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K8 Strong the Jouney

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About this blog

Our journey through Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (A.L.L.) which is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common childhood cancer. It occurs when a bone marrow cell develops errors in its DNA.

Follow us while Kate battles cancer at the age of 35 years old and what experiences she encounters as well as learn what helps and what doesn't.  We will do our best to keep the blog up to date to help others going through this disease with the thought of helping others in such a troubled time.

Please comment on your experiences if similar and offer what worked for you since this is our first time and we know not everyone has the same experiences.

Entries in this blog

Week 1 (Induction Phase)

It’s 3am on 2/17/2020 and we are in a room on the 9th floor in Karmanos Cancer Facility in Detroit. This is the beginning of the Induction process which in short means the beginning of chemo treatments while keeping a close eye on Kate during the process.  The doctor believes this will take less than a week this visit but the Induction process is typically a week. There are four phases to chemotherapy treatment: The first phase is called Remission Induction. Treatment during th

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 2 (Induction Phase)

So we got up at 5am to get our butts moving for our 7:15am scheduled appointment at Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. Our actual appointment isn’t until 7:45am but they tell us to arrive 30minutes early which translates to someone in the military as 6:30am arrival time as Kate and I are hanging out in the parking garage. Our boys had to help us out this morning by getting themselves ready for school and Alex has to get himself on the bus. So this is our 2nd Chemo treatment as part

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Fevers are no good

Tonight Kate developed a fever (running 100.5) and whats scary is they say if you have Leukemia and get a fever you must go to the nearest Emergency Room since its more than likely an infection which can prove to be fatal.  So right now we are calling 1-800-Karmanos to find out what they want us to do. Patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) present with either symptoms relating to direct infiltration of the marrow or other organs by leukemic cells, or symptoms relating to the decr

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 15

This week isn't about the chemo but more about a big Tuesday appointment where Kate will move from a PICC line to a PORT as well as get an Bone Marrow Biopsy / MRD Test. What is an MRD Test? Measurable or minimal residual disease (MRD) testing is used to see if the cancer treatment is working and to guide further treatment plans. MRD testing is mainly used in blood cancers (leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma), but is being studied in other cancers. It is a type o

Week 3 (Induction Phase)

We are at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit for our 3rd Chemotherapy Treatment as part 3 of 4 of the Induction process.  This week they are introducing Rituxin to the normal two she has been receiving.  It appears Rutuxin has less side effects as the new drug they used last week so that is good.  Especially since I'm on-call starting Tuesday to Tuesday so I will be concentrating more on my job.  If we take last week as any indication on how busy On-Call has been, I'll be busy every night

guru

guru

Week 8 (Aggressive)

Getting weaker by the week.  Chemo Treatments now have Kate in what they call a chemo fog.  She is having difficulty concentrating and standing for any length of time is not seen but she can make it to the restroom, and get a glass of water but prolonged standing (like to make dinner or talking to standing in a line is no way). Luckily this week she should only have to come down to Karmanos three times a week with one of those days (today) being the day she is getting a crap load of chemo.

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 26

The pain in Kate's feet is driving her crazy.  It's painful no matter if she's walking or not but more painful if she's walking.  We have tried foot baths which help relieve the pain but not the tingling sensation that eventually turns into pain.  The doctors prescribe a medicine to help with the pain but it puts her to sleep. Bloodwork Results Potassium:  Bilirubin(Liver Function):  White Blood Cells (WBC 4.0-10.0):  2.6 Hemoglobin (HGB 11.5-16.0):

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Support the Fight Against Cancer

Watching how my wife goes through the struggles while at the beginning stages of this fight against cancer, I want to support her. She feels so awkward loosing her hair due to the chemotherapy that I don’t want her or anyone fighting cancer to feel alone.    

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 12 (Aggressive)

This past week has been very rough on Kate.  Sick to her stomach, the unwillingness to eat.  The nurses give her saltine crackers while getting Chemo so I went to the store and picked up several different types of crackers in case one tastes better than another to her.  Pretty much anything with flavor is a no go for her.  

Week 13 (Aggressive)

Kate "should be" done with the Chemo 4 times a week.  Starting today begins two weeks of getting Chemo three times a week.

Week 16

Here we go..  last week was a rough one with Kate running a fever of 103.8 after her port placement.  Then the horror of going through the Emergency Room at Harper Hutzel to then get admitted to the desired Karmanos.  It was a rough week but what they did worked since Kate had a good weekend as well as Monday and Tuesday.  Now we have two appointments (so far) for Wednesday and Thursday with Wednesday being the big day with Lab work, Dr consultation with Dr. Yang, chemo and then Lumbar Puncture.

Week 17

This week Kate is taking antibiotics for the fever she was having previous week and this antibiotic is making her feel very sick (like the vomiting sick) but she should be done with the antibiotics by Friday at the latest.  Also she is fighting neuropathy in her feet now where before she was just experiencing it in her hands.  The doctor said this is an expected result from the Vincristine chemotherapy drug. What is peripheral neuropathy? Peripheral neuropathy is a blanket term for pai

Week 19

It’s Tuesday and Kate has a doctor consultation and bloodwork and we'll find out more about his plans.  Dr. Yang doesn't like to give a schedule out too far since he really evaluates Kate's condition all the time and changes the prescription of her cure according to how her body reacts. Kate and I noticed her hair is finally coming back but not enough to where Kate is comfortable not wearing her head covering which is basically like a scarf and looks similar to the one here  

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 22

Here we are on Week 22 of Kate's fight against Blood Cancer.  Here are all the updates related to whats going on this week.   ********************* Bloodwork Results Potassium:  Bilirubin(Liver Function):  White Blood Cells (WBC 4.0-10.0): . Hemoglobin (HGB 11.5-16.0):  Platelets (PLT 150-500):  Transfusions Blood: YES/NO Platelets: YES/NO Procedures Lumbar Puncture: YES/NO

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 31

If you are looking for the Blog entries for weeks 29 and 30 you won't find them since the doctor wants Kate's body to heal.  So no chemo and no bloodwork for the two weeks but back at it today 9/14 Bloodwork, Chemo, Biopsy, Puncture?? Bloodwork Results Potassium:  Bilirubin(Liver Function):  White Blood Cells (WBC 4.0-10.0): 2.9 Hemoglobin (HGB 11.5-16.0): 10.5 Platelets (PLT 150-500): 26 Transfusions B

rev.dennis

rev.dennis in Cancer

Week 14 (Aggressive)

This is our 2nd week of Chemo Treatment 3 times a week.  This "should be" also our last 3 times a week treatment which Kate is excited about.

Week 18

Will add more later but, nose bleeds, sores in mouth we discovered why and tried a few different solutions 

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 33 (Remission Day 1)

No treatments last week which was week32 of fighting A.L.L. Bloodwork Results Potassium:  Bilirubin(Liver Function):  White Blood Cells (WBC 4.0-10.0): 3.40 Hemoglobin (HGB 11.5-16.0): 11.50 Platelets (PLT 150-500): 25.00 Transfusions Blood: NO Platelets: NO Procedures Lumbar Puncture: NO BoneMarrow Biopsy: NO Chemo Methotrexate via IV drip (avg __min infusio

rev.dennis

rev.dennis in Cancer

Karmanos DETROIT Visit 1

So our first visit to Karmanos in Detroit. We were given Valet so getting in wasn’t too bad and traffic down from Davison was quick.  Front staff that checked us in was very professional and then a guide brought us to the room on the second floor where we had a pretty brief wait before being called back. Dr. Yang is another great doctor that is very knowledgeable. Leukemia is his specialty and he is very informed on Kate’s condition.  He mentioned it’s typically found in kids (under the age

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Homecare Nurse Visit

Last night Kate called the Support line for the Homecare nurse complaining on how much the bandage hurts after they redid it during our Hospital visit yesterday (Friday).  Kate was complaining of a burning sensation and very uncomfortable.  A homecare nurse showed up and was very polite and helped explain how to clean the pic line with basically salt water and yea, I got my intro on how to do this myself for Kate.  She re-bandaged it up and Kate kept thanking the nurse because it was like night

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 4 (Induction Phase)

We are "suppose" to be on the last week of the Induction process.  It's very very busy in the waiting room (more so than we have ever seen).  Asking if she needs to continue the Bactrin prescription or not since she has a refill on the bottle so before we go get it refilled, making sure she needs to continue. Mentioning her ribs starting hurting Tuesday March 3rd, 2020.... 9:50am Kate got her blood work done (they are so busy so running behind schedule) 11:30am Kate got broug

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 5

We are now into Week 5 of the Treatment and this is a non-chemo week but tomorrow (Tuesday) they will still need to do a bone marrow biopsy.  So far, now time off for Kate since Leukemia isn't taking any time off.  So with every curve and punch cancer is dishing out to Kate she fights right back by taking the medicine, toughing through the bone marrow biopsies and lumbar punctures. She is noticing what was very easy for her to do is becoming more difficult like swallowing pills.  She has to

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 11 (Aggressive)

Kate had her bloodwork done and is getting Rituxan, Cytarabine and a new one Cyclosphomine as her Chemotherapy treatment today (Monday).  They did the pre-meds of Tylenol, Benadryl and Zofran for the nausea.  Dr. Yang kinda gave kate a run down of what the penciled plan is coming up and it goes a little something like this...   4 WEEK TREATMENT (including the week we are on now) week 1: 4x a week week 2: 4x a week week 3: 3x a week week 4: 3x a week  

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 24

Hopefully Kate can continue chemo this week Bloodwork Results Potassium:  Bilirubin(Liver Function):  White Blood Cells (WBC 4.0-10.0): . Hemoglobin (HGB 11.5-16.0):  Platelets (PLT 150-500):  Transfusions Blood: YES/NO Platelets: YES/NO Procedures Lumbar Puncture: YES/NO BoneMarrow Biopsy: YES/NO Chemo Methotrexate via IV drip (avg __min infusion): YES/NO Vinc

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

Week 25

Bloodwork Results Potassium:  Bilirubin(Liver Function):  White Blood Cells (WBC 4.0-10.0): . Hemoglobin (HGB 11.5-16.0):  Platelets (PLT 150-500):  Transfusions Blood: YES/NO Platelets: YES/NO Procedures Lumbar Puncture: YES/NO BoneMarrow Biopsy: YES/NO Chemo Methotrexate via IV drip (avg __min infusion): YES/NO Vincristine via IV drip (avg 5min infusion): YES/NO

rev.dennis

rev.dennis

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