2 December 1998

We arrived in Tennessee Monday and met with the doctor. Bill and I both felt that we were in the right place and in the right hands. We spent the evening with our daughters whom we had brought along so they would know where it is that I am. They loved the hotel and discovering all the nooks and crannies. Tuesday night they flew back to friends and are back in school.

Tuesday for me was traumatic. I got another MRI that didn't show much if any tumor growth since the last one. Then I went in for the ultrapharesis treatment. For an hour and a half, I sat hooked up to a machine that works much like a dialysis machine. I listened to Wachet Auf and felt content and hopeful.

When it was over, I asked if I could go to the restroom. I felt fine and thought I should be allowed to go home without the two hour waiting period. But in the restroom, I suddenly knew that I was probably going to faint. I got myself out and onto a little rolling stool and got the nurse's attention. But as she was rolling a reclining chair toward me, I fainted onto the floor. When I woke up it was as though my mind was coming out of a thick blackness. I looked into people's faces and tried to figure out where I was. Finally it dawned on me and I was helped into the chair.

The short version is that I stayed in that chair for hours. I watched a lot of other patients come and go, but my blood pressure stayed really low. Occasionally I was able to sit up, but if they lowered my legs, I'd faint again. In all, I fainted four times. Each time, it took a while to get oriented again. I was the last patient out of the clinic at 7 p.m. and left in a wheel chair.

I'm feeling somewhat better this morning and am eager to try it again. Yesterday I had only a minimal breakfast before the MRI and really no food until I got back to the hotel. This morning, I'll eat breakfast and see how it goes.

Being sick may be a good sign. Fever certainly is because it means that the filter has done its work and exposed the tumor to my immune system.

What a strange Advent. I'm really grateful to have Bill with me.