Friday, February 28, 2014

The Roller Coaster

Clif had a bone marrow aspiration earlier this week and the results came back with Leukemia in the marrow.  Yes, we are very sad and disappointed but we have great hope.

Dr Snyder, our oncologist and transplant doctor came in and shared the following;

Effective this Tuesday, 3/4/2014 Clif will begin a 7 day treatment of chemo on cytarabine and idarubicin and a trial drug called dasatinib.  The intent is to knock out or down the leukemia cells in the marrow.  The chemo's we are told have side effects like fatigue, diaarhea, nausea, abdominal pain, headache, fluid retention, muscle or joint pain, fever, infection and a slew of other possibilities.    The drug dasatinib when given in combination with the two above named chemotherapies will helps weaken the cells to allow the chemo to be more effective.

Clif will remain in the hospital through out the course of this treatment,  and recovery time will be at the hospital as well.  If the above treatment brings favorable results we will go to transplant.

Transplant could still happen at the end of the month of March, but could move into April.  God willing!

Please be praying that his body responds well.

"And do not be grieved, for the Joy of The Lord is your strength"  Nehemiah 8:10

Love and Blessings The Finchers!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Donation Information

I have been asked to re-post the following information.

Clif is in need of platelets and blood.  

If you would like to donate, donors can schedule online @   Please mention this is a directed donation for Fincher, Clifton.  Or call (626) 471-7171 to schedule an appointment. His blood type is A+ and his Medical record #1006-52-51.  

Not all donations need to be made at the City of Hope.  When on the website, go to "Donate Blood" and it will allow you to enter your zip code.  If their is a mobile site near you, an address and availability    date will be indicated.

Thank you for caring and considering a donation.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Designated Donor

Below is a picture of Clif holding designated donor tags.  These tags are placed on bags of platelets and blood for his personal use.   Yesterday, was the first time Clif received personally donated blood and platelets from friends or family.  From what we understand, dozens of you have and are signing up to donate and we are very grateful.  

Please specifically pray that Clifs counts go up a bit, so he can come home for a week or two before his upcoming stem cell transplant on March 25th.  His current blood counts have been so low that today we were quarantined to the room.  Obviously the concerns of him catching something is very high, so we lay low and obey what we are told.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Transplant is on the Calendar

This morning Clif was given an actual schedule for his bone marrow transplant.  Effective 3/17/2014, Clif and his donor will go through a pre-conditioning process to ready themselves for transplant.  The actual date that Clif will receive the stem cells will be 3/25/2014.

Our donor from Germany will be asked to donate cells from his blood. A medicine called granuloctye cell stimulating factor (G-CSF), or Neupogen, will be given once or twice daily to increase the number of circulating white blood cells and peripheral blood stem cells. About four days later, the donor will undergo apheresis. Two intravenous needles are inserted and connected to a machine that collects the peripheral blood stem cells and returns the unneeded cells back to the donor. Depending on how many peripheral blood stem cells are required, the donor may need to return in the next day or two for additional collection.

Our Recipient (Clif), while the above is happening  will begin his Conditioning, also known as bone marrow preparation or myeloablation, a treatment with high-dose chemo. It’s the first step in the transplant process and typically takes a week or two. It’s done for one or more of these reasons:

  • To make room in the bone marrow for the transplanted stem cells
  • To suppress the patient’s immune system to lessen the chance of graft rejection
  • To destroy all of the cancer cells anywhere in the patient’s body
Once the collection is obtained from the donor, a medical courier will (with ice chest in hand) bring his collection back from Germany to LAX and straight to City of Hope.

Until Clifs blood count numbers improve, he will remain a resident of City of Hope.  We have great hopes of him coming home within the next week!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Stabilizing, Transfusions and Waiting

Clif is doing so much better.  He is moving around really well, a significant improvement for those of us who witnessed him at his lowest point. He now does laps around the 4th floor and works with a physical therapist daily at the hospital to regain lost strength.

He ended his 10 day chemo treatment on Friday, February 14th. The residual however of the chemo effects still remains.  Clifs blood counts are now so low, they keep him in the hospital because his immune system is basically non-existent.  We are waiting for a 10 day forecast to let us know what our game plan is. We will keep you posted!

He is getting platelets and transfusions of red blood daily.  It is very common for patients to require transfusions during their treatment at City of Hope.    Since he has so many platelet and blood needs, some of you might want to help him out.  I just got a call from the hospital today asking if we had any friends or family that wanted to donate platelets or blood specifically to him. Here is how you can help;

Donors can schedule themselves online @   Please mention that this is a directed donation for Fincher, Clifton.  Or call (626) 471-7171 to schedule an appointment. His blood type is A+ and his Medical record #1006-52-51.

Thank you for your many prayers and emotional support, he has appreciated everyone of you encouraging him and lifting him up!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Match

Tonight, while we sit in the lobby area of the 4th floor overlooking the mountains  at City of  Hope having a lovely Valentines dinner with good friends Armen and Mary, our nurse "Sobha" approached.  She put her hands on both my and Clifs shoulders and leaned in and said;  Dr. Snyder just called and wanted me to tell you we have confirmed a 10 point match.  This means we are heading for a bone marrow transplant, very soon.

Much Tears and Joy.  Completely unexpected.

Our Journey continues, will keep you posted.

You can imagine our hearts tonight!  Please continue to lift Clif up. 

Blessings and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Man Walking

He sits, he walks, he eats real food, well sorta.  An all fluid diet, yummy!  

Today is day 8 of chemotherapy and his counts are outstanding!  A lot more energy today.  A shower is in his very near future, like tonight!  Yep its been over a week.

Clif got an A+ on the  Kidney status exam and the Nepherologist does not want too see him anymore. His blood pressure is regulating still, but the big bad white blood cells are not so bad right now.  

Another exceptional day of recovery, thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Day of Rest or Two

What a great day!  Clif  is officially out of ICU and back to the 4th floor.

The  man has stood up and sat in a chair and carried on probably more than he should be.  Doctors and nurses have all said these next couple of days of rest and recovery are very necessary, keep visitors to a minimum.   (I have actually gotten in trouble for having to many visitors, a good problem to have).  In order for him to regain his strength for the next leg of the journey (transplant), he must be in optimum condition.

Thank you all for praying and encouraging and coming in and awakening his tired soul.   He has loved all the attention!  Now he gets to read the blog and reclaim some of those lost days.

His WBC is in normal range, literally!  Normal range has not been seen in along long time.  Remission is closer and prayerfully will be his in the near future.  Please continue to pray for our donor and for his availablity and high resolution match.  We have not found out the final results yet from our German prospect, but it should be any day, will keep you posted.  Blessings to you!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dialysis removed

Day 6 in ICU, but I think and hope we get to say goodbye to this floor and move up to the 4th floor!  A floor with dreams of hope and future, God willing a long future!

Clif did not sleep well last night.  Coughed all night!  I slept in the chair/bed next to him and was able to reiterate the good direction we are now heading.  He has been pretty confused, and needed to be reminded many times of what has happened in the past week.

Dialysis machine was removed around 8pm last night and his kidneys are performing beautifully.  His WBC this morning is 18 thousand!! That in itself is a reason to celebrate.  Normal WBC ranges from 
4 - 8 thousand.

Please pray that remission is for us and that transplant continues to be our goal.  Blessings to you and to God be the glory!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Clifs Ventilator is being removed today!!

Good Morning blog watchers,

VENTILATOR is the word of the day!

Because Clifs respiratory has improved dramatically over the last 2 days, and because he  has been so cooperative they are going to take the tubes out.  His numbers continue to improve and go to places we have not seen in years!  Remission is the road we are on.  

Clinically, his WBC counts from Monday were 236K today they are 29K.  When we traveled in 2011 to MD Anderson in Houston Texas those numbers were 25K, pretty awesome to see such improvement.  His kidneys are pretty and pink.  Most of the real important numbers are in the normal margins.

He has been sleeping and resting well.  Quiet music in the background and a big screen monitor showing streams, elk, snow and just  life in general to set the stage.  

We are told today is a very important day to keep stimulation to a minimum.  Not encouraging him to talk but to type (on my ipad) will be the modem of communication today.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Clif Fincher Health Update

What a difference a day makes.

God has been good again.  Clif continues to forge ahead in the right direction.

Today, his blood pressure has continued to improve to a favorable level, his heart rate continues to be in sinus rhythm and at a relaxed number.  His spleen is reducing dramatically, His liver has reduced in size and the fluid in the lungs has also improved.  Since I have become increasingly educated on understanding important blood numbers, the really important ones are improving as well.  WBC counts are steadily reducing, hemoglobin is increasing to levels I have not seen in over a year, blasts have gone from 30 % to 5 %(which is excellent), platelets are steadily increasing to favorable numbers, and many other numbers are looking very good.  Weening of the Dialysis machine will begin soon, I think.    

Clif is in no pain!!!We have continued to be blessed by him opening his eyes and recognizing people at a much lesser volume today.  They increased his sedation, to keep him asleep, but again, can't keep a good man down.  He's had probably 20 visitors today encouraging him and loving on him.  

Family meeting;  was very informative.  What could have been a devastating meeting of fear and projected difficulty was a meeting of hope and progress.  Transplant is in our near future.  The plan;  get kidneys in order, increase chemotherapy to a more aggressive form, put leukemia into remission in a couple of weeks.  Take a possible 4-5 day break at home than return for transplant.  Donor testing is still in progress, no results yet.  The kids specifically William and Sydney had a multitude of questions.  Their Q's were brilliant and well versed. 

Overall,  I am wooed when he looks into my eyes, I ask him questions and he nods his head yes or no.

Robin, his private daily daytime nurse has been wonderful.  Love her so much gave her a very nice bottle of wine.  Having excellent care is so important.  Having good rapport and a real personal interest in Clifs welfare has been very comforting.  She is probably in her early 40's and has done everything above and beyond the call of duty.  Couldn't ask for a better nurse.

I think thats about it. Another good day.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Changes in Clif's condition - prayer requests

There has been significant changes in Clif's condition these past few days.   His primary disease Myelofibrosis, has transformed to Leukemia, so the game plan has changed drastically. 
The Leukemia must be managed before a transplant can move forward.  However, the Leukemia can not be effectively treated until other issues are resolved.  He began a chemotherapy regimen to suppress the Leukemia, but the treatment is a lower dose due to some challenges in kidney function.  He is currently in ICU and sedated with tracheal intubation to help with oxygen levels.  His condition has become more complex, but we have a lot of hope.  He is in the best place for this setback, and this type of challenge is City of Hope's specialty.  Please pray for the doctors to have the wisdom to use the best treatment options for Clif's condition, and to foresee and avoid any further issues. Please pray for Clif's body to stabilize and respond quickly to the treatment.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pre-bone marrow transplant - Update and prayer request

We are thankful for the clinical trials Clif has participated in at MD Anderson and the Mayo Clinic. We also believe this has extended his health significantly.  However, now it's time for a new chapter in his treatment and recovery...a bone marrow transplant.

The City of Hope is now in the process of locating a donor for Clif's bone marrow transplant.  Last week they found two potential donors in Germany and are now pursuing further testing.  We were optimistically awaiting results, when Clif had an unexpected setback this past week.

Last Friday, Clif began having chest and back pain, and other complications.  UCI Medical Center admitted him for further testing and observation, but ultimately released him on Saturday afternoon.  His pain level continued to increase over Sunday, until he was finally admitted into City of Hope this morning.

Today Clif had a CAT Scan and Pain Management Therapy.  Fortunately they arrived at the right drug to give Clif a respite from the pain he has been experiencing these last few days. .  Tomorrow Clif will have a  bone marrow aspiration to gain further insight.  He also had  a pic line inserted to allow for ease in blood draws and other fun things.

Thursday, 2/6 was a very encouraging and amazing day.  First and fore most please pray Clifs condition continues to improve.  Yesterday was a day of much stimulation from friends, family and associates.  Nothing short of a blessing having very dear people come and awaken him out of a deep sedated, intubated sleep.  Literally, I think the familiarity of the work place arriving in multitudes made quite an efffect on his person.  The A team from Lee & Associates arrived and went in, in force.  Truly a mission to awaken the sleeping dragon.  Once they departed and the next group arrived, Clif awakend, opened his eyes and joined us all for about 2 hours (Allen Buchanan I hope you never forget this day). The medical staff felt the stimulation was complete and required us to let the man sleep.  

Clif was intubated Wednesday at 3pm and moved to ICU, his breathing was very compromised and his kidneys were not cooperating.  Thus he is also on continual dialysis to allow his kidneys to rest and heal.  Daily they have been reducing differing drugs and Clif has been faithful to hold his own.  In areas of breathing he went from 80% machine breathing for him to 45% in the middle of the night, God is good!   This is very important in terms of getting him off the ventilator.  I have learned the longer he is on the venilator their becomes possibility for damage to the lungs.  So today, I praise God for another day with Clif on this side of heaven.  Specifically, please pray for his kidneys to heal and his oxygen to continue improving.  Nothing short of a complete healing would be very nice, not a tall order!  Our goal in all of this is that he will be stabilized and that we can continue toward transplant as planned. Finally, please also pray that his doctors are given the wisdom to isolate and resolve this setback quickly!  Thank you so much for your prayers and support!