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Can’t Keep a Good Man Down!

by Tom on March 26th, 2011

I am happy to say Tom is doing wonderfully, dear friends.

They were able to extubate (take him off the ventilator) a few days ago, and he’s been doing just fine with a little oxygen from a nasal cannula. He started speaking the moment they took the tube out: “We need to have a discussion. I need to come to an understanding. Why have you been withholding ice cream?” It seems his first recollections of the previous 8 days were just a vague awareness that he was trying to ask for ice cream and we were ignoring him. He has later mentioned feeling some terror, and suspecting we were trying to kill him… and how grateful he was to get oriented and discover the opposite was true. I don’t think he remembers the tube itself, or the circumstances that led him to critical care in the first place. Fine by me if he never does…

Tom also instantly started expressing how grateful he was for the support from everyone when he heard how much he’s been through. That’s him alright; facing a scary medical situation and finding cause to be thankful. Over the past few days I’ve been filling him in on all that’s happened, and it’s understandingly a bit overwhelming right now. He is touched by the messages people have shared and the reports of prayers and bone marrow donation registrations in his honor. He’s also had a stream of visitors that leave him happy (and sleepy).

The first round of chemo has finished and neutropenia is here. No fevers, and everything remains in balance. He has some pain from the high volume flushing going on (getting rid of chemo toxins and edema from the cancer), and has been given a dilaudid drip with doses he controls. The nurses are falling in love with him and check in even when they’re not assigned to him. He has started eating (first order: chocolate ice cream; second order: root beer), sitting up in bed, and flexing some muscles. They’ll start neupogen shots tomorrow, which will speed up the arrival of his blessed little neutrophils and shorten this dark and dangerous watch.

I will be so happy to hand over the blog reigns and allow Tom to wax more eloquently than me. He is squeezing a little stress-ball to get his typing dexterity back ASAP. I sincerely hope you’ll be hearing from him next, and soon. Thank you all again for your support through this unimaginably difficult time. It’s hard to accept that our fight has just begun, considering how much we’ve been through so far, but after all this looms his transplant… at least we’ve learned that Tom’s tenacity is not to be underestimated!

From → Diagnostic Phase

  1. Jana, this is the first time I’ve seen this blog…and I’m so glad i found it!! God bless both of you. Tom sure is a fighter!!

    ~Maxine L.

  2. Mary permalink

    Such wonderful news!!

  3. His cancer friends! permalink

    Hi Jana!

    I am so happy to hear how well he is doing! Tom has been a support for us over at (a board for others with NHL fiughting the good fight) and we have been pulling for him. I am looking forward to him posting soon and we will keep sending healing thoughts for the battle ahead.

  4. Regan (Newport) Hesse permalink

    Thank you thank you thank you for the update Jana! I’ve been stalking this blog and your facebook pages for more updates. I can’t wait to hear from Tom himself!

  5. Dave Smith permalink

    Yay! He’s been in my prayers and thoughts all week!

  6. Christine C. permalink

    I am SO glad to hear this good news today. Your spirit of gratitude and courage (in both of you) continues to amaze me.

  7. Sue permalink

    I have been following your blog on Tom and I am so happy to hear he is doing better. I am from the lymphoma forum and we are all wishing him a speedy recovery..Sue

  8. missC permalink

    omg yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so excited!!!!!!!! chemo sucks, but hey at least this is better than going through chemo semiconscious :D

    oh my gosh im so so happy I was pretty afraid I’m not gonna lie. I def miss my coding chats with Tom, he needs to get back into shape so I can gripe to him about my assembly class XD

    naw, just kidding, @Tom: you take care and do all you need to do and take the time you need to take, and I’m just excited to hear that you’re doing better and all and keep us in the loop :)

    Hang in there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. So happy to hear this great news! Still fighting this cold – and now ALL the Zugs are down – but we’ll come for a visit as soon as we’re no longer contagious.

  10. Zack permalink

    This is wonderful news! Get the man some chocolate ice cream!

  11. Shannon Wolf permalink

    Oh Jana, I’m so excited to hear all this:-) Thank you so much for taking over the blog reigns, you’ve done an exceptional job!

    Tom~ I promise that when you come down to your secluded recovery retreat, I will be FULLY stocked with ice cream and root beer galore! Nothing but the best:-) Can’t wait to get to talk to you, you were a little sleepy when we saw you last.

  12. Catherine Jeffries permalink

    HI Jana,
    I do not think we’ve met but Tom and I were good friends in high school and college. Thank you for keeping us updated on his condition, I’ve been thinking of him all week. I wish you both the best and I hope that the fight that I know is ahead goes well and Tom can get free of this.


  13. Ben permalink

    Great news.

  14. Abby Burmeister Gretter permalink

    Jana! I attended highschool with Tom and have occasionally checked up on Tom’s status. I am an ICU nurse and am most impressed by yours (and Tom’s) grasp of his diagnosis, therapies, terminology and humor–the later being the most important! You have fans, supporters and cheerleaders in Cleveland, OH. Sending you and Tom all the best!

  15. Stef McIrvin permalink

    Jana – Thank you SO MUCH for updating us. You write very eloquently and I have enjoyed (as much as one can under such circumstances) reading your updates. I am so thrilled that Tom is on the mend. Ryan and I think of him – and you and all the family! – often. We will come visit soon. xoxo – Stef

  16. Ed Everest permalink

    Yay Tom and Yay Jana !
    Thinking of you and sending healing thoughts and hugs :)

  17. John Lind permalink

    Thanks for posting this Jana. Been thinking about him frequently. It is great news and progress. Was very, very worried about Tom. I know it’s a long marathon, not a sprint . . . keep putting one foot in front of the other. Looking forward to seeing his good spirit and humor on PC when he’s able to get back online!

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