Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Take The Good, You Take The Bad...

Mel had her clinic day and her 6th bone marrow biopsy. Her platelets went up, her hematocrit held steady and her white cells and neutrophils both went down. We are hoping to find out why her white blood counts are staying down through the results of her bone marrow biopsy.

The biopsy today went well. My mom said that Mel was comfortable and numb during the procedure, thank goodness! It took two tries to get the needed blood samples and three tries to get the bone samples. The recovery from the biopsy has been horrible! Mel is in excruciating pain. It hurts to walk especially. She has pain down one of her legs. My mom called the clinic and they told her that with Mel's platelets being down, there could just be lots of bleeding that has pinched a nerve, or the actually needle used in the biopsy could have done some damage. We are hoping it is just bleeding. The PA at the clinic said that Mel could take three pain pills and if that didn't work, she could come into the clinic for IV pain medication. The only problem is that walking is so painful right now. Greg and his father in-law gave Mel a blessing tonight and when I last spoke to my mom Mel was finally asleep. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Mel meets with the Dr. on Friday and will get the results of her biopsy. We'll keep you all updated!

Hang in there Mel! You have overcome so much and we know that you will make it through this too!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Low-Key Day

I talked with my mom tonight and it sounds like her and Mel had a pretty uneventful day, which in the life of a Leukemia patient is a good thing. The plan was to go shopping, but with all of the dust and wind, Mel had to stay inside. So my mom went shopping all by her lonesome.

Mel has been free from nausea the last couple of days...that has been a LONG time coming! What a huge blessing. Mel also has super blond peach fuzz growing on her head. She has been wondering what color her new hair would be.

Mel will be back at the clinic in the morning for blood work and a bone marrow biopsy. We will keep you all updated on the results. :)

We love you Melly!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Platelets!

Today we had an early morning trip to the hospital for an appointment at 8:20 a.m. They did Melanie's labs, we visited with the P.A., Ali, then we talked to Dr. Petersen. It was good news in the platelet area! They came up from 20,000 to
25,000. That's a plus! Usually they go down, but they're holding their own. Her red cells (hematocrit) went down from 31.4 to 29.2. That's not so good. Her white blood count went up from 1.3 to 2.7. That's still low but better. Her neutrophils went up from 0.8 to 2.1. Now the test will be to see what her counts and bone marrow look like on Wednesday. It will be five days at that time since she had her last nupogen shot. If things look good we will continue to wait. If things are not improving, Dr. Petersen said they would give her an infusion of half of the leftover stem cells that are frozen. NO CHEMO OR RABBIT/HORSE SERUM! Thank goodness. Melanie didn't want to go through THAT again. We count this as one ot the tender mercies of the Lord. We've been receiving a lot of those tender mercies through this experience. We've received many blessings from Heaven. How thankful and full of gratitude we are for every day out of the hospital, for all of the bad news that has been replaced with good news, for all of the downs that have been turned to ups, for a perfect donor with the same blood type as Mel. Our prayers have been and are being answered. What a loving Heavenly Father we have! Thank you for all of your prayers and your thoughtfulness in putting our family's names on the prayer rolls in the temples in our area. We are so appreciative of your love and concern. You're one blessed daughter Mel! We love you and await GOOD NEWS.

MOM (Peggy)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Changing of the Guard

Hi, It's Mom (Peggy). Kim flew back to Boulder, Colorado today. She's been such a great help for Melanie. Thanks Kim, for all of the sacrifice you've given to help us out! We went to the clinic today for labs. Mel's white blood count was down to 1.3 (normal is 3.6-10.6). Her neutrophil count was down to 0.8 (normal is 1.8-6.8). They gave her a neupogen shot to boost both of these counts. Her hematocrit was up to 31.4 (normal is 36-46). Of course the red cells always go up after she has been given a blood transfusion. Her platelets were 20, 000 (normal is 150,000-400,000). They have been going up steadily on their own. Yea! The PA, Steve, was excited to tell us the donor cells are 98% in her peripheral blood. Of course that was old news to us. He told us this was a good sign of engraftment. I was reading in the guidebook for bone and blood marrow transplant. This is what it says about post transplant recovery. " Even though your transplant is officially 'over', your medical recovery is not. It may take several months to years for your blood cells to regenerate to normal levels, and up to two years for your immune system to be fully functional. Until then, you will be at increased risk for infection, bleeding and fatigue. Your reintegration into life can be a long process. Your body has been through a major ordeal, and your immune defenses are down. You may be anxious to resume the family and work roles that you left behind, but be realistic with your expectations for yourself. It's unlikely that you will be able to resume your pre-illness level of activity right away. TAKE TIME AND BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF."

What a patience tester! Leukemia is not for wimps. Thanks Melanie for being so courageous and dealing with the ups and downs of this disease. We're all waiting patiently with you and putting our trust and faith in God that the miracle we've been praying for will continue to come to pass. We're grateful for all of the support we've been given from friends, family, neighbors, visiting teachers, home teachers, ward members and newly found supporters. It's nice to have a network of Leukemia Kickers!

Love you all,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A trek to Target

So Melanie has been wanting to go to Target and get some Easter stuff for Kaden. It seemed like every time we thought we could, Melanie wasn't feeling up to it. Well, today was they day we ventured out! I think it was really good for her to get out. She got one of the motorized carts and she was off. haha Sorry Angie, I didn't get any pics..... But the mission was accomplished and Melanie got to get out somewhere besides the hospital and get what she wanted for Easter.

While we were in Target, LaDee called with the results from Melanie's T-cell chimerism (I hope I got that right). Last time they did that it was 77% donor cells. The latest test showed 98% donor cells! YES! This is a very good sign. This means that Melanie's cells are not killing the donor cells off. They will have a better idea of exactly how many actual cells (not just t-cells) are the donor vs her cells after her next bone marrow. But this is definitely a positive! We are all very happy about this!

Melanie was able to have a visit with Kaden tonight. Cami brought my mom down here as I am going back to Colorado tomorrow. It was really good for them to be able to see each other. Kaden did not want to leave. But he was a trooper and made the trek back to the valley with Cami. He really misses his mom and Melanie really misses him.

A typical picture of Kaden and Melanie having some time together.

Little Tate loves his aunt Melanie.

Well it is hard believe it has been two weeks! It is always hard to have to go back home and leave Melanie. I feel so far away. I know that she will be alright and will beat this. I have been so lucky that I have been able to come as often as I have. My work has been so understanding. And Joanie has taken care of the everything while I have been away. I am so grateful! Melanie, just know that I will be back soon. I love you so much! It has been great to be able to be here with you. Keep up the strong fight! You are incredible!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A long day but a better day!

The good news is Melanie was not sick through the night! Thank goodness! It was a very LONG day at the clinic though. Which we knew it would be. We were there from around 8:40AM till around 3:30PM. They gave her 2 units of blood. They did not have to give her platelets like we thought they might. They went up on their own. From 18,000 to 19,000. LaDee, her transplant coordinator, said that was a good sign that her body made some platelets. Mel's body just seems to like to take its time. Both her nuetraphil and white counts were up some. They did not give her a neupogen shot today. So lets hope that her counts will go up on their own for Fridays visit! Melanie will be having a bone marrow biopsy on the 31st of March. This will give them what they need to make a decision on what to do. Wait for Mel's body to start cooperating, or do the second transplant. We will definately keep you all posted.

Melanie is fighting hard and just trying to spur those donor cells into action! Keep up the great work Melanie! You are incredible!

I Love you!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A tough day

Well we knew that today might be tough because Mel's blood was low. We did not expect the day that she had. She was pretty much sick all day long. She just couldn't keep anything down. Zofran is an anti nausea drug that she had been taking every morning. Her PA asked her Monday if that was helping. Melanie wasn't quite sure so they decided she would skip today and see if she needed to still take it. Well, the answer seems to be YES! I felt really bad for her. Finally at about 6:00 she called the clinic to see what we should do. We were really concerned that she was getting too dehydrated. Thankfully, they told her to take the Zofran and see if that helped. If things got worse we needed to call them back and go from there. The Zofran seemed to help tremendously! She did not throw up again and was able to sleep a good 2 1/2 hours. When she got up, she was pretty weak and tired. She was able to eat a little soup, some crackers and a little cottage cheese. She had to have something just to take the hand full of pills that she needed to take. It was all she could do to get all those pills down. Jeepers! I am very glad that her nausea seems to have subsided. Let's pray that keeps up throughout the night. :)

Tomorrow will be another long day at the clinic. She will be getting some transfusions (blood & platelets) I am sure. Hopefully they will give her some fluids as well to help replenish all she lost today. We also should find out when they scheduled the bone marrow biopsy. We will keep you all posted.

Melanie, tomorrow will be a better day.... I love you so much!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The clinic and a visit from Grandpa Perkes

Today started out at the clinic at 8:20 AM. It was another 3 1/2 hour stint at the clinic. seems like it takes forever some days.... Mel is always a trooper. They checked her levels and she met with the PA and Dr Ashe today. Her levels were.....okay. Her nuetraphils were 1.3 (up), her white count was 1.8 (up). As for her red blood and platelets, they were both down. Red blood was 24.6 and platelets were 18,000. These levels are both right at the point of getting a transfusion. Melanie decided she would get the transfusion on Wednesday since we had already been there for 3 1/2 hours. Both the doc and the PA were okay with that. They did give her a neupogen shot to help boost her levels. Because her blood is low, she is pretty tired. So it will be another couple of low key days. Dr Ashe said that they will do another bone marrow biopsy next week. They are still just trying to give her body a chance to get things going on its own. We are keeping our fingers crossed that will happen soon. Mel keeps saying that leukemia is a game of waiting and being patient. She is doing her best to be patient.

Melanie had a visitor at Greg's today. Grandpa Perkes. She always loves to see him. We were able to have a nice visit. We both still find it hard to get used to not seeing grandma as well. Melanie was so glad to see him and to be able to give him a big hug!

Thanks for coming by Grandpa! :)

Thanks again for all the support and prayers that you all keep giving! We have the most wonderful family and friends. We can not thank you enough!

I love you Melanie! Your strength is amazing! I am blown away everyday by your courage! Stay strong dear sister!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Package from Tim

The other day, Melanie received a special package. Her friend Suzanne sent a message to something Tim Mcgraw (I don't know the entire story). Anyhow, Melanie thinks it must be the fan club that sent her some great Tim Mcgraw stuff!

A nice big towel.

There was also, a picture, a mouse pad, the movie Flicka, and a signed CD. Melanie was pretty excited! She is really hoping to be able to go to the concert at the end of July. She usually always attends. It is at the USANA Ampitheater, which will be tricky. She can't be out in the sun a lot now! We are trying to figure out a way she could attend, and still be safe.

We had quite a get together at Greg and Charise's house tonight. My mom and dad, Kaden, Cami and her three boys, and myself and Chase, all headed over. With Melanie, Kim, Greg, and Charise, we had a full house. We did some good visiting, laughing, eating, and playing games.

Melanie was finally able to eat a red velvet cupcake. It was not the same one since the transplant. We brought her a nice, fresh one! YUMMY!

Of course, Melanie was glad to see Kaden and spend some time with him! Tomorrow she heads to clinic to have some more blood work. Our fingers are crossed for some numbers that have gone up!

Good luck tomorrow, Melanie. Love ya!

Friday, March 19, 2010


Just a quick update on Melanie's clinic visit today. She didn't meet with any of the doctors. She just had her blood levels checked. He red blood cell count was up a little bit, but her white cells, platelets, and neutrophils were all down. Not down enough to get any transfusions, but she did get a neupogen shot. She will head back on Monday. I think she will visit with a doctor that day, so hopefully she will know when her next bone marrow biopsy is, and what the doctors next move will be. I guess they are a bit divided right now. One doctor wants to do a biopsy now! The others are willing to wait a week or so. We'll see what they decide.

Last I talked to Kim, they were watching "Princess and The Frog". Sounds like they are having a great time!

Have fun you guys! I'm sure Greg is helping to keep things entertaining.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just Another Day and a Fundraiser Update

I talked to Mel tonight and she said it was just another day. She was pretty nauseous so she stayed drugged up and slept a lot. Her magnesium levels have dropped so she is getting more of that through her central line. She said that her hands have been shaking quite a bit making it hard to type and write. She joked that she needs some of her kindergarten practice sheets so she can learn to write again. The tremors are a side effect of medication and hopefully not a permanent thing. She goes back to the hospital for blood work tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what her numbers look like with out having a neupogen shot on Wed. We are all hoping for high numbers.

I have some updates about the fundraiser we have planned for May 1st. Thank you so much to everyone who has called and offered to help out! The response has been overwhelming (in a good way). I have a good sized list of volunteers and we will need more. :) Many of you have asked where and when you can drop off your donations. Your donations may be dropped off at the Hyde Park Civic Center on Friday, April 30th beginning at 4 pm. The event itself will be on Saturday, May 1st from 8am-4pm.

A silent auction has been added to the day's events. We want to thank Shelley Robinson for all of her hard work on the silent auction. She has contacted 200 businesses in the valley and has heard from quite a few, with more expected to respond. What a great idea! This should be a fun thing for everyone who participates. Mel's cousin Leslie will be helping Shelley with the silent auction, thanks for jumping on board! If you have any questions or would like to donate to the silent auction, contact Shelley @ 563-0243 or Leslie Carpenter @ 764-2225

Barbara Darley has graciously agreed to be in charge of the boutique and bake sale. Thank you so much for your willingness to help out with this! If you have any questions or would like to donate to the boutique or bake sale portion, Barbara can be reached @ 563-3470

I have had several people contact me about the garage sale portion and I am so thankful to you for hanging onto your stuff for a bit longer instead of taking it to D.I. If you have any questions about the garage sale you can contact Cami Bodrero @ 770-0432, Michelle Hammond @ 512-7124 or Megan Kenney @ 563-6006.

This fundraisers if going to be awesome!! If you want to volunteer, contact me and I'll add your name to the list. There is lots to do!

We all love you Mel! There are SO many people rooting for you and praying for you everyday. Keep hangin' in!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Still on The Ride

Today was a pretty interesting day for Melanie. I guess Kim was sick all night long. Maybe it is just a sympathy sickness? I guess she was feeling left out of all this nausea. Needless to say, she spent the day locked in her room to avoid spreading the germs. Sorry, Kim! Melanie said she had a low key day, if you count falling in the bathtub low key. Luckily it was a fall that she could laugh about. Austin and I were suppose to go and visit, but opted out of the chance to possibly get sick as well. Since Kim was out of commission, Greg accompanied Melanie to her clinic appointment.

Melanie's counts were up again today. Yeah! They did not give her a neupogen shot this time, so we will see what her counts do on Friday. She needs her counts to stay up without having to have the neupogen shot. They are also going to check and see what percentage of t-cells are the donors. The last time they checked it was 77%. If they have come up since the last check, that is great news. If they are down from the last check, then it may mean that Melanie's cells are killing off the donor cells. We are thinking UP!

So, we just continue to ride this roller coaster, and are really glad that you are all on the ride with us!

Keep your chin up, Melanie, but watch your feet in the tub. :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gotta love clinic days

Well, we spent about 3 1/2 hours in the clinic today. I guess that sure beats being IN the hospital though. :) Just a lot of waiting! Mel had her labs drawn to check her levels. They decided she needed some platelets. So it just seemed to be a drawn out event. It always seems to be at lunch time too. She tries to eat little snacks throughout the day to keep her stomach full, but not too full. That seems to help the nausea. So today was a bit out of schedule. She did get nauseous, but she did not get sick!! Yahoo!!! Always a plus.

On the bummer side of it all, her levels went down.... Darn it! Her neutraphils went from 1.5 to .6....... Not what we wanted to hear. They are just not sure why. Her white count was down as well. Her red blood was the same. She did get some platelets and a neupogen shot. Hopefully the shot will boost her own cells into action. what this all means is this. They will check her counts again on Wednesday. If they are still down, they will do another bone marrow biopsy. Depending on what this all shows, we may have to head into plan B, another transplant. Dr Ash will be getting an e-mail together for all her doctors so that they can all talk and come up with a plan of action. We are all trying to stay hopeful that her body will start to graft. It is a bit frustrating to see her levels go down though. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. We all appreciate it so much.

Melanie is keeping her spirits up and trying to take things as they come. I know it was a bit of a frustrating day for her though. She keeps doing well here at Greg's. She is still pretty tired, but she hasn't been sick the last couple days thank goodness. :) We will keep posted as to what happens on Wednesday. Until then, I know we will all be praying that her levels start to go up on their own!

I love you dear sister! it is good to be back with you and helping out. Stay strong and keep up the good fight! :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Visit From Kaden

This morning, our dad, Kaden and myself headed to Salt Lake to spend some time with Mel. As any mother can imagine, it has been really tough for Melanie to be so far from Kaden and it cheers her up big time when he visits.

Some Priests from Greg's ward brought us all the Sacrament. What a blessing!

Mel was really tired and took a good, long nap in the afternoon. She has still had some lingering nausea, but hasn't thrown up since Thursday...sweet! She has been trying to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day and it seems to have helped a bit. It is shocking to look at her pill organizer and see how many pills she takes a day. Each pill has its own set of side effects and some Mel has noticed. She has a tremor making it hard to write, dry mouth and of course extreme fatigue. I have yet to hear her complain! She is one tough cookie!

Mel plays nurse and patient everyday as she hooks the magnesium bag up to her central line. The magnesium is added to a bag of sodium chloride, so it is diluted. It has to be kept in the fridge and the first couple of times, Mel about froze because it was so cold going through her veins. Now they take it out and let it warm up a bit before pushing it through her line. Trial and error...

I forgot to ask her if she's named her fanny pack beats dragging shi-thead around.

Family friends, Kevin and Gina Ellsworth gave Melanie a new pair of glasses that are sassy, colorful and fun! They look so cute on Mel and add some color to her face. She really likes them a lot! Thank you for thinking of her!

Mel and Kaden can often be found snuggling up together. I can tell that Mel just soaks up every moment she can with him.

In between snuggles, Kaden will often say, "I'm bored". He likes to get some songs from Mel's iTunes when he has a chance to get on her laptop.

Our mom came home with us tonight. She will go back to teaching music for 8 days. Her students are going to be sooo excited! It will be fun to have her here in Hyde Park. I know her thoughts will constantly be with Mel.

Kim flew in from CO tonight. She will be Mel's caretaker while mom is here in Cache Valley. She has sacrificed so much to come here to UT to help out. She is an amazing big sister and friend. Mel will be in good hands.

It was AWESOME to spend time with you today Mel! You amaze me with your strength! I love to see you smile and to just sit and talk. I love you sis!

Oh, Mel's numbers were good yesterday. Her neutrophils and white blood counts were up. Her platelets were low and so she got a transfusion. I said in a previous post that she should start making platelets soon...I was wrong, those will be the last to come. I totally misunderstood. She goes back tomorrow for blood tests. It will be good news, I just know it!

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Tired Kind Of Day

Mel had a good day! No puking or nausea. She said that she was really tired and feeling pent up. She needs to stay out of direct sunlight so she wasn't able to go on a walk. We joked about her carrying Greg's beach umbrella with her to protect her from the sun and laughed about the funny looks she might get with her mask on, carrying a giant umbrella. Being in a public place is not an option right now, so Mel has to be content just staying in the house, which she's fine with...just feeling a bit of cabin fever.

Melanie's immunosuppressive drug has caused her magnesium levels to drop, so she has to be given some through her central line. She puts the bag of magnesium in a fanny pack...I don't think she's named the fanny pack yet. Home health came over last night to show her how to hook up the magnesium and they were there for about 3 hrs. The nurse forgot to bring some of the needed supplies for flushing Mel's line, so they had to wait for another person to bring them. My mom and Me were ready for bed long before they all left.

Mel heads back to the hospital to have her blood levels checked tomorrow...we are hoping to see some good ones!!

Love you bunches Mel!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shi-thead And Hospital Free!!

Melanie is out of the hospital!! Happy day!! She is staying at Greg and Charise's house.

I talked to my mom today, but didn't get all of the details. I do know that Mel was still puking, but decided that she could do that at Greg's house just as good as she could at the hospital. :) Her neutrophils went down to .9 and her blood was 23, so she got two units of blood. They got the results of the chimerism test today and found that Mel has 82% donor cells in her body. The doctors don't yet know what makes up the other 18%, but they will find out when she has her next bone marrow biopsy in a month or so. Her body is still not producing platelets, but Dr. Ash said that should happen soon.

Mel will go back to the hospital on Saturday for blood tests...pray for good numbers! So, she gets a full day without being poked and prodded by nurses and doctors...I'm sure it will feel like heaven on earth to Mel.

We are all so happy for you Mel! Enjoy the quiet and privacy. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Too Much Excitement For One Day

Mel had a long day, but a pretty good day. She threw up again this morning after taking her pills, so the the Pharmacist is looking at spreading her pills out more instead of her taking them all at once. Mel said that she didn't feel nauseous at all this morning, she felt really good until she took her pills...maybe we're onto something here.

Mel had an endoscopy today. They didn't find anything out of the ordinary, just some inflammation. That helps to rule out some possible causes of her nausea. I think we're really close to having it figured out. What a relief it will be to Mel once this is resolved.

My mom and Mel had a break from the hospital monotony today in the form of an evacuation. Mel said that she was sitting in her room and all of the sudden an alarm sounded. She heard people yell, "Shut the door!". The overhead sprinklers turned on (an accident caused by a cleaning lady) and there ended out being several inches of nasty water on the floor. The staff was very careful not to allow Melanie to come in contact with the water. I guess the nurses were pretty frantic. They put her in a wheelchair...lifted her into it, and she was wheeled to the clinic awaiting a new room. Too much excitement I tell 'ya. It took several hours before Mel was finally in a room. She is now in room #802. This room has two windows and a much bigger upgrade? When I talked to Mel at about 9:30 tonight, they were still waiting for their belongings. By the end, Mel was really tired and ready to have her bed back.

Mel has 1.2 neutrophils today, her white blood count went up slightly, her red blood cells are down to 25 and her platelets were low enough to have a transfusion. Those neutrophils can just keep going up and up! Our goal for tomorrow is to have Mel free of nausea and puking!

Sleep tight in your new room Mel! Love you so much!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Of The Hospital For Mel

My mom started packing Mel's room up and took everything down from the walls this morning, but in the end, Mel was just too sick to leave. She threw up a couple of times this morning and felt nauseous all day. Dr Ash told Mel that she could leave the hospital, but feared that she would just end out coming back. I talked with Melanie today and she didn't seem too bummed. She just wants to figure out why she is feeling sick to her stomach all of the time. She might have an endoscopy's kind of up in the air. The Gastroenterologist talked with Mel today and told her that he's not convinced that her problem is Graph vs. Host. He said that it is too early and essentially that she isn't sick enough for that to be the cause. The doctors are wondering if the large number of pills she is taking could be partly to blame. Tonight, she took her immunosuppressive drug alone to see if that is the culprit. I hope they find the cause soon! Nausea is no fun.

Melanie was finally able to walk tonight, my mom said that she did really good. Mel is wishing for chairs in the halls so she can sit down and rest part way through her walks. My mom said that Mel has discovered a filing cabinet that she sits on for a break...whatever works. :)

Mel's neutrophils were are 1.1 today...a small improvement. Her white count stayed the same, her red blood cells were down and her platelets were up (she had a transfusion yesterday). The good news is that her white cells are holding steady!

So, it's looking like Mel will stay in the hospital while they work on figuring out what is making her stomach so sick.

Keep fighting Melly! We all love you so much!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Another Fabulous Day

I am so excited to post some good news again tonight! Melanie's blood levels were up even further this morning. Her neutrophils are at 1.0!!! Awesome! Her hematocrit (red blood cells) are at 30, all on their own without any transfusion! Her white blood counts are up too. Her platelets are still low, but they are expected to go up as well. Now if the nausea would just go away...the doctors are thinking that the nausea is due to graph vs. host which is good in small amounts. Dr. Ash told Mel that she may be able to leave the hospital tomorrow! It is remarkable that just days ago we were looking at plan B and now here we are with the possibility of discharge...what a roller coaster ride. We are excited to see what tomorrow brings. Thank you so much for all of your prayers!

Melanie posted these pictures along with the text:

What Scott and and Leslie gave me on Saturday. They also gave me Willow Trees' Angel of Hope that we obviously failed to add to the pic. We had a great visit! Thanks for making me smile!

This is the step after swollen and red - peeling and dry.

My mom with her girlfriends Barbara and Valerie. Thanks for visiting today. My mom was so happy and excited (except for the shower issue, sorry mom).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Things are looking up!

Melanie is improving! We've decided that she is just a late bloomer. Her blood levels are up today which is such welcome news. Her neutrophils are at .6! This is the highest they have been post transplant...happy dance! She has gone from 6 pumps on her IV down to 3. She is eating more (900 calories yesterday), so her TPN is down to 1/2 strength. They have been switching Melanie's meds over to oral, this is a huge step and one that has to be done in order for her to leave the hospital. She is still getting some meds and of course her TPN through her central line. Mel continues to battle nausea, please pray that they can find the source soon.

Today is Mel's 82nd day in the hospital since Nov. 13th 2009. She is so ready to be out of there! We are getting closer to that day. Things are heading in the right direction.

We love you Melanie!!!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Still Remission

Today was another pretty good day. Melanie continues to be nauseous, which is no fun for her. One of her nurses says it may be because she is eating more, and her stomach is just not use to it yet. Melanie just wishes it would go away, so she felt more like walking around. Today was a day of NO transfusions! Her neutrophils and white blood cell counts were both up a point as well. They also go her full bone marrow biopsy report back and it looked nice. There is still no sign of Leukemia in her marrow, and there were some platelet cells that are growing. YEAH!

Dr. Ash told Melanie what had to happen in order for her to get out of the hospital. Her neutrophils have to hold at .5 or above (she is .4 today), and she has to have no need for transfusions. Hopefully this scenario will come about soon!

Melanie had some fun times today. She had a fun visit from Kevin, Gina, and Ashely Ellsworth. Melanie was really excited that Kevin stopped by. Her glasses were bugging her and he was able to do a quick adjustment! Melanie was also able to Skype this evening. It was our cute little niece, Lindsey's first birthday. Melanie was able to visit with Kaden, and see her nieces and nephews that she doesn't get to see very much right now. I know it was good to be in on the action, even though she is far away. What an amazing thing Skype is! It was a great night!

Hope the nausea subsides a bit tomorrow, Melanie. Love ya!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cautiously Optimistic

As stated before, everything about Melanie's treatment is up and down. One day we are doing plan A, then plan B, then back to plan A, etc. It all depends on the day, and how Melanie looks and is responding. Yesterday, Cami explained all about plan B. Today, plan B is being put off for a bit longer, and hopefully indefinitely.

After last weeks bone marrow biopsy, there were less than 5% of mature cells in here bone marrow. The biopsy they did yesterday shows between 5-10%. What this means is that something may still be happening and progressing. They will do a test to see if these new cells are Melanie's or the donor's, but those results won't be in until next week. For now they are putting plan B off. They will continue to follow her counts, and see where she is next week. Dr. Hoda said that they are cautiously optimistic! He instructed us to cross our fingers! It looks like it will be a slow climb up, but as long as counts are coming up, it is good.

Dr. Hoda is a great doctor. I have had several opportunities to listen to him explain things, and he does a great job. He is super nice as well! Melanie was relieved to be putting the second transplant off. She was in a happy mood today. Pretty tired, but I saw many smiles!

Brett and Lana (uncle and aunt) came to visit Melanie today. Thank you for stopping by! It is always nice to have a new face every once in awhile. I know it kind of breaks up the monotony of the day for Melanie!

Finally, I saw this quote on another blog. It is from this months Ensign, and I thought it was perfect!

President Boyd K Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, once said, "If you are helpless, He is not. If you are lost, He is not. If you don't know what to do next, He knows. It would take a miracle, you say? Well, if it takes a miracle, why not?"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Plan B

Melanie had another bone marrow biopsy today. She has had 5 biopsies since her diagnosis. Mom said that this one wasn't as bad, but Mel has been really sore today. She has also been quite tired.

The doctors have decided that it's time to go to plan B. For some reason, we may never know, the stem cells have failed to graft. We are all feeling really frustrated and just plain bummed out. We are extremely grateful to have a plan B however. Because the donor was so young and healthy, he was able to provide enough cells for some to be frozen in case it came to plan B...another tender mercy from Heavenly Father.

Here is Plan B:
*March 5th-8th- Melanie will receive Fludarabine, a form of chemo, and ATG (rabbit's blood)
*March 9th- continue with the Fludarabine
*March 10th- rest day
*March11th- stem cell infusion

Our family continues to have faith that Melanie will be cured. We have faith that it is in the Lord's hands and will be done in His timetable. We ask for continued prayers on Mel's behalf. This is going to be a rough week.

We are behind you all the way Mel!! We are cheering you on and praying for you always!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Staying Hopeful

Mel ate food today, went on a walk and took a shower! That is huge!! Her neutrophils were .3, up from yesterday. According to mom, we are looking for the white blood count to come up, so we watch for the neutrophil counts to come up. Mel will be having another bone barrow biopsy either tomorrow or Thurs. I guess the results will tell the doctors where we go from here.

Mel had some visitors from her ward yesterday. Courtney and Shelley Balls stopped for a visit on their way home from the airport. They had been in Hawaii and brought Mel some chocolate covered macadamia thoughtful!

I wish I knew the story behind Mel wearing purple gloves on her feet. I'm thinking is must be from when her feet and hands were so sore and it hurt to get them wet in the shower. It definitely shows that Mel hasn't lost her sense of humor!

We are all praying for better days ahead! Love to you sweet Mel!!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Well, Melanie's neutrophils were back down today...ARGH! Saturday they were .2, yesterday they were .4, and today they are back to .2. A bit frustrating! Everything is kind of a day to day thing right now. It is just a "wait and see" game. One of the doctors, Dr. Petersen, has been out of town. He is the most experienced of all the doctors. They all have been conferencing via phone, but he returns tomorrow. All the doctors will have a pow wow, and decide the plan of action. Right now, they are leaning towards doing a second transplant. There are a lot of variables that could have affected the grafting process, and failure of the new cells to graft. It is hard to pinpoint what exactly went wrong and why. Melanie has been saying from day one that she just doesn't follow the normal path. She says she is creating the "Melanie Protocol", for future followers.

Melanie is having a really hard time right now. She is extremely emotional and frustrated. She also just feels plain awful. One of her nurses, Jared, told her that she is in the hardest stage right now. She has no blood counts or immune system, which causes her to have absolutely no energy. Melanie just feels crappy! She is also really scared as well.

Darn it! We just have to remain positive and optimistic.