I spent some time with Melanie today (Nov. 17th) at the hospital. It was so nice to see her. She was really tired. It was a really emotionally draining day for her. She still has her sense of humor and managed many smiles. It seems so strange to be in the cancer wing of the hospital and know that you have a loved one there. Hearing Melanie and chemo together in the same sentence just seems wrong. I asked Melanie tonight what the hardest thing has been so far and she said that it is having to be apart from Kaden. I know Kaden is missing her too. Mel got to shower tonight and had her dressing changed on her central line because she was allergic to the tape that was keeping everything in place. That was painful for her as the site is really red and irritated. She was pretty worn out by the end of all of that. Sleep has been elusive. If you have ever been a patient in a hospital you know how often they like to check on you, all for good reasons, but sleep would be nice for sweet Mel. :)
Melanie had a visit from a friend tonight and it really gave her a boost. She even brought her a pig named "Bud". Thanks Jan!
Thanks for your prayers on Mel's behalf. We have a strong belief in the power of prayer!
If you want to add to the "Melanie Is..." list on the sidebar, leave what you would like to add in a comment and I will add it ot the list.
The task of back logging everything leading up to today seems overwhelming, so I have copied the following blog posts from Angie's (Melanie's sister)blog to help give some info for the last little bit. Here's what Angie had to say:
My first call Friday morning was from Cami. She was informing me that my mom and dad had taken my sister Melanie to the ER, and that they were going to be transporting her by ambulance to LDS hospital in Salt Lake. To explain a little, Melanie has been sick for the last month or so. She had the flu and then just couldn't get back on. She is a kindergarten teacher and has not been able to go to work. Last week her blood levels were all messed up. Her platelets were low and her white blood cell count was low. Several doctors looked at her blood test results and determined it was something viral. She was just not doing well, and Friday, when she couldn't even get out of bed, my parents took her to the ER. They did more blood work, and this time her white blood cell count was high, which is not good. Now she is at LDS hospital in Salt Lake. They are still waiting for some test results, but they are 90% sure it is Burkitt's Leukemia. This is a very aggressive form of Leukemia, but it is also the easiest to cure. It has an 80% cure rate. So that is great news! The treatment is an aggressive bout of chemotherapy. Over the next 4-6 weeks, she will stay in Salt Lake to get her treatment. She has to be in the hospital to get chemo for 6 days, then she can leave (but stay in the area) for a week, then back in the hospital for 6 days...etc. She will stay at my brother's house on her off weeks. She is going to loose all her hair, which will be hard for her. They have already started her chemo today.
It is amazing how quickly something can change the world around you. My mom is going to come down and stay as much as she can. She works and has to get some stuff done. My dad and Kaden (Melanie's son), will come down every weekend. Kaden has been staying with us today and tonight, and will probably be a common figure in our house on weekends. I will try to go up to Salt Lake as much as I can. I can't bring any children, so it will be touchy, but I hope to help out, especially when my mom is not here. I talked with Melanie tonight, and she is doing pretty good. She says she is already bored! Hopefully all the test results will get back tonight or Monday, and there is nothing else going on in her body anywhere. Melanie is a stubborn fighter, and I know she will get through this! Brooke, who is always the sweetheart, asked me on my birthday, "Mom, did you have a good birthday, even though you found out Melanie is going to be bald?" She also asked about growing her hair out, so she can cut it and donate it to Melanie. If only hair could grow that quickly. We are all praying and hoping for the best outcome!
I just got off the phone with Melanie, and thought I would do a little update. She is doing pretty good. She was really nauseated from the chemo this morning, but she said she is feeling a little better. Her body scan revealed that all her lymph nodes were clear. She did have some inflammation and abnormalities in her intestines. They don't have the pathologies back on that yet, so we aren't sure what it is all about. Melanie said that is probably what is causing her the most pain right now. She had to have a lumbar tap today, so they could put some chemo directly into her spine. Afterwards, she has to lay flat for a few hours, to avoid getting a spinal headache. It hurts me just to think about it!
They are still treating her like it is Burkitt's, but the doctor said today that the stem cells look more like ALL. They won't know for sure until they get the genetic results back, which will be in about a week. If it is ALL, she will have to have a bone marrow transplant to put the cancer in remission. There is a 25% chance that one of her siblings would be a match.
Last night her friend, Suzanne gave her a short haircut, which looks really cute! I have a picture on my cell phone, but I have no idea how to get it off. I looked into donating my hair for her, but Locks of Love only helps children 18 years and younger. BUMMER! Pantene has a program for adults, but since I color my hair, they won't except it. Melanie said she is just going to get some cute scarves and hats. I am going to go up tomorrow and visit her for a bit. I asked if there was anything I could bring her. Her request was some candy she could suck on. I have such an amazing neighborhood, ward and group of friends. I have had so many offer to watch the kids so I could go visit and help out. I am truly blessed!
Today I was able to spend quite a bit of time at the hospital. Adrien watched Austin for me, which was greatly appreciated. While I was there, the doctor came in with Melanie's official diagnosis. Unfortunately, it was not the best news. She does not have Burkitt's or ALL. Usually leukemia goes down one of three paths: Burkitt's, ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia), or AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia). The reason Melanie's pathologies were coming up mixed is because she has a combination of ALL and AML. It is called Biphenotypic Acute Leukemia. She has 90% ALL and 10% AML. ALL is good to have as a child, but not as an adult. It does not have as good a prognosis. There is a 70% chance she will get in remission. Once there, she will have to have a stem cell transplant. Then there is a 40-50% chance she will stay in remission. SHE WILL BE IN THE 40-50%!! Her doctor said this is not a death sentence, but she is going to have a fight ahead of her. I had my blood drawn while I was there to see if I will be a donor match. Cami and Greg were able to be there today and had their blood drawn as well. If one of the siblings is not a match, then they will go to the national registry.
It was really hard to watch Melanie today. She was really nauseated again this morning, so they were giving her some medicine to counter that. However, that medicine was making her really tired. After the doctor talked with us, she had to ask me several times exactly what he said. On the initial visit, she understood that it was not a good prognosis, it sucked, but onward we go! I was so drained by the time I got home. My mom has got to have some more breaks! Fortunately the doctors say that Melanie can go out of the hospital for drives, or to my brothers as much as she needs. Adrien told me that her sister-in-law had a pin that I think we need to get. It says: CANCER SUCKS!