Finally, I seem to be getting this post done. I've been working on it all week, but I tend to wander, instead of sit down and concentrate on finishing a project.
Last Tuesday was the day for Sigve's slightly overdue 3 month's check-up at Haukeland Hospital. He's already at day +117, time really does fly!
We drove up on Monday, via Stord Hospital for some extra blood tests that the doctor at Haugesund Hospital wanted. We didn't really see the point in that, as he would be taking the same ones, and more, the next day, but decided not to argue about it. Might as well get the most out of our tax money :-)
Before checking in at the Haukeland Hotel, we stopped by Brita and Ketil and spent a very nice evening with them.
At the hotel we got a room that was exactly like the one we stayed in for almost 2 weeks in September. Walking over to the hospital, Sigve was able to compare the shape he was in then and now, and the progress has been very good.
Like in October, the check-up included extensive blood tests, a thorough physical examination, and this time also an EKG (electrocardiogram), a bone marrow test and a thorax x-ray. None of the results came through while we were there, but the doctor indicated that from what he observed, he did not expect any surprises. The next day he phoned Sigve with some results. His creatinine level (a compound that is produced by metabolism of creatine and excreted in the urine) is still too high, so he scheduled a fluids refill at Stord Hospital two days later (to help flush out the kidneys). Sigve also needs to pass more fluids through his system on a regular basis.
The bone marrow test showed that Gerd's stem cells have not completely taken over yet, and Sigve still has too many of his own cells left. Sandimmun, the medication he takes to prevent GVH (graft-versus-host disease), slows down the take-over process, to let the body gradually get used to the new cells. He's now so far into the process that it's considered safe to reduce the dosage of Sandimmun in order to speed up the take-over. As the new cells take over, his immune system will also be strengthened. As for now, he still needs to avoid crowds, and to wear a face mask in places where he could get close to anyone who may have a cold.
Sigve's hemoglobin content level has increased, and all other levels were satisfactory for this stage.
Sigve asked if he could start wearing contact lenses again, but the doctor wanted him to stick with glasses for the time being.
However, we were allowed to bring Isa home. That was such a lovely surprise, and we drove home via Tysnes to pick her up. She's obviously thrilled to be home, and loves to snuggle up on one of our laps, and we're thrilled to have her here.
Two best friends finally back together again.
Now I can feel how much I have missed her. In my efforts to stay positive, missing her was one of the feelings I chose not to feel, as that would have contributed to negativity. Using the Lightening Process I am able to stop undesired thoughts and thought patterns.
* * * * *Backtracking a little, a couple of weeks ago we took off in our camper van for the first time since Sigve got out of hospital. Hilde Marie and Jon Helge wanted to go in their caravan, and asked us to come along. They found a winter open camping site north of Bergen, and we spent a long weekend there, leaving here on the Thursday.
Our days go by more or less as they have. We have been sleeping in late, but this is changing now that Isa is home. She needs to be fed and walked, so at least one of us has to get up earlier than before.
We've had a visit from a physiotherapist, and Sigve now has a training program that we both intend to follow. Maybe I'll finally get into shape too!
We try to get out and go for a walk every day too. Isa is a great motivator here.
Sigve's appetite is up and down, but mostly up. He has some attacks of nausea, and vomiting, maybe a couple of times a week. They come out of the blue, lasting only a few minutes, and then he feels fine again. There is no pattern, but sometimes it seems like exertion may play a part. Like today, both walking and exercising in one day may have been too much. He has told the doctor, but he doesn't seem to be concerned about it at all.
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We went for long walks, and shared some nice meals and quality time.
In our camper van.
This was right at the start of the cold spell, and we brought snow suits.
Frost had settled in some really cold humid areas.
Ice crystals had started growing on anything that was slightly moist,
and I was in camera heaven :-)
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Backtracking even more, November 5. was my birthday, and we expected Hilde Marie and Jon Helge over for dinner that evening. They had promised to cook venison for us.
As it turned out, so much happened on the farm that day, that when they managed to get over, it was too late for dinner, and I was informed that we might as well postpone it to Saturday evening. The decision was made very casually, almost too casually I thought, and when I saw the amount of meat they brought I got the feeling that something more was planned.
We spent a nice evening together though, eating fruit salad.
Of course I had been asked what I wanted for my birthday, and I had one big wish: a new lens for my camera. I had a 18-55 mm, and really wanted a 18-200 mm. With all the hints I had been dropping I sort of knew I would get it, and I did :-)
So on Saturday morning Hilde Marie and I went shopping, and when we got back I was greeted by our very dear friends Brita & Ketil and Berit & Einar. Janet & Helge arrived a little later. We all go back to our college days, and have been great friends ever since. Big surprise! I was also happy to see our newest friends, Britt & Geir, Jon Helge’s parents.
We’ve had Jon Helge’s venison before, and it is always soooo good, but that evening he outdid himself. The meat was marinated and cooked to perfection, and so tender it just melted. You could cut it with a fork! The gravy had seasoning to die for. There were also potatoes cooked in cream and cheese, and stewed mushrooms with bacon and onions, and mixed vegetables. All so yummy!
My surprise guests:
Brita and Ketil.
Berit and Einar.
Janet and Helge.
Britt and Geir.
I have never had a surprise party before and I loved it!
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Sigve has no fat left to keep him warm; he weighs the same now as he did in Junior High. Since the temperature dropped to below 0C/32F he has been wearing long woolen undies, which he would never even have considered before. Do you remember the old Middle Ages themed Monty Python movie "Robin Hood: Men in tights" ("Helter i strømpebukser")? Do you see any similarities? So now Gandhi is out :-)
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Our deep and life long gratitude keeps going to Sigve's sister Gerd, who donated the stem cells, and gave him the opportunity of continued life. Without this gift, his life expectancy would have been approx. 2 years, at the most. There are not enough words in the world to express this gratitude.
Every day we are also grateful for, and to, all you wonderful people who have followed our journey. As we keep learning more about the power of prayer, the effect of positive energy and thinking, and how powerfully the mind can influence the body, we are reminded of how greatly you have influenced the healing process. And for the rest of our lives we will think of you all with gratitude.
Our gratitude also includes the new little one that is getting ready to arrive in February :-)