 96 oz daily and just 'pee like a race horse' …

Keeping fingers crossed blood counts stabilize and chemo can return beginning of next week

... after all chemo is what is attacking cancer ... blood counts and such are a detour about me  ... Stage 4 is too short to be taking breaks!!

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
My Lung Cancer Odyssey @
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stage 4 Lung Cancer Pratfalls

I was sooo excited Monday morning that the admission clerk at plasma facility used my middle name I dropped down on my knees like Wayne and Garth chanting, “I’m not worthy! … oh sheet! … I can’t get back up!" … with me stuck kneeling at the counter my daughter and staff dissolve into laughter as I begin my 130th day of chemotherapy (carboplatin + alitma).

Considering I was in for a plasma transfer for anemia the absolute weakest physical moment would be immediately prior to plasma drip … what possessed me to kneel down? … I just cannot resist showboating. 

Also it was first plasma transfer with new injection port … it’s kind of cool though certainly funky as I could not shower that area for a week … at least for me use of the port made the blood plasma less icy. 

Later ‘feeling’ super charged after two bags of plasma I drove to a local convenience store for soda and to practice some independence. Proudly cradling my 2 liter Pepsi while keeping my balance …(I had left my cane in the car and was using display cases for balance) … that is until I went to hand the Pepsi to the clerk…

Like a football field fumble chaos breaks loose …. Bottle spins on counter … spilling carbonation accelerating spin … bottle slides bottom first to floor shooting back a geyser of carbonation … I kneel down to pick up the bottle … WAIT! Did I just do this again?  

… Two young clerks are staring at this all in disbelief as I am down on the floor sheepishly holding up a still dripping 2 liter Pepsi trying to explain that I cannot get up … actually one was about to burst holding back her laughter  while the other shifted her urgency when I played the “c” word and blamed chemotherapy … 

… any way they get me up … as I retell the story at home I find my daughter laughing hysterically for the second time this day  and complaining that why when out with her I don’t do more stupidly entertaining antics. 

… trying to outlive Stage 4 Lung Cancer involves everything from exhaustion to fear to depression to joy and yes sometimes even comic relief ... 

Two weeks ago I DJ’d/MC’d 4th Annual Free To Breathe Lung Cancer 5K RUN/WALK … 3.5 months since DX of Stage 4 Lung Cancer with brain mets … receiving this thank you card was humbling …  
Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @