End of Cycle Two. Woo Hoo!

We went into this week with some experience, more education, more prescription drugs, and perhaps a little more confidence.  This week was a group effort.  Family, friends, coworkers, our oncologist, and the fun-loving nurses at the infusion center all made this week as enjoyable as possible.

On Monday, a dietitian (Lisa) stopped by Sam’s room at the infusion center and offered some great advice on what to eat and when to eat.  She set a daily calorie goal for Sam with specifics on how much protein he should be eating.  Lisa’s knowledge has given us a much clearer idea of how much Sam needs to eat to maintain his weight.  She also had several tips on ways to sneak in extra calories.


Sam's dream diet!

Appetite and nausea are two of our daily struggles.  Sam takes quite a bit of medication to fight both the nausea and his relentless hiccups.  Ginger also seems to settle his stomach.  We go through a gallon or two of ginger tea a day.  Jack and Jackie make delicious ginger tea.  In fact, we had to make an emergency run over to Covington Drive one morning for Sam’s fix.  Sam also likes warm ginger tea, so my mother has been on a mission for the last week going to various stores and international markets in search of the wonder tea.  We have the famous Bledsoe ginger tea, every brand of ginger tea sold at the grocery stores in town, ginger tea from Thailand, and ginger tea from Lebanon.


Sam can't get enough


On a side note, want to know how to get all of the patients at the infusion center excited and shouting at the same time?  Just mention the word, “hiccups” and everyone pops out of their little rooms offering suggestions and demonstrations of their “cure” to the hiccups.  The hysteria was amusing and it was nice to see an otherwise quiet place become rowdy with impassioned people.


An old man INSISTED that you hold your nose and ears at the same time and blow. I recommend trying this method next time you get the hiccups in public.

Jack and Jackie have been tremendously helpful with making high protein and nutrient-rich foods to keep in our refrigerator and to snack on throughout the day.  This week they made:  grilled salmon, poached salmon, London broil, grilled chicken, kale with carrots, potato salad, toasted almond trail mix, and several gallons of ginger tea.   Everything was delicious.  We firmly believe that all of this food helped keep Sam’s spirits high and energy level elevated this week.


Carrie read about the pomegranate popsicles and decided she needed to swing by.


Our survival guide

Early in the week, Sam noticed that his hair was falling out.  We would barely pull at what little hair he had and the hair would easily come right out.  This disclosed an unknown fetish that I have which is picking out Sam’s hair.  It’s kind of gross, kind of fun, and highly addictive.  After spending way too much time picking at his arm hair and leg hair, I thought that using a lint roller would be way more efficient. It sure was. After massaging Sam with the sticky lint roller, I decided that using the hose on the vacuum cleaner would be even more efficient.  Unfortunately, Sam did not approve of my suggestion.

The Sticky Lint Roller is Allowed.


The Suck Kut is NOT.


We had a surprise musical guest stop by this week. Bill is a talented and big-hearted man who graduated from Vanderbilt in 1970 and is now a retired teacher.  Music is his passion and he believes that the best way for him to give back to Vanderbilt is to sing and play music to cancer patients and their families.  Bill was very entertaining and charming.  He broke it down by singing various hits by Madonna and Lady Gaga.


Bill and Sam



Sam is showing signs of major progress.  This picture was taken on Sam’s very first day of chemotherapy two weeks ago.

Sam's big mean bump


This picture was taken on Monday (13 days after his first treatment).  You can see a significant difference in the size of Sam’s tumor.  Our oncologist told us that this is a very encouraging sign.


Big cute smile. And yes, we use our snowman china all year long.

All in all, I’d have to say that this week was a lot better than what we expected.  Nausea and fatigue will be Sam’s battle for the upcoming week.  We are all looking forward to this long weekend to recover and hang loose away from the hospital.


Finally Friday!


We can’t say it enough.  Thank you to everyone for the loving emails, phone calls, and thoughtful gifts.  Have a relaxing long weekend!


Lots of love and gratitude,


Leslie Bledsoe


P.S.  I was totally kidding about Bill’s musical performance.  He sang show tunes 🙂

6 Responses to “End of Cycle Two. Woo Hoo!”

  1. 1 Kate May 28, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Gah! I am super gullible. I was like, ‘for real? what hits of Lady Gaga’s did Bill sing?’

    Congratulations to BOTH of you on Round Two down. You are making significant progress with # of rounds under your belt AND with diminishing size of lump. Nice.

    Much loveto you both!

    • 2 Sam May 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm

      Thanks Kate! Leslie said she circled the big mean bump in the ‘before’ picture so people didn’t think she meant my head. Progress indeed!

  2. 3 Bill June 1, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Pretty remarkable difference in the “lump size” for sure. Sam, yes… very helpful that Leslie clarified WHICH LUMP 🙂 Glad that counts are still maintaining and hope you are able to get some rest… Take care. .UB

  3. 4 Neil June 1, 2011 at 3:19 am

    I bet you are enjoying all of mom & dad’s delicious food! Looks like you’re making great progress, keep it up.

    RE: hiccups. I find that if I inhale sharply just before the hiccup, it stops that hiccup. But you have to pay attention and catch it at the bottom. I don’t know if it stops a series of hiccups, though, so it may not be of much use. Give it a try!


  4. 5 Dad June 1, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Hiccups!! Drinkin’ a glass of water w/ my head down has worked for me in the past. Don’t have clue why.
    I’m just gullible enough to think it works so it does.
    encouraging news on the tumor shrinkage!!

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