April 27, 2009

Faith Will Get Us Through

I recently was reading in the scriptures and found a great quote the I believe fits Kris and our family. 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. Kris and I have discussed many times the strength of the spirit at this time in our lives. The Lord has not abandoned us. He is with us stronger than ever. Kris is slowly gaining strength. Her white blood cell counts are slowly on the rise. Today is day 10 since the stem cell transplant. This is a milestone day for her. Your comments and prayers are felt and appreciated. I was able to take our kids to see Kris yesterday. It lifted her spirits greatly. People ask what they can do for us and I simply say: "Pray for Kris." Thanks again for all of your prayers and thoughts. Kris will be back soon to write on her blog. Joe Kelly

April 22, 2009

Another Tough Day On The Mountain

This is Joe writing again. Sorry to disappoint the fan club but Kris is still out of commission today. I have spent the entire day with her. She is still in a lot of pain from the chemo. The pain is general and spread over her body. There is only so much that pain meds can do. I want everyone to know that she has world class care here. The BMT unit is very impressive and she has great nurses and doctors. She is in a private room and comfortable as she can be under the circumstances. She is on day + 5 since her stem cell transplant and received her last major dose of chemo today. By day +10 her stem cells will be ingrafted into her bones and will begin to produce red and white blood cells and platelets. Currently, her white cell count is at 0 and she is nutripenic which means she has no resistance to infection. She is on IV antibiotics and IV pain meds. I was able to read her all the comments from the blog and it lifted her spirits. God Bless everyone who is reading this blog and supporting her. I know many of you read and do not comment. That is ok. The prayer that you carry in your heart is helping. I met a man today in the cafeteria who was in a much worse place than we are as a family. We were able to talk and comfort each other. He is two thousand miles from home and his wife is pregnant and very sick in this hospital. We are still counting our blessings. Kris and I actually realize them and savor them more at this time. Family and friends like you are the greatest blessings of all. In the end it is the gospel of Jesus Christ that keeps us going. The spirit is very strong in our family right now and very close to Kris. Thank you all for everything, hug your spouse and your kids and keep praying for Kris. I was able to serve that man in the cafeteria today in a very small way and it made me feel great. When we are down we need to find someone to serve, it will make us feel better. Take care and God Bless. Joe Kelly

April 21, 2009

We Can Feel Your Prayers

This is Joe writing on April 21. This round of treatment Kris was given new drugs, more stem cells than before, and stronger doses of chemo drugs that she received last time. The infusion of stem cells make it possible for her to receive doses that are up to 10 times greater than a regular dose of chemo. There have been some tough side effects this time around and Kris is in alot of pain. She was admitted to the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at the University Hospital today. What she needs more than anything right now is all of your prayers and faith. You are all so wonderful and have been so kind to Kris and our family. When I say we can feel your prayers we do. I know its a hard thing to understand unless you have had so many people at once praying for you, but it is a very powerful experience. We really do feel your faith and prayers. Kris is doing better tonight and has the pain under control. We will keep everyone updated on the blog. She loves the comments you write. This means the world to her and they really are her contact with the outside so please continue to post comments. Thank you so much and God Bless. Joe Kelly

April 17, 2009

The Climb

Early Thursday morning I woke up and seriously considered calling everything off.  “I think I will just just sit down in the dirt and slide down this mountain on my butt!”  I did not want to walk into that hospital and start another round of chemo! This is seriously not very fun anymore!!  The first time around I did not know what to expect, now I know too much.  But I guess there is no way out of this--but up so it is time to start climbing again.

   I had several high dose rounds of chemo on Thursday and then went in this morning for my second stem cell transplant.  The procedure is fairly simple.  After receiving a short saline IV, I was given a transfusion of my previously stored stem cells, then two more hours of saline.  The cells are stored in a DMSO solution as a preservative.  The minute it hits your body, you get a metalic, garlicky taste in your mouth and an interesting odor-which my family did not enjoy.

    My husband, my daughter, and one of my sons came with me to celebrate this second “Stem Cell Birthday.”  It will take several days for the cells to begin working, and my body is beginning to slow down.  This afternoon my face, hands, and feet began to swell.  I look like a pink lobster. 

    I have probably had cancer for several years.  I have know about it for over five months.  I am still in shock about it everyday.  This mountain is very steep!! and some days this climb is on my knees, but I still have lots of life to live and enjoy, lots of family and friends to love, and many lessons and blessings to receive from my Savior.  

April 14, 2009

The Big Week

Well this is the big week.  Yesterday-Monday I started the first regimen of Chemotherapy.  I was at Huntsman from 8am to 3:00pm. It began with blood tests then we waited for the pharmacy to mix up my personal chemo-cocktail.  The first drug was a high dose of Carmustine given through an IV, a quick run of Velcade.  Then finally a two hour infusion of Gemcitabine, a new drug which my insurance doesn't cover! This medical adventure is not cheap, but we feel very blessed to have good insurance which does cover most of the costs.  I guess it's one more year of driving our old red van!
    I have had little reactions so far-just enjoying it for as long as I can. I know the side effects will eventually come.  I go back in for another round of chemo on Thursday replacing the Carmustine with Melphalan the happy high dose drug which causes mouth sores.  I had it during the first round with few side effects of the mouth because they have you pack your mouth with ice for over an hour before and during the transfusion.  I am really looking forward to that!
   Friday is the stem cell transplant.  A transfusion of 8.27 million of my own stem cells which had been previously harvested and stored.
Well here I go-so far so good.  Wish me luck.  Thank you for all the good thoughts, the many prayers and the kind deeds for me and my family.  I love you all!!

Happy Easter

   Sorry I am a few days late.  I was busy enjoying a great weekend and feeling somewhat normal.  My treatment schedule was put off from Monday April 6th to Monday the 13th due to a bad cold.  It took the whole week to feel better.  Saturday I got the family rounded up to clean the house,  helped my daughter sew a dress, and helped prepare food for easter dinner. I made rolls, a fruit salad and Great Grandma's famous Easter Chocolate Roll for desert. My husband took over the ham and potatoes. It felt so good to feel so good!   Sunday I went to church and listened to my son give a talk in Sacrament meeting.  Then my parents came down for dinner and drove me back to their house to begin treatment on Monday morning.  Here we go again!

April 06, 2009

Good News, Bad News

I have Good news and Bad news. The Good News first-We met with Dr. Tricot on Friday and found from all the test results that the chemotherapy and my body have been doing what they are supposed to. There is no sign of cancer in the bone marrow and the overall cancer has decreased by 90%!!! After telling the Dr. that I was so frustrated with how slow my recovery from the first tranplant had been, he replied this meant that my body had been working extra hard to kill the cancer (and I thought I had not done a thing for last two months!) I always feel better and more hopeful after meeting with Dr. Tricot. The Bad News is not that bad after such great news. The plan was to begin the next round of treatments on Monday the 6th, however I caught a cold and possible sinus infection over the weekend so everything is postponed til Friday. Plan B is to get over this cold and get healthy enough by Friday to begin chemo then. I am leaving my bags packed and thinking healthy thoughts til then.

April 02, 2009

Gearing Up for Round Two

Monday and Tuesday were test days. I hope I passed! First was the biopsy-not fun! They take bone morrow fluid, and bone from the hip bone by the lower back. You are given the option of having pain killer or just a local. I always opt for the drugs but it still hurts! I also had an EKG, heart scan, and PET/CT scan. It is hard to lay still on your back when they just drilled a hole in you. I also had a Pulmonary function test. I am always a slow learner on this one. You have to do certain breathing exercises correctly into a tube. It took me seven tries to get it right! I go to see Dr. Tricot tomorrow. I think we are getting smarter at this. The first time we didn't know what to ask now I have a list of questions to ask him. If everything from the tests I had this week look good I will probably begin the next treatment on Monday the 6th. This is round two. The first round knocked the cancer down. We are counting on this next round to knock it into a long, long remission. This has been quite the journey-one that I would not wish on anyone. However I do wish everyone to have the opportunity to feel the love and support that I have felt. I have received so much love and encouragement from so many friends, family, and aquaintances. I am so blessed to have had such good friends throughout my life. It is very humbling to know that so many are praying for me and my family. May you each have the opportunity at some time to feel the overwhelming love and support of others in your life. Thank you and may the Lord Bless you, Love Kris

Fourteenth Year Cancerversary

              My husband and I at my 40th High School Reunion.                                                    Am I seriously that old?! ...