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.