Sunday, June 25, 2006

Update

I know alot of you have been asking about my friend who was sick most of last year. She finished up 14 months of chemo in April and was looking forward to finishing up her last bit of law school and taking the bar in February. Unfortunately, she's relapsed and is back in the hospital. I'm not sure if she needs more platelets. As you can read, she's surprisingly upbeat about the whole thing. Anyway, this is the email she sent to us:

Dear Family and Friends:

Well, I thought I was done writing these updates, but it's not over yet. I am back in the hospital this week. I hadn't been feeling well and I knew something was wrong. I was having muscle aches that kept me up all night and got worse and I also became increasingly off balanced which prompted me to go to urgent care at the hospital. I was pretty much walking like a drunk!

I've been in the hospital all week and have officially relapsed. It's leukemia again, but this time they found it in my spinal fluid (I had a spinal tap on tuesday) and the fluid around my brain (spinal fluid is made in the brain and travels down around the spine). This means I will need radiation to my brain to eradicate any leukemia in the brain tissue and chemotherapy to the area in the brain where the fluid is made and down the spine. I've already started chemo and radiation as an in-patient and luckily will be able to continue as an out-patient next week.

I have three tattoos on my head to make sure I get radiated in the correct areas (and of course one of the dots is in between my eyebrows! - but looks like a freckle and could be covered with make up if necessary). After radiation I will be getting a port on the top of my head in order to put chemo directly into the resorvior where the spinal fluid is created.

After this is taken care of, I will receive one dose of chemo like I was getting the first time around (the doctor hasn't decided what kind or when - it all depends on how this treatment goes) and then a few months after that I will be getting a stem cell transplant (which is the same as a bone marrow transplant, but the language used is stem cell). They recommend getting first cousins tested only. If family is going to be a match, it will most likely be a first cousin. We are also searching the national data-base of donors. Someone from the hospital should be coming to talk to us about this soon.

On the brighter side, my spinal fluid is clear, there are no masses - which means we caught this early. This treatment shouldn't take as long as my last leukemia treatment either. The worst side effect of radiation they said was fatigue - puh! been there, done that. And my blood counts are normal and they don't forsee needing any transfusions during this treatment.

So I have a long bunch of months ahead and I'll be putting off my law career AGAIN. That's the update for now and I'll be keeping you all in the loop.


If you want to donate platelets or blood, my friend may, and other people definitely can use them, so email me, let me know and I'll tell you how. ben_steger@yahoo.com

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