Monday, March 31, 2008

Different Doctor

There was a shift change in doctors today and the new doctor wanted Andrea to go to the discharge class on Tuesday, see if she could tolerate all the medicine in pill form, and see if her headaches ease up. So, it looks like the earliest Andrea can bust out of here is by Wednesday.
Please keep praying for her stomach and lack of headaches to cooperate!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Great Gain

Just overnight Andrea's white blood cell count jumped from .7 to 2.5. Wow! Thank you so much for our plea for platelets. As you can see, Andrea responded well to them, and she is still receiving them. The doctor said if she continues on this path, she may get to go home on Tuesday. This is a week and a half earlier than we anticipated. It is such good news for her.
BUT, she still needs your continued prayers for her stomach, though. The chemotherapy really tore it up and she has a constant stomach ache, pain, cramps or all of them together. It poses a real dilemma as they are trying to switch all meds to pill form and many of you know how certain pills affect your stomach. We are confident that time and prayer will get Andrea through this.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Doctor's Report

Well, the Doctor says Andrea is doing well at this point of the transplant. Her white blood cells came up to .7 (and the normal is 4.0), which is GOOD since she has been as low as 0 for several days.
Your prayers are working, but she anxious for some days now to get this all behind her. It helped to have girlfriends to show up for her birthday in the hospital (I know to have a confined birthday), but to have one at all is a blessing!!!!
Thank you all for your prayers and most especially to all of those who have given your platelets or blood to help Andrea combat this disease.
The Lord does listen to our prayers.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

There's Sunshine Behind the Clouds

Even though Andrea is experiencing all the aches, pains and fever that is expected with treatment, the doctor said she is doing well for all that is anticipated. She had no fever this morning and her white cell count Finally came up from zero to .2, so hopefully she can start momentum towards the healthy direction again. We know she can do it, with God's miracles and your prayers.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Got Platelets!

Andrea got the platelets that she needed late this afternoon. Thank you so much for those of you who are taking time out of your busy schedules and work to come by MDA to donate blood and platelets. I know it is an extra challenge with the construction down here in the medical center, but it is truly appreciated. Andrea is in the "rough" part of the treatment, but she is a real trooper and is hanging in there.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

MDA needs platelets and blood

Andrea needs platelets and did not receive them today because MDA has had so many surgeries. If anyone could donate blood or platelets they need to call:
713-792-4531 to make sure they can take their blood when they are ready to give.
Then they can go to MDA, 1515 Holcombe, enter at MD Anderson Blvd, park in garage 10, garage crosswalk to MDA hospital is on level 3, ride escalator or elevator down to 2nd floor MDA which is near Elevator A. Diagnostic Center is right there. Please be sure to designate blood or platelets given to Andrea Martin.
Thanks so much.

Really Yucky

The white cell counts are still at zero and Andrea needed platelets again today. She had a fever this morning, her stomach is cramping and her bones ache. She is getting medicine for all this but she still feels really yucky. Andrea is relying on God to get her through this and appreciates your prayers so much.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Platelets Again Today

Andrea needed more platelets today since they were below 20. She is also on antibiotics to combat anything since she has no immunity. Today she also started the neupogen shots since her white cell count has been zero for a couple of days. Even though she has stomach pains, she is still eating and getting up out of bed to exercise. She amazes me. With God's miracles and your prayers, she will get through this.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Even Wtih....

Even with nose bleeds and lining of the mouth and throat raw, at 7 a.m. this morning the doctor said Andrea was doing very well at this stage of the transplant. Thank you very much! She received platelets today, which explain why those nose bleeds were occurring.
She will get through this, too, as she did last time - - with God's help and your continued prayers. (I Samuel 17:47 The battle belongs to the Lord.). Andrea is very positive and just counting the days when she will be well enough to go home. We watched funny DVDs last night and said meaningful, heartfelt prayers before sleeping.
Every single one of your prayers are so much appreciated.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ups and Downs

Andrea's condition can change without a moment's notice. At any time we've become used to either fevers, chills, bone aches, shooting pains and/or headaches. The nurses can respond with a set amount of medicine and then when that does not work, they call the doctor. So far she has responded well to their set regime within a couple of hours, then Andrea is back to, "Hey, what do we have on DVD?", or she will climb on her exercise bike for a few minutes. Earlier this week when Andrea was out walking with J, he had to bring her back to her room in a wheelchair because her ankles hurt very badly, so the doctor found an exercise bike to keep her moving. She still goes on walks, but does not feel compelled to try to make it a mile since she knows the bike is in her room.
Compared to the last transplant, Andrea feels better on this "Day 4" than the last one. God is listening to our continued prayers!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rough Night, Better Day

As of the transplant yesterday, Andrea is at zero immunity and the doctors stepped up the anti-rejection medicines. This extra hard on Andrea because it means limiting contact to caregivers and doctors. Thank goodness for the telephone or cards that can be sent to her house because Andrea does need contact with the outside world! We read this blog to her all the time, too, which gives her an extra boost of confidence that "this too will pass quickly". We are so appreciative of the Internet while cooped up in a 10 by 10 room.
The anti-rejection meds last night caused a big headache from about 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., then relief with sleep came.
Thank you all for continued prayers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Successful Transplant!

Andrea got up this morning, took her 1-mile walk around the 11th floor of MDA and patiently waited for her doctor to come by for his assessment. Then, about 1:30 p.m. she had her stem cell transplant administered. Her dad is with her this afternoon and I called to see if she needed anything else. She said "Just to take a nap", so I took the hint!
Thank you to all for your continued prayers. God listens.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Working Out the Kinks

We've come to find out that nothing ever goes smoothly for Andrea. The clinical study that she is in requires medicine that can cause fever, itching, pains, etc., etc. She experienced all those plus the neurological headaches that Andrea had gotten under control last week before admission. After a very rough night, the nurses called the doctors and they were able to put together a concoction of medicines to counteract the fevers, itching, and headaches by the morning.
Andrea took her hardest dose of chemo today that required her to continuously suck on ice chips in her mouth for an hour and a half - - before, during and after the the chemo. This type of chemo causes mouth sores (called mucocitis), so we're just hoping that freezing her mouth will help head off some of the side affects.
2 Days until Transplant.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Day -4 until transplant

Last night they moved Andrea to the stem cell transplant unit. They are helping so many people at MDA that they squeeze in every person that they can, where they can. It is better here on this unit, though, because the nurses are focussed on this particular cancer patient's needs.
In addition to chemo today, Andrea received an additional new drug to help her system prepare for Kristin's stem cells. However, a side effect is itching, so they gave her a big dose of Bendadryl. That, of course, made her sleepy, but Andrea is taking it all in stride and still has a positive attitude. An ugly headache popped up too, but hopefully it won't stay. She will continue the new drug as well as chemo until transplant.
Thank you so much for each of your prayers. They mean so much!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Checked In

Since the last posting Andrea has been very busy going through tests to make sure she is ready for the stem cell transplant.
Everything is okay and MDA checked her in at 9 p.m. last night. However, everybody seemed to be getting admitted last night and she did not get hooked up to the IV cart until 2 a.m. We were very tired!
Today, Wednesday, she received the first dose of Fludarabine chemotherapy.
Countdown - 5 days until transplant.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Chemo Okay, So Far

The "monoclonal antibody chemo" has not produced ill effects so far from yesterday (Yeah!). Andrea showed up to MDA early this morning to have her blood levels checked and saw her doctor. She did not have much of an appetite today, but we ate regular meals and her dad joined us for lunch.
Tomorrow we will check in early to MDA to continue with the spinal tap of methotrexate in her spine to cover anything in the central nervous system. This doctor is the anesthesiologist with the magic touch who can do spinal taps without mind-rocketing headaches, so we aniticipate the same.
We continue to be so grateful for every prayer lifted up for Andrea.
God listens.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Subclavian Catheter is in!

Thank goodness Andrea was one of the first procedures this morning for anethesia because you cannot eat or drink anything before that. The subclavian catheter was successfully implanted and she got to eat afterwards then slept-off the anesthesia most of the day.
We will report again bright and early at 7:30 tomorrow (Wed) to receive her first out patient chemo in the new catheter. It is a new monoclonal anitbody that Andrea did not have during the first stem cell transplant. It is supposed to work with Andrea's immune system to 'target and destroy only cancer cells'. It sounds great until you read some of the side affects, but we will not worry about those now! We'll take it 'day by day' for the next 4 months, with God's help.

Monday, March 03, 2008

If at first you don't succeed.......

Today the catheter insertion that goes into the heart was not going smoothly and was causing too much pain, so the doctor rescheduled it for tomorrow morning so Andrea could be under sedation. MDA may not be perfect, but they will at least stop, reassess and try again.
Wednesday will be the first dose of out patient chemo, and Friday will be the chemo in the spine that continues her treatment for the central nervous system, even though the lesion in the brain is gone. If it sounds like Andrea is getting the one-two boxing punch, well, she is.
So, yes, all friends and family where ever you may be, we ask for prayers of strength and healing. And of course, passing on the prayer chain is always welcome. Faith in our Lord is great.