Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day +77, closing in on +100

On Monday we went to Haukeland Hospital for Sigve's first check-up there since coming home. He's been followed up very well at Haugesund Hospital, so there were no surprises. He did blood tests, and had a physical. They skipped the bone marrow test as the doctor in Haugesund had done one the week before when his platelets were down a bit. 
He also still has a low blood hemoglobin content. The hemoglobin is the oxygen carrying part of the platelets, and his shortness of breath is to some extent caused by this. Due to the low content, not enough oxygen is carried around in his body, including the lungs. In the doctors opinion, the new stem cells are still not working at full capacity, causing this. 

We also got some information that was new to us. Or maybe there was so much info in the beginning that this had slipped by us. Of course we know that there are no guaranties in life. But we thought that once the chemo had killed off the cancer cells, and the transplant had been carried out successfully, the leukemia was cured. After that it would be mostly a matter of avoiding the gvh (graft-versus-host) disease and recovery. But the same leukemia can actually reemerge. The more time that passes, the better are the chances of it not happening, but like with other cancer types, 5 symptom free years have to pass in order to be on the safer side. And the same goes for the gvh. The first mile stone for that one is day +100, and then 1 year. The more symptom free time that passes, the better the chances, but more or less serious complications can still appear at any time. So 3-5 uncomplicated years have to pass before it can be said that the transplant was actually successful.

We'll continue on like we have so far, without keeping negativity in mind, praying for continued healing and thinking positive thoughts. It has worked so far, so there's no reason to think it won't continue to work.

On November 29th, we go back to Haukeland for Sigve's big 3 month's check-up. Meanwhile, the Monday check-ups in Haugesund, and the Thursday blood tests at Stord will continue.

* * * * *

For our walk today we took a path not too far from here. The forecast was for a storm coming in from the north sea, but it must have been delayed because the afternoon there was calm. 

One of the first sights that met us was this: someone had decided to use the side of the path to dump some old wheel rims. 

Not a pretty sight, and I don't really know why anyone needs to do that. But, as with many things in life, look at them from another angle, or take a closer look, and suddenly they become interesting, and even pretty. You discover shapes, patterns, shadows and texture. 

Further down the path was a regular little work place. After having cut the timber, some of it had been chopped up for fire wood, packed in sacks and set aside to dry. 

You use whatever you have to cover it up to keep it dry; some tarps or sheets of old tin roofing. Add a few rock to keep it in place in a storm. These logs may be destined to keep the farmers own house warm in the winter, or maybe to be sold and provide some extra income. 

Some of the timber had been cut into boards, and also stored to dry. Maybe someone will be building a new house using timber from their own forrest? How cool would that be?

The left-overs were were just that, left, no indication given as to what would become of them. They were not even protected from the elements. But aren't the brown colors of the wet wood ends beautiful?

We reached a small lake that was bordered by swampy terrain. An old tree root lived there. I know that 6000 year old oak logs have been dug out of swamps in this area. In those days this part if the country was covered in huge oak forests. Now there are few left. But some remains have been found well preserved in these swamps.

A small habitat of plants has developed inside the root.

This looks so peaceful, but maybe it's the calm before the storm?

We've had loads of rain lately, and the wood floor is soaking wet, providing perfect conditions for mushrooms. I know nothing about them, and could never pick them for food, but they make interesting photo motifs. We saw so many different kinds, some growing from the ground, and some actually growing off tree legs.

Some of the large trees must have a very shallow root system, and a storm has blown this one over. 

By this lake we turned back. Going back up the slope was hard on Sigve, he gets out of breath as soon as he has to walk slightly up hill. But by going very slowly, and taking breaks, we get there eventually.

So this bench was too tempting to pass by. And it was a lovely spot,

looking out over the first lake we passed. 

This area has been farmed, and some of the old farm equipment was still there in what had been a field. It looked like one day the farmer had just not bothered to take it home with him at the end of the day. 

Again, go close and change the angle.

The farmer before him had apparently done the same thing. This plough is older than the first one, and also left outside. So what if the son saw what his father did, and kept up the tradition, so to speak?

Old engineering art.

Contrary to the more shallowly rooted trees, you also find the ones that are securely fastened, and I'm not sure if even a hurricane would get this one down. It had roots going in all directions, up and down the rock face. Not very easy to photograph because of the branches, but you get an idea.

Some dead, soaked tree legs were covered in mushrooms.

And finally, the troll that lives in this rock left his calling card on the door :-)

Funny thing, 10 minutes after we got home, it started raining and blowing :-)

Today I am grateful for:
*Uncomplicated days
*A positive state of mind
*Our walks

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wade in the water...

Sigve and I have become quite good at getting out and going for walks since he came out of hospital. We started out carefully, going for only half an hour or so, and have increased gradually. On Sunday we walked for 2 hours in partly rain, and thought that was pretty good. Monday we had torrential rain, so we skipped it, but Tuesday we set out for another one. We picked an area that was mostly unknown to us, but there was a marked path that was estimated to 1,5 hours of easy paced walking. We knew it would take us much longer, so the plan was to walk for about 45 minutes, and then turn back. There was a map at the start, so we tried to memorize the layout of the path.

From the start we walked along an overgrown dirt road that was flooded, and for a while a brook had taken over completely. 

Later it narrowed down to a single file path, still filled with water.

Admittedly, there were sections that were dry too, but they were few and far apart.

In some places someone had built boardwalks over particularly muddy sections, 
but not all were finished.

This little river is usually a much smaller stream, and there was a spot that was obviously meant for crossing, but now it was flooded. We both agreed that Sigve's balancing abilities were pretty good for someone who has been very sick only a short while ago!

Thank God this place had a bridge. It's a narrow strait between two parts of a lake, and  this is where we must have taken the wrong path, going left instead of right. There was no sign, and we can't even remember seeing another path. Anyway, this led us in a very much wider circle than the marked path that we were supposed to be on, but this path was marked too, so only when we kept going south in stead of north did we notice that it had to be wrong. 

After a lot more wading,

and climbing, which is the part that Sigve finds the hardest at the moment,

we came to a crossroad, with a sign, and it confirmed our suspicions: we were completely off track! Unfortunately there was no distance indications, so we didn't know which would be the quicker way to get to a road. Once on a road we could call someone to pick us up and take us to where our car was parked. We knew for sure by now that we would not end up back in that spot! 

We decided on the path to the right since that at least was the direction we had intended to go in the first place. 

This forrest area is not very big, really. From the middle of it a 2-3 hour walk in ANY direction will take you to a main road. So if this had been earlier in the day, everything would have been fine. The problem at this point was that sunset was 1 hour away, and we knew it would take us longer than that to reach a road. 

So we set out again, at a slightly faster pace now, or as fast as Sigve could go.  There was still a lot of water everywhere.

And we also decided it was time to get some help, so Sigve called Jostein, his brother, (how did we survive before cell phones?) and after a bit of describing the terrain and conferring with a map, they decided where we had to be, and what direction to take. He and his wife Liv got in the car and drove to where they figured we would reach the road, and started walking towards us with flashlights. 

Just as the sun disappeared and it started to get dark, we came to where the path turned into a dirt road, and further down the road we met our rescue party! They had driven up part of the dirt road, so we didn't even have to walk all the way to the main road.

They took us to our car, and by then it was totally dark. The whole trip had taken us 3 hours and 10 minutes, and all in all it had been a refreshing experience. We had warm clothes, waterproof boots and neither of us were exhausted, but it still felt good to sink down on the couch at home.

Now I kind of feel like we got lost in Winnie-the-Pooh's 100 acre wood, somewhere around where Pooh set the trap for Heffalumps LOL! But like my friend Ruth commented on Facebook: We all know that some VERY BIG adventures have happened in the 100 acre wood! Thanks Ruth, who is canadian, and used to very much bigger woods :-)

In the morning we'll have to decide where we'll go on Wednesday, and yes, we'll start earlier :-)

Today I am grateful for:
*Jostein and Liv who dropped everything and came to our rescue
*Having untouched nature close by
*Being physically able to take advantage of it

Monday, October 18, 2010

A birthday boy and a growing baby

Obviously this week has been about Sigve's birthday. We started out on Wednesday evening, when Hilde Marie and Jon Helge came over, bringing venison for dinner. Jon Helge shot the deer himself, and in addition to being a hunter, he is also an excellent cook. The venison he prepared was so tender you could cut it with a fork! We had a lovely evening together, the 5 of us.

On Friday Einar came to visit. He lives in Stavanger, and had a meeting in Haugesund that day, so after he finished he came to spend the afternoon/evening with us. 

On Saturday afternoon Gerd (Sigves sister and stem cell donor), her husband Roald,

his brother Jostein and his wife Liv came over. Jon Helge had to work, but Hilde Marie and Geir Espen were here too. 

Sigve enjoys having visitors, he finds it energizing, but not too many at the same time. So some more people will be invited next week.

We have been going for walks too, at least on the dry days. This is from one of them out by the coast at Hiskjo. That was on Sigve's birthday, and the phone kept ringing:-)

On Sunday we walked for 2 hours on a forrest path. It was not too cold, but Sigve feels chilly almost all the time, so he's happy about his thermal suit and wooly hat. Of course, those of you with no hair know that you loose a lot of heat through the head, but Sigve has never had that problem before. Sigve was very tired after the walk; we actually walked a lot further than we had planned to. It started raining too, but I was the one getting wet, as I did not wear a suit. I took a lot of pictures, and now and then they will appear on my other blog A picture in time. Here are a couple of samples.

Sigve has mostly good days. On his not so good days his appetite is down, or his energy level is low, but he usually manages to eat something. Most days he eats well, and his weight loss has stopped, but he ought to start gaining weight now to increase his energy level. 

We've had the first frost nights of the season this week. One morning I managed to get up early enough to catch a picture of the deck railing before it melted.

On a final note, Hilde Marie's tummy keeps growing. The baby is active and kicking :-)
And both Hilde Marie and I are knitting baby things :-)

Today I am grateful for:
*Every new birthday from now on
*The rain (getting irritated over it doesn't help anyway, so you might as well be grateful!)
*Baby preparations

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

Over on my other blog I'm taking part in several photo challenges with various themes. On Tuesdays there's one called Ruby Tuesday, and what an opportunity to post about blood and stem cells and a red hospital door! Check it out at A picture in time. Just click on the link and it should take you there. And while you're there, why not check out the rest of that blog too?  :-)

Sigve went to Haugesund Hospital yesterday. It was supposed to be a quick visit, but he had a lowered level of hemoglobin, i.e. a touch of anemia, so they gave him a blood transfusion. And because his blood type is in the process of changing to that of Gerd's, he does not have one of the regular blood types at the moment, so it's complicated, and they have to mix a special cocktail for him. So he left at 8 am and got back at 5.15 pm. That's a long, tiring day for him. 

Back home he decided on a good rest in his easy chair,
and we skipped going for a walk.

In the evenings Sigve likes to compare himself to Gandhi (from the movie). It has something to do with the skinny legs, the bald head, the white robe, and the glasses (I keep saying they should be rounder...) 
It has nothing to do with world peace LOL!
(Somehow, this hospital robe had stowed away 
in his suitcase when we got home.)

Today I am grateful for:
*The amazing ability of the body to actually change it's blood type
*The equally amazing ability of modern medicine to mix a suitable blood cocktail for this stage
*New (and old!) facebook and blog friends

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...