Monday, December 20, 2010

Vensil Orr & Chute Funeral Homes: Obituaries

Vensil Orr & Chute Funeral Homes: Obituaries

The Saddest News

The family is heartbroken to share the news, but Patrick fought long and hard, and he was just too tired to hold on any longer. Thanks to all of you for your kind words and prayers. The family will keep you updated on arrangements as we make them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Here's What You've Missed...

Despite the lack of new blog entries (sorry about that), there has been a lot going on with Patrick, both good and bad, so here is a quick rundown of the past month.

Patrick was released from his last round of chemo after six weeks on Monday, October 4th. He was up for a while once he got home, but went to bed pretty early that evening. On Tuesday, his roommate tried to wake him up, but Patrick told him his stomach was hurting, and to let him sleep. On Wednesday afternoon, when his roommate got home from work, Patrick still wasn't up, so he tried to wake him up, and realized something was wrong. Patrick was awake and conscious, but he wouldn't respond verbally to anything his roommate was saying. His roommate called Ben who went over and quickly realized there was a problem and called 911. When the EMTs got there, based on Patrick's condition, they diagnosed it at a reaction to one of his medications, so they took him straight to the ER at OSU. He spent all night awake, but extremely agitated and still not speaking, other than to say "ow" when they pushed on his stomach and "yes" to any question anybody asked him. He fought off anybody who tried to run any tests, so they sedated him and finally got some tests going. They ruled out a med reaction first, and found that his kidney function was dangerously low and he was extremely dehydrated. They pushed fluids and platelets, but he still wasn't getting better. Early the next morning, they started some more complex tests because nothing had come back giving any answers. They kept him sedated and did a bone marrow biopsy and spinal tap because his symptoms were starting to point to the leukemia spreading into his brain. They both came back negative though, so the doctors were stumped, and had run out of tests to do. He was making very slight progress with communication (he would say "hi" if somebody said "hi" to him first, and eventually was able to say "Linda" if the nurse asked him who his mom was). But, that was it. Nobody knew what was happening, what the cause was, if it was going to be permanent, or even that he would make it through what was happening. That night, though, he woke up, and everything was fine!! He didn't know anything had happened (he didn't even remember being released on Monday) until the morning when the nurses started asking him questions and he was able to answer them. He was just miraculously fine!! They kept him in the hospital for a while for observation, but that was was over. A very long, very scary few days, and just like that...a happy ending!

After Patrick was released follow his "episode", he headed home and was doing pretty well for about a week. Last Tuesday, however, his temperature started going up, and he ended up having to go back to the hospital. Another slew of tests later, and they diagnosed him with another case of diverticulitis, and readmitted him. He's been in the hospital since, and has also been diagnosed with a C-Diff infection and a spot of infection just outside his lung, so they've got him on antibiotics galore, and hopefully he'll get to head home very, very soon!

Now that you're caught up with what's been going on...time to look forward and get some updates on what his treatment looks like from here out. First things first...get the infection cleaned up. Soon after that's done (they were initially saying Monday, but Patrick, of course, would love at least a few days out of the hospital, so maybe a few days later now), he'll start a new course of chemo. It'll be about another six weeks in the hospital. Then after another quick break (probably one or two weeks), he'll receive the transplant which will be followed by a long term stay (one - three months), and if EVERYTHING goes according to plan...that's it! Still a long way to go, but finally having the treatment plan laid out makes it seem more manageable.

Saving the best piece of news for last...they have found a donor for Patrick's transplant that has not only agreed to the procedure, but is a PERFECT TEN OUT OF TEN MATCH!!! It's the best news we could have ever received! Thanks so much for all of your prayers, and please keep them coming, for Patrick and for the donor who is willing to give such an amazing gift to Patrick and our family!

As for Patrick, he's feeling pretty good, and is enjoying getting visits from his friends and family. He's hoping to make it to the Puntober Fest benefit on Saturday (at Buffalo's Pine Cafe in Newark) and is really looking forward to seeing everybody that he hasn't been able to visit with for such a long time.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Kicking Leukemia In The Face Benefit for Patrick (Punion) McDonald!!!

From 5-9 at The Lodge Bar on Vine Street in the Arena District in Columbus!! Drink specials, raffles, 50/50, t-shirts and more! Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Just Hanging Out Now...Oh, And Another Benefit!!

Well, Patrick's chemo countdown is done. He finished up about a week ago, and is now just sitting around and waiting for his counts to come back up so he can go home. Hopefully that will be any day now, but Patrick's body doesn't tend to cooperate with what he wants, so it could be a little longer. In the meantime, he's still staying positive, waiting for news about a bone marrow donor and enjoying visits from family and friends.

On behalf of Patrick, there will be another benefit held this Saturday in Columbus at The Lodge Bar, from 5 - 9, so even if you're not a night owl, stop by for good food, drink specials, raffles and fun!!! Details can be found at Yes, that's Patrick's smiling face on the home page!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

One Year Down...

It was one year ago today that Patrick was given the official diagnosis of leukemia. It's certainly been a year full of ups and downs, but today we're thankful that Patrick has received the care, love and support from his friends, family, doctors and nurses that allows him to continue to fight so he can knock this terrible disease out once and for all! Praying that the next anniversary we celebrate is his remission date!

Friday, September 10, 2010


We got the news today...none of the four of Patrick's siblings are a match for bone marrow. We're all surprised, and pretty bummed out, but we gotta keep looking forward, so here's what's ahead. There are five possible donors on the public registry. The BMT coordinator is making contact with them to arrange further testing to determine if they are actual matches, and if so, and they are willing to donate, make the arrangements. So for now, back to waiting game, but at least now we know none of us are going to be able to keep Patrick indebted to us for the rest of his long and healthy life. Somebody else is going to have that pleasure! :)

Friday, September 3, 2010


Wondering where to spend your Halloween weekend?! Here's an idea...


On Saturday, October 30th, there will be a benefit to help raise money for Patrick's always accumulating expenses at Buffalo's Pine Cafe in Newark. Good food, great drinks, door prizes and more!! Check it out on facebook, and share with your friends!!

A huge thanks to Jessica Merritt for putting together such a great time for Patrick!!

Buffalo's Pine Cafe is located at:
495 Werhle Ave.
Newark, OH 43055

More Of The Same

We wanted to post an update, since we know many of you are waiting to hear the latest, but here we are again...seeing the same old, same old. Patrick's chemo is well under way (he has actually finished two of them) and as of today, he's feeling alright. He has been battling abdominal pain, nausea and headaches as side effects, which is par for the course for him, and as always, he's staying optimistic and reminds us that it's only temporary. Several of us have been able to visit, and it's been great to see him and get to just hang out.

On the transplant front, we're still waiting to hear about a match. The bone marrow transplant coordinator said it takes time to get results back, although how much time exactly she won't say. So, we're hoping to hear something any day, either way. Keep the prayers coming that one of us will be a match!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

And...We're Off!!

Today is day one of Patrick's second round of chemo. If all goes according to plan, he'll have 21 days of chemo which will kill off all of his cancer cells to prepare him for the bone marrow transplant. Please pray for this round to be a success!

The siblings also started testing for bone marrow matches today. We don't know for sure how long it'll take for the results to come back, but we will share as soon as we hear something. In the meantime, please pray for a donor match as well as the success of the chemo!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Round 2 Treatment Is Decided!

Well, Patrick met with his oncologist yesterday, and the blueprint for round two has been laid out. There are pros and cons, as every treatment plan has, but the number one pro for this plan is that Patrick is ready to go! He's looking forward to getting started so that he's that much closer to finally putting this thing behind him, and he won't have to wait long.

Beginning Monday, Patrick will be admitted back into the James Center to begin a 21-day chemo regimen. While there, he'll be receiving 3 types of chemo, all with different schedules. The first type of chemo will begin on day 1 and continue through day 21. It's given orally and is currently part of a trial for AML. It has been approved for other types of blood disorders, but the AML specialist at the James believes it will be helpful in Patrick's case. The second and third types will be given intravenously and will be given days 5 through 7 and 5 through 8. Patrick's already quite intimate with one of these...the Red Devil is back!! (see "Day 1 - It's ON!") More red pee and unfortunately, more hair loss. And of course, he'll be dealing with the "normal" side effects of chemo...nausea, rashes, mouth sores and plummeting platelets and white blood cells. It's only after these side effects have subsided that he'll be released, and based on his history, the doctors have told Patrick to expect 7 weeks in the hospital. So, he'll be settling in for the long haul, and we'll be ready to update you and let you know how his mood and his health progresses.

Part two of the blueprint isn't quite as clear yet, but we should know more in the not-so-distant future. Patrick will be receiving a bone marrow transplant, but because his current oncologist isn't a transplant doctor, she'll be handing his case off to another oncologist who is. Patrick hasn't met with him yet, so we still don't know details, but here is what we do know.

After receiving the chemo, Patrick's cancer cells will be temporarily wiped out. It's during these follow-up weeks where his cancer cells will be nonexistent that Patrick will receive the transplant. We still don't know who the donor will be...if a sibling will be a match or if they'll need to turn to the public registry to find someone, but we'll definitely let you know when a match is found.

So, that's it for now. Round 2 - Day 1 is right around the corner, and we'll be doing our best to keep you in the loop. Huge thanks to all of you, again, for your support the first time, and we're asking you to keep it up this time too. Prayers and support go a long way toward recovery, and we can't wait for Patrick to get there!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Here We Go Again!

Well, the good news first. Thanks to all of you, the yard sale benefit was a huge success. We had a larger turn out than any of us could have ever imagined, and Patrick is going to be able to catch up on many of his medical bills. A huge thank you to everybody for your donations for the yard sale, coming to the sale to shop, and the monetary donations. It means so much to all of us.

Now, on to the bad news...and to cut straight to the chase. Patrick's leukemia is back. He was in the hospital for treatment for what they thought was another stomach infection of some type, and his blood tests weren't looking so great. They decided to do another bone marrow biopsy and it came back positive for cancer cells. Unfortunately, at this point, that is all we know, but Patrick will be meeting with his oncologist on Wednesday, and hopefully there will be details we can share later this week. In the meantime, the family will be tested for a bone marrow match, as that seems to be the best treatment choice this time around.

Patrick, of course, is doing great and feeling really positive. He has said he knows he's in for a tough road, but is looking forward to a "second round knockout" of the leukemia. He'll be fighting hard, and we know he'll have plenty prayers and support from each of you. Please check back that there's updating to do, we'll keep writing!

You can find information regarding Patrick's updates on facebook as well. Search for the group "Punion (AKA - Patrick McDonald) - Kicking Leukemia In The Face!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Finally...An Update!

Friends and Family,

Yes, it's been a long time since there has been an update, but the truth is, there hadn't been much of anything to share for a long time. Patrick had been continuing his treatments and continuing to deal with the physical side effects the chemo brings. In the past few days, however, there have been some changes that we would like to share. After much consideration, Patrick has made the decision to discontinue any further chemotherapy treatments. He finished the recommended treatment for AML several months ago, but has been continuing chemo as part of a clinical trial. These treatments were supposed to be very gentle on Patrick's body, and he was supposed to be back to life as usual. However, after only two of the eight rounds, it's clear that this is not the case. Patrick has been getting sicker and sicker after each treatment, and his life has continued to be put on hold. As a result, he hasn't been able to return to work as quickly as once thought possible, and the financial struggles are beginning to become more difficult to keep up with. To try to alleviate some of the difficulties, there will be a benefit yard sale taking place Friday, August 6th - Sunday, August 8th, at 35 Dave Longaberger Avenue (3rd Street) in Dresden. Donations for the sale are being accepted at the Thirsty-Dawg Drive-Thru in Dresden, as well as at Champion Gymnastics and Cheer on Northpointe in Zanesville. A group of volunteers are also picking up donations if you would like to give and are unable to make it to one of the drop-off locations. And of course, what good is a yard sale without buyers?! If you would like to come by and get some good deals for a great cause, the support would be invaluable! Please feel free to share with your friends and family as well. The more, the merrier!

Thank you to all of you for the support you have given Patrick through this battle. It has provided more hope than you can imagine!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Check Out The Hives!!

Patrick was just finishing up his platelet infusion when he started feeling a little itchy. He's allergic to platelets, so the nurses are always sure to give him Benadryl before they start. Well, today, it just wasn't enough. He has broken out in the worst case of hives the nurses on the 11th floor of the James Cancer Center have seen. They've pumped him full of Benadryl and Hydrocortizone and flushed his system with saline, so he's getting better, but luckily I got some pretty good pictures first for your enjoyment! :)

Time Flies When You're Having...Platelets?!

So, it's been a month since the last blog, and I know many of you are curious as to Patrick's progress. Let me begin by saying the day-to-day details of Leukemia are really mundane and not worth a blog entry, hence the long delay. But, there has been progress this month and that, of course, IS worth it.

Patrick was readmitted into the James for his second treatment on November 18th, a week before Thanksgiving. He spent five uneventful days receiving a few hours of chemo, twice daily. His response was nausea and fatigue, but nothing out of the ordinary. He was released on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and went to stay with his sister Sarah in Cincinnati because he needed daily injections of Neupogen (a drug to help boost his white blood cell counts), and wasn't too thrilled about the idea of giving them to himself (not that Sarah was excited about it either...). He slept right up until Thanksgiving, but was able to enjoy his time with family and being out of his apartment. However, like anybody else who is sick and away from home, he got pretty tired of not being in his own place, and decided to start giving himself the injections and get back to Columbus. He's really quite good at it, and has a video on his facebook page of his first time if you'd like to see it!

This week has been trying for Patrick, concerning his levels, to say the least. On Monday, during his normal twice-weekly checkup, he received an infusion of platelets because his levels were all the way down to three (even lower than when he was diagnosed. Normal is 150-450). On Tuesday, however, his nose started bleeding, and continued into Wednesday morning. He called his team at the James and they told him to head to the ER (he was still in Cincinnati) and let them know he needed platelets. So, he spent seven hours in the ER getting a second infusion for the week. On Thursday, he had his second check-up for the week at the James, and his platelets were still down at 22. His hemoglobin was also much too low, so they scheduled him for a third platelet infusion and blood infusion on Friday to keep him safe over the weekend. So, he's spent four out of five days this week at the hospital, and has received four infusions. Not the best way to spend a week, but hopefully now he'll be healthy and able to enjoy his weekend back home.

Looking forward, Patrick will continue with the injections and check-ups until his levels are all back up where they need to be, and then he'll be readmitted to the James to start the whole process again for the third time. Not only does it get mundane, but it can also be a little disheartening that just as he starts to improve, the chemo undoes everything Patrick's body has been fighting for. So, how does Patrick stay positive and keep fighting? This month the oncology team told him they were confident he will not only be in remission at the end of his final treatment, but that he'll be totally cured of leukemia. That is what makes the hours, days and weeks spent in hospitals all worth it!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 47 - Follow Ups, Test Results and Updated Plans

Patrick had a few follow up appointments yesterday, and for the most part they went well. The follow up with the surgeon was easy and non-eventful. When they checked Patrick's appendix after the surgery, it wasn't too infected or inflamed, but enough that it was probably causing the abdominal pain Patrick was experiencing. He's healing well now, and shouldn't have too much more pain from the incisions. It should all be behind him now and hopefully during his next treatment, he'll be able to avoid all the side effects he had the first time around.

The follow up with his oncologist didn't go quite as well. The great news is that there continue to be no cancer cells in his marrow tests, although his marrow cells aren't rebounding as quickly as expected. In order to begin his next treatment, his marrow counts need to be at 20, and the last biopsy showed them at a 15. Patrick will have a new biopsy done on Monday, and if his results are at 20 or higher, they will schedule him to be readmitted two weeks after. So, if all goes according to the new plan, he'll be back in the hospital from the 16th through the 21st...home in time for Thanksgiving. We're all hoping for the best on Monday and that he can have one more treatment under his belt before we jump into the holiday step closer to beating this thing!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 45 - A Huge Thank You, And Looking Forward

Well, first and foremost, Patrick has asked us to post the biggest thank you to everybody who participated in the benefit. It was a huge success and an important step in making this whole cancer thing more affordable! To the whole Dugout staff...your hard work getting everything organized is so appreciated, and to everybody who came to support Patrick...he had a great night. Thanks for making such a lousy disease a reason to celebrate with friends!!

As far as Patrick's health is concerned...things are still going well. His counts at Monday's appointment were great, and his energy is still climbing. He has a big day tomorrow, following up with his oncologist and appendectomy surgeon. Everything is expected to be on track, and the blog will be updated with the updates we receive.

As far as future treatment is concerned, Patrick's next chemo session is scheduled to start on November 5th. He'll be back in the James Center for five days, then recovery either at his place or a family members, depending on how he feels, and assuming his side effects are minimal this time around. We'll update the blog regarding his progress during his treatment so everybody knows how he's dealing with the chemo in case you want to visit. In the meantime, Patrick's going to keep enjoying his time at home, and recharging so he can take the next step in kicking leukemia in the face!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 41 - A Good Week

Well, Patrick has been out for a week, and all is going great! Patrick has been laying pretty low, recovering from his appendectomy and many, many sleepless nights. He's made two trips back to the hospital for testing, including a bone marrow biopsy, and he's been getting great results. He found out during his visit yesterday that his hair should start growing back soon, and the 6 remaining chemo treatments shouldn't make it fall out again, so he's pretty excited about that. Overall, a great week, and Patrick still has tomorrow night's benefit at the Dugout to look forward to!

Patrick will continue going to the hospital every Monday and Thursday for blood work during his next 6 months of treatment, as well as spend 5 days a month back in the hospital for more chemo. His next treatment won't start until November 5th, so there is still a lot of time for Patrick to enjoy and as good as he's feeling now, he's definitely going to make the most of it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 34 - The Release

He's getting out!!! Yay!!!

Patrick just got word that he'll be released from the center today. He'll be staying at his apartment, much to the dismay of his family, and able to do anything he feels he's able to. The schedule of his next treatment hasn't been discussed yet, so nobody knows exactly how long he has until he has to come back, but you can bet he'll be making full use of each day he's out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

He's Back!

Well, Patrick is back in his room and doing well. His appetite is good, but unfortunately he's still in a lot of pain. The nurse has given him the maximum dose of pain killers, so hopefully he'll be able to sleep off most of the pain. More updates as time progresses.

Day 33 - Missing: One Appendix

He's out of surgery, and everything went well. He's still in recovery so we don't know how he's feeling yet, but wanted to update you as soon as possible. More to come later once we've seen him.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Final Answer? Yes!

Well, after a conversation with the nurse practitioner, we have a little more information about what lead to the decision to have the appendectomy done. Initially, when the scan was performed, there appeared to be fluid around the appendix, leading to the initial decision to have it removed. When the surgeon looked at the results, however, he didn't see enough inflammation in the area to consider removal. After talking it over with Patrick's medical team, though, they came to an agreement that because his white blood cell count is as low as it is due to the chemo, his body isn't able to produce the inflammation that would normally be seen with appendicitis. The fluid is enough for them to believe his appendix is a problem, and needs to be removed. It will be done tomorrow early afternoon, and will be done laproscopically. There will only be three small holes made, so hopefully recovery will be easy, although we still don't have an idea of what to expect time wise. Although there is no clear connection between the leukemia and the appendicitis, the nurse practitioner indicated she's seen this happen with other patients, so there is no reason to believe this is a sign of any larger problem lurking beneath the surface. That's something we call all be thankful for!!

Updates will be posted tomorrow following the surgery. Please continue to prayer for a smooth surgery and recovery!

Come One, Come All!!

On Saturday, October 24th, the Dugout Sports Bar in Columbus is holding a benefit to raise money to help support Patrick. It will start at 6:00 and keep going until closing time, so stop by for prizes, good music and a great time! The Dugout is located at 14952 E. Broad Street Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.

For more information, check out the Dugout on Facebook. For questions on donating to the benefit, please leave a comment and we'll have a member of the committee contact you.

Day 32 - Maybe, Maybe Not

Well, since we promised an update as soon as we knew something, I wanted to follow through, though we don't know much, yet. It looks like Patrick will be having his appendix removed after all. Because his counts are still off, diagnosing appendicitis can be a little tricky, so the medical team would rather play it safe than be sorry. As of now, the surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning. That's all we have right now...more to come as we learn more.

Thanks everybody!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 31 - Whew! That Was Close!

We know everybody has been waiting for an update, but until today, there was nothing to share. We were just waiting for Patrick’s levels to come back up so he could go home and spend some time living life before he has to start the second month of treatment, and this morning we found out he was almost there. But then he wasn’t. But now he is again. Here’s what happened.

This morning, Patrick found out that his white blood cell and platelet levels were looking good and there was a good chance he was going to be released tomorrow. He has been weaned off of the IV meds, his headaches are better, and his rash is going away, so the doctors just needed one more day to confirm his levels. Then the bad news came. The results from a scan of his abdomen came back and it pointed to appendicitis. The chance of Patrick being released tomorrow started to look slimmer and slimmer, but the diagnosis wasn’t a sure thing until the surgeon had a chance to take a look at the scan. So, after what seemed like hours and hours, the surgeon finally stopped in to talk to Patrick, and gave him the great news…he definitely doesn’t have appendicitis! His results are pointing more toward a back up in his digestive track, so he won’t need anything done surgically! Such a relief!! So, now that he is still as healthy as he was this morning, we’re all hoping he’s back on track to be discharged tomorrow. We’ll know more in the morning when the doctor stops by during rounds, and will update the blog as soon as we know, but are thinking positively until then!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 23 - "If It Weren't For Being Sick...Having Cancer Would Rock!"

Some days are just better than others aren’t they? First, we get some updated results. Patrick’s bone marrow levels are on the rise and things seem to be back on track there, and the doctors have decided his white blood cell counts are elevated because of his rash and there is no worry that the chemo didn’t do what it was supposed to. The best part of Patrick’s day, though, came in the form of a visitor, and what a visitor it was!

Before Patrick’s diagnosis, he had planned to go to see his favorite rapper who was going to be in Columbus last night, MC Chris. Obviously, since he is stuck in the hospital with no immune system, those plans were cancelled. Well, his friends Keith and Downard stopped by yesterday on their way to the show and brought along someone to help cheer him up…MC Chris himself!! Patrick couldn’t believe it when he saw him! Keith had sent an e-mail to MC Chris’s website and filled him in on Patrick’s condition and how big of a fan he is, and MC Chris wrote back that he would be happy to stop by to cheer him up. MC Chris did four songs for Patrick right there in his room, and Patrick even got to rap along with him!! He also brought him a sweatshirt, two CDs and a poster and spent some time hanging out once he was done. Needless to say, Patrick was certainly cheered up and hopefully MC Chris’s visit will make him forget how bad he’s been feeling the past couple of weeks.

Keith and Downard, you guys are amazing friends and Patrick and his whole family is grateful for what you’ve done to bring your friend some happiness. MC Chris also is an amazing guy. With his busy tour schedule, it’s overwhelming to know he would care enough about Patrick’s situation to come rap for him. And to the many, many others of you who have visited, sent cards, shared wishes and comments and sent packages, thank you too. Each “get well soon” or “we’re thinking about you” gives Patrick and the family the hope and energy needed to get through another day. And although this is a time we’re all looking forward to putting behind us, the support is something we all will carry with us long after Patrick’s hair has grown back!! Thanks again!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 20 - A Bump

We finally got some test results back today. There isn’t much good news to report, nor is there much bad news either…just news, so here it is.

Patrick had a stomach scan done as a last ditch effort to figure out what was causing his fever, and those results came back negative. With no other possibility as to where an infection can be hiding, the doctors decided to tweak his meds some more, and put him on steroids. Today is day three on them, and they seem to be making a difference. Patrick is feeling better than he has the last week or so, and was even able to make it outside for a few minutes again. It’s such a relief to know he’s regaining some of his energy.

Patrick’s bone marrow biopsy results came back as well, and they were not as good as everybody was hoping. His white blood cell counts are higher than ideal, and his marrow levels aren’t bouncing back as quickly as the doctors had hoped they would. They’ve chalked it up to all of the side issues Patrick has been dealing with, and are still optimistic that his treatment will remain on track, just not without some additional problems to work through.

So, even though we didn’t receive the best news, we still know Patrick will come out the other side happy and healthy. Bumps in the road are going to be inevitable, and this is just one bump he can put behind him!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Days 11-17 - Just Waiting

The last several days have all started to blend together while we just sit around and wait. We’ve been waiting for test result after test result, and nothing seems to come back conclusive, or quickly for that matter. Patrick has had a lot of tests run recently, starting with a skin biopsy on his rash. It was done early last week, and we just got the results reinforcing the assumption that the rash is an allergic reaction, probably to one of his antibiotics. It’s uncomfortable for Patrick and the doctors have told him they’re going to keep him pumped full of Benadryl as opposed to pulling him off the medication since his immune system is so low. He can’t afford to be off of the antibiotic and risk infection. So all we can do it wait.

Patrick is still running a temperature on and off and the doctors are running test after test to try to find the cause. They put in another pick line, but this one is clear…no infection there. They’ve done blood work, but can’t seem to find anything there. They’ve done a chest x-ray to check for any infection hiding in his lungs, and nothing there either. The doctors are pretty stumped, and are continuing to tweak his antibiotics to hopefully catch whatever bug is causing the fever, but for now…of course, we just wait.

On top of the rash and the fever, Patrick is suffering from headaches, and this has really stumped the doctors. Headaches aren’t a common side effect of chemo and Patrick doesn’t have a history of them. They have tried using pain medication to knock them out, but all they do is knock Patrick out. They ran a brain scan to check for internal bleeding, but considering we’re still waiting for those results, we’re pretty sure everything checked out ok. So, again, with no medical reason for his headache, Patrick keeps getting knocked out with pain medication and we… just…wait!

Patrick also had a bone marrow biopsy done on Friday, day 14 of his treatment course. The lower the levels the better the results so that all the cancer cells are wiped out and all the good stuff can grow back normally. The result of the biopsy will have a large impact on the course of future treatments, so we’re really anxious to get them back. No word yet though, so we…say it with me…WAIT!

I wish I could say all this hasn’t taken a toll on Patrick, but that would be quite a large lie! (Love you, Patrick) He’s tired, he’s itchy, his head hurts, he’s nauseous, and all that makes him grumpy! Thankfully, though, he still knows this is all just a means to an end, and that end is going to be Patrick kicking leukemia in the face! No doubt it’ll happen, but unfortunately it’s not going to happen overnight so we all just have to wait. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 10 - The Beginning of The End?!

Don’t panic…not the end of Patrick, the end of leukemia! Patrick’s white blood cell levels have dropped, and came in today at a .05. The doctors are considering a .01 a success, so we’re on the right track and hopefully Patrick will only need a few more days before bottoming out and healthy cells growing back. It’s just proof that the sickness, the poking, the prodding and the boring days in the hospital are going to be worth it!

On another positive note, Patrick’s temperature is totally gone and his mouth is feeling much better. On a down note, however, he has an unexplained rash on his legs and it’s spreading. The nurse said it’s not a typical side effect of chemo, so they’re going to send in a dermatologist to take a look and hopefully make a diagnosis. In the meantime, he’s getting decent doses of Benadryl to keep the itching under control, so he’s pretty zoned out most of the day. Hopefully it’ll be something simple and will be gone before he knows it.

More to come as information comes to us!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Days 6-9 - The Good, The Bad and The Patient!

Sorry for the lack of posts, but for a few days it seemed there wasn’t really anything new to report. Now, though, there’s a lot of catching up to do, so get ready.

Day 6 started out as another uneventful day. Patrick was feeling pretty nauseated, and when the doctor looked at his chart, saw he was getting only a third of the amount of anti-nausea medication for someone his weight and height, so they upped his dosage. He got quite a few more visitors as well, so the day passed pretty quickly. When the nurse came in at 8:00 to take his vitals though, his temperature was high. The nurse explained that the fever could be a result of the chemotherapy and nothing more, or possibly an infection. With everything the chemo kills off, his immune system is basically non-existent, and infections are common in patients going through chemo. They took some blood and sent it off for testing and told us it would be at least 48 hours until results were back. They started him on IV antibiotics to play it safe, and also an antifungal IV. During his vital examination, Patrick told the nurse his mouth was feeling sensitive. They took a look and found he was beginning to develop thrush. The chemo also kills off the bacteria that keeps yeast in check, and without that bacteria, antifungal meds are needed to avoid overgrowth. Patrick had been taking an oral antifungal which spreads through the body on fat cells. Since Patrick hadn’t been feeling good and wasn’t eating much, the meds didn’t have the fat cells to ride on. As a result, it was ineffective, so by changing to the IV version, the medicine should actually do its job and keep the thrush at bay.

Day 7 should have been a much better day than it was. The final bag of chemo went up, but instead of celebrating, Patrick was doing nothing but sleeping. His temperature spiked to over 103°, so he was pretty miserable. There wasn’t anything more that could be done though. Time needed to pass so the antibiotics could kick in and do its job.

Day 8 finally came, and Patrick started feeling better. His temperature started coming down to around 100. He was able to eat a little bit and felt up for a short visit from family. Results came back from the blood work taken on Thursday evening when the fever first spiked. It showed that there was an infection, and it was actually in his pick line…the internal IV that runs from his arm to his heart to get the chemo spread throughout his body as quickly as possible. They took two blood samples that night, one from his pick line and one from this other arm. The sample from his pick line had a lot of infection in it, while the opposite sample was much cleaner, so it gave the doctor a quick answer, and verified they were right in starting the antibiotics right away. They also removed his pick line and finished up the chemo in a regular IV in the opposite arm. That’s right…finished up the chemo! Wooo hooo! Now it’s just a waiting game as his body continues to process the chemo and kills off all the cancer.

Today Patrick is feeling much better. He’s ready for more visitors and has been able to get out of bed and spend some time outside. It was a bad couple of days, but Patrick made it through with a great disposition and everybody is looking forward to getting daily updates on his blood levels. The quicker his bone marrow is killed off completely, the quicker the healthy cells can start growing back and Patrick can get home. THAT will be a great day!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 5 - Back To "Normal"

After his stint of nausea yesterday morning, Patrick’s nurses tweaked his medication and he’s back to his old self. Feeling good and fighting hard!! The visitors are continuing to pour in and keep his spirits high, and he’s still got quite an appetite. Taco Bell today…mmmmm!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 4 - The Day Of Changes

I guess we all knew it was coming, but was hoping it wouldn't. Some changes are good, some not so much, but without change there can't be progress, so hopefully Patrick and his entire support system (that means you all!), can find the good in all of it. The first change actually took place last night...the dreaded haircut. It was hard on Patrick to watch his long lovely locks become a thing of the past, but at least he has a well-shaped head, and now some lucky kid will get to walk around with Punion hair! The second change is in the form of his treatment. Since today is day four, the two three-day chemos are done, including the "Red Devil." For the next four days, Patrick will be getting just one type of chemo around the clock, killing cancer cells 24/7.

The last change that's taken place today is unfortunately how Patrick is feeling. He's still doing great mentally, but physically the chemo is starting to take it's toll on him and his nausea has kicked in. It's a bummer, yes, but also a sign that the chemo is doing what's it supposed to be doing. He still has some visitors coming in today and they'll no doubt help to keep his spirits up to fighting weight, so keep the support coming!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 3 - Great News!

The doctor came in this morning with some great news for Patrick. They found he does have a specific gene in his make up that has been shown to create positive results for AML patients. Many patients with the gene have gone into remission after the first round of chemo treatments (so approximately 6 months for Patrick) and have stayed in remission. This is news we've all been hoping to hear, and could be the most important news we've received regarding his prognosis. One step closer to the face-kicking AML deserves for messing with Patrick!

Patrick is still doing well physically. He just started today's chemo and is starting to get a little bit more fatigued, but is still looking forward to and expecting more visitors today. Hopefully we can expect more of the same throughout the rest of the treatment!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day Two - Happy 23rd Birthday, Patrick!!!

***He puts the CAN in cancer and the EMO in chemo***

Well, it has been a birthday Patrick won't soon forget. His first gift? His own room (1032 for those visiting). It's much larger than the space he had in the old room, which is good considering the amount of people we packed in today. Friends and family were on hand to help celebrate, including the nursing staff who brought him a cake this afternoon! He's still feeling good physically and mentally and just had a little fatigue today. Not bad! Treatment continued today as it was yesterday and Patrick is certainly getting used to the routine of the hospital. He helps out the nurses when they come in for his vitals and watches his pick line to make sure it doesn't get jammed up and make the IV machine beep like crazy. Surprisingly, it looks like he's going to be a good patient! So, another day down, another day closer to remission!
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Thanks everybody. More to come!!

Day One - It's ON!!

Day one is over, and it was...busy. Patrick got back from making his deposit just before 11:30, and then the day really got started. The nurse came in almost immediately to give him his pre-chemo meds, give the family all the important details, and then it was time. At 2:20, they gave him his first bag of what they call "Red Devil." It's a strong chemo that he'll get for two more days, just 10 minutes a day, and also the one that turns his pee red. It's pretty strange looking! :) They hooked up the next two when the first bag was done, and that was that. Chemo was under way. His side effects have been virtually non-existent up to this point, and the nurses and doctors are hopeful that he'll continue to just feel tired, not sick, as the treatment progresses. He was up and moving most of the day, taking walks, and heading down to the cafeteria to order one of the biggest deli sandwiches known to man! He couldn't even bite all the way through it! It was heartening to see him in such great spirits while he was standing eye to eye with the biggest fight of his life.

Patrick had a lot of visitors during the day, and we just want to say thank you to each and every one of them. It's all of you that will keep him fighting day after day. He had family, high school friends, and several people from TS Tech stop in to visit. And wow, did "Polar Bear" have some news for him! TS Tech took up a collection to raise money to help Patrick with rent and bills while he's down and out. The amazing people he works with donated almost $1000, with more on the way!! It's so great knowing he has such caring people in his life, and a huge relief to know his bills will be taken care of while he's in treatment! Thanks to all of you!

Just one more note to any of you who are thinking of stopping by or sending something to Patrick. He's just been given a very specialized diet it's important he strictly follow to avoid bacterial infections while his immune system is low. He's not permitted to have any...wait for it...fresh fruits or vegetables! Yes, that's it! That's his big important diet! No fruits or vegetables. Cookies? Sure. Candy? Sure. Greasy burgers? Sure. Just no fresh fruits or vegetables! We all got a kick out of it, but they don't want him to have anything that can harbor bacteria down in the crevices of leaves or peels, so basically, he's on a processed food diet! Pretty tough to follow, huh?

Thanks again for all the prayers, thoughts, posts, cards, donations and visits! They are so appreciated, and are going to make a big difference over the next several weeks!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009


Unfortunately, it's official. Patrick has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Not the best news, but at least now we know what we're working with. Here are the treatment details as we know them right now.

Tomorrow morning, Patrick is off to the "bio-preservation" clinic to, as he puts it, freeze his boys. Gotta think about the future I suppose. As soon as he gets back, they'll start his chemotherapy. He'll have three types of chemo. The first one is given for 24 hours, 7 days straight. The second will be given for 2 hours for 3 days and the third for 10 minutes for 3 days (and will turn his pee red!). The goal of the chemo is to kill off everything in his bone marrow, good and bad cells. Hopefully, after 14 days, his marrow will be cleared out. Then he waits until his cell counts come back up and he's outta here (usually around 2 weeks). He'll continue to have follow up treatments over the next several months, and hopefully in about 6 months, he'll be totally done!

Patrick has a lot of pros going for him right now, so the outlook is good. His age, his health, catching it early, some specific chromosomes that will hopefully assist in his recovery (yeah, McDonald's are genetically superior), and of course, his outlook. He will lose his hair, so he's bummed, but he's going to shave it off and donate it to Locks of Love. Yes, I'll post pictures. He's still feeling good and has nurses and doctors "claiming" him as a patient. Gotta love him!

More to come tomorrow.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Here's the Word!

***Remember, laughter is the best medicine!***
I know there are a lot of you who want to know what is happening with Patrick, and while we appreciate all your kind words, we're having a hard time keeping everybody caught up and keeping our attention where it needs to be, which is on Patrick and his recovery. Hopefully this will answer all of your questions and give you a place to voice your support directly to Patrick. Here we go...
Around three weeks ago, Patrick started developing periodic nosebleeds with no apparent cause. While it was strange, it wasn't a huge concern to him, but then about a week after that, he started finding large bruises, also with no cause. He decided it was time to check into what was going on, so he went to the doctor on Tuesday, September 8th to get some bloodwork done and find answers. He went to work that night and when he got off in the early morning, he had a message from his doctor to call him right away. When he called, the doctor let him know that the preliminary results were back and his platelet levels were critically low (Normal is 150,000 to 450,000 and his were at 7000) and he needed to head to the hospital immediately. Ben took Patrick in and he had some testing done in the emergency room. After several hours (maybe more), the doctors let Patrick know he was being transferred to the James Cancer Center at OSU. Around midnight last night, September 9th, there were still no answers, but nothing more that could be done for him that night. They would pick it up in the morning.
When today came, we were all hoping for answers, but have yet to receive any. Patrick received two blood transfusions throughout the day which brought his platelet count up to 42,000, out of the danger zone, and had a bone marrow biopsy done. The preliminary tests all point to leukemia, and the doctors are reving up to treat him for that as well. When the bone marrow results are back tomorrow, we'll know more, and will update you as soon as we find out.
In the meantime, here is the important stuff. Patrick is doing great. He's feeling good and has the doctors and nurses loving him already. We went out to get some dinner (just across the street from the hospital) and he walked with us. He's bummed out about the prospect of losing his hair and spending so much time cooped up in the hospital (at least a month if it is leukemia), but is taking everything in stride. He said today he was going to "kick leukemia in the face!" I think he's right!
For those of you who would like to contact Patrick, he has his cell phone with him, has computer access, and is spending tons of time on MySpace. If you would like to send him a card, the address for the James Center is 300 W. 10th Street Columbus, OH 43210. If you'd like to visit, the directions can be found at Patrick is on the 10th floor, Room 1042. Chances are good he'll be moved tomorrow, so check back before you take off to see him for a new room number.
That's it for now, but more to come soon. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. We certainly need them!