Friday, November 30, 2012

A Way Through

 I am so sorry it has taken this long for me to post! I have been trying to process everything and figure out the easiest way to communicate a LOT of information!

Well, our trip to Nashville was a very successful one! We met with the director of stem cell transplants at Vanderbilt and God really showed up in a big way!

I was in a pretty low place. I knew that I needed to trust God, but thoughts of my future brought so much pain with them because we didn't know what would happen.

The truth is, my circumstances have not really changed. My diagnosis is the same, I still have some rough treatments ahead of me, and my body is about to go through some hard things.

I had been praying so desperately for complete healing and a way out. However, I believe now that God is giving me a way through, and I am still believing He will grant me complete healing.

Every single fear I had about my upcoming treatments was mitigated on Monday. Literally every thing that caused me stress was addressed.

Let me explain it the best way I can.

Basically I have what is called refractory Hodgkins disease (Disease that resisted treatment).

My cancer cells were smart and figured out a way to literally "spit" the chemo back out and survive. I hate them...

We have to go through treatments to try and kill the remaining cancer cells. Then we will do a stem cell transplant in order to completely restart my immune system and hopefully cure me for good.

I thought I would have to go through intense chemo for the first part. this would mean losing my hair again and being very sick.


Because Vanderbilt is a research hospital, they have knowledge of newer drugs. There is a drug called Bruntuximab (or something close to this) that has been approved in the last two years to treat refractory Hodgkins.
It is what the doctor called a "smart drug." It will literally attack only the cancer cells and create a barrier around them so they can't "spit" it out. I will undergo 3 treatments of this drug in hopes of getting a clean PET scan. This will be done outpatient and there are minimal side effects! No nausea, no hair loss, no fatigue, NOTHING! He said I may get tingling and numbness in my fingers, but hey I'll take that any day!

If I get a clean PET scan, then we move on to the stem cell transplant.

I was very nervous about this procedure. Everything I had read said that I would be in isolation for a month and I would be homebound for a long time after that. I thought I'd have to take time off from preschool and miss a ton of time from my job while recovering. NOT TRUE!

Vanderbilt has pretty much mastered the art of autologous stem cell transplants enough for us to be able to do all of the procedures OUTPATIENT!!! I will stay in Nashville, and will come to the clinic everyday, but as long as I don't get an infection, I shouldn't need to be admitted to the hospital. This will be a tough procedure. I will still get an extremely high dose of chemo before the transplant (yes I will lose my hair at this point), but it will not be nearly as bad as we thought.

After the transplant, he said I'd need to be cautious with germs, but he didn't want me to take time off of my job or working with children. PRAISE THE LORD!

If any of these treatments don't work, he said "don't lose your heart" we have other options.

He also said that we could take a few weeks before we started treatment to look at options for fertility preservation. I am so thankful for this opportunity!

I will most likely start treatments with the new drug in January and if everything goes according to plan, will be finished with the whole process in June 2013. This means we get to enjoy Christmas!

God is good! Continue to pray that He will order our steps and lead us to the right places in order to kill this cancer AND have a family.

I am so thankful that God stepped in and provided us with hope and a way through the wilderness. We truly feel like He has ordered our steps and are asking Him to continue to do so!

He truly does care for us and works EVERYTHING together for the good of those who love him!

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support! They mean the world to us!

1 comment:

  1. Leslie,

    Kerith was my roommate in Australia, and I have been following your blog through my connection with her. I'm inspired by you, by your honesty, by your courage, by your audacity to believe the Lord will do what He promised you, even in perhaps the most difficult time of your life.

    Thank you for showing me what this looks like. I'm praying for you & David.

    Jessica Addison