Natalia's journey

In reality our entire family news will be shared through this blog as our baby grows and as we fight cancer.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Done with ESHAPs!

Dear friends, thank you for all the sweet comments, calls and cards! So much happened in a week that I don’t know where to start but I’ll keep it short as I am still very, very tired...

I am back from the hospital and am resting. Overall, the chemo went well - I've managed the side effects better than last time (less swollen, less fluid retention, etc) but I am much more bitten up than before - I guess it takes its toll. Also, nausea came on earlier and I still have some now and again; I just feel hazy most of the day but all and all I am happy to make it through.

I was very lucky this time as my oncologist was on duty at the hospital so I got to see him every day - we grew closer and on Saturday when I was checking out he came to send me off and gave me a hug!!! I think I really really like him - he is honest, compassionate, thorough (never in a rush), with a good sense of humor and a great style (Raymond and I love his ties! :))

I will be going for scans mid July and if I am in remission then they'll go straight for the auto transplant (my own one). That should take about a month - give or take - then they'll follow me closely for 100 days and then I'll do radiation, recover and hopefully I can get back to normal life in the beginning of 2007. That's my plan and I am sticking to it!!!

Other than that, the highlights of the day are:
-- our car broke down today and we are now thinking it may be time to look into something more reliable but we don't want to commit to anything until I am well and working again.
-- we got a call from a modeling agency in Houston who saw pics of Andryusha that we took in the mall so they would like to audition him in July. Can you believe it?! We know he is cute and adorable but we attribute it to being so much in love with him and being helplessly proud parents :) but just the thought of the agency wanting to see him tickles us! We'll keep you posted!

Friday, June 16, 2006

BMT visit

Well, I guess I'll never have it easy, will I? We finally saw the Bone Marrow Transplant department (BMT) and things are more complex than we thought. The whole SCT (stem cell transplant) is really up in the air pending my scan results. Depending on how well I do with these high doze chemos (2 rounds of ESHAPs) I may be scheduled for auto or allogenic transplant. Auto is when they use my own stem cells, allo would be from a donor. Of course, they like to say that they hope for the best (meaning the auto SCT) but plan for the worse (the allo). With that said, if I am not clean on July 10 after this next ESHAP, the likelihood of having an allogenic transplant will be eminent and my chances of survival lessened. The doctors said after a while the body gets worn out with so much rounds of chemo and the onset of other cancers possible, if I am eventually cured. Get this, if I eventually have to have an allogenic transplant the whole cost will be nearing half a million for everything. Mind blowing, huh?! That means when I get cured, I will be worth much more than ever...I will get close to being the million dollar baby :) Another interesting factor in all this is that if I need a donor, it will preferably need to be someone of my ethnicity, meaning from the states of the former Soviet Republics. That makes it more difficult to find someone that will match with me. For now, they want to get the DNA of my brother to see if he is a match (chances are around 25%).

So dear friends, hope you see the magnitude and scope of this kind of dilemma. Thank you deeply for your continued support and prayers. On a side note, Andruysha is doing very well, growing and learning new things everyday. Raymond continues to be superman holding the world together around us. Be good to yourselves, cherish every moment with your families and turn your gaze to the Omnipotent and All-Knowing Creator.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

What happen?

Just when I thought I was free of pain and getting better I got a call from my local clinic saying my blood markers were too low and I'd need blood work every day and some Neupogen shots and some pills for low potassium. I could not believe it ... Neupogen really makes me miserable - it's stronger than Neulasta but acts over a shorter period. Those of you who ever gave birth can relate to this comparison - contractions! When I was pregnant swimming brought substantial relief but now I am told I should not swim (cause I can end up in a hospital should I catch any bug); and I can't eat fresh fruits and veggies - something I've been doing all this time! You can imagine how bombed I felt.

Good news is that the shots and the pills did their job and I am now much much better.
I am over the pain and I don't have to do blood work till Tuesday! In fact, I am feeling rather terrific - we took care of so much needed household stuff (like 4 batches of laundry :)) and I went to a concert of Russian songwriters.

So I have one more week to enjoy before I return to MDA. And, the World Cup is on - Raymond is so excited about each game (he used to play in the national youth league n Belize). And I love football too!