Thursday, February 26, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Beautiful One

This was taken a couple days before she was discharged. Such a common sight was this smile... her spirit always shines through. It's not just any spirit, but a spirit that's been given so much peace and joy from our God, that the circumstance does not matter.
Beautiful sister of mine!

Life at Home

Once again, I do apologize that I have not updated more since Miss came home on Wednesday. I have literally just been loving every minute of being here with her before I leave Wednesday morning.

She has been doing very well. Seems to me to be getting stronger every day, although she does get pretty tired easily, which is all expected.

The kids are actually in Kentucky just for a week of Miss being home. Although she'd love to see them immediately, this is giving her that much needed rest she needs for a few days. They will probably be home this Thursday. I wish I could be here to catch some pics for everyone to see.

Her next scan is scheduled for this coming Monday, March 2nd. Please be praying about that!! (I know that goes without saying!) We are obviously hoping to hear good news that the chemo and transplant is overpowering her lymphoma. The appointment with the oncologist is scheduled for Thursday, March 12th, when they will find out the results. That's a long time to wait, so please pray for continued peace for Miss and Doug while they anticipate the appointment.

At some point, I'd like to post some on here about some of my favorite moments I've had here with Miss, because there have been a LOT of them! We have had soo much fun these past two months!!! Until then, I'd like to thank you all for your prayers for her because we all have REALLY felt them!

Jenn

A Glimpse of the Hospital Stay

Her last night in the hospital was spent in the cancer center,
which is a brand new area of the hospital. This was a particularly fun night,
because after dropping the kids off at my parents' house in Kentucky, I returned to Indy to stay with her that night too. It was supposed to be a surprise, but being the smartcookie that she is....she knew I was on my way back to the hospital.

This was always displayed on the bookcase in her room.
Because of the bacteria, she could not have real flowers in her room.
So mom and I hung up these cards near her bed.
Not as good as real, but close...
The cute faces of her children were always right where she could see them.

This is the calendar that showed her counts each day.
We daily anticipated how much her immunity would improve!

This shows the big jump to her white count that thrilled us!

The hospital has a cool little bistro that I visited during my stay with Missy.
In fact, Missy and I both loved their tuna wraps!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Going Home

To my sweet friends and family,

I am at a loss as to where I should even begin. I will first share with you the wonderful news that I will be going home tomorrow! (For those keeping track, my white count went from 2.2 yesterday to 4.8 this morning....can't wait to know what it is tomorrow!) Thank you, Jesus! Every time I have even thought about the reality of this I have tears streaming down my face. Am I really on the "other side" of the transplant already? I remember coming into the hospital on January 27; I just kept wishing there was some way the Lord could fast forward me through the next three weeks. Well, unfortunately there is not a fast forward button in life, however He has certainly carried me through this time.

Is your volume turned on? The song that is playing "Carry You" was introduced to me by my sister Michelle. Oh, how perfect these words are. He promises He will carry us....lay down your burden, I will carry you, I will carry you my child. I love this: He reminds us that He can walk on water, can calm a restless sea, give vision to the blind, raise the dead, and He sees every tear we cry.....What a Friend we have in Jesus. I was talking with my nurse today, and again my tears were flowing as I said I don't know how people go through these things...or even just life without Jesus. He has carried me through every day of lying in my bed on the bone marrow transplant unit...through every moment of chemo...through the moments I didn't think I could handle....through each night being away from my family....through the actual transplant experience....through my walks through the hallways trying to regain strength, and through the moments of staring at the calendar wanting to wish away the days so that I could be to the point of going home. Here I am. Tonight is my last night here, and I just want to tell you that I thank my Jesus for carrying me.

There are so many things I could share with you. Right now I want to publicly thank all of the nurses who took such wonderful care of me. Even when I was extremely uncomfortable during chemo, I knew they would do what they could to help me. I have to say that Pamela, Laurie, and Esta will forever hold a special place in my heart. I can't wait to stroll in to the BMT unit in a few months or a year, and show them the miracle they were a part of in February. I have so much more to share, which will be included in another post. I am so grateful for so many things that need to be mentioned....I want to give God the glory for what He has done through my doctors, nurses, family members who were by my side, an amazing husband who deserves the biggest award in the world, and a church who has been the hands and feet of Jesus to my family through all of the meals, prayers, cards, and love.

There is one more thing I do need you to know before I end for now. I asked many of you to be praying specifically for a certain condition called mucositis. From what I was told in preparation for the transplant, this pretty much goes hand in hand with the transplant process. Because your white count completely bottoms out, your entire GI tract (yep, mouth to bottom) is extremely irritated. Patients often will have mouth sores so severe they are on a morphine pump. On the other end of the spectrum, diarrhea is also very common. Please share in my joy when I tell you about my miracle....Jesus saved me from all of this. Each day the doctors and nurses would look in my mouth with a flashlight at my throat and mouth. As the days passed with no signs of sores anywhere...I could see a glimpse of surprise on their faces. If you haven't guessed, I never had to suffer from mucositis. It's my miracle....and I thank you for praying with me about this. There is power in prayer, my friends!

I will end for now...will be sharing more later. Remember, He just wants us to lay down our burdens....and He WILL carry us! I am a living example of this.

I love you,
Melissa

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just a fyi..

I will not have access to a computer until Wednesday. Just wanted you all to know so there would be no alarm if there are no updates Tuesday or early Wednesday.

She continues to do well!

Thanks!
Jenn

GREAT News!!

The count we have been referring to is her white blood cell count. When her immunity bottomed out, it was measured at less than .2--they don't measure any lower than that. It has slowly come up just tenths of a point day by day, then yesterday it was 1.0. And here's the aweswome part....Today it is---
2.2!!!
The word is that her count needs to above 2 in order to come home 2 weeks after the BMT. From how it looks right now, it looks like she'll be home by the end of the week!
Thank God and thank you for your prayers!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Night

I've had a great time chilling with Miss for the day at the hospital. Just wanted to tell you that her fever has continued to stay down. Something else to pray about though...she has been coughing quite a bit today and this evening. Please just pray that the cough goes away quickly.

And be sure and look below at the post about my sisters' kids. Fun stuff!

More Rays of Sunshine

So as I mentioned in an earlier post, the kids are the "rays of sunshine" for all of us, especially Miss and Doug. Below are some of the comical things they have said lately, as well as some pics. These are pics that I took randomly with my cell phone to send to Missy in the hopital, so sorry for the poor quality.

Starting with Mr. Caleb... I made him apologize to Lauren the other day for something, and he said in a sort of whiney, sarcastic voice--"Sor-ry, Lauren." I asked him if he meant that. He said, "Um, actually? No." At least the kid is honest.

He is a man of many personalities and characters too. Most often I see Sheriff Caleb writing me a ticket for something. Sometimes I see Caleb Cash strumming on his little guitar. But every now and then, we see.....
Armor Man


Cute Lines from Lauren….
* I like Papa-roni pizza.
* To Caleb, “You’re not my brudder anymore…ever.”
(Definitely the ultimate putdown from a 3 year old.)

And a cute moment… A pic below shows Lauren after enjoying her first hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s. Yep…leave it up to Aunt Jenn to introduce
her to that!
Chocoholic in Training


There aren't a lot of quotes yet from Audrey, except for some pretty shrill screams. It is pretty cute though...she knows we talk to Mommy on the phone. So when she sees the phone, she will say "Mommy" and "Hi!"

But even cuter than the quotes are the pigtails that she has been sporting these days. It's hard to take a good pic of a 16-month old on the move, but I thought you would enjoy the cute picture too!

And here she is...
Sleeping Beauty

Another update

Just wanted everyone to know that her fever is gone and her temp is normal now. When any transplant patient gets a fever, it may be cause for concern as a fever would be the only indicator of infection. They always do blood cultures just to be on the safe side. Also, she has had low grade fevers for the past week or two, which the nurses say could be due to the stem cells engrafting. In that case, the fever is a good thing. Fevers are also a symptom of lymphoma...another reason why we want those fevers gone! Thank you for your prayers about that!

She was feeling more nauseous by late morning. She went ahead and opted for the nausea med earlier this time, which has kicked in and helped now.

Her oxygen levels were slightly lower this morning at 92% Although this number is not terrible, they did want to look into what was causing it to be lower. They did a chest x-ray later this afternoon to look at her lungs. Not sure how soon results will be back from that, but please pray it will be nothing concerning.

Thank you!

Jenn

please be praying.....

i just talked to missy. she has a fever. while this could just be part of the whole transplant recovery process, cultures will be done this morning as a precaution. please be praying specifically about this new development.

good news.....her count went from .7 yesterday to 1.0 today. that is wonderful news!!! praise the lord.

she was also extremely nauseated yesterday. she asks that you pray that today will be better in that regard.

we love you!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

the very latest.....

she is doing great.....praise the lord!!! we are 8 days post transplant. so many things to be thankful for.....her numbers are gradually moving upward; she has not experienced many expected side effects; she has had very limited nausea; and she seems stronger every day. she has lost about 10 lbs, which is not unusual. however, her appetite is returning and that is great.

she is hoping to get to come home possibly at the end of next week. of course, this is wishful and hopeful thinking. she has absolutely loved all of the cards and letters she has received!!! it means so much to her to know of your love, interest, and most importantly, prayers. she has also enjoyed the many emails she has received.

we give god all the glory for what he has done so far and what he will continue to do. "now then.....stand still and see this great thing that the lord is about to do before your eyes." 1 samuel 12:16. what a powerful verse.

someone sent me this poem the other day. i read it to missy. she thought it was beautiful.

step by step

he does not lead me year by year
nor even day by day.
but step by step my path unfolds;
my lord directs my way.

tomorrow's paths i do not know,
i only know this minute;
but he will say, "this is the way,
by faith now walk ye in it."

and i am glad that it is so.
today's enough to bear;
and when tomorrow comes, his grace
shall far exceed its care.

what need to worry then, or fret?
the god who gave his son
holds all my moments in his hand
and gives them, one by one.


many of you have approached me this week at school, church, or even in my neighborhood, wondering about an update. wow!!! we so appreciate your genuine interest and concern in our sweet sister. whether you are a family member, personal friend of hers, a friend of a friend, an acquaintance, stranger, a coworker of mine or jenn's, or an understanding employer, we say thank you, thank you, thank you. thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love, support, and prayers!!! we truly could not make it without you.

blessings to all of you from all of us!!!

michelle

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Doing Well, Post-Transplant

There's not a whole lot to update on right now, other than she is recovered from the earlier side effects that were happening during her transplant. She says the whole procedure is pretty much a blur for her, because of how quick it really was and how busy she was coughing and feeling sick during it.

She's been doing well and is still stronger than I expected her to be at this point. They say her weakest phase is still coming. Her spirits are good. (as if I had to tell you that.)

She has been forewarned of other probable side effects to come yet from the chemo: bad mouth sores and the worst sore throat. This would happen because the acidic chemo could affect her esophagal lining. So far, her gums have become sore recently. We are all really hoping she doesn't experience those side effects, as it really does not sound fun at all.

So for now, those are some small prayer requests.

Thank you!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Complete!

Definitely a pretty quick procedure...

But as fast as that was, it definitely whipped her.

She's just resting now.

So now we wait...we wait for those stem cells to make her stronger now and bring her counts back up...

and we wait for the healing to begin...

Some of the side effects

she is experiencing right now are...

1) nausea--She is actually able to taste the preservatives that the stem cells were in. That is making her feel pretty naueous and very sick right now.

2) coughing- She is coughing a lot because the stem cells are going into her central line which is placed near her lungs. It produces a tickle sensation that is making her cough constantly.

A couple things to pray about please...

They are starting stem cell bag #2.

It's starting!

The transplant team just came into her room. I'm hanging out back in the corner, and feel honored that I even get to be in here as they begin. Missy and I have prayed together a couple times this morning, and she's feeling peaceful right now, yet still somewhat nervous.

I am so proud of her! I'll update you as we go along...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tomorrow's the Transplant!!!

Miss was feeling really good today and enjoyed resting with no chemo involved. She seems to be tiring a little more quickly now, which is expected as her counts get lower and lower.

They will start some pre-transplant medications at 9 am tomorrow. Then at 10:30 she will have her bone marrow transplant. Just a sidenote of info: this particular type of transplant is called a peripheral blood stem cell transplant. Some people have asked me the difference between this type of transplant and a traditional bone marrow transplant. If you are interested, click here for a pretty good explanation of the difference.

The transplant itself actually sounds like a pretty simple procedure. It will be done right in her hospital room. The most invasive part of it sounds like it was the installation of the central line, which did require surgery. They will thaw out the stem cells in warm water in her room, then will immediately give them to her through her central line in her chest. They will be pushed through, so that it will be completed more quickly. We aren't sure how long the whole procedure will take.

So the prayer is for all of these good stem cells to build up in her system and reproduce quickly, so that they can completely take over the bad cells in her system. (Okay, that is my medically-uneducated version of it!)

I made a stop in one of the hospital lounges today and turned the tv on. Now I'm not much of one to watch tv evangelists, but right at that moment someone was saying this verse:

II Kings 20:5 "...And says the Lord your Father, 'I have heard your prayer, and I have seen your tears: and behold I have healed you..."

I claim that verse for my sister right now.

We are standing firmly with you, Sweet Sister, and believing with you that this will bring you the healing you need! We love you!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

As we speak...

the final drops of chemotherapy are going through my sister's tube. She is sooo relieved about that! Today and yesterday, they made the drip much slower which really seemed to help lessen the side effects. She was not nearly as wrestless, hot, or nauseous during the treatments today or yesterday, so we are very happy about that.

Her white blood cell count is less than .2 today, which begins the "bottoming out" phase. I knew her immunity would bottom out and that would be expected. It's actually more than expected though...it's part of the plan of completely wiping those cells out. Then hopefully the good stem cells they put back in her during her transplant on Thursday will take over her system.

So tomorrow (Wed.) is a day of rest for her, then the bone marrow (stem cell) transplant is Thursday.

And actually now, at this moment, the chemo is completely done!! Whoo-hoo! Way to go, Sis!!!

Thanks for your prayers for her!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Update

The side effects of the chemo are kicking in today. Today, she has been feeling pretty nauseous, and she's having some moments feeling really hot from the chemo as well.

They were able to find a good nausea med for her that did not make her feel dizzy, so that is good.

Right now, she is resting and sleeping peacefully. I'm actually at the hospital now with her, and I'll be here hopefully most of the week. I will have a lot more time now to keep everyone updated on how she's doing.

Could you please take a moment to sign up for a date on the February Prayer Calendar to let her know that you are thinking of her or praying for her?

Thank you!