home 02-28_update

(by Kyler)

I picked up Dad from the radio station this morning. We looked at a new (small) tractor at John Deere, and Dad stopped in to see Daryl ("for just a minute") while I made calls.

Around 11:30 (EST), we headed to Indy. I wanted to be on the road because I had a long conference call at noon. We arrived with an hour to spare so we stopped in to see Grandma. She had just finished lunch. We chatted for a bit and told her about how great the barns are now that they've been sided in steel. Dad also talked about the reunion this summer. In doing so, he mentioned that Lairds originally were in Lafayette, and that there was a Laird school in Illinois - two things I missed from the previous reunion tours. His memory is still better than mine. (Or maybe he's just making things up to stay ahead of me??? Hmmmm...he's been telling me a lot of new family stories lately...)

We got to Dr. Workman's office a little ahead of 2:00, but we had plenty to read. Good thing - we waited about an hour there. I wasn't sure what to expect. All I was thinking about after the last (first) visit was how to get Dad home safely.

Dad and I discussed how we'd handle it if he wanted to start the chemotherapy today. Dad has gone back and forth in his decision about wanting to treat it versus wanting to wait to see if it gets worse. I don't want him to be bullied into treatment, but I'm inclined to want to "fix" everything.

When Dr. Workman entered the room, he asked if Dad walked in today. I giggled. He then asked Dad to walk back and forth (to assess his motor control, I'm guessing). I pointed out that he jogged four miles today. (Later, when talking with Dr. Payner, I heard him say something like "Yes, he's still walking" as though it was a surprise.)

The main point of this visit was to receive the results of the bone marrow sample and CT scan from last week. We were thrilled to learn that the cancer had not spread! Dr. Workman was also unconcerned about Dad's slightly anemic condition.

Then we got a tutorial on chemotherapy as it would be administered to Dad. We're looking at weekly visits. One week, it's a four-hour IV drip of high does Methatrexate, followed by a "rescue" vitamin, Leucovoin the next day. The next week, we use an Omaya valve (to be installed in Dad's forehead) to quickly introduce Vincristine into Dad's "spinal space". Every fourth week, Procarbozine pills will also be administered. (I am sure I screwed up some of that, but you get the idea.)

The initial treatment will last 10 to 12 weeks. Then Dad will have another (MR?) scan. There are other drugs (Cytosin Arabinoside) to try if the initial treatment is ineffective, but the rate of relapse is only 50%. Ideally, Dad's abilities will return to his pre-tumor levels.

We were stunned by Dr. Workman's confidence in the treatment. I even pointed it out and asked why the early reports were so grave. He explained that treatment of brain lymphomas has become much more effective recently and most people are not aware of that.

We left the office (with lots of appointments and prescriptions) elated! Through a phone call to Dave, we caught Jill on her way home and met her at Grandma's. We are still celebrating.

It's the end of the month and this title of "February 2002 hospitalization" doesn't seem so appropriate anymore. I think I'll start making monthly folders for Dad, but I'm not sure exactly how I'll handle it. Thank you for your interest in and wishes for Wally. So many of you have given and offered help. While I'm sure that we have not adequately expressed our appreciation, we have felt it.