I finished my second round of chemo Friday night around midnight. I was glad to have that over – not that I got sick or was uncomfortable but its more of a mental accomplishment. I am one step closer to getting treatment over and there is something about being CONSTANTLY hooked up to a machine. During chemo, I was only unhooked for about 10 minutes a day so that I could shower. I would get clean and change my clothes and then Mr. Buddy Braun was my pal once again.

Everyone keeps asking, “What is the plan?” Good question. This is what I know so far – and remember things can always change. My oncologist, Dr. Wareman, will do another bone marrow biopsy in about 2 weeks from now. The biopsy entails her literally hammering into my back above my right or left hip to get samples of my bone marrow. All I have to say is THANK GOD for morphine. She will get the results back from the biopsy 3-4 days after that. If there are no blasts (leukemia cells) then I believe I just go onto maintenance chemo and may have an opportunity to go home at some point. (I’m not sure how that all works.) If there are blasts left, then we consider a bone marrow transplant. Transplants are actually pretty common and sometimes the preferred treatment option for leukemia patients. They would clear out ALL of my bone marrow through a super-charged type of chemo then give me new bone marrow from a donor. Its kind of like wiping the slate clean and starting all over. So, for now, I’m just dealing with lovely little side effects that come with having chemo and waiting to find out how my body responds to this latest round of chemo.

Speaking of bone marrow transplants…when you get a transplant, you obviously need a donor. The best chance of finding a match is if you have a sibling. Lucky for me I do! My brother, Braydon, who is 4 years younger than me, agreed to donate his marrow if we are a match. (He better have said yes or I would have kicked his you-know-what like I did when we were little. We played a lot of WWF Wrestling.) Testing for a match and the actual donation process is basically painless. I think back in the day it was a lot more involved, so we are lucky to have made such strides in medical treatments and technology. Braydon got to hear all of this information straight from my oncologist because he came from Chicago this past weekend to visit. I was glad he got to meet Dr. Wareman firsthand and hear how the procedure would go if he is indeed a match.

Uncle Braydon & Grady

Uncle Braydon & Grady

The visit with Braydon was great. He and I stay in touch through talking and texting but I hadn’t actually seen Braydon in about a year and a half. He came up to the hospital for the majority of the three days he was here. He got to enjoy the super comfy hospital lounge chair. (I go all out for my visitors!) We just chatted, went for walks and enjoyed multiple episodes of mindless tv, such as American Restoration on the History Channel. (Its actually an interesting show. It is set in Las Vegas and is a spin-off of Pawn Stars. We learned a lot about old Harleys, Coca-Cola machines and trains.)

Just a quick reminder, t-shirts are now available for order again. Many people missed the ordering deadline the first time around and wanted to know if they could still get shirts. Well, here is your opportunity! You have until November 11th to order and they will be delivered straight to you by Thanksgiving. Thank you in advance for all of your support.

Kiddos supporting their momma!

Kiddos supporting their momma!

Click here to order your t-shirt!



You know you’ve been in the hospital for an extended period of time when Ellen is the highlight of your day.  I may not agree with all of her political beliefs but she cracks me up.

Once again, first time in a few days that I have felt like grabbing this computer. Its one side effect after another – which is all to be expected. First I had stomach issues. That has been resolved. Of course I had to get an ultrasound and CT scan just for the tests to not really show anything. Then yesterday I was receiving a unit of platelets (a daily occurance for me) and as soon the transfusion was over, I got incredibly cold and I was shaking violently. My teeth were chattering and I even bit my tongue. This syndrome is called “rigors”.  It occurs if you happen to have some type of reaction to the transfusion. The platelets I was receiving were A- platelets (we call that type-specific because that is my blood type.) Rigors can just happen for some reason. It lasted for about 10-15 minutes and demerol is a medication that stops the shaking. As soon as they put the medicine in my port, I stopped shaking immediately. It was a very weird experience.

As you know, I’ve mentioned more than once being able to go home for a week after my numbers were high enough. Well, that isn’t happening any time soon. Don’t worry! I’m okay with that! I won’t go into the specific details of it all because it gets quite confusing and boring. But the bottom line is, my doctor feels its best that she hits me with another round of chemo. This chemo will be a bit different cocktail of medications than my first round. (There are many dfferent types of chemo.) My oncologist, Dr. Wareman is up-to-date on the most cutting edge leukemia treatment so I trust her completely in her decisions.

So, the moral of the story is, when you have leukemia (or any type of cancer for that matter) you can’t always predict what its going to do. You just have to go with the flow. Its like having a baby – they don’t always come out when you want them to.