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.