Tuesday, December 12, 2006

12 Dec 2006


I have been home a little over a week and it is great. I feel so much better just being home with my children!

Things are progressing as the doctors would want, they performed a DNA test last week to determine the percentage of my DNA versus my sisters (THE DONOR) DNA in my body. On Monday we got the test results back and the results were greater than 95% was my sisters DNA, praise God!! Even thought we have been here before, I am still excited about this result.

My body has not started producing it's own cells yet, as a result of all of the chemotherapy, and as such I go to Madison clinic three times a week for transfusions. I get platelets every time and about every third time blood. It seems that it is taking longer and longer for my body to recover. My immune system is still compromised and with low platelets I bruise easy and still get bloody noses. I just have to be very careful what I do at home and else where.

I am excited to be home with my family for Christmas!! I have started my own therapy by making holiday treats - candy, cookies ect. I am just thankful to be able to do this. I am also thankful to be able to get out and go to church on Sunday, even though I have to sit in the balcony and wear my mask. It is great to get to see all of you.

I am open to having visitors at the house, but I must ask that if you want to come over please call first and if you are sick or been around those who are sick please wait until all is well. My bodies resistance is still very low.

I know that there is no way I can truly thank all of you for the help and prayers that you have provided for me and my family, but I do want to express my deepest thank you. I would not be as far as I am today with out all of your wonderful assistance.

For those of you who are still praying for my family and I please continue with the following requests:
* Praise to God for letting me come home to be with my children!
* Praise to God for keeping me out of the hospital more than I have been!
* Praise to God for all of you who continue to support me in one form or another!
* Praise to God for the healing that has already taken place!
* Praise to God for the strength he provides me daily to continue on!
* Pray that my body would recover enough that I won't need to go to Madison as often, that I will begin to produce my own White, Red blood cells and platelets.
* Pray that God will continue to provide me with strength to face each day with a renewed will to continue the fight and believe in a cure.
* Pray for my family as I know it has been difficult for them as well.
* Pray that through all of this I can be the witness that God would desire no matter the outcome.

I hope and pray that all of you will have a glorious Christmas celebration, remembering the reason, Christ our Lord.
Love in Christ
Cheryl and Family

Friday, December 1, 2006

1 Dec 2006


Praise GOD!!! After 41 days of living in Minneapolis away from our family and friends, I GET TO COME HOME!!!!!!!

My visit to the clinic today was exciting. The doctor said that he personally looked at the Bone Marrow biopsy sample and liked what he saw, a lot of new cell growth. He said that he was confident that my body would start building blood cells / platelets on its own very soon.

My care is being transferred back to Madison for the daily / weekly clinic visits (timing still to be determined). My Minnesota doctor requires me to return on my two / three / six month and one year anniversary. As long as I get to live at home with my children I can handle coming back here on those times.

Saturday morning Gene and I are packing up and driving back to South Beloit to my children and friends.

Please pray for safe travel and continued healing. I look forward to seeing many of you again.

Love in Christ

Cheryl & Family

Monday, November 27, 2006

27 Nov 2006


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was unique to say the least, it was the first time I have eaten my Thanksgiving dinner at Perkins Restaurant. It was very good - Gene and I both had the traditional Turkey dinner.

Well, I can tell you that we have a lot to praise God and give thanks;
  1. On 20 Nov I received my first HLA Platelets - not much boost at first, but as of today, my platelets are at 30,000. Still a bit off of the normal 150,000 - 375,000, but significantly greater than the 2,000 that I had on the morning of the 20th.

  2. Praise for the fact that I haven't had to go back into the hospital since the last time.

  3. Praise for a wonderful family reunion with my children on Sunday, 26 NOV, thanks to friends from Church for brining them up. They will be returning on 28 NOV - please pray for safe travels.

  4. Praise for all of you who have helped keep my children safe...what a relief you have provided me and Gene.

  5. Praise for the fact that the rash that covered over 75% of my body is now in remission.

I believe that I am making progress in the healing department, but I do still get very tired. God willing I will be able to leave Minnesota somewhere around Saturday, 02 DEC and transfer the remainder of my clinic care back to Madison. Please pray for me in the following areas;

  1. That my platelets and white blood cells continue to multiply.
  2. That the bone marrow biopsy that I am scheduled for on Wednesday will go smoothly and produce the results to show healing.
  3. That this weeks schedule continues as planned with out any unwanted surprises -
    • Tuesday - platelets - meet with the primary doctor to review my status
    • Wednesday - double infusion of platelets - bone marrow biopsy
    • Thursday - platelets.
    • Friday - meet with primary doctor review results and hear his decision if Gene and I come home as I mentioned above or need to remain for an unspecified period of time (not to exceed 100 days).

That is all I know at this point will post more as I know it.

Love in Christ

Cheryl and Family

Sunday, November 19, 2006

19 Nov 2006


Wow what a week. First and foremost, thank you all for praying for me and my family. I can tell you that I know God is ever present and that you all are praying. This past week started out being a real downer, but turned around very quickly...at least for me, mentally.

A quick overview:

On Monday / Tuesday 13-14 Nov, I was experiencing fevers and still contending with low platelet's, white & red blood cells and voluntary bloody noses (about 15 - 20 / day). On Tuesday night, my fever peaked to 101.9 just under the 102 (where they would hospitalize me).

Wednesday (15 Nov) - at clinic, they found that I still had a low fever, a rash had returned to approx 75% of my body and I needed blood products (both whole blood and platelets).
  • They identified the rash as the Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) that they were hoping to see
  • They finally understood that I really did need HLA matched platelets (we knew this and informed them when we first arrived - only they thought I could use general pooled donor platelets)
  • They put me in the hospital, around 10 AM, where they gave me two units of whole blood and by the next morning had given me four units of platelets (cross matched - a step above general pooled donors, but still not HLA matched).
    • On Wed my platelets were around 2,000 - normal people have between 150,000 - 450,000.
    • They started me on prednisone (a steroid) to help fight the GVHD - none of us wanted it to get worse, beyond the skin rash. I guess it gets very ugly past this point.
    • They had me put two different types of hydrocortisone creams on my body - a light one on my face and a heavy duty one for every thing below the neck - I called on Gene to help me get it on all the rash spots.
    • Late that night my fever broke....Yea - yahoo.

  • Thursday they moved me from the room and floor I was in to another room and floor as they needed the room for a transplant patient. Gene was really upset over this, but surprisingly I was at peace (again the fact that you all were praying for me).
  • My fevers stayed away, but they couldn't identify the cause of the fevers - they thought that the fevers may have been a precursor to GVHD.
    • They confirmed that I would need HLA matched platelets, but that Red Cross wouldn't be able to have them to me until Monday.
    • They would continue to give me the crossed matched platelets until the others come along.

  • Friday - time for them to send me back to the apartment.
    • I have promised both the doctors and Gene to be extremely careful not to bump into anything or play with sharp objects. Gene promised to watch me like a hawk...what a dear.

  • Saturday / Sunday I have gone to clinic both days for transfusions of platelets
    • On Saturday morning my platelet's were 4,000 pre-transfusion
    • 30,000 post transfusion
    • Sunday morning pre-transfusion they were 3,000 I don't know what they were post transfusion.
    • Still struggling with the bloody noses, but this should go away Monday or Tuesday if they can get me HLA matched platelets.

  • Please pray for the following:
    • Praise God for all of you who have sent me e-mails, phone calls, cards and gifts and most of all your prayers - you may ask how I maintain my moral, a great deal of it is because of you.
    • Praise God for all of the people who have been helping our children in our absence - You will never know how much relief from stress just knowing that loving caring people are looking after the needs of our children.
    • Praise God that the GVHD came on as a rash only - I know it can still come on like gang busters in other forms for up to a year from now, but all I can do is know I am in God's hands - thus only the rash.
    • Pray that the the Red Cross up hear finds a donor that is an HLA match.
    • Pray for our Children as they head into one of their busiest weeks - culminating, Saturday, in the dual performance of the NutCracker.
    • Pray for safe travel Sunday, 26 NOV, for our children and the Knaul's as they travel to see us.
    • Praise God for the Knaul family for bring them up here.
    • Pray that this will all work and that when I come home I will be healed for life - if it be God's will.

I really miss, my children, my home, my church (and church family) and desire once more to serve the Lord as a God fearing / loving Mother, Wife and Servant of Christ.
Love in Christ

Cheryl and family

Monday, November 13, 2006

13 Nov 2006

To All;

Hello from the land of 10,000 lakes. It has been a while since the last update. In my last update I had asked for prayer for Gene as he traveled back home to see the kids. The Lord blessed him with safe travel and I was in good hands spending time with my "Donor", my sister doing what I love, sewing.

Currently I go to clinic everyday, generally to get transfusions of platelets and sometimes whole blood. They were trying to have me go every other day, but my platelets were not coming around soon enough, so now everyday for a while.

When my platelets are low, I have spots all over my body, I bruise easy and I get bloody noses with out doing anything. The normal person has between 150,000 - 375,000 platelets at any point in time, currently mine are 5,000.

It would appear that we will be hear at least through the end of November and possibly the first week in December, I will find out more on Tuesday when I meet with my Main Doctor.

Yes I still have a rash on my body, but not as bad. Gene has been applying special cream on the areas of the rash twice a day and it has finally begun to subside. Thanks be to God, I must say the itching was driving my crazy.

The doctors are looking for me to exhibit "Graft Versus Host" (GVHD) disease symptoms, which can be as simple as a rash to major organ failure. This hasn't happened yet...I guess the rash I have had is a reaction to one of my Chemotherapy drugs.

Please pray for my family and I in the following areas:

1. Praise for those at Gene's work and our church family that continue to provide assistance looking after the needs of our children in our absence.
2. Praise for Sandy, "THE DONOR" (my Sister) and her family for the sacrifices they have made helping to save me.
3. Praise to God for providing me with the strength to continue to face the day with the desire to live and serve him.
4. Pray for Emily and Michael - now is one of their busiest and most stressful times - getting ready for and performing in the Nutcracker on top of all the other daily activities. Pray that God will give them peace of mind and heart and provide them with the needed rest.
5. Pray that my body will exhibit the GVHD symptoms and Lord willing that it will be in such a manner as to not cause me to much pain and/or stress.
6. Pray that our family remains strong during this long separation. I miss my children soooo very much.

Again, thank you all for your continued support and rest assured I am fight the good fight and will not give up.

Love in Christ

Cheryl and Family

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

1 Nov 2006

Dear Friends and family,

The transfusion went well. I received the lukecytes about 8:00p.m. It took as long to process them as it did for Sandy to donate them.

I am at the apartment right now. It is so good to be out of the hospital. I feel like a free person. I feel good, tired but good.

Thanks to all who are praying for our family. Sandy decided to stay on over the weekend so that Gene could run home and see the kids. They will be thrilled. He should be there about 9:00 tonight.

I have to go to the clinic everyday for awhile, still beter than being in the hospital.

Sandy is doing well also, I guess since she didn't have to take the shots it went better, she was tired yesterday but is well today. We are contemplating doing some sewing. I brought my machine up here so I would have something to do. I love sewing and Sandy always cuts the patterns out-I don't have the stamina to stand that long but I can sit and sew.

Please pray:
For our kids both families as they are missing their moms
For safety on the road for Gene as he travels home and back
that the cells take and this the last of the procedures I have to deal with.
Safe flight home for Sandy

Thanks for praying,


Monday, October 30, 2006

30 Oct 2006

Hello to all,

Gene has gone back to the apartment for the night but I wanted to get this out. Thanks for all the support we have already received. The prayers are so appreciated. So we call on you once again.

Tomorrow, Oct. 31, Wednesday, Is the day of the transplant. I am not sure when I will be getting the cells. Sandy will be hooked up from 8:00 a.m. for approximately 6 hours. She will have a needle in each arm. I definately think she has the hard part tomorrow. I then receive the cells in the same way you receive blood. Pretty easy on my end.

We are asking again for "corporate prayer" since we don't have an exact time, we are asking for people to pray between 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. thanks again to those who have been prayer warriors for us.

Pray this will be the final fix.
Please pray that I will be completely healed
Pray that all goes well so I can be released from the hospital on Wed.
Pray for the kids, both Sandy's and ours. as they miss their parents

Once released I have to "live" here for 2-3 weeks and go the clinic daily,pray that will be sooner than later.

The doctor said I look great tne he is thrilled with how well I went throuth the last chemo.

Thanks for praying,


Saturday, October 28, 2006

28 Oct 2006

To All,

Due to logistical issues Cheryl had to change rooms, as such, she now has a new direct dial telephone number:

(612) 273-0205

Sandy, "THE DONOR", is back home, Denver CO, just in time to play in 12-14 inches of snow. She went back home last Thursday to be with her two wonderful and beautiful daughters, who miss their mother.

Sandy will be returning on Sunday and donate on Tuesday.

Please pray for safe travels for Sandy both coming back and returning home and that God would keep her from getting ill between now and Tuesday.

Thank you for your e-mails and phone calls.

Please pray for:

1. This separation from my children....it is very, very difficult.
2. Continued strength to carry on....I will be the first to say the constant poking, prodding and physical side effects from the various medications is, well let's just say I am about at my limit.
3. Praise for those who are back home helping with our children's needs.
4. Praise and prayer for the nurses and doctors here in Minneapolis, may Christ's love and salvation reach one and/or all of them through my actions and words.

That's all for now

God bless to all

Cheryl and family

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

25 Oct 2006

To All,

Hello from Minneapolis, MN. Nothing major, health related, to report at this time. However, God's blessings continue to flow, for example:

  • Sandy, my sister (a.k.a. "The DONOR"), was due to fly from Denver to Minneapolis on Sunday, on a flight provided by loving friends in our church. Our friend was watching the flights and on Friday called Sandy to say she should fly From Denver to O'Hare in Chicago otherwise she could be stuck in Dallas Fort Worth. So she flew in on Saturday and on Sunday road up with us to Minneapolis. What a blessing.
  • We booked a place for Gene, and later Gene & I, to stay at the Marriott Town Plaza at a special Hospital Rate for long term, very nice with two bedrooms a mini kitchen combo living room, shower ect. On Tuesday while waiting to go to the clinic to see the Doctor, our Social Worker at the hospital called and said an apartment opened up on campus and would we be interested? Well, I guess you know we snapped that up fast. Again, two bedrooms (with two beds each), nice big bath room, combo kitchen / living room with a "Recliner" for Gene!!! AT HALF THE PRICE and best of all only 5 to 6 blocks from the Hospital / Clinic, so Gene can just walk back to his room.

I was admitted to the hospital on schedule, Wednesday morning at 9 AM to start the Chemo at 8 pm and then daily for the next 5 days following. One thing the Doctor stated that is worth noting was the fact that my cancer is not truly in remission, but is in a state that is just right for this procedure (better, if I were in remission, but we take it as it comes).

Sandy is going to fly home on Thursday 26, October and returns Sunday 29, October to donate her cells on Tuesday.

That is all I know for now except that you can contact us via the following address and phone numbers:
Mailing Address:
Gene and/or Cheryl Cummins
Minneapolis, MN 55414

My Hospital Room Telephone Number:
(612) ###-####- my direct line into my room

Gene's Cell Phone Number:
(608) ###-#### [please note, that while Gene is in my room or on the floor of my wing, his cell phone must be turned off - no wireless appliances may be used. You can leave him a message and he will be stepping out to check periodically]

Love in Christ
Cheryl and family

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

17 Oct 2006

To All,
GREAT NEWS!! The insurance has finally approved the next treatment process. Thank you, all you prayer warriors for staying the course and praying for me and the insurance company.

On Sunday, 22 October, Gene & I will drive up to Minneapolis, MN and meet up with my sister Sandy (a.k.a. - THE DONOR). Monday morning, 23 Oct, we both go to the doctors / clinic for testing, and then I will get a day of rest on Tuesday and be admitted to the Hospital to start Chemo Therapy on the 25. Finally, on 31 October, I will receive the transplant (they call it an infusion in Minnesota), and if I am a good girl - NO FEVERS OR OTHER MUTANT PROBLEMS- I will be discharged to outpatient care on 1 November.

I will be required to stay in Minneapolis, through November (NOT the 100 days that we were originally told), making daily trips to the Clinic to check my progress - with 24 hour care (none other than my loving husband). Again, if I am real good, I might get time off for good behavior.

Even though the waiting was a tremendous strain these past few days, I have still been able to see the Glory of God in all of this by the daily blessings that are happening in mine and my families lives for example:

  • Friends of Gene's at work have offered to stay with the Emily and Michael at our house while we are out of town.
  • Many people continue to bless us with meals, cards, words / prayers of inspiration, visits and more - all from the goodness of their hearts.
  • Being able to attend Sunday morning service (even though it is up in the balcony - I even get hugs up there).
  • Several of the men of church meeting with and praying for me, Gene and the kids.

I can't tell you what the outcome will be at the end of November or next year, but I know and believe that however this does turn out, TO GOD BE THE GLORY AND HONOR in all things.

Love in Christ

Cheryl and Family

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

11 Oct 2006

To All,

On Monday, we met with doctors at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and they left us with 6 options, in order of preferred treatment.
  • The first option is known as a Donor Lymphocyte Infusion (DLI) - which according to the Doctors would be most preferable in Cheryl's case. In addition, they were certain that this procedure could be performed at Madison.
  • The next two are variations on the same treatment known as Killer Cells. Which is only available in Minnesota.
  • The fourth treatment is with the use of an Isotope type cell that (radioactive) that is infused, which the cancer cells respond to by ingesting. Once ingested the Isotope will kill the cancer cells
  • The fifth treatment is modifying Cheryl's immune system, or re-educating, to recognize the cancer cells and kill them.
  • The sixth is to do nothing at all. This would only be a matter of time as to when the cancer returned.

The treatments listed above, the first five involve various forms of additional chemo therapy. The first one is less invasive than the rest. The second and third are current clinical trials, but are very hard on the body. The fourth and fifth are experimental and the doctor wouldn't really recommend them.

The doctor told us that with the exception of the last option, the chances of successfully curing Cheryl are between 20% - 30%. The doctor wasn't certain Cheryl could handle treatments 2-5 as her body has already been through a great deal and may not handle the additional strain. In addition, the one thing that all the doctors agree on is that in order for the treatment to be successful, Cheryl must experience some Graft versus Host disease, which she didn't on the first transplant. Graft versus Host disease can be as mild as a rash or fevers or as deadly as major organ damage.

Tuesday, on the way home, we stopped by to see the doctor in Madison. She is confident that they can perform the DLI at Madison, but needed to talk with the doctor at UMN medical clinic to make sure she fully understands his recommended treatment. We should have a plan of how we will proceed by the end of the week.

To be honest, we are uncertain of the proper course and location of treatment. Please pray in the following areas:

  • That by the end of the week the right treatment and location will be known - both doctors agree that time is of the essence
  • That God continues to place his strength and healing touch on me and the rest of the family
  • That what ever treatment is determined to be the correct action, that I can handle both the physical issues and the hospital stays.

Love in Christ

Cheryl and family

Thursday, October 5, 2006

5 Oct 2006

To All,

We know it has been a while since our last update, but we wanted to wait until we had some truly remarkable news to share with you. We know that you all have been praying for us, as the following results have come about from your prayers and God's blessing me:

  1. The insurance company wanted us to get a second opinion on what the continued treatment should be and recommended we go to Minneapolis, MN to the University of Minnesota Medical Center, which comes highly recommended by our current Doctor in Madison.
    • (quote from their web site - Blood and Marrow Transplant Services at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview has been at the forefront of blood and marrow transplant (BMT) advances since performing the world’s first BMT in 1968.)

  2. That my body is finally recovering from all the treatments and, even though I am still well below normal, as of today, my body is making it's own platelets enough that I will not need any transfusion in the near future.
    • The normal human body has between 160,000 - 375,000 platelets, I am currently at 12,000 which is much better than the 3,000 I was at about three weeks ago.

  3. That the Bone Marrow Biopsy that they performed two weeks ago showed me to be in remission at this time with no sign of the cancer cells.

Please pray for us in the following areas:

  1. On Monday I will be going through a full day of tests at the Minnesota Medical Center to determine what the next step should be - pray that God gives then clear direction and that they can start and finish treatment(s) soon - I am growing very weary.
  2. Pray that if I am to be treated up in Minnesota (MN), that the love of God will sustain my children in my absence and that God will not allow me to be away for to long.
  3. As Gene and I travel and/or stay in MN for a period of time at the medical center, pray that we will both be a strong witness of Faith, Love and Grace of our Lord Jesus.
  4. Pray that the cancer cells continue to remain in remission until final treatment and then will be gone for ever.
  5. Pray for a safe journey to and from MN.

First and foremost you should pray for and believe in Divine intervention and healing as God truly does have the power.

We will send out an update sometime next week when we know more.

Love in Christ

Cheryl and Family

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

19 Sep 2006

Dear friends and family,

Praise The Lord! I am finally home. I arrived home about 6:00 Monday night. What a blessing to be home with my children.

I slept so well, since I wasn't awakened in the night to be weighed and temp. taken and all that jazz.

I have an appt. on Thurs for more platelets and whatever else I need. I have an appt. Tues. for another bone marrow biopsy (required by insurance) to make sure the leukemia is still in remission so we can move forward with the stem cell transplant (provided that it is approved by insurance).

Thank you for all your prayers, cards, e-mails, meals etc. We are so appreciative.

I have little to no energy and am tired most of the time. It is very hard for me to accept that I just can't do what I used to do, I keep telling myself "The most important thing is to get well"
My family is so supportative, doing the laundry, fixing meals, doing the dishes. It is great!

Here is a list of prayer requests:
1. The platelets will be readily availabe, since I have to have a special match now
2. The bone marrow biopsy will show I am still in remission
3. Acceptace of my current abilities
4. Strength for Gene, Michael and Emily

Thankyou so much for praying,
Cheryl for the Cummins family

Friday, September 15, 2006

15 Sep 2006

To All,

Well, here it is halfway through September and I am on my 22nd day at UW Hospital, this stay. I think if I added all the time up that I have spent here since last October 14 it would be somewhere around 6 full months.

Anyway, I am still in the hospital due to the continuing fevers and the fact that the doctors have not been able to identify and eliminate the source.

Despite this fact, our wonderful Doctor is pressing to continue on to the next leg of this journey by going through with a second stem cell transplant. As you would expect, there are a great many hurdles to clear in order to accomplish this - most of which deal with the insurance and their approval, the other minor hurdle is that I stay as healthy as I am currently.

Areas for prayer for me and my family include the following:

1. Devine intervention and healing, with or with out the Doctors and medical treatment.

2. If the above healing involves doctors and medical treatment, then prayer that what the doctors want to do the Insurance Company will approve - the insurance company is now questioning the logic of performing a second stem cell transplant and assessing the statistics of success.

3. That God will continue to watch after my two wonderful children in my absence. Many of you have invited them to special events and/or sent cards and more. Thank you so much - you have no idea how much help this has truly been.

4. Praise God for Gene's work place and his work associates who have also been very supportive from the very beginning, with out faltering. In addition to Gene's Army National Guard Unit.

5. Praise for the Church family and my family and friends who continue to shower me with e-mails, cards, letters, phone calls, prayers, humor, meals at home and visits (plus many other things). All of these have helped me to maintain my spirits.

6. Praise God for the fact that even though I have periods where my heart and morale sink very low and I breakdown in tears, there is always a ray of sunshine, a verse, a friend or someone close that helps me to see clearly again that strong faith is the only way.

I don't know what lies ahead for me regarding treatment, but I pray that it will be decided soon so that once again I can go about the business God appointed to me of being a Godly influence to my children and the children at church in Sunday school.

Love in Christ

Cheryl and Family

Friday, September 8, 2006

8 Sep 2006

To All,

I am now working on day 15 of this hospital stay. God blessed me with one night and day without a fever (night of Sept 6th and Sept 7th). Unfortunately, the fevers came back again at 2 AM Sept 8th.

They have started me back on the Nupigen injections. Nupigen is a shot given in the stomach which is used to stimulate bone marrow / Stem Cell growth. They want to see my body start producing it's own cells and get me off of blood and platelet transfusions.

Tonight is Michael's birthday party, it will be the first time I have ever missed his birthday, with God's will it will be the only time.

It will be a great "guy's" party, Order pizza then chase it with lots of sugary cake and ice cream, then have a sleepover-Dad's night for sure.

I feel pretty good most of the time, the fevers wear you out,but I have plenty of time to sleep.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention that in trying to figure out what was wrong with me (i.e. the cause of the fevers) they did another Bone Marrow Biopsy on 5 Sept. Results came back showing no infection in the Bone Marrow (Another of God's many blessings) and no signs of cancer. The collective group of Doctors concluded that the fevers are most likely caused by one of three things:
1. Allergic reaction to one of the Antibiotics they have me on - they will start switching them around.
2. A virus that has yet to be detected - they will do more testing to try and verify / eliminate this as a possibility.
3. An antibody left over from the Chemotherapy drug that is still working within my bone marrow doing it's job, which could go on for another couple of weeks.

That's all from here in Madison - home of the Badgers.

May God bless you all

Cheryl and family

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

5 Sep 2006

To All,

Here it is Tuesday - 05 September and I am still in the hospital (going on my 12th day for this session). Thanks to your many faithful prayers I made it through the Chemotherapy without a scratch, however I am stuck here like a derailed train, due to the never ending fevers.

The fevers started out as a bacterial infection in my blood - great they identified them and with the right antibiotic killed them - no more bacterial infection. Yea!!!!

However the fevers still didn't stop. As of today, I think they have checked every inch of my body humanly possible to look for clues as to why the fevers are hanging on to this body of mine. They did another bone marrow biopsy - only this time to look for an infection of some nature hiding in my bone marrow. They got this idea, I think, from the Doctors from the Infectious Disease. I am starting to believe my brother and sister when they say I am just a mutant.

I do know one thing, that this stay has been one of the hardest for me, Monday I even yelled at the Doctors that I want to go home and be with my children. The Lord saw fit to allow those doctors / nurses to treat me with compassion even after a bad day. Today, I was more like my old self - don't get me wrong I want nothing better than to be able to leave this place and go home to my two lovely children whom I miss very much.

However, I realize that until they are able to solve the puzzle of my fevers I would just end up coming back here in short order.

Please pray for us in the following areas:

1. Praise his name that he made the last Chemotherapy session go by so smooth

2. That God would allow the doctors to discover and cure the source of my fevers

3. Or - that he would provide devine intervention and take this illness away.

4. Praise him for the wonderful children he has given to me - that they have been strong enough to carry on.

5. Praise him for all the wonderful people that call, write, visit and perform acts of kindness and mercy for my family.

May God have mercy and blessing on you and your families

Gene & Cheryl Cummins

Thursday, August 31, 2006

31 Aug 2006

To All,

Well I'm still here in Madison, Not that I want to be, in fact God and I had a little chat about my attitude this hospitial stay. It helped me immensely!!!

I keep getting fevers of over 104. They don't let you go home with fevers. So we better find a solution.

They called in the infectious diesease doctors to get their opinion of why I am having these fevers. After reviewing my chart, by this time it is about 4 inches thick, they came in and asked me a lot of questions like...
"Where I had traveled recently, that was easy to Madison and back, no camping, no being out in the woods? How about cleaning the chicken coop - uh no I'll pass on that one."

After the interview they determined it might be a drug induced fever, so for now we are going with that theory.

They did a CT scan on my lungs when I first came in and another one yesterday and the one yesterday looked much better than when I first came in. Things are looking up in some areas but I still need to get rid of the fevers. I got my pic line put back in so I can go home and have Gene administer my anti-biotic, when they let me go.

Please Pray:
No more complications
No more fevers
and That God would allow me to be home with my Children SOON!.

Thanks for your prayers, Cards, phone calls and visits.


Cheryls and the rest of the Cummins bunch

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

29 Aug 2006

To All,

Gene left for home Monday, 28 AUG, with the intention of returning on Tuesday, 29 AUG, to take me home. The specific requirements to allow that to happen had been to be bacteria free for 24 hours and then they would put my Pic Line (IV port) back in and send me on my way. Well, it would appear that God has other ideas, very contrary to mine.

Monday evening I started in with chills and the fevers came throughout the night - upwards of 103+. The Doctors, with that little bit of information decided to extend my stay for a couple of more days. I am not certain why God would want me here longer, but it would appears that He does. I told the Doctor that the least he could do was get me a Pizza - I've had enough of this hospital food - you see, as I reflected back I began to realize I have spent almost the entire month of August in the Hospital.

Well, if all goes well and I can stop the fevers I may get to come home in a day or two. Gene will still need to administer an antibiotic through the IV line, at home, for a period of two weeks. I, of course, will need to make sure I stay away from anyone / anything remotely sick as again I don't have an immune system.

We don't know what other wonderful travel plans the Doctors have in mind for us at this point, in the past Gene had to bring me back every other day, to the clinic. We will find this out soon enough.

I do know that I am missing my children and my home terribly. I also know that my children are missing me being at home with them.

Please pray that I will stabilize soon, enough for them to send me home until I must return again.

Thanks for praying

Cheryl and the rest of the Cummins family.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

26 Aug 2006

To All,

The power of prayer and God's blessings never cease to amaze me. Friday, I completed the Chemotheropy of the Mylotarg, the chemical that made me so physically ill the last time I received it, with out a single complication, even the nurses and Doctors were amazed. I know that it was due to all the prayers and Gods intercession. Thank you one and all.

I am still in the hospital and will be possibly through next Tuesday. The reason is that they did determine that I have a bacterial infection in my blood. I had a fever and chills within an hour of checking into the hospital Thurs. night. The pic line (a permenant high volume - I V line) had an in fection in both lines and it had spread to my blood. They removed the pic line and have been using iv's which means a lot more poking-ouch! The blood has to be clear 24 hours and no fevers before they will put another line in. At that time they will do ultrasounds to determine the current status of the blood clots where previous pic lines have been.

Once home we will have to continue the antibiotic via the new pic line for about 10 more days. God's timing is great. We would of not found the infection in the blood in such a timely manor had I not checked into the hosptial that Thursday night. i was not wanting to check in until the next day. OK I was more like kicking and screaming on the way to be admitted. But it has been good to be here on these nice rainy days that you just want to sleep anyway. Another bit of good news is that you usually feel the worst after chemo when your blood counts are their lowest.. I am currently there so it is all uphill from here!

Please pray:
That the blood infection clears quickly
that the last round of chemo did it's job and cleared the rest of the Leukemia
That the kids will continue to do as well as they have been.
Pray for strength for Gene as he deals with things at home as well as at the hospital

Thanks for praying

Cheryl for the Cummins

Friday, August 25, 2006

25 Aug 2006

To All,

What a glories testimony to the love of God, power of prayer and the power of those who have been praying.

I had the Bone Marrow Biopsy on Tuesday, 22 AUG, and as I was recieving plattelets on Thursday, 24 AUG, and got the results back. The tests show no signs of cancer cells. While the Doctors are reluctant to state the cancer is in remission yet, I believe that God has heard your prayers and performed this miracle.

The plan now is to continue with the chemotherapy, which they will be hooking up to me in just a few minutes. I once again ask that you continue to pray for me such that the chemotherapy is not as hard on me this time as it was last. It is a chemical called Mylotarg and the same one that brought me to the point of extreme pain.

The doctors haven't spoken to us yet about future plans, but we believe that it will go something like this:

1. Complete this Chemotherapy today.
2. Go home and remain there healing for about two to three weeks (returning to the hospital every other day for either plattelets or blood transfusions or perhaps both.
3. Another bone marrow biopsy to determine what effect the last Chemotherapy had and to see what type of cells my body is producing (in other words am I still cancer free).
4. If the answer to 3 above is yes then on to another round of Chemotherapy and then the Stem Cell transplant - from my sister Sandy (she is truley a blessing in my life).

We covet your prayers in everyway. We firmly believe that without the prayers of our friends and family we would not be seeing the success we have enjoyed to date.

Thank you and God Bless

Gene & Cheryl

Thursday, August 17, 2006

17 Aug 2006

To All,

Please rejoice with us, for the Lord's Great Blessings and your committed prayers have helped Cheryl get past one of the most difficult and painful times she has encountered. This segment of her story is nothing short of a miracle that is a direct result of fervent prayer.

As of Friday, 11 AUG, 78% of Cheryl's blood was cancer and as you know she made the choice to continue the Chemotherapy treatment, starting Friday night.

She had never had either of the Chemo treatments before, the first one, Idarubicin, a push over five minutes, no complications.

The second Chemo was on Saturday, called Mylotarg, a new one, that runs on an I.V. drip for two hours. Approximately 1 1/2 hours after completing the chemo, Cheryl started having the chills (lasting more than 30 minutes - her body shaking uncontrollably, complete with chattering teeth) and high fevers for a longer period of time. This was just before / during / and slightly after the time everyone was going to pray.

This was also the first time since this ordeal began, last October 13th, that both Cheryl and I thought she was going to die. This new Chemo attacks cancer cells with might and crushes them. Well, as it was working, her body out of self defense called all of the blood back to the major organs to protect them - her limbs turning gray / ash, looking like a cadaver.

Yet, the Glory of God shown through all of this, as by late Sunday afternoon, she had only a minor fever, cancer cells were hardly visible in the blood and she was ready to play hooky from the hospital for a short time to see "The Slingshot Heard Around the World". What a joy it is to see children perform with hearts eager to proclaim the might and majesty of our Lord and Savior. Cheryl really surprised our kids, Emily and Michael as they didn't know she would be there. She was back in the hospital by 9:30.

From there things continued to get better, the doctors and nurses working on helping Cheryl's body get rid of the additional 30 Lbs of water weight she had taken on over the prior three / four days. Well, on 16 AUG (Our 26th Wedding Anniversary), Cheryl came home.

We must go back to the clinic every other day, where she will receive the much needed transfusions of either platelets, blood and/or both, starting Friday, 18 AUG, Sunday, 20 AUG and again on Tuesday, 22 AUG. However, Tuesday's appointment will be much more as they will perform another Bone Marrow Biopsy. They intend to get the results back very fast so they know how to proceed.

This is again where we need your prayers and God's devine intervention as the Doctors have said depending on the results we will either:

1. Continue with another round of the Mylotarg Chemo therapy - only if the cancer cells in the bone marrow are similarly depleted (some may still be present)

Or if the cancer cells in the bone marrow are still present and dominate then

2. Per the doctors own words - we would then have a real problem.

When we go back to clinic on Friday, we will try to get a better understanding of "The Problem" as per possibility two above.

If you feel like talking to Cheryl feel free to call our home phone number (815) 624-0572 and if you want to come visit her, you are more than welcome as long as you abide by the following:

1. You don't have any illnesses, and haven't recently been in contact with someone who is ill.

2. You call and talk with me first to make sure Cheryl is up for a visit.

We are honored and deeply touched to have all of you as friends and family caring and praying for us in the way you do.

To God be the Glory and Honor

Gene & Cheryl

Friday, August 11, 2006

11 Aug 2006

To All,

Cheryl has come up with a great idea...for all of you who are willing and able / available we ask that on Saturday, 12 AUG, at six pm, you stop what ever you are doing and right in your current place pray and call upon God, collectively, to place his healing hands upon her.

I left the hospital last night to head home, Cheryl feeling tired and a minor fever - but she had a good day. When I returned this morning the nurses told me she had another rough night of fevers (104), but she was still glad to see me.

The doctors made there rounds this morning around 11:30 (after the early morning rounds), to tell Cheryl and I the following:

They haven't yet determined the cause of her infection, but there is an off chance the fevers could be caused by one of the Antibiotic medicines. Highly unlikely, but as a precaution they were going to replace her current Anti-Biotics with others.

In addition, they told us we had a decision to make due to the fact that Cheryl's cancer cells are growing again and have multiplied more than what they were two/three weeks ago. They said we had the following options:

1. Begin the Chemo Therapy immediately with the known risks that her body still has the infection which could allow for additional complications. They would use a new drug, I don't recall the name, but it has a high risk of damaging her liver among other side effects or may have no side effects at all and this drug may or may not work.

- OR -

2. Go home and focus on the important things with what time she would have left (two weeks to 2 months).

Please decide this in the next two to three hours as we need to get started on your Chemo ASAP.

I guess you know we chose to stay and fight the good fight - Cheryl wants to live!!!!

We believe in the soverignity of God and trust in his plan. Either way what has happened and what ever the out come we know it will result in glory for God our loving father.

(P.S. - I haven't had a chance to speak to the kids (Emily & Michael) about this yet so please don't say anything to them about this until Sunday.

Love In Christ our savior

Gene & Cheryl

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

9 Aug 2006

To All,

We have wept and rejoiced the past few days as we have read the e-mails, cards, letters of encouragement and endured.

Monday, during the day, Cheryl needed more blood and Platelettes and her fevers would not abate but went up and down or hovered at a respectable level. Late Monday night they were so bad that the medical staff considered putting Cheryl in intensive care.

God heard her plight and prayers for rest and on Tuesday even though her fevers of up to 104 didn't go away, they were able to give her some medicine that finally allowed her to sleep and help with the rash that covered the majority of her body (This particular rash didn't itch - another blessing from God). She slept almost the entire day and I took all her calls, she didn't feel like talking to anyone.

I arrived on Wednesday morning to a woman that was at least smiling and had better skin color and Sitting up in bed. The doctors were very pleased with her progress, especially after a night of changing the bed sheets and her pajamas 4 times due to fevers rising and breaking causing her to sweat profusely (oh, wait, women don't sweat, the glow) or rather glow profusely.

She was very alert and talkative to some dear friends of ours, that came to visit us from Kansas. She is now eating at least half of her meal.

They are giving her about 4 liters of fluid a day plus three antibiotics, an anti-fungal to protect against bacterial pneumonia and the blood thinners (for the blood clots - they will her have on these for approx 2-3 months), a pain medicine (oxycodone) and Tylenol as needed.

We are not yet over the hump on these fevers, but we both believe she has made progress all a direct result of your prayers. Thank you, but don't stop now - we need you to keep praying.

Once all of the fever and infection (no one knows what kind) are gone then they will plan for the next round of Chemotherapy, which with Gods blessing, will eradicate the remaining cancer cells and take us one step closer to the next (and final we pray) stem cell transplant.

As you pray for Cheryl, and our family, we ask that you leave time to pray for others like Matt Noble, Betty Alexander and others of our church family as their needs are just as important.

In Gods Name and Love

Gene & Cheryl

Sunday, August 6, 2006

6 Aug 2006

To All,

We received many blessings this week, some by people calling to see how Cheryl was doing, those who stopped by, cards and get-well packages in the mail and many other things, all from our loving family - both physical and spiritual. Thank you so much, it really cheers Cheryl up.

Last week was a bit of a challenge as both Michael and then Emily came down with some type of virus and so we had to keep them segregated from Cheryl, that can be tough in one house. On Monday of last week Cheryl went to her scheduled clinic appointment where she received 1 unit of plattelets and 2 units of blood and they went ahead and performed the bone marrow biopsy.

On Tuesday, Cheryl started feeling sick and by Friday she was feeling very sick, ended the night with a fever, took some Tylenol and went to bed. Saturday the Doctor called and gave us the results of the bone marrow biopsy - The last Chemo Therapy treatment was able to make her about 70% better, but her bone marrow still contains some of the cancer cells. As such the Doctor wanted to start back with the Chemo Therapy again on Monday.

Well, Saturday night / Sunday morning (3:30 AM), Cheryl's fever was back with a vengeance and her whole body was not well. I called the Doctor and was told to bring her up right away. That is where she is right now - they admitted her and proceeded to give her a unit of platelets plus some additional antibiotics. They must get the fever in control and the infection (what ever it may be) before they can continue with the treatments.

We don't know how long she will be in this time, but will keep you all updated with her progress. Her room telephone number is (608) ###-####, her room number is B6/###, I don't have the rest of the address handy, but will send in the next update.

Please pray for Cheryl that:

1. She is healed by this treatment to the point that she can begin her next round of Chemo Therapy.
2. This next round of Chemo Therapy puts her cancer into remission once an for all time.
3. She maintains a solid base level of morale and that through your prayers, cards, letters, phone calls and visits it starts to climb back up.

Pray for the children, Emily & Michael that they regain their health and continue to be positive turning to the Lord for strength.

Pray for the Doctors that they will receive devine inspiration and intervention in Cheryl's cure.

Thank you all so much for the support over this long and arduous process. With out all of you and your support our journey would have been much harder.

Love in Christ

Gene - Cheryl Cummins

Thursday, July 27, 2006

27 Jul 2006


Greetings from home. It is so good to be home. I came home Tues. after the last chemo was finished, there was some discussion about what to do with me, I have developed a blood clot in the arm with the picc line in it (now I have one in each arm - a matched set). It presents a problem in that they have to keep the blood thinned to try to dissolve the clot while keeping platelettes high enough that I don't bleed.
Oh, by the way I give myself the blood thinner shot in the stomach and yes it does sting, twice a day. As long as there are no signs of infection or the clot moving they will try to keep the line in so they don't have to stick me so many times. I have begun to bruise really easily. The clot itself is painful, but no nausea or vomitting, just the over all tired from chemo. We go to Madison Sat. as a temp. inpatient for blood work and to possibly receive blood, then again on Monday in the clinic. Tues. they are going to do another bone marrow biopsy. This blood thing is something totally new and a bit unsettling, but God knows that.

My immune system is once again compromised so I have to wear the masks and take the extra precautions. All in all it's not too bad.

If the leukemia is in remission after the biopsy the plan is to have my sister donate the stem cells and try again. This time not suppressing my immune system as much.

Thanks to all those who are praying, for those that have done yard work and cleaned the house before I came home once again. Thanks too for having Michael over, it means so much to know he is being taken care of while Emily is away. She comes home Friday. I will be glad to see her. That is all the news I have for now. Here are some specific prayer requests:

Pray that the clot is dissolved
The leukemia will be in remission so we can proceed with the stem cell transplant
Pray for protection for our family during this stressful time.

Thanks for Praying

Cheryl for the Cummins family

Friday, July 21, 2006

21 Jul 2006

To All,

The update is that I got my pic line right away yesterday, in the past I have had to wait several days and then once they take you down for the procedure you wait at least another half hour. I got right in this time. The great thing about the pic line it is the stick once and for all, they don't have to stick you again or so the theory goes.

On the way to the hospital I got a terrible pain in my right arm, It continued to get worse so about 10:30 p.m. they walked me down to ultrasound and found a blood clot in my arm. So they started me on blood thinners, A shot that burns when given I might add. Okay, I don't have many platelets, the stuff that makes your blood clot, but I have a blood clot in my arm, no wonder my sister and brother call me the mutant.

Oh, now I am on steroids to help with the chemo which also helps with the appetite. This type of steroid also causes your blood sugar to rise, which results in drug induced diabetes, and so I get more shots, of insulin ( this problem is supposed to be temporary - when I stop taking the steroid the diabetes will go away). The fun just goes on and on.

One correction to the last e-mail. The chemo-therapy drug of choice is called Cytarabine, which is a high concentrate long lasting formula. So, with this type I only get IV's at 10 AM and 10 PM that run for 3 hours at a time. This will go on through next Tuesday, 25 July. Gene say's I don't have a toxic glow yet, but I know my hair will fall out again.

I am trying to remain positive as the Lord once again will carry us through all this.

Please Pray:
1. this is the final, ultimate, complete, no more treatments, cure
2. Strength for Gene as he is at my bedside constantly
3. for Emily, in Milwaukee, that she will stay focused for the last week and performance
4. For Michael, we will have things for him to do so the time passes quickly
5. Strength to endure yet another round

Cheryl, Gene and Family

Thursday, July 20, 2006

20 Jul 2006

To All,

Well, here we are back again at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. Things are going as expected. My room has a nice view of the state capital building and of lake Mendota. The doctors are going to perform a bone marrow biopsy later today and then start the Chemo Therapy again. The Chemo Therapy will be administered through an IV for 5 days, 24 hours a day. After that, depending on how I am holding up they may keep me for a short while longer or send me home. Two weeks after the last day of the Chemo Therapy treatment they will do another bone marrow biopsy to see if the lukemia (cancer) is in remission. If it is in remission then they will move on to my second stem cell transplant. If it isn't in remission...well I don't know...we will cross that bridge if and when it comes.

For those of you who would care to call, write or visit see my contact information below:

University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics
Attn: Cheryl Cummins - B6/###
Madison, WI 53792

Direct room phone number - (608) ###-####

That is all we know so far, but promise to keep you posted and please continue to pray for our family.

Thanks for praying.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

19 Jul 2006

To All,

We must once again call upon our dear family and friends to fervently pray for us. On 18 July, we were told that Cheyrl must once again endure Chemo Therapy and another transplant as her cancer has returned. As you can imagine the news has rattled us a great deal.

Cheryl is going back into the hospital in Madison on Thursday, 20 July for another intense round of Chemo Therapy, I think for four or five days straight. We are not certain of the entire process this time around, but understand that they will not perform the full body radiation this time as the doctor believes her body can't take the treatment.

Though we are currently enduring some of the pain and discomfort that many experience here on earth, we want to assure everyone that our faith is strong and focused on God our savior. We have no idea how this will turn out, but then again none of us can see into the future. We firmly believe that through all of this God will use this to glorify his name and that in the end a greater good will be achieved.

We are taking each day one at a time and will remain hopeful that devine intervention will intercede to cure Cheryl, after all that is all any of us can do.

Please pray for Emily while she is away at Ballet camp that she remains focused and strong, pray for Cheryl that she can endure the painful treatments once again and finally receive complete healing, pray for Michael that he continues to be the faithful and loving son that he is and finally, pray for Gene that he can maintain strength to carry the family through this ordeal keeping all focused on the blessing each of us has received from God.

As before we will send out updates as we get additional information.

May God Bless all of you

Love in Christ

Gene, Cheryl and family

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

12 Jul 2006

Dear Friends and Family,

Sorry it has been so long since I've written. The bone marrow biopsy done in May came back with no signs of acute leukemia. Praise the Lord! We don't have the DNA results yet. I go to the Dr. again the 18th. It has been almost a month since I've had an appointment-another milestone. I am only taking 3 medicines daily and one Mon. Wed. and Fri. She lessened the amount of immune suppressants I take-another milestone. I feel good most of the time. I still have stomach aches and diaherrea, although not as frequently as I used to. I tire easily and am still weak in my upper body. I walk a mile and a half a day so my legs are pretty strong. It doesn't do much for my upper body though.

I have to stay out of the sun, since I am on an immune suppressant, I also have to be careful not to be around sick people, but no more wearing a mask. I have to wear a special mask and gloves to garden, I am leaving that up to Emily, I have had enough masks.

I went to Nebraska for my sisters wedding in June. I was really tired coming back, I even took the wheelchair at the airport-at my sisters insistance. My sister Sandy and brother Chuck were here last week, we had a great time. I wore down by Wed. though. I need to learn a balance of resting and going. I probably never will learn the resting part. It is hard to see something that needs done and not do it. The Dr. was amazed at my progress in such a short time. It will take a year to fully recover, that means I still have 7 months to milk this thing. Too bad I'm too impatient I want to be recovered yesterday.

The stem cell transplant is the cure. I should not have to have anymore treatments, unless the leukemia comes back. Then we would start over again. I am fully convinced that I am totally cancer free and will remain that way. I am a walking miracle. When I was first diagnosed the Dr. said if I didn't have any treatment I would live a couple more months. I am so thankful for the treatment and for my sister donating the stem cells to save my life.

I am having trouble eating, everything tastes salty to me. I still force myself to eat though. I have lost about 50 lbs. I don't recommmend the weight loss plan though. The Dr. said I could not loose any more weight.

Over all I feel great! My family has been a great support through all this, and I am truly thankful. The next 7 months can't go fast enough for me though. I have worn out my patience while in the hospital.

Oh, I have had trouble going up to the hospital to visit the nurses, it is attached to the Dr. office. When I would go up there I felt as if I was going to vomit. The last Dr. appt. I had I went up to see a lady from church who has cancer, My next appt. she will be up there again and I told her I would go and see her. Maybe that was the purpose for my leukemia. It is getting easier to go back to the hospital-JUST TO VISIT !

Last week I gave up wearing hats. My hair is about 1/2"long and very curly. I look like a poodle, It is nice to go without a hat , they were starting to get hot.

May God Bless all of you who have helped us along the way by your various acts of loving kindness such as daily praying, letters, cards, meals, visits ect. your constant devotion was a source of great encouragement for the whole family.


Cheryl and Family

Monday, May 15, 2006

15 May 2006

Dear friends and family.

Happy 100 days. Yesterday was 100 days since the transplant. It marks a real milestone. I can eat all the fresh fruit and vegetables I want to, before fresh broccoli, strawberries and things that you couldn't get real clean were on the do not eat list. THe milestone also means I get to have a bone marrow biopsy Tuesday the 16th. Pray that the biopsy would come out leukemia free. We won't know the results for 3-5 days. The DNA results take longer, about 2-3 weeks. I alsoo don't have to wear my mask as much. Prais the Lord. It is not real comfortable. I am feeling okay. I tire easily and don't feel as I have much strength. We walk a mile and a half everyday-well everyday that it isn't raining. I am not sleeping well at night. Maybe I need to walk farther so I get really tired.

I have been doing the laundry and fixing meals. I haven't had a helper for about 3 weeks now. I am not as dizzy. I get a little dizzy if I get up to fast but not to the extent that I was. I have been sewing, it can be done sitting down and I really love to sew. I can even drive! I have only been able to drive for about 2 weeks now. I asked about gardening. She said if I got these special tight fitting masks(I thought the other ones were bad) and if I wear gloves and wear a big hat to keep the sun off and wear sunscreen I could. I think I will wait until next year. THe risk is just not worth it. I am no longer on a steroid. I was on it to see if it would help regulate my blood pressure, I was eating everything in sight, it also gave me some energy, so when she took me off them I has some really strange things going on my legs ached, of course I had puffy cheeks and you gain weight at the base of you neck on your back while you are on them. NOw I have no appetite, I do eat at meals because I know I have to but pray that it will become easier to eat. Everything tastes salty, even watermelon. Well that is the latest, Oh, pray for Emily she has bronchitis and her eyes have been bothering her for about 6 weeks, Today we went to an eye Dr. and I think this may be the cure. While this is going on she isn't supposed to get too close to me, she can be in the same room but not hug and kiss and snuggle, it is a struggle for both of us. Thank you all for praying, thanks for the delicious meals that have been brought to our house and thanks for the cards that have been sent. They are so encouraging.

In Christ,


Friday, April 14, 2006

14 Apr 2006

To All,

To date, there have been many very positive signs that the Leukemia is in remission and Cheryl is receiving Gods blessing in healing from this cancer. This progress hasn't been without personal struggles for Cheryl.

Last Friday, 7 April, she blacked out twice, once where she was caught off guard and actually fell, hitting her head on the door knob and also biting a hole in her lip. The second time she caught herself and grabbed a hold of the door, when she came out of the black out she was still standing very weak and shaking. It was after these that she called me home from my Army National Guard training time to be with her.

The other area she has been struggling is been with continued weight loss. The Doctors want this to stop.

Thursday we went to clinic again, with the main purpose of removing her hickman. As a reminder the hickman is a series of tubes that were inserted into her chest and then into a main vein leading directly to the heart. After trying several different medication combinations new and old, the doctors have concluded, or at least hope, that the hickman is the root cause for all of Cheryl's dizzy / black out spells. Thus, on Thursday they removed it. It is to early to say for certain if this has helped, we are praying that this will put an end to her dizzy spells.

Her spirit has remained high and steadfastly focused on the Lord.

We also discovered that Cheryl had gained two pounds. This to was good news.

Please continue to pray that:

1. Removing the hickman will also remove her dizzy / black out spells.
2. That her weight now stabilize and remain no lower than her current level.
3. That in the coming week she is able to resume some of the responsibilities of running a busy household (this is her desire).
4. That her vision would begin to clear so that she can resume driving and reading.

Thank you for your continued support in prayers, meals, cards and visits.

May God Bless you and your family during the Easter Holiday

Gene and Cheryl

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

22 Mar 2006

Dear friends and family,

Greetings on this bright sunny day. I am enjoying the warmer days when they come, I can get out and walk around the block. On a good day I can make it 3 times! We had an appointment with the Dr. yesterday. Good news! More DNA tests are back and more than 95% of the DNA is my sisters. The Dr. is really pleased. I am still dizzy, the Dr. still doesn't have a solution. They tested my thyroid and adrenal gland, tested me for dehydration, for strep throat since Michael came down with strep throat Sat. Praise the Lord no one else in the family got it. My tests all came out negative! So, we changed some more of the medications for this week. I am no longer having to have hydration by iv. I am a little disappointed that the dizziness hasn't gone, but I have to think back to where I was 4 weeks ago and how much stronger I am now. It is definately a long process. I have 40-50% of my bone marrow back at this point. It can take 6-12 months before it is totally restored. I am learning patience, or at least trying to learn. God's timing and mine are definately not the same. The whole humility thing is a learning process. You truly learn humility when you have to have help just getting in the shower in the morning. Not being able to fix meals is another lesson in humility. Learning the way you always did something is not the only way it can be done. Really?! Well, I am off to take a walk while the sun is shinning.
Please pray for a solution to the dizziness, praise that the blood tests are looking terriffic!

Thanks for praying,


Saturday, March 11, 2006

11 Mar 2006

Dear Friends and family,

Thankyou for your prayers during this time of recovery. I came home from the hospital 13 days ago. What a blessing to be home, although I don't do a whole lot. I have this blood pressure issue. I am fine while lying down, when I sit my blood pressure drops and when I stand it drops about 30-50%. So I get dizzy when I stand and try to walk. THe Dr. has required an adult to be with me 24hrs. since I do get dizzy.

I am a little discouraged at this point. The Dr. is baffled about the blood pressure. I am receiving 2 litres of fluid through IV a day. Please pray that the blood pressure would be regulated.

I took a walk around the block with Gene today what a beautiful day for a walk. I am not supposed to be walking until the blood pressure is under control but I feel that at some point I need to increase my endurance. I think I am fine if someone is with me.

My youngest sister is coming today to stay next week. Gene can finally get back to work. The initial report of the bone marrow biopsy is good, no leukemia. They are further testing it to see if my sister's DNA is the dominant one in my body. We don't have those results yet.

Thanks for praying,


Monday, February 27, 2006

27 Feb 2006

To All,

On Sunday at 5:35 PM Cheryl arrived home after being in the UW Madison Hospital 31 days. Cheryl and family were moved to tears rejoicing her return. It was not certain that she would be allowed to come home, but after discussions with the doctor, myself and Cheryl it was decided that home would probably be best.

The current issue that almost prevented Cheryl from coming home is:

1. No appetite, thus not ingesting enough calories to fuel her body's needs.
2. Not retaining fluid, her body was releasing the fluids as fast as they could get them into her either via drinking and/or IV
3. Unstable blood pressure - her blood pressure would drop by as much as 50% from when she was laying down (fairly normal at this position) to standing. This would lead to dizziness, and once she almost passed out and fell again.

For her to be home the Doctor requires:
1. An adult to be with her 24 hours a day for the next several weeks to watch over her and help keep her safe.
2. Home Health nurse to visit two - three times per week to check on her conditions.
3. The adult in # 1 (that's Gene), to learn how to administer IV's that contain a magnesium supplement.
4. She will be going back to clinic twice a week starting Tuesday 28 February.
5. On Friday - Cheryl will be going back for a bone marrow biopsy, the first since the Stem Cell Transplant, to find out the results of the transplant.

If you would like to come visit Cheryl at our home (Cheryl would be thrilled to see you) please mind the following:
1. Please call first to confirm the time you would like to visit.
2. Ensure you haven't recently been or are not currently sick.

Our home phone number is 815-624-0572.

Please pray for Cheryl and family in the following areas:

1. Cheryl's blood pressure to equalize / normalize
2. Cheryl to be able to get back her appetite
3. Cheryl's bone marrow biopsy to come back with all positive results - "Total and Complete Remission"
4. Gene's job to continue to allow him to work from home to cover Cheryl's needs. - They have been extremely patient and supportive to date.
5. Us as a family - there are many changes that each must accept and they say it will take up to a year for Cheryl to fully recover her strength / stamina / health.

Above all else, we value and cherish your prayers and know that God is present with us everyday.

Thank you

Gene - Cheryl & Family

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

22 Feb 2006

Dear All,

We are looking out on the beautiful sunshine, shining on the snow and ice covered lake Mendota, of course I thinks it is beautiful as I don't have to be outside.

It looks like Saturday, 25 Feb, will be the target date for me to return home. Several things need to happen prior to my going home:

1. Taking all of my medications orally not via IV
2. Eating better (nausea and throat sores play factors in all of this)
3. I also must avoid fevers

There was other criteria, but through Gods blessing I have crossed those thresholds.

We are all anxious to be home together again.

Gene, the kids and some of the ladies from church are working to get the house prepared for my return. Gene is getting all the carpets and rugs professionally cleaned on Thursday. Emily and a couple of the ladies from Church are going to clean the house from top to bottom on Friday. Saturday, my chariot arrives to take me home.

They tell me I must be very careful for approx. 3 - 6 months as I will continue with the medication to completely suppress my immune system. I will enjoy having many of you over to the house to visit me, but please call first and make sure all is going as expected prior to coming.

I can't wait to get home.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

19 Feb 2006

Greetings One and All,

It is now the 25th day since I entered the hospital and the 16th day subsequent to the Stem Cell Transplant.

The mouth sores are almost completely gone and my mouth feels better than my throat. I am beginning to be able to swallow with less difficulty, not yet able to eat much besides Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, Jell-O and / or Cream of Wheat.

The White Blood Cells, the body's defensive agent to fight internal infections, are slow to come in and my Platelet count and Red Blood Cells, were going up and down, but have now stabilized (again below what I need). The Doctor said it is now a waiting game, waiting for my body, specifically the blood producing part of my body, to kick in to gear.

As a sign of progress, I start taking my medications orally again on Monday. This is also another stepping stone brining me closer to my eventual release.

My brother is hear for the weekend, spending time with the Kids while Gene stays up at the hospital with me. My sister, the "Stem Cell Donor", was completely healed within approx 36 - 48 hours after donation. Unfortunately she couldn't come to see me this weekend, as was the plan, because she was feeling sick and didn't want to risk exposing me or Gene and the kids. Please pray for her that God's healing hand would be on her and her family. I know my illness has really taken a toll on her and her family (with her coming to help me so often).

Please pray for healing for Emily, she may have a sinus infection.

Thank you for the meals, I hear the food has been very good.

For the present that really sums it up...we must just wait on the Lord and in his time he will heal me.

I will send more when I have more. Thanks again for the countless cards and e-mails from each of you, it really lifts my spirits to read the heart felt thoughts and/or keep up on what is happening on the outside.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

16 Feb 2006

Dear Friends and family,

It is snowing beautifully here. It snowed a little last night, but today it is really snowing. It is so pretty.

I am feeling well. I had my last shot that makes my mouth and throat sore Tues. I didn't feel well yesterday.

The Doctor and Nurses are amazed with how well I am healing.

I believe the sores in my mouth and throat are begining to subside, the swelling in my cheeks is deminishing as well. They are still giving me transfusions, blood and Plattlets, waiting for my body to start making it's own. We hope any day now.

Gene just made it to the hospital and said the roads are crazy, it took him about 1 hour and 45 minutes and saw several vehicles off in the ditch.

Keep Gene and the kids in your thoughts and prayers tonight as the furnace broke down yesterday, but they couldn't get the parts to fix it until Friday morning. Gene said it was the Heat Exchanger that they had to replace.

The Doctor is very positive that I will get to go home by the end of February, provided everything stays on course.

Thank you for all the wonderful cards and notes, they are such a joy.

I will send out more of an update when we have one.

Love in Christ


Sunday, February 12, 2006

12 Feb 2006

Dear Friends and Family;

It is now Sunday evening, 12 FEB 2006, nine days since the Stem Cell Transplant, and eighteen days after admission for this final round.

On Saturday and again on Sunday, our Doctor stated something we have known all along; he said that the care and medication that they have provided to Cheryl doesn't explain her current state of healing, following a Stem Cell Transplant. In fact, he stated that her success in overcoming the painful side effects has been due to people praying for her.

WE know the power of prayer, and now you do as well, even the nurses and doctors tell us that it is amazing how well Cheryl looks and how she is making it through this difficult and painful time.

Here is Cheryl's current condition:

1. She still gets very tired during the day
2. Her mouth and throat are covered with soars making it difficult to eat and talk, but she still forces herself to do both (the doctor said it is rare that someone in her condition hasn't had to be fed via tube)
3. She has had two units of platelets and one of blood - again fairly normal

Please pray for quick healing of the soars in her mouth and throat.

Just for the record, visitors are welcome as long as Cheryl abides by the following:

1. All visitors must be healthy
2. Cheryl is required to have two naps per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon (sounds like a good requirement for many of us)

Our family and church still is a witness to many through the cards, letters, posters, packages and visits that Cheryl has recieved both at the hospital and at our home. The people at the hospital and at my work are amazed at how many people are reaching out to help us and starting to ask questions, starting to want to belong to a group of people that care so much. Please continue caring for us and others in our church, family and your neighborhood, others are watching.

May God bless you and your family through Cheryl's suffering and may we join together in the near future to rejoice in his healing touch, Grace and Majesty.

Gene & Cheryl

Thursday, February 9, 2006

9 Feb 2006

Hello to All;

In case any of you were wondering, God is answering your prayers for Cheryl as everything is moving forward as expected, no surprises like the times before. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Well, as of 03 Feb 2006, Stem Cell Transplant date, things have been going pretty normal, progressively getting worse, as expected. This is what I mean:

1. She has little energy
2. She is starting to get sores in her mouth and throat
3. As of today it is becoming increasingly difficult for her to swallow and she can only swallow liquids without discomfort.
4. Her tongue is swollen and her mouth is dry - so she has a hard time talking
5. As of this afternoon her fever peaked to the point where they take action, X-Rays, blood work and anti-biotics.

Again all this is very normal, difficult, but normal. Per the doctor, they expect Cheryl will continue to spiral downward until she bottoms out on Saturday or Sunday.

Her week started out with joy, by getting to visit from Emily and Michael and spending time with both of them two days in a row. In the middle of the week Cheryl received some hand made get well cards from her Sunday school children, very pretty. The nurses do love these cards as well. They look every bit as pretty as the valentines she got from the Awana kids. Once again Cheryl has won the best decorated, most loved patient room hands down. We did have a bit of excitement this week when on Wednesday, Cheryl received a package from the Church which held a "Shadow Buddy". It is a doll that resembles Cheryl in remarkable ways.

1. Little to no hair
2. Pretty Blue eyes
3. A hickman (IV in her chest)
4. The all essential naval (or belly button)
Oh yes and of course the matching "FLASHERS" hospital gown.

The nurses just loved this doll and we were the first on our hospital wing to have one. Thank you.

Cheryl has guests coming on Friday, Pastor Alhberg and his lovely wife Pat (better than me, her same old husband!!!). She is currently up for visitors with the following requests:
1. Only one set of visitors per day - for now, she just gets to tired.
2. Please ensure that you are not sick or haven't been sick for sometime.

Cheryl has no immune system and needs to be careful.

Thank you all for the lovely meals, cards and other helps you have provided me and my family. Some of the church body even invited the kids over to spend the night. This really helps with morale. Thanks again.


Gene & Cheryl

Saturday, February 4, 2006

4 Feb 2006

To All,

This has been a week of miracles. First God blesses us with the fact that Cheryl's sister, Sandy was a match and not just a match, but 100% match (which the doctor said is rare). He blessed us with a good day for the Stem Cell Transplant. The process came off without a hitch. Cheryl is very tired, weak and she has trouble with her stomach.

Her spirits are very high. We know who to thank, we thank all of you, for it is by your prayers and suplications that God has blessed Cheryl and the rest of our family so.

Please continue to pray for her sister Sandy, she has recovered from the strenous excercise of donating her Prescious Stem Cells, but she must now travel back home to her husband and two small girls. We have been very thankful to have her here and can never express in words our true feelings regarding her most precious gift, given freely and with love.

The doctor is happy with Cheryl's progress, but has said that the next eight days will be her biggest challenge physically. Please pray that God will grant her the strength to see this ordeal through to the end and remain as steadfast his servant as she was before this started and is today.

Thank you for the wonderful meals, cards and gifts all given in love.

Once again the Nurses have voted Cheryl's room the most decorated and her the most loved patient on this floor. In fact, they fight over who gets to take care of her, mostly due to her spirit through all of this.

We covet your prayers now and forever.

In Gods Love

Gene & Cheryl and family

Thursday, February 2, 2006

2 Feb 2006

Dear Friends and Family,

Thanks for your continuted prayers. I have one more round of Radiation. I sit still for 12 minutes, then they come into the room flip the cart around and 12 minutes on the other side. It is totally painless. It is the 8th round.

The Dr. says I am doing well, I feel really strong.

The transplant will be tomorrow. If they get enough stem cells today it will between 9:00-10:30 in the morning. If not enough are collected it will be around 12:30 or 1:00 after they harvest more stem cells. Pray for Sandy, her joints are achey and she says she had flu like sypmptoms. I sometimes forget the other side of the equation. She will experience some relief after they harvest the stem cells today but will feel better tomorrow.

I am able to have visitiors and feel up to them. Next week is supposed to be the most difficult in terms of how I feel. We will keep you updated.

Pray for God's continued stength,
stem cells won't be rejected by my body
Strength for Gene, Emily and Michael
Rest, and complete recovery from the luekemia



Saturday, January 28, 2006

28 Jan 2006

Hello to All,

Today is Saturday, 28 January and Cheryl is recieving what is hoped to be her final Chemotherapy treatment. The schedule has allowed her one day of rest, Sunday, before hopping into the Full Body Radiation treatment.

The following is Cheryl's room address and phone number, incase you are inclined to send cards, call and/or visit:

Address -
UW Hospital

Madison, WI 53705

Room Phone number -
(608) ###-####

If you would like to visit please check with either Cheryl by phone or with me on my cell phone (608) ###-####. Also, we will let you all know if she is up to recieving visitors, via the e-mails.

Her room has a wonderful North view of Lake Mendota and the surronding shoreline. Cheryl's sister is due in from Colorado on Monday. Things appear to be going as planned.

God Bless All

Gene & Cheryl

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

24 Jan 2006

To All,

We are now getting ready to take the next step, into the home stretch.

We just came back from a visit to the Doctor. She reviewed the test results of two weeks ago, PRAISE THE LORD!!!! - All tests resultes came in clean. This may be an indication that the lukemia is in remission. In addition, the Doctor reviewed the next steps, starting with:

26 January, Thursday - Cheryl is admitted back into the hospital - They will remove pic-line (or IV line) from her arm and install one with three ports into her chest.

27-28 January, Friday-Saturday - Begin 48 hours of continous Chemotheropy.

29 - January, Sunday - Day of rest for Cheryl.

30 JAN - 03 FEB - Monday - Friday - Full Body Radiation, twice a day for four days.

30 January Monday - Cheryl's sister arrives at house, to begin recieving the double injections of growth hormone shots that will increase her body's production of stem cells. She will take these injections twice a day for 4 days.

02 FEB 2006 - Thursday - Cheryl's sister enters the hospital to let them harvest her stem cells. This may take one or two days.

03 FEB 2006 - Friday - They begin the stem cell transplant, immediately following the full body radiation treatment.

From this point on it will be wait and watch. Cheryl will be in the hospital any where from three to four weeks. There will be a point when she either won't feel like having visitors and/or can't have visitors due to her immune system. We will advise you all through this update when it will be safe to visit Cheryl.

I am thankful that through this whole process, because each and everyone of you have been faithfully praying for us, Cheryl has remained steadfast in her faith and continued to submit herself fully to the Lords will. Togeather we will make it through this step in life and be the proud witness of God's Glory and abilities.

May God Bless each and everyone of you through her suffering.


Gene, Cheryl and Family