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