Stephanie was very active in keeping family and friends up to date with her progress. Here are some of the last emails that I received from her.
Subject: Steph Update
Date: June 24, 2006
I can’t possibly email everyone, so I am hoping that you can forward this message for me to all those who have been in touch.
What a life changing event in a matter of one week. I wanted to first say THANK YOU to everyone that has sent their well wishes, support, thoughts and prayers to me. I can not begin to express my appreciation. I have had a chance to speak to many, but for those of you I have not spoken with, please know that your messages have all gotten to me.
So what are the next steps in fighting this disease they call ACUTE MYELOGENOUS LEUKEMIA? After successfully completing 7 days of 2 types of chemo therapy, I now have to wait for the results of my Cyto-Genetics test. It is a test where they take a culture of my chromosomes. That will really determine the pathway of my treatment over the next 3 weeks. One thing is for sure, there will be another round of chemo in there, and I will eventually have to have a Bone Marrow Transplant, the question is just when? So I will be in the hospital for another 3 weeks.
The good news is that I “still” have my hair. I say that cautiously because I know sooner or later when this second round starts that will change. Getting sick is quite an experience and as I look at the last 7 days although I have cancer, there have been some really funny stories that have come from being here. The best one is that they always ask “Do you have any allergies to any medications?” Well, as a healthy person, I didn’t, but when you get in the hospital and they start giving you antibiotic after antibiotic you find out pretty quickly what you are allergic to. And when you get a reaction, it can be pretty funny. For those of you that have seen the movie Hitch, I had a Hitch experience once already this week.
I just wanted to let everyone know that I finished my first round of chemo, and say THANK YOU again for your kind thoughts and prayers! They have certainly helped me get through this week!
I know that God has a plan for me, and I am going to fight this thing!
Keep In Touch,
Subject: Great News from Steph
Date: July 27, 2006
Well, funny thing is I had the email below all typed out yesterday, and I found a way to keep myself in the hospital another day! Many of you know that I have had a central line inserted into the right sub clavicle area of my chest. It’s similar to having an IV in your arm, and used for medication, blood, etc. Last night the nurses went to take out my central line, and I guess I was a little nervous and anxious about the procedure. As a result, when the line was removed, and I saw the size of the line that was in my chest, I fainted on the spot. I guess working in OR environment didn’t help me any here!!! I have never fainted before, but I guess there is a first for everything! My passing out required oxygen and kept me in the hospital one more night for observation. After 42 nights, what’s another night! I am happy to say that I am now home!!! So keep reading as the email should have been sent last night, but who knew I would be such a whimp and faint!Hi Everyone:
Well, finally some normalcy, although now that I have been in the hospital for 42 days, I wouldn’t say the hospital is normal, but I sure do know my way around! I am pleased to let you know that I am going home tonight! I don’t know who is more excited, me, or my Mom. I think she is ready to leave the hospital too. The doctor just wrote the discharge orders! So some of you may be wondering what’s next. Well, we are still waiting for my white blood cell counts to come up, they are moving at their own pace, and more slowly then the doctors and I would like. The doctors believe that the first round of chemo knocked me on my butt pretty good, that it is delaying the bone marrow from developing. The good news is that they have already done 2 bone marrow biopsies, and both are negative for Leukemic Cells. My platelets and hemoglobin are holding up on their own, and as soon as my white blood cells come back up, I will come back to the hospital for the second round of chemo. I will probably get 1-2 weeks at home. Not having to sweat and sleep on a plastic mattress will be a treat in itself. During the time at home I will come to the hospital 3 times a week for blood work, and continue to see my doctors. I thought I would share this good news with you, and hope that you keep in touch with me since I will be limited to staying at home. Least I will have more cable channels then the hospital has to offer.
For those of you that have been calling me in the hospital, you can now call me at home.
Subject: Quick Update
Date: August 9, 2006
Hi All:I think most of you know this, but I am back in the hospital for my second round of chemo. I was re-admitted on Monday, for 5 days of treatment. Unlike last time, they will look to release me on Day 5 or 6 if I feel up to it, and do not have any fevers. So far it looks pretty good, they have been giving me some heavy doses of pre-meds to keep me from getting sick and having nausea. Other then that nothing much to report right now. I will let you know when I make it home.
I’m not sure if I reported this but, many of you knew that my sister Jennifer was a 9 for 10 match as a bone marrow donor. We found out recently that my brother Mark was a 10 for 10 match. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have 2 sibling matches. But the 10 for 10 is clinically and significantly different, that the doctors want me to use my brother’s bone marrow. So as soon as I recover from this round of chemo, I will be back to the hospital for my Transplant. That is when things will get a little intense. That stay will be for at least 30 days. I will have my transplant in the next 30 – 45 days.
Between now and then I will be recovering, and I have 2 goals! I hope to be well enough to go to New York and watch the US Open. Tyco Healthcare is a major sponsor, and the President of the company has already offered me the Tyco suite tickets for as many day sessions I can handle, so I am taking advantage. Also every year, our company has a strategic meeting (basically fun) for all the managers that I want to make. All this is in early September. So if I can recover and do those 2 things, I will be a happy camper, and move on to transplant after that!
Pray for a speedy recovery for me!!!
Date: August 14, 2006
I got home on Friday from my second round of chemo. I went to get my blood work today and I have no immune system again. My white blood count is 0.2 as of this morning, so back to wearing a mask and being careful. My platelets were 28,000 so by Wednesday, I will probably have to get Platelets via outpatient. I am feeling good though.Mark is coming in this evening to do some donor pre-work. He has to do a physical and stuff like that. He will leave back to NYC tomorrow after he is done. Then Mom is going home on Wednesday. Kyle will be here on Thursday and stay for a little while.