It's been a very busy time of the year for me and my family. A couple of weekends ago I went up to Two Rivers to attend my sister's high school graduation ceremony. My grandpa had driven in for the occasion, so I also got to visit with him. The ceremony wasn't too long or too short - lasting just over an hour. I saw a lot of familiar faces as I sat there in the audience. There are a lot of teachers that are still there that I have a lot of respect for that helped mold me into the person I am today.
I'm not sure if you can tell from the above picture, but my hair has finally started to come in...especially my facial hair. That seems to be growing with vigor. I am constantly having to shave now. Maybe I'll just let it go crazy so I don't have to deal with it. I'd probably fit in that much more with Harley enthusiasts.
Physically, I have been feeling pretty decent. My appetite is slowly recovering again, however the pains that I have in my abdomen still have not gone away. I guess one positive thing is that they have finally figured out a possible source as to where this pain has been coming from...it only took them a month or so to come to the conclusion. They did a CT scan of my abdomen and everything turned up negative. The following Monday they performed an endoscopy where they stuck a tube down my throat into my stomach and looked around. They scope also took some biopsies of my stomach walls to test them for abnormalities. Sure enough, the results came back with evidence of graft versus host disease (GVHD) in my stomach. As I have mentioned in previous posts, GVHD can be extremely serious...even fatal. So naturally, this had my family pretty worried because this went undiagnosed for so long now. However, I haven't been showing any of the other major symptoms that go along with GVHD so it means it hasn't gotten THAT bad. They put me on Prednisone (a steroid) which weakens my immune system even more. They need to knock down my immune system to make it dumb again so that it will quit attacking me. Hopefully, with the steroids I will stop having this terrible abdominal pain. They finally prescribed me some pain medication to help. There have been times where the pain was so bad, that all I wanted to do was die. It was good to finally get some relief from that pain with the pain meds. Also, as I have also mentioned in previous posts, graft versus host disease can also be a good thing. Typically the doctors don't want their patients getting any GVHD because it is deadly to a sizable percentage of patients. They want the least amount of complications as possible for all of their transplant patients. However, GVHD also creates a graft versus leukemia effect where the disease will actually target leukemia cells as wel...giving you a greater chance that the cancer will not come back in the future. The first transplant, I didn't have any GVHD and as you all know, my cancer did come back. This time it looks like I am getting a little bit so hopefully it's a good thing. Anyways, I'm now finally being treated for my stomach and we'll monitor it more closely week to week to see how it progresses.
This past weekend, I made another trip to Two Rivers. This time it was for my younger brother's wedding. Steven McLean and Ashley Holtz joined hands in marriage on June 14, 2008. We had the wedding ceremony in our beautiful backyard in Two Rivers. It had been raining constantly over the past couple of weeks...so we were a little afraid the rain was going to hit on the day of the wedding, but it didn't. The sun came out and it turned into a perfect day. However, it probably was a little too perfect for me. As the ceremony progressed and I stood there in the heat with my tuxedo, I couldn't see a thing. I had completely blacked out and I was a tree about to fall over.
In the above picture is about where I passed out. My dad and Dawn were sitting in the crowd and noticed something was wrong with me. Luckily they got there just in the nick of time with a chair. My dad practically caught me. I draped a cool rag over my head and drank some water to help myself recover. Other than that, the ceremony went absolutely perfectly.
Afterwards, we all (the wedding party) piled into a limo and headed to the bars before the reception. The reception went awesome as well. Just about all of my relatives were all there dancing the night away. The venue said we went through three times more alcohol than any other wedding that they have ever had. One thing is for sure, is that when the McLeans all get together, they drink! I survived the night and stuck it out. I pretty much slept the entire following day.
So that's been my life the past 2-3 weeks. I still haven't officially heard back from Harley yet. I have been getting asked that from a lot of people and I don't have any guarantees yet. I will definitely post something on here when I find out for sure. This next coming weekend I think I will make another trip to Two Rivers to spend the weekend golfing with my relatives.