Week 1 Update: Home Sweet Home

*As always, thank you so much for the flood of support in comments, voicemails, texts, emails, prayers and everything else. You all are amazing. 

As part of the initial stages of my treatment, I was held up in the UW Medical center near Husky football stadium for the past 5 days and now I’m finally unhooked from my IV’s and back at home in Federal Way where I’ll be living for the duration of this process. That’s right, I’m back living with my ol’ roommates (mom and dad) for the time being!

But all jokes aside, I really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Between my mom – who has basically turned this house into the hand sanitizer isle of Costco – my dad – who is cooking me meals and kicking my ass in cribbage – my sister – who is a nurse herself at Seattle Children’s Hospital and speaks technical doc-talk – and my girlfriend Larissa – who is a trooper and will be putting in some serious I-5 miles coming down to see me – I have it really good here.

I also have my dog Bruce living with me full-time for the first time since I got a big-boy job and moved to the city. He’s been glued to my side ever since I got home, it’s really good to have him around. 

A couple quick news bulletins for what’s been happening this past week.

1) Good News: No Leukemia in my spine or brain fluid! 

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I actually don’t know what the consequences would have been if I did, in fact, have Leukemic cells in my spine and brain fluid (I didn’t ask), but this is good news. I’ll still have to get chemo injected into my spine something like 15 times over the course of treatment just as a precaution.

Getting my first lumbar puncture was a bit of a funny story in itself. The hospital I was staying at is also a training hospital, and it just so happened that I was the practice field for the day. To get a lumbar puncture, they make you lay on your side in the fetal position, they numb your back up, and have to get a needle between your vertebra into your spine so they can get some fluid out.

Sounds gross right? Well it sounds worse than it actually is, because it wasn’t all too painful. What was painful, however, was having to listen to the senior doctor coach the 1st year through the procedure.

“Yep, you’re hitting the bone there, you need to readjust your angle…”

I’m pretty bad with needles in the first place, so having to hear the play-by-play was pretty rough. At one point, I had to ask, “Can’t you guys use code words or something?”

In the end everything went smoothly and I’m glad the 1st year doc got a chance to get some practice time in – everyone needs to learn sometime right?

2) Two Rounds of Chemo In

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*My amazing aunt Stephanie made these kick-ass “Battling with Brock” bands for me! Orange is the Leukemia Awareness color – I have a big bag of these if you want one just let me know and I’ll try to find a way to get you one. Credit Craig Cincotta for the sweet wrist modeling 🙂 

Apparently for ALL Leukemia, the first 28 days of treatment are really important and are indicative of which direction the remainder of my treatment will go. For the first month, I get hit with a one-two punch of chemo drugs and steroids to knock out those pesky white blood cells and at the end of the process, we will check my bone marrow to see what’s happening.

For all intensive purposes, my blood counts look good and are on the right path as of day 11 when I’m posting this (yay!), but according to my doc the hard part isn’t actually killing the Leukemia – it’s making sure it never comes back after this whole process is over (which is why treatment for this will last much longer than 28 days, probably closer to 9 months I’m told).

So what does that mean? For the next couple weeks, I’m basically playing it as safe as I can with my health. I have no immune system, so as much as I’d love to be snacking down on peanuts with my buddies in the crowded M’s beer garden, eating conveyor-belt sushi, or just swimming in the lake – I just can’t get sick right now.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get bit more on the wild side after this stage of treatment,  but until then – it looks like I’ll be trading handshakes for fist-bumps 🙂

3) See you later hair

Chemotherapy also kills off rapidly reproducing cells, my white blood cells being some of the fastest in the bunch. Unfortunately, hair cells also tend to reproduce pretty quickly, so those get killed off too and when that happens, eventually your hair falls out.

Lucky for me, Larissa specializes in cutting mens hair (why else do you think my hair looked so great all the time?), so she brought over the sheers to cut off all my head hair on our own terms. We left the eyebrows because it would be a shame if I didn’t actually lose those and cut them off early – don’t want to jump the gun 🙂

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*On a side note, I’ll probably embarrass Larissa by adding this but if you want a sweet skullet like me or just want a great haircut in general, Larissa cuts men’s and women’s hair at Zo Salon in Kirkland – go see her she’s awesome and she is taking clients 🙂  

When this is all over, my hair could actually come back a different color, thicker, or really curly or something. Not sure how it will effect my receding hairline – but we can only hope for the best 🙂

Thanks again for checking in. Overall, I’ve generally been feeling ok and in good spirits this week and your support is a huge part of that.

Until next time,

Brockton

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23 thoughts on “Week 1 Update: Home Sweet Home”

  1. Brock, you are amazing as you always have been! Knowing your mom and dad that doesn’t surprise me at all! Well, except your atheletic! I f you or your family need anything at all please do us the favor of asking! I can bring sandwiches, subway, blimpys, Quiznos, sub shop.. Just name it! Ha!

    Not sure what the supply is but I definitely want wrist bands and we’ll wear them proudly! 5 would be awesome but I’ll take what we can get. I can come by and get them too, text me, Facebook me, call me or have your pops do it and I’ll stop by. I don’t need to come in either, just kick this things ass kid! Plus I’ll wear a condom just to be safe! Your pops will like that!
    We think of you guys daily!
    Marty

  2. Brockton, You make a shaved head look good! Having Larissa in the picture does have a large influence on the overall beauty of the picture.
    I think your Dad should shave his head. If he does I will follow.

    You continue to be in our prayers–love ya

    Dwayne

  3. You (and your family) are loved, Brock. Your support system spreads far and wide and we are with you every step of the way! Sending good thoughts, prayers, mojo, good-juju, hugs, more love and all of that! BTW, bald heads are bad-ass!

    Carrie

  4. Thanks for the update bro u are in my thoughts and prayers EVERYday. Me and Anne need one of those wrist bands! Keep up the fight I know u can beat this.

  5. You do have the very best support system. I would like to wear one of those bracelets. I have some Decatur hoodies I’m going to donate back to the school so I may be in FW sometime next week

  6. Lookin’ good Brock – Larissa does a great job! Thanks for taking the time to post your updates, we’re with you every step of the way. See you soon!

  7. Thanks for sharing your updates Brock! So glad to hear you are feeling good this week! Xoxo and thanks for the shameless plug on Larissa, I have been needing a haircut! 😉

  8. This is great news and also informative. We are SO proud of you for your winning attitude and strength. Prayers will continue!

  9. Definitely the best update I’ve ever read. Thanks so much for sharing! You guys are definitely taking the bull by the horns. I’m sure not every day is full of jokes but you sure are winning with your awesome attitudes. Keep it up. Life is what you make it!!

  10. Brock~You are an Amazing Young Man and such an Inspiration to us all!!! Our prayers will continue to be with you!!
    Nancy Ruud-Cole & David Cole and All of Boyd Ruud’s Family

  11. Hi Brock! Bryce gave me your news yesterday, and I was shocked. You have a real way with words, and your story, although so serious, was a delight. Keep that gorgeous chin up – and I’ll support you in whatever way that I can😘

  12. Tough man! You are meeting this head with a great attitude…thanks for the info. We got you covered in Southern California, we will be prayer warriors for you. We have not met, but I played college football with your dad, and have watched you grow up via photos and messages through the grapevine. Fight the good fight, we will pray for great strength and awesome attitude even when your not feeling it…keep it up!
    From the Squires
    Scott, Sherith, Brock(17), Gunnar (15), and Silje (12).
    P.S. Bracelets are hip!

  13. Brock you look great!!!
    I love the different hair designs.
    Keep up the good work in kicking lukima’s ass.
    Aunt Steph

  14. Thanks for the update Brock. Your sense of humor and positive approach to life are a true inspiration and will help you kick leukemia’s butt! I think about you and your family every day and would proudly wear one of those awesome bracelets if you have enough. Brent can get it to me…. but again, only if you have enough. Take care. Brad and Hannah both send their love and healing energy to you as well.

  15. Hey Bud – thanks for the update, glad to here the week went well. Stay positive, you are a warrior and will crush this. We’re all here for you!!!

    Stay Strong, brother!

    -Sean

  16. Thanks for such an in depth update dude! Happy to hear about your progress! Hope you have Netflix or something to keep your travel side occupied haha. My parents would like to mail you something, if you’re in the gift receiving mood just email me a good address and I’ll pass it along. As always, me and the fam will be praying for you! Take care dude, keep fighting!!!

    Mike

    PS if you’re on Netflix check out 180° South, awesome film

  17. Hey Brock – Good Luck tomorrow! Hope you are able to relax a bit. Sometimes it’s nice just to get out of the house – even if it is a ride to SCCA. We will be thinking of you and hoping for a good day!! Keep on kicking Leukemia’s A–!

    Love you! Maury and Lori

  18. Hi Brock,

    Great update and yes I want some bracelets. I’ll text your dad my address and need five to start with. Happy to buy a box too. Been following from the start and praying for you daily. Keep your head up and keep on fighting Brock we got your back!
    Love you!
    Steve, Caryn, Ben, Jake and Peri

  19. Hey Buddy!

    Thanks for the update! I’ll be doing a charity stair climb for the SCCA in a couple weeks. I’ll be thinking of you every step of the way!

    Stay strong broski!

    -Elbow

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