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Friday, October 8, 2021

A Marrow Margin of Error

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, Kathy, leukemia, update, prayers
I couldn't include Kathy in the picture because it would be a Hippo violation

As usual, I’m way too pooped to write very much, but want to keep everyone in the loop.

All in all, today (Thursday) was a good day for Kathy, although “good” is a lot more complicated than it used to be a few weeks ago. Most importantly, her bone marrow biopsy results came in and were good. Maybe they were great. Conceivably almost perfect. 

I’m vague because it’s damn near impossible to get straight information out of the doctors. So here’s the deal: what we ideally want is all of the cancer cells in the blood and marrow to be 100% wiped out, after which Kathy will receive a drug which will get her body building white cells and bone marrow again - only healthy (we hope). But Kathy’s result showed that she still had 0.1% cancer cells. Almost none, but not quite none. 

Which is where the doctor had to make an “educated guess” based on his expertise and experience. That 0.1% might represent cancer cells that are still in the process of dying…so maybe she DID get ‘em all (or is about to). The problem is that if too many are still viable, the same drug that gets everything cranked up to high speed again will also stimulate the growth of those cancerous cells. 

But the other option is another round of tough chemo, and that’s not a fight anyone walks away from unscathed. Those toxic chemicals are designed to do damage and they're good at their job. Kathy is doing well, but she’s fighting fevers (which can be quite dangerous) and has a variety of other challenging and risky side effects which are all being handled, but which we certainly don’t want to make worse. So the doctor, taking all of this into consideration and without ever using the “remission” word (although that might just be an oversight), has decided to move ahead as if Kathy is in remission and see where it goes from there.

So this was probably really good news, but it’s unsettling too - like having a front-row seat to watch a guy juggling nitro-glycerine.

Outside of sleeplessness, an uncomfortable skin condition (chemo effect), a continuing barrage of fevers (treated with Tylenol and ice bags), endless IV bags of blood and platelets, etc, Kathy is doing well and keeping her mood up. She exercises daily (confined to a chair for the time being), is doing a great job of eating, and our conversations are very normal and punctuated with laughter…when we can think of things to talk about. It turns out that the only thing in our heads is hospital stuff, and that’s what we DON’T want to talk about. Oh, we occasionally drop four-letter commentary on the current state of affairs, but our hearts aren't in it.

Daughter J and I regroup each evening to take comfort in each other’s company (I'm the only visitor allowed) and look forward to getting Kathy home where she belongs. And hopefully that will happen soon, but right now we’re very much taking things a day at a time. Which, believe me, is all we can handle.

As always, thanks to all of you for the amazing display of support, good wishes, and prayers. They all make a difference. We never really knew how many of you were family until now.

-Stilton

71 comments:

HankJ said...

God bless and keep healing

Igor said...

Very, very good news, Stilt. ALL of us are praying for Kathy (and, yes, even YOU).
Hang in there!!

mamafrog said...

Amen, glad to hear some (qualified) good news!

Anonymous said...

Appreciate the update. Good news indeed. It seems the cocktail of choice was certainly the right one for killing off the bad guys. Now we'll say some prayers that the next step makes those good cells go swiftly in the right direction. Both of you have tough jobs right now, but we're rooting for you.

Brett said...

Thanks Stilton. I pray God Blesses you all and Kathy's recovery continues.

MiamiSean said...

Stilton,
After 40 years in medical research (scientist), I just spent the last year battling lung cancer (and won), so I know the latest shit and where the information is. Please give me details of treatment drugs, etc. and I will be glad to help as much as I can.

Jim Lane said...

We may not say much, but there are a LOT of us "out here" who care.

Including me.

Jee said...

Kathy sounds like a remarkable woman. I’m glad things are going quite well for her, and that she has such a loving husband and daughter.
Continued prayers for healing!

Radar1972 said...

God bless Kathy and God bless you as her best support system. Praying she continues to improve.

Dan said...

Prayers continue. Best wishes, too.

Dave said...

Sending blessings to you and your family from here.

Anonymous said...

i am a senior who had a chest xray because I had COVID [about six months ago] and Dengue Fever, totally asymptomatic by the way [left lung 83% COVID] but my MD upon evaluating the xray saw a 'dog biscuit size and shaped lung tumor in the left lung'. Went for a Biopsy and the results show absolutely no Cancer [even went for a sophisticated blood test to confirm no Cancer in my body. My MD, Oncologist, Pulminologist and other medical professionals were in shock. Please give me the opportunity of sharing with you why this apparent miracle occurred. I am not a scientist or MD, just a journalist like you Mr. Stilton. You can find my personal email address on my website, thedonaldreport.com. [the email address you have listed is incorrect, go to my web site please]. If given the opportunity I will also share why if your wife undergoes more CHEMO, the CHEMO will kill her and what can be done to minimize and possibly negate the damage from her first round of CHEMO and other drug treatments.

Maoz said...

(Shouting out from TVAG's conga line.)

On the previous post Velveeta Processed Cheese Food commented, "Don't over tax yourself." I wanted to add, "Yeah, leave that to the IRS." Badump-BUMP.

Just as a general impression, I think doctors are leery about using the R-word unless and until they know it's a slam-dunk. I wouldn't take the absence of its use as a downer.

For some reason I was recently recalling an episode of "M*A*S*H". Major Winchester has just successfully completed a very complex, delicate, and risky operation to save a wounded soldier's life. Father Mulcahey is ecstatic: "My prayers have been answered!"

Major Winchester replies something to the effect: "Your prayers?! I would suggest the success of the operation was due to the fact that my hands were sufficiently steady, my eye sufficiently sharp, and my expertise sufficiently great."

Father Mulcahey, still smiling from ear to ear, says, "Yes! That's exactly what I was praying for!"

Jerryskids said...

Glad to hear things are looking better! As far as you being surprised you had so much family out here, the same goes for those of us who didn't realize until we cared so much that you too had become a part of our family as well.

Nancy Dickerson said...

May God bless Kathy and you! And may that doctor's decision be the right one. Prayers for both of you!

Igor the Obscure said...

God's blessings and a speedy recovery for Kathy!

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

Given the shitshow going on in much of the rest of the world, I'll take what good news I can get! :)

My mother (of blessed memory) would regard her chemo sessions with the ironic appropriation of the duPont corporate slogan, "Better Living Through Chemistry". But hey, it kept her going another twenty years, so I can't knock it...

Keep up the good fight. You got family pulling for ya.

dogbrain said...

Blessings and prayers for you both.

Fish Out of Water said...

👍👍👍

Cridge said...

I went through chemo and radiation 11 years ago. I know how difficult it is to handle. But I was blessed by the Lord with a wonderful group of physicians and medical professionals and have made it 11 years in the clear. You and your family are in my prayers.

Patrick said...

Godspeed to Kathy for a clean bill of health.

Snark said...

Good News is always Good News. We're all pulling and praying for you both - which you already know. Stay strong, relax when you can, laugh as much as possible. You both WILL get through this.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@MiamiSean- Please shoot me an email at Stilton @ cutcheese dot com.

Bob Lee said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We have a good friend who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia just weeks ago. Received last rites and began an aggressive treatment (at age 81). There were ups and downs along the way but now he is doing great… all his numbers are right where they should be. The pleasure of recovery is worth the pain.

Pam & Bob

George L. Tirebiter said...

We love you, Doc. Praying for a steady recovery and for strength and peace for you all.

Timbotoo said...

Prayers up for Mrs J.

Anonymous said...

Our prayers will continue until Mrs. J is healed, home and happy. I cannot imagine how she snd you are maintaining sanity through all of this. Keep the faith and we will keep the prayers coming. God bless the entire Jarlsberg family.

Harry (from the Texas Hill Country)

Joe Drypowda said...

Prayers to Ms. J via the Great Healer. and you, too, Stilt!

Kent Whitehead said...

Thanks for the update! You have both been in our prayers and will continue to be until Mrs Stilt is well.

Alej said...

With you and your lady, Stilt -

PaBlum said...

Excelsior!

Anonymous said...

Prayers !

Anonymous said...

Dear God please bring comfort and joy to the Mr. & Mrs and their daughter. Continue to educate the doctors and nurses caring for his Mrs.

VideomanSS said...

Prayers continue!

Rod said...

Stilton: There's already a lot to look after there but I must add one more: From firsthand experience with my wife who had several surgeries, then a harsh choice with chemo, then radiation, then an abandoned try at follow-up hormone therapy.. which she could not handle; all for breast cancer over a tough year but it worked. That was 20 years ago and she's still here; all clear and enjoying life. But also be aware of Shingles which can strike when in such weakened condition. That's the nerve malady that manifests as spots on just one half of the body but not the other half (left-right) and it can get really bad quickly. If this is spotted... TIME is of the essence. The antiviral RX must be started in hours, not days; to knock Shingles out quickly before it worsens. It was on a Sunday morning (of course) but we took action immediately as did the On-call Dr and local Pharmacy. We had her on the drug in a couple of hours. That made all the difference over waiting until Monday and her recovery from was pretty quick and not much discomfort. There's also now vaccine for Shingles but we've not studied it. Don't know if advisable for Kathy now. Good luck and hang in there, all of you. Good thoughts.

VideomanSS said...

Yes, you must be careful of those Hippo violations.......

KELLY FROM WI said...

Great news so far! Continued prayers for your family

Sortahwitte said...

Your extended family loves you bunches. When you are tired and feeling down, we are lifting you, Kathy, and Daughter J up to the Highest Authority. It's what family does for family.
Much love, Glen and Sioux.

Pete (Detroit) said...

May He continue to hold the three of you in the palm of his hand, and Daughter J has family and support here, as well, if / when she chooses...

KatinKansas said...

Just wondering if you have considered DIETARY changes to facilitate the eradication of the cancer cells. Since no doctor is going to allow you to put Kathy on ivermectin (because--AMA), she could adopt a low-carbohydrate diet. Cancer cells need glucose (i.e. sugars after Mr. Liver has finished with the grains, sugars, starches and other joys of life) in order to proliferate and grow. Switching to a low-carb diet puts your body on FAT for energy, growth, etc and that is NO BUENO for cancer. Plus, Kathy might enjoy good changes to her health in other ways. I'm 67, and am enjoying MANY changes to this decrepit body because I gave up grains and sugars. Yeah, it gets hard around Thanksgiving, but this year I'm sticking because I like being able to walk without moving like a troll...my knees were SHOT.

Just a thought. Discuss it with Kathy...and remember, doctors look at their wallets in ANY treatment protocol. I worked for plenty of them.

I take ivermec (injectable for livestock) once a week, every week, and all the best supplements because of LYME disease. It has pretty much rendered me immune to Covid as a side effect. People also take it for autoimmune diseases, and many doctors also give it to cancer patients (hmmmm?) because it is thought things like breast cancer, Leukemia, etc. are indicative of PARASITES. Just a thought.

However, eating low-carb is what I'm pushing here. It is a LIFETIME commitment, and perhaps she is not willing to give up bread/cake/crackers/chips and all, but it might make a difference.

I've been a fan since Obama. Hope to continue to have your site on my daily visit for many more presidents.

Kat who resides in Kansas

Mikey said...

Best wishes as always. Really, I've heard of the elephant in the room and the camel's nose in the tent, but the Hippo in the room? I know you are getting lots of advice, mine is simple, also take good care of yourself, that's extremely important, and, perhaps this is selfish, but I want to continue read and enjoy your blog. (Deplorable Mike in Florida)

Ben Rumson said...

I like the hippo!

Don't post much but am checking in on your site frequently.

My prayers for all of the Jarlsberg family still continue and you are in my thoughts.

JL said...

Having had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in the 80's and having chemotherapy and radiation to treat the cancer I have a pretty good idea what your wife is going through. It's horrible, but by God's grace and healing she will survive. I am praying with you for that outcome... God bless you and your family.
John
Coeur D Alene, ID

Elam Blacktree said...

Great update.

Ben Rumson said...

P.S. do you have a photo of the three of you from better ti.es you would post? Preferably with Penny.
It may sound weird but it does help in sending positive energy.
Not a new agey guy, but have been successful at dowsing and a few other things.
Some things we can't see of course are real.

Shelly said...

It's great to see your wicked sense of humor is still intact! Love the promising news and hoping Kathy will soon return to Jarlsberg Manor.

BonnieMH said...

My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. I know from experience that optimism and humor are good medicine!
Thank you for sharing.
Bonnie Malone Houghton

CenTexTim said...

Progress is hard at first, messy in the middle but wonderful in the end - and hopefully in this case, well worth the trials and tribulations to get there.

Hang in there - all of you!

Paul Donohue said...

It's good to hear that she appears to be doing well. We'll continue to pray for her and for you. It's tough being a caregiver. And doctors never seem to want to tell you the whole truth. I asked three of mine about my remaining longevity and they hemmed and hawed. When I told them what I had learned from my research they begrudgingly agreed that it was probably correct. Keep pushing them. It's better to know than to be surprised. Just hang in there and keep giving her all of your support, as I know that you are. With prayers and the Lord's help we may see a good result.

4sleiborg said...

I certainly wish you all well...I lost my wife to cholangiacarcinoma five years ago so I have an idea what you're going through, and pray for a good outcome.

Daddy Dave said...

Having gone through some massive multi-year cancer treatments with my son and relatively minor chemo personally, here are the couple things I've learned about the cancer industry:

- All cancer treatment is research, especially treatment on rarer forms of cancer. Modern medical ethics might prevent your doctor from prescribing a placebo so as to compare results of no treatment to some treatment, but I often wondered if my son was getting the BEST treatment or had just been thrown into a bin of cases receiving a certain treatment ... Doctors wanted him to fully complete their prescribed regimen without deviation, despite his condition. And, despite us (Well, my RN wife with 40+ years of practice) doing our own literature search to find potential positive trials - sometimes this seemed to anger the doctor when we would suggest something new or emerging from another country. These conversations lead me to wonder that by NOT following the protocol, would my son's 'data point' be thrown out of some research study and the doctor not get 'credit' for that patient or be able to publish something? "Stay in your own lane there, mister! We are the experts and know all."

- Chemo, as you have already deduced, is essentially lethal injection administered by Agent Smart ("Missed it by THAT much, chief."). In 2009 while watching the debilitating effects of chemo on my son, I remarked to the oncologist that throughout the history of cancer treatment we have been trying to kill rats with rat poison. Isn't it time to send in the cats? That is essentially what the newer immunotherapy trials try to do: get the patient's body to fight the cancer. Of course no one was really working on his rare form of sarcoma from that angle so all they had was the 1970's-era chemo protocol that my wife learned in nursing school ...

So, when you have those maddening conversations with the medical team, the reason for vagueness could be a) they can't predict the outcome or your wife's reaction to some treatment (every patient is different), b) they are following a research protocol and by God we are going to stay the course so sit down and wait for what ever happens to happen, or c) maybe something completely different.

In the end, the efforts of our army of prayer warriors did not save our son's life (neither did the doctors) but those prayer efforts helped comfort our family in knowing that our son is now cancer-free in heaven. One never 'gets over' the loss of an immediate family member but our faith gives us the grace and strength to move forward in our own life paths, despite the grief and loss.

My prayer for you and your wife is first, for a miracle of healing, including any miracle modern medical science can offer, and second, that God will grant you both peace as you walk through this sometimes terrifying time together.

jayjay said...

...continuing to send thoughts and prayers of healing and comfort.

TVAG said...

The Conga Line is winding round the hospital...

"Go, go Kathy--Get Well!"

"Go, go Kathy--Stay Well!"

"Go, go Kathy's Mar-row!"

"Go-way Kathy's Can-cer!"

TVAG

Phil said...

Lost both parents to cancer. Come on Kathy, this is now and then was then!

Best wishes to you both!

Eskyman said...

May God be with both you and Kathy, and may His grace fall on you. Hang in there Stilton, Kathy needs your strength and calm. She will recover!

FlyinBrian said...

I have never commented on a blog before. I read the comments but prefer to just stay in the background. I could not, however, stay in the background on this one. You have to know that there are many people that truly care even though we've never spoken to or laid eyes on one another. I want to join the many folks on here praying and extending our concern to Kathy, you and Daughter J. My wife battled cancer so I know it's a rollercoaster ride. Sadly, we did not have a happy outcome and I lost her at the tender age of 38. So I'm praying that your outcome will be one to celebrate. You describe her as a strong and optimistic woman. That will go far in determining her outcome. You stay strong, too! She will be depending on that.

John the Econ said...

With all those hippos around, it's a wonder anything gets done.

And I agree that the most frustrating thing about this "process" (if you can call it that, or anything other than "voodoo") is the uncertainty of it all. The that's why I pray for peace as much as for healing.

We're with you, buddy!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update.saying a prayer, especially on Mon. Wed, and Fridays.

TrickyRicky said...

I pray the news continues to be positive, and the more positive the better. Hang in there.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

My Good Friends- I just want to give you a Friday night update. Kathy had a good day today (well, parts of it were absolutely miserable but that’s not how we tally up our days lately) though is still trying to break the cycle of having fever. It comes and goes, and Kathy no longer finds it amusing to hold ice bags under her armpits (and yeah, that’s a thing).

I don’t have much more information because when Kathy was wheeled out to have a procedure involving sucking liquid out of her lungs or chest or something, I used the opportunity to visit an emergency dentist for a surprise root canal because I was apparently an asshole in a previous life.

Touching base with the hospital afterward (it was late afternoon and Kathy didn’t want me driving back there again) they said that she wasn’t having a fever and was doing well. So that's what I'm going to choose to believe until I can see her tomorrow morning.

And although I don't/can't respond to all your comments, please know that they all get read and that you're really helping keep our little family afloat!

Garrett said...

you're a strong man Stilt and lending that to Kathy in her fight. Prayers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stilt,
I'm another lurker. You are probably the best medicine for Kathy's soul. We pray for you and Kathy but the Lord will do what the Lord will do. But believe me, keeping Kathy smiling and optimistic can be her best medicine. You have to keep her mind helping in the fight for the rest of her. Don't neglect yourself. You are one of the most important parts of her healing process.
Thanks for all you have done and continue to do.
Michael

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Friends- Nothing notably "bad" happened today, but it was still rough because Kathy's fever (which cycles up and down) just isn't letting go. She's already on the strongest antibiotics they can give her and she's getting injections to encourage production of infection-fighting white blood cells. Tests have been run, of course, but no source of infection has been found yet.

This is all wearying and dispiriting to Kathy, so this wasn't an "up" day for her.

Being the weekend, it doesn't seem like quite as much gets accomplished by hospital staffers as I might wish, but inefficient bureaucracies are another one of those unavoidable facts of life. But this is going to be a particularly long night for us.

ontoiran said...

my wife finished her 5th cycle of chemo back in september, so i know what your wife (and you) are going through. i will pray for both of you.

Alfonso Bedoya said...

Prayers, positive thoughts and best wishes to Kathy.

John the Econ said...

New prayers for a new week. We're with you.

WestCelt said...

will definitely keep praying for your Kathy.

John the Econ said...

Another day, another prayer for blessings for the Jarlsberg family.

rdb said...

Mr. J - I've been a regular reader for several years until a few months back when I swore off the internet. Now I'm back and am so sorry to read this news. I will include you and your wife in my daily prayers. Whether you believe or not, know that there are many people out there helping with the fight. rdb

Igor said...

Fight the good fight, Stilt - we are ALL rooting for you and especially Kathy, whom we keep in our prayers!
Know that we all love you and are asking God to help you.

Freedom Monger said...

From our home to yours, positive thoughts, prayers, and positive Karma are on their way. Stay strong, it's hard, but worth the challenge. We're with you.