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!!