When it Rains… It Keeps on Raining?

Jacqui has made a last minute visit to Naples, Florida to say goodbye to her uncle Billy who has end-stage kidney cancer and has been given just days to live. Oye. First Jacqui’s Auntie Pam last June from lung cancer. My dad in February also from kidney cancer. And now Billy.

Quite a year. Quite a year. Mercy.

Platelet Aggravation

My platelets continue to be pesky, and chemo is now delayed until Monday. This is now four chemos in a row delayed due to either platelets, the flu, or me jumping into an icy river to save Otis.

I’ve been told to drink lot’s of platelet juice to boost my marrow’s platelet production so I can finish this damn chemo up starting Monday.

Recipe for Platelet Juice:

1 cup club soda
1 tbs grey poupon
1 cup cranberry juice (unsweetened)
1 kosher hot dog, blended into puree
1 slice of cheese pizza, blended into puree (NY Pizza preferred)
2 extra strength tylenol, finely chopped
pinch of garlic powder
1 bat’s claw, finely chopped

Stir. Do not shake.

Delayed Again

Those pesky platelets are driving me nuts, still not having recovered to B-cycle safe territory.

As a result, my chemo admission scheduled for today is delayed until at least Wednesday.

I’ll keep you posted.

Mark Your Calendars for May 5


We have confirmed Saturday morning, May 5 as Sophia’s baby naming at our synagogue.

When we Red Sea pedestrians have babies, all sorts of crazy rituals go on from the snipping of foreskin to the eating of many pounds of pastrami and corned beef to grandparents saying things like “my grandchild _______ is able to ______ and is definitely a genius.” Thankfully there will be no snipping of the foreskin this child go around. Just a few simple prayers said by the Rabbi without the ritual sacrificing of the tip of anything, except maybe a good loaf of rye bread. I was at a bris a few years ago and the mohel, barely paying attention post-snip, almost let the foreskin roll off the table and onto the floor. Yikes!

So Sophia and the entire Rick/Yudell clan are looking forward to seeing you all here in Philly the morning of May 5.

Details to follow soon.

One Month

Today marks a month since the passing of my father.

Tonight Jacqui and I went to Tacconelli’s for some amazing thin crust, crispy pizza (his favorite) to honor my dad, who really would have loved their slice.

A friend who lost her father told me that every year on her father’s birthday she goes out for a steak–her dad’s favorite meal–as a way to remember him and share in one of his joys. I really like that idea, but since my dad loved so many foods, it will be hard to keep it to one type of restaurant. So I guess it will be a rotating dad food memorial. Definitely on the list are thin crust, crispy pizza, a good shrimp cocktail, lobster, a steak, good Chinese food, and so on and so forth.

A Lucky Man


Today is our second wedding anniversary, the “cotton anniversary,” and we are spending it quietly, thankful that I am no longer neutropenic and thus looking forward to going out to dinner tonight to celebrate.

I don’t need to tell you all how lucky I am to have Jacqui in my life. I joked with her earlier that for all she has given me these last two years, and especially for the ways she has taken care of me these last 7 months, I owe her thirty years of nonstop pampering, taking care of, endless love and devotion, etc. And while I’ve still got a few weeks of battering chemo left before I can begin that job in earnest, I am looking forward to it (taking care of Jacq) with great relish. There is nothing I want to do more than turn all of my attention to my amazing wife, whom I love in ways I never imagined possible, and with whom I share a passion for life, love, and family. How lucky can one guy be?

My Dad, Jedi Master?

Today marks three weeks since we buried my father, and it seems no less surreal today than it did on that day.

The finality of death is unsettling in myriad ways, and I have spent most of my time thinking about his loss in two very different veins. On the one hand, his death feels acutely like the word I just used to describe his passing–loss–so much so that it actually feels like I have lost him, left him behind, and that if I searched for him I would find him somewhere. I guess that is why they call it “loss.”

On the other hand, my father, who was such a presence in all of our lives, seems to be everywhere still, in sort of like an Obi Wan Kenobi-after-he-is-killed-by Darth Vader-glow-in-the-dark-Jedi Master-sort-of-way. Everywhere I turn I see him and I am comforted by knowing he will be with me always. In this sense, I am always finding him.

These are the twin currents of facing life without a loved one. The pain and the comfort. And I don’t expect either will ever go away, new companions, both wanted and unwanted, as life marches on.

On the Upswing

Last night was probably my neutropenic low-point, and I am feeling a wee bit better this afternoon with an unfortunate weekend of chicken and potatoes ahead.

With the end of delymphomatization firmly in our sights, Jacqui and I are beginning to plan for our post-chemo life: events which include a much needed vacation, a baby naming for Sophia, and, of course, the first annual Mike Yudell Lymphoma-Free 5k run/walk/barbecue. As of now, we are tentatively planning the baby naming the first weekend in May and the lymphoma-free celebration the weekend of June 23rd. More information to follow soon. Hope to see you all there!

A, Final, Neutropenia

Today marked the beginning of my final A cycle neutropenia with my white count hovering at around .4, my hemoglobin at 8.7, and my platelets at 60. Still unclear if I’ll need a transfusion later in the week or early next from this crash. Any predictions?

The A crash isn’t so bad, so I’ll just lay low on my limited brain power. Waiting anxiously for tomorrow’s delivery of the new James Bond movie Casino Royale.

But we’ve still got one last B cycle neutropenia hump to get over in a few weeks time. Almost there. Stay on target!