Thursday, February 16, 2012

Action Plan

It's as we expected, the cancer is back.  The docs were great, they were very comforting, truthful, and optimistic.  Obviously it's quite a serious thing to have the cancer come back so quickly after chemo and the transplant last year.  However, the docs were optimistic that the cancer did respond well to the chemo last time and they have wonderful things to say about the new drug Adcetris.  

I will be starting chemo next Thursday.  This chemo drug is only a 1/2 hour infusion which means I should only be at the hospital for 5 or 6 hours, rather than the days at a time chemo I had last year.  The new drug sounds really exciting- it's designed to attack only cancer cells rather than the traditional chemotherapy approach that attacks all fast growing cells, both cancer cells and healthy cells.  Adcetris is a highly toxic chemical that attaches itself only to certain markers (CD30) on cancer cells and it goes inside the cell and kills it.  Amazing isn't it?  And it was only just approved in August 2011 specifically for Hodgkin's Lymphoma patients after a failed stem cell transplant.  I guess on the bright side of things the timing couldn't be better!  

The plan is three chemo infusions, one every three weeks and then more testing to see if the tumors are responding well.  If they are, I will likely do a few more infusions of Adcetris with the hopes of getting a complete remission before going in for a bone marrow transplant.  My wonderful brothers will be tested to see if they are a donor match and I will hopefully be receiving one of their immune systems sometime soon.  

In the meantime, the side-effects of the new drug should be comparatively mild and I will be able to go on with everyday life!  Which means moving this weekend and continuing to teach Joy School and Primary and trying to keep my husband and children happy!  It feels so odd that this treatment is stretched out over so many weeks when last time everything was rushed and crazed.  One week I was spending days at the hospital for chemo followed by a week of feeling awful with 3 or 4 appointments at Hackensack only to go back in for more chemo the next week.  Maybe I should be knocking on wood... wouldn't want to jinx this time around! :)


15 comments:

  1. Praying for you! I truly admire your strength

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  2. Such a positive attitude Tessa! I'm always so impressed with how you handle life. You're great. This new drug does sound like such an improvement, I hope it's even better than you expect :) Thanks for keeping us current!

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  3. you are so awesome! I love how you look at life and make the best of it! Praying for you, and your family.

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  4. you are such an inspiration. Keep fighting tessa, You are such an amazing person. Praying for you and your family. Rich and Melinda Hall

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  5. You are so inspirational!!! Keep fighting, you're doing great

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  6. I'm loving the sound of these new drugs! Your attitude is amazing and can only help as you kick cancer in the rear.

    Love you, Tessa!

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  7. I am in awe of your continuous positive attitude! You're such an inspiration. And the treatment plan sounds like a step up from the previous one. As always, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Love ya!

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  8. Yay! I am so happy for you. This is such great news. What an amazing form of chemo.

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  9. We love you lots and are praying for you. That new drug sounds really promising and cool. I'm glad it will only attack your cancer cells. Fight on, sister!

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  10. Tessa, I don't know if you remember me, but I remember you from...wait for it...Mrs. White's class. Yes, first grade. All I really remember is that you had such a beautiful name and I've always remembered your smile. I'm grateful to have found out about your struggles and am jumping on the Pray for Tessa bandwagon. (((hugs)))
    Emily Lloyd Nielson

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  11. You are such a positive person. I am in tears just reading that you have to do bone marrow and that the cancer is back. I just hate cancer. You and your family will be in our prayers and hopes that you have a brother to match. We are having a bone marrow drive here in St. George in March. Hopefully it wont come to using the registry, but if you know anyone in the area tell them to come do a cheek swab. You are a serious fighter!!! I look up to you and think of you and your family often!!!

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  12. Thank you all for your support and your sweet comments! I love reading them, and every time I get a new comment I get a lift to my day!

    Dani- when is the bone marrow drive? I do know a few people who have offered to get onto the registry if I need it. Please let us know the details, thanks!

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  13. I watched your "I'm a Mormon" video over and over while my 2 year old daughter was in the hospital for many months fighting her own battle with cancer. You are an inspiration!

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  14. Have you heard of the Gerson Therapy/cancer treatment? I recently watched a documentary about them on Netflix and the natural healing method they espouse really resonated with me. I don't mean to sound presumptuous or insensitive. I wish you the best of health and a long, long life! You are an inspiration to many lucky people who have you in their lives!

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  15. Clint and ChelseaMarch 10, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    We're praying for you Tessa! Please let us know if you need anything.

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