Sunday, March 8, 2015

Update


On Thursday Laura finished up the 2nd of two eight week cycles of photopheresis. The results of that treatment are still to be determined.


The next thing on the treatment plan is an infusion of an immunotherapy drug (can't remember the name of that drug).


(I'm not feeling very clever and creative with my writing right now, but here are the bullet point items.)
  • She's gained weight.
  • She also has fibrosis of the lungs.
  • She has graft vs. host disease in her joints, eyes, skin and lungs.
  • Her lungs are only at 45% capacity.
  • The doctors do not advise her to go back to work because her resistance is still low.
Because she's a go-getter, she is doing all she can to get better.  She walks at the Y every day for 2 1/2 miles. She has done stuff around her house that you might not think is such a big deal, but it really IS a big deal. 

I asked Laura to tell me how things have been going...things she's done lately, etc., Here's the email that I got from her:

The biggest accomplishment lately is the changing of 8(!) fluorescent 4 foot lights in the garage and 2 flood lights.  I told myself, "I'll be durn if I get somebody to come over here to change the light bulbs!"  It probably took me about 45 minutes and I was TOTALLY out of breath but so HAPPY! It probably took me 2 days to completely recover but I didn't care.  I'm pretty sure it would have been a pretty big deal for some regular people.  
I have read LOTS of books and Mama would have been so happy that I was reading plus I have Miss Dye and Mrs Cannon to talk about them with.  

I was able to go to an FCCLA region competition in Warner Robbins and judge a STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) event.  It was kind of difficult getting from the parking lot to registration and then to the room but I didn't use the inhaler and I didn't have to stop to recover. It was so good to be around students and adults that enjoy doing that kind of stuff.

Clif and my granddogs came to see me last weekend and I'm looking forward to Clif, Trisha and Mary coming next weekend for a "meet and greet" party for Trisha and Clif and a shower for them at the church.  

I still go to spinning and do what I can.  My instructor is very  understanding and encouraging.  

I have been cooking more and enjoying doing it.  I am also thinking of things to sew. I'll probably start stuff like that next week.  

I can vacuum without too much difficulty.

The pneumonia part is undetermined.  They say my lungs sound clear but they don't know for sure until they do another CT scan.  I think I have less than 45% lung capacity now but I'm trying.  I go to pulmonary rehab twice a week and do whatever I'm supposed to.  One of the best things about that is meeting other people with similar issues and talking about how they handle them.  There are some amazing people handling lung problems everyday.  My Thursday afternoon class consists of me and two other women; one 91 and the other 93 years old.  One of them is on oxygen all the time the other is not but they are hanging in there!

And the best part of this whole journey ("into the wilderness") is I've got the best support group of family and friends!  

Today is sunny and beautiful.  I have already been to Tift Park in Albany to visit the booths of all kinds of stuff from jewelry to soaps and etc.  Tonight I'm doing Mexican Music Trivia night with the spinning group.  The sun makes me feel positive.  

Yes, there are set backs but at least there is something hopeful.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Four years ago today Laura had her bone marrow transplant. So thankful for the person who donated their marrow so Laura could keep on keepin' on!

Thank you, person!

Wooo hoooo!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Laura had her two days of photopheresis and is back in Leesburg. She sounded pretty upbeat when I spoke with her, but I imagine she's pretty tired. 

She was able to get one treatment done on Monday -- due to a scheduling glitch (not her's)...which was good. And then she had one today. 

Next treatment will be next Tuesday and Wednesday. Then Thanksgiving with the fam! (Wish I could be there... Or, they could be here.)

She drove back to Leesburg after her appointment. She has some good friends in Leesburg who often fix her dinner on the night she comes back. And, they did tonight.  I sure do appreciate those people. Sendin' a hug to them!! 

Keep prayin' that things make a difference. 

Thank you!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Photopherisis Next Week

Laura went to Atlanta earlier this week and had her "line" put in.  She also went to a class on how the Photopheresis works.

She will go to Atlanta on Monday to be there for an 8:00 blood work appointment on Tuesday. That will be followed by the photopheresis.  The photo below describes what happens during the process.



As of right now, she will go to Atlanta once a week for two days at a time for eight weeks. At the end of eight weeks, they'll see how she's doing and decide how to proceed.

Please pray that her body decides to straighten itself out and that she will be relieved of the pesky Graft vs. Host disease.  Dadgummit! I think it's about time for her to feel really good.

Thanks so much!

Will update as I learn more.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Long time no communication....

Hey Y'all,

Sorry about the long time between posts... 

Quick little update here:

Laura started this school year with a bang. She has been very busy with lesson plans and extracurricular activities.

A few weeks ago, she got a cold which, long story, short turned into pneumonia. With a fair amount of rigamarole, she finally saw her doctor at Emory who (in addition to her local oncologist) recommended that she take short-term disability to straighten out a multitude of issues related to her GVHD (Graft v. Host Disease). Some of those issues are: dry eyes, joint issues, and a significant decrease in her lung capacity. 

They want her to go up next week to insert a "line" (kinda like a port, but I can't remember the official name) so that they can treat her with photophoresis. That means, that they will remove her blood and treat it with a light treatment of some kind. Her line makes that possible. They take out her blood and put it back in after the photophoresis. She'll have to go weekly for 2-3 days at a time until they feel like she no longer needs to go.  They're also giving her some meds for the issues she has with her joints (can't remember the name of that either.) It's pretty bad stiffness in her joints. 

I feel pretty good about her taking some time to focus on straightening out her GVHD. And, I feel hopeful that they have some treatment options to help her feel better.  I would appreciate it if you would pray that insurance approve it, that this treatment is successful and that it works quickly. It would be nice not to have to drive to Atlanta every week.

She's a GoFightWinner!, though... :-)

We appreciate you all. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Carrie's Gonna Ride...


I did it! I signed up for the 50 mile ride in Obliteride. My hands are shakin' 'cause it's a big, fat deal. But it's not quite as scary as facing the monster called cancer. And, it is SO great to me to be part of the research that is currently saving lives and will continue to save lives. 

And the thing is... helping solve the mystery of cancer helps EVERYONE. Most everyone I know has been affected by cancer in one way or another. Imagine how great it would be if it just wasn't even out there anymore...

I'm ridin' for Laura...and my husband, Harvey...and all the cousins and aunts and uncles and friends who have had cancer during my lifetime. I'm ridin' 'cause I believe that Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has made a REAL difference in Harvey's life and in our family's life, too. I'm ridin' 'cause I am sick and tired of finding out that someone else has gotten cancer or because we've lost someone because of cancer. 

It is time to put cancer in its place!

Cancer touches all of us - half of all men and one third of all women in the U.S. will get cancer in their lifetime. These figures are shocking, but, I believe we can change the stats by funding lifesaving research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

All of us participating in Obliteride will come together August 9-11, 2013 to tell cancer we're not gonna take it anymore. And here's where I need your help. I've made a big commitment to make a statement against cancer. And I hope you'll make a statement, too. With 100% of every dollar donated going directly to cancer research at Fred Hutch, we can make a direct impact on research to save lives faster. I hope you'll donate as much as you can because you believe in me, what I'm doing and that together, we can defeat cancer.
 
If you'd like to support me in this ride and if you believe that it's time to kick cancer in the butt click here to make a donation and make a difference....   100% of all money donated goes directly to research. 

(Please find out if your company has a matching gift program. The process is simple and quickly doubles your generous donation and gets me closer to reaching my goal. Once you make a donation, contact your HR rep or your employer's matching gift rep to submit the paperwork to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Please make sure that the matching gift includes my name AND Obliteride, so Fred Hutch knows who should receive credit for the matching gift. Thanks so much!)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013




Laura went back to work on Monday. The doctor called yesterday to let her know that they found mold in her lungs. (Evidently it's not uncommon for people to have mold in their lungs, but since she already has the two viruses there, too, it compounds things.) So, she was given a prescription for some medicine and we are hoping that BOTH of her viruses and the mold in her lungs will go away.

Still believing that it's time for Laura to feel absolutely wonderful and still asking God to do just that.

Please pray with me.