Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Rough Start

Melanie had her first dose of chemo at 12:30 am, they had to make sure she was really hydrated, so it was an odd time. My mom said as soon as they started the chemo, Mel got sick and was for the rest of the night. Her central line was causing her lots of pain as well. It sounds like it was a long night with little sleep.

Today was better. She is on lots of medication! If I wrote everything down right... she is on 5 medicines for nausea, pain meds for her central line, a steroid, and synthetic marijuana (the last two meds are to boost her appetite). Mel was able to eat a bit today. She also took a walk, and got some sleep.

They started her chemo at 9pm tonight and Mel hadn't thrown up yet when I talked with our mom at 9:37 (to be exact).  :)

Our mom said that Mel is feeling really tired. She will want to do something, but her body just can't get the energy to do it. This time around is really different. Last time she was so sick before she went in, that she almost felt a bit better once her treatment started. This time, she was feeling great and is made to feel sick with all of this poison being pumped into her body.

Mel continues to have a great attitude about everything. She is so strong!

Greg found a link to the article about Mel that Angie posted about. Click HERE to read it. Her story is on page 10. Reading it brought tears to my eyes.

Remember Mel in your prayers tonight. :)

Hang in there Mel! We sure love you!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Induction Day 1

We finally have some answers after our pow wow with Dr. Asche today.  They had all of the test results in, except her bone marrow biopsy.  They did have the preliminary results.  Everything looks good!  There was no sign of cancer anywhere, except the spot on her breast.  This is not breast cancer, but leukemia.  Melanie really feels like it is a huge blessing that she got the lump, or she may not have had any signs that things were brewing otherwise.  They will still wait for the pathology on the bone marrow, but the preliminary results look clear. 

Dr. Asche made sure that we knew it was not a good thing that she was back, but it could be a lot worse.  She is healthy and it appears to be localized.  She mentioned that she doesn't like to throw out percentages and numbers as far as prognosis.  We were all on board with that.  Melanie can make her own percentage.

The battle plan is pretty much what we were expecting at this point.  Melanie signed the papers to give them permission to treat.  She will start her induction period tonight.  This will be 5 days of chemo, given to her for 1 hour every day.  After the five days, they will assess how she is handling the treatment.  If she is doing well, she could possibly leave the hospital and do the next 9 days outpatient.  She will have to stay in the Salt Lake area though (Greg's house).  It is not fun to read the possible side effects of the chemo.  The particular one they are giving her this week can do damage to the liver.  She may even go a little yellow.  Dr. Asche wanted us to have a good idea of what Mel is up against.  She informed us that they actually had a patient die of liver failure while doing the chemo.  Not that she is planning on that happening, but just wanted us to have a heads up.  The chemo can cause mouth sores and swollen, sore hands and feet (which Melanie had last time).  She will also lose her hair again.  Needless to say, it could be a tough week.

After her chemo regimen, they will wait for her counts to be right, and then they will do another stem cell transplant.  This should be in 4-6 weeks, if everything goes well.  We need to specify that Melanie's original donor was awesome!  He helped her so much, but Mel just needs a little tune up (as Dr. Asche put it).  They may do some localized radiation in this process as well, but that is yet to be determined.  Full body radiation like last time is out of the question!

Melanie is having such a positive attitude, which will go a long way.  She believes there is a higher power at work here.  She has amazing faith!  The hardest thing for her is to have to leave Kaden home.  He will be well taken care of by grandpa.

Melanie will be in room 806 this time.  The nurses call it room 6 with a view.  We will keep you updated on visitors at this time.  She is allowed HEALTHY visitors, but we will see how she is feeling after all the chemo.  Letters and notes are always welcome and would help her so much!  You can send a letter to:

LDS Hospital
8th Avenue and C street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84143
East 8th - 806

Cami also noticed that if you go on the hospital website (ldshospital.com), you can email a message, which a volunteer will deliver to Melanie's room.  Pretty cool!! 

Thank you again for all your kind words and prayers.  Melanie has a fight ahead, and needs all the prayers and words of encouragement she can get!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Melanie's Claim to Fame

On Friday, my mom was sitting in the bone marrow outpatient clinic looking at this magazine.  She was casually flipping through reading a heading here and there.  She turned a page, and saw a familiar face!

It is hard to see from this lovely picture, but that is Melanie!  My mom looked at the receptionist and said, "That's my daughter."  Awhile ago, one of the staff members had asked Melanie if it was alright to publish a bit of her story.  Melanie said that was fine, but then never heard anything else about it.  Well, they did publish a great article about Melanie's fight and her positive attitude.  It was written by Dr. Hoda.  My mom got a copy for each of the kids.  I will have to figure out a way to scan it and put it in a form that is actually readable. 

Tomorrow is the day that we will find out more information.  We have a meeting with the doctors in the afternoon.  They will have all her test results (preliminary results from bone marrow), and should know exactly where the cancer cells are in her body.  They are planning to put her central line in and start chemo after the meeting. 

I know Melanie is anxious to hear the results and know what she is dealing with.  It is nice this time around to have a better understanding of things to come, and it is  a great blessing that she is starting out a lot healthier.

I will get on and blog as soon as I can after the meeting.  Thank you all for your continued prayers.  It means a lot to Melanie, Kaden, and our entire family.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Here we go again...

As many of you already know, Melanie has relapsed. She found a lump in her breast and has been in the process of getting it checked out. In this process, we've learned that her leukemia has raised it's UGLY head again (the lump in her breast is primarily water that will dissolve over time). There have been so many different emotions felt by all of us upon first hearing this news...anger, despair, fear, sorrow, exhaustion, just to name a few. There were lots of tears shed. As the reality of this has settled in, we have also had feelings of hope, faith, and trust. Melanie is ready to do what she has to, in order to give leukemia a good old fashion kick in the butt!

Melanie spent the day in Salt Lake. She underwent a lumbar puncture (with chemo injected), a PET and CT scan, and a bone marrow biopsy. I spoke with my mom tonight and she said Mel's spirits are good, but she is really tired. Sleep will be a welcome friend tonight.

We will have more details on Mon. about what exactly we are facing. The doctors have yet to determine where her leukemia is. It hasn't manifested itself in her blood stream yet, but there are cells somewhere. The doctors will meet with Mel and our parents on Monday at 1:30. Mel will get a new central line that will be hooked back up to Shithead (her pet name for her IV pole). She will be admitted that day as well. She will begin induction next week. This is when she receives high doses of chemo. Mel will receive these treatments for 6 weeks, and will remain in either the hospital, or the Salt Lake area during this time. If she receives any radiation, it will be localized and not the full body radiation she had last time. The doctors are also looking for another stem cell donor. Her first donor has already said that he would be happy to donate again, in fact, there are still more cells of his at the hospital. The doctors told Mel that they will have to try a new donor's cells this time.

My mom will stay by Mel's side like last time. The plan is to have Kaden stay with our dad and visit Mel on the weekends.

When Angie and I talked today, we commented on how it feels like we were just barely here...updating the blog. I have to remind myself that Mel has had 2 awesome years of good health thanks to her first stem cell donor. We have had lots of fun times over these last two years. Blessings!

Melanie would like you to check the blog for information, Angie and I will update it as often as we can (hopefully daily). Visitors are allowed at the LDS Hospital as long as you are healthy :). Melanie loves to get cards and LOVES your prayers. Flowers are not allowed in the bone marrow unit.

Thanks for all of the concern and love for Mel. She is amazing to all of us. We as a family believe in miracles, and the power of prayer and fasting. We have faith in our savior, Jesus Christ. Whatever the outcome is, we believe it is part of our Heavenly Father's plan for Melanie.

GO, FIGHT, WIN Melly-elly!