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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Submissions for the Ultimate Stem Cell Mix

We just got in to Palo Alto after a long and gorgeous drive up Hwy 1. Tomorrow I get up at 7 am to get my Hickman Catheter implanted and then get admitted to the Hospital for my stem-cell transplant (and 30+ day stay) in the afternoon. 

The big event today though is that Annie and I recently decided there should be a "mix tape" that I listen to every day while my new stem cells are roosting and taking care of business. Here are a few songs we know are going on the mix:
1. In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg
2. Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
3. Feelin' Groovy by Simon and Garfunkel
4. All That Jazz & When You're Good to Mama from Chicago
5. Bamboleo by the Gypsy Kings
6. Shakedown Street by the Greatful Dead
7. Damn it Feels to Be a Gangsta by Ghetto Boys
8. Dreadlock Holiday by 10CC
9. Everybody's Free by Quindon Tarver
10. Love and Happiness by Al Green

That's just the beginning. But we also realized this could get so much better if we opened it up to everyone else. What songs would you put on a mix tape to make my stem cells twinkle their toes, rock it out, and build me the best immune system there can be?
Let us know, and we will post the Ultimate Stem Cell Mix here, at a later date.
K + A

Friday, November 18, 2011

I've Been a Bad Blogger

But I am OK! These past few weeks have included hospitalizations in Visalia in between hospitalizations at Stanford, but the complications were routine, expected, and relatively easy to endure.
Having missed so much time here at Californicancercation, there are anecdotes I'll have to spare, which is a shame. Still, there's a lot coming up in the next few weeks I want my peeps to know about:

Highway 1
  • I survived my last (9th!) chemo before the upcoming transplant. My blood cells and platelets are restoring their numbers, and I'm feeling much physically better.
  • I had two tests with good results: A PET CT scan on Oct 27 and a regular CT scan this past week, both of which confirm that the cancer is continuing to be diminished by the treatment. Thank you everyone for your prayers and good wishes! So anxious was I heading into that PET scan in late October that I memorized the 23rd Psalm in the waiting room so I could recite it during my 40-minutes in the machine. In stories such as mine there is usually a moment where the protagonist breaks down and prays, to whoever they think might be listening. This was my moment. I find the 23rd Psalm to be a very comforting, reassuring prayer, though I prefer to say "I shall dwell in the hills of the Lord forever," rather than house of the Lord. It just seems more appropriate for me.
  • My brother-in-law Samuel H. Clarke is arriving for a visit today, Nov 18. He, Annie and our friend Kelly Brannam will be driving to her cabin on Bass Lake for the weekend. Time for another Fun Cancer Roadtrip! These have become more rare occasions of late. So looking forward to some time spent amongst the trees.
  • Monday Annie and I are dropping Sam off at the airport, then heading over to The Esalen Institute, where we will each receive a fan-fucking-tastic massage, at the glorious Esalen Hot Springs, on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific. 
  • Monday night we will drive to Morro Bay, to visit with my dear friend Abigail Riley and her family.
  • Thursday we will have a home-cooked Thanksgiving, courtesy of my wonderful mother Barbara E Bowman.
  • Friday, November 25, Annie's parents arrive! They will spend a day and night taking in the sights of Visalia (whatever that means) and the next day we will cruise back over to the Central Coast and take them along our favorite drive, the famous Highway 1. They will stay with us as I am admitted to the hospital at Stanford for transplant.
It is important to have all these good times to look forward to, as Monday, Nov 28 I begin preparations for my Haplo-Identical Stem-Cell transplant. My mama, the aforementioned Barbara E., was found to be the most appropriate donor in this still-experimental treatment, and has already gone through the process of having her cells harvested.
I'll get very heavy chemo all that first week, and my new New Birthday, where they administer my mother's stem cells will be December 6. There I shall remain for 30 to 40 days, until mama's cells take root and begin producing the bodily essences I'll need for survival (blood cells, platelets, immune system, etc.) 
I imagine I'll be pretty distracted these next few weeks as I run around California and enjoy my last days of pre-hospital freedom. But I promise to continue the dispatches from the transplant, and beyond. 
Please keep me in your prayers! I am full of hope and optimism about the transplant, but need all the good luck I can get.

In the meantime, enjoy the WEDDING PHOTOS by our official and completely awesome wedding photographer, Sara Acton.