This post is extrememly overdue! Things have just been SO crazy busy with the Vogels these days, I've struggled to find time to update everyone!
Thank you to everyone for your kind words and
thoughts about our last scan. We are so thankful to have good news and
at be headed in the right direction. After talking with our doctors at
Vanderbilt, the ideal would have been to have a clean scan this past
time, however, the fact that my disease has responded so significantly
is a VERY positive thing. We understand that we are just dealing with a
very resistant disease that will take a little more "heavy hitting" than
most. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God is bigger though!
When He chooses to give me complete healing, it won't matter what we're
So here's the plan.....
Step 1: Evaluation for Stem Cell Transplant
went for two days to Nashville and pretty much every test under the sun
was performed. They checked my heart, lungs, bone marrow, and took
about 20 vials of blood! Crazy! We met with doctors, nurses, radiation
oncologists, social workers, you name it! We got a lot of information
and it was a bit overwhelming, but we are thankful to be headed in this
Step 2: Stem Cell Collection
hope is to use my own cells for a stem cell transplant. This is less
intense and has fewer long term side effects than using a donor. My
brother is a perfect match for me if we have to go down that road, but
we are hopeful that we won't need that! I will be in Nashville from the
9th to the 18th for stem cell collection. It's not a hard procedure, but
it does take some time. They said I should feel normal and be able to
do normal things like shopping and sight-seeing. Any recommendations on
things to do in Nashville would be appreciated!
Step 3: Two more rounds of ICE chemo
is our FERVANT prayer that this step would put me in complete
remission. I had such a great response to the first two rounds, but
there is still a small amount of disease holding on. PLEASE PRAY that
more ICE will knock it out!
Step 4: PET scan
this scan is clean, then we will head directly into transplant! If not,
then we will possibly try another type of chemo or do radiation first.
We are really, really, really hoping it will be clean!
Step 5: Stem Cell Transplant
will spend about a month in Nashville and hit the reset button on my
immune system. I will get a very large amount of chemo and then recieve
my stem cells back to regrow my bone marrow. It's a crazy process, but
we hope that this reset of my immune system will prevent relapse and get
rid of this stuff for good!
Step 6: Radiation
will then go through about 3 1/2 weeks of radiation to the spots where I
previously had disease. Radiation is extremely effective in treating
Hodgkin's Disease, but they try to avoid it in younger patients due to
the possibilities of secondary cancers. My Doctors and my family all
agree that curing me now and hopefully preventing Hodgkin's relapsing is
more important than secondary cancers. We really like our radiation
oncologist and he is confident that this is the best route for me.
That's a lot of steps! It's a long road, but we are thankful to have a
road! God is teaching me so much about who He is and what it means to go
Our preschoolers have been learning
about Moses and the Israelites. God offered his protection to His
chosen people over and over again, even when they didn't trust Him. God
has begun to open my eyes to see that His protection has been a huge
theme in my life as well. There have been quite a few moments during
this journey that I have questioned God's plan for my life. I mean, He
didn't protect me from cancer, did He?! But the truth is, He has
protected me from SO MUCH!
After three types of chemo in a
year, I do not have any damage to my heart or lungs! They are
functioning perfectly! I also have never been nauseous enough to stay in
bed all day through this entire process and have been able to continue
working. Praise the Lord!
God has been so good to us,
and I know He will continue to be! This journey we have been on has been
crazy and scary, but we are standing firm on His promises and asking
Him daily for healing. Just like God was faithful to the Israelites, we
are confident He will be faithful to us!
I can't even
begin to tell you how grateful I am for my friends and family. This
community I have been blessed with is well beyond what I deserve! Thank
you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has blessed us with gifts, cards, well wishes, words of encouragement, and most importantly prayer!