Friday, December 27, 2013

December 27, 2013

I hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas. We did miss the rest of the family, but Gary, Casey and I had a nice little Christmas celebration in Houston. We grilled on Christmas Eve and had a turkey dinner on Christmas day. Houston is a very diverse city. The grocery store has huge hispanic, asian, and indian sections. No PA dutch section, so I was a little lost until I found the huge wine section. Santa was able to find us and Casey was able to face time his dog (and sister). I do enjoy the 60 degree days and do not miss the snow. Casey did not have to go to the hospital on Christmas. We hook him up to an IV everyday that he does not have to go into the hospital. He gets anti fungal medicine and magnesium through the IV. We go for walks through the apartment complex and watch a lot of television. Things are going smooth. Casey had a bone marrow aspiration last week and the results should be here next week. Meanwhile there is a lot of football to watch.
Thank you for all of the cards and gifts. You have all been wonderful!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December 21, 2013

To catch up on what has happened since my last post. I left Houston on Sunday and Gary arrived. We were able to have lunch together with Casey in his hospital room before I came home. Monday Casey was discharged from the hospital. Gary and he are in the apartment and making daily trips to the hospital. Casey has to give himself shots every day for the next 6 months because of the blood clot. They did another ultra sound, but it has not changed. Casey's counts continued to climb with the help of neupogen. They stopped the neupogen and his counts are falling off a little, but that is to be expected. He got another dose of neupogen yesterday and some platelets. All of this has been hard on his liver, but with all things considered, we are all very happy with the way things are progressing. I arrived in Houston on Tuesday night, our walk on Wednesday was a bit laborious, by Sunday I was sprinting to keep up with him. I pray the improvement continues.
Casey received a nice "care package" from Tam Wilson that will keep is fed for the next couple of weeks. Thank you Tam. He has also received many cards from friends and members of our church. Thank you to everyone. I am heading back on tonight. Gary, Casey and I will spend the holidays together. Annie & Bowie get to spend to holidays with my parents and Caroline will spend them with Stevie and Erik. Caroline and Casey will be able to face time each other. Caroline gets so excited when she is able to do that. I am sure Gary will have all of the banana trees in Houston mapped out until I get there. We have a banana tree at home that Gary is obsessed with. The thing is about 14 feet tall. Good thing we have high ceilings.
On another note, I have to brag about my son in law Erik. Erik is in Scotland, he was chosen as an assistant coach for Team USA in the Duel in the Pool.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12, 2013

My last post I said Casey's white blood count was .3. I got excited only to have his counts come in at 0.0 again for the next several days. On Monday his count was up to .2, Tuesday it maintained at .2, Wednesday .5 (I was starting to breath) and today it is at .9. Good things are starting to happen. After his first 2 transplants failed to engraft, I am still cautious to not get too excited, but things sure do feel promising. I arrived in Houston on Tuesday night. Air travel is never easy, but winter snow storms make things more difficult. But I did get here. I got into the apartment and moved all of Casey's stuff in, went to Target and Costco and got everything they will need for several weeks. I even got our turkey for Christmas dinner. Casey is looking forward to PA Dutch style filling. I will go home on Sunday and Gary will come down. I will return on December 21st and stay into the middle of January. We will be racking up the frequent flyer miles over the next 3 months.
Casey and I went for 2 walks yesterday, which is a great improvement over last week when it was a huge effort for him to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. His stomach continues to give him problems, his bones ache and his hair is just about all gone, but I think he is doing really well. It is a lot easier to be here with him, than to be 1500 miles away. 60 degree temperatures aren't too hard to take either.

Casey's apartment address is:

Casey Coble
8181 Fannin Street
Apartment #2213
Houston, TX 77054-2989

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5, 2013

Today we have good news and bad news. Casey's white blood count went up to .3 (baby steps). The bad news is he found out his doctor is a Dookie. I said "don't tell him you are a tar heel, you need to get good care". He said "too late", they were talking about last night's basketball game and Casey told him he is a UNC alum. He told Casey is a Duke alum. Casey said "uh-oh". Hopefully this doesn't lead to another colonoscopy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 4, 2013

Gary got home last night, so Casey is in the hospital alone right now. I will be going out to him on Tuesday. I will get the apartment and have it all ready for when he is discharged from the hospital. You never know exactly what day that will be and when you are 1500 miles away you need to plan in advance for the what ifs. Stevie is at home and doing well. She is a bit tired from all of the stuff they took from her and her back is healing. Most of the swelling has gone down. Gary and Casey had a nice Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital. Casey's counts are at 0.0 and he is having stomach issues, so he is very tired. He still has the blood clot, which they are trying to dissolve with medication. He will have to take it easy and take medicine for the next 6 months. He has very low platelet count and no immune system, so medication is the only option. At least with the port pulled out, the amount of pain has eased a bit. He does still have some pain, but it is manageable. Gary says all he does is works and sleeps. It really is hard to imagine how hard a swim coach works when they are not on deck unless you live with one (or sit with one in a hospital daily). The doctors want him to walk at least 3 times a day. So Casey, this is your mother, "you need to step away from the computer and go for a walk".
The doctor's tell him to expect his counts to start rebounding around day 21. We are at day 12. This is his 3rd transplant, but each one has been different. We really don't know what to expect, so we just keep praying.

Stevie says hi.

Gary's Thanksgiving Dinner

Casey's Thanksgiving Dinner

Casey and Caroline face timing on Stevie's phone. Gary says I need an I Phone. This is the happiest he has seen Casey all week. Caroline definitely recognizes him.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November 23, 2013

The transplant took place yesterday without a hitch. Stevie spent the night in a hospital room on the 12th floor and Casey is on the 18th. Stevie was discharged today. She is going to spend the night in a hotel with Gary. I imagine it will be nice to get out of the hospital. Gary had a rough time getting to Houston. His flight was delayed a couple of times and then cancelled. He was rebooked on another airline and finally landed in Houston 13 hours after leaving home this morning. Our neighbors are driving to Texas today and he jokingly said "I'll race you". It was a lot closer race than we imagined. He has still not arrived at the hospital. Stevie is sore today, but feeling ok. Casey's counts are falling quickly. Now we wait for engraftment. His first transplant never engrafted, his second one didn't engraft until they started prepping him for a 3rd transplant. The next few weeks will be tedious.
Stevie gave Casey a present today. I have attached the photo. She gave him a coffee cup and a tee shirt with the same saying. Do you think she is enjoying this?

Update....Gary has finally arrived at the hospital

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19, 2013

Casey's pain in his port is not due to a damaged muscle, but due to a blood clot. They gave him medicine to try to dissolve the clot, but it did not do the trick. Today they are going to remove his port and put another one in his arm. They traditionally do not do a transplant through a line in the arm, but they feel as though they can pull it off. His pain has subsided a bit as long as he doesn't try to use his arm (and they keep giving him pain medicine). Casey is not allowed out of his area, so his walks are confined to up and down the hall. He is feeling pretty tired. Stevie will be arriving in Houston tomorrow, that should perk him up. She got a real nice send off from her swimmers. This is a photo from last week. I wonder what the faces will look like this week.

Caroline sends them both a kiss.

Stevie's Send off

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 16, 2013

Casey got into his room last night. He is not feeling great. He thinks they tore his pectoral muscle when putting his port in. This is the 4th or 5th port he has had in his chest, so he has a lot of scar tissue to work around. I have not talked to him yet today because he has not been able to sleep the last couple of nights, so hopefully with the help of drugs, he is catching up.
His mailing address is:
Paul Casey Coble
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Room #G1876
1515 Holcombe Boulevard
Houston,Tx. 77030

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 14, 2013

Stevie is home for a few days and Casey gets admitted into the hospital tomorrow. They had all of their pre-testing and counseling done this week. They took several pints of blood from Stevie and Casey had dental, vision, heart and lung tests. He also got a shot of chemo in his spine. I will post Casey's mailing address tomorrow. Someone asked me why they are transplanting his bone marrow. The simple answer is Leukemia is cancer in your blood. Your blood is produced from your bone marrow. Casey's bone marrow is making bad blood. It does get a lot more complicated from there with B cells vs T cells, Philadelphia positive or negative, etc. Prior to the transplant they will kill all of Casey's cells to make room for Stevie's cells to take over. This will leave him with no immune system, so he will be locked in his hospital room for a while. The intense amount of chemo leave him with no desire to leave his bed. They did say he might not get as sick this time since he has no cancer in his system at this time. Since leukemia is in your blood, it travels throughout your whole body and can hide in places like your brain, gums, eyes, etc. We are not sure why none of the other transplants worked, but feel confident he is getting the best treatment available and they are being very thorough.
Casey and Stevie thought they were funny by sending me this photo. Well we will see who gets the last laugh. I am posting it here for everyone to see. What a couple of geeks.

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Stevie is in Houston to start her process. She and Casey have a busy week full of tests and appointments. Stevie's first stop in Texas was to buy a pair of cowboy boots. Poor Charlie tried to move 1500 miles away, but she found him. Casey's main objective was to get in a round of golf while he had his port removed. He and Charlie went out yesterday morning.They will put a new port in for the transplant tomorrow. This one will be in his chest instead of his arm. Stevie will coming home for a swim meet on Thursday and then back out there on Wednesday, November 20th.
Gary and I went to Baltimore on Saturday and had dinner with Stevie and Erik at a French Bistro owned by one of their swimmer's parents. It was a fabulous evening. The place is called Crepe Du Jour. If you are ever in the Mt. Washington area of Baltimore, you should check it out. We also had a birthday party for Stevie's dog, Kona and Casey's dog, Caroline. They were 2 years old on November 6th.
Gary is going to Houston on Saturday, November 23rd through December 3rd and Stevie will be coming home on November 25th. Gary will be with Casey on Thanksgiving. Casey will have full body radiation and some intense chemo. I am not sure if he will be able to eat any turkey this year, but I am sure he will try. Thanksgiving dinner is his favorite meal. We can always have Christmas and Thanksgiving in March. We will worry about that later, just taking this one step at a time.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 30, 2013

I arrived in Houston yesterday. Due to a late flight and a slow shuttle, I missed Casey's appointment with Dr. Thomas. He filled me in. They are going ahead with the transplant as scheduled on November 22nd. Casey immediately had his pick line removed. Today we were apartment hunting. We found 2, now we have to choose. It is like House Hunters MD Anderson. Stevie will come down here on November 10th and start her testing on November 11th. Charlie and Melissa are allowing her to stay at their house. I know Stevie is anxious to see them. Charlie was her coach throughout high school. She hasn't seen Connor since he was a baby. Casey is having Caroline look into flights so he can spend Christmas with his puppy. She wants to fly first class, so I think we will have to leave her at home.
Tomorrow it is back to the hospital for EKG, echo cardiogram, complete pulmonary function and dental exams and a clinical visit with the clinical research coordinator. This week has turned out different than we had planned, but we are getting a lot done,

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013

My last post I said Stevie is not a donor match for Casey, well Friday evening Casey got a phone call saying Stevie is a match and she needs to be in Houston on November 11 for pre-testing. They are going to do a bone marrow transplant. Casey's previous transplants have been stem cell transplants. They will put Stevie under and stick her with 80-100 needles in her hip to scrape out her bone marrow. I think this will take place around November 16th. Casey got the phone call while he was on deck coaching. Pretty much they told him in 3 days he would be going to Houston and staying until mid March. Kinda got his head spinning! Stevie was right on it, she booked her flight (one way), she is very excited to be able to do this for Casey. She will now have something to hold over his head forever!
Casey left today, and I will be leaving tomorrow for Houston for what we thought would be round 5 of 5 treatments. I suppose we will be apartment hunting instead....I am not really sure. The transplant team said they still have to run it by his oncologist. Dr. Thomas is a force to be reckoned with. If she says no, there is no way the transplant is happening as scheduled. I sure am glad to have her on our side. I am sure we will know more tomorrow.
Because holiday flights are hard to get at a reasonable price, Casey booked his flight home already for the day before Thanksgiving according to his treatment schedule. I have been nagging him for years about his procrastination. Well I guess this one came back to bite me. Will let you know more when I find out!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 3, 2013

Since my last post, we found out that Stevie is not at match for the transplant. We still do not know what is going to happen with that.
My sister, Debbie had to go to MD Anderson to do a lab inspection. Of all the hospitals in the country and the timing of it all. She only does two a year. Debbie invited me to come out with her. All I had to do was get a plane ticket, she had the hotel. How could I pass that one up? I watched the prices of the flights and thought it wasn't meant to be, then a week before leaving a price came up that I couldn't turn down. Debbie flew out on Wednesday and did her inspection on Thursday and Friday. I flew out on Thursday, had dinner with Casey, Charlie, Melissa and Brandon. I got to meet the puppy, and Casey dropped me off at her hotel that evening. On Friday, I went to Casey's appointments with him and by that time Debbie was finished with her inspection. Debbie was able to slip away from her inspection on Thursday to go see Dr. Thomas with Casey for his weekly appointment. Casey joined us at Debbie's hotel on Friday and Saturday night. She was staying in a 5 star hotel. We always stay in the Quality Inn. There was a big difference. I felt like a celebrity at the Hotel ZaZa. Friday night we went out to dinner and a waiter dropped a whole tray of food on Casey. The restaurant was dark and we panicked thinking Casey was bleeding (not a good thing when you have blood cancer), turns out it was refried beans. Dinner was on Casey (literally) that night. The restaurant comped all of our meals. Casey had Saturday off, so we took Aunt Debbie to some of our favorite places. Casey and Lauren found a great place for brunch, so we went there, and I really enjoyed the Kemah Boardwalk, so we went there too. Sunday, Casey had his hospital visit and we checked out of the Hotel ZaZa, took Aunt Debbie to the airport and checked into the Quality Inn for one night. Casey and I went to the Woodlands Mall and took a water taxi ride and he went into Williams and Sonoma with me. He is much more patient than his father. Monday I flew home and Casey is back at Charlie's house. I can tell he is really feeling at home with them. It makes me feel so good. Charlie and Melissa are such wonderful people, I hope they know how much I appreciate all that they have done for us!!
Casey comes home on October 12 for 2 weeks and I am back to work and at home with Gary and the dogs, wondering where the next step will take us.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 17, 2013

Casey and Gary are in Houston. Casey was in the hospital from Thursday to Sunday evening. He has his handy chemo backpack on again. This starts round 4 of 5. Homeward stretch is in sight!! Now we are waiting to hear about the transplant. They do like to keep us guessing. Gary is coming home tonight, and Casey will go back to Charlie's house. Charlie and Melissa got a new puppy since he left. I am sure Casey is anxious to meet the baby!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4, 2013

Casey got home last week. We went up to our cabin in Sullivan County for Labor Day weekend. The weather was beautiful, great friends joined us, and the dogs got to swim, hike and run around in the mountains. We had a really good weekend. Unfortunately, Gary's Aunt Betty passed away on Saturday. I will really miss her and our phone chats that sometimes lasted over an hour. You always got the truth from Aunt Betty, she was never malicious or mean, just called it like she saw it. That is what I will miss most of all.

Casey met with the transplant team last week. They are talking about doing another transplant, but do not know what type they will do. Stevie is being tested again to see if she could be a donor. Since he has had a couple of transplants already, they are worried about the stress it would put on his organs to put him through another one. At this point, Casey has been transplanted with cord blood from France and from Duke, which did not take. Then he was transplanted with a young man who was an 8 out of 10 match. That one did not take, so they started the process for another transplant. During the preparation, something kicked in and he had a bad case of graft vs host disease, which actually allowed his body to accept the donor's cells. At this point, Casey has more DNA than CSI has in their labs. He went through having all of his baby vaccinations all over again. The doctors in Houston feel his sister would be a better match than an 8 out of 10. Stevie gladly got all of her blood work done. Now, we just wait to find out what happens next. The doctors in Houston are consulting his doctor from Hershey to come up with a plan. I love the fact that there are no egos involved and they work together.

Gary and Casey will head back to Houston on September 11th. Meanwhile, we will try to spend as much time with Casey as we can.

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013

Casey continues to be doing well with his treatments. We are on our annual family vacation without him. Caroline is with us. She is having a good time playing in the ocean. I know Casey would like to be here playing tennis ball with her. Casey's friend, Lauren is spending a few days with him in Houston. I know he is enjoying having her there with him.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 14, 2013

Today marks the half way point of Casey's treatment. It is all downhill from here on out. Coming into the home stretch!!

Golf Photos

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 11, 2013

Casey was released from the hospital on Friday, August 2nd. We enjoyed a nice evening with Connor and Melissa on Saturday (Charlie was out of town at a swim meet) , and on Sunday I flew home. Connor had signs on the door welcoming Casey and Charlie home on Sunday. What a cute kid.
Yesterday 3 of Casey's friends had a golf outing to raise money to help Casey. It was a beautiful day and a huge success. Casey was not able to be there, but Stevie face timed him, so he was able to say hi to everyone who was there. Tyler (one of the guys who hosted the event) was a wrestler growing up, commented about the amount of support from the swimming community. A lot of the hole sponsors were swimming related. There was a foursome of University of Georgia swimmers who made the trip to Lancaster. We are so lucky to be part of such a great sport. Thank you to all the players, sponsors, and a big thank you to Kyle Salyards, Tyler Gorman and Derek Templeton for a job well done.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1, 2013

My hotel is right by Reliant Field where the Texans play football. They have had training camp all week for fans to watch and perhaps meet their favorite player. The traffic getting by the field has been crazy. The event is usually over by 11:00 am. I suppose you have to get an early start to beat the heat.
Casey continues to be doing well. Our walks have been indoors, this hospital is big enough to get a long walk inside. Yesterday we found a Fuzion frozen yogurt stand, a restaurant with a lounge and live band. We had to hurry back for his scheduled blood draw, but will time things differently today. I have my day planned, first stop waterfall cafe for a strawbrry salad, then to Fuzion for dessert, and then listen to some live entertainment and perhaps some shopping. This hospital is like a small city, complete with a hotel, several cafes, laundry, hair salon (for patients only), gift shops, libraries, and of course all of those annoying labs for MRI's, doctor visits, bone marrow biopsy, and chemo infusion. This doctor stuff can get in the way. I never would plan an MD Anderson vacation, but may a well make the best of the situatuion. Fortunately, Casey is feeling well enough for our excursions.
I went for a swim this morning at the hotel. A little girl who was by the pool yesterday was there again today. I estimate she is around 8 years old. She told me that she was quite impressed by my moves in the pool. Well it has been many years since I have been able to impress anyone with my moves. She quickly became my new best friend. We were racing in the pool, touching the bottom of the deep end, jumping in off the side. I asked her name, and she said "Debra". I felt like I was 7 again and playing with my sister who's name is also Debra.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30,2013

We are back in Houston for Casey to start round #3 of 5. We got in late last night. This morning he had lab work, chest xrays, a bone marrow aspiration, and a doctor visit. His doctor is very happy with the way things are going, all of his lab work is looking good. We are now back at the hotel waiting for the hospital to call and say his room is ready. He will be admitted into the hospital today for a couple of days. I am here until Sunday, then Casey will go back to Charlie's house. He must be on his best behavior, because Charlie and Melissa are still willing to let him stay with them.
It sure was nice having him home for the past 2 weeks. We went to a Phillies game, LAC had a fundraiser/pool party for him, and we went to the beach. And he coached a swim meet in there too. Time went by too fast! It is too hot to do much of anything here in Texas.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support!

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013

Casey arrived home on Friday night. We had a great weekend! LAC had a fundraiser for him on Saturday night that was put together by Sami Kegel, Sloane Houck and Brittany Reeder. Those teenage girls did a fantastic job! The turnout was great and the evening was fun. I was equally surprised and touched with the people who showed up. A middle school soccer teammate of Casey's, a previous Middle Atlantic Swim coach who relocated to Florida, the owner of my hair salon along with her family, and the one that brought me to tears was the Russell family. They babysat my kids when they were young, and I still consider them my friends. Their daughter was in the hospital in labor, but they wanted to make sure and come out to support Casey, so they packed up their grandchildren and brought them along. It is so heartwarming to have the support of all these people through the past 7 years. Stevie was able to get away and be there on Saturday night, unfortunately Erik had to work. Erik and Stevie celebrated their first anniversary on Sunday, as most swim coaches do, on the pool deck.
On Sunday we went to the Phillies game. The Phillies won in 10 innings. Hopefully that is a sign that Casey is going to finally win this leukemia battle in extra innings! It was a day filled with fun, too much sun and good friends.
Thank you to everyone, and a big thanks to Sami, Sloane and Brittany.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11, 2013

Today Casey gets unhooked from his chemo to prepare for the trip home. He would celebrate, but in addition to getting unhooked, he also has to get a shot of chemo up his spine and have a bone marrow biopsy done. He always gets headaches for a few days after the spinal. I guess you have to take the good with the bad. Tomorrow he will see his doctor and then board a plane for a flight to PA.
We are looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday night!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It has been a while since I have posted anything. You know things are going well when I have nothing to say. Over the 4th of July holiday while Casey was undergoing treatment in Houston, Gary and I had a good time at the beach with Casey's dog, Caroline. We did feel guilty, but we sent him lots of pictures, so we where able to get over it pretty quickly. Casey did go to a party with his new family (Charlie and Melissa) on the 4th of July. Unfortunately on Sunday, July 7th Charlie and Melissa lost their dog to cancer. Bailey was their 200+ pound baby who had no idea how huge he was. He was a very sweet mastiff. My heart goes out to them. Cancer sucks.
Casey is coming home on Friday night. Some of his swimmers have put together a fundraiser for him on Saturday night at the Ephrata pool. For more information see -
Looks like a good time complete with food, face painting, dunk tank and more. Three teenage girls put this whole thing together. Thank you Sloane, Sami and Brittany, I know you have worked really hard. Gary, Casey, Stevie and I are looking forward to seeing you on Saturday night! Can't wait!

Caroline enjoying the beach

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25, 2013

Casey continues to be doing well. His doctor is very pleased with his progress. She says things could not be going any better. Casey now only has to see her once a week. He still has to go to the hospital every other day to have his chemo changed and to have blood work done.
We had a nice evening with Charlie, Melissa, Riley and Conner. Brandon Siemasko stopped by to say hello too. I am attaching a photo of Charlie, Casey, Riley and Conner. I had not seen Riley since she was a toddler. I can't believe she didn't remember me! Actually, she was too polite to admit it. Casey is very lucky to be a part of such a nice family!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 15, 2013

Casey had some visitors today. Paige Daniel and her family stopped in to visit. Paige is one of Casey's swimmers at Lancaster Aquatic Club. She graduated from high school and is off to Bucknell in the fall. Her family (mother, father, sister and brother) were in Texas for a family vacation, and took the time to stop in and see Casey before flying home today. That was nice.
This round of chemo has been real easy on Casey (so far). He is supposed to be discharged tomorrow. We can celebrate Father's Day without our dads. I am sure Gary is happy to watch the golf match tomorrow and hopefully my dad will know we are thinking of him. We will call to remind them.

Following is a poem written by Gary's cousin's granddaughter.


It's been years and years
Everyone watched as you struggled
Your in my prayers
There is no trouble

Sadley your cancer has come back
Don't worry, don't let it get you off track
You've fought for years, do it some more
Before you know it you will be walking out those hospital doors

Your with the best of the best
So take a deep breath
You need to stay strong
Your where you belong

The family is thinking of you
Everyone can't wait to see you
Your in everyones thoughts, everyones prayers
Don't worry Casey, hang in there

Thank you Sammie. I couldn't have said it better!

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013

We made it to Houston on Wednesday night. Casey had blood work and a bone marrow biopsy followed by a doctor visit and admission into the hospital. His doctor said "Congratulation, you are in remission!" He will still have to complete the full regimen of 5 cycles. Last year on this weekend, we had Stevie's bachelorette party and I had such a good time that I didn't think it could be topped. This topped it. This is my new favorite weekend.
It is hot in Houston with about 95% humidity. You quickly lose that just showered freshness by walking a couple of feet outside. I went for a swim at 8:00 this morning at the hotel, it was hot then already. Felt good after sitting in the car for 2 days and sitting in the hospital yesterday.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12,2013

We drove over 800 miles yesterday. Through PA, MD, WV, VA, TN, and GA. We spent the night in Birminham, AL. We have another 700 miles to go today through Mississippi and Louisiana before we get to Houston. The weather has been good, the highways are easy and the music on the radio has been good. Not a bad trip at all.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 9, 2013

Casey continues to be doing well. He left on Wednesday for a swim meet in California. I have not heard much from him while he has been there. He is coming home late Monday night, and Casey and I are driving to Houston on Tuesday morning. He is scheduled to check in the hospital on Thursday morning to start round #2 of 5. I will definitely have saddle sores when we arrive in Texas. I am figuring it will take 22 - 24 hours. We are not taking Gary with us. He is no good on road trips, so he has graciously offered to stay at home with the dogs (that is if you consider "No way am I riding in a car that long" a gracious offer). I will be flying home on June 18th and leaving Casey's car in Texas so he will have transportation to get back and forth to the hospital when he is discharged.
Next time I post will be from Houston.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2, 2013

Casey made it home on Friday night. Stevie and Caroline picked him up at the airport and took him along with her to work. Gary and I picked him up at Goucher College. Looked like any other day seeing Casey on a pool deck. Caroline is very happy to have him home. Caroline has been staying at Stevie's house. She will be staying at our house during his next round.
Casey's friend, Kyle, has been staying at Casey's house while he is out of town. Kyle was in the process of finding a new place to live when Casey found out he had to spend the next 6 or 7 months in Houston. This morning our pastor said "there is no such thing as coincidence". When I think about all the things that have fallen into place (Charlie being in Houston, Kyle needing a place to live, etc), I am in awe.
I made dinner for Casey and Kyle last night, Kyle's mom, Stevie (and her dogs) and Aunt Debbie and Dwayne joined us. It was a nice evening. Casey does get tired, unfortunately the pups do not.

Happy Reunion

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

At Casey's last doctor visit, the doctor told him things are going better than she could have hoped for. That sounds good to me!! He will be coming home on Friday. We are all anxious to see him. I have unfortunately come down with a cold and am trying to get an appointment with my doctor to make sure it is nothing contagious.
Casey spent his Memorial Day weekend and bonding with Charlie's son Conner while watching The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and at a Texas style picnic. He had his first experience with craw fish. Looks delicious to me.

I was not sure if the photo would upload last time, so I did not explain who is in it. The last photo was Brandon Siemasko, Charlie Fry and Casey Coble. Brandon swam for LAC and is now a recent graduate of Auburn University. Some of my facebook friends foster puppies. It seems like Charlie and Melissa foster LAC alumni.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013

Casey has settled in with Charlie and is doing well. He is being very careful about where he goes and who he is around. His resistance is low and he doesn't want to get sick. He is looking forward to coming home on May 31st. He will be home for 2 weeks and then back to Houston and back into the hospital. During his time at home he will be in California at a swim meet. He is happy that his treatment schedule works out for him to be at that meet.
Some people have asked if Casey's treatment is free of charge since it is a clinical trial. The bills have not come in as of yet, but this is my understanding, the experimental drug Blinatumomab is free of charge, all other drugs (antibiotics, steroids, anti fungals, etc.) his hospital stay, doctor visits, nursing care, lab work, etc. are billed at normal prices.
For now, Casey is hanging out with the Frys, going into the hospital every other day and just laying low.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16, 2013

On Tuesday, Casey had a bone marrow biopsy done and was released from the hospital. He is wearing a portable IV at all times in a backpack. I suppose once a space monkey, always a space monkey.
He will be going to the hospital every 48 hours to have the his medicine refilled. Because this is a clinical trial, Hershey does not have the medicine that Casey is getting which is why he needs to stay in Houston. Nurses will be visiting Casey at Charlie's house. Melissa called me to check on what kind of food and drink she should get for Casey. They are not only allowing him to stay at their house, they are going out of their way to make sure he is part of the family. I love them!

Casey just got out of his appointment with Dr. Thomas, who went over the results of his bone marrow biopsy. He called and was telling me idle chit chat.....meanwhile I was holding my breath. Just as I was about to pass out from lack of oxygen, he finally told me his bone marrow is clear of leukemia!!!! Just 2 weeks ago 90% of his cells were leukemic blasts. I am breathing again with a big smile on my face!

Gary was there for moral support during his office visit, which had now turned into a celebration. He is coming home tonight. So now Charlie and Melissa are taking over. Thank you with all my heart to all our good friends.


Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013

Casey had a rough couple of days. A fever started to set in on Thursday night and continued throughout the weekend. The nurses had him packed in ice, and Casey was feeling very sick. His lab results were all over the place, so they are not letting him leave the hospital today. The fever finally subsided yesterday and he is now able to eat a little bit of food, but is very tired. Gary is going to change his flight to come home on Thursday instead of tomorrow. Southwest Airlines is letting him do that with no additional fees. Gotta love that! In today's world where the airlines nickle and dime you for everything, it is so nice to have an airline going the extra mile to accommodate you.
The treatment Casey is receiving is a clinical trial, which means it is not FDA approved and he is a guinea pig to test whether or not it does what it is supposed to do. It is in the second phase and they have had great results with the first phase. The protocol is named BITE. The drug is from Germany and it attaches to your cells and turns them into killer cells which turn around and destroy the cancer cells. The fever hopefully is because of his mutated cells going to battle against the leukemic cells. The treatment is targeted specifically to his cells unlike traditional chemo which kills everything. I don't think he will lose his hair this time. MD Anderson was allotted 30 spots for this trial. We feel lucky to have Casey be a part of it, although I don't think he was feeling too lucky this weekend. The explanation gets a lot more scientific, and that is when I turn to my sister, Debbie and say Huh! She always knows what they are talking about.
I was able to spend Mother's Day with my daughter Stevie, my mother and my sister. I did miss seeing Casey, but hearing that he was able to eat half a hot dog yesterday, was a great gift. Hope you all enjoyed your day.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013

Casey is doing well on the treatment. I came home from Houston on Sunday, and Gary is flying out tomorrow. Casey has been alone in the hospital all week, we are both anxious for Gary to get there. Casey is running a fever today and is not feeling well. They did tell us that is a possibility because there is a fight going on inside of his body. Sure do feel helpless. They were talking about discharging him tomorrow, but I doubt if that will happen now. Gary will be in Houston until Tuesday to get Casey discharged and settled in at Charlie & Melissa's house.

Casey's friends, Kyle, Tyler and Derek have put together a golf tournament on August 10th. I am so touched by the response from everyone and the hard work the boys have put into pulling this event together. The 4 boys just got home from a golf weekend a few days before Casey was told his leukemia has once again relapsed.
Following is the link

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.

Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3, 2013

Today is Casey's 31st Birthday.  We are celebrating with cake, cheetos and chemo!  What a cocktail.  My hotel shuttle driver took me to the grocery store this morning so I could get Casey a cake.  She got some balloons for Casey, she said it would make his room feel like a party.  She is from El Salvador and asked me what my name would be in Spanish.  I said "Peggycito", so now she calls me Miss Peggycito.  Down here they always call women Miss and then their first name (like Miss Stevie).  The nurses were just in here to serenade Casey with "Happy Birthday" and they brought him a little cake and a handmade blanket.  A little different from his birthday last year, but not a bad day.

Casey seems to be handling this treatment well.  Last night his blood pressure went down to 98/48, but is now up a little, and he is running a very slight fever of 99.  Later this week they will increase his medicine, but they have to make sure he can tolerate it.  His counts are dropping.  We were told his counts should not bottom out like on traditional course of treatments, but there will be ups and downs.

We have a lot of cake if anyone is in the area, stop on in and have a slice.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 1, 2013

Casey was admitted into the hospital last night.  This place is a lot nicer than my hotel.  The room has 2 televisions and a sofa.  His food is served by people dressed in black and white tuxedo outfits, and he says is tastes good.  We arrived at the hospital at 7:15 am yesterday and he was admitted into his room at 9:15 pm.  I ended up sleeping on his sofa and walking back to my hotel this morning.  He was given a transfusion last night and has started his drug this morning.  So far so good.  His discharge date will be Monday, May 13th.  I have gotten a some requests for his address in the hospital
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Paul "Casey" Coble - G1642
PO Box 300206
Houston, TX  77230-0206
The other day we were walking through the hospital with a group of other people, when a woman picked me out of the crowd of cancer patients and said "you will get through this, stay strong".  Reminded me of the time at the state swim meet where they picked me out to direct me to the handicap seating area.  Thinking I better get a physical.  I did have to cancel my haircut appointment....must look worse than I thought.
Also a huge thank you to Eric & Kathleen Mohr for being so very kind and generous.

Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013

Today is Casey's last day of freedom before he gets admitted into the hospital and hooked up to a 24/7 IV.  Saturday we went to La Porte to a festival.  There were carnival rides, live music, food and drink stands, and a barbecue cook off all on the beach of Trinity Bay.  The people who were entered into the cook off had real elaborate set-ups.  They would have a blast at the pumpkin chunkin in Delaware.  We met some really nice people who had a set-up for the cook off and they recommended we go see Kemah boardwalk.  We went to Kemah and had a wonderful time.  We went to a cafe on the water and had a snack while watching the boats go by.  We left Kemah and went to Charlie and Melissa's house and had dinner with them, and their 7 year old son Conner.  They are so welcoming.  Conner has been working on dinner menus for when Casey comes to stay. 
Yesterday Casey had to be at the hospital at 8:30 am for some lab work.  His labs came back ok so we were able to leave before noon.  It was a nice day, so Casey and I walked to and from the hospital.  He spent the rest of the day getting caught up on meet entries and writing practices.  We drove around downtown Houston and went to Joe's Crab Shack and had a nice dinner.
Today we drove to Galveston and went to the beach.  We sat on the sea wall and put our feet in the water and had lunch overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.  The water was really warm.  We are back at the hotel.  Casey is starting to get real tired.  He is not sure if it is the cancer or the medication.
Tomorrow Casey is scheduled for 7:30 am at the hospital.  It's been really nice spending this time with him.  We have had a mini vacation interrupted by doctor visits.

Friday, April 26, 2013

April 26, 2013

Casey was poked with all kinds of needles today.  He had another bone marrow done and he some spinal fluid removed and chemo shot into his spine.  This clinical trial is from Germany, so his fluids need to be sent to the lab in Germany.  We got back to the hotel pretty early today (around 4:00 p.m.) so Casey laid flat until 6:00 and then we walked to a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner.  You don't want to be too active after a spinal tap, it can cause severe headaches.  Casey is loving watching the draft.  I really don't know enough about it to get too excited.  We rode the elevator with someone from York, PA today, last week we met someone from Indonesia.  Everyone has a story, and is looking for the best care available.  It is hard being so far away from home, but we hope they will find the cure for Casey's leukemia.  He has a case of stubborn PA dutch cancer.
Tomorrow we are going to be tourists.  We are thinking of going to San Antonio and then meeting up with Charlie and Melissa tomorrow evening.
Thank you to our neighbor, Jess Diirner for letting my girls, Annie and Bowie out to go to the bathroom in the middle of the day. And of course to Stevie for taking Casey's baby girl, Caroline.  All the puppies are well taken care of, but we sure do miss them.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013

Today marks 2 weeks since we found out Casey's leukemia has returned.  Life has been crazy trying to get things arranged, so I apologize for not posting more often.
Casey and I are back in Houston for the 2nd time. We left Gary at home this trip, he will probably come out in 2 weeks.  I will return home in a week.  Casey's treatment schedule will be 4 weeks in Houston, 2 weeks at home, 4 weeks in Houston, 2 weeks at home, for a total of 5 treatment cycles.  This first cycle he will be admitted into the hospital on Tuesday and probably be there for about 12 days.  We met with the doctor today and had preliminary labs done.  Tomorrow he gets another bone marrow biopsy and a spinal, as well as other blood work.  He will have the day off on Saturday and Monday.  We are thinking of going to see Galveston.  It would be nice to see the Gulf of Mexico while we are here.  We will also go visit Charlie and Melissa Fry.  Charlie coached Casey at LAC and give him his first coaching job.  Charlie and Melissa have graciously offered to let Casey stay with them when I return home.  They will never know how much I appreciate that.  Big Bob called Charlie and told him he needs a room too, so that he can continue his vigilant hospital visits with Casey.  Charlie is very generous, but that is more than he bargained for, so he offered the dog house to Big Bob.  
I also got a phone call from Cherita at Middle Atlantic Swimming offering frequent flyer points for our next couple of flights to Houston.  I was so taken aback by their generosity, that when she called to tell me, I got choked up and tongue tied and could not appropriately express my gratitude.  The swimming community has been so wonderful and supportive.  When I picked up Casey at his house yesterday, our friend David Kupp had his guys there mulching Casey's flower beds.  Bruce Rettew dropped off a couple of dinners for Gary last night.  We may not know what we have ahead of us, but it is heartwarming to know that there are so many people behind us.  Thank all you so very much!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 20, 2013

We are back home in PA for a short time.  Casey will start treatment in Houston on Thursday.  He came home to get his things in order.  They are putting him into a clinical trial.  Thursday he will have blood work and another bone marrow biopsy done.  He will be admitted to the hospital on Sunday.  They will start administering his treatment at that time.  He will be in the hospital for 9 days.  After he is released, he will have the medicine continuously feed through an IV.  He will have to return to the hospital every other day to have his IV bag replaced and for check ups. The total time for the cycle is 28 days.  He will then have 2 weeks at home, and then returns to Houston to start another 28 day cycle.  He will go through a total of 5 cycles.  An old friend and coach, Charlie Fry lives in Houston and has offered to let Casey stay with them.  I can't tell you how thankful I am for that offer.  We will be racking up some serious frequent flier miles.  It will be a long summer, but if this finally kicks this disease, it will be time well spent.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 18, 2013
Unfortunately Casey's leukemia has once again returned.  So I am back to posting on his blog.
Tuesday afternoon, Casey's doctor told us he has an appointment at MD Anderson in Houston on Thursday morning.  Tuesday evening was spent trying to find an affordable flight and hotel room with less than 24 hours notice.  So here we are in Houston, TX.  The Reliant Center is next door to the hotel and a giant boot store is across the street.  We are not in Lancaster County any more.  We booked one way tickets, because there are so many unknowns.
We arrived at MD Anderson at 9:30 this morning and finally finished up at 7:30 tonight.  The hospital campus is 3.2 miles in size.  The place is huge!  Casey had blood work and a bone marrow biopsy before seeing the doctor.  The equipment they have can tell  them what type of cancer cells he has.  They will select his best course of treatment after all of these tests are in.  I thought Hershey Medical Center was big.  Now it looks small.  Tomorrow it is back to the hospital to find out what course of treatment they recommend.  And if time allows, maybe I will have to buy a pair of cowboy boots!
I will let you know.