After we’ve had relentless snow and rainstorms, today the Portland skies have opened up a bit to let a hopeful sun make it all shimmer. It might not last too long, but it’s enough to make this winter day different than all the others.
Craig has been handling his first month of consolidation chemo very well. This week his counts will be at their lowest, so we will refrain from juggling knives or shaking hands with runny-nosed people 😀 We are excited that Craig’s brother Mike, with his wife Michelle and their daughter Brooke, might be coming up to visit us at the end of the month!
Our search for a stem cell donor has officially begun, as Rick and Gary have taken their tests today and sent them back to the lab. We should hear results in about a week. For more info on stem cell transplants and donors, go to www.marrow.org -It is the step in Craig’s treatment that we are most nervous about.
Sending love your way,
Kat and Craig
We hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and have plans for a safe and happy New Year’s. We are currently sitting in the hospital getting my last dose of chemotherapy for the month. Next week, I will be feeling more side effects from the medicine, but so far, nothing besides occational pains and nausea. I’ve been meeting others undergoing treatment in the clinic. We all sit in a big room filled with recliners and chat while we get our meds. It is uplifting to share with others going through the same feelings during this time. Kat comes to my appointments when she isn’t working, and we read together or just talk. I love her and I am going to marry her soon!!
Thank you all for your cards and comments during the holidays! We love hearing from you.
All our love,
Craig and Kat
We are gearing up for a long ride! Although Craig responded well to his induction chemo, “remission” is not exactly the state he is in. His Leukemia was aggressive enough that there is a high risk of relapse. Because of this, Craig’s oncologists have decided that he will receive BOTH consolidation chemotherapy AND a stem cell transplant. He will undergo rounds of chemo for 4 months, or less if a match is found for a stem cell donor (it typically takes 3 months to search for a donor, as Rick and Gary have only a 25% chance of matching). When we find a donor, Craig will receive intense doses of chemo preceding the transplant and will need to stay in the hospital for 30 days. After the transplant he will need much rest and care at home for 5-6 months. Prognosis when all is said and done is a 60% chance of survival.
That is the gist of what we learned today- there are many other details that have left our heads spinning, but I will spare you those. I am, however, a master at seeing the good in all things, and I will say, we are not going to focus at all on statistics, we are not going to let fear tear us apart. If anyone has the spirit to push through this, Craig does. We have felt God working through all of the support, care and well-wishes everyone has given to us, from Craig’s nurses and his employees, our families and friends, and even complete strangers. This is what makes life so beautiful.
Love you all,
Kat and Craig
p.s. A lot of people have been asking about how they can be tested as a possible donor match. It is actually pretty costly to be tested specifically for one person (especially with such low chances of being a match). This is why there is a registry with the National Marrow Donor Program(NMDP), to match people who have been tested with people who are in need. Please check out www.marrow.org, to learn more about how you could help through this process. If the national registry is too much of a commitment, but you still would like to help, please condsider donating blood at your local blood drive. Craig has already received several blood and platelet transfusions, and will be getting many more throughout his treatments. This would be a wonderful way to give back and help save someone’s life. Go to www.givelife.org to find out how and where to donate blood!
Craig’s getting stronger with each day. He has been craving and eating all his old favorite foods, walking, driving and even visiting his Jamba Juice to catch up with his employees. We met with the doctor yesterday. No decision yet on next treatment. We will be meeting with another doctor at OHSU next week regarding consolidation chemo vs. a stem cell transplant. What we DID find out, however, was that either way we go, Craig will be out of work for at least 6 months. This came as a shock to Craig, who had big plans to return to work after Christmas.
Gary flew home today, after spending 3 weeks here with us. What a gift he has been to us, keeping Craig’s spirits up by being with him every day. I would not have been able to function at work knowing Craig was alone in a hospital. We love you, brother!
Looks like Craig will be coming home today! Right now his white blood cell count is over 10,000, and he is no longer in reverse isolation, which means the nurses and I don’t have to wear masks in the room. Once we get him home, he will be able to rest and gain his strength back comfortably. He is so excited. We have an appointment with Dr. Karamlou next week to discuss his next treatment options.
Yesterday I shaved Craig’s hair, so he would have less of a shaggy pillow as his hair falls out. He’d look like a real tough guy, if it weren’t for that hospital gown! =) The doctor had told us that when Craig’s white blood cell count hits 1000, he would start to feel better. Yesterday his count was at 400, today 900. His second round of fever finally broke today (yes, it came back after Thanksgiving). Craig is able to stay awake and talk for longer periods of time every day, which is so great to see. Now his biggest frustration is that he wants to hurry up and get home! No word yet on exactly when, but hopefully by this weekend when his parents visit.
The results are in- ALL CLEAR!!!
Craig can plan to come home sometime next week. There is still talk of a bone marrow transplant in months to come, but for now,
this battle is won.
Thank you thank you thank you for your love. We could not have done gotten this far without it <3
Yesterday marked the 14th day after Craig began his induction chemotherapy, which means he had a second bone marrow biopsy to see if there are any residual leukimia cells in his marrow. If there are some left, he may need to have a second phase of chemo. We hope to hear the results tomorrow. The oncologist says it will take at least 7 to 10 days for Craig’s body to replenish itself with red and white blood cells.
Also, his 5-day fever finally broke today (yay!)– a little relief for this Thanksgiving day. Craig’s brother, Gary and I are hanging out in the hospital room today, reading books and watching movies people have brought for us. We are so thankful to have eachother today, and to have such incredibly loving and supportive friends and family lifting us up.
Thanks a million to our amazing friend Leah and her brother, Dan for creating this site. We look forward to all your words of encouragement every day.
-Kat and Craig
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