Monday, December 27, 2010
Upon meeting, we were informed that the results on Mike’s lumbar puncture were not good. There is still a low level of leukemia in the spinal fluid around his brain. A transplant will not treat the leukemia that this point. Mike will have to go back into an induction round of intrathecal chemotherapy (injected directly into his spine) and most likely consider spinal cranium radiation therapy. This cycle could last several months before the leukemia is treated and he could be cleared for transplant again.
The option is always in Mike’s hand to not continue with therapy. His body has been through so much already and the thought of another round of more intense chemo and radiation does not sound too appealing. If he were to choose against further treatment, the doctors estimate that Mike would have 2-4 months left to live.
All I can say is, God is bigger. I believe that God will impart divine wisdom to both of us to find new healing methods and I really believe that Mike is going to make it through this. I am not denying that I am afraid and angry. Mike deserves to be well…Now. I honestly don’t know what God’s intentions are to allow us to go through such difficult circumstances, but when I really comes down to it, I trust Him. His plan is better than mine and somehow, someway, good will come from this.
Please keep us in prayer over the coming weeks that we will be strong, have peace and enjoy every moment we are blessed to have together.
And please…imagine your life without someone that you love and then go tell that person how much they mean to you. No one is promised later.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Today we met with the BMT team to go over results of Mike’s most recent bone marrow biopsy and requirements for transplant. He is showing a 1% relapse which means the leukemia is already trying to come back from his last remission in October. At this point, they are still going to proceed with transplant as long as his lumbar puncture tests come back satisfactory and that we can get dental clearance by Friday. We still have not heard back from the dentist to even get him in for a visit, so if anyone knows a dentist near Tampa who would be willing to help us out before Friday, it would be greatly appreciated. If we don’t have dental clearance to turn in on Monday, his doctor is cancelling the transplant.
We went over about 50 pages of consent forms and side effects which we have to take home to review further before his appointment next Monday. I have a hard time processing all of the “what ifs” at this point, so I really just have to put everything in God’s hands. I know that everything is going to be ok because God is amazing and no matter what – He will look out for me and my family.
Mike has been in very good spirits and we are certainly determined to enjoy the next few weeks together as a family. We are taking in every moment and enjoying it to its fullest. We pray that all of you will consider us throughout the holiday season and do the same for yourself and your loved ones. Life is too short not to enjoy it and appreciate what you have.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed and prosperous new year!! Much love and joy to all!!! <3
Monday, November 29, 2010
Hey everyone! I hope you all had a very happy and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.
Today, we went to see the Bone Marrow Transplant Team at Moffitt. Because the risk for relapse is 100% at this point, Mike’s best option is to go through with the transplant. We were hoping to find a 10/10 match, but Mike has a very unique antigen that is not common in most donors. They did find a 9/10 match, so he is scheduled to be admitted on January 5.
Listening to the statistics is less than inspiring, but for everyone who wants details, here they are: The transplant success rate for 2nd remission patients is 35% and is generally determined within the first year, but there is a 2 year window and a 40% chance that another relapse could occur. Of the 35% that survive transplant, up to 65% experience chronic life-long illnesses due to Graft vs Host Disease. This is when the donor’s cells attack the cells in the patient’s body. We do want a minimal amount of GVHD to occur so that the donor’s cells will attack the leukemia and keep it from coming back. Mike will be in the hospital (at Moffitt) for up to 6 weeks depending on his progress and then he will have to move to the Hope Lodge on campus or find a local apartment to keep him within 15 minutes of Moffitt at all times for an additional 6 weeks. The Hope Lodge is free but only offers 11 beds and is very limited. We will not know until the end of the first 6 week period whether there will be a bed available for him. The apartments are $75/day but they work with Moffitt for some financial assistance. We have to be prepared to cover these costs out of pocket and to provide a 24/7 caregiver (and a back-up) during this secondary 6 week period.
I have said it a thousand times and I will continue to say it; my hope is not in statistics or doctors or even in medicine. My hope is in our Creator and the God of all. Nothing can come to us without passing through His hands first, and if He is ok with it – then I trust Him. His plan is better than mine. I may not always understand it – actually, most of the time, I just don’t get it at all – but I know that my mind is limited in its processing. The appointment today was very difficult for both of us. These things are extremely hard for us to hear and we have a very long road ahead of us. But, in faith, I believe that God’s plan is perfect. And I will yet praise Him for all that He is and all that He continues to do for us. I’m believing for the BEST possible outcome and that Mike’s progress will astound the doctors and blow all of their statistics out of the water. Mike is going to do great. He is a fighter and he will give everything he has to getting better every single day.
Please continue to keep our family in prayer. We want only acute GVHD and that the transplant will go very smoothly and completely wipe all of the cancer out of his body. Please pray, also, that Mike will be able to get all of the dental work he needs done as soon as possible to clear him for admission. Thank God for providing financially for us and please pray blessings upon the donor and upon my employer for being so gracious. Pray that we will remain strong in every area and that whatever God’s will is, will be done.
Much love and thanks to all for continual prayers and encouragement!! We couldn’t get through this without you all!! <3
PS> Once transplant starts, I will be doing online updates on Mike’s leukemia group Facebook page. It will just be 1-2 sentences each day of his progress, so be sure to join if you are interested in keeping up with his status daily. FB Search: Michael Johnson Leukemia Journey
Saturday, October 30, 2010
We met with Mike’s doctor yesterday regarding his BMT and here is what’s happening: They have found several 8/10 and 9/10 matches in the National Registry. The doctors would really like to find a 10/10 match to reduce the risk of Graft vs. Host Disease. They continue to submit him weekly into the registry to see if any new donors are a better match. They are also searching cord blood registries and will continue for a few more weeks – praying that a better match comes available to him. She did not say exactly how long they will wait to see if one comes up and would settle for a 9/10, but the longer we wait, the higher the risk of relapse and less effective the transplant could be. If you are willing, please consider being tested and joining the registry. You could be a perfect 10/10 match for Mike! Please pray that we find one!! In the mean time, Mike will remain on the maintenance therapy taking 14 chemo pills weekly and getting a monthly infusion. He has been in good spirits and looks fantastic! He had a large hurdle to jump when he accidentally over-dosed on his chemo pills and his body had to recover, but he is doing very well now. His parents were so gracious to fly us up for a visit to MD for some intimate time with close friends and family. It was a much needed refresher for us!! Mike came home singing and smiling. His heart is lighter than I have seen it in a long time. I feel like I have him back. :-)
Thank you for all of your stories and testimonies that you send to me. I am continually amazed by each one as I read the things that so many of you have overcome. People tell me that they see us as “Survivors” and look to us for inspiration…but I look to all of you, because in one way or another, we are all survivors. Whether it is dealing with an illness, the loss of a dear loved one, a dysfunctional family or childhood, broken marriages, unforeseen tragedies, losing everything and starting over… the list goes on… We all have a story that makes us who we are. I truly believe that the human spirit is the most powerful thing under God. We carry so much potential and resolve within us that can only be seen when we are put to extreme tests and challenges and are tried to our very core. My inspiration comes from those who have remained positive but kept it real; not retreating under the burden or allowing bitterness to shadow their hearts. We are all over-comers in our own way….everyone has been through something and if you were facing what we are facing, I am confident that many of you would find the same strength that we have to carry on.
Mike’s doctor is projecting that the transplant could take place early–mid December which will put him in the hospital through Christmas but I am grateful that he will be around for Thanksgiving. I will probably update again before the holidays start, but if not, we hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and a safe & FUN Black Friday!! :-D Blessings to all!!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Hello everyone! =) I hope this message finds you all in good health and good spirits! The weather has taken a fabulous turn and I am always amazed by how it seems to give us all a better attitude!
So here is the latest:
After the recent diagnosis that Mike had relapsed, he had to endure 4 weeks of intense chemo and then go for another bone marrow biopsy to see if it knocked out the leukemia. She warned us that it would probably take two cycles of the 4 week treatments and that Mike would feel very sick and most likely lose all of his hair again... With much credit going to all of your prayers and the grace of a wonderful God, I can report that Mike did NOT feel extremely sick during this last cycle – he had some bad days, but overall, it was not as unbearable as previous treatments have been, he did not lose ANY hair and the chemo was effective after only ONE cycle! His most recent biopsy showed no leukemia cells, so he is cleared for transplant. Currently, he is undergoing the preliminary procedures for the transplant which include a maintenance chemo – he has to go once a month for infusion and take about 19 pills throughout the week, getting all of his dental work done, pulmonary function tests, etc… They are also clearing the donor and setting up everything on that end for transplant to hopefully take place within a few weeks.
Everyone is asking lots of questions about the actual transplant procedure, so I will try to explain without messing up too much of the info… Once everything is in place, Mike will be admitted to Moffitt. The first week will be chemo “conditioning” treatments to completely wipe out his system. It is designed to treat the disease and prepare his immune system to accept the new stem cells. This will destroy or damage both the abnormal and normal bone marrow cells. After conditioning, he will be given an infusion of healthy stem cells. Following the transplant, the stem cells will grow in his bone marrow and generate a normal complement of marrow and blood cells. Prior to recovery of the marrow, he could be at risk for developing infections, bleeding, or anemia. During this time he may need transfusions of red cells and platelets until his marrow can produce these on its own. He may also be at risk for developing toxic effects to various organs as a result of the conditioning therapy. During this phase of transplant, aggressive care and support is required until the blood cell counts and organs recover. He will be under close observation by the transplant team for several weeks. Once he is released from Moffitt, he will be required to stay on campus in the Hope Lodge for several weeks under 24-hour care (which is not provided by Moffitt) until he gets the “ok” to go home. The entire process takes approximately 100 days. These are just the facts I have been given – but my faith says that he is not going to have ANY complications or toxic effects. I need EVERY ONE OF YOU to pray and speak in agreement with me on this! We believe that words have creative power and we going to speak only a positive and speedy recovery for Mike. (Isaiah 55:11 says “so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please and shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”) Our prayers have worked before… I know they will work again – please KEEP PRAYING!!! I cannot ask this enough!
In the mean time, we are enjoying time together as a couple and as a family. We went camping last weekend and are planning to go again next weekend. Mike has to be very careful to build his strength as much as possible with appropriate exercise and proper nutrition. We are working on that with getting outdoors as much as possible and preparing healthy meals. There is a joy in our atmosphere that I cannot explain. Don’t get me wrong, we have our moments of doubt and fear, but for the most part, everyone’s prayers have been very effective to keep us encouraged and looking forward to the future. We really cant thank you enough for keeping us lifted up! I cant imagine how people get through times like this without a solid support system. The kids are adjusting to home-schooling – so far, so good! :) Their test results have been good, so I guess I am doing something right! They are keeping busy with dance and trying to earn funds to go towards their competition team events. They also have their moments of fear and worry, but overall – I think they are handling things very well.
Thank you SO much to everyone who contributed to the Joe Corbi fundraiser!! Considering that Mike will be unable to work for quite some time and his medical expenses are outrageous, every bit of financial support is SO APPRECIATED!! If you were unable to participate in our fundraiser, but would like to make a donation toward his treatment, we have a Michael Johnson Leukemia Fund set up on Paypal. Just click the link: http://www.facebook.com/l/73e82jVGRArGygAt5MM2aNZmAjg;https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=6873197. Danielle has also set up some other ways to help our family during the holiday season, so if you are interested in contacting her directly, her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. She has been a TREMENDOUS blessing to us through this time and has organized several ways to provide assistance to our family. Also – a special thank you to everyone who has joined the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry in Mike’s honor. Mike’s life will be saved because someone registered – and we are so grateful for those who are brave and willing to go through being a donor to save another life! We know that God will return the blessings 100 fold to each of you!!
As always – we are thankful for you – EVERY ONE OF YOU!!! I read every comment, text, card, email, wall post, etc… and I remember each one of you as if you were the only one… please keep them coming! They help more than you know!
Friday, August 27, 2010
Ok, so this week has been kinda crazy. We’ve really had to do some re-arranging and serious soul searching. As much as I am all for staying positive and keeping a smile on my face, I think it is necessary to allow ourselves time to grieve through difficult situations. If you have ever held the tear streaked face of a grown man in the palm of your hands and felt the full gravity of it, then you understand the brokenness of those moments. I spent Saturday in the depths of despair, crying all day and at the peak of any stress level I have ever experienced. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that I am no good to anyone in that state and I really had to pull myself together. By Sunday I had found a divine peace with everything going on in my life and started to feel 100x better. I believe it’s attributed to all of the prayers that are reaching heaven for us. Jadeyn made a huge decision to be baptized in Christ this week, after much consideration. Mike & I believe that as parents, we can guide our children to believe in God, but we give them the freedom to choose for themselves what they want to believe. We are very proud of Jadeyn’s decision to follow the teachings of Jesus. Mike endured 10 long hours at Moffitt on Wednesday and was very weak and nauseous, but he made it to baptize our little girl that evening. Again, attributed to everyone’s prayers for us – thank you SO much!! We also settled on a definite decision to proceed with home-schooling them. My boss has been extremely supportive and has been gracious enough to agree that I can bring them to work with me 2 days a week. My mom is going to take a day and the other day will be split between other family and friends. I feel so peaceful making this choice, knowing that our family will remain very close over the coming months.
As for Mike, he has slept most of this week. He will endure a very intense chemo regimen for the next 4 weeks and then get another bone marrow biopsy to clear him for transplant. Please pray that his body will respond well to these treatments and that there will not be any problem finding an excellent match for the marrow. The transplant will most likely happen toward the end of this year. We have received conflicting reports as to when this will occur, so I will give more details on that process as it approaches. Many of you have asked how you can be tested to see if you are a match for Mike’s bone marrow… Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that if you register that your marrow will be designated to go to Mike only. There is a national registry that you can join, but your marrow will go to whoever is the closest match to you. If anyone is willing, I encourage you to be tested and join the registry. Many families struggle with leukemia and you may not match Mike perfectly, but you may match another daddy, husband, son or brother of another family praying for a perfect match. Mike’s life will be saved because someone registered. If you are interested, please contact your local blood donation center or American Red Cross to get more information on becoming a registered donor. I understand that this is a personal decision for each person individually, so please do not feel any pressure if you are not comfortable with registering.
I can not thank everyone enough for all of the love and support we have received this past week. Please do not forget to keep encouraging us through out. We draw a lot of strength from your words, your calls, texts, emails and of course prayers. Even if I don’t respond right away, I am getting it and it is always always appreciated.
I was touched to see that so many of you enjoyed watching the video of our journey. It’s my way of putting all of my thoughts and experiences together to share with everyone what we are going through. If you missed the 50,000 emails that came yesterday, the link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrLf4qhOpZU
There is also another video I made a few months ago of Mike and I – that link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYH45qI22gc
And one I made of Jadeyn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASVLfVJjPus
I have been working on one for Zack, but I am missing a picture I really want to include, so I have to find it first!
Friday, August 20, 2010
I’m just going to be real… I have no idea how to do this. I don’t know how God thinks we are strong enough to go through another year of this nightmare. Mike has been just starting to feel good and we were just starting to get into a normal lifestyle. We just got the kids set up for home-schooling and now I am going to have to completely re-adjust their schedule and go back to life at a hospital and seeing Mike suffer even longer… I feel like everything is just starting all over again, like last summer. Part of me wants to be so angry and cry and scream and yell… but I know that is not going to help Mike… and it’s not going to help me or the kids. Through all this I still have faith in a God that is bigger than all of it. I know that Mike will pull through and eventually we will be able to put all of this behind us. I so look forward to those days!!
Right now, we really need prayers…lots of them! Specifically, please pray that this chemo phase will put him into a full remission, that we will find the money to get his dental work done, that we will find an insurance company that will give us a policy because his Cobra expires in November; please pray that there will be NO complications through the transplant process (including divine protection from graft-host disease), that Mike will stay strong and that somehow we all keep our sanity, peace, joy and faith through everything.
Much love and thanks to everyone who has been such an encouragement and support since the very beginning. I have a feeling that we are really going to need everyone to pull together for us over the next few months.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This summer has been pretty fantastic, with very few bumps in Mike’s treatments and recovery. We were able to take a two week vacation up to MD to visit with our close friends and family. The kids had a blast with everyone and can’t wait to come up again. It truly was a very relaxing time for all of us. We want to say a special “thank you” to Mike’s parents for making it possible for us to fly up instead of drive. I don’t know how Mike’s body would have been able to handle 15 hours each way in the car! And “thank you” to everyone who gave us a place to stay, a car to get around or bought us meals, etc…!! You know who you are and so does God! We pray for blessings on each of you and your families!
In July we received some news that Mike’s most recent bone marrow results were less than favorable, so he had to go in this past Friday for another biopsy. We are praying that there is nothing to be concerned about and the report is going to come back that Mike is still in remission. We have decided that a bone marrow transplant would not be in his best interest at this point and feel confident that we have made the right choice. He is going to continue with his treatment protocol as planned which is: once a week he has to take 19 pills (usually on Thursday night or Friday) and once a month he has to go into the clinic for an infusion. This will continue for 2-3 years as he is in this “Maintenance Phase”. As long as his results are good, he will be able to completely finish the protocol and hopefully never have to deal with leukemia again.
I will be honest…there are hard days. Sometimes Mike has a negative reaction to the pills or infusions and gets very sick. I think there are times when he literally feels like he is dying. He will make a comment like, “hey, let’s go watch the sunset this week”, which is something I love to do, but never make time for. Unfortunately, I have not matured much in my ability to handle pain and suffering. My first inclination is to shut down, numb myself and just go through the motions to get by. Just the thought of not having Mike by my side is more grief than I can even begin to bear. I guess there are cycles through each of these stages. Sometimes I feel so strong and full of faith…other times, I am exhausted and afraid. I dare not mention the other drama going on in my family that is taking its toll on me. These situations are definitely taking us to the extent of what a person is made of – and beyond. I try to look at others who have a worse situation and thank God for all of my many, many blessings. I know that in Christ, we are more than conquerors and He has given us everything we need to overcome these trials. And when we get to the bottom of finding what we are made of, I’m sure we will find strength, compassion, hope, unity, love, patience, perseverance, and a victorious spirit.
On a lighter note…Mike is having more “good” days. He is able to get up and do more and he has gotten most of his hair back! :) We have decided to join the YMCA for all of the fitness programs they offer, so we are looking forward to getting into better shape in the coming months. We were blessed by the discounts they extend to families with medical disabilities. With Mike’s insurance premiums at $1200 and co-pays over $300/mo, every little bit helps! The kids are super excited to start a new dance year. They have been chosen for the competition team, so we will have a very full year of practices and competition performances. We have also decided to home-school them this year. I know, everyone thinks we are crazy…but we feel that this is in their best interest and if we feel overwhelmed at any time we can always put them back into public school. We are going to take one day at a time and see how it goes. My job is still fantastic and I am blessed with extremely wonderful bosses and co-workers. We are hard at work to kick off a fantastic fall for Legacies & Lifelines!
So, I guess that is all for now… we hope that you are all in good health and doing well! As always, thank you for all of your prayers and support. If gives us so much encouragement to know that our family is covered across the nation by people praying and believing that the best is yet to come and better days are just around the corner!!
Much love to all!! <3
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Mike went to MD to visit his family in the middle of April in between his last few chemo treatments. I was really starting to feel like we were coming down the home stretch of the worst of this journey…boy was I wrong. 5 days into Mike’s trip he started experiencing flu-like symptoms and was admitted to Johns Hopkins with pneumonia. Every day, it seemed like the doctors pushed his release date a little further as he was not getting better and his fevers were just getting higher. I became increasingly concerned that he had relapsed with the leukemia, so I got on a plane and flew up to be with him. I know we had so many people praying and I attribute the good test results to a very gracious God. He was released within a few more days and we returned to FL just in time for me to get pneumonia. My family really pulled together to help us get through that week, because I was completely wiped out. Mike was scheduled to start chemo again when we got back, but it took a while longer for his body to kick the cold he was fighting, so he just started his final week yesterday.
We took some time to meet with the Bone Marrow Transplant Team at Moffitt yesterday. We had pretty much decided that Mike was not going to go through with the procedure but we wanted to hear what they had to say. What a nightmare… as they reviewed the statistics we were extremely overwhelmed. Basically… if Mike were to continue with the chemo as planned and not get the transplant, he only has a 20% chance that the leukemia will not return and be worse than it was the first time. If he does the transplant now (in his first remission) his survival chances are 45% over the next 3-5 years with the highest risk of death being within the first 3 months of the transplant. If he waits and the leukemia comes back and they are able to get him into a second remission, the chances of survival are only 25%. If he goes through with the transplant, he is at a 90% risk for developing “graft-host disease” which could affect his body in extremely negative ways for the rest of his life – including vital organ failure. Needless to say, that doctor’s office felt like a tiny box with no windows. They were sitting there telling us that with the VERY BEST they can do, Mike is looking at a 20-45% chance of being alive in 3-5 years.
I am thankful for my faith. I am grateful to know a God that is bigger than statistics and medicine and doctor’s offices. I may not be perfect and I may not even deserve His blessings, but I am still going to believe for them. I believe that my husband is in that 20% that will never be sick again. I am going to pray it and speak it every day over his life. Mike deserves to be well. He deserves to see his son graduate and walk his daughter down the aisle. He deserves a full, happy life full of love, success and good health. He is the most amazing, compassionate, unselfish and caring person I have ever met. Please join me in believing for the best! <3
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Mike left for a trip to MD on the 17th to visit with his family. Towards the end of the trip he started to notice his temperature going up and was getting cold chills. His doctor at Moffitt told him to get to Johns Hopkins immediately. Upon being admitted they told him that his white blood cell count was dangerously low and that he had pneumonia. They started treating him with antibiotics, expecting to release him within a few days. Two days later, his WBC was even lower and he was still spiking high fevers, so the doctors added an antibiotic to treat fungal pneumonia. When I spoke to the doctor on Tuesday, he was confident that Mike would no longer have fevers and he should be able to come home by Thursday.
Unfortunately, last night, Mike took a turn for the worse. They discovered that Mike’s red blood cell count was very low and started a transfusion. During the transfusion, his fever went up to 103.5 and they had to stop giving him blood. The Oncology team came in and told Mike that they were going to have to do another blood smear to check for lymphocytes (leukemia cells). I don’t really know how to give words to the way I was feeling last night. My husband was 1000 miles away and at the end of every phone call I wondered if it could be the last time that I would hear his voice. I wanted to turn on a video chat and leave it on 24/7, just to be by his side. I have heard many positive testimonies of people who have recovered from ALL – but not many from patients who contracted pneumonia. Those were the worst stories I heard. Everyone kept saying, “He will be fine, as long as he doesn’t get sick during his treatment.” As much as I know that God is the Author of life and completely in control, there was such an urgency to get to MD and be with him. I booked the first flight out and got here this morning.
A few hours ago we received the awesome news that Mike’s cells are all normal. They think the fevers were caused by a drug (neupogen) to increase his WBC count. His temperature has been normal all day today and the doctors think he should be able to come home by Friday or Saturday. He will be able to fly but he has to wear a special face mask in the airport and on the plane. They are still treating him for the pneumonia and now checking for one additional infection that they may require changing one of his antibiotics, but the prognosis is good. THANK YOU GOD!!!
Many friends and family have asked about coming by to visit, but Mike really just needs to rest. We appreciate everyone’s sentiments and prayers so much. Please keep lifting us up as we continue this journey.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Hello everyone! :) I hope that everyone is doing well – just wanted to give another quick update:
Mike is currently in the third month of the Consolidation phase, with only one more month to go before he enters into the Maintenance Phase. By May, he will only receive treatments once every six weeks, as long as everything goes as planned. While it is almost a relief to see a break in sight, we are still undecided about the bone marrow transplant. Lots of people have been asking a lot of questions about this so here are the details:
When Mike was diagnosed last June, we were told by doctors that he would not need to consider a transplant as long as his treatments were working. His blood was negative for the Philadelphia Chromosone, so we had high hopes that his three year treatment plan would be all that he had to endure. Since transferring to Moffitt in Tampa, the doctor here has been pushing that Mike go through with it. We have been torn over the matter due to the fact that we’ve received conflicting opinions, so here are the facts we have to consider:
A bone marrow transplant would increase Mike’s chances of leukemia not returning by about 10%. He has to be in remission (which he is currently) before he could proceed with the transplant. However, there is a 3% fatality rate due to the recipient not responding well to the donor’s blood and because the immune system is completely wiped out, there is a great risk for infection or viruses making the recipient more ill. The transplant is a 100 day process which would require him to live in the hospital for a minimum of 6 weeks. Mike’s COBRA premium goes up to $1140/month in August and I am not sure how much time we have on his insurance after that, or the chances of him getting insurance through another company if he is not able to go back to work anytime soon. Right now, we have hopes that he could return to work this summer as he enters the Maintenance Phase and just sticks with the original treatment plan. We also have to consider that if he does not get the transplant now, and if the leukemia were to come back later in his life, his body may not go into remission as quickly since he will be older.
At this point, Mike has decided to go meet with the Transplant Specialists at Moffitt and continue to pray about whether this is the direction that he should go. It is a very heavy decision and the burden on Mike has been extreme. Please continue to pray that God’s will be done and that we will all be peaceful through everything, trusting that God has a perfect plan.
The kids are staying busy with school and dance. They just finished SAT and FCAT testing. They are both doing well academically and their teachers say that they are doing extremely well considering the circumstances at home.
We are very proud of Zack. He has chosen to participate in a “40 Hour” event being held at our church where he will live outside in a cardboard box to raise awareness for the homeless. It starts this Friday night and runs through Sunday. He will only have one bottle of water and a box for the entire 40 hours. The group will be fasting and at the end, they will be going to a soup kitchen to serve the homeless with the funds that they raise. Zack has to raise a minimum of $20 in sponsorships (which has been met) to participate, but if you are interested in sponsoring him, please let me know. All funds will be used to minister to the homeless community.
I have been staying busy with my job – it feels weird to even call it a job, because I love it so much. The company that I work for is rapidly growing and I am very excited about the direction and opportunities that are opening up for us. Sheryl and Beth have been extremely compassionate toward my circumstances, yet motivate me and challenge me every day. I love them SO MUCH and I am so thankful for them, so please pray for blessings upon their endeavors!
Thank you so much for all of your continued support, love, prayers and encouragement!!