Monday, December 31, 2007

Home Again!

Today the doctor walked in and said the tests were not back yet, but to plan to go home Wednesday. Andrea looked at him with tears in her eyes and said all her medicines could be taken at home and Pain Management doctors have given her the relief from the spinal tap that she needed. After asking her to move her head and neck about and doing a quick visual assessment, he got the ball rolling and Andrea is at their home tonight with J.!
She still has a lot of healing to accomplish, so thank you for your prayers.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Awaiting Tests

As long as Andrea is laying down, her pain is zero. But the moment she raises her head, the pain instantly goes to the top of the scale - ten. That's what a spinal tap (also called a lumbar puncture) does. It takes a few days for the spinal cord to repair the assault. She has not had as fever ever since she got steriods from the Brain and Spine doctor on Friday. Since Friday the Brain and Spine doctors have been MIA. The immediate first look at the spinal fluid from Friday was that there was no obvious meningitis or bacteria but it really takes a few days for the tests results to show anything. I think she will be pushing her main Stem Cell doctor to let her go home tomorrow, but we will see how the night goes. The MRI report said that the AML lesion shrunk from 13 mm to 5 mm. They may have to change the type of chemo since she's had an extreme adverse reaction to this one.
Thank you for your prayers. They really encourage Andrea and we are hoping for best outcome.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Back in Hospital

Thursday when Andrea went to her primary doctor she had fever, chills, headache and a stiff neck, so he wouldn't let her go home and admitted her into the hospital. He called the neuro onclogy unit and talked to Andrea for a long time. He said he believed the Ara-C chemo was having abnormal reactions and needed to rule out the reoccurance of meningitis. She will have a spinal tap today. We know how spinal taps affect Andrea, and they will try to do it better this time around.
Please keep her in your prayers.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Moving around

Now that the spinal tap symptons are starting to fade, Andrea noticed a pain coming from a pinched sciatic nerve feeling every time she stands up, walks, or sits down. Once she gets situated, the pain dulls and she can relax. Next question for the doctor, "did he hit a nerve when he deadened the area for the spinal tap?" We see the primary doctor tomorrow, so we have lots of concerns to address. It just seems like one issue leads to another concern or problem right now. We are grateful she can get out of bed now.
Please keep the prayers coming, Andrea is still fighting.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Day by day

A spinal tap gives horrible headaches and immobilizes a person for days, but the chemo on top of that is almost unbearable. Andrea has fevers, chills, and even them both together. She was able to hold her head up today without having excruciating pain from her head and spine, so there is improvement. She still needs your prayers desperately to get through this.
We find hope and encouragement in knowing that you are praying.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


The feeling from having chemo injected into the spine was expected and on target - extreme pain and fatigue. Andrea is fighting through it even though it is very difficult. We are trying to look at the big picture 4 1/2 months down the road with the last injection, but it is hard. We are more inclined to just get through day by day.
She really needs your prayers, and we thank you for all your kind encouragement.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lots of doctors

Monday's tests showed that Andrea's adrenaline gland is still working which means the EXTREME fatigue is from side effects of radiation. Thank goodness the radiation has not ruined the glands, but she is still struggling to keep down food, have an appetite or energy.
The neuro oncologist wants to proceed with chemo in the spine tomorrow (Wed). He added two medicines to try to help Andera's energy, but the first one she took gave her a headache. Lots of help, huh?
Please keep her in your prayers as we are trying to find a balancing act with all her medicines, and attempting chemo one more time which has side effects that include headache, stiff neck and back. If this chemo is successful, she will have it administered once every 2 weeks 3 times, then once a month 3 times. Probably a total of 4 1/2 months of chemo, if this plan is followed.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Another Dr. Visit

All week Andrea's energy has been zapped and today the Dr. gave her special meds to take over the weekend, then they will run tests on Monday to verify his suspisions of the radiation effects. Hopefully it is temporary and the meds/tests will give her a better path forward.
Good news is that her chest x-ray came back Good, so no more pneumonia! She still takes 3 very strong antibiotics that are hard on her stomach, plus a spreadsheet of other medication. All in all she is keeping down the small amount of food she can eat.
Day by day, prayer by prayer - We thank God and you for them all.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Help Me Lord!

Andrea is frustrated that she is not bouncing back as quickly as she had hoped. Each hospital stay and recuperation has been very different. I forgot to mention that the night before Andrea was discharged, that they gave a her a new antibiotic which she had never had before and she had an immediate severe allergic reaction to. Bone pain started in her lower back and went down her legs along with severe shaking and high fever. They counteracted it with Benadryl and pain meds, but it was like taking the last wind out of her sails. She came home, but her energy level has been so low that she is praying for strength and a positive attitude.
Please raise her up in your prayers for strength and healing.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Lots happening

Kristin, Andrea's sister, came to MDA and they said they needed "4 million" on Thursday. Friday morning they told us that Kristin actually gave 4.6 million of the stem cell components that Andrea may need. It is an awesome concept and week-long experience that Kristin can tell you all about should you ever want to save someone's life. Kristin is Andrea's hero as well as her big sister, so that makes it real special for them.
Since discharge on Tuesday, Andrea has made her way back up to MDA for check-ups and to her retina specialist today. It takes all the strength she can muster to get out and about, but she does. Her eye specialist said that her optic nerves and retinas had not changed and that most likely the blurry vision comes from the dry corneas, so she has some drops to use for that.
It was good to have Kristin here for the week and she and Jimbo are back safely in Tyler tonight.
Many prayers have been answered.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Home At Last!

Andrea was greeted at home by her dog, Zeus. They were both so happy. As I was getting her medicines sorted, J. came home and created a spreadsheet to keep us straight. Yes, that many multiple meds: Morning, Noon, Mid-afternoon, Evening and Bedtime. She has a very rigorous 2 weeks before the medicines slack off. But, thank goodness she is home. It is also her father-in-law's birthday, so we all had double reason to celebrate.
So far everything is going well with Andrea's sister, Kristin. She is taking the neupogen shots and hopefully will donate her stem cells on Thursday.
God has got us this far, so please keep on praying.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Homeward Bound!

The doctor came in today and told Andrea that she met the "numbers" for her to go home tomorrow afternoon. How's that for her determination and will power, along with special prayer power and cheers from all of you!!??!!!! Thank you, God!
This afternoon she will get a PICC line placed in her arm for the antibiotics she will need for the next week or two.
Even though Andrea is going home, she is still in the recovery mode and we appreciate your prayers so much.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Leveling Off

Andrea's temperatures and nausea roller coasters are leveling off closer to normal and she is telling her doctors she wants to get better at home. The pneunomia was not the real bad kind, so the doctors have her covered on the antibiotics she is getting. They are telling her maybe Wednesday, and she replies, "Tuesday?"
Your prayers, well-wishes and comments are boosting her morale and cheering her on.

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Do not be anxious"

The doctors feel the meningitis is under control and being eradicated. But the bronchitis-like lung infection has actually turned out to be pneumonia in Andrea's right lung. The fever and nausea is still on a roller coaster. She is being x-rayed or scannned almost every day along with being stuck for blood everyday, sometimes a couple of times a day. After 2 1/2 weeks in the hospital, Andrea is getting anxious to go home, and we are anxious to have her home. But, she knows it will be bad if she goes home too quickly.
On a more postive note, Andrea's sister, Kristin, is in town to give stem cells to freeze so Andrea will have them when and if that time comes. It is a week-long ordeal for Kristin, and we pray that it goes smoothly. Her big sister is her hero.
The first part of Phil. 4:6 says "Do not be anxious". The last part says "by prayer and petition, with thanksgivng, present your requests to God".
God hears every prayer and we thank you for yours.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Looking for the Positive

Andrea's temperature returned to normal today and she had no neck or head pain. We were also very glad that it was the last day of an extremely harsh antibiotic, although she is still on at least 4 other antibiotics. She is on so much medicine (which is very necessary), she cannot keep her food down. So far, she has lost 5 pounds. All the anti-nausea medicine has not worked, it just makes it worse.
Andrea is determined to get better and is aiming for release from the hospital on Monday. Your prayers and comments help so much.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bummer Day

The fever is back and Andrea couldn't keep any food down. The nurses and doctors are baffled. So, today we took blood cultures, urine tests and xrays trying to find solutions.

On the lighter side Kathy buzzed Andrea's hair today to give her a new sporty look.

Please continue remembering Andrea in your prayers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yes, but....

Yes, there is good news in that Andrea has not had fever for a couple of days. But, there is a bronchitis-like infection brewing in her lungs. The doctors sent a sample to the labs to determine exactly what it is and they have us wearing masks and gowns for a couple of days until they figure it out. She still needs your prayers for total healing because I know that everyone's faith is strong that she can overcome this too.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Radiation - Last Day!

This is a happy day because this is the last day of scheduled radiation. This overcomes the rough night Andrea spent as she didn't sleep and is still experiencing head and back pain.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hanging in There

Andrea is still in pain from the headaches and pressure in her head. She also has a rash from a reaction to antibiotics, which makes her look and feel like a bad sunburn that started on her face then spread everywhere. We're trying every lotion, gel and cream suggested by the doctors and other patients we've seen in radiation. The good news is that her temperature has returned to normal! She's on her way to radiation today and then she should have only one more to go. Almost all her hair is gone and will have it "buzzed" after the last radiation treatment. So you can see why we say "hanging in there"....
We are encouraged by your prayers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rough Night

Andrea had a rough night with fever spiking around 102. Then at Midnight they also decided to move her to the Stem Cell Transplant Unit where she had her original transplant in May 2006. They did that so her main doctor/nurses can monitor her better.
We're thinking of all of you as you travel and have Thanksgiving with relatives. We will miss being at Granny & PaPaw's house. Please travel safe and give as many hugs as you can!
Thank you for special prayers of God's powerful healing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Out of Surgery

It is almost noon and Andrea is out of surgery, back in her hospital room, and asking for sausage cheese kolaches. She will not be denied her breakfast! The surgeon said the removal of the Ommaya went well without excess bleeding.
Thank you for your continued encouragement and prayers.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Surgery Tuesday

Sunday afternoon brought a roller coaster of Andrea's temperature, headaches, and head pressure through all day Monday. After it spiked over 103, the doctors agreed to take the Ommaya Reservoir out of Andrea's brain on Tuesday morning. The neuro ocologist said after the meningitis is gone, then chemo will be administered via spinal taps in the Flouroscopy Unit so they can give her a blood patch which will hopefully alleviate the horendous headaches she's had in the past with spinal taps. She has been continuing the radiation treatments and should have only 4 more to go.
We look for the positive in each day. Radiation is the pits but only 4 to go sounds good right now.
Thank you, as we lift up powerful prayers with you.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Doctors Talking

Andrea's pain level has come down enough for her to get out of bed and walk around the nurses' station in her unit and up and down the hallway with her rolling "tree" of medicine, antibiotics and pain reducers. Now the doctors are talking about putting in a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) which goes from her upper arm into her heart. They will use that line for the powerful antibiotics that she will need for at least 21 days. One doctor said she may be released to go home by the end of the week but did not want to get hopes up without talking with the other doctors. We should see the grand parade of all doctors Monday morning.
The bone marrow biopsy from last week came back with zero % leukemia cells. We were in the hospital room when we were told the results and it gave us such joy and relief from everything else that Andrea has endured the last few days.
The power of prayer and God's healing keeps us all going.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Still at MDA

It will take a couple of more days for the test results to come back, but the spinal fluid did show some bacterial meningitis, but not the contagious kind. Everyone is taking all precautions and the doctors are monitoring Andrea very closely. Andrea is being a real trooper again as the head and neck pain would be untolerable without the pain medication and antibiotics. Even with that, she is in quite a bit of pain. They have been continuing the radiation treatment so that is still on target for eradicating the lesion.
Please keep up the powerful prayers as we pray for all of you. There is a peace knowing so many people are praying.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Trip to ER

Things were going fine until Wednesday evening when Andrea took Tylenol and went to bed with a headache. She woke at 10:30 and took 2 more Tylenol. By midnight her head, neck and spine were in great pain. We took her to MDA emergency room and they started running tests and scans. Right now it looks like meningitis reactions to the chemo. Her white blood cells are so high that they plan to keep her admitted into MDA for a couple of days, and give all her neuro oncology, radiation and leukemia doctors a chance to watch her.
Thank you for your prayers as we pray for you and your loved ones.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back on Track

This is Andrea writing today-- giving poor, tired Kathy a break! I am happy to say that I was able to avoid another brain surgery today! Dr. Conrad has the magic touch and was able to administer the chemo in my port (in my head). My blood ventricles in the brain are still small, making it difficult but we can at least still go through the Ommya instead of the spine. I can't tell you how much of a relief this was. It's not a comforting feeling when everyone in pre-op knows your name...that means you are having too much surgery!!! I wanted to post J.'s and my wedding picture so that everyone knows things haven't been all bad since we quit posting blogs in June. I was able to finally marry J. this summer and that was a truly memorable experience. J. is a gift from God that I will forever be grateful for. He has been a rock by my side and a huge encouragement. I'm not going to lie, physically this time around is better, but not necessarily emotionally. There is this indescribable fear when you get diagnosed with cancer for the second time that you will never be able to be rid of this horrible disease. J. and our families have been so good with helping me cope...and prayer of course. Thanks for all of your prayers. love, Andrea

Sunday, November 11, 2007

One Down, Just a Couple More to Go

The first week of radiation is finished and just a couple of more weeks to go.
The CT scan on Friday showed that when the nurse drew fluid from the Ommaya on Thursday, the brain ventricle collapsed around the Ommaya needle. So, Monday the neuro doctor will try to put fluid in the Ommaya without drawing anything out. If he cannot get it to work, then Andrea has a surgery time scheduled at 11 a.m. for the neuro surgeon to open up her repertoire to get it to work. We are all hopeful and prayerful that it will be smooth-going.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Wednesday, yesteryday, Andrea had the 12+ stitches (which is U shaped) removed from her head that covered the Ommaya reservoir. Today she went to have chemo inserted into the Ommaya and it was clogged. Bummer, hiccup, oh rats. (They tested it last Thursday and Friday and it worked!)
Tomorrow, Friday, she will have the normal radiation in the morning and then go for blood work and a CT scan of her brain to determine if the clog can be fixed or if she will need to have a new Ommaya reservoir put in. We are praying for the unclogging!!!!
Needless to say, the Brain and Spine unit is so much different than the Bone Marrow Transplant/Stem Cell Transplant Unit. Andrea is bouncing back and forth between the 2 units now. You've sometimes heard the comment, "well, it's not brain surgery"; Well, this IS brain surgery, and we are confident that Andrea (with God) will prevail again. Thank you for your encouragement. Every day, we have heard from one of you and that really, really helps.
Love to all, as we also pray for you and yours.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

why, why, why

It still baffled me why - after clear blood, bone marrow and spinal fluid tests since June 2006 - that Andrea had an AML lesion show up in the corpus callosum (white transverse fibers connecting the cerebral hemispheres). The stem cell transplant doctor said blood in the central nervous system has a barrier against toxins in the circulatory system. So, the chemo Andrea went through before did not rotate around the brain. But, there was a possibility that a drop of blood during the DIC collapse in December 2005 had escaped in that area and is now showing up in this pesky little lesion. (He called this a unique case again.)
Well, "day 2 radiation" transpired as normal and the bone marrow biopsy went well. Thanks to Betty, Andrea got to all appointments and Betty made them a delicious meal since a biopsy with sedation requires no eating after midnight before the procedure. It will be at least a week before we know the results of the bone marrow biopsy.
We all know how valuable prayers are as we also pray for you and yours.

First radiation

Andrea had the first radiation Monday, 11/05, for about 30 minutes. She wore a special mask and plans are to have the 30 minutes sessions every day until November 28 except on Saturday and Sundays, and she gets to skip Thanksgiving Day. Then we went to the Stem Cell Transplant doctor. He needs a bone marrow biopsy which will be today, Tuesday 11/06, after the radiation treatment. He also said the plans for chemo have been changed. After radiation Friday, Andrea will receive the first dose of chemo.
Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, November 02, 2007

pictures - not the smiling kind

The doctor tested the Ommaya reservoir Thursday and Friday. He inserted a dose of isotope (i.e. radioactive fluid) and then had a scanner take pictures to track the flow through Andrea's body at 3 3-hour intervals on Thursday and 2 3-hour intervals on Friday. Needless to say, it made the day drag out long. Next step is radiation for the rest November.
Andrea is strong and we all are encouraged by your prayers.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Long day...

After a 12 hour day at MDA, Andrea did well through the Ommaya Reservoir placement into her right side-front skull. As anethesia wore off, she described it like having a knife inserted into her head but by the end of the day; it was more like a hatchet. Appropriate for Halloween, huh???? She has pain meds for tonight, so we're hoping it is better by morning.

Her eyes were bothering her after procedure, so the ophthalmolgy doctor checked her out and she was okay.

She also went to the Radiation Unit to have a special form-fitting mask made for her face to protect areas of her head while radiation is zapping the AML. Plans are to start radiation on Monday to the whole brain at a moderate dose for 2 weeks, then approximately 1 week for a more intense dose to the lesion site. The radiation doctor was reassuring and dispelled my fears with years of clinical trials and best practice under his direction.

Tomorrow and Friday we go back to test the Ommaya Reservoir to make sure it will function as they need it to.

Thank you so much for your prayers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Faith is being sure of what we hope for (Heb.11:1)

I am sad to be starting the blog again because it means that the acute myleoid leukemia (AML) is back. The Brain and Spine doctor thought it might be lymphoma from the first signs of the biopsy from Andrea's right callosal lesion (1.2 x .9 x .2 cm) in her brain, but it came back AML after days of breaking it down to identify it.
Wednesday, 10/31/07, Andrea will have a Ommaya Reservoir implanted on the top right side of her head that will transport chemotherapy to the brain. But before she gets any chemo, the doctors will administer radiation at intervals for 3 weeks. Then the chemo to the brain begins. When that is over, Andrea will go back to her original Stem Cell Transplant doctor for what he calls a "boost" bone marrow transplant like she had before just to insure that it is not anywhere else. So far, it has not shown up in her blood or spinal fluid.
We have so many wonderful friends and relatives on both sides of our families who also lift up awesome prayers. We thank you so much.
Love to all,

Friday, June 22, 2007

Final Good News

Hello to all,

I'm writing this blog because it will be the last entry. I wanted to let everyone know that the results of my bone marrow biopsy came back perfect! I'm still 100% donor cells and I never expect anything different from now on!! Thanks to God.

As for my eyes, I'm still seeing double, and I don't think that's going to change. Instead of two seperate images, the images I see overlap. It drives me crazy sometimes, but I have honestly gotten used to it and the idea that this is how it's going to be. I keep praying that one day our technology will be so good that I can fix the problems. J read an article saying there might be some crazy things happening in about 5 years with stem cell transplants for the retinal tissue. If that's the case, I might have a chance for normal again.

I now have a pair of driving glasses which has helped me gain a little independence. They are a pair of wire frames with no prescription. Their sole purpose is to hold a binocular above my right eye....super cool. When I'm driving, I "spot" with the binocular if I need to read a sign. Sometimes I get funny looks from the people driving next to me and when I'm at stop lights. These are the people I like to mess with. It's fun for me and it leaves them totally confused! My driving obviously comes with a lot of restrictions. I only drive during the day, and I don't go over 45 mph. Needless to say, I'm limited to doing several things, but it's leaps and bounds from a year ago.

I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for all of the prayers. It's the only reason why I'm here today. I had to close out this blog sometime, but be on the lookout for my book that I'm going to start writing in August. Seriously, if it takes me five years to write it, it will be done. How else can I spread what God has done to a large audience? I'll give you a sneak peak to the end quote:

"Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see."

With love,

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Progress

One month after her left eye surgery, Andrea was examined by Grand Rounds again at Texas Children Hospital. Her left eye has straightened out, just like the doctors expected it to, but she is still seeing an overlapping image from her left eye. At least it is better than the double image that she was seeing before. We've also been back to the U of H Eye Institute where Andrea got what she calls her "really cool" (not!) eye glasses that she uses only when she drives. After a year and a half, she is starting to drive again on familiar streets and is doing well.
Praise God for another step forward in the healing process.
Thank you so much for your prayers.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today is Andrea's 1 year old birthday. A year ago today she received her sister's marrow which saved her life and gave her a fresh start. When you look back at all the little things that she has gone through since, you realize that her life itself is the most important thing we have. Unfortunately she has to receive a bone marrow biopsy this morning at 10AM, so pray for her to be without any pain. What a wonderful birthday present? I don't know how see does it, but she takes everything like it is no big deal. Get me in there and I would be fighting and screaming. Don't forget the other new post below that covers the eye surgery she had last week.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Still Working On It (Perseverance)

On April 30, the specialist operated on 3 of the 6 left eye muscles to try to eliminate double vision. Andrea's left eye would tend to drift left and he wanted to align it straight to get rid of double vision. She said this last eye surgery is the worst of all eye surgeries to recover from. When she took off her patch, her eye was swollen shut. After a few days when she could open it, the eye was blood red and the conjuctiva (the outer clear layer that protects the eye) was swollen and raised over her iris. Because of this, it felt like there was something foreign in her eye at all times. Now, her eye is feeling better but the redness is still there. Instead of two separate images, now the objects are overlapping each other. The eye tends to look inward now, but by the end of the month at the Grand Rounds again with all the doctors, her surgeon anticipates it will staighten out more. We just pray that the overlapping images will come together competely and that her eyes will align properly.
Again we appreciate your prayers. Words cannot express how much your prayers mean to us.

Friday, April 27, 2007


After a month of conversing with the Texas Children Hospital doctors and team, Andrea plans to have surgery on her left eye muscles to alleviate double vision in that eye on Monday April 30. She has been doing well with her new eyeglasses this past month, but it is easy for her to overdo and strain her eyes which has caused headaches.
We are asking you to remember her in your prayers, as we also think of all of you.
Thanks for checking the blog and thanks for your prayers.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Unique, once again

I have postponed updating the blog until we met with the third eye specialist as we are trying to get Andrea to regain as much sight as possible. The cataract eye doctor referred us to a Texas Children's Hospital eye muscle specialist. He said Andrea's case was quite unique. That is what we have been told by numerous doctors since November 2005! After receiving records from 7 eye surgeries plus the Low Vision Clinic evaluations, next month this new eye doctor wants Andrea to come in for a consultation with 5 other doctors plus "the Chief" in order to assure that she receives the best path forward. I am totally amazed when I go to these specialists and observe what they are doing to help so many people. I had never known there were so many sight impaired little children until I walked into this place. Amazing. My prayer life has certainly grown in this experience. Please keep the prayers coming. Miracles do happen!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

In progress

I'm reminded of the bumper sticker, "Don't give up on me, the Lord isn't finished with me yet".
We had a good report from the Bone and Joint Clinic. Everything was normal on Andrea's soft tissue and muscle MRI. The broken ribs in her back are healing and she no longer has a cold so she does not cough to irritate those bones.
The visit to the Low Vision Clinic was also successful. Andrea got one pair of glasses that she uses to read the computer. The bifocal glasses will not be ready until next week. We just keep praying day by day that the retina swelling continues to go down and her sight improves.
We appreciate the encouragement from every single person. You all are dear to us. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hallelujah day!

I was surprised when Andrea did not jump up from the eye doctor's chair and dance a jig when he examined her eye and told her "Andrea, you do NOT have to put dilating drops in your eye anymore". It was a moment of anticipation and relief, though. He is pleased with the progress of the last operation, and said he hoped for more improvement with time. This doctor is very conservative and very, very good, so when he says there is more hope for improvemnt, I believe him. Patience. And time, and prayer.
We also went to St. Luke's today for a MRI on the soft tissues and muscles on Andrea's back. The bone and joint doctor will give us his last verdict before sending us back to MDA, but he did tell us from the bone scan that Andrea has broken 3 ribs in her back, so that is the most likely cause of the pain she has been experiencing. She is on estrogen, calcium and vitamins. All that will also take time to build up her bones that seem to break as easily as I break a toothpick.
We ask for your prayers as we continue to pray for all you, too. We are in this healing process together!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Back to baby steps

Andrea's eyes have been dialated since her last eye surgery, January 23. She has 1 1/2 more weeks to go before she sees the retina doctor again, and maybe by then he will let her quit dialating her eyes. He's the expert, and we trust him. We have had gorgeous sunshine this past week in Houston, but with dialated eyes, it is hard to enjoy it. She is seeing a bit clearer each day.
Also, Andrea's back pain has gone from irriating to a lot worse. She quit physical therapy and saw several doctors this past week. St. Luke's will take a total bone scan Wednesday to try to figure out if it has to do with her bones, or just her muscles. Then, back to the doctor a week from today to see what he thinks.
Her cold turned out to be the RSV virus that a lot of babies get due to not having immunities built up in her system. Since her bone marrow transplant wiped out all bodies' defenses, Andrea can start getting the baby MMR and other baby shots on her one-year-birthday-from-transplant, May 10, 2007. Nothing like starting over, right?!?!
Despite the aches and pains, Andrea is still a joy to be around. Zeus helps by keeping us laughing.
Thank you all for your prayers and we'll continue to pray for you all too.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Keep On Keeping On

Andrea saw the cataract doctor on Monday and her retina doctor today. Both doctors are pleased with the way the surgeries went. Healing is a slow process, though, and will take weeks or months to know just how the retinas will settle down. The steriod shot has not totally absorbed, so Andrea still sees a haze, plus she has to keep her eyes dialated at least 3 more weeks, which is a real obstacle to knowing what she is seeing. The scan showed considerable shrinkage of the swelling on the right retina, so we were very, very pleased about that.
Andrea has been going to physical therapy for several weeks and the muscle pain in her back is getting worse. Plus she has a very bad cold that makes her feel rotten all over.
We appreciate your prayers, so we will "keep on praying on" for you all, too.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The cloud is lifting

This is the 6th day after surgery and Andrea told the doctor that the cloud now looks more like a haze that she is seeing through. After his usual thorough examination, he noticed that she was reading the letters that she could see faster than before. That is a good indication that the membrane peel took away some of the blank spots she was experiencing before. It is still going to take time for the rest of the steroid to absorb, swelling to go down and the retina to settle. She sees the doctor again in 10 days. In the meantime, she is going to Physical Therapy at M.D. Anderson to strenghten her back and feet. It is unreal how much the body can get de-conditioned in 61 days and how long it takes to try to regain strength.
Thank you for continuing to check the blog and pray for Andrea's sight. It means so much to her and all of us. We continue to pray for you too.
Love to all,

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

One step back but hopefully more than 100 forward

Since it had been less than a week at St. Luke's for Andrea's left eye cataract surgery, she had to bandage up her left eye. Then after surgery for her right eye Tuesday, she was a 'sight to be seen'! Everything is blurry for her now since it took the doctor nearly 2 hours to peel off scar tissue and put in a steroid injection to try to minimize swelling that has persisted for a year. He said it would be a week for the steroid to absorb and even longer for the retina to settle down. Nonetheless, we are prayful and hopeful. We take tasks day by day, and Andrea has a great attitude attempting to deal with everything. It is a great comfort to know you are praying. Thank you!
She sees the doctor Monday for an interim assessment.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Awesome Marathoners!

Linda and Ann finished the marathon! They are the two in the purple jerseys. We caught the picture of them between mile 8 and 9. They still had smiles on their faces! We are so appreciative of them. Thank you for your dedication.

Andrea's Jan. 17 cataract surgery went as the doctor planned, but when the patch was removed Thurday, she is seeing crooked and double. The doctor said the left eye could/should/maybe work itself out in the next 3 months, but if it doesn't, there are more surgeries they could do. In the meantime, Andrea is gearing up for a retina surgery on Tuesday Jan. 23 on her right eye. At present she can see 20/70 near vision with this eye. Her retina doctor is striving to get Andrea driving again with her right eye. I feel like a broken record, but please pray for this surgery Tuesday. Everyone has been so wonderful to pray. We have prayers of thanks for you, and including your life struggles.
Love to all,

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cheers for the "Marathoners"

We are so grateful for Linda Jarnagin and Ann Locke. They have been preparing for Sunday's Chevron/Aramco Houston Marathon for months. Both Linda and Ann raised their goal for their generous donation to the Texas Gulf Coast Leukemia Society which provides so much support to the fight for lives and research for a cure. Also, we give a special thanks to all who donated to this worthy cause. We need to pray for good weather because the forecasters are not sure when the wintery blast will hit Houston. Linda and Ann said they are taking all kinds of weather gear. We have confidence they will make it through! A local TV channel will cover the event Sunday morning and the online site is where you can go to "athlete alert information" to follow their progress. These are two very special ladies who are driven by Andrea's struggle for life and health, and we appreciate them so very much.