Monthly Archives: February 2013

A Small Medical Update

When Gorman called our Internal Medicine doc today, they wanted to see him rather than just calling in a prescription.  So we went to Mobile; he talked with Gorman about symptoms and thought he just has a bad cold and he was hesitant to give him antibiotics; however, when he listened to my chest, he gave me a second round of antibiotics, plus Prednizone.  He said the bronchitis they have been seeing is the worst in 10 years.  Those of you who really know Gorman can imagine the fun he has been having with me all afternoon, such as “Thanks so much for accompanying me to the doctor so that you could get some drugs”.  He’s so cute.

And yesterday I forgot to share some very good news:  Gorman’s white blood count is back in the normal range.  For some time now the folks at UAB have been watching this with concern but the labs on Friday showed the best reading in many months.  Thank you, dear Lord.

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Phase Two of The Clinical Trial Begins

We drove to Birmingham last Thursday, where Gorman had UAB appointments that afternoon and Friday morning.  Everywhere we went there was a glitch:  EKG – they said they had no orders for him so we had to call the clinical research nurse who handles all this.  Next to labs, where they had no orders for him to have lab work.  Friday morning he was to have an eye exam, which always takes a long time and they have to dilate his eyes.  When we arrived we were told that he didn’t have an appointment.  Fortunately they worked him in  pretty quickly.  We’ve experienced some of this before but never to this extent.  Needless to say, Gorman was most upset but it’s such a huge facility and I suppose things just fall through the cracks sometimes.  However we ended with a visit with Dr. Nabors, which is always an upper.  He’s so nice and good at explaining things, generally making us feel better.

Dr. Nabors and his people are so pumped at starting Phase Two of this clinical trial.  I guess we are also since it must mean that the sponsoring pharmaceutical company is finding some success with this drug.  The amount of money these companies spend on a clinical trial is mind-boggling.   Gorman will continue his same regimen:  he takes the trial drug, XL765, everyday and five days out of each month, he takes the chemo pills, Temodar.

Gorman is is the middle of that five-day chemo right now.  He also has a terrible cold or sinus or something and is really feeling crummy.  He’s calling his doctor this morning to see if he can call in something.  Last week I had bronchitis, started on antibiotics and got enough better to make the trip to B’ham but I’m sure he caught it from me 😦

We now have to go to UAB only once a month which is a great relief.  So now we’re busy talking about taking some kind of little trip after he gets over this round of Temodar and before next month’s UAB appointment.  We have to cram in all the fun we can while we can.

Gorman’s Sentimental Journey

Our MS trip has a subtitle:  “So Many Friends; Too Little Time”.  We had so much fun and saw so many good friends but there just wasn’t time to fit in visits with everyone we had hoped to see.  So we decided we’ll have to make another trip to MS.

The Neel-Schaffer Inc. 30th anniversary celebration was indeed a celebration.  What began 30 years ago with both the Neels and the Schaffers getting second mortgages on their homes and taking a giant leap of faith has now turned into an engineering company with over 400 employees and offices throughout the southeast.  I am so proud of them!  There was a dinner one night for the handful of original employees who are still with the company and then a reception the next night at the Old Capital Inn for clients, employees and friends.  Jackson’s Mayor Harvey Johnson made some very kind remarks as did the representative from MS Economic Development Authority.

In addition to several nights in Jackson, we spent three nights in Vicksburg, which I figured would get pretty boring but surprisingly, it wasn’t.  We stayed at Anchuca Mansion, a lovely old home turned into a B & B.  It’s in downtown Vicksburg, a great area for walking and looking at pretty old houses; also within walking distance to the Old Courthouse Museum, a charming old-fashioned museum.  Needless to say, Gorman spent some time there working on genealogy and also gave them a copy of his research on his Schaffer ancestors.  Sunday morning we worshiped at Christ Episcopal Church, built in 1839, where daily services were held through the 47 days that Vicksburg was under siege during the Civil War.

Okay, I’m trying not to turn this blog into a travelogue but Anchuca has a pretty restaurant with very good food.  We also had a delicious meal at Roca, housed in what used to be the Vicksburg Country Club so we were pleasantly surprised that there were some upscale choices available without resorting to dining at the gambling casinos.

We drove up to Oxford, driving the old route through Yazoo City and Greenwood, the way Gorman used to drive from Vicksburg to Ole Miss when he was in college, a long time ago.  We only spent one night in Oxford and decided that was a mistake but we’ll correct that next time.  I will just add that we had a great dinner with friends at SnackBar, owned by John Currence, of City Grocery fame.

We had a wonderful trip but, as always, we are happy to be back home and back in Fairhope with our little dog, Toosie Mae.

We continue to thank God that Gorman felt good throughout the trip.  We did have one little blip.  The clinical trial drug, XL765, is in pill form and he takes it every night.  It has to be refrigerated, which is an issue when traveling so we have to haul a cooler around with us.  On our way home, as the ice melted, the pills got wet and were ruined so we had to call UAB and get an emergency shipment of pills FedExed overnight.  We’ll be more careful next trip.

It has been so nice to have a one month break from UAB but we’ll be headed back up there next week.  This will be an easy visit, meaning no MRI, just lab work, EKG and an eye exam so our main focus will be choosing a good restaurant for our one night in Birmingham.  Let no one say that the Schaffers do not take lemons and make lemonade.