Happy Independence Day!

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Cari’s Blog #27

Hi Everyone!


Let me begin by apologizing for not writing sooner. To my readers out there who have been asking me to write a blog, I am sorry it took this long. Even though my lifestyle has been low-key, it has been extremely fatiguing. I’m working hard at building up my strength. I’m still getting completely winded just by making myself some lunch or something, but it is getting better.

My medical oncologists still say that my infections are present and we must continue the ambisome to treat it. The medicines that I am on are very well known for screwing with my appetite, and they are definitely doing a great job of that. At my appointment this week, I weighed in less than 140 pounds. I believe this is the lightest I have been since my very first diagnosis in 2003. The reasons for that are nausea. For one, I rarely ever feel like eating. These anti-biotics have caused my saliva to turn into a very viscous substance which does not help at all with the gestation of my food in my mouth. The second I put anything that has bread on it or anything like it my entire mouth feels like it has been filled with Elmer’s Glue. Secondly, anything I do manage to eat typically comes back up within an hour or so. Ultimately, because of both of those things, my stomach is ever decreasing in size allowing me to eat less and less. It’s been a nasty cycle that I have been dealing with for about a month which has resulted in my losing roughly 30 pounds.

As soon as my doctors can confirm that the infections are gone, I believe his plan is to administer a regimen of Mylotarg (a 5 day outpatient targeted chemo regimen that was banned by the FDA for its extremely toxic effects to the liver) to prevent a relapse. The latest is that both the brain cancer and the leukemia in my bones have gone into remission. Without further treatment, such as Mylotarg, I will most definitely relapse and in a short period of time.

That’s pretty much the nuts and bolts of my medical life at the moment.

My dad and brother came down this past weekend to help me remodel our back deck. It was in dire need of a facelift and they are both very handy men. Their help has been greatly appreciated, ESPECIALLY through this insane heat wave we have been getting hit with. Thank you both so very much because there is no way any of it would have gotten done without you.

About a week ago, I bought my wife her one year wedding anniversary present.   I knew our anniversary wasn’t until July 16th but I absolutely had to get this dog. She is an Australian Shepherd mixed with a Border Collie. I also kind of bought her as a birthday present to myself (July 17th) as I have never really have had a dog of my own.  So don’t tell Cari, but Harley is actually my dog! 🙂 This will be the third Aussie I’ve had in my life and they are incredibly smart breeds. Combined with the Border Collie should make her even more intelligent. I am really looking forward to starting training classes next week. Her name is Harley…of course! She’s an awesome addition to the family and really picks up my spirits when they are feeling down.


This past Wednesday was Independence Day.   This year, due to my extremely weakened condition, did not feel like going to any specific destination where there would be crowds of people watching. Instead we got a tip from one our neighbors to go to the top of our neighborhood’s cul-de-sac with some lawn chairs and you can see the fireworks from a few different cities at that high point. Granted it was only about half a block away, I had no choice but to drive my car up there with a couple of chairs and some bottles of water.   Cari and I got to meet a number of neighbors that we hadn’t gotten to meet yet and they were all so welcoming and friendly.  Thank you all so much.  If any of you are reading this, “It was very nice meeting all of you and I look forward to our next block party! Hi Linda and Ms. Dianne!” The fireworks were a lot of fun, especially because we could watch the fireworks from Port Washington, Saukville, and Grafton – all at the same time, right from the top of the hill up our street we live on.

Lastly, I cannot wait until I am deemed healthy enough to get back to work. My friends at work have taken my Bernie Brewer lawn gnome that was at my desk hostage. They have created a twitter account @McLeansBernie for him until I can restore his safety in my possession. Retribution will be swift and just, my friends. Pick on someone your own size! Hope to see you guys soon!
And thank all of you for all of your continued prayers and support. I may be the only person walking the face of the earth who has now survived AML six individual times along with an instance of brain cancer. Three full donor stem-cell transplants is unheard of…but we did it. Against MASSIVE odds (1 in millions)…we did it.
Last thing before I go…a huge thank you to all of our servicemen and women out there (veterans included) for fighting for this very freedom that so many Americans take for granted on a daily basis.  Just this past week I learned that a close friend of mine lost a leg and some fingers in Afghanistan.  Please include the people that fight hard to keep our freedom in your prayers.  Thinkin’ about you Kevin…keep on keepin’ on.

Love you all,