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"My muscles are a problem."

Well, we are officially in the midst of Arm B, still in the hospital and still holding onto our prayer of being home by Thanksgiving.

Brad had to get a PICC line for this round due to a bunch of medical details that are far too complex to begin to articulate. Putting a PICC line in is a sterile process, which meant I had to step out of the room while it was placed. While out I got a text from Brad saying "my muscles are a problem." Needless to say he was super proud of the fact that his muscles made the PICC team's equipment bend in directions they shouldn't to maneuver around his large guns.

This Arm is all about methotrexate, with a side of cytarabine. They infuse it, monitor it and then he passes it.

No really, they infused methotrexate for 24 hours straight. Then, they will take urine and blood samples every 8 or so hours to monitor his methotrexate levels with the ultimate goal for Brad to completely pass it through his system. His methotrexate level has to get down to .01 before we can go home. Right now we are sitting around 14.

The methotrexate infusion is now complete, but crazy enough, they started another "bag" of chemo (cytarabine) immediately following the first 24 hour infusion to begin a new 2 hour infusion. The poor guy also had another lumbar puncture of intrathecal methotrexate today.

While I had the chance, between work and his procedure, I snuck out for a quick run. Moffitt Cancer Center sits adjacent to USF's campus. I ran around campus and ended up stopping on what I assume is the intramural field. I had this grand plan of doing squats or something, but after a few reps I just sat and had "a moment." I looked around, watched kids walking to and from class and thought back to college. When things were simple. When we lived as if we were promised our days and didn't think of what could happen. That cancer could be a part of our stories, of Brad's story.

While sitting there I began flipping through our wedding photos we got back today (wahoo!). As simple as this lesson is, in a matter of 5 weeks of marriage we have learned what truly matters in a relationship. I will say, our entire relationship has always been made up of communication, laughter and love. But now, it's different. We cherish each other a little more. The little disagreements don't matter. We hug each other tighter and we say "I love you" constantly. Although Brad and I didn't spend our college days together and neither of us imagined then that we would be in our current situation, we are and we make one heck of a team. This has changed our perspective forever, something I am sure we will be thankful for years from now, but cancer sucks and Brad is one strong son of a gun.

What's next: he will get 3 more bags of cytarabine over the next 36 hours and another lumbar puncture on Wednesday. Then, we hope we go home for turkey. We think we will come back Sunday for an outpatient dose of a drug called peg - asparaginase.

Prayer request: he feels good, for now. Praying that things stay that way, but are anticipating him to feel crummy in the coming days. Like last time, we expect a delayed impact. Pray that the symptoms that hit him are mild in nature. And also.. say a pray for all those college kids, like we once were, who may never see this coming and that they can handle this at least half as well as Brad has.

I will keep you posted on when we get to go home. Fingers crossed it is Wednesday. In the meantime, thanks again for caring about our story, letting me share my thoughts and praying for our journey. This has become a really unique, unexpected outlet for me and I know Brad likes keeping all of our people up to speed (he reads / approves / edits every post before it is posted).

All the love and thankfulness,

Natalie Whitmer

Feel free to enjoy a snip of our special day:


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