Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Post-Chemo Update

Melissa has been home from the hospital for several days now. They gave her about a week of that new chemo regimen, and her medication for the pain continued to do well and be more balanced. Now we wait for a donor for her next transplant.

She is experiencing what I think are common post-chemo symptoms...some occassional nausea and low platelets. We all know that even the simple, seemingly small prayer requests are important too. The low platelets cause her gums to be sore at times, which makes it hard for her to eat. We would appreciate your prayers for her about that.

We have heard that that one person that was found to be an initial match for her has given a blood sample for further match-testing. The matching is so extensive, and I really don't understand it well enough to explain it myself. Although we know this one person is a possibility, please don't let this deter you from still joining the registry!! If this person does not end up being her match, you still could be that for her! She and all of us appreciate SO much the many people that unhesitatingly signed up to become a donor on the registry. And we also appreciated the many people that attempted to sign up, but found out for whatever reason that they were not eligible. THANK YOU ALL for that!!!

We appreciate your continued prayers for her future donor to come quickly!

With much love and appreciation for you all!!!

Jenn

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hospital Update

Sorry this post has been a long time coming!

My sister was admitted Tuesday into the hospital for the new chemo regimen. These are all drugs that she has had before, but she has never had them all together. This is the combination of drugs that the doctor in NYC suggested.

The first challenge after she was admitted was finding the right dose of pain medication. She says that Tuesday and Wednesday were mostly a groggy blur as she was sleeping most of the time from the pain meds. They seemed to find the right dosage for her, and she was quickly back to her fun self Thursday morning. After she woke up, she jokingly asked how all her visits went the day before.

Her CAT scan did find a lesion of her liver, but it was not found to be of major significance.

The CAT scan also did not show a clear picture for the doctor as to whether the main mass was invading the pericardium or not. They could not see that it was, but could not see that it was not either. An echo was then performed to check on her heart, which confirmed that the mass is not pushing on the heart. Word got around that her heart was definitely being invaded by the mass, which is not a fact...I'm happy to say.

The CAT scan also showed growth of an additional 2 cm of the main mass, to which is what they were attributing her increased pain.

Aside from all the medical jargon now...

She is doing very well! She's been up walking around in the halls quite a lot. Her pain is much more controlled now too. I was able to stay with her in the hospital this week, and we had so much fun as usual. We even had a tornado lockdown to liven things up a little bit Friday night!

Thank you to all of her many visitors...I know it REALLY means a lot to her! She was able to spend some time with her favorite nurses from the BMT unit (you know who you are! :) She was also able to spend time with visiting friends from Dayton as well as here in Indy.

And a HUGE thank you to the MANY of you who have taken the time to register to be a bone marrow/stem cell donor this week. Thank you just isn't even enough for that. We never know who might be her match, but we know God knows already.

And THANK YOU, as always, for being the kind, supportive friends that you are to her and to all of us. Your prayers are priceless!!!

Her sister,
Jenn

Monday, June 8, 2009

Specific Prayer Request

Just recently, the main mass has been causing my sister more pain lately. Because this mass is located in her chest cavity, she's been feeling the pain through her chest area and upper back. Please pray that the pain lets up for her. It has really been making her uncomfortable lately, which is very challenging with three small children.

Thank you!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Important Dates

This Wednesday, June 10th, my sister is having her biopsy on the main mass. The sample will be sent to her new doctor at Sloan-Kettering in NYC. They are checking to see if it is definitely the same exact type of lymphoma as the rest of the spots. I imagine it would be a good thing if they could discover a difference. That way, this tumor could possibly be treatable through other means not tried yet.

Her new chemo regimen is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, June 16th. I believe this is the EPOCH chemotherapy. She will be hospitalized during that week at her hospital there in Indy.

We would appreciate your prayers about these events!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Details

This is a quick update of the options that were given by the doctor at Sloan-Kettering. First of all, a needle-guided biopsy will be done to check on the main mass in her chest. Remembering that this mass seems to be the only area that is nonresponsive, we want to make sure that it is definitely the exact same type of lymphoma as the areas that did respond. This biopsy will tell us that.

There is also another chemo regimen that the doctor suggested. This is known as the EPOCH chemotherapy. I am not certain of the timeline of when this will begin. I would imagine they would need the biopsy results first.

She was also told that she should try the allogenic bone marrow/stem cell transplant after all. This is the transplant that would involve a donor, instead of using her own cells. She has been put back on the list to find a match for this.

Right now, the pressure of these decisions lies in Melissa and Doug deciding where they will go for certain treatments. Under the guidance of the new doctor, her hospital in Indiana could administer the new chemo. The doctor also suggested a couple locations near the west coast that would be good for the transplant. My sister is willing to travel whatever distance is necessary, but that thought is a painful one for her as it would be more time away from the kids.

Please pray for Miss and Doug to have clear direction about each specific location they are to go to. There is obviously a tremendous amount of pressure in that decision, but we know God will lead the way.

Thank you so much for your priceless prayers!!!