Archive for January, 2010

Round 2

January 27, 2010

Today Mary Jo began round 2 of her chemotherapy treatment.  It wasn’t easy to go back for treatment again.  She’s had a really good week of feeling good, getting out, and getting some things done around the house.  She even was able to come to worship on Sunday morning.  The first time in three months. Yahoo!

Today’s chemotherapy used a new drug for her–Taxol.  While there still are some tough side effects, the promise is that they won’t be as difficult as what she’s gone through already.  One of the concerns as they start this drug is an allergic reaction to one of the elements that they use to deliver the drug to the body.  So they watch pretty closely when they begin the drug and provide some benedryl and steroids to ward off that reaction.  She handled it with flying colors.  Slept through part of the infusion and seems to be doing well tonight.

It’s exciting to be on the countdown to the end of chemotherapy.  This was number 5 of 8, so only 3 more.  And then 2 more.  And then 1 more.  And then…!!!!!!!!!!!  We hoping for early March.  The next treatment is scheduled in two weeks.

We continue to give thanks for good treatment, for helpful and caring medical folks, for prayers, cards (Sunday school classes and a Confirmation group have taken turns providing them), and well-wishes.  You continue to be a blessing.

Blood test

January 18, 2010

The blood test was better today.  While Mary Jo’s hemoglobin stays below normal, it’s above where the oncologist calls for a transfusion.  The white blood cells were  in the low normal range.  So the decision was made to keep doing what we are doing until next Tuesday when Mary Jo will get another blood test.  If that looks okay she’ll begin her second round of chemotherapy using a different drug, Taxol.  It’s supposed to have different side effects but hopefully her body will be better able to tolerate it and that this drug will have less severe effects on her blood counts.   Then we can start counting down the weeks until she’s done with chemotherapy.

In this time of great need her oncologist continues to serve in Haiti for the immediate future.  While we are glad to have him there, we also look forward to a time when he might return and pick up Mary Jo’s treatment plan again.  We keep him and others in Haiti in our prayers along with all those who are suffering much there.

Oncologist in Haiti

January 17, 2010

In our last post we mentioned that our oncologist was in Haiti.  That post was before the earthquake hit.  After a couple of days of wondering, the news media here reports that the group he is with is fine.  He was supposed to return today, but this morning’s La Crosse Tribune had a picture of him and his team providing medical care for some of the earthquake victims.  So we’ll see when he  does get back.  We certainly are glad that he is already there and providing some help.

The sadder note is that a young man from our area, Ben Larson, who was studying for the ministry and the son of our former bishop, lost his life there.  He was in a building that collapsed.  His wife and cousin were with him in Haiti but they escaped physically unharmed.  We grieve for them and for Ben’s entire family.

Mary Jo seems to have tolerated this last treatment better though we’ll find out the blood counts on Monday.  It helps to have  the pneumonia out of her system.  That’s made her breathing better and maybe even given her a better appetite.  We are grateful for those small blessings.  We join our prayers with yours for the people of Haiti.


January 13, 2010

After a couple of disappointing weeks of not feeling well enough for treatment, today brought a better report.  A  Z- pack antibiotic took care of the pneumonia and her blood counts improved so  Mary Jo was able to get her fourth chemotherapy treatment today.  The dosage this time was a 20% smaller dose.  The doctors felt that with her reaction to the maximum dose, this should be effective for her.  She’s glad to be able to finish this one set of chemicals so she can begin the four Taxol treatments over the next two months.

Mary Jo’s oncologist is on a mission trip to Haiti.  We’re glad that he takes the opportunity to serve the wider world and pray God’s blessings on that work. We are also glad for the community of medical personnel who stay behind and provide a continuum of care.  It’s one of the perks of being involved with a medical institution.

Things are looking up here in 2010.  We’re grateful each day for God’s grace in our lives.

Postponed again

January 6, 2010

In our last posting, the oncologist thought Mary Jo’s chest x-ray was clear.  However, the radiologist who read Mary Jo’s chest x-ray detected the beginning of pneumonia in the lower lobe of her left lung.  While she continued to take antibotics, she hadn’t improved enough by today to take the final dose of this particular chemotherapy.  A low hemoglobin count also dictated a wait and see attitude.  Another chest x-ray was taken and treatment put off for a week.  She’ll take a different antibiotic for the next few days and have another heart imaging session before treatment.  The next chemo treatment is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12.

The whole experience is a roller coaster ride with plenty of ups and downs. We find that the best we can do is hang on with the assurance that the ride is temporary and will come to an end with positive results.

Thanks for your continued prayers and thoughts and for the greetings many of you send through Dave to her.  They are appreciated.