In spite of pretty sparse updates on my part, alot has indeed been happening.

I'll make this the short version...

In March Dave and I met with the oncologist/hematologist to discuss treatment options. We were given several choices, all with different sets of risks/side effects/effectiveness. As is usually the case, the more likely the option was to work, the worse/scarier the side effects were.

The decisions were basically 'drug A - with lots of scary side effects, and a 30% chance at working' or 'drug B with a 70% chance of working and even more/scarier side effects. All the choices were different types of Chemotherapy to supress my immune system and the irony of chemo is that while it can cure cancer, the side effects almost always have 'cancer' at the top of the list. So yea.

Initially we chose the less awful (and less likely to work) oral medication as it seemed a bit easier to wrap my head around. Unfortunately that option would take 13-15 weeks for me to see any improvements and it would wipe out my immune system completely.

We were comfortable with that choice and we were working at making it happen (perscriptions needed to be written and I had to have a cardiac assessment first as a baseline).

Unfortunately, while working on that, the end of one of my central line lumens broke, and I had to spend a day at the ER getting it repaired. It was pretty easy and really just took a day of inconvenience and life went on.

2 weeks after the fact, I went for my regular bloodowrk (drawn from the lumen dedicated to bloodwork - the one that had broken and hadn't been used since). 6 hours after the bloodwork and subsequent flushing of the repaired lumen, I was at the ER with a fever of 105 and bloodwork/a CBC looking strongly suspicious for a central line infection/sepsis.

The next few days were some of the sickest of my life. This bug was a doozy.

I've always been told that central line + fever = ER. I don't EVER get fevers unless I have a serious infection, so there was no 'I'll just wait it out a day and see if it passes' with me - any fever over 101 and it means I am a sick sick girl.

This was no exception - at 6pm I was feeling great - made the boys pizza for dinner, tidied a bit, had a good day and felt awesome. At 7pm my temperature was 104 and I was flat out. By 8 I was at the ER with my aunt (Dave stayed at home with the boys - thankfully it was his day off).

In hindsight, I've been told that 1) my paranoid freak-out-and-run-to-the-ER reaction and 2) The ER doc's overcautious reaction and immidiate Rocephin infusion (antibiotic) very likely saved my life. The bug that grew in my blood was a gut bug called Ent. Cloacae - one that carries up to a 52% mortality rate once it goes septic - particularly in those with compromised immune systems. Any 'silliness' that we felt around racing off to the ER 20 minutes after I spiked a fever is officially gone as it quite literally made the difference between feeling crappy for a few days and winding up in the ICU (or worse).

The experience fairly quickly got my priorities in order. Scarier side effects or not the treatment that is most likely to get me off TPN (and therefor off a central line) is the one we have to go with.

I saw Oncology on Monday, had my Vas Cath (large bore central line that goes into the jugular and hangs out of my neck) was placed on Wednesday and my first plasma exchange was on Thursday afternoon. I will do a full round (2 weeks) of the plasma exchanges, staying in the city with my brother and his family on treatment days, and trying to come home on the day in between. Once that is done I will start a 4 week course of chemotherapy. If all goes as we hope, the plasma exchange will put me in remission within about 10 days (this is the 4th round of Plasma exchanges and the past ones have always led to remission after 10 days or so), and the chemo will keep me there for up to (hopefully!) 18 months. At that point when symptoms return, we will once again do another round of the chemo.

This is a lifetime - nobody goes into remission forever. the average is 6-8 months, some are up to 18 months. If this works i will be in it for the long run.

It's scary as hell. The side effects are terrifying (seriously - and 'terrifying' from the perspective I'm at right now is pretty damn awful). There is still a chance that it won't work.

We have to try though - and we're working hard to be optomistic.

This weekend I am 'home' - at my parents - my home is too far from the ER for me to be comfortable with the Vas Cath in - it's a massive tube in my jugular that has a habit of occasionally bleeding - bleeding from the jugular is pretty much the definition of 'bad' and not the kind of thing you want happening when you are 15 minutes from a hospital. 'Home' is a few weeks away yet.
I'm enjoying my boys for the weekend then back to the hospital Monday morning.

Onward and Upward.


  1. So sorry Keely. So many difficult decisions to make, all very scary for you and life changing for your family. So glad you headed to the ER when you did, I can't imagine all that you're going through right now. Praying this all works and this will get you off the TPN. Hugs and prayers always for you and your family.
    Heidi & Jack.


  2. WOW! AND glad you were able to get to ER and thought to...geesh the alternative if you hadn't on top of other decisions. You're still amazing - even when your sick!

    Cleaning out kids toys - boys need or want anything - cars, transformers - not sure what else but glad to send along a care package!!!


  3. HI
    My name is Jenna and I came across your site. u are one amazing, wonderful, courageous, strong, brave, and determined woman. To be able to go through your battle and still be able to care for your boys, especially one who is special needs, is amazing. I am sad that you are sick, and that Brandon has to go through so much too, but like I said you are totally amazing and a positive and inspirational person and hero.
    I was born with a rare life threatening disease. I love it when others sign my guestbook.


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