Saturday, May 29, 2010

Giving Up Control

Melanie had a clinic visit yesterday which ended out being an all day affair much to her chagrin. Her hematocrit was really low and so she needed a transfusion. They waited for 3 hours for the blood. It was really frustrating for her and our mom to just sit there and wait. Kaden had a baseball game that Mel wanted to be there for. She said, "I don't miss baseball". She made it to a few minutes of the game, but missed seeing Kaden up to bat.

I remember sitting in Mel's pre- transplant meeting and Dr. Ash telling her that the hardest part about post transplant life is giving up control. It's hard no doubt about it. Mel has so much that she wants to do each day, but her body just won't let her. She tires so easily, yet she keeps going and works hard to live life as normally as possible. The clinic visits are an inconvenience most of the time, but so necessary as Mel continues her battle.

Next week Mel will receive the first of four spinal taps which will include chemo being injected into her spine. We were really concerned about the chemo killing her hard-at-work donor cells. The Dr. explained that it won't affect them, they are just hoping to kill any lingering leukemia cells in her spinal fluid. She will have another bone marrow biopsy the following week. Mel has requested to be put completely under for this one. I hope they grant her wish! Her last biopsy was horrific.

Melanie has still been working on getting her classroom packed up. She isn't able to lift anything or handle the dust covered items, so she directs everyone on where to put things. Our cousins have been such a huge help to her! Emily has donated many hours in helping Mel. It is so neat to see everyone helping out in their own way, when and where they can. Thanks to everyone!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

An Update

Sorry about the lack of updates. There hasn't been much to report which is sometimes a good thing. Mel is doing really good! She has been spending a couple of hours a day working on getting her classroom packed up. I know there are a lot of emotions about not being able to teach next year. Mel loves being a teacher. Our cousin Emily has been helping Melanie with this huge task of packing up her room, thank you so much Em. Mel tires really easily and Emily's help has been immense.

Mel has been to two ball games this week. Kaden's baseball season is in full swing and his biggest cheerleader is and always has been his mom. Mel hates to miss a single game. She has kept the teams stats for the last few years and she isn't able to do that this year because of her tremor. At least she gets to just watch the game and not be asked every few minutes what the score is.

We thought it was going to be overcast for the game tonight, but it ended out being really sunny. We had to be sure to keep Mel out of the sun. Thanks to George Lusk for being a lifesaver and letting us use his umbrella. It was funny to see the looks that some of the kids were giving Mel at the game. She lowered her mask a couple of times to show the kids that it was just her under there. She has a good sense of humor about it and doesn't get at all offended.

Cami and Mel at the ball game today.

Melanie will be going to Salt Lake on Friday for a clinic visit. They will be doing her usual blood work along with a test on her tears. They trap some of the tears from her eyes and test them for signs of Graph vs. Host disease. Mel still has a lot of things ahead...a bone marrow biopsy and some spinal chemo injections to name a couple. She is staying strong and taking it a day at a time. We are all so happy to have her doing as well as she is. She is a miracle!

We love you sweet Melly!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Clinic Day

Mom and Mel went to Salt Lake today for a clinic visit. Mel's blood levels are looking good. Everything was up with the exception of her hematocrit. It wasn't low enough for a transfusion though which was nice, when she requires a transfusion it adds hours to the visit. Mel found out that her central line is coming out on its own. This isn't a welcome thing because if it does fall out then Mel will have to be poked whenever they need blood. Having her central line is so much easier! It allows the nurses to give her anything she needs intravenously, quickly and without needles. We hope her line will stay put for a little while longer. The site of her line entry looks so sore and a little infected...ouch! They have decided to start weaning Mel off of the magnesium drip and start giving it to her in pill form. It is really hard on the stomach so they are doing it slowly to see how she tolerates it. Mel also received a breathing treatment today that is pretty nasty. It helps kill fungi and prevents pneumonia. Mel has to be in a room all by herself as she breathes it because it is pretty toxic. I can't remember the name of the treatment, it has a weird name. Anyway, we hope it does its job in keeping Mel pneumonia free.

Mel was able to come back home after her clinic visit! It is such a treat to have her home! I love to sit on her bed and talk or watch TV with her. I missed the simple things while she was gone that will never be taken for granted again.

I love you Mel!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day Mel

Melanie has often said that the hardest thing about being sick for the last few months has been the time spent away from Kaden. They have really stuck together through the ups and downs of Leukemia. I think they have both learned to appreciate each other more and have learned to cherish the time they get to spend together.

Being a single mom has been really challenging and I think Mel has done a terrific job in providing for the needs of Kaden. She has worked hard to get her education despite the demands of being a teacher and single mother. Mel loves being a mother! I think she is raising a great young man! Kaden is so blessed to have a mother who loves him unconditional, with all of her heart!

Happy Mother's Day Mel!

As far as an update goes, Her labs looked good on Sat. She goes to Salt lake on Wed. for a clinic visit. She is feeling tired, is always cold, and has a tremor, but is happy, fun and smiley despite it all! It is nice to have Mel home.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wax On, Wax Off

Today Melanie had her first experience with eyebrow waxing. Before she and Kim headed back up to Hyde Park, we headed to her friend Suzy's new salon.

Melanie has always been nervous to have her eyebrows waxed, but I think she learned that it is not that bad! Suzy also trimmed the hair around the edges of Mel's head. Believe it or not, something so simple made a big difference!

Suzy couldn't resist teasing Melanie a bit. No, she has not grown hair in her ears!

Austin has been a trooper going shopping, eating, and visiting salon's. It has been a great couple of days.

Thank you, Suzy for helping Melanie to feel more beautiful!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Origami Birds

We have been having a grand time these last few days. Kim and Melanie arrived yesterday morning. Melanie was a little subdued. She had learned that morning that one of her good friends, Janine Ward past away. Melanie and Janine have been friends for years. It was shocking and sad for Melanie.

Melanie spent some of the afternoon working on paying bills. She hasn't been in the mind set or availability of her bills for a long time. It felt good to get some of them checked off the list. As she is started to get some of the medical bills paid, she is even more grateful for all the donations!

Melanie is still required to have her magnesium IV every day. As long as she is on the Tacro medication, it will be a must. Some people are able to take a magnesium pill, which would allow Melanie to have her central line taken out. She isn't too quick to do that, because it makes transfusions and blood draws so much easier!

Having aunt Melanie here wouldn't be the same without some DSi download. Austin LOVES it!

A few side effects of Melanie's medicine and treatments makes clipping her fingernails a challenge. First, is her constant shaking from Tacro. We were laughing that she couldn't hold still enough to clip them. Secondly, her fingernails are peeling. She has a new layer growing, so the layer on the top is peeling off. However, she still managed to give herself a nice manicure today!

Today we had some adventures. We went for lunch at a yummy place here called Flour Girls and Dough Boys. They have great sandwiches and delicious desserts. We arrived at a great time. It was pretty empty, so Melanie could take her mask off and eat in peace. After lunch we went to Target and then Costco. By the time we made it to Costco, Melanie was pretty tired, so she rode on a moving cart. When we were starting to leave the store, this cute old man with a cart asked Melanie when she would be done using the "scooter". She told him we were done and that we could move her stuff to his cart and then he could use the one she had. After we were done transferring items, the man pulls a yellow piece of paper out of his pocket and proceeds to fold it into an origami bird. It was so cute of him! It made us all smile.

Melanie and Kim are heading back up to Hyde Park tomorrow afternoon. Melanie has a good friend, Laura, visiting from Wisconsin she wants to see. She will be able to get some blood work done on Saturday at Logan Regional, so she doesn't have to come back down that day, and she will be able to attend Janine's funeral on Tuesday.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ward family at this time.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back to Clinic

Melanie had a clinic visit today in Salt Lake. She and Kim came down this morning and will stay in the area for the rest of the week. Her appointment went well. They drew labs and met with one of the PA's. Her pulmonary function (lungs) went down a bit from where she was before the transplant, but they said that is normal. They are happy to see how well Melanie is doing. The nurses also commented to Kim that they are so glad she was able to go home for a bit! Along with normal labs, they also drew her 100 days post transplant labs. They probably won't have the results from that for a couple of weeks. Melanie was pretty tired when they were done, and was resting when I talked with Kim. Her red blood was down a bit, so that definitely affects her energy. She has another clinic visit next Tuesday, and several other post transplant test in the near future.

Kim and Melanie are coming to stay with us for a few days, so I will try to take some fun pictures of our adventures!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Fundraiser Event

Saturday was the big fundraiser event. Mother nature kept it cool and wet at times, but that didn't stop the wonderful supporters! It was amazing to see the outpouring of love and support for Melanie. The event raised just over $26,000.00!!! Melanie was in awe and wonder at that number. She is so grateful for all who gave so graciously! This will really help to relieve the medical burden of now and in the future. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! There were so many donations made and money given. It was humbling to see someone walk up with just a book at the garage sale, and then write a check for $50.00! We live and grew up in such a wonderful community! Cami knows the list of volunteers better than I do, so she will add some personal "thank you" on here. Cami and her volunteers did such a great job planning and organizing the event. They spent so much time! You ladies are all outstanding!! I wanted to put a few of the pictures I took from the event. Mike was the one running around clicking photos, when it was hopping busy! We will be updating and adding to this post over the next few days!

Enjoy the pictures!