Christmas in the hospital 😔
Posted Dec 25, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
So sorry I haven’t updated y’all since November 11th, but a lot has transpired since then. There is no way to make this long story short...
COVID finally found us-Jason started feeling bad (fever/chills/cough) on 11/18, and I started coughing 11/20. After a couple days I lost my taste & smell, and then we found out we had been exposed to a positive person the weekend before. I tested positive 11/24 and did my 10-day quarantine from work until 11/30. Jason seemed to recover pretty quickly, but we were both kind of tired/lethargic for another week, and my taste/smell was absent for 2 solid weeks & isn’t quite 100% yet.
Fast forward to 12/3 - Jason had no symptoms and no fever, but his oncologist wanted him COVID tested anyway (he had not been since I did), and it was positive. This made them postpone all of his Dec appointments - chemo and pre-transplant testing - until January. He decided to make a weekend hunting trip to Cisco Dec 11-13th with Mason, but started getting chills again while he was there. Then the whole next week his fever/chills/cough/night sweats were high and intense, so he went to the county wellness center on Fri 12/18. They took x-rays of his lungs & said he did not have pneumonia, repeated the COVID test (positive still/again?) and sent out bloodwork. He was prescribed a 5-day Z-pack in the meantime. The bloodwork was supposed to be available Mon 12/21, but by 12/23 at his follow-up they still had nothing, so they drew blood again just in case it was lost! Finally that afternoon the doctor was able to get some of Friday’s results over the phone: his WBC was 0.84, and his platelets, hemoglobin, and HCT were also low. He said to call Jason’s oncologist, who strongly recommend that Jason go to the ER and get admitted to the hospital. Of course I didn’t want him to spend Christmas in the hospital away from the kids any more than he wanted to be there with no visitors, but he relented & I dropped him off Thursday afternoon 12/24.
Fortunately there was no wait at the ER and they took him right back. His WBC had dropped to 0.6, and his “neutropenic fever” is due to the fact that he has little immune system left to fight his infection. They immediately started him on two IV antibiotics, and submitted blood cultures and other samples to look for a cause. They have to assume that COVID is the culprit or at least did some lung damage to make him susceptible to secondary infection. I took him a bag of warm clothes and Christmas treats and Dr. Pepper this morning, which I had to drop off in the lobby, but he seemed warmer & happier after he got them. A consult with the oncologist this afternoon was next, to see what else he could be treated with (steroids, antibodies, antivirals??) while we wait for cultures. Please send encouraging messages when you can, and pray for a short hospital stay and quick response to treatment. *He’s in room 4001 at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital.
Posted Nov 11, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
Jason had his PET scan on October 21st. We received the report, and it all sounded pretty good to us, but we wanted to wait to confer with the doctor at his next appointment, which was today. Dr. Pingali was pleased with the results, especially after only 2 infusions of the chemo drug Bendeka-one of the “hot spots” had resolved, and the other 3 were smaller and had less uptake. Even though Jason’s not in complete remission, the doctor said we could likely proceed with the allogenic (donor) stem cell transplant. He went ahead with the planned treatment today (Gazyva and Bendeka), which will shrink those 3 even more. Next appointment will be with the transplant team (same doctor & nurses as before) to hear their plan.
October treatment & update
Posted Oct 14, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
Today was Jason’s 7th Gazyva infusion and his 2nd time to get the Bendeka. They were on point-got labs done, drugs ordered, treatment done, and we were outta there at 1:30! He’s been feeling pretty good-assistant coaching Noel’s softball team & coaching Mason’s baseball from the fence-but has some persistent fatigue/endurance issues and the return of some of the old familiar pain. His oncologist wants to set up his PET scan for next week if possible, and get the ball rolling on his next stem cell transplant. Next update will be the PET scan results...🙏🏼🤞🏻
Next course of action
Posted Aug 26, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
Jason had an appointment with the bone marrow/stem cell transplant team on Aug 11th. Basically we learned that the clinical trial was out, so they had sent out “HLA” typing kits (a simple cheek swab) to Hank and Daniel to see if they would be matches for him. They gave us a lot of information about long term success rates, possible complications, and how the procedure would go - pretty much like the stem cell transplant he got in January. It was overwhelming and scary to think about him being in the hospital for another 4 weeks but during a COVID19 pandemic with no visitors...fortunately there’s no great rush for this to happen. Then Jason had his Gazyva infusion on Wednesday the 19th, which was fairly uneventful-arrived about 7:30am, bloodwork had improved from 4 weeks ago, and he was done by 1pm. His oncologist, Dr. Pingali, came by the room to discuss what’s next. He plans to add another medication to his next two infusions (Sept 16th and Oct 14th), a chemo drug called bendamustine or “Treanda,” to help put him back into remission. Two weeks later he’ll have a PET scan, and the results will help him determine how long Jason can wait to have the 2nd stem cell transplant.
We found out on Fri Aug 21st that Daniel Poorman is a 100% MATCH for Jason!!! There was only a 25% chance of that happening - prayers answered and some anxiety & weight lifted.
Posted Aug 7, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
The infusions continue...Jason had week three “off” from once a week Gazyva (Obinutuzumab) and then his 4th one happened Wednesday July 22nd. He only had a reaction the 2nd time (fever/chills/night sweats) and has had no side effects since. We got to meet with his oncologist then, and the plan going forward is still a bit up in the air. Basically our insurance company does not cover any part of him being in a clinical trial (which he does not have to be in “remission” for and the “drug” is free), but they will approve a future bone marrow transplant from a donor (which will require more chemotherapy and him being in “remission” again). Dr. Pingali said he could just keep giving him Gazyva indefinitely, but since he is not an 80-yr-old man, he wants to do what will put him into long-term remission. He also said he would personally run it by the I’m so
Posted Jul 3, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
Jason’s first “Gazyva” infusion was 6/24, through an IV catheter in his arm. Technically speaking, this is a type of antibody therapy, not chemotherapy, that works by helping your own immune system destroy cancer cells and directly destroying them also. Initial side effects can be similar to chemo (fatigue, nausea, headache, etc), but he should not lose his hair again 😏. What they’re trying to achieve is long-term remission; there is no “cure” for follicular lymphoma.
The day started off a little frustrating as Jason’s appointment had been cancelled due to lack of insurance approval, and we had not been notified! Thank goodness for our awesome insurance case manager and oncologist, who worked quickly to push things through and get it done today. Next infusions are scheduled for July 1st and 8th.
Posted Jun 18, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
Biopsy results are in: Jason has a DIFFERENT low-grade, slow-growing, “lazy” type of cancer called follicular lymphoma. He was apparently the hot topic among the doctors because they couldn’t initially agree on what to do next, or if this may have been the primary, original cancer that was “hidden” by the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma they’ve been treating. Our understanding is that the grueling stem cell transplant he had is considered a success because it was specifically for the DLBCL. Now the treatment changes because the cancer diagnosis has changed. His primary oncologist has decided on chemotherapy again, this time with a drug called “Gazyva” (Obinutuzumab). He made it sound fairly quick and easy, with two days in row to start and only four total infusions about a week apart. No port will have to be put back in! He was very optimistic about this putting him back into remission. We know the drill - chemo, PET scan afterwards, PET scan one month and three months later... keep praying for Jason to be in long-term remission after this.
4 month post-BMT PET scan
Posted May 27, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
The PET scan this morning was not clear. He is no longer in remission. It hurts to type it. We are sad, mad, frustrated, heartbroken, all of the above. We thought we were so close to going back to “normal.” Neither of us slept very well last night in anticipation, and just spent the rest of today kind of in shock, physically and emotionally drained.
Specifically, the scan showed uptake in the left hip, left collarbone, right 2nd rib, and near thoracic vertebrae 7-8, where there is a “soft tissue prominence” that measures 1.6 cm. That’s small, but that’s where they will try to take a biopsy to determine if it is the same thing or same type of cancer. After that we will get yet another treatment plan and have some direction to go.
Posted Apr 25, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
Today is 100 DAYS post-transplant! 🤗☺️🥳 The milestone we were told when Jason would start to feel like “himself” again. Well he is way ahead of schedule according to his nurse-bloodwork back to normal, hair coming back nicely (dark and soft and smooth with fewer grays), gaining weight and muscles 💪🏼, and having enough energy to tackle many unfinished projects around the house. His 3 month PET scan is scheduled for May 27th, and if he’s still clear he can start his vaccine series and make a plan to get back to work 👮♂️🚔
Posted Mar 18, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
Update from Coronaviurs Quarantine day 7 (? - Do we start counting the day school was cancelled, March 12th?), or as we call it pretty much our normal routine. Jason has had to be cautious of catching viruses since last January! We already had antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, masks, Clorox wipes, and Lysol on hand. Obviously he is one of those in the high risk category, so he’s not really venturing out, and is home with the kids like he was last summer. So far they have pulled weeds, added flowers to the beds, replanted the garden, washed the vehicles (which lasted one day thanks to pollen), and played A LOT of Minecraft and Fortnite. Their spring break was supposed to be March 16th-20th, and now they may not go back to school until April 13th or later. We have a full freezer & full pantry, plenty of toilet paper and paper towels, and chickens laying around 15 eggs a day. I’m going to work as usual, since horses/dogs/cats don’t stop getting sick or injured, but we’re limiting client contact as much as we can. I kind of expect our “wellness” appointments to dwindle and just be on emergency call soon.
Jason’s last checkup was March 12th, which showed improvement in all categories, but signs that he was fighting something. He had been coughing for a couple days (NO FEVER), and a nasal wash revealed a “rhinovirus.” It’s treated just like a cold - OTC medicine for the symptoms and supportive care. No big deal, but just more reason for him to stay home and avoid people. His next checkup is March 25th, unless they decide it’s too risky for him to come in...
Posted Feb 26, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
PET SHOWS COMPLETE REMISSION!
That’s the text we got from Jason’s NP as we were on our way home from the hospital this afternoon, after his PET scan. Four little words that made our day, and I couldn’t decide whether to cry, laugh, get a drink, or take a restful nap - I did manage to do three of those though! He also had bloodwork, which showed his WBC continuing to rise (4720) as well as ANC (2987), and his liver enzymes trending back down. He had another breathing treatment, like he did the day before he was discharged, to help his lungs recover from a small area of atelectasis (collapse). Some more of his restrictions have been lifted (yeah shellfish!), but he’s still considered immunosuppressed because his immune system is “naive” - meaning it has not been exposed to anything that can make him sick and has no antibodies to fight off infection. Starting about 6 months after his transplant, he will have to go through a 12-month series of vaccinations, just like a young child!
We are thankful and grateful for this news, but are cautiously optimistic because of what happened last year (a clear scan in May but a relapse by August). Jason will have a PET scan every 3 months for the next year, and we just hope and pray he stays in remission.
32 DAYS post-transplant
Posted Feb 17, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
Thursday February 13th may have been Jason Poorman’s LAST Rituxan infusion!! His WBC went up a little to 3580, as did his ANC at 2076. Two of his liver values have also been on the rise (AST and ALT), but they’re not too concerned about those as it may be residual reaction to his treatment. He also got cleared to drive, but still needs to take exposure precautions in public. So what did he do?? He drove to the Woodlands Seafood Market to get Chilean sea bass, halibut, scallops, and fresh octopus (for his chowder-since he can’t have shellfish) and HEB to create a Valentine’s feast for me and his parents, who were here for the weekend. This also means his TASTE is returning, so he’s cooking really good food and eating much better. Saturday night it was chicken tortilla soup, so I’m getting really spoiled here. His next appointment is February 26th, when he will have his 41 day post-transplant PET/CT scan. From there it’s up in the air and up to God. If he’s clear, he’ll get scanned every 3 months or so for the first year, and continue regular blood work. If he’s not, well we’re definitely not out of treatment options. Please keep praying and we’ll keep rehabilitating!
Posted Jan 30, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
HE IS HOME!!! His last day consisted of a platelet transfusion, catheter removal, waiting for discharge and medication instructions, and packing up the room. We had to fight a little Houston traffic getting home, but made it safely in time for dinner (one of many prepped by Jackie Poorman, reheated by Lucas Hubble 😉, who also picked up the kiddos). It was so nice to bring him home to a clean and tidy house and yard, thanks to “Maids and Moore” and Hank Poorman. He’s tired, weak, and just feels whipped, so his healing has just begun. He’s also got quite a few restrictions right at first, including house arrest and no driving. His first follow-up appointment is Friday morning, so I’ll keep everyone posted as things progress. Thank you again to everyone who helped us out during his 20 days in the hospital, and I know y’all will continue to be there for us.
STEM CELL TRANSPLANT!
Posted Jan 11, 2020 by Melissa Poorman
The time has come - Jason Poorman was admitted Friday January 10th for his STEM CELL TRANSPLANT!! First step was getting his current port removed and getting a PICC line put in. The only hiccup was they had told him no food or water after midnight thinking it would happen in the morning, but he did not get transported to surgery until 3pm - that would make anyone hangry... After that I got him some Chipotle for dinner, and his chemo was started later in the evening. He’ll have 6 days of “RBEAM” chemo regimen to prepare his bone marrow for the transplant; his schedule looks like a countdown (-6 was yesterday, day 0 is transplant day, Jan 16th). Side effects usually come a few days afterwards. He has to stay hospitalized and restricted to the 15th floor/ward until his white blood cell count is over 500 for 2-3 days in a row, which is approximately 10-14 days for most people. I’m staying this first weekend, and plan to come back at least one day a week and every weekend, but our kids can not visit (lots of FaceTime!). He’ll get Rituxan infusions on Jan 30th (earliest discharge day?), Feb 6th, and Feb 13th. Post-transplant precautions include anything and everything that goes along with having a compromised immune system - having a clean house, avoiding sick people and crowds, taking antibiotics/virals/fungals, even some food restrictions - and will have to be observed for about 6 mos, depending on how fast his immune system recovers. Y’all have been so supportive and inspirational, and now is when we need it the most!
Stem cell stimulation
Posted Nov 26, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
We’re headed to Houston Methodist downtown this morning for Jason to begin the stem cell “stimulation” process. He’s scheduled for chemo over Thanksgiving 😕 and will start getting daily Neupogen injections next week, Dec 3rd. Then starting Dec 9th, he’ll have stem cells collected (by donating his own blood, up to three days in a row) and counted until they have enough to freeze (around 400 million!). After that, he’ll have 10 days of low-dose radiation treatments to take care of 2 lingering sites on the left 4th rib and T9 vertebrae. At least he’ll be home for Christmas and Noel’s birthday! Then it’s Happy New Year, and bone marrow transplant sometime in mid-January.
Next stage of treatment
Posted Nov 4, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
Well we have quite a busy month... PET scan prior to cycle 3 was “pretty much” clear according to Jason’s oncologist, and he felt that the 3rd cycle would wipe out what was left and he could begin the stem cell transplant process! Now that means an echocardiogram & pulmonary function test (11/5), another bone marrow aspirate (11/7), and a half day of preparation including more bloodwork, chest X-rays, an education class, and a social worker meeting (11/12). Not sure exactly when they will be harvesting and freezing his stem cells but maybe we’ll learn that day. Today we are meeting with a radiation oncologist to determine if/when a couple of those lingering cancer sites should be radiated. One day at a time!
Recovering from cycle 2 & preparing for 3
Posted Oct 15, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
So it took about 2 weeks after Jason finished the 1st cycle for his hair to start falling out, and now he’s back to the smooth look! His oncologist was very happy with his lack of pain and need for medication, as well as all of his bloodwork since treatment. Cycle 2 went smoother since he knew what to expect, but it took a little longer for him to rebound. The doctor is planning to order a repeat PET scan right before cycle 3, scheduled for October 21st, so we can hopefully get the stem cell transplant process started ASAP.
Home from cycle 1
Posted Sep 13, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
Home Thursday afternoon! Minimal side effects-some nausea and lack of energy-and just really tired since they never let him rest for any length of time at the hospital. One awesome side effect-his pain is gone! He’s wearing an on-body injector “OBI” that will give him Neulasta tomorrow to boost his white blood cell count. He’ll need to have blood drawn twice a week to monitor that, and then return for re-evaluation and hopefully his next chemo cycle Sept 30.
Starting new chemo regimen!
Posted Sep 8, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
Ok warriors, here we go-Jason got a call from his oncologist Wednesday evening saying the preliminary biopsy results indicated his cancer is still lymphoma, and that was enough for him to start treatment. Jason will be admitted to Houston Methodist Monday morning and was told to be prepared to stay 3-4 days, depending on his reaction to this new chemo regimen. I’m going to stay the day to see how it goes, get the complete biopsy report, and get all my questions answered! My mom is here to take care of the kiddos til Tuesday morning. This is going to be a challenging week for all of us, so those of you that have offered to help will likely be called upon soon 💚💙🙏🏼🤗
Posted Sep 3, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
This morning Jason had a bone biopsy from the wing of his pelvis (left ilium). His oncologist wanted to get a sample from one of the “hot spots” on his most recent PET scan to confirm he has the same type of cancer, which he said is most likely the case. He is expecting to have the results as early as Thursday, and wants to start Jason’s treatment immediately afterwards! — ￼feeling hopeful with Jason Poorman at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital.
Relapse of lymphoma
Posted Aug 21, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
The 3-month scan unfortunately revealed Jason is no longer in remission. We met with a specialist at Houston Methodist Hospital downtown to discuss what’s next, and it’s going to be intense. He’ll have “salvage chemo” (R-ICE regimen) until he’s back in remission, have his own stem cells harvested & frozen, then have a round of R-BEAM chemo right before they put them back in. All of this is done in the hospital-3 days every 3 weeks for R-ICE, and a 3-week stay for R-BEAM & transplant. We didn’t win the first battle, but we’re buckling down to win the war against Jason’s cancer!
The news we’ve been waiting for...
Posted May 21, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
The oncologist declared Jason essentially CLEAR! Last week’s PET scan showed some uptake in an axillary lymph node that he’s not too worried about (could be just inflammation), but everywhere else was normal. He does not have to have any more Zometa infusions or weekly blood draws. The next check-up is in 3 months, when they’ll repeat the PET scan. He has to keep the port in until then, so he’s not officially released to go back to work due to the risk of damaging it. He can start working out and getting his strength & endurance back though, and will be able to spend lots of time with the kids out of school this summer! Thank you to all who gave us moral, emotional, & spiritual support - we couldn’t have made it to this point without you.
Round Six Success!
Posted Apr 30, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
Jason had his 6th (and hopefully LAST) round of chemo today!! It was about 6 1/2 hrs of the usual RCHOP regimen. He’ll go back Thursday to have the Fulphila injection to keep his ANC from tanking-it got the lowest it has ever been on April 17th at 434, but rebounded to just over 1800 for him to have chemo today. He will also continue the Zometa infusions for bone repair every four weeks until the doctor tells us differently. His PET scan is scheduled for May 15th, and we should get those results from his oncologist on May 20th. Y’all this has been a stressful journey with many ups and downs, but it’s not quite over yet so keep praying for us because it is working!! 😘🤗☺️
Jason’s Benefit 3/30/19
Posted Mar 31, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
Jason Poorman and I have so many people to thank after what we witnessed and received at this amazingly successful benefit: those who cooked all night and half the day; donated & served the food, desserts, & drinks; handled ticket sales; donated to and managed the silent auction; set up and took down tables & chairs; entertained children with face painting & snow cones; and cleaned up when it was all over... hopefully that leaves no one out, but it took all of you to make this happen. To those who came to the benefit and made a contribution for a BBQ plate, the silent auction, or the raffle, we hope you enjoyed it and won something cool! And to those who just made a donation out of the goodness of your hearts, may God bless you, and know we will pay it forward to the next person or family who may need it. Special thanks to Sgt Lee Smith and Deputy David Everton and his wife Amanda, who won’t take any credit, and Lake Church for allowing us to have it there. We were humbled, overwhelmed, and in awe of the number of friends and family that came together, and we will never forget your generosity and support. 💙💚❤️
CT results & Round Four
Posted Mar 19, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
We got GOOD NEWS from the oncologist on Monday! Compared to the last CT, we have a DECREASE in size of what was there before - some not as much as we had hoped, which he said may be some scar tissue, but the largest one shrunk by about half! So we continue as planned, with three more rounds of IV chemo (round 4 was today) and one more intrathecal infusion (tomorrow). The repeat PET scan after all 6 rounds will give us a more definitive answer on the success of treatment.
Sign Up Genius for Benefit
Posted Mar 6, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
This has been created to organize volunteers for Jason’s benefit on March 30th. There will be lots to do and it’s going to be a big day for him 💙
Round three done!
Posted Mar 2, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
Round three was completed Feb 26-27. First day of IV chemo went a little faster than last time-only 6 hours! Second day of intrathecal infusion was practically routine-we’ve asked for and gotten the same doctor every time. The Fulphila injection to boost his ANC was also given again. This round had a little more effect on his mood, energy level, and stomach, which is to be expected the more treatments he gets. He’s scheduled for a “halfway through” CT on March 13th to assess his mass regression.
Round Two done!
Posted Feb 8, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
Jason had one long day of IV chemo through the port on Tues 2/5, then intrathecal infusion at the hospital the next day. Got some injections to boost his bone marrow’s production of WBC’s too. Round three in 3 weeks if his ANC holds up!
Round two postponed...
Posted Jan 29, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
Well we drove down to the clinic this morning for Jason to start his second round of chemo, only to find out his absolute neutrophil count “ANC” was too low (must be >1500, his was 664!). He doesn’t feel bad or tired at all, but he has to pretty much stay home to avoid sick people. The plan is for him to get a few injections that will stimulate neutrophil production, then repeat his blood work at the clinic on Monday to see if he can get chemo next Tuesday.
Also, he noticed his hair and goatee were starting to fall out yesterday, so this happened...Noel cried, and Mason said he looked like an evil genius 😂
BACK OUR BROTHER IN BLUE
Posted Jan 28, 2019 by Carla Coleman
Please mark your calendar and share this on your FB page. Let’s make this benefit for Jason soar!!!!
It’s Jason’s birthday!
Posted Jan 23, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
Happy 43rd birthday to my amazing husband! We’ll be celebrating in tonight as last Friday’s bloodwork showed his white blood cell count has dropped below the normal level. This is an expected side effect of chemotherapy but makes him more susceptible to infections. Hopefully it will come back up by this Friday so he can get his second round of chemo next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Posted Jan 15, 2019 by Melissa Poorman
We got some great news today-the tests of Jason’s spinal fluid came back normal and negative for cancer cells! The doctor decided to continue with the intrathecal infusions, but only 4 total instead of 6! He will still receive 6 total IV infusions through his port. The next treatments are scheduled for Jan 29-30. We also got the results of his PET scan, which indicated quite a bit of bony involvement of the lymphoma (like his entire skeleton). This will not change the chemo, but he will be getting Zometa infusions every 4 weeks as well to help rebuild that bone. At least he has nothing scheduled on his birthday-January 23rd 🎂