Monday, May 2, 2011

He Has Antibodies!

Sorry for the delay in posting something new, but I've been in Atlanta since Friday and it's been nothing but nonstop fun.  I arrived Friday evening and my dad and my brother both picked me up from the airport in my dad's new car. He's very proud of this car because it gets great miles per gallon.  Saturday morning we woke up and went for a walk with Abbott.  We had lunch with Stacey and then watched the King's Speech (very good movie) once my brother returned home from his massage.  Later that night we had tacos for dinner and enjoyed learning about my dad's parents and their battles with cancer.  Sunday my brother cooked up a great breakfast and then we headed off to Amicalola Falls for a picnic and hike.  Amicalola Falls is about a 1.5 hour drive from my brother's house and my dad drove all the way. He was practicing for his trip to Louisiana next week.  We had lunch and then proceeded to climb about one mile straight up hill to the top of the falls. I will say, I was pretty embarrassed that a man with cancer and a tube out of his back kicked my ass walking up this damn mountain. He graciously allowed me to take breaks as we proceeded to climb up the last 600+ stairs.  Fun times.

We got to the top of the falls and enjoyed a snack while talking to my mother in Barcelona.  My dad was amazed at how far technology has come - here we are sitting on top of Amacalola Falls and we are talking on a cell phone to my mom in Barcelona.  My dad then had the great idea to drive to what he and my mom refer to as Keegan Falls (it's actually called Helton Creek Falls).  He told my brother and I that it was only a 30 minute drive away.  It was more like an hour through windy roads of the North Georgia mountains and then down a dirt road that seemed only fit for serial killers. Alas, at the end...we came to the falls. There was only one car there and we walked right to the bottom of the falls then to the lookout at the top.  It was really nice, but the smile on my dad's face from spending the day with his children in nature was even better.  We had a nice family dinner to end the evening and my dad was just glowing from all the excitement of the day.

This morning we took Abbott for a walk and then I finished reading "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks". It was a great book. Both of my parents have read it and I wanted to finish it over the weekend so Marcus could read it next.  My dad had a doctor's appointment at 2pm, so we left at exactly 1:20pm.  We got to the doctor's office and waited no more than five minutes. He got his blood taken and then we went to the waiting room. Everyone in the doctors office knows my dad. We proceeded to the examining room and my dad got his blood pressure, temperature, and pulse taken. All of those tests turned out great.  We then talked to the nurse who administered his first chemotherapy treatment and he proceeded to tell her about the gasoline feeling in his stomach. She assured him that what she had given him was much worse than gasoline!

Dr. Allen (the oncologist) finally came in and told him the results of his blood tests. His white blood cell count was 4,400 somethings (normal is 5,000). He said this was great. He also said the rest of his blood was normal.  My dad then proceeded to ask Dr. Allen a list of questions and gave him a detailed run down of his after-chemo side effects.  Dr. Allen assured my dad that this was all normal and that the next round of chemotherapy will probably result in the same side effects (maybe a little less gasoline in stomach and a little more fatigue). My dad was extremely excited after we left the doctor's office. He shouted in the car as we left, "I have antibodies!" (fist pump in the air as well).  We drove to Kroger, the local grocey store, picked up some bread, wine, and ice cream, and headed home.

My uncle Michael came over for dinner and we enjoyed some good times laughing about cancer, doctor's bills, where doctor's stick things when trying to put in a kidney stent, Osama Bin Laden's death, and a host of other things. My dad tried to get us to measure the tube coming out of his back, but Stacey assured him that men always think things are bigger than they seem.  I return to D.C. tomorrow and I am sure I will be missing out on the many adventures my dad will have before chemo session #2 on May 9th. He will be driving to see his family this weekend and my mom will be returning home on Saturday...just in time for Mother's Day.


  1. Lauren, this is Maggie, your aunt Kathy's sister. Your writings are wonderful and inspiring, just like your Dad. The recounting of your hike reminded me of hiking with Bobby when I was a kid. Ask him about hitchhiking back to the car when we hiked down the wrong side of a hill in NJ! Send him my love...

  2. Lauren, what does it mean, he has antibodies? You didn't mention the doctor saying anything about antibodies. Looks like a great time and beautiful weather - looking forward to seeing Bob this weekend if Joe can lose his cough. (The doctor assures us he is not contagious but I doubt Bob wants to take the chance)

  3. Thanks for the update, Lauren.

  4. Thanks Maggie and no problem Willis. Nancy...antibodies are associated with his white blood cell count (apparently). I'm no scientist so I think that is correct. Antibodies are used by the immune system to fight off foreign objects like bacteria and viruses according to Wikipedia. Antibodies are produced by a kind of white blood cell called a plasma cell, also according to Wikipedia. So yes, make sure Joe gets rid of that cough!