Saturday, June 26, 2010

More of the same...

We are almost two weeks since Mom's first chemo treatment. We decided to stay with Emory for the first round and revisit MD Anderson after the restaging. For those who don't know, there are new staging guidelines that made her a stage IVa when they originally staged her at a IIIb. They reassure us that this is really not a difference in her condition, but a difference in what they call it.

She is not eligible for radiation b/c she has a pleural effusion. So we are using a chemo duet of Carboplatim and Alimta. It is common to also include Avastin, but it had additional risks and the doctors also wanted to keep her eligible for the Pfizer gene therapy clinical trial.

In the meantime, Mom is having some trouble with confusion. We are taking turns caring for her until we figure out the source of her confusion.

Overall, things are going as well as can be expected. She is comfortable and in good spirits. The chemo was a piece of cake and under an hour. She will have one more treatment then a scan for restaging. She is seeing a couple of other doctors to further investigate the issue of confusion. She has kept her hair so far and will know better after next Wed. if she will be lucky enough to hang onto it.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The saga continues...and then there were 3

It is all a haze now the timing and the stories. So, I will stick to the facts and spare the drama. Blogging was a great way to keep everyone informed about my battle with cancer so I will use it to update my mother's and my aunt's conditions as well.

My Aunt Carol (my mother's sister) was diagnosed earlier this year with CLL. A rare form of leukemia/lymphoma. She is scheduled for PET scans every three months to monitor her condition. Fortunately, she does not need treatment at this time.

Today, my mother was officially diagnosed with stage III lung cancer that is inoperable. Fortunately, it is treatable with chemo and radiation. We are still awaiting a clarification on the staging that could change the staging and the treatment. The diagnosis is serious but a bit more manageable than we initially thought.

For those looking for an update on me, I technically have a positive PET registering with an SUV of 3. The doctors are optimistic that we will retroactively be able to call this period remission once I am at 5 years post stem cell transplant. With little to no activity over the past 2 years, we have decided to discontinue additional PET scans unless symptoms develop.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Final Blog: Cancer Free

With exception of the first blog, this is likely the most difficult blog I have written. It is so easy to blog the facts about upcoming doctors appointments and long term strategies. But it is very difficult to use a blog to return the love our family felt from our supporters during our year long journey. I only hope I can be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and community servant as a result of this experience in an effort to repay my gratitude. We will never forget the prayers, cards, calls and all around support from all of you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Woman at the Washington Zoo

The Woman at the Washington Zoo is a compilation of writings by Marjorie Williams. I was instructed by the dear friend who lent me the book to be sure to read section 3 a Cancer Memoir (she is actually known more for her writings on politics). Her thoughts and feelings were so similar to mine that it was a very strange experience to if someone else, years earlier, were writing about me. If you are curious about what it must be like to go through this experience as a relatively young mother, read at your own risk....Marjorie Williams writes brilliantly and proves that all my crazy thoughts and fears are indeed common for those who have this experience. I've tried to blog my gratitude and the medical facts without leaking too much emotion, so I'm cheating and letting Marjorie Williams share the emotions for those who choose to read.

On a lighter note and back to the facts...we are headed to Nebraska next week to get my results. Everyone is optimistic that the news will be good. We should know by Tuesday evening and Mickey will likely send an email update. Rick Hall, if you are reading this, I have lost your contact drop me an email at when you have a chance :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Official date...

We now have an appointment in NE for 6/10. I'm feeling great and operating at about 95% (maybe better than pre-cancer ;) ). My hair just started to grow again and it looks like it is going to be dark but only time will tell. I wanted to blog about how great I'm doing as a reminder that prayers work. Lately, there have been too many stories close to me that need special prayers. Fortunately, all of them appear to be defying the odds with prayer and the support of family and friends as the common thread! Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and supporting us. We are grateful beyond words.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

100 Day Countdown

I'm day 49 from transplant and day 100 is my follow up visit. Some of you know that I have been pretty negative about the follow up PET. Planning for worst case scenario is a bad habit of mine. However, yesterday my radiation oncologist projected a clean PET as has my local doctor. I think I'm finally accepting that I could really be cured! Please continue to pray as we are in the final stretch!!! (for those of you keeping up with my counts they were 2.7 yesterday and Dr. Heffner was so satisfied that he only wants to check my labs twice more before my trip back to NE....great news)