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