Thursday, December 29, 2011

visitors :)

Just wanted to say a big THANKS to all who have called and those who dropped by Tuesday at the hospital and at home the past couple of days. It is encouraging to our hearts to hear from you! Thanks for your kind words and prayers, keep them coming!

In regard to visitors, some people have been asking about that . . . my dad CAN have visitors drop by the house but we ask that you not come if you have been sick recently or are feeling sick (even a little). Our request would be to just call ahead to make sure someone is home and that my dad is awake. Feel free to call too during the day, your words of encouragement and concern are welcome and have been a blessing! Thanks for being there for us and for walking along side us as we wait to hear more.

15,000 platelets and counting . . .

Praise the Lord! My dad's blood work this morning showed his platelet count to be at 15,000! His count TRIPLED since yesterday morning! This means the steroids are kicking in and doing what they are supposed to be doing . . . stopping his immune system from killing off all his platelets. He's still extremely low, his numbers need to get up to a minimum of 150,000 but he's out of the "very critical" number range. Yea!!!

The doctor did not do another infusion today because things are starting to kick in and increase. He is scheduled for another blood work up on Monday morning and he'll have a bone marrow biopsy on Tuesday. Also another answer to prayer he slept 5 hours last night, 2 hours more than the previous night! Thanks to all of you who are praying! Please keep praying as we wait for answers and future treatment procedures. We are grateful!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

platelet count

So this Christmas holiday has proved to be more eventful than we expected. Christmas Eve my dad noticed a localized rash spot on his upper leg that turned into a huge rash down both legs and feet mid Christmas day. Being that it was a holiday weekend he couldn't get in to see his doctor until yesterday, Tuesday. He's been totally healthy for weeks and even ran 4 miles on the treadmill Monday night after work before heading to bed thinking nothing of his red spots.

Tuesday morning he went in to have his doctor look at the unusual rash on his legs and his doctor recognized it right away as something characteristic of ITP a short abbreviation for a crazy long medical term (Immune thrombocytopenic purpura). His doc had him go in for blood work which showed my dad had an extremely low platelet count. I've learned a lot in the past 48 hours about blood and platelets, for those medical people reading this you know more than I do about parts and functions of the blood.

Nutshell 101 on blood you have white cells, red cells, plasma and platelets. The platelets in our blood are the part that helps with blood clotting. If you have no platelets you can bleed out from an external wound (i.e. cut) or bleed internally and die. Another bit on platelets that I have learned 150,000-350,000 is a normal healthy platelet count. My dad's count yesterday morning was below 2,000! Any platelet count below 10,000 is considered a medical emergency and is critical. If he had not gone in to the doctor that day he likely would have died in his sleep last night never knowing there was a problem other than a rash that was spreading and bruises that started showing up on his body.

In the mix of events yesterday, it seems like a whirlwind, my dad had a TON of blood work done that is still be tested to rule out options but the hospital had two units of platelets brought in from Anchorage to infuse into his blood stream. One unit of platelets is 50,000 platelets so he had 100,000 platelets infused last night around 8:30 p.m. to up his count. All the while the ER doctor and our uncle who is a surgeon said he was not to leave the hospital to even check something in the car b/c a simple slip on the ice or gentle bump on the head could cause a cerebral hemorrhage that would kill him. What??

We are still taking in the seriousness of the situation and have many unanswered questions that Lord willing will be revealed in the days to come as more testing and blood work are done. I've also read up a bit on ITP below I've attached a quick online summary I found:

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting. Persons with the disease have too few platelets in the blood. ITP is sometimes called immune thrombocytopenic purpura. ITP occurs when certain immune system cells produce antibodies against platelets. Platelets help your blood clot by clumping together to plug small holes in damaged blood vessels. The antibodies attach to the platelets. The spleen destroys the platelets that carry the antibodies.

In children, the disease sometimes follows a viral infection. In adults, it is more often a chronic (long-term) disease and can occur after a viral infection, with use of certain drugs, during pregnancy, or as part of an immune disorder.

Right now doctors are ruling out options. When my dad went in this morning for new blood work up (after his infusion last night) his count was back down to 5,000. We were discouraged to say the least to see that in less than 12 hours after his infusion of 200,000 platelets he was back down to 5,000 so quickly. The nurses working with him were also surprised but the doctor said to have him go home and come in tomorrow (Thursday) for another infusion of platelets.

What we DO know right now, my dad is confined to the house 24/7 other than going to the hospital for blood work and testing. His immune system is very weak b/c of the steroids he is on to guard his liver and to try and help stop the immune system from killing off all his platelets. He can't be around people b/c of his weakened immune system and b/c of the bruising (internal bleeding) factor. A simple stub of his toe could be life threatening. He was also told to not even walk on the treadmill b/c the impact on his joints could cause swelling and bleeding. My dad is as his doctor put it "an egg shell" right now that can easily be broken. We don't know what is causing this, it could be his spleen or even leukemia. He will have a bone marrow biopsy next week Tuesday to rule cancer in or out.

Ways you can pray . . . more than anything right now I think I can safely speak for all the Eller family we covet your prayers. Praise the LORD for the doctor visit and initial diagnosis on Tuesday! Without it we would likely not have our dad with us today. Pray for REST for my dad the steroids keep him awake, he slept a total of 3 hours last night and was awake most of the day today. Pray for PEACE OF MIND for all of us in the family our minds are still spinning from all the information. Pray for WISDOM for the doctors and a clear diagnosis by next week so we can move forward with more substantial treatment. Pray for PEACE for my dad to be able to lay low, very low and not get crazy cabin fever being "locked in at home." He is so used to be the contact pastor at WBC and go to guy he's not sure how to be a patient. :) Even last night at the hospital as he was waiting to get his infusion he heard a lady down the hall in the hospital moaning in pain and he got up to help her down to the ER making sure she was going to be okay. He can't help but help other people, he is hard wired for it. :)

As I look back over the past two days I think again about how precious life is. We truly don't know how long we have or how long our loved ones have. My dad shared with us last night at the hospital that God has been impressing a verse on his heart the past 2-3 months. It's the verse that says, "You don't know what a day may bring forth." He felt God preparing his heart months ago for something that was coming our way but he didn't know if it would be one of his kids, his wife or himself. When everything started to unfold yesterday he said it didn't come as a total surprise he felt God gently preparing his heart for this news awhile back.

Life is precious and we hope for a couple more decades with my dad around but none of us knows how long we have. Oh Lord may we live our fullest each day for Your glory that when we see You face to face in all Your glory You may say, "Well done good and faithful servant."

Friday, December 02, 2011

60 things we appreciate . . .

When my dad turned 60 a couple of years ago I wrote a list of 60 things I appreciate about him. This year for my mom's 60th we decided to do a combine list from all her kids (in-laws included) of the things we appreciate about mom. Some are doubled up because they are so epic and special. We appreciate you more than you know mom! Thanks for all you do and all you have done the past 36+ years we have known you!

30 Things We Appreciate About Mom
(Dave and Aimy)

1. EPIC Birthday Cakes
2. Time
3. Constant reassurance that no matter what I ever did you would always love me
4. Memory verses as a young child in Kentucky
5. Letting me pronounce the word “ex-tellent”
6. Birthday Cookies at age 3 – Thirty Six Hours?!
7. Importance of family (reunions)
8. Great Thanksgivings
9. Love for people
10. Always being my advocate and defender
11. Giving me money toward a down payment on my house
12. Being supportive of career changes
13. Homemade pizza
14. Greenbean casserole 
15. Time with Grammie
16. Wonderful Christmas days
17. Sugar Cookies
18. Reading Where the Red Fern Grows
19. Teaching me to always tell the truth
20. Teaching me generosity
21. Teaching me to tithe
22. You love children and are a wizard with them, it’s truly amazing
23. You are proud of me always
24. You love and are supportive of Aimy
25. Demonstrating the importance of prayer
26. Organization
27. You had Dave (have you seen the size of his head!)
28. You raised him to the man he is now
29. You fought thru breast cancer so you can be around for many many years
30. You love the grandpuppies even though you are allergic to them

30 Things We Appreciate About Mom
(Anita & Ben)

1. Elaborate birthday cakes!

2. Cooking together

3. Your faithful prayers

4. Girl movie nights!

5. Mary Kay and make-up

6. Giving me your time

7. Tea Parties

8. Shopping dates

9. Reading Little House on the Prairie Books

10. Ringlets and ballet recitals

11. Making me learn to play piano

12. Your gift giving to others and to us

13. Your organization it definitely rubbed off . . . on me at least!

14. Phone calls any time of day when we are miles apart

15. Anne of Green Gables & BBC parties

16. Visiting me in college to give a little perspective

17. Always encouraging and challenging me to do my best

18. Being an example of a godly wife & mother

19. Time

20. Teaching me to be a good hostess for company

21. I appreciate how welcoming you have been to me from the first time you met me

22. Welcoming us over to your house anytime we need a relaxing game night or warm conversation

23. Assuring us that we have a willing babysitter when the time comes

24. Giving me counsel and insight when I don’t understand woman issues

25. Saying yes to me when I asked to marry your daughter

26. Raising such a godly daughter

27. Always treating me like family

28. Organizing the best Burdine family reunion that I have been to,
also the only Burdine reunion I have been to

29. Helping make our wedding flow smoothly

30. Praying for me before we met

31. I appreciate all the tears of love you have shed for me (It started when I asked to marry Anita, it continued at the wedding and has continued since.)

Happy 60th!

My mom turned 60 on the 25th of November. We had a big surprise party for her over at the Dodd's with a 50's theme. I think I can say the best part for us kids was that we completely surprised her, not an easy feet for a mom who knows everything! We had 50's music, trivia, decorations, and even a casserole potluck in honor of the 50s . . . yep, the 50's were known as being the era of casseroles. Canned soups like cream of mushroom, cream of chicken and golden mushroom soup came out in the 50's changing the menus at home. Duncan Hines also came out with the first boxed cake mix along with frozen TV dinners and frozen pot pies. Who knew? We had a blast and ended the night with ice cream cake a lovely chocolate bunt cake (from the box of course) and root beer floats to add a "soda shop" atmosphere to the evening. Happy 60th mom! We love you!