Thursday, January 31, 2008

No News can be Good News

I'm more than 1/2 way through my radiation treatment so we had a meeting to see how things were going. There was no apparent change in the tumor. This is not completely unexpected. We had hoped for some shrinkage, but no growth is a good thing! Dr. Enke will do another CT at the end of treatment but is not expecting anything dramatic to show up. The really good news is that Dr. Enke said most often lymphoma will be PET negative after doing two-a-days like I've been doing. This was great news to me!

We also met with Dr. Armitage. I feel bad for him b/c he continues to be the one who has to break the bad news to me. First, my counts are pretty low and if they dip further they may have to stop radiation. If my counts cooperate and I continue down this current path, then he has had to add a week so that he can take a look at the PET to be sure I am eligible for transplant (basically that I have not worsened). This delay means that it will be at least one week longer before I can go home. We have planned two family visits that have been cancelled b/c Walker has been sick first with a cold now with a stomach bug and ear infection. We are going to try again next week which will be my last chance before the transplant.

Thanks again for all of the prayers, letters, flowers, food and overall support. I really don't know how we could get through this without all of our great friends and family. Lots of love to all of you...Laurel

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Week One Down and Radiation One Complete

We have been here one full week and a lot has happened. We have started down the new path with radiation. I will have treatments twice a day and have completed my first treatment of the day. Nothing to it so far. My next milestone is next Wednesday when Dr. Enke takes a look to see if there is any progress with a CT scan.

Thanks for all of the letters, calls, emails, gifts, prayers and support! Also, a special thanks to Sarah who has been sneaking meals in for Stephen at Walker's school....he has really enjoyed them :) :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

You reap what you sow...

Well I had no idea that I had been "sow'n" some stem cells, but according to our harvest...that is exactly what I have been doing! Stem cell harvest usually takes 4 days on average and rarely do they see someone finish in the first session. When I got the call today, Jo said I "rocked the stem cell harvest" and my numbers were at the top of their goal. This is great news for several reasons.... I will not have to sit hooked to the apherisis machine for 3 more days, I do not need any more growth factor shots (so no more bone pain or the pain killers that go with it), I will start radiation sooner, and most importantly....I will go HOME sooner!!! YIPEEEE!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Boot Straps...

Thank God for boot straps b/c Team Alberty sure has needed them a lot lately! We received some less than pleasant news from the PET as you may have realized from Mickey's email update, but we still have a plan. As a financial planner (and a control freak) this plan brings me much comfort :)

We have started the initial phase of the stem cell process. They will begin harvesting cells on Monday. I will begin aggressive radiation therapy on the following Monday for two weeks. After the first week of radiation they will check to see if it is IS going to work this time!!!! Then, on with the chemo phase of the stem cell transplant...and finally the transplant. Then a brief recovery and then HOME!!!

OK, so it has been a while since I have given my family a shout out. First, to my husband who has remained a ROCK for me and Walker throughout this process. Also to my parents who have offered endless support in too many ways to list! It is a true blessing to see how family and friends can rally in support during a crisis. I am humbled and grateful :)

A mention about the seems that you all are getting some cold snow too...we had -5 today (not windchill). Fortunately, I am spending most the time inside only getting in and out the shuttle and have not really felt the cold yet. The snow is so pretty. I enjoy looking at it from the warmth of the hotel restaurant with a cup of coffee in my hands.

Lastly, today is a really good day! Even though we got some tough news we are still finding a way to stay positive. My radiation oncologist is WONDERFUL! And, I have every confidence that he is going to make this work.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Long Haul

I'm headed for NE on Monday (1/14). My worst case return date is the end of March a bit longer than we anticipated. As we learned the hard way, the PET can result in a major shift in our plans. The PET and the doctor's appointment is on 1/16. We will initially stay in a hotel then move to the hospital then probably back to the hotel. Mickey will forward contact information and such at a later date.

A HUGE thank you to all of you who worked so hard to find Walker childcare. A special thank you to Mickey for orchestrating the last minute call for help and to Katy who made it easy to return home to Champions for Children and those of you who offered your homes! We did a practice morning on Saturday at Champions and he seems to be very excited.

I am going to have webcam, email, snail mail and my cell I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone.