Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy New Year

December 28th:

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season with their family. We had a nice Christmas. The bone marrow biopsy went o.k. Not the best, not the worst. I have had a lot of lingering pain, which I am still dealing with, but overall I think this time was better than the last. I've been seeing a chiropractor and she's been able to fix the rib problem I had, eliminating yet another source of pain.

The medicine my doctor prescribed for the neuropathy caused severe swelling in my feet, ankles and calves, to the point that walking was excruciating. I quit taking it after two days. It seems to have, at least temporarily, helped with the neuropathy, for which I am thankful.

I find out the results of last week's bone marrow biopsy tomorrow at my weekly appointment. I'll let you know. This one doesn't tell us a whole lot, but it tells enough that I'm nervous about the results. Trying to learn not to be. I know it's a faith issue I need to deal with because this is how it's going to be the rest of my life, and I can't spend it on pins and needles waiting for the next test result. I received the following advice on a Christmas card from one of my doctors:

Life is good -- but regrets can drive you mad
Walk blindly into the light and reach out for His hand
Don't ask any questions and don't try to understand
Open up your mind and then open up your heart
Be happy and never hate
Don't waste time, there is something more that you've been handed

It was such a good reminder to me. Life IS a gift -- for all of us. Nobody knows their days. But for me? There is something more I've been handed. Thousands of people went before me and died going through clinical trials while they figured out what the best treatment options were, and thousands more are still dying in those same trials -- always and ever seeking a cure for this horrible disease. I go to the cancer hospital and see so many sick, depressed, horrible looking people that I didn't know really existed before I got sick. Were my eyes just blind to it? I don't know. Did I just look away like everyone else does when I'm out in public without a wig, wearing a surgical mask? I wish for just one day that all of those with cancer would just be brave and go out bald and make everyone aware of how HUGE of a disease this has become. I think you would all be shocked. Maybe then more children would grow up to be oncologists, maybe then more people would register to be stem cell/bone marrow donors. I don't know...in the meantime, I know I pray for a cure, for myself, and for all the others I have come to know who are suffering, some as young as 6 months.

As a side note, as it is nearing the end of the year, and some of you may be looking for a good charity for tax deduction purposes, consider the American Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (www.leukemia-lymphoma.org), or the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org). They both do a lot of good things for those of us who are ill.

Update: December 30th

I went to the doctor yesterday and got the results from my biopsy. They had warned me that at 30 days they wouldn't be able to tell much because most of the cells would still be immature (one of my doctors described it as a bunch of babies and you don't know if they're going to grow up to be juvenile delinquents (leukemic) or good cells. They had also warned me that it's not unusual at this point to see some leukemic cells. Well, I had 40% mature cells and in capitol letters on the report, "NO EVIDENCE OF ACUTE LEUKEMIA." This technically means I am finally in remission and I asked the nurse practitioner if this was good and I should be happy and she said yes, it's a wonderful report for 30 days. I'll have another biopsy at 100 days, so sometime in February, and we want that to be clean as well. Ultimately they want me to make it a year from transplant (11/13) without a relapse because that greatly lowers the overall risk of relapse. If I make it five years without a relapse, I'll be considered "cured."

I also found out that the extreme nausea and vomiting I struggled with last week is most likely a mild form of GVHD. They had warned me about Daniel's immune system attacking my gut, but placed more emphasis on things like diarrhea and didn't mention vomiting, so it didn't come to mind. I've been doing better the last few days and have a prescription written to take if it gets bad again. It's a steroid, so I would prefer to avoid it if possible. Mild GVHD is a good thing, so I'm not complaining too much. I'm so used to throwing up it doesn't really phase me anymore. It just bothers me because it interferes with weight gain. I was down a few pounds this week but I also lost all the swelling in my legs and feet, and I'm wondering if that had more to do with it than anything else. Otherwise my appetite is good, for which I am thankful.

I'll put an end to this lengthy post and bid you all a Happy New Year! I'm quite content to say goodbye to 2006 and pray for a better 2007.

Love you all,
Amy

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How exciting, and what a wonderful way to leave 2006.
Much love to you all, and loads of constant prayers! And I have Christmas presents for Gary still on my floor - I promimse to mail them soon!
Hugs and best wishes for 2007!
Emily M

Anonymous said...

Amy,
Praise God for His goodness to us in 2006! I NEVER thought I would say that! I have learned that He is there even in the midst of our suffering and He can be trusted!
How well I can relate to you and your fear of hearing the results. I am having my first follow-up scan on January 5th. The closer the day comes, the more nervous I am, but I am "leaning on the everlasting arms".
I continue to pray for you every day and will pray for the best results in February as well.
Take care. I am so happy for your good results!
Love,
Gina

Anonymous said...

Amy, Brandon and Family

We are so thankful for the results of the biopsy. We trust you will continue to gain strength as the days pass. Know you are looking forward to being able to care for Gary on your own. It has been such a blessing that your family has been able to help you. You and each one are very special to us and we continue to pray for you all.

Eph. 3:20 "...unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think..."

Love
Don & Lilan

Happi said...

Oh Amy, I praise God for the wonderful report. We will continue to pray for you!!! I check your blog every day, wondering how you are. Thank you so much for posting so we know how to pray.
With love,
The Berger Family in Chicago

Barb said...

You continue to inspire me, Amy.

This sounds good, real good. I know in my heart 2007 is going to be your year. It's so encouraging that the first reports are good.

God be with you and your family as you enter this new year. You are, always, always, in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Hello Amy,
We are so glad to hear about your good news. We so admire your strength. You are so strong and motivated to write your experiences which can help others. You are always in our thoughts. We check your blogsite every day. Give our best to Brandon and to Gary.
Chuck and Irene in New York

Anonymous said...

Praise God! Thank you for the update!

Lisa said...

Amy -

Have a very blessed 2007.. hope grows each day!

Kelsie Corcoran said...

He hears our prayers always! Enjoy your time home now with your family Amy.

Anonymous said...

Amy, We are so excited to hear of the good biopsy report at this time. God is so good. We love you and continue to pray for you many times a day. May you get more strength each day and be able to enjoy your time at home with Brandon and Gary. Praise God for all he has done and is doing. We love you and wish you a Happy New Year--one filled with health, strength, and happiness. Love, Grandpa Ed and Grandma Linda

lightshines said...

Praise the Lord!~ That is absolutely wonderful news. Happy New Year!!

Carrie said...

Praise the Lord! So glad to hear you are clear. I will continue to pray.

Joe.Karen said...

Dearest Amy,

Praise God that all is going as well as can be for you. My husband is being admitted to the hospital this Wednesday, and getting a PBSC transplant on the 9th. We wanted to let you know that we have been so very encouraged by your walk and your faith. You are beautiful and we are amazed by you. So often my husband has remarked about your strength, when he feels you've been through so much more than he has. God bless you. You have been called to active duty and you are standing up to the challenge with grace and beauty.

We will continue to pray for you. God bless you and yours in 2007!

Love,
Karen and Joe

Anonymous said...

Amy,
So happy to hear good news! I check your post daily and have been anxiously awaiting an update - HOORAY! Best wishes for 2007 for you and your family.
Angela (Washington State)

Kim said...

Amy---Such great news!!! I am rejoicing with you today! What a beautiful answer to prayer!!!


I'll be praying for you each day....


Kim

Barbie said...

I am sooo happy to hear of your report! I have been praying for you and will cont. to pray for good reports all year! And that 2007 is a year of healing for you!

Anonymous said...

Amy,
You have been in my thoughts and prayers often over the past months. I had a moment on the computer tonight, and realized I had bookmarked your blog, so I could check on your progress. I spent four weeks at the hospital in Columbia in July/Aug/Oct, three of which you were also there. My 34 year old husband has stage 4 melanoma, and we just can't seem to get a handle on it. After several passings in the hallway, your mom and I met and swapped stories and special thoughts, good wishes and prayers for each other and our families. I read your blog and am awe-struck by your faithfulness and trust in our Lord. You have been inspirational to me as I stand by my ailing husband. I just wanted your to know that I was thinking of you and praying for you, even though you don't know me, and that I was so hoping the transplant from your brother would be successful. It sounds like things are headed in the right direction. We too are anxious for 2006 to end in hopes of a blessed and healthy 2007 and years to come.

Happy New Year.
Jenni Halley
wife of Brian, Ellis Fischel patient
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Dawn said...

Praise the Lord!!

Tammy said...

So glad to read that you are on the road to recovery!!

Lacey said...

PRAISE GOD!! That is wonderful news Amy! :) I have been waiting for an update & it was well worth the wait!! Praying for you in the New Year!!

Christina said...

Awesome news. I hope the news in 2007 is nothing but good news. You are one strong lady Amy and lot's of people out here are pulling for you. I think God can hear how much everyone is hopeing for your miracle.

Monica C. said...

What wonderful news, what a tremendous blessing. I pray that you would continue to be drenched in God's grace!

Anonymous said...

Amy,

Praise God!

Amazing Grace!

Celebrate Life!

In Christ,
Lynn Hensel
Columbia,Mo.

Annette said...

Amy,

I am so glad to hear of the good results! Your faith and trust in the Lord inspires me.

I just happened on your blog a few months ago and you have been on my heart and in my prayers often!

Annette Schwerdt-Washougal, Wa

Anonymous said...

Dear Amy, We are so glad to get the reports on what the Lord is doing in your life. We are praying protection, healing, and favor for you in all your ways!!! He is faithful to hear our crys. Love and Prayers, Joe and Marilyn in Texas

Paula said...

AMy I am very happy for the good news. Praise Jesus! We will continue to pray for your February appointment and Novemeber. I pray 2007 is full of health, strength, laughter and joy.

Love & Prayer to one very inspiring woman!

Anonymous said...

So happy to finaly hear the news... like you, (in a small spectrum I'm sure), my stomach has turned upside down waiting to hear your report as well and I am very happy to hear this news for you and your family!! God is good, all the time, he knew what the report would say a million years ago and I believe he has you ever so perfectly in his marvelous hands. My daughter, Alivia age 7, will be so glad to hear the news as well, she prays for you 4 times a day and as for this day her prayer will be prayer of praise as mine will be as well. With love
April Martin

MugwumpMom said...

Congralutations on the remission. You remain in my prayers. AS for walking around bald....my mom did. She went everywhere bald and when people stared, she smiled and graciously told her she was fighting leaukemia and was winning. We were always trying to get her to paint a happy face on her head, but she wouldn't go that far!! LOL.
She's just past 1 yr and 3 months blast and leukemic free and is about to go off the meds that hold back the GVHD, so she's pretty happy.
Stay the course.

Grafted Branch said...

The Lord is GOOD.

Heather said...

Praise the Lord Amy!

Sharon Van Arsdale said...

Amy,
Just to let you know that those of us at University 5 east have kept you near in our thoughts and prayers. One or the other of us periodically reports on you. We are so glad to have this way to see how you are. Each of our patients is so precious to us and so often since we are in the acute facility at the hospital, all we see is grief and loss. Your victories and your continued progress are a joy to all of us. We will continue to pray for you and all your family.
Love,
Sharon Van Arsdale

Overwhelmed! said...

Amy, I'm so happy to hear that you're in remission at this point in time. I pray that 2007 brings you months of health, happiness, and love.

Thank you for keeping us up to date.

Anonymous said...

Amy, Brandon, Gary Lee,

Hope you are doing all right this week. We think of you often each day and remember you in prayer too.

May the Lord lead in all things to His glory.

Love, Don and Lilan

Heather said...

Just checking back for an update Amy, hope you are doing ok! In His love, Heather

Abby Ymker said...

Hi Amy!
I thought I'd left a comment right after you posted this but I guess I didn't so this is really late.
Happy New Year! I am praying that in 2008 you'll still be cancer free!
I was so glad to hear the news! Emma told me first before I read the update and I was just so excited.
I am still praying for you!
Love,Abby

Kim said...

How are you??? I hope you are doing well and enjoying your time with your husband and baby boy.

I am praising God for the good news and I will continue to pray.

You are a blessing!

Kim

JenMom said...

Praying for you, Amy!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Amy, We are praying for you and your continued recovery. Bless you and yours today with all His power within you. sLosve, Joe and Marilyn in Texas