Healing Hillary Email: July 2006- March 2007
To All: After last week with three trips to the oncologist due to Hillary contracting coxsackie virus she received good news from her pet scan results. All the cancerous nodes have been illiminated except one that is only one centimeter. She will only need three more chemo sessions not seven and then her month of radiation. She received the neulestor injection 24 hours after her last chemo to keep her white count up. And lucky for us as this prevented her from being hospitalized last week. Her count was still high enough that they considered not giving it to her this time except we are leaving for camp on Wed and they wanted to be sure she had all the defenses she would need. This news is just what she needed as for the past 2 weeks she has been pretty sick and emotionally low. Today even with getting the chemo is a GOOD day.
We are very lucky to have such wonderful friends to help us through this with lots of prayers and support. We are indeed thankful. The last few months have been tough on everyone watching as Hillary was hiding her pain. Now it seems we have a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you all for your Prayers, love and support
Nancy and Vic
Hi to all I Thought it was about time we brought everyone up to date with Hillary's battle with cancer.Hillary was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma in late march. She started her sessions of chemo therapy and the nodes quickly reduced and her blood test were normal for the whole month of July. Then in early August she got a fever so they did a pet scan and found a new lesion to small to get at, between her vocal cords and her spine. The doc's at Dartmouth, Hitchcock decided they needed to let it grow in order to biopsy it. The new lesion was a mutated form of the original cancer and was resistant to the original chemo treatment. On labor day weekend we went to the Hopkington Fair. Although see was tired we had a very good day. Her node that day was able to be felt on her neck and shoulder about the size of a jelly bean, 6 days later it was the size of a baseball and she could hardly move without pain. That Friday at her check-up they immediately admitted her and started her on a 5 day treatment of a much stronger cocktail of chemo. The node went down quickly. She is very sick from the chemo. Tired, nausea, dizzy, reduced memory, lost most of her hair. She had to get threw it again last weekend(every 3 weeks). She is immune suppressed so she can't be near any crowds or go out and do much. Overall her spirits are good but we are taking 1 day at a time. She now has lost most of her hair. She now has been told that she will not be able to have children. She is going threw menopause. All those emotions are working on her spirits. She has another pet scan before she does the next chemo to see how and where it is. This next one could be the last chemo if it is gone. Then she will stay in the hospital to get a bone marrow transplant. They were going to use her own bone marrow and take the stem cells from it but have decided to see if Heather is a match and use hers. Heather is being tested this week to make sure of compatibility. Being identical twins we don't see a problem. Heather is in North Carolina with her fiance'. She now also has 2 swollen nodes in her neck that she found this week. She is getting those checked. It may be nothing but it certainly has us at a very high anxiety level. October 20th is the date Hillary goes back again for her next round. We thank all of you for being our support. We are blessed to have friends and family who pick us up when we need it most. We hope you will keep our family in our in your thoughts and prayers. Please send her an email At firstname.lastname@example.org Love Vic and Nancy
To all our Friends and Family, Our week has been another roller coaster ride. We were up with the expectation that the harvesting of Hillary would start on Monday, but her body didn't respond to the Nupagin injections. They doubled her dosage and back up to the hospital today to start the harvesting although again her body didn't produce the cells they wanted. In the mean time we have DNA confirmation that the girls are indeed identical twins. Therefore today the decision was made to bring Heather home to be the donor. She has to finish out the week and will be flying home on Sat. She has asked for a 2 month family leave of absence. She has a meeting with her superior later this afternoon, hopefully she will be granted this request. Needless to say she will come home anyway. We have a meeting with Hillary's oncologist on Friday to discuss the next course of action. Does this delay her being hospitalized next week starting her chemo to be ready for the transplant or not. Because her body is so quick to produce cancerous nodes we would like this all to move as quickly as possible. Her central line was placed on Monday so that will not hold up the process, it's only getting all the tests on Heather and the harvesting from Heather that are necessary. We ask that you keep Hillary in you prayers as she needs them more and more every day. We have to believe with all the prayers that are coming her way that she will have a positive outcome to all this.
he good news is that Heather is getting her bone marrow stem cells taken today!! Lets hope she was able to produce enough off the little Girls to get them in 1 dialysis. She has been in a lot of pain with the increased growth of the cells. She had an allergic reaction to the pain killer so she is roughing it. Heather has been an emotional boost for Hillary as this stretch was the longest they have been separated. After this they will be even more together. All the schedule that I have sent to you in the past throw it out. We have had a horrible past 10 days. Because Hillary could not Produce her own stem cells she had gone 4 weeks without chemo. The team thought cancer could start to grow again because of the time so she needed to go back in for a 5 day infusion. These seemed to get easier as she now knows when to get her medicine. On Wednesday they gave her something for the nausea and she had a allergic reaction. The staff worked hard to counter act that drug with Benedryl. She had to work the other drug out of her system so she walked around with her pole full of Chemo drugs and other drugs for about 2 hours. Her heart finally slowed and she returned to a very spacey and sleepy state. She slept for a long time after that and needed I V fluids because the benedryl dried her out so much. She was able to come home on Saturday. Sunday both Heather and Hillary were not feeling well. They were laying in our bed together just like they did when they were growing up. Hillary sensed that something was wrong so she took her temperature and she had a fever. She usually has a shot to build up her white blood cells 24-36 hours after the chemo. The chemo destroys the immune system. Nancy call Dartmouth and they told her to bring her up to the emergency room. The central line, that she had put in because her veins were collapsing from the chemo, had gotten a bacterial infection. Within 20 minutes she could not carry a complete thought. In the ER and Then Intensive Care Unit she had A big dose of broad spectrum antibiotics. She had a temp of 104 and a blood pressure of 58/38. She says this was the worst she ever felt!! She is back on the oncology floor for this week until she gets stabilized. This was very scary. So this is where we are today. We are lucky that Hillary has the Medical training (RN) that she could tell the symptoms quickly. We are Lucky to have a perfect bone marrow donor. We are lucky to have friends and family that give us so much emotional support. Vic Nancy Heather Jon Xander Patrick and especially Hillary
Hi all November 17,2006 Heather"s Bone marrow "harvest" went very well on Tuesday. She had to basically give blood for 5 hrs, squeezing a ball in order to keep the blood flowing. Hillary in her 2 TRIES only produce 2 usable stem cells. Heather produced 5 million of the little girls. They now have them stored away and will keep the unused ones for 5 years in case the cancer returns. Heather is done her part now. She is here for emotional support now at least thru New Years.
Hillary Is still in the hospital. On Tuesday morning she fainted in the shower. She did not get hurt but was let out of bed for 2 days without a nurse with her.. She got a couple of units of blood and last night she felt very good. She "escaped" from her room and We all went for a long walk outside. You just don't realize how a long walk feels until you haven't been able to enjoy 1 in a while. She will be in the hospital until the infection has run it's coarse. We are still waiting for a time line but they said she would be out by Thanksgiving. We were hoping for much sooner, like today! She no longer has an immune system because of the chemo so they are cautious. Hillary just call and has not recieved any time schedule. It is take every day 1 at a time. She is learning to knit today. She has to be board. She is feeling good so she wants to go but the doctors know that her white blood cells will drop and need to come back up before they will let her out. I hope I have my biology straight. Because of the infection the transplant looks like it won't happen until after Christmas. The transplant being pushed back will allow her to have a real Christmas Tree!!!
Xander is getting a little break as he is staying with Meghan, Allen's sister for a couple of days. Allen is Heathers Fiance'. Jon is remodeling Hillary's bedroom this weekend. Hillary said she needs it much brighter. He has just a few days to do it all. As you Know from these updates I like to give the good news first. But I save some for last. Vic (me) is turning 50 next week. Can you believe it !! I still act like I'm 20. I am not concerned as I figure I only have lived half my life. When Father Stan does his Polish Blessing he says may you live to be 100. A great Birthday Present would to have the whole family home and Healthy.
We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day. Hillary did make it home last night!! She slept in her own bed without anything hitched up to her for just the second time in 18 days. She is feeling great. Xander had not been able to see her in a week. The moment she walked through the door and to see the excited look on his face was priceless. This moment was her incentive to get well. It doesn't get much better than this. We are having our Thanksgiving Feast at our house. Hillary and Heather wanted Ham, we wanted Turkey so Nancy did both. Hillary's friend from New York, Yanillie is joining us along with her family. Tony and Linda Zutter will join us along with Patrick and Grace, Jon, Hillary and Xander, and Heather. Allen, Heather's fiance' will be missed as he is in North Carolina and could not make it back. We wish you could all be here with us. You all have certainly been the strength and support that we are very Thankful for. Hillary has not had her Bone Marrow stem cell transplant yet. Heather has donated 5 million of her's and are stored away ready for action. Hillary's 18 day stay was not planned and unexpected. The doctors have not given us a new schedule yet but we know she should get the transplant as soon as possible. She is Cancer free of lymph nodes right now but the cancer is still in her blood stream. Her body is not rebounding from the chemo like it did when they first started. We expect that when they get an opening next week they will tell to come to Dartmouth-Hitchcock and get started. I don't think they will give her the option of waiting till after Christmas. This will be a 21-28 day stay in the hospital with approx 3 months after that to get her immune system back. She will get through this, She is a fighter. Our good friend Dr West who deliver Heather and Hillary reminded us that She was his most difficult birth that he had ever had. She made it through against great odds and will beat this also. Heather is done her part but is still feeling the effects. She gets sick when she drinks wine now. She does not have as much energy. But her attitude and presence is so positive it is a motivating force. Heather is thankful she could help. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It gives us time out of our busy lives to thank the lord we have friends like you who care. All the material things in life are put aside and it's about family, friends and FOOD. It's about giving thanks for the past and the many great things that have happened to us. We are thankful for being able to enjoy another day. We hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving.
As always I want to start out with the good news. Santa Clause is coming early to Xander's house. He wrote a letter to Santa and asked him if he could come early so that Mommy could have Christmas at home. Santa actually called Xander and told him he would make a special trip from the North Pole on December 3rd. Xander didn't know how to send the letter because they don't have a "hole" (fireplace). So NaNa told him to put it on a window sill. He chose a window in his room then looked at what a mess the room was said" Santa will get a boo-boo in this room, Safety" He then cleaned his room moving everything into a different place especially away from the window. The room has stayed spotless all week!!. I think he will grow up to be an OSHA inspector. Nancy told me I should not tell everyone the up coming plan as not much has gone as planned and we are not all that sure this one will either, but here I go. Hillary, Jon and Xander are having Christmas on Sunday because on Monday December 4th she will be admitted to Dartmouth Hitchcock and start the 21-28 day bone marrow process. Of coarse this is all predicated on Dartmouth having a bed available in the cancer isolation unit. Monday she will have the surgery to install a new "central line". That is what got infected a few weeks ago and she spent 10 days in the hospital. Her "sed rate" has started to go up this week, which means the cancer is still there looking for a place to start growing again. She is feeling pretty good right now, but she can feel it is the calm before the storm. She will get 8days of the strongest chemo her body can stand to break down her immune system and destroy all the cancer cells. Then they will give her Heather's stem cells and build up her immune system. Hillary has told Heather what good features of hers she wants transfered to her. Heathers thick full hair is on the top of the list. The doc's are still talking about radiation but I don't know where that fits in the process. The process to rebuild the immune system takes time. It all depends on Hillary . The hospital schedule is usually 21-28 days. 21 would be Christmas day. We pray that this could happen. It will be about 3 months before her own immune system is back functioning completely. This is crunch time. She has always excelled in tough situations. This is truly when she will be fighting to "win and move on" We appreciate all of your prayers and support. You are all our strength and support. We count on that support to get us through what we believe will be the toughest few weeks of our lives. We have all come to realize that it is the small precious things in life that are most important. A big happy smile, a breathe of fresh air, a walk in the woods, a Christmas tree, good food and especially good friends. Please keep us all in your prayers.
yesterday at Hillary's central line placement the surgeon thought she felt a node. Because of that the chemo was held off until the results of the pet scan this morning. Unfortunately Hillary's pet scan did in fact show another cancerous node. It's small but it's there. Because the success of the marrow transplant relies on a negative pet scan she will have a six day chemo infusion. Her oncologist stated that he would do another pet scan in 3 weeks and if that was indeed negative he would admit her immediately for transplant. Normally there is a six week wait before transplant after a chemo session. She has now been put in a small percentage of people that is not responding to the chemo treatment. He still feels confident that he can cure her although she has requested a second opinion. She has requested to go to a hospital in NYC. In the mean time she is currently having the 6 day infusion and in 3 weeks the pet scan. If the scan comes negative she will proceed with the transplant whether the second opinion has happened or not. She is in room 125 in the North Entrance. Her room is in a restricted area requiring clothing, health and food restriction of visitors.
A real high lite for the year. We had a fun Christmas early. Hillary went in for her Bone Marrow transplant on Monday. Her nodes have come back already so they cannot do it. She is now on a 6 day infusion. The good news is she can have another Christmas at home. it looks like they will try again on Dec 26th ±. this is the 3rd time the cancer has come back. Luckily she is a soccer player and can play 4 quarters, overtime and a shootout before she done. we are on one heck of a roller coaster ride. you can see how her smile can still lite up the room.
12/28 4:30 am
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. If you are looking for our Christmas cards this is as close as we have come to mailing any out. I keep losing my place in the "Cancer Chronicles of Hillary" and its 4:30 AM so I will Just ramble on. Since December 4th, when Hillary went in for a bone marrow transplant and they found another cancer lymph-node. She had to have another chemo. since the 4 day infusion of chemo had failed and they were growing again they had to strengthen the dose. This was a six day "Mini Beam" She came through the treatment with ease. But this session was much harder on her body after she got home. She had surgery to put the "central line" back into her chest. so she could get the chemo. This is what got infected last time and sure enough it happened again!! Luckily her doctor wanted to see her as she had not been feeling well.She had mouth sores and butt sores from the chemo so she could eat or move without a lot of pain. Her fever spiked and her heart started to race while she was in getting checked. The staff infection had come back in that line again that leads directly to the heart and sends the bad blood to all parts of the body very quickly. They put her on anti-biotic and a anti= virus medication. She was in the fight of her life. She was on Morphine to control the pain. A lot more things happened between Wednesday night and Saturday but it seems like a bad dream I want to forget them. I can't explain how tough it was to watch her go threw this ordeal. Thank God we made it. Hillary got a 6 hour "pass" to come home for Christmas. She negotiated hard to get that. On Tuesday They gave her another transfusion and Platelets and taught here how to run the I V Pump and told her she could go home. Her nursing training and skill has proved to be very important in her recovery. The visiting nurse does come by to change the medications every 48 hours. She came over for dinner last night!! She gets tired easily and is not afraid to rest when she has visitors. Her immune system has improved. She is scheduled to be on the anti-biotic until January 5th and start the bone marrow transplant on Jan 8th. Heather has been staying with her and sitting for Xander. Heathers bone Marrow stem cells are just waiting for the opportunity to work wonders. So here we are up to date again. It has been a wild ride so far. Hillary still has a strong will and a good attitude to the future. She still has a long way to go. All of our family and friends and even people we didn't know were friends are helping us keep our strength by their support and prayers. We appreciate all of you and your continuing kindness of letters and emails and prayers. It certainly is helping!
Hillary is finally cleared to start the bone marrow process!! She had 2 days of tests while in the Hospital on Monday and tuesday. The staff infection is gone. She has been sick but it apparently not serious enough to stop the process. Today she starts what they call the 100 day process. She starts 7 days of Chemo to completely wipe out her Immune system. She gets Heather's Stem cells from her bone marrow which are frozen and ready to go to work on the 8th day. Her immune system is then built back up. I am not clear when we will know if it works. We have been told that she will be in the hospital between 21-28 days. She comes home and slowly recovers and gets her strength back. In 100 days they expect a full recovery and back to pre cancer life. So after 7-8 chemo treatments, 2 staff infections, the lymphoma beating the chemo treatment twice, Many pet scans, cat scans, in and out of the hospital since April, we hope and PRAY that this will work. Hillary is in the isolation unit of the oncology floor, room 121 at Dartmouth HMC. Her email address is hillaryst_pierre@hotmail,com. We thank you for your support. It is what helps keep all of us going. We are asked often if there is "anything we can do". Right now it is to hope and pray that this works.
Hi all As you know from past Hillary updates I always start out with something very positive. It's Sunday night and somehow the Patriots pulled it off. Hillary is doing 3 a day chemo treatments. She has 7 days of this then 1 day of rest. ON Thursday she will get the bone marrow, Stem cells transplanted. Her whole immune system will be gone. At the hospital they call it her rebirthday. We are planning a party. I did not realize that she will even have to get all her childhood vaccines done again. Talk about changing the oil!! January 18th 2007 she gets to be our little baby again. Monday morning however she has to have the "Central line" put back in. It is what has caused the 2 infections that has caused so much trouble. This line goes from her chest into the artery near her heart so that the stem cells with get infused. She has already had 4 lines put into this area and the surgery is getting more difficult because of scaring tissue. Her strength is very low from the chemo and her immune system can't fight any mistakes. Right now Hillary is having trouble breathing as the swelling in her neck is closing things down. She started back on morphine today because of the pain. I just can't believe how many drugs she is on. steroids so that she will eat, something so she won't get sick after she eats. Benedryl so she won't itch from the morphine. I hope her little body can take it. Xander has an ear infection now and can't see his mom for a while. For a 3 year old he is holding up pretty well overall. If we can't keep him busy he just falls apart. Luckily we have a great sitter, Jeanne. When he fells down he goes to memere' at the farm and visits the cows. Heather has been watching him a lot. Patrick and Grace have energy to keep up with him but they are back in school now. We are very lucky that he social and gets along with everybody. He even met a new friend from the hospital, Frank has a dog just like his!! We love to here about how everyone is doing and Hillary gets excited about what everyone is doing. We got a letter from Jennifer Delorm who is studying in England this semester. Nick Judd leaves for England tomorrow to study for the semester. Pauline and Denis rode across country on a bicycle built for 3 this summer. Hillary has signed up for 2 weeks of camping for this summer at White Lake in the white mountains. I want to thank all of you for thoughts and prayers and support which is giving us the strength to continue the fight. Just sharing these updates with you, and knowing that so many people care about Hillary helps us move forward every day. Please keep the emails coming.
Hi To All Day 18 Good news, I got my computer back and can try to send this email out again. Hillary had a fever of 103 overnight. It does not show up in the cultures so the did a cat scan. Can't find anything. Hillary still hasn't eaten or drank since last Thursday. Her white blood cell count has not moved up yet. She is very drugged up. She has not been able to talk for 2 days because her mouth and throat hurts. We keep praying for improvement. We hope Heather's bone marrow stem cells are as tough and aggressive as Heather is so that Hillary will recover quickly. Vic and Nancy
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Hi to all Today is Day six after the transplant. Day 17 for this stay. Sorry I have left you out of the loop for so long. As you know I like to start with positives and it was a while between them. My computer has been getting fixed so I may be missing a lot of people on the list. Please feel free to forward this on. Hillary has emailed some of you from the hospital. If it didn't make any sense don't worry, be happy she tried. Her concentration span is about 30 seconds. Since last Thursday Hillary has not been able to eat anything. The last thing she ate was her Re-Birthday cake. All of her mucus glads in her mouth down to her stomach are inflamed. She has pain from the feet, Knees, hands and face from a reaction to one of the 8 different types of chemo she received. These area look sun burnt and are now peeling. She just has a rash on the rest of her body. She was overdosing on morphine and her vision was impaired. They started her on something else and she began Hallucinating. The doctors and nurses are great and working to keep her comfortable. He r doctor told us that she got every side affect and allergic reaction that was possible. Hillary's just that type of women that wants to experience everything. We are starting to see slight improvement. We are told that by day 9 some of this pain should subside and the new cells should start to show up in her blood. Her white blood count has been at .1 all week, normal is 4000. Monday was one of the worst days as she tried to eat squash and it got stuck in her throat. She choked on it for quite some time.After she could breathe it was a long time before the irritation went away. I don't think she will remember much about this week and that probably good. Our hope is that we can make it till Saturday and the white and red blood cells start to appear. We have been trying to have someone stay with her all the time because she feels much more comfortable. Aunt Pauline stayed over on Monday. The squash incident scared everyone. By the way Hillary has never liked squash. Well I had the Tuesday shift and am headed back for the Wednesday night stay at the hospital. Hopefully we see the light at the end of the tunnel and it not a train headed towards us!!
1/29 Day 11
Well we finally have some improvement!! What a relief. The blood cell are starting to grow. Her white blood count WBC is 1/2 way back to normal. Her ANC, no idea what it means, was around 30 for most of last week, went to 100 on Saturday, to 570 on Sunday and 970 this morning. 500 is where she does not need to be on anti-biotic. She still is on them however because she has a fever that just keeps coming back. Cultures tell us it's not an infection but we are not sure where its coming from. She is still in a lot of pain but last night she was able to drink a Peach smoothie. It's her first food since her re-birthday cake 11 days ago. Most of her problems now are with the repair of the mucus and esophagus. Her mouth has completely peeled and is starting to grow new tissue. Inside Her throat, chest and esophagus the tissue is still sloughing and starting to grow new tissue. She still is having trouble taking and swallowing. I think we turned the corner today. She is dreaming of the day she can eat regular food again. She had another allergic reaction to one of her pain killers over the weekend. She got a rash all over her arms but it was caught early and gone within 24 hrs. Once she gets better and they can remove her from the dozen or so medications she is on she will start her radiation treatment. We are not sure what it will entail yet. Hillary cancer has grown 3 different time but all in the same area. They are going to burn that area again to make sure it is gone. Wow. That area is where she is having so much trouble now. I had a new picture of her taken last night but somehow misplaced it on my computer. It must have been for a reason that it is gone. I included some others instead so you can see the before and after. Before is Hillary After she will look like Heather. Now you really won't be able to tell them apart. They are now even more syner-genetic twins.
2/2 Day 17
Hillary is definitely showing improvement. Most of her blood count is back to the normal range. She is very tired and weak.She is slowly coming off her pain medication. Her bowels are still slow in healing from the chemo burn. They are not processing her food as they should. She thought that there was a chance to come home today but I think wisely she is being held longer. Jon's aunt Becky Morrey has got the house cleaned according to the multi-page specifications. No animals or plants etc. Last night she was not sleeping well and going to the bathroom about every 45 minutes. At 1:30 she fell and bumped her head. She had a bump about the size of an egg. When she was born she had a similar bump on the head and she turned out alright then so I had faith. Because her platelets were low ( no clotting) she was sent right up for a cat scan and replacement platlets and received both within half an hour. Luckily no bleeding and another disaster missed. Nancy and Xander left on Thursday to go to Florida to give Hillary and Jon some recovery time and to give Xander some less stress of seeing his mom sick. They are staying in Lady Lakes, Florida with Xander's great Grandpa and GG. If you have seen the news a tornado hit there within 2 miles of where they live!! They are out of electricity but were not otherwise affected. It was too rainy to go to Disney World as they had hoped. Another disaster missed. Stay tuned to see where the 3 rd strike is coming. Hopefully they will be just near misses. Maybe our luck has turned for the better. We thank for all the prayers love and support. Fr Stan is saying the 5:00 mass at St Joseph's today for here. Hopefully the next time I email she will be in her own bed.
2/6 20 days
Did you all see the sunrise this morning? At least in Charlestown it was the most beautiful one I have ever seen!! I know I am looking at every day differently now but this was exceptional. _* HILLARY IS COMING HOME TODAY.*_ We are so excited. She has made it threw the roughest of times and now is getting better. We don't know what the rest of her schedule is but, you know, enjoy every day, one at a time. We do need to have someone with her at all times. Heather starts work next week so she will be staying with Hillary this week. I am moving my office over there so that I can be close. We will need some help in the up-coming weeks just to hang out with Hillary and keep her from getting too bored and watch for falls, etc. She still won't have much energy. We are told that she won't get all her energy back for 100 days. But as you have seen from the emails of the past, she is a fighter. I think our job is to hold her back!! Nancy and Xander are in Florida until Friday. That will give Hillary a little time to get used to her new location. in the last 100 days she has spent about 60 in the hospital. Xander has been to all three Disney parks this week. But he still has plenty of energy. I'm not sure if Nancy, and her parents Dick and Jean Wilder will be able to keep up at his pace.
Hi to all Hillary has been home for 8 days now. She has had 2 very encouraging doctors visits. Her smile is back. She gets tired very easy. She is starting to eat more solid foods. Most important her memory and mind is getting sharp again. I believe the worst is past. She does still have to have radiation but it looks like that will be after the 100 days of recovery. I don't think any cancer could live threw what she went threw. We are being told that having a synergentic twin is rare in a Bone marrow transplant and the results are looking very good. Heather started her new Job this week. She is a case manager for west central services. She stayed up here to be close to Hillary and help out. Her future husband'' Allen is finishing up his masters at Applation State in Boone North Carolina. They have pushed back their wedding so that Hillary can be the Maid of Honor. She has really made some sacrifices but she wouldn't have it any other way. I have included some photo's. Xander is back from Florida. He is very happy Mom is home. We are very happy they missed the tornado in Lady Lakes by 1.5 miles. Things are finally settling down. It's a great feeling to be back to semi normal. Patrick turned 21 last weekend. Jon's work is going very well. He is the lead engineer on a 28 million dollar project. Somehow he has been able to multi task and keep life moving on. Nancy is headed to New York University this weekend where she is giving the practical Dental Exam for dentist licenses. And Me I am just happy to have my whole family healthy again. I often write these updates late at night when it's quiet or I can't sleep. I often write them with a tear in my eye. I always try to find the positive. It has been a very rough road. I hope none of you ever have to deal with Cancer. I do need to tell you all that without the support and strength of all of our friends, Family, and support from complete strangers I don't think the outcome would have been as promising. Just knowing that all of you cared and prayed gave us the strength to stay positive. What a support group you have given us. I can't thank you all enough for your help.
Todays update will NOT start out very upbeat. I am emailing my partial address book from a past email to hillary. We at back at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital. Hillary spiked a small fever yesterday morning at 9:30. so Hillary and Vic drove up for what we expected to be a simple exam as she had been feeling very good. She walked into the hospital for a blood test and a chest exray which has been very common. The exray showed that she had a touch of Pnenomia in 1 lung. At 2:00 they decided that she should be admitted to be watched. They did sevral test for type of pnemia. Then they did tests for blood clots. By 3:30 they were giving oxygen. By 4:45 They were giving the maximum amount of oxygen and she was gasping for breath. By 5:30 she was in CRITICAL CONDITION. She was moved from the oncology ward to critical care at 7:00. By 9:00 she has stopped breath on her own and needed to be intubated, put on a Breathing tube directly into her lungs. She is completely sedated and will be unconsitious for 5-7 days. They put another central line in. Those are getting much more difficult as she now has scarring tissue from the 3 other tries that got infected. She also has a feeding tube placed till she gets better.She has to be restained from moving because she is hitched to so many moniters, fluids, ventilators and iv drugs and antibiotics. They are growing the cultures from the lung infection to find out how to treat it. It's not a common pnenomia. We think it may be related to the staff infections that have nearly done her in before. They are checking for what I think they called superbug? I'm a little out of it because when I saw her last night at 2 AM I fainted. They Are giving her Blood transfusions but they are having hugh problems matching her blood now. Apparently they need to match type and Antogins? now because she has had so many transfussions. The doctors and everyone have been Fanomanal.
This is Vic From the Hospital doing play by play. I certainly can't talk but at least i can type. The priest came in to give Hillary the last Rights! When he annointed her she sat up in bed opened her eyes and just looked at us. This was her first real movement in about 12 hours. The doctors are now looking,Cat scan, for a blood clot, last night they ruled it out today the possibility is back. Her right side of her heart is not working. the left side is working double time. I keep getting interupted with worst news so I will say so long for now.
Hillary is amazing!! She went in last Thursday with a slight fever. All threw her appointments her fever never came back. Her heart raced to 160 and stayed there for 3days. They say it's like a marathon runners heart only staying at that pace longer than a 3-4 hour marathon. The appointment showed a small area of the lung with pneumonia. They decided to keep her for observation. (good Choice). She was sent down to the Cancer floor where she knows everybody by now. She told them she she was in just for a "buff" and only is here for the weekend spa. God was with us as she went from joking to not breathing in 15 minutes. If she had been anywhere else she would not have made it. The next 24 hours was Hell on Earth. She was moved to critical care. She had teams of doctors working on her.. We were told on Friday that she was dying and that the only thing left that could be done was to pray. We gave her last rights.. Shortly after the anointing she sat up in bed, opened her eyes, wide open and waved to us. I think it was a "HI" wave not a good-bye wave. Within a few hours she stopped getting worst. Then slowly stabilized. They had shut down all her organs except Brain and Heart so that the oxygen would be used for those only. We are amazingly at the point where she is back to using her own breathing, with the ventilator back-up to assist when she is too tired to breathe. Remember she ran about 10 marathons. Today the goal is to get her off the ventilator. They still have not used the feeding tube but today they should start to feed her. The anti-biotic s have seem to work. Her lungs are clearing, her heart is back to normal rate, her kidney's never shut down or only did shortly and are working well. She was removed from her sedated paralitic state yesterday. The Respiratory doctor came into the room and ask Hillary how are you doing? To all our delight and shock she opened her eyes wide and gave us /_*2 THUMBS UP.*_/ We are now filled with hope. This is the 2nd time in her life that we were told she wouldn't make it. When she was born her birth scores were 0 and 1. 0 being no breathing, and 1 taken 5 minutes later breathing on a respirator. We were told that night by our GREAT FRIEND Dr West " not to expect anything from Hillary". I have never forgotten those words. They expected her to be brain damaged. at the least. She certainly has fooled him before. Her college grade was 3.96 She started out for a degree in communications. Decided to change when (9-11-01) the communication field dropped and Nursing was needed. She was just outside NY CITY at school that day. She changed programs and got her 4 year bachelors degree in 2.5 years. She also had Xander on the 1st weekend of spring break and was back at school the next week!! She has always amazed us. She has so many friends and connections for a person 24 years old. When you meet her you just have to feel her spirit. She has a way of just connecting with everyone she meets. If there is anything I relay from her is that: * Live each day to the fullest, * Love who you are * Love what you do, * work hard to accomplish your goals, * And meet great people along the path
REAT NEWS. HILLARY IS OFF EVERYTHING BUT SOME PAIN KILLERS AND ANTIBIOTICS. SHE IS IN GOOD CONDITION. SHE IS OUT OF ICU AND RECOVERING(AGAIN). THANK GOD AND OUR HUGH NETWORK You should experience the shocked looks we are getting from the doctors and nurses that come back for their shift after treating her last weekend. They really did not expect this recovery. We had people praying for her from all over the world. Lisa Ranaro was on a school field trip and said prayers at the St Peter's Bascillica in Rome on the dark friday. She did not know she had taken a turn for the worse. We know she was on a prayer list in Claremont, Charlestown,Walpole, Alstead, Acworth,Manchester, Deering,Windsor Vt, New york City,New Jersey, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, California, Connecticut, Maine, Illinois, Massachusetts,Canada and the Sudan. I know I haven't touched where all the prayers for Hillary were coming from but they certainly all touch her and us. I have compared this to a roller coaster ride and today We and all of you should be filled with euphoria and happiness for what god has given to us. Another full day of life!! and more. We couldn't be much happier. Everyone please enjoy the day!!
Hi to all If Anyone would have told me that within a week of giving Hillary the Last Rights that she would be miraculously recovered and doing well I would have thought it was a miracle. Well she has done it! The last 3 days she has gone from having very little energy to moving and showering on her own. Talking and eating like crazy. She missed about 8 days of food and wants to make up for it. The steroids are probably helping.All the prayers that we got from around the world really helped.She got a visit from her college friends from New York this weekend and that really helped her spirits. She continues to feed off the energy of everyone one around her. Somehow she generates excitement and energy with everyone she meets. I have attached a letter from Frank. He was a complete stranger to us until Xander 3 years old wanted to see his dog. Frank was visiting his father at the Hospital when they met. It was a chance meeting but it seems like there is reason for everything. He has since become a friend who is very creative and fun. On Friday Hillary finally had enough energy to go for a wheelchair ride. She was still trying to cope with the fact that she was in the Intensive Care Unit for 6 days, She thought it was only 3 hours. We went to the ICU and wanted to see where she was. We meet a couple of the doctors and nurses that had worked on her. You should have seen the looks on their faces when Hillary talked to them and thanked them for their work. They just could not believe the transformation. Her visit Changed the energy in that whole ward. One doctor walked by, did a double take, almost fell over and then had the biggest smile I had ever seen. The people in this section are extremely sick and a lot don't make it. Her visit spread a lot of faith. Her doctors are talking about letting her go home sometime this week. It's certainly mind boggling. She has been in the hospital for 42 days of 2007. She has not been able to see Xander for 11 days now. Monday we are going to bring him up so that they can reconnect. He turns 4 years old on Thursday. I am anxious to see if Hillary eats the cake or the frosting or both. It seems that the bone marrow transplant and her new immune system is working. Thank you, All of you for being our support system. We have gotten beautiful emails from prayer groups and people all around the world. After one of the previous emails left out some people I didn't know were praying for us. Your prayers are special to us and made all the difference.
Today was a wonderful day. Several months ago, I told Hillary if she came to the beach, I'd give her a ride in my 1948 Harley with side car & feed her lobster 'til she dropped. Being a spunky woman, she immediately accepted. Last night she said she can't wait to have lobster. Apparently, she ate lobster & steak before going into the hospital. She also said the meals in the hospital were okay, but she missed having lobster. Hey ... I can take a hint ... particularly when it is the size of a billboard!! So I asked if she wanted lobster ... & she immediately rewarded my question with a huge smile. I became a man on a mission!! So the search was on for some likely candidates ... & viola!! Obviously these two had heard about the plans for a B-day party for Xander. With that challenge resolved ... we cracked these bad boys out of their shells ... took them to the hospital where we melted a stick of butter & reheated the lobster. Hillary was barely willing to give us time to take a picture!! Tell me, that isn't a killer smile!! There was a lot of lobster in that container ... & she hardly said a word to anyone until she had devoured nearly 2/3's of it!! Folks, we're talking about a small woman here ... who displayed a serious appetite for "lobstah." We took a couple of additional pictures ... she was obviously more patient after she'd been fed!! This one is with her new quilt that was a recent gift ... And I just had to throw in another one of those smiles ... Her voice is much stronger ... her spirits were high ... & she was full of spunk. When I walked through the door, she said "Where have you been? I've been waiting!!" Nancy, her mother told me for the last couple of hours, Hillary had repeatedly wondered every 15 minutes ... "Where's Frank & my lobster?" We are talking *_seriously_* impatient here!! ;o) It was a fun day. Here's hoping that you had a great weekend ... but I'd bet a lot of money, that yours wasn't as much fun as mine. Just think ... a week ago, this woman was on life-support & in a coma. Who would have believed it. I'm telling you ... this woman is a fighter!!
Hillary IS HOME.!! She has made a fantastic recovery. It Doesn't feel much better than this. But does it get better? Hillary is having some weird cravings for food. Today it was Chinese. She open her fortune cookie last and it said "you will enjoy good health". Maybe it an omen of better things to come. She is week but building up her strength quickly.. Today is day 49 after her transplant. We should start to see signs of a successful transplant very soon. Now the really good news. Heather while she was getting the shots to give the bone marrow was not feeling very good. The shots produce a lot more cells. Allen came home from being separated for a month and guess what happened. You guess it Heather is pregnant. The shots quite often create multiple births but She is only having 1. She is due in August. She had already put off her Wedding while waiting for Hillary to Be strong enough to be her Matron of Honor. Allen will finish his Masters in Molecular Genetics at Appalachian Sstate in May and is interviewing for a job now. This is very hard on them being separated but Hillary needs her more than Allen right now. It's great my 2 son in laws have good careers ahead of them. Jon is a mechanical engineer for Teleflex Aerospace. He tells me he is a rocket scientist. Ya Right! Allen is going to have a future in genetics. We can talk at all about his work because it way over my head. My biggest concern is that they are both NY Yankee Fans. I will be working hard to have the grandkids make better choices and grow up RED SOX FANS. What a roller coaster of emotions. Thanks for all you support over the last 2 weeks. We have leaned on our friends and God and have been carried threw one very troubling time in our life.
3/13 day 55
he good news is yesterday Hillary Had a complete physical. Her immune system is starting to work. All of her labs were good. Her appetite is very good and she is getting stronger. Her doctor was very happy with her progress. But this morning she spiked a fever and we went back for another look and she now has pnenomia. It has been caught very early but with her track record it's back into the hospital in isolation and more anti-biotics. She says she feels good except for a headache. Lets all hope and pray her immune system can fight this one off. She feel fine so she is knitting and reading emails and magazines. She hopes to finish her children's books, series, on a mommy dinosaur with cancer. I think she now need something to do every time she goes in. At least she made it home for 7 days and Xander's birthday party before going back in.
Hillary is Home, Hallaluia Hillary has been healthy for 24 Hours and the Hospital has sent her Home. That is as many "H" words as I can use in a sentence. The pneumonia never spread this time. Her immune system is starting to work much better. The anti-biotic worked quickly. The bone marrow transplant is working. She is locking herself in her house for a little longer and staying away from anyone with a little sickness. Once the nice weather gets here it's going to be tough to hold her back. She has actually gotten more energy every day. The steroids are making her a little grumpy but don't tell her I told you that. Her hair is starting to grow back. We are still uncertain about the radiation. We are about day 56 or 57. We need to get to day 100 and then we get our next plan. So for now we just enjoy the moment. Celebrate life and live well. Be aware of the Ides of March Happy St.Patrick's Day
We finally have good news to send to everyone about Hillary. Hillary had a doctors visit on Monday 3-19-07. All of her tests were in the normal range for a person without cancer. Her immune system is well established and functioning. The bone marrow transplant is a success!!! AMEN What a relief!! Her hair is growing back. She is eating well. Her energy is getting stronger. She is feeling better. she is looking good. Xander is getting back to a normal schedule. Her life is getting back to some sort of normalcy. I write this with great intrepetation. Hillary has not been home for more than 8 days straight in 2007. Tomorrow will be 7 days since her last hospitalization. I don't know why I can't just expect the best, but it has been such a roller coaster. She first found and confirmed the cancer on April 6th ,2006. It has been 1 heck of a year Hillary's 100 day is May 1st. Then she will have a pet scan, if that is clear then she will do radiation. This is also very painful. After that we hope to get the designation of in REMISSION. Hillary will be a cancer survivor. Hodgekins Lymphoma is one of the most curable cancers at 90% survivors. Hillary has been a special case. Her Doctors and Nurses have taken special care to get her through it. It is usually cured with the first set of treatments. She has had all the treatments available to her. We are excited that we are seeing such improvement. It feels good to talk to Hillary an hear that excitement in her voice again. Thanks for allowing us to share such a traumatic year with you. Thanks for all your help and support to get us through this year.
Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."