Photographer's Note

If you have to be in the hospital, Scripps Green is the nicest hospital. Not only is it listed as one of the top US hospitals, but the staff are wonderfully considerate, the food isn't bad for a hospital and the view is equaled only by that at Maui Memorial Hospital. We look over the Torrey Pine's Golf Course at the para-sailors cruising off from the nearby glider port. There's a WS Photo

They've been watching these abnormal blood cells for 5 years. At first, observations came 3 months because they really looked like a problem. Time passes, no increased levels appear, the intervals widen to 6 months and then a year. In June they said, "A little increase but no other symptoms. Come back in 6 months."

Ugly bruises brought us back November 28. December 2, we were planning a Clipper ship sail in the Grenadines, I decide we we should know the labs before paying for the trip. The platelets were alarmingly low; more tests were needed.

The CT scan showed huge lymph nodes and spleen. The bone marrow tap came up dry; marrow has been replaced with lymphoma.

December 24, the news came; the indolent lymphoma had turned nasty - a mantle cell lymphoma. Still the oncologist we've trusted for five years mentions a 40% cure rate with a bone marrow transplant. We'll start chemo as soon as possible - December 29..

Alas, there weren't enough red or white blood cells. It's easy to give red blood cells(RBCs) but the resident is worried about the White Blood Cells, the infection fighters. He wants to wait until the regular doctor returns from vacation to consider chemo. I urge pressing on with the chemo saying there's no time to wait to grow white blood cells(WBCs).

December 30, chemo went smoothly but December 31, the fever flew past the 100.5 f trigger to 103 f (40 C) - off to the hospital. The fevers are gone but RBC levels refuse to rise as expected. The search is on for a cause. Happily no additional problems are found; Larry's doctor returns and projects calm assurance, "A corner has been turned. The next chemo will go better."

I'm grateful for the joy of the past five years. Each moment is precious. We've always known that all anyone has is right now. But now we plan for tomorrow, not next month. At the tomorrow promised for the past three days has arrived, we're going home!!

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Additional Photos by Pat Lim (plimrn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3999 W: 226 N: 6734] (21344)
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