Natalia's journey

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

Thursday, August 17, 2006

special day today

Life is amazing ... today is our 10 year Anniversary and not even in my wildest dreams would I imagine my today's condition. I envisioned how we would have a grand party and dressed in full white we would renew our simple vows: "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God" under the famous Beatles' song "All you need is LOVE". I was even going to try to fit into my wedding dress... we would dance and celebrate into the night the very special gift of marriage. And yet today, I am just getting strong enough to walk (though my knees hurt tremendously) and our grand affair will culminate as simple romantic dinner for two. So I have a good incentive to make it another 10 years to properly celebrate our 20 year anniversary … I’ll be 38 then and may be I can still fit in my dress – I kept it all these years – I better use it again! The key though is that I want to have enough energy to dance with my beloved men… in ten years Andryusha may be as tall as I and my handsome Raymond may be silver headed!

Apart from the special day, during the chemo weekend I’ve gone to be totally bald … it was very sad ... I’ve cried my share and I am now over it (tell me if you want to see the scary pictures ... I am not sure anyone would want to, except for my neighbor who loves me being bald). Anyway, somehow, I see being bald as a symbol of cancer being gone. I really feel confident that this time there is not one cancer cell alive. I am almost dead so cancer better be dead... really, I am paying such a high price – my body is completely worn out, I don’t think I can take any more chemos so this better be it. I have to save my energy for the Moster Chemo (BEAM) that’s part of the transplant. I am ready to fight it – I need to be done with the transplant by October 3 – Andryusha’s 1st birthday. Gosh, it’s hard to believe I’ve been in such deep mess for almost a year!

So here is to many more cancer-free anniversaries and birthdays!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

update + please help in any way you can

I just got some blood transfusion and feel pretty perky and awake (I was down and weak since yesterday and after vomiting unexpectedly I ended up sleeping most of the day - I am doing ok now).

So here is latest update: Last Monday I ended up collecting some more cells (I guess the doctors felt my fear that it was not enough) and now I have 4.9 mln cells frozen and waiting for me whenever I am ready (a little short of the target of 5 mln but oh well...). They will test them to see if they have any bacteria or virus since I was so sick during collection and if there is infection then I'll get some strong antibiotics at the time of stem cell infusion. So I am stuck with my cells and I'll "reap the harvest I've sown" (Pink Floyd) :)

Apart from that, I saw my oncologist (Dr. Hagemeister) - he is indeed a genius, I am so fascinated with his talks and wish I could attend his lectures some day. He ordered full restaging scans after this chemo and we should know the results of the 2 IGeVs in about 3 weeks. He also touched my heart by saying Raymond 'is a good man for me' - I could not get a better compliment!

And last, but not least I'd like to ask for help for a girl in NY - she needs a donor from her ethnic background - Ashkenazi Jews ( details are here: ). Even if you can spread the link around that would be fantastic! THANK YOU!!!

Saturday, August 05, 2006


at least enjoy 2 news pics of Andryusha and aged Raymond and ugly new me and keep us in your prayers and thoughts.

I’ve been in HELL …

…. I am glad to be coming out of it. Remember I told you IGeV was the best chemo I’ve had … and I wondered why did they give me ESHAP first when it was so much harder that IGeV. Well, I know now – the hard way. They warned me the biggest side effect is low low counts and that I’d need transfusions to avoid bleeding and major infections. Well, I got it last Friday … then Saturday I felt some scratchy throat and weakness; then Sunday I knew I was coming down with flu. My Monday counts also went up and they said I am ready to be pherised (collect stem cells) so Tuesday I came back even though I still felt sick and I had a temperature. By the end of the day I was a major disaster with a fever and non stop runny nose and congestion. Oh, yes – another juicy nugget some might enjoy – I’ve been giving Neupogen shots to myself twice a day and the amount of lower body pain I’ve had can amount to a birth of another baby. So with the Neupogen shots and prior chemos I could not get anything over the counter and Raymond left my doc a message on Wednesday pleading for help. The protocol is to go to Emergency if I was over 101.0 but I was on the border below. Anyway, I got some antibiotics on Thursday and with continued rubs I am now much better. The bad news is I don’t know if I managed to collect enough of cells. I need 5 million so I really thought I would rock this in 2-3 days, yet I kept declining every day. And as of yesterday I only had 4 million. They gave me FOUR shots yesterday in hopes I’d do better today. But honestly, I don’t know. I did only 0.5 mln yesterday and I don’t know if I came up today … I have temperature, low blood pressure, high pulse and headache… I fear for the quality of the cells -- I don’t want my sick cells back any more! So that’s that … I don’t know what they will want to do. I’ll see the SCT guy on Tuesday and will update you then (and somewhere next week I am supposed to get another IGeV even though the mass didn’t shrink … I am so afraid of what will happen after it … will I die of chemo? I’d rather die of chemo than cancer …