Tomorrow is The Big Day

Radiation Turkey
Well I’m fully baked.  I had my last session of radiation this afternoon.  I’m still a bit amazed at the process.  For instance, today we had a bit of trouble getting my head to be the right distance from the machine.  As mentioned, after I’m laying on my side on the table, they arrange the table to be a set distance from the machine.  For minor adjustments they just move my feet or head.  Our goal was something like 360 cm for my head.  I was 359, so they moved my head a bit.  Then I was 362, so they moved it back.  Then I was finally 360 cm away.  But here’s the thing.  There is nothing holding my head in that 360 cm position.  A little cough or sneeze (which happened) and who knows if I’m still at 360 or perhaps I’m now at 363.  I take the words of the physicist to heart (a few centimeters won’t matter), but at the same time it’s just very interesting that we take time for an exact measurement that won’t be maintained.

Radiation- More Thoughts
Once I got used to the process, it wasn’t bad, but radiation has also been the loneliest part of my treatments.  Through out all of this, I’ve always had someone by my side.  Hands down that is usually Lindsey who has been my rock through all of this.  At the very least there is a nurse beside me for middle of the night chemo.  But for radiation, I’m in the room all alone.  The room is probably about the size of a 4 car garage.  Half of it taken up by the Trilogy Radiation machine.  When it’s time for radiation, every one leaves and a 1 foot thick door closes.  It’s just me.  All alone.  Kind of feels like a tomb.  It’s a good time to pray and I had music playing.  The machine makes a high pitched drilling like sound when it’s on, so you know when you’re getting zapped.  It takes a couple of 15 second breaks in between.  The treatment is around 10-11 minutes, or 3 songs.  I simply count the songs, sing along and pray.  I intently listen for the sound of the 1 foot thick door to open to know I’m done.  Thankfully I’m all done with the process.

The table I laid on.  You can see the pad for my knees and the part of the machine that pointed towards Harry and Curly.
The table I laid on. You can see the pad for my knees and the part of the machine that pointed towards Harry and Curly.

The Story of Winky, Harry, and Curly
So yesterday I had my testicular boost of radiation.  As you might recall, leukemia can hide out in the testicles (hey, who doesn’t like to spend quality time with testicles) so they give you an extra zap “down there.”  To keep the beans and the frank straight, we’ll call my penis Winky and my testicles Harry and Curly (incidentally, to anyone who has a son named Harry, Culry is a lovely girl’s name if you still need one).

So on Wednesday morning I was being cared for by 2 Female Radiation Therapists and a Female Radiation student.  I was asked to lie on a table.  They put a pad under my knees and then I had to spread my knees out keeping my feet together.  Kinda like I was frog legging.  They were kind enough to put a sheet over me, but that apparently was a temporary formality.  It then came time to drop the drawers and the sheet was pulled back.

Since their target was Harry and Curly, Winky got a pass.  But to get a pass he had to be placed in the right position.  Now if you had told me as a teenager I’d have 3 women handling Winky and the boys, I probably would have gotten a big smile on my face.  This experience is pretty much the opposite.  They took a pillow case and placed it just above Winky and taped it to my sides.  This was to give them a non hair surface to apply more tape (thank you God for not taping those hairs).  One of them proceeded to then grab Winky and place him pointing up.  Let’s just say that in a cold room full of strangers, it wasn’t his strongest moment.  That’s probably better that way though.

With the winkster pointing up, he was covered with a piece of gauze and then the gauze was taped down to the pillow.  This pinned Winky up and away from the radiation.  Now it was Harry and Curly’s turn.  Admittedly I’m not quite sure how they got arranged.  They were spread out a bit and there was some finagling of the machine to make sure the radiation would only hit my testicles.  After I was finally all arranged, the only thing that needed to be done was page the doctor.  Wait?  Page the doctor?

Apparently the doctor needs to come in and approve of the setup.  So me and the gang waited for Dr. Langer to come assess the situation.  He was very complimentary of the work the ladies did with Winky, Harry, and Curly.  With that, everyone left the room.  The door closed.   And Harry and Curly got hit with about 90 seconds of radiation.  After all that fondling, I didn’t get a cigarette but I may blush if I see Kelly, Angie or the student again.

Donor of Marrow (Dom)
Since I don’t get to know much about my donor, I’ve nicknamed him Dom so he at least has a name.  I did find out all the info I can know about Dom.  Dom is a 47 year old white male with A- blood.  That means as of tomorrow, I will no longer have the O- blood I’ve carried since birth.  I will inherit Dom’s blood type so I will forever more be A-.  Lindsey and the kids are A+ so it make everything a little easier to remember.  A big shout out to Dom once again for all he has done for me.  Thanks man!

Tomorrow’s Plan
For a little bit there was a question of when my stem cells would arrive.  They are couriered by someone on a commercial flight and sometimes flights are cancelled, delayed, etc.  Thankfully we found out today that the stem cells had arrived in Indy and they should be sitting somewhere at the hospital right now.  Tomorrow around 10/10:30a I’ll get my stem cells.  For as up and down as this whole process has gone sometimes, this part will be kind of anti-climactic.  I receive my stem cells through a transfusion, so they’ll hook me up to a bag of blood and infuse it.  In go the cells to their new home.  And then I get to sleep 🙂

And The Powerball Is:
My numbers have stayed up for the week due to the daily steroids I’ve been receiving.  They should drop more quickly coming up.

10/13/15 (Day -3): WBC 10.8, Hemoglobin 13, Platelets 137
10/14/15 (Day -2): WBC 9.3, Hemoglobin 12.7, Platelets 136
10/15/15 (Day -1): WBC 4.9, Hemoglobin 12.2, Platelets 106

A Duck Dynasty Prayer
Thank you God that we’ve made it here.  Thank you that we’ve made it through treatments and are finally to transplant.  Day 0 is tomorrow, but you knew that even before I was born.  I pray for this process to be successful.  For the new stem cells to take.  For any remaining leukemia cells to be attacked and killed and to get home to my family.  Thank you for another day.

16 thoughts on “Tomorrow is The Big Day

  1. I find tension building tho’ I’m not close to your family. I’m placing you on the fasting part
    of my day tomorrow. I’m thankful you have Jesus to lean on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob, I cont to pray for you and your health. I pray that day 0 is as anticlimactic as it should be. And I pray that every day after that stays anticlimactic. You are one day closer to home and one day closer to your beautiful family. Stay strong rob. You are almost there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great to see you today, Rob. That tan looks good on you! I was amazed and impressed, as always, by your positive spirit. I know that will get you to the finish line!!! I’m thinking of you and praying for smooth sailing! Prayers and gratitude for Dom. (Really hoping he is a Liberal!) 🙏👍🙋

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am so excited for this day of yours! You have taken us down this long road with you….made us smarter. Made us laugh. Made us cry and pray and hope. Thank you. God continue to be with you today as you are covered in prayer by your many fans! Hugs to you, Mr. Culross!


  5. Today is the day! This has been such a long road for you and your family, hopefully the journey ends today with a new A- blood type. Think of you often and of course will be praying from 10 – 10:30 today. Rob STRONG!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Holy cow… Those girls owe you dinner and a drink after that?!!!!😳😂 I’m sorry your ‘buddies’ were placed in such a compromising position but I’m glad they are tan and ready!!! You know, not a bad plan for a cruise some day. Maybe we can hit the nude beach now since you’ve been baked in all the right places😂😂😂😂😂😜

    Wow! I’m excited and nervous for day 0. A long time coming… How will Dom do? I pray Dom understands how special you are to so many people. I pray that Dom gets in there and eats any remaining bad cells. I pray Dom takes up ‘home’ in your body and likes his new space. I pray the real Dom is doing ok after donation and that you will do ok after receiving his gift. When you see those cells, give ’em a pep talk. Give ’em some love on the way in. I’ll pray hard for you today and for Doms cells. 💙

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m praying for you and also rejoicing that Day 0 is here! It’s 9:47 am and I have such a feeling of excitement inside as I think of all you have had to endure to get to this day and even though the road ahead won’t be easy, I feel excited for you because this day is a big step forward in your journey toward being cured! I’m so thankful for Dom! I wish he could know how I have prayed for him as soon as I did my test to see if I was your match. I prayed that I would be the match or if not that God would bring forward someone who was the very best match for you. Love you little brother and I’ll be praying for day 0 and also this first 100 days post SCT!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank God that today is the day. We are praying for you and rooting for those new stem cells! Your sense of humor, grace, and faith is an inspiration. Your are an extraordinary young man. May this
    next phase of your recovery go just great. I hope you have save all your posts. They should get
    put into a book and published. Then God can use them to give hope to however else has to go down
    this long difficult road. Think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. God be with you today! You made it this far, don’t stop now…….I have to agree with others your writing are very informative. Some things I really did not want to know about my nephew but oh well you put it out there……and yes thanks for the education. A lot of publicity is placed on fighting cancer but most people do not realize the stress, the toll, and the hardships on the body that go along with receiving cancer treatment. Maybe it is the job of those who have gone thru cancer treatment to educate everyone else. Something I never thought of doing when I was receiving my treatment but certainly will now.

    And yes we all pray for and thank Dom for his special gift to you Rob. A selfless act, a very Christ like act coming from someone who obviously understands our true nature and our relationship to God and to each other.

    Prayers going up for the successful events today…..may God’s hand be on everyone involved and protect you and allow your body to accept the new stem cells and take off to your new life!!!!

    Love you kiddo!!!

    Aunt Liz

    Liked by 1 person

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