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