Jason TNT

Jason TNT

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another Cycle Done

This week marked the last two chemo treatments of another cycle...the fourth cycle on my current treatment regimen.  I'm looking forward to my rest week this coming week.  After my consultation in Boston last week, it looks like we're going to try to another four cycles of basically the same chemo regimen.  We'll be using all the same drugs, we'll just be slightly tweaking the method and timing via which some of the drugs are delivered.  Keep your fingers crossed that all the numbers keep moving in the right direction.

In other news:

-  I'm not the only Beaird who spent time at Florida Hospital recently.  Shannon broke her second major bone...this time her humerus (upper arm) after falling from a parade float that was parked after a parade that she marched in with her brother and his Cub Scout troop.  She underwent surgery and had three pins placed in her arm.  See below for a post-surgery photo.  She'll wear a soft cast for 3 weeks and then will have the pins removed and will wear a hard cast for 2 more weeks.  She's only 7, but has now broken the biggest bone in her leg and the biggest bone in her arm...when she goes, she goes big!

-  I had a minor procedure done this past Thursday and had the same anesthesiologist that put Shannon under for her arm surgery.  Have we reached Medallion status at Florida Hospital yet?  When do those frequent flier miles start kicking in?  Can a brother get an upgrade?

-  Lady luck finally caught up with the Gators.  After winning the turnover battle all year, the Gators coughed up the ball 6 times and still only narrowly lost to the hated Georgia Bulldogs.  Jen made the trip up to Jacksonville and had a good time tailgating up the St. John's River with her brother and friends on her brother's boat.  Although the loss hurt, if you would have told me at the beginning of the season that we'd by 7-1 at this point, I'd have taken the money and run.

-  In better football news, Aaron's team won the championship in their flag football league.  Aaron played a great game at quarterback in the championship game and also made some outstanding plays on defense (not that I'm biased or anything).  It was a fun season with great coaches and a great group of teammates.

-  Looks like our friends to the North may get a little taste of a hurricane.  Hopefully Sandy is not too powerful when she makes landfall.  I hope all of my relatives in Massachusetts avoid any storm damage...maybe some good wind and rain will blow away memories of the season the Red Sox just had.

Until next time...thanks to all for your prayers and good wishes.  Be sure to enjoy time with your family and friends!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Real Autumn

As part of my treatment, every six months or so, I see a doctor at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.  Dr. Richardson is a renowned myeloma expert who is up to date on all the latest research and treatment options.  We view Dr. Rischardson as our "offensive coordinator" and we work with him to develop the game plan for treatment and then we execute that game plan in Orlando.  Jen and I just got back to Orlando after visiting with Dr. Richardson in Boston on Tuesday.  We talked about some minor tweaks to my current treatment plan and also talked about bigger next steps if/when they are needed. 

The best part about being in Boston was the weather.  Living in Florida, it's easy to forget that there are four seasons in the year.  It's not like the palm trees change color in Autumn.  So, it was a refreshing change to walk around the city in mid-60 degree weather and see the trees in various shades of yellow, orange and red.  We enjoyed our taste of "real Autumn", but also are happy to know we won't have to deal with "real Winter" and the snow, ice and freezing weather that are just around the corner for New England.

In this week's non-medical news:

-  Our house could host Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights.  Jen loves Halloween and, once again, has our house decorated to the hilt.  Aaron and Shannon are scared to venture out on our front porch at night because of all the scary sights and sounds that have been rigged up.  I'm sure we'll scare our fair share of trick or treaters next week.

-  People "up North" love to wear pro football jerseys.  It doesn't matter if your male or female, apparently a football jersey is a fashion statement.  On the flight to Boston, we saw plenty of Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Rob Gronkowski wannabes.  After we landed, we went to a bar near our hotel to watch the Patriots game and half the patrons were decked out in jerseys.  It was fun, but different, to be in an atmosphere where the NFL is king and nobody pays attention to college football.

-  Speaking of college football, the Gators have their 3rd huge game in a row this weekend...taking on Georgia in "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" in Jacksonville.  We had a bit of luck last weekend when South Carolina decided to turn the ball over multiple times.  That said, our defense looks great and hopefully our offense has enough to beat the Bulldogs.

That's it for now.  Until next time, I hope everyone enjoys some time with family & friends

Sunday, October 14, 2012

You Gotta Love Rest Weeks!

It was nice to have a rest week this week.  Nobody jabbing me for chemo, no blood or platelet transfusions, it was almost...normal.  I only had one check-in appointment with my oncologist, an appointment with an ENT doctor, and a bone marrow biopsy.  A very light medical week for me!  During the bone marrow biopsy, they removed a sample of bone marrow from my pelvis and measured the amount of myeloma cells inside.  We can compare the results to my last bone marrow biopsy to see if the myeloma cells are increasing or decreasing (hopefully, it's the latter).  We decided to do this procedure ahead of my visit to Boston the week of Oct 22nd where I'll be checking in with my doctor at Dana Farber hospital.  He is my "offensive coordinator" and Jen and I set up the game plan of my treatment with him and then execute that treatment plan in Orlando.

In a couple of non-medical notes:

- Due to a comment received last week, I updated the photo at the top of the blog.

- It was great to see my cousin Nicole, who was down from Massachussets, and her family at my brother's house yesterday.  They got a bit of a taste of Saturday in the South during college football season as the Gator game was on throughout our visit.

- The Gators played their typical close game against Vanderbilt, but squeaked out another (somewhat ugly) victory.  A fired up South Carolina team will be coming to The Swamp this coming weekend after losing to LSU.  I hope we don't let our new #3 ranking (AP Poll) or the fact that ESPN's Game Day will be broadcasting from Gainesville, get to our heads.  We're definitely over-rated at #3, but we can beat the Gamecocks if we play well.

-  A huge shout out to my friend Craig Powers who completed the legendary Ironman Hawaii triathlon yesterday. Not only did he swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112 miles, and then finish his day off by running a full 26.2 mile marathon...he did it all while battling 30-40 mile winds and heat & humidity on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Not bad for a Buckeye!  While racing, Craig wore the logo of the Multiple Myeloman Research Foundation and raised awareness for the fight to cure myeloma.  CP...you da man!!

-  See photo below for a pretty sweet bike that Craig saw a fellow competitor riding in Hawaii.  In a word...classy!

I hope everyone has a great week with their family and friends...more to come next week.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Another Good Week

Good news...another fairly uneventful medical week passed.  I did have to get a blood transfusion on Friday night (unfortunately, the hospital is not a great place for happy hour), but I made it through the first two weeks of another chemo cycle and am looking forward to a week of rest.  I still feel a little worn down, so I have a sneaking suspicion that I may need to get some additional platelets this week.  We'll see what's to come.

A special shout out to Barbara Barati who provided one of the units of blood that I received in my transfusion.  Even though I have a feeling it was Garnet-colored Seminole blood, it still helped a ton.  If anyone else in the Orlando area wants to donate blood directly for my benefit, you can contact Jennifer at 407.361.9288 or jbeaird@cfl.rr.com and she can give you the details.

In this week's non-medical news:

-  My cousin Nicole and her family will be in town from Massachusetts and I'm looking forward to spending some time with them this weekend.

-  The Gators notched their first big win in a few years as they took down LSU at The Swamp on Saturday.  Great to see them off to an undefeated start although I fear they're now over-rated at #4 in the AP poll.

-  Even though I don't root against FSU until the play UF...I wasn't sad to see them go down to The Wolfpack.

-  I wonder how many more people would watch the baseball playoffs if they happened before football season started.  Do we really want to watch baseball in the snow in Detroit?

-  Happy early birthday to Nana (aka Sue Brown) who celebrates another year on Tue the 9th.

-  Shannon made her debut in the St. James children's choir at 9:00 Mass this morning.  She had a great time...see photo.

That's it for this week.  Have a great week and thanks for all the continued prayers and support.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Weekly Update

It definitely feels good to keep typing "Weekly Update" as the header for each blog post.  Although boring, I much prefer it to "Back in the Hospital" or "Oh Sh*t".

Last week was the first week of a new chemo cycle.  Week one is the tougher of the two weeks of each cycle's treatment because day 4 falls in week one (not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I get chemo on Day 1, Day 4, Day 8 and Day 11 of each 21-day cycle).  Day 4 is the one day each cycle that I get my heaviest chemo drug, Doxil (aka Doxorubicin).  I'm usually pretty wiped out the day I get Doxil and the following day.  Kinda funny that the medicine itself is a non-threatening pink color and seems relatively harmless as it flows out of the IV bag.  Perhaps they tint it pink on purpose because its original purpose was to fight ovarian cancer and it was only later discovered to be effective against multiple myeloma.  These are the kinds of things you think about when you're bored in the chemo room.  ANYWAY...I'm looking forward to knocking out my last 2 treatments of the cycle this week and getting to a rest week next week.

Meanwhile, in more entertaining news:

-  The Beaird family had a great time at Universal last week. Harry Potter World was a lot of fun...we drank butter beer (I like to call it cream soda on steroids...and that's a good thing) and bought magic wands.  We also really enjoyed Jurassic Park...especially Shannon who attempted to set a record for most rides in one day on the Pteranodon Flyers.  We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and that allowed us to get into the park an hour ahead of the regular crowd...a strategy that worked very well for us.  It also worked well for Universal as we decided to upgrade to annual passes.  How do the theme parks continue to make us spend money?!?!  I'm convinced they pump medium-grade narcotics into the air to disorient us while making us happy and freeing us of our inhibitions.  Pixie dust my rump...it's a gaseous form of cocaine!

-  Speaking of the Hard Rock hotel, it just so happened that there was a concert held in the hotel lobby on Thursday night while we were there.  Wait for it....Bret Michaels (former lead singer of Poison).  Yes, ladies, he's still flashig those dreamy blue eyes (or contact lenses).  We popped in for some of the sound check and even a small bit of the concert...it was pretty cool.  However, it was unbelievable how many 50+ year old women AND MEN!! there were with huge teased hair and tight 80's jeans.  Who are these people?  Where are they when the sun is shining?  Do they have jobs?  Who told them it was acceptable to be seen in public that way?  It was bad enough in the 80's when my high school peers all dressed that way...I certainly don't need to see people with wrinkles looking like that.

-  Kona, our new puppy, continues to provide us with much joy.  That said, if anyone has access to a pill that magically housebreaks puppies, I'm willing to pay a large sum of money.  Name your price.

-  Big day in Gainesville this coming Saturday...LSU comes to town at 3:30.  I think all reasonable Gator fans (some would say that there are no reasonable Gator fans...I'm looking at you Barati family) are more optimistic about this year's team than last year's team.  Count me in that group and count me as someone who thinks we have a good chance to beat LSU this year.  It will come down to the trenches though.  Our offensive line needs to let our running game succeed and give our young QB time to throw.  Our defensive line needs to make sure LSU's offense gets neither of those things.

If you managed to stay awake long enough to make it this far, thanks for reading.  Thanks also for the continued prayers and support...it is very much felt and appreciated.  Let's hope next week's blog post has the same boring title.