Saturday, May 9, 2009

Update from The Harper Homestead

Lee Ann here. I thought it was time to give you all an update on Terry since he was discharged from the hospital on April 21. (and Terry was nice enough to grant me blogging rights)

He has been resting at home fairly comfortably, with no pain from the pancreatitis. His blood tests have shown that the platelet count has returned to normal ranges and that's a good thing. And doctors have determined that the pancreatitis was due to the drug therapy only so no gallbladder surgery will be necessary; also a good thing. However, the team of doctors overseeing his case have deemed it unsafe for Terry to continue taking the Sutent since it dislikes his pancreas so. Very disappointing news, of course.

The thread of irony that has followed us through so much of the last 22 months-plus continues on: We've found a drug that shrinks your brain tumor but you can't have it!

So, moving on, we have started another (fourth!) chemotherapy. It is easy to take (pills morning and night) and the side effects have been minimal. He is eating real food again with a low-fat/low-cholesterol slant to appease his pancreas. Despite the myriad of menu items he can't eat, he's been a real trooper and a great patient.

Terry is still pretty wiped out from his April from Hell: a month of hospitalizations, pain, and medications. For the time being, he will stay at home to focus on getting stronger and healing. Terry's parents (Ed and Joan) have continued to help us and will be here until late May. They must get back to OKC to address the lives they left behind there when we called them and they came running. I'll say it again: God bless Grandparents.

Terry has entertained a few visitors: his brothers Tim (from DC) and Dave (from OKC), his Aunt Pat (from FL), and Uncle Mike (the surgeon from OH). Chicago friends Shane and Michelle came to town for the Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon as well. He received at least 40 birthday cards on April 30 to celebrate his 45th year. His Facebook page was jumping with birthday greetings too. All good wishes (personal, paper, and virtual) were most appreciated.

Some lessons that Terry has shared from his most recent experiences, since we all know how wise he is: sleep is a really good thing; pain is a really bad thing; daytime television sucks.

Words to live by...

More soon. And thank you for all your encouragement and support.

Lee Ann


Expat Hausfrau said...

Thanks for the update, Lee Ann - Terry has such a huge fan base and I count myself and my family as those at the top of the list. Tell Terry we love him and we are shocked and awed at his unbelievable strength. We are longing to sit at a biergarten with you all.

Mucho Liebe,
Emily (and Chris, Katina and Ellie)

Suzie Owen said...

Daytime television spurred the invention of Netflix, esp. its on-demand, online utility. If you don't like most of the pickin's, you can just have unlimited viewings of "Breaking Away." The Mystagogue and I send our best wishes and positive vibes. Mrs. M.

SallyB said...

Here is something I suggest Terry try that I can guarantee has NO side effects whatsoever and has been shown to work: Visualization meditation. Visualize your brain being totally healthy and the cancer gone. The mind and body are inextricably linked and are a holistic system. Too many doctors forget this fact.

Now, I'm no doctor, admittedly (yeah, the Harper family is flush with them - Willie, Ann, Young Mike, Uncle Mike and the late Uncle Billy) but I used visualization meditation years ago for a nerve injury in my left arm and it healed the injury far faster than the orthopaedic surgeon expected. I study T'ai Chi and we believe in the body's "chi" energy as a healing modality. Try it - no side effects and it's FREE.

Please, Terry, know we all love you tons and I'm sitting here in Ohio rooting for you every day. If our love can heal, then you've got more than your share of love coming your way from your enormous fan base.

I love you, Terry!

Much love and healing energy coming your way,

Cousin Sally

Strude86 said...

Tell me that Maker's Mark isn't off the dietary list?!!?

I'm hopeful that springtime in Indianapolis is suitably beautiful for the near term and that your continued good cheer and positive attitude will bear good fruit.

Be well.

David & Jennet

Brian said...

Harper, I am keepin tabs on YOU!!! My prayers are with you and your family. Keep rollin with that great attitude... Hey Remember when we were at the mall that one time back in the day and you saw a little toy piano and started playing REO "Keep on Lovin You" To this day that still makes me LAUGH!!! Take care and God Bless you..... Seeliger

Charles N. Davis said...

Lee Ann:

Charles Davis here from the University of Missouri, a pal of Terry's from SPJ...thanks so much for the update! Tell the old man to rest up and remind him that he owes me not one, but TWO crisp one-dollar bills as my Tigers whooped OSU not once but twice in basketball...

That ought to cheer him up :)

Seriously, though, family is what gets him through it. You all are amazing.


Mo said...

I am thinking of you Terry.
However, your blog doesn't really make me laugh as much as it should! As a matter of fact, it's not really funny at all!

But I am thinking of you.

Ron Sylvester said...

My prayers and best wishes are with Terry, hoping that the doctors will find a remedy and for his continued strength and recovery.

And as one recovering from knee replacement surgery the past four weeks, I can attest, daytime television does indeed suck. I knew I'd reached a low when I caught myself watching the history of paint on the History Channel. It made me realize: I need to read more.

God's speed, Terry.

Carl said...

Hey Terry, Lee Ann and fam,
Here's to hoping this new combo does the trick. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there...

p.s. in honor of your pancreas, I ate bacon this morning.

Andy Schotz said...

At this evening's SPJ meeting in D.C., we went off topic briefly to discuss how "Thumping My Melon" might be different (better? worse?) with a new scribe. This is just a personal opinion, not representing the full board, but I'd call it a toss-up. It's high-quality, engaging material under both bylines. Best wishes from all in D.C. - Andy Schotz

Ned K. said...


Your experience has taught me and should teach all your friends and readers no less than two valuable lessons; appreciate your health and every day of your life! Your humor through it all is a sign of your strength and we can all learn from your attitude through this fight. The family and you are in always in my thoughts. Keep up the good fight my friend.


Clyde said...

Terry, Lee Ann, and their boys are the stuff that make many of us (me, anyway) realize that when push comes to shove, some of us are like Charlton Heston and some of us are like Charles Nelson Reilly. You blogger fans can decide which one I am, but we can all agree that the strength of the Harper family and dear Terry in particular is verging on the biblical. Terry, get well and let's part some Scotch and waters together soon. XXO, Clyde

David R. Murray said...

I completely agree with Clyde! Charles Nelson Reilly is the MAN! He fought his way through so much ignorance, disappointment, dashed hopes, discrimination, and frustration... and he always maintained an upbeat, optimistic attitude.

I'm certain that Terry, like Charles, will continue to have a great life through sheer force of will. No matter what happens, go Terry! Be as strong and brave as Charles Nelson Reilly!


Adrian G. Uribarri said...

I'm thinking of you, Terry. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

I saw an article on AOL, clicked on the link and led me to Mr. Harper's page. Condolences go out to Lee Ann and the rest of the family. Be strong, and I'm sure he is in a good, bright, happy, painless place.

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