Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Loving Every Minute Of Mom And Mel

We have sure enjoyed having Melanie and mom home! Mel looks really good and feels pretty good too. She tires very easily, but that's to be expected. It has been so nice to sit and talk to her, I've missed her a lot. I went over to my parent's home last night to see Mel and the electricity went out shortly after I got there. We sat around the table laughing and talking by the light of a lantern. Mike and Steph came over with their little girls. Lindsey kept pointing at Mel and saying something in baby talk. Taylie was especially glad to have grandma back. They read stories together and played with the paper dolls. You can tell Taylie has missed her grandma.

Here are some picture from last night.

Kaden and Mel.

Mom and Taylie reading a story.

Today, Melanie had her first driving experience since November 2009. I asked her if it was like riding a bike, she said it sort of was. She went and picked up Kaden from school and went to the eye doctor. I can't imagine how much she has missed her freedom! We take for granted just being able to hop in the car and go wherever we want, whenever we want. Mel being able to drive on her own is another small victory.

I went over again tonight and we watched a little of the jazz game. Mel had her magnesium pump hooked up to her and it was making her pretty cold. She just snuggled up in her covers and tried to get warm. She was pretty worn out by the time I left.

Mike gave Mel this tile tonight...

It was given to Mike by the father of a 5 year old girl who has been where Mel is. She is from Richmond. Mel was quite touched by it. It will be in her room. Thanks Abbot family!

Welcome Home!

Last night Melanie headed home to Cache Valley! She went home amongst mixed feelings from the doctors. One doctor (Dr. Ash) was all for it. Dr. Peterson is the doctor she met with yesterday, and he was a bit apprehensive. He didn't have any problem with her going up for the fundraiser for an overnighter, but was not on board with longer. At 100 days post transplant (May 17th), they perform a bunch of tests to see if there is any graft vs. host. The doctor really wants her to be close until they know this information. His concern is that complications can come on fast, and Logan Regional is not equipped and experienced enough. Melanie has an appointment on Tuesday, and they are going to try and start the testing process as soon as they can. Melanie is ready to be home! Dr. Ash is all for it, because she thinks it will do great things for Mel's spirits!

All of Melanie's counts were down a little yesterday. It wasn't a drastic difference. The doctor said if we checked our blood they would fluctuate a bit from day to day a well. So, everything is still going well! She won't be able to be at the fundraiser the entire day, but she will pop in. It is going to be such a great event, and she doesn't want to miss out!

I have been trying to coax Melanie into posting on the blog, but it is still too hard and frustrating for her. The Tacro medicine she takes makes her hands shake. She can do quick notes on Facebook, even though that is even difficult. However, it just frustrates her to have to hit the wrong key, backspace, delete, etc. Some day she will get on here.

Welcome Home, Melanie!

See you all on Saturday! Hopefully Mother Nature will be kind!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

We're Still Alive!

Hi Everyone,
It's Mom (Peggy) again. We've had a pretty uneventful week. Melanie couldn't get her pictures to work so no photos again. Thursday we had visitors come. My dad, Doral and his good friend Kathy Heaps. They are planning to get married on July 8th!
It has been a short time since mom's death but my dad isn't sitting around feeling sorry for himself. Life goes on. We're happy if he's happy. We are not meant to be alone. We wish them the best! Friday we made a very short visit to the clinic. Melanie's white blood count has been the same for the last three visits (3.1). It's almost normal. Yeh! Her hematocrit was up from 30.2 to 31.3. Her platelets jumped from 60,000 to 65,000. Her neutrophils were the only thing that went down. From 2.5to 2.0. Sharon, the RN told us things looked good and Mel didn't need any transfusions. Happy Day! We decided to go visit my Aunt Ronda Hyde in South Jordan. She had a back surgery on March 3rd. There were complications with the surgery and she ended out going deaf in both ears. The surgery hasn't seemed to have helped. It's so sad that she can't hear us talk to her. She uses a laptop to read what we're saying. She's been staying with her daughter and son-in-law, Janice and Craig Downs. It was so fun to see them and just get out of the house. We stopped at Arby's on the way home. Saturday we went to Walmart with Kaden and LeRoy to get a few groceries. We stopped at Carl's Junior for lunch. We always go through the drive-thru. We had visitors again today. My brother David, and Cindy, his wife came. Thanks for the visit. Saturday night Kaden stayed with his mom while we went to my dad's 78th birthday party in Salt Lake City. We ate at The Roof. Kaden and Melanie watched Avatar while we were gone. We are thankful Melanie is doing better. Our hopes are that Tuesday we can come home and be with the other part of the family for either a short visit or a long visit. THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

Hope to c/ya soon,

Mom (Peggy)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home Away From Home

Hi everybody! It's Mom (Peggy),
We were supposed to do the blog yesterday, but we took a break as well as Mel's sisters. Sometimes a break is in order. Melanie did a lot of sleeping yesterday and I did a weeks worth of laundry as well as a bathroom cleaning. We have to be really careful to keep things sanitized and germ-free for Mel. We went to the clinic this morning at 10:40. Melanie had her blood draws, talked to the PA, Charlie, and then had a good talk with Dr. Asch. Melanie's counts have been climbing again. Her white blood count is at 3.1. Her hematocrit is 30.2. Her platelets are 60,000. Her neutrophils are 2.5. These numbers probably don't mean anything to a lot of you, but Dr. Asch was so excited! Melanie talked to her about going home to Hyde Park. Kaden is having a harder time leaving each Sunday night. It's been a long time since he's been with his mom for a long period of time. A thirteen year old needs his mother. Dr. Asch is having the PA check in for a place that can do her blood draws and home healthcare to provide supplies for her central line and any IV supplies she might need. The usual time to leave if there isn't any graft versus host disease is 100 days from transplant. That date would be May 17th. She is on one immunosuppressant, Tacrolimis. This can be tapered off when the time is right. It has to be checked often so this is one of the reasons for staying close. We'll be glad when she can stop some of this drug because it causes BAD tremor in her hands. Her writing is like an old woman. She hasn't been able to write any thank you cards for a long time. SORRY EVERYONE. Just know that all you've done and are doing is so appreciated by Melanie. She just can't reply right now. Tomorrow we go back to the Bone Marrow Clinic to have her Tacro level checked. Friday we go in again to have blood levels checked. Tuesday we go for a clinic visit with the doctor. We're hoping for permission for Melanie to go home for the garage sale on May 1st. She will have to wear her mask and gloves. She won't be able to stay for a long amount of time, but we're hoping she can make an appearance! She tires quickly and has to be careful with large crowds of people. It will be nice to be back in good ole Hyde Park. It might not be for good yet. She has to go to the clinic at least once a week. We just have to play the patience game. We're used to that. Time to go to bed.

Love to all of you,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Family Fun

Melanie is still doing really well. Today She headed to the clinic for a check on her blood levels. Everything was up, except for platelets. They have said all along that platelets would be the last to come up. Things are looking great! She is still sore, but not in the extreme pain. She hasn't even been taking any pain medication. She looked 100 times better than the last time I saw her!

We had a little get together at Greg's house to have a triple birthday celebration.

We put up an umbrella, and Melanie even sat outside for a few minutes. She had to go in, because it was a bit breezy. If she is out in a breeze, she has to wear her mask. She would rather sit inside than wear the mask. She bought some great new hats on a little shopping adventure she took yesterday!

Our birthday kids: Greg (April 15th), Brooke (17th), and Grandpa (21st). My mom feels bad that she won't be with my dad on his birthday, but we had a great party tonight.

Melanie is really starting to get some hair! Greg and I had fun grooming it for her.

It is so nice to see her smiling, talking, walking, and just feeling better!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Quick Update

Melanie was able to leave the hospital today. She is feeling and doing so much better! She made it through this bump in the road. It will all be uphill from here! She is really hoping to be able to make it up to Cache Valley for the fundraiser. We will keep our fingers crossed.

Thank you for all of your prayers!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nightmare Comes True

During Melanie's previous hospital stays, she has always had one concern. She was so nervous that there would be an earthquake, and she would be on the 8th floor of a crumbling building. Well, tonight her fear came true...kind of. They felt the 4.9 earthquake that originated in Randolph. My mom was sitting in the chair, and Melanie was lying in bed. The building definitely wasn't coming down, and there was not much movement. However, it was enough for Melanie's bed to move a little and startle them both. Something they won't forget!

Melanie is doing a lot better. Today, they turned off all the IV's, except for fluids. She is taking her medications by mouth again. Her pain pump is off, and her TPN (moo juice) is done. If she can prove to Dr. Ash that she can eat (she has not been eating enough calories on her own), and her pain is under control, she could possibly leave tomorrow. Either way, she should be leaving soon!

Melanie went walking twice today. She walked around her room without the walker, and then in the hall. She had her walker in the hall, but used it mostly for stability. The physical therapist really had her focus on standing up straight and tall, and just balancing with the walker and not leaning on it. My mom said she is walking so much better! She was a lot more alert today! She didn't have any pain medication, and was doing pretty good. The medication in the pump made her nauseous again. It was a trade off. She could have pain or nausea. This should improve as the medication leaves her system. Her left foot is still more swollen than her right, but hopefully the swelling will go away soon, especially if she can get up and walk around.

Melanie is so looking forward to being out of the hospital once again!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pain Relief

I was able to visit Melanie and mom at the hospital today for a bit. Melanie was pretty tired this morning, and slept a lot of the time I was there. I was there when the PA Irma came to see how she was doing and check her out.

Irma said that Melanie looked really good on paper. She is improving as far as pain goes as well. Melanie's blood pressure has been up, so they are watching that. They think it is due to her pain, so hopefully it will go down soon. Her other counts were all really good. She still has the sinus infection, which makes it hard to breathe. That should be clearing up soon!

Just to show you what Melanie's leg looks like. This bruising goes all the way up on the side! Her feet are still really swollen, as you can see. Irma was worried about a clot in Melanie's calf, because her left ankle is more swollen. They did an ultrasound on it, but I don't think they found anything alarming.

Melanie was able to take a shower today, which is a great sign of improvement. The physical therapist did another ultrasound on her leg to help break up the hematoma. He also got Melanie to walk around a bit. She moved so much better than she did before! Her pain is becoming more bearable. Last week her pain was at a 10. Today she often gave it a 5! YEAH!

This is Yvette, my mom's favorite person. She is the diabetic specialist at the hospital. She has helped my mom as needed. Today, my mom's insulin pump broke! She was so nervous, but Yvette came to the rescue. She ordered a new pump that will be in tomorrow morning. She helped my mom know what to do in the meantime, and gave her piece of mind. What a blessing that she is there and aware of my mother!

Here is to more improvements each day!

Monday, April 12, 2010

An All Around Better Day

Being back in the hospital is just what the doctor ordered (pun intended)! Mel had a better day. She has been able to sleep and has had some relief from her pain. Having the pain med. pump has helped a lot. She had an easier time walking today as well. I'm so happy for Mel! She has been suffering so much.

Mel's blood levels were good today. Her bilirubin is really high and the doctors said that it is a sign that her body is breaking down the bruising, great news! They have changed Mel's platelets level parameters from 13,000 to 75, now she gets a platelet transfusion if she is below 75,000. They did this to help boost her body's ability to clot and stop the bleeding from the nicked vein.

Mel is receiving most of her medication through IV and is still on the TPN (moo juice). She had her first session of physical therapy today. They did some ultrasound on her hip. She was pretty sore afterwards. She will have therapy all week.

We all hope that this is the beginning a many "better" days!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nicked Vein

Just a quick update on how Melanie is doing. She is still in a lot of pain. I guess she did not get hardly any sleep last night, because she hurt so bad. They start her pain medication out low and then increase it slowly, so they can find her threshold. They were going to increase it tonight, and also give her something to help her sleep. She is still really out of it as well. My mom was telling me today that during the bone marrow biopsy procedure, they nicked a vein, which is causing the bleeding/bruising, and compressing on some of her nerves. The doctor that did the procedure feels absolutely horrible! We lay no blame. There is always risk with any procedure.

Melanie has received blood and platelets today. Her IV stand is back in use. She is receiving most of her medications through IV. She is also back on TPN (moo juice). This kind of stinks! The doctor said it could take 2-3 weeks for the pain to go away. Hopefully it will at least get into a range they can manage soon!

Thank you for all of your prayers. This is just a little step back, but she will pull through!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Back in the Hospital

I didn't have a chance to post last night, so I have a lot to say. Melanie was admitted back into the hospital today. Yesterday, she was still so out in another world. My mother and I worked hard to get her dinner pills down. We got 6 down, just in time for her to have to take her night pills. She was still in a lot of pain, shaky, slow, and mentally not all there. My mom called and spoke to one of the doctors. He told my mom to bring Melanie in today, and that they may admit her.

When they arrived at the hospital, they admitted her and started some testing. They took several tubes of blood, swabbed for some cultures, and scheduled some more intense testing. They did a CAT scan of her leg. They discovered that the hematoma is actually getting bigger. Not only does she have a bruise on her hip, but now she has a large bruise on the back of her knee. This is the source of all her extreme pain. The doctors said that her shaking could just be from the pain. They are upping her platelets to try and help stop the bleeding.

They performed an MRI of her head. They wanted to make certain that her altered state and slow responsiveness was in fact due to medication and nothing else. They did not find anything out of the ordinary, but they did discover that she has a sinus infection. This is probably why her white blood count had dropped today. They think maybe that is why her hematoma is not healing, because she is fighting this infection. They have started her on some antibiotics.

Melanie was still slow and altered today, because she was taking Morphine most of the day. This evening, they are starting her on a pain pump. Hopefully this will relieve her pain, without all the sedation affects! She is just in soooo much pain! On a good note, her kidney function looked a lot better today!

Dr. Hoda said they are going to keep her for a couple of days to get things under control. Melanie was not thrilled, but I'm sure she understands it is the best place for her right now.

I took a few pictures yesterday:

Melanie is getting some hair back. It looks pretty dark to me!

Because her kidneys were not doing great, her feet are really swollen right now. It is amazing how huge they are! It doesn't hurt, and hopefully the swelling will go down as her kidney function keeps improving.

She was able to lay next to Kaden yesterday. School will be out soon, and she will be able to spend a lot of quality time with him!

I want to say a few words about our mother. As I watched her patience with Melanie this week, I was amazed. She had some tears and frustration (understandably), but she never faltered on her constant ability to take care of Melanie's every need. She knows her pills inside and out. I am not even sure how to put into words the love I feel for her and the example of Christ like love she shows. If there is a Mother of the Year award, she would win!

Thank you, mom for showing us all how to care for others!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not the Week of Her Dreams

Melanie and my mom were set for a break today from clinic, but it didn't end up that way. Last night, Melanie was just soooo out of it, shaky, and it took us 1 hour to get 4 of her 9 pills down. My mom just felt that things were not quite right. She called the clinic this morning, and they headed in at about 11:30 a.m. It was a good thing they went in.

Melanie was dehydrated, her kidney function was not good, and her red blood cells were down as well. So, they spent the day getting fluids, blood, and platelets. They didn't get home until about 9:00 p.m.! Tomorrow she will have to get her levels checked again, but they arranged for her to be able to go to the American Fork Hospital, which is only about 3 min. away. They are still worried about her kidney function (her phosphorous levels are still high), so she will be going to clinic every day next week.

We think maybe Melanie had a bit too much Morphine last night. She was doing a bit better today, but is still slow in her responses. She also often stops mid activity and dazes off. She says weird things, and forgets what she is saying or just said. Watching her is a great example for my children of why not to do drugs!

Melanie is a bit disappointed about this week. She had envisioned this week with Kaden full of playing games, laughing, and even going on some adventures. She has not been able to spend as much time with him as she had hoped. Cami and her boys came down today, and Melanie was bummed that she didn't even get to see them. Hopefully tomorrow we can get her blood drawn quickly, won't need any transfusions, and then she can spend some time quality time with Kaden.

We will try to take more pictures tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Less Pain, but...?

Today Melanie and my mom met with a pain management doctor. He gave them a prescription for Morphine pills. There were two types, long lasting and short acting. It has helped to relieve the pain, but she is OUT! I mean so drugged up she can't leave her eyes open for more than a second. It is kind of funny to try and have a conversation with her. She even fell asleep while trying to drink from her water bottle. The bottle just sat on her lips. Chase said, "Mom, it's kind of scary what Mel is doing." This wouldn't be too bad, but my mom can't get her to take her medicine or drink as much as she is suppose to. We are going to have to find a happy balance between pain and coherence.

Melanie's labs were good today. Her counts were up again! Her phosphorous is up as well, which is not so good. They are worried about her kidney function. They will be watching this closely over the next little bit. Her red blood was down a little, but not enough for a transfusion.

Melanie and my mom will stay here through the week, until Kaden goes back. They will head back to Greg's after that. Melanie is probably still going to be going to the hospital three times a week. This means mom will have to stay down here for awhile longer. Melanie can't come stay with me and let my mom go home, until her clinics are shorter.

Hopefully we can find a happy middle tomorrow and have more of Melanie with us. She is definitely going to sleep soundly tonight!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Personal Spa

Yesterday was yet another day at the clinic. All of Melanie's counts were up again!! Such a blessing! They gave her some platelets, even though they weren't down today. Dr. Hoda wanted to do it as a precaution, because of the hematoma. She also received some fluids. We are so glad that her counts just keep climbing!

Today was a day of just hanging out. My kids and I had to venture to Logan for a dentist appointment, so I don't have a ton of pictures from the day.

This is Melanie's new favorite walk. We just take it slow and easy. I feel bad, because I know it hurts a bit. We call it her daily physical therapy. My mom, Melanie, and Kaden were planning to go do a little shopping, but it didn't happen. Melanie has been in quite a bit of pain today. It is hard to see her walk. She grimaces with every step, and is so shaky. We are so hoping that this will go away soon, and Melanie can feel like herself.

Melanie got a nice pedicure today! Carmen and Todd Sorensen and their children came for a visit. My mom said they stayed for awhile and pampered Melanie. She was at her own personal spa! Carmen gave her a foot massage and painted her toenails. Melanie wanted me to take a picture of her pretty toes!

I loved seeing Kaden helping Melanie tonight. He knew just how to lift her legs on the couch. I know they are enjoying spending some time together.

Melanie is in a lot of pain tonight. She has been crying and hurting for about an hour now. We are trying ice, heat, back rubs, and breathing. Oh, how we all wish the pain would go away. Hang in there, Mel! This is a bump in the road that you will be over soon.

Drugs kicked in! Blessing given (thank you, Steve and Dan)! Rest and relaxation finally come!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday

Yesterday, Melanie and mom spent ALL day at the hospital. They were there from about 10:30 to 5:30! It was a long day for them. Melanie's blood was low, so she had to receive two units of blood. This always takes time. She is still in a lot of pain from the hematoma that is compressing her nerve. It is frustrating for her, because she would probably be feeling really good otherwise!

Easter morning, the crew headed to Pleasant Grove to spend the day with us. Melanie, my mom, and Kaden will stay the week. Melanie gets to be a mom for the entire week! Yeah for spring break!

This is how Melanie gets around these days. It is painful and hard to walk. My dad was helping her a ton. We were worried about her staying here, because of our stairs. She was able to make it down them with help from Steve, so hopefully it will work alright.

Melanie's niece and nephews were excited to have her come. She played Easter bunny, and brought them each a little gift.

They all posed for a picture with their new items. They are lucky to have such a thoughtful aunt!

After dinner, we had an Easter egg hunt.

Melanie was able to hobble out to the deck to see all the action.

The egg hunt was a success! Thank you, aunt Melanie, for bringing some yummy filled eggs for the hunt.

Tomorrow morning, Melanie will call and see if she needs to go into the clinic or not. Right now, she just needs to give the bruise time to heal. Hopefully she can get some relief and be pain free soon. We will have a great week and keep you all posted on our adventures!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Signs Of Engraftment!

Mel spent yesterday in a lot of pain. Today was her clinic day and getting there wasn't easy. Mel was hurting pretty bad. It was a relief to finally make it up to the clinic. Mel had her usual blood work. Her white blood cells and neutrophils both went up on their own without the help from the neupogen shot. Her platelets were up to 34,000...the highest they have been post transplant. Melanie also has megakaryocytes in her blood, they are baby platelets...a sure sign of engraftment! This is awesome news!!! The doctor told Mel that the bone marrow looks great and there is no sign of Leukemia cells...SUCH good news! With all of the exciting news, there was some bad news too. Her hematocrit went down sharply and the doctor was concerned about bleeding from her biopsy on Wed. He was most concerned about the possibility of a blood clot. He ordered Mel to lay down and not walk while she waited for a CAT scan. The scan revealed that she did not a a blood clot, but a large hematoma. She had quite a bit of bleeding, but it wasn't active anymore. Her body will have to absorb the hematoma, but in the meantime it is pinching Mel's sciatic nerve and causing excruciating pain. It is going to take time and Mel will start some therapy on Monday to help with the pain. While at the clinic, Mel received two units of blood and some fluids to replenish what she lost yesterday being sick from the pain meds. They wanted to keep Melanie overnight to help manage her pain, but Mel kindly turned them down, can't say that I blame her. She will return to the clinic in the morning to have her hematocrit checked to make sure that she isn't actively bleeding.

It was a long day for my mom and Mel, clinic days usually are. We are so happy to have good news, it made the day more bearable. Mel is looking forward to spending a whole week with Kaden. They have sure missed each other! Enjoy being mom, Mel! We love you!