Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Going Well (Day +21)

The afternoon of Day +19, Andrea's fever spike again. Then yesterday (Day +20) she didn't have a fever and today there has been no fever. The cultures from the lung procedure have not grown anything, but Andrea's blood from several days ago did grow some bacteria. Hopefully the antibiotics and fever took care of that and there is none left in her blood. The doctors said that it may take several week for her lungs to clear, but she is having no trouble breathing. Her lungs will not hold her in the hospital unless the cultures finally grow something. The doctors feel that if she continues the way she has for the last two days, she will be going home next week. Let's all pray for this to be the case. God Bless and talk to everyone tomorrow.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Fever is Gone (+19 morning)

This morning the fever was gone and Andrea woke up and had some french toast and yogurt for breakfast. We saw the infectious disease team and they said that all the cultures have come back negative, but we won't get the results from the procedure performed Saturday night till midweek. Then we should know if these fevers are related to fluid in her lung or just the engrafting of the new marrow. Let's pray for the latter.

We have already taken a walk and we just got done playing cards and checkers. Keep on praying for the doctors to figure out what is causing these fevers and that they will stop soon. Thanks everyone for the support and God Bless.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fever is Back (+18 afternoon)

As soon as I tell everyone she is doing great Andrea spikes another fever. Hopefully the fever is just related to the grafting which can cause fevers. Around 6PM I left to go get Andrea and I some Italian food and when I got back she had spike another fever (104). I am trying to cool her down so she can get some sleep. Let's all pray again that the fever will break and that they are due to the grafting and not an infection. God Bless and Good Night.

Fever Break (Day +18)

Last night the fever broke and Andrea is feeling much better today. We just took a walk and she ate some quesadillas and a piece of angel food cake. No sign of fever today and she is in such a better mood. Hopefully the days to come will continue to be something like today. Please continue your prayers and we will have her out of this place before no long. God Bless and see you on the next post.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Please Pray (Day +17)

Yesterday Andrea continued to have a fever which finally broke this morning around 10am. Then she slowly developed another high fever today and the doctors have become concerned. They think that the bone marrow is grafting well but are trying to figure out what is causing these fevers. Here white blood cell count was 9.0 today and she did need platelets this morning. Today the doctors looked a current x-ray of Andrea chest and saw that there was some cloudiness in her left lung at the bottom. This is same lung that she had trouble with a St. Lukes.

Just a few hours ago they did a procedure to get a sample of this fluid and will running test to determine how to treat it. Currently she is not having any trouble breathing, but the doctors are trying to make the determination if she has pneumonia or not. Hopefully we got on this early enough that she will sail right through this and we can get her out of the hospital on the road to recovery. We should have results from the skin biopsy they did yesterday and the lung procedure they did tonight sometime next week. Please take time to pray for her especially tonight. Today she was really burning up with that fever so ask the lord to help her break this fever and comfort her in this time of need. God Bless and Good Night.

Friday, May 26, 2006

We Have Grafting (Day +16)

Yesterday, Andrea's white blood cell count went up to 0.7. Then in the afternoon she started having severe bone pain in her hips. It took them a while to control the pain and she developed a fever which went away in the middle of the night. The bone pain is a sure sign that the grafting has begun.

This morning her white blood cell count had risen to 3.2 and the normal range is about 5-10. This afternoon she started to have more bone pain, but not like yesterday. Again, this a sign that the new marrow has started to grow. She did develop another fever and it is beginning to go down. They pulled blood to run test but they assure us that this is not out of the ordinary. They also did a skin biopsy of her back since her skin was a little flush. The biopsy will tell them whether the skin reaction is due to GVHD or a medication she is taking.

Her throat has begun to fell better and she is able to get some lighter foods and drinks down the hatch. It won't be long before she is able to eat everything she wants. Thanks to everyone for the support and keep her in your prayers. Hopefully Andrea will be leaving this place before we know it. It won't be long. God Bless.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Day (+12) and Day (+13)

Another delayed post. Yesterday Andrea had a pretty good day but today was difficult. Her throat is still giving her problems and she hasn't been able to eat. Last night and today her stomach started bothering her and she threw up several times. She has been in a high level of pain for the last week. Today she received platelets and blood. The grafting hasn't taken place up to this point so please keep on praying. Today her white blood count remained at 0.1. Like I have been saying, as soon as this occurs she will start improving fairly quickly. Hopefully this will happen in this next couple of days. Please keep your prayers coming her way and God will pull her through this. Thanks again for all the gifts and she send her love to each and every one of you. God Bless.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Another Morning (Day +11)

We are awake once again. Last night I spent another night with Andrea here in the hospital. We spent most of our night talking about what kind of house we are going to buy. Then we finally made it to sleep around midnight. Yesterday she did receive platelets and a unit of whole blood. Her mouth and throat continued to hurt and she was only able to eat Italian Ices and popsicles.

Today her platelets are at 48 and her hemoglobin is at 8.7 so she will not need a transfusion. Kidney, Liver, and Lungs seem to be working great and we are just waiting for the grafting to take place in her marrow. As soon as this happens we will see the increase in her white blood cell count. Currently her WBC is at 0.1, and the neupogen shot she is receiving each day is suppose to cause the cells to begin increasing.

Let's all pray that this happens very soon so that her throat and mouth will repair their selves and she can begin pigging out. Her spirits are still high and she continues to make me laugh all the time. She still needs platelet and whole blood donations so if you feel the urge please go to one of the MD Anderson blood bank locations to donate. Her patient number is 667690 which will give her credit for your donation. Thanks again for all the support and keep the prayers coming her way. She loves each and every one of you so much. Have a wonderful day and God Bless.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Morning of Day +10

We just woke up and ordered breakfast. Actually I ordered breakfast and Andrea ordered a milkshake. Her throat still hurts. The doctor just walked in while we were laying in Andrea's bed and didn't seem to mind. We had to get close for the time being. Andrea is still right where he expects her to be and he thinks the throat will get better sooner than later. Her platelet count and hemoglobin this morning were 19 and 7.8 respectively. Therefore she will receive a unit of each today. Other than that it will be normal day and we will continue to pray for Andrea's throat to heal quickly. Thanks for all the support and I will update everyone further when the day is over. Good Morning and God Bless.

Day (+8 and +9)

Sorry for the delayed post. Yesterday (day +8) Andrea's throat hurt even worse than the day before and she couldn't swallow anything. She couldn't even swallow her own saliva. The doctors reassured her that this was totally normal with the chemotherapy that she received and when her new white blood cells begin to reproduce again this will go away. Yesterday her platelets were at 9 and hemoglobin was at 7.8. Like I said before when these are below 20 and 8 respectively they are going to transfuse her with platelets and whole blood. Therefore yesterday she received a unit of platelets and whole blood.

This morning (day +9) her platelets were at 35 and hemoglobin was at 8.7. Therefore she didn't need a transfusion. Today she said that her throat isn't as bad as yesterday, but she is still not able to eat anything except Italian ice. The doctors aren't two concerned and they are confident this will be a short lived situation. As soon as her white blood cells rebound, her mouth will heal, and she will be pigging out again. Let's all pray that her throat gets better quickly and she can get back to packing food away.

I spent my whole day up at the hospital and right now I am laying down on the pull out bed. Andrea is already asleep on the other side of the room. I appreciate everyone's support out there. The presents have really helped keep her spirits up and she looks forward to the moment each day. I didn't think I would have enough presents when I decided to do the gifts. I was wrong. In fact I have been giving more than one gift since the beginning and I am no where near running out. Andrea truly has some wonderful friends out there and we pray for each and every one of you each night. Keep the prayers coming our way too and God will continue to bless us all. Good Night and God Bless.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Day (+7)

As to be expected Andrea's platelet count dropped to 20 today and she will most likely need a transfusion. All this is something that the doctors are used to for bone marrow transplants, but it sure is rough. Due to the chemo Andrea's throat hurts extremely bad. She is on pain meds 24/7, but this is said to reverse itself after the new marrow starts to graft. The doctors say around day +10 to +14 day. She started receiving Nuepogen shots today to stimulate the new marrow.

As far as donating platelets, I would advise you to go to the location on Fannin which is a more equipped facility. The blood center in MD Anderson at the Medical Center doesn't operate the most efficiently for the most part. You should be able to find the link and more information on donating platelets in the post before this one.

Please continue to pray for Andrea and she will make it through this tough week. I will post another update sometime tomorrow. God Bless and Good Night.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Day (+5) and Morning of (+6)

Yesterday Andrea started to feel bad which is to be expected. Her counts continued to drop and she had a hard time keeping all of her food down. Her throat started to bother her again. When I visited yesterday she was still in a pretty good mood and we watched tv till about 10PM.

This morning I talked to her and she said that her counts had dropped again (this is still what the doctors are looking for). Her throat was hurting more than yesterday, but she said that she had kept all her food down. Her platelet count was at 32 this morning and when it drops below 20 they will infuse her with a set of donor platelets. It is now a good time to start donating platelets on her behalf at MD Anderson. If you don't have time to donate platelets or would rather donate blood feel free to do so. Remember to specify that the donation is for Andrea Luthringer. More information about donating can be found at this link If you have any questions or concerns please email me at

Thanks for all the support and will update everyone again after I see her this afternoon. Take care and God Bless.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Day (+4) - Still going well

Yesterday Andrea was feeling fine with the occasional period of nausea. We slept in till 10AM or so and had breakfast around 11AM. Then we played a game of checkers and spades till around 5PM. The surprising thing was that we never turned the tv on until Andrea had to watch her normal shows (Desperate Housewives and Gray's Anatomy). Andrea and her mother had Mother's Day dinner provided by MD Anderson. The day flew by and we moved closer to the day when Andrea gets to go home. Best case scenario she will be going home on May 31st. Lets all pray that this is the case.

Her counts are still dropping but still haven't bottomed out. All organ functions are where they need to be and her spirits are high. Thanks again for all the support and gifts. She really has enjoyed all the gifts and it continues to brighten her day when she opens a new one. You guys are really great for sending each and every gift. Please continue your prayers and we will make it through this one day at a time. God Bless.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Day (+2) and Morning of (+3)

Andrea's count continue to drop just like the doctors want. Her immunity is very low at this point and will probably get lower before it comes back. Overall she is doing well battling the nausea and discomfort. During the night her throat was hurting so the nurses gave her some pain meds. The doctor checked her out this morning and saw no mouth sores, but will keep an eye out. This morning her immunity reached a lower point, but this is all expected.

Please keep Andrea in your prayers and God will pull her through this trial. Again she thanks everyone for the gifts and messages. The ride so far has been so much better than her time at St. Lukes. Let's keep it that way. God Bless.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Day (+1) - All is Well

Everything is going fine with the new bone marrow. Andrea's counts have not completely dropped, but they will eventually. Today she still is experiencing nausea, but it seems a little better than yesterday. She was able to eat a little more today than yesterday.

She continues to get up and get around just fine and her organ function is perfect. Hopefully everything will continue to go well and we will be out of the hospital in 21 days. Andrea has been in for a week now today. Emotional she is doing well and she says the process has gone by faster than she expected.

Please continue your prayers and I will keep you updated. Thanks again for the outpouring of gift and she really liked the messages everyone sent yesterday. Like I said in my last post you send messages to her through MD Anderson using the link to the left. God Bless and keep the prayers headed Andrea's way.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Day (0) - Happy Birthday Andrea!!!

Mark it up in your calendars. Andrea had her new birthday today (May 10th, 2006). Around noon the transplant was complete and Andrea is full of new marrow. She received over 200 million new cells today all on the behalf of her sister Kristin. What a miracle.

It will probably be several days (7-10) before her immune system bottoms out and then the new marrow starts to produce new blood cells. There have been no complications and she continues to get out of bed to walk, shower, watch tv, and go to bathroom. All is well and keep praying for things to continue in this fashion.

Andrea is real trooper and has the heart of champion. If you feel like cheering her on you can send her a message through the link I placed on the left side of blog homepage. A volunteer will personally deliver the messages each day. Also the nurse said everyone who is into giving platelets should get ready when her platelets drop. As of now she is ok, but it is inevitable that she will need some platelets later on. Thanks for all the support and keep on praying.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Day (-1)

Andrea had another good day with no complications and was able to get her day of rest before the transplant. The actual transplant will be just like getting a unit of blood. They will hang the bag and the marrow will drip for a hour or so. Please continue to pray that Andrea's body will take Kristin's marrow with no complications. Tomorrow truly is going to be miraculous day. Lets all stop and say a prayer for Andrea.

Andrea is still getting around just fine. She gets out of bed to use the restroom and take walks throughout the day. She has lost part of her appetite but that goes with the territory. There has been no concern about her organ functions like last time. Heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs all look good.

Thank again to everyone who sent gifts. I continue to take her one each day after work and it sure does brighten her day. I am truly amazed by the spirit Andrea shows through these hard times and it sure does make my life a little easier. Even during times like this Andrea is very concerned about everyone else. She is such a caring person and loves each and every one of you so much. God Bless.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Day (-2)

Today I didn't get to spend the whole day with Andrea, but I got up to the hospital around 4PM. This was the last day of chemo and they started her on Prograf, which is a drug that helps prevent Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD). GVHD is a condition in which the donor's marrow attacks the recipient of the new marrow. Overall today was fine even though she began to get a little more nauseous throughout the day. This is definitely something to be expected throughout this treatment. Her immune system hasn't made the quick dive yet, but that will inevitability happen in the near future. This will prevent Andrea's immune system from attacking Kristin's marrow.

Today when I wasn't there she tried running down the hall will her IV stand and got a bunch of laughs from several doctors walking by. She also tried doing lunges down the hall. Later today she told me that she wants to be the most active transplant patient on the floor. I can say that I haven't seen any patient doing lunges or trying to make any runs. Every two hours she breaths on her incentive spirometer to prevent her from getting pneumonia and washes her mouth out with salt and baking soda to prevent mouth sores. Tomorrow will be a day of rest and she will receive Kristin's marrow on Wednesday. Everyone should pray for great miracles on this day. Just ask the Lord to lift her up and let Kristin's marrow cleanse her veins.

Her spirits continue to amaze me, but she does mentions things about being normal again from time to time. I tell her that she is normal and everyone has trials throughout their life, but most are never as tough as the one she was dealt. Also I stress to her that life will continue and we will put all this behind us eventually. She is really tough and I mean tough. If I was in her shoes I would have probably giving up ages ago. Maybe not with her by my side though. I know she would do exactly what I am doing for her and most likely more. I will continue my journey with her and I am continually amazed by her courage and spirit. God is truly working through her and it is definitely working. God Bless.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Day (-3)

If you are wondering about the title this is bone marrow transplant terminology. The negative three means we are three days away from the actual transplant. Today Andrea received another dose of chemo like she did the two prior days. She continues to be lively like always and we walk three times a day. Everything is working properly and her spirits are high.

Since she started receiving everyone's gifts on Friday, she began to wonder what was going on. Today I told her about what we have all been doing and it really brightened her day. Every time I give her a new gift there is just a huge smile that comes across her face. It make may day and more importantly her day a more special one. Thanks again for everyone support and continue praying for a successful transplant and a quick recovery.

Tomorrow she will receive her last infusion of chemo (2 drugs today) and then Tuesday she will rest. Overall things are right where they need to be for the transplant and no complications have arisen. On to the next update and God Bless.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Andrea, Dad, John, and Chris Posted by Picasa

Andrea, The Heads, The Barber, Betty, and Zues Posted by Picasa

Andrea and Chris Posted by Picasa

Andrea and Dad Posted by Picasa

Andrea and John Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Journey Begins

Last night we got Andrea situated in her room at MD Anderson. The room seems so much more pleasant than the one at St. Lukes. Not to knock St. Lukes but it sure was loud in that hospital and privacy was to a minimum. Her room at MDA is quiet and more private.

Last night after I left they started an IV to begin hydration. She went to sleep around 10:30PM and I talked to her this morning around 8:00AM. Every four hours they take her vital signs which means they woke her at midnight and 4am. Everyone who enters her room has to wear a mask and gloves. Visitors are to be kept to a minimum.

Today they will begin chemo which will be a four day process. The next four days she will receive Fludarabine for 30 min/day. Then on the fourth day (Monday) she will also receive Melphalan for 30 min. On the fifth day she will get to rest and on the sixth day she will receive Kristin's bone marrow which will probably take around an hour. Then the recovery process will begin.

Andrea is required to walk around the unit for 10 min/day three times each day. Every two hours she must do breathing exercises with a incentive spirometer to keep her lungs clear. Also she must rinse her mouth every two hours with baking soda to keep her mouth clean and prevent mouth sores which are very common with chemo treatment. There are many more requirements which will all help her stay healthy.

Thanks to everyone for all the gifts and I will start giving them to her today. She is good spirits and continues to make all of us laugh. I think she is going to be comedian when she conquers this disease. In the mean time she will continue to amaze us. Thanks for the support and I will keep you all inform to the best of my ability. Have a wonderful day and God Bless.

Oh I forgot to tell everyone. On Wednesday night my Dad, Bob (Robert), and Chris McIntosh all let Andrea shave their heads. They look great and I will post a picture when Bob emails them to me.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

After two days of tests

Hi. This is Kathy. Andrea's appointments start at either 7 or 7:30 a.m. this week, so we are tired just from the early hours of trekking down the Westpark Tollway. After two days of tests, Andrea is still set to enter MDA Thursday. So far good results have come from blood tests (she gave 12 vials), echocardiogram, EKG, chest x-ray, and a complete pulmonary function test. We won't know the results from the bone marrow aspiration and biopsy for another day or so. Wednesday morning she is set to have the subclavian catheter inserted where she will receive the chemo and meds. Andrea is in good spirits. Last Friday the eye doctor told us he is looking forward to surgeries in the fall or just as soon as Andrea can tolerate them.
We all thank you for your continued faithful prayers,