Monday, February 27, 2006

Another Week 2-27-06

This past week was somewhat uneventfully, but Andrea continues to show signs of improvement. The cough that she had been battling since we returned from the hospital finally ceased, even though she has developed some sinus pressure. They did any MRI on the brain last week and it showed no signs of trouble. MD Anderson also did more blood work and there was 0% blasts in the blood. They did discover that her creatine (kidney number) was elevated and today they started a four hour drip of NaCl for the next three days. Hopefully the drip will take care of the problem. The doctors tell us that they want her back to atleast 90% before the bone marrow transplant and we are not real clear on what this means. The main thing we are focusing on is getting her to gain weight. She needs to put on another 10-15 pounds so that she will weigh 90% of what she did when she arrived at the hospital in November. She has experienced a hard time eating larger meals and holding all of it down. Let's all pray this changes soon. In my opinion her eye sight continues to improve. She is not using her hands as much to get around and lately she has begun to recognize more color. I am truly impressed with the strides her eyes have made over the last few week. Well enough about the medical stuff.

Emotional she is doing better and the support has been wonderful. Perry has a done a great job taking her shopping and helping her find wigs. This weekend she got another wig custom made and it looks great. This coming weekend Andrea is going to have a group of girlfriends over to spend the night which should be really fun. I will be taking off to do a little hunting with some of my friends.

Please continue to pray for Andrea's blood, tummy, eyes, and kidneys. We really appreciate the support everyone has provided in this time of need and I don't know how to repay each and everyone of you. Just know that Andrea and I are so thankful to have a group of people out there that care for us the way you all do. God Bless and keep the prayers coming.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

All Week 2-19-06

This past week Andrea went to MD Anderson and had an MRI of her abdomen on Wednesday. We have not heard the test results yet, but we will keep you all posted. The only other doctor she saw this week was the eye doctor. Even though her vision is extremely blurry she is gaining more central vision with her right eye instead of just peripheral. She ordered one of her wigs on Tuesday and she picked it up Thursday.

The day before Andrea got sick and went the hospital, we picked out a ring for our engagement. While she was sick I went and bought the ring so I could give it to her when she felt better. I expected to give it to her much sooner, but she was feeling horrible and couldn't see all that good. On Valentines day this week I decided the time had come and I gave her the ring that she picked out months ago.

On Saturday night we had a wedding shower (really just a party) for one of my best friends and his bride to be (Dustin Duhon and Cheryl Sparks). Lupe's Tortillas Mexican restaurant catered the party and we had about 50 guests. Andrea was able to see many familiar faces and chatted all night long. She also got wear her new wig and makeup (courtesy of Perry) for the first time.

We don't know what our schedule looks like this coming week, but we will keep you all informed. Please continue your prayers for Andrea's eyes and tummy. God Bless and goodbye.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Back from the Ranch 2-13-06

This weekend we went to the ranch and Andrea rode on the 4-wheelers. She had a great time relaxing by the outdoor fire and breathing the country air with friends. We grilled steak, chicken, and baked potatoes. Zues had a wonderful time running wild around the house. In the morning she watched the guys shoot skeet and rifles. She really enjoyed getting out the house for a change of scenery.

When she returned to Katy on Sunday she was happy to see her father who had returned from overseas for good. Today was a good day and we don't have any appointments this week. This week will hopefully be a healing week and we can just relax. We will let everyone know if anything changes and please continue your prayers. She needs everyone support for her eyes and for her tummy to except more food. Continue your prayers and God Bless.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What Can I Say?

It's been a while since we left St. Lukes's and I realized that I wanted to express to each and everyone of you how much I love and appreciate you for being there for Andrea and our families (Luthringer and Martin)! I then thought, "What Can I possibly say?"

What could I possibly say to communicate the debt we owe so many for caring so deeply that you came and stood by our side and cried with us, talked with us, laughed with us, consoled us, prayed for us, cooked for us and loved us into healing. It is unbelievable how many opened your veins and poured out your blood for Andrea not unlike someone we know who poured out His blood for us. When I think of the sacrifice of time (at least 2 hours a session) to give platelets I am overwhelmed by such blessing. I also want to give special thank-you's to the churches, Kristin, Angela and to the Martins.

May churches know the positive results of their labor as they prayed for Andreas healing. It was the 5th day of chemo when the oncologist approached me with his concern that she may not be tolerating the chemo as at this point at that time he expected to see white cell count around the 10% range. I asked what the range was and he said 37% and we only have two days to go. I called both churches of christ and they lifted simultaneaous prayers on her behalf at 11:00am as well as did the church in Karnes City. The results the next blood test were 0% blast cells. Five days later the doctors call us in for a special meeting and tell us that the Leukemia is back, that they did a blood smear and it showed the return of blasts. We were asked what level of care to keep Andrea. We were told neither St. Lukes nor MD Anderson had programs to extend her for further treatment. This was December 15th and we were devistated. But we told them we wanted to pray about it some more and after Ken Shumate and I cried and prayed a while Kathy and I as well as others prayed all night for Andrea. The next moring the doctors said, "We don't understand it but there is an anomoliy in your Daughter's blood test today and we want to examin it further, don't change your code designation. I stated, "so you don't want me to lower her level of care." No, we don't understand it, it looks like she is in remission. Doctor I understand--- "Prayer got into your way"!

We know He is the One to thank, but Thanks to the churches and the believers who rallied prayer warriors and who prayed for Andrea to return from the brink of death, not once but several times. We were particularly uplifted by local churches such as Cinco Ranch CoC, West Houston CoC, 1st Baptist, 2nd Baptist, St. Peters, Epiphany as well as by many other local and even distant churches including those in Mississippi, Canton, Tyler, Karnes City and just about where ever else our friends attended they placed Andrea on local prayer lists.

I was shocked and pleased when I recently was told by many of my islamic collegues in Indonesian that they too were raising Andrea up in their prayers to Allah. Wow, imagine how the world could look if people prayed for their friends needs. If, "in the best interest of God" we Loved one another as God so loved his church. Wouldn't that equate to peace??????????

Believe as I believe that they worked!!! Also, please know we continue to covet those healing prayers as we look forward to additional treatment.

Kristin, thank you for supporting your sister during her illness. I want the public to know how much you love your sister as you prepare to share your life's marrow with her. There is a deep bond between sisters and yours will become deeper. It is a relief to know that Jimbo is with you, in your new hometown, and holding you close and taking care of you when your Dad's arms aren't there to do it any longer. We also received blessings from Angella and Wes as they opened their home to guest who came by to support Andrea.

We respected and appreciated the Martins because they did a fine job in raising a great young man in J. (John). Our bond was Andrea and J. Now, after our experiences, I especially want to thank John, Betty and Mary for opening their hearts and home and bringing not only Andrea, but both Kathy and I as well as into their family. We are forever indebted, as well as we will forever love you for your sacrifice and demonstration of love. I didn't forget J.

J. has made a place for himself in my heart and all I can say is that I too love the man Andrea has placed in her heart. I have witnessed him grow in personal and spiritual grace and am very proud of the man he is.

All I can say to all of you above is, "Thank you and may God bless you!"

Bob

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Going to the Ranch 2-11-06

This week was full of more doctors appointments and Andrea's condition is being tested. My Mom bought an elliptical machine and she was able to stay on it for 45 seconds! She is beginning to walk to more of her appointments without the aid of the wheelchair. Everyday we have been taking walks down the street and we lengthen them each time.

The cardiogram done on Tuesday looked good, but she struggled a little bit with the lung test on Thursday. This is due to her cough which is slowly getting better since the doctor prescribed her new antibiotics. The blood tests this week are looking better and better. Her calcium levels still look good and the deposits on her hand and arm are going away. The liver numbers are down again and almost normal. At one time her liver numbers were nearly 30 times what is normal. Her white blood count is normal and indicates that her body is not fighting any sort of infection. Andrea's eye sight is still very limited, but we are keeping the faith that over time she will gain more and more sight. Earlier this week she found a magnifying glass that helps her see. She was able to see detail for the first time since November. She could actually see my face.

Tomorrow we are going to get Andrea out of the house for a full night. We are planning to take a short trip to my parent's ranch in Wharton, TX. It is probably going to be really cold, but I still plan on doing a little fishing. This will be good chance for us to relax in a different setting with several friends. Andrea and I send everyone love and appreciate all the cards, gifts, and comments on this blog. God Bless and good night.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Getting Better 2-7-06

Andrea had a great weekend and continues to improve. She gets more and more energy everyday and gains more strength on a daily basis. On Friday her friend Krista came over and spend the night with her and they watched movies and chatted all night. Saturday I stayed with her and she was doing so good. On Sunday we went to her friend Perry's house and watched the Superbowl. She has begun to eat more each day and is having a better time keeping the food down. On Monday she didn't have any doctor appointments and continued to relax. Her cough is getting much better and her Calcium level has come back to a normal level. Today she went to MD Anderson for a liver ultrasound and a heart cardiogram. Everything at MD Anderson seems very promising and we are glad to be at one of the best hospitals in the world. Tonight Andrea decided she wanted to go out to eat at an Italian restaurant and she had a great time.

The one thing that is still bothering Andrea is her sight. She continues to see more and more, but it is such a slow process. Please pray for her sight to improve and for her health to continue to improve. She loves all of you and appreciates all of your support. God Bless and good night.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Wiggin'out

Today Andrea went with Krista and her mother to start looking at wigs, she wants to play around with colors but let's just say she's not a blonde! After that she had a doctor's appointment at MD Anderson to check out the calcium deposits on her hands and arms. The doctor was not absolotuly positive on how to get rid of it & wanted to run more tests before he could prescribe medication. She found out from xrays this week she has broken 2 of her ribs from coughing. Tonight she is having friends stay over and plans on spending the rest of the weekend shopping for wigs and gaining more strength. Love, Hugs, & Prayers.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Remission!

Andrea went back to MD Anderson today thank God she is still in Remission! We just have to get our baby to gain weight so she can get stronger, as well as getting rid of this nasty cough before we can proceed with the bone marrow transplant. The doctor was very optimistic when the results came back from her bone marrow biopsy...only 3 blast cells (5 & below are normal). It was a very long day for Andrea, she was at the hospital from 10 AM to 6:30 tonight and is very happy to be home again. Tomorrow the doctor will be examining the calcification on her hand and arm, so far it appears to be healing. Right now her major challenge is he nasuea, which is caused by all of the anti-biotic medication they had her on, hopefully we found a way to remody this today with new prescriptions. Andrea really appreciates everyone's thoughtful prayers, they are truly working & we love you all for that!