Chapter 2: Day 6 of Chemo

5/13/12

Good Morning and Happy Mother’s Day!

Sorry there was no update yesterday, I was given meds for the non-stop hiccups and had a fever, which knocked me out from 10 a.m. until 7 this morning. I was able to see a few blurry minutes of the Lakers beating the Nuggets though! The doctors have just informed me of a small infection in my left lung. They attribute that to me being Neutrapenic (unable to fight off infections), and they will keep an eye on it. Hopefully antibiotics will take care of it. This whole situation can be very overwhelming, but I’m more overwhelmed with how truly blessed and honored I am to have such  great family and friend support! Hug your mom today and thank her for the life she gave you.

ALEX

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face” -[Eleanor Roosevelt

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What happened to me? Chapter 1:

5/11/2012

Hello Friends and Family,

I am relatively new to this whole blogging thing, but I’m giving it a whirl! Thank you to John Guydon and Joe Sanders for setting this up for me. It’s a lot easier to share my daily progress this way. So let’s start from the beginning. In March I had a respiratory cold, but decided to go out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (with my strong Irish roots and all). Surprisingly, a cold, cocktails and oysters sent me into a downward spiral of illness.  I woke up the next day with a terrible cough and had no voice. I went to the doctor and was given antibiotics. That night my stomach and esophagus felt like they were literally on FIRE! I woke up the next morning with a rash all over my chest. Abbey recalls me coming into the room and asking, “is this normal?” The Doc assumed I had a reaction to the antibiotics so I stopped taking them. I continued to have the rash on and off for the next week, but then things started to clear up. I felt pretty ‘normal’ besides being tired from work and house work preparing for the baby. Then in late April my foot and ankle started to swell up. I assumed I tweaked it at work, but the next day both feet were swollen. They definitely looked like professor Klump’s from the Nutty Professor. Then the rash was back. I took some Benedryl and passed out for about 12 hours. The next day Abbey and I were staining our deck and I felt exhausted after only a short time of painting and started to get a bad bloody nose. We decided to call it a day and grab some dinner before the Laker game started, but suddenly something came over me while I was tying my shoes and decided to go to the after- hours care instead. I explained all my symptoms to the doc and he was about to send me home with some Claritin. Luckily, he decided to take some blood and look it over first. Abbey and I sat in the room for over an hour playing around with the few medical devices they left in the room. After a couple of round s of words with friends,  and me anxious to get home for the Laker’s game, the doctor finally came in. He said, “I’m sorry but I’m about to ruin your night.” He told us that my platelets  and red and white blood cells were low. Low platelet levels are around 150,000 and mine were 18,000. The doctor said we need to drive straight to the ER. Totally caught off guard, we headed over to the ER. After several blood tests, a bone marrow biopsy (which hurts like hell) and three days of waiting on the oncology floor (the cancer wing, already a bad sign), they doctor came back with words I never thought I’d hear. The bone marrow biopsy confirmed that I had AML Acute Leukemia. She started to explain that they would continue to look at a few chromosomes but at that point I quit listening in shock and horror from the news. This type of cancer didn’t have the best odds but I tried my best to prepare for the chemo that would start the following day. That next morning, the doctor called but I was in the bathroom (you know me). Several minutes later she rushed into my room and shouted, “you have APL Leukemia.” My initial thoughts were, whatever, cancer is cancer. Turns out APL (known as Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia), is more rare, but has a much higher remission rate! APL Leukemia is a subtype of AML  (much easier to fight according to my doctors). Now we joke around stating that I have “good cancer.” I am now in my fourth day of chemo. The first night sucked. I had chills, shakes, fever, shortness of breath  . . . you name it.  Although things are definitely rough right now, I’m feeling okay besides these hiccups I’ve had for about 12 hours!! Lastly, I am overwhelmed with all the love and support Abbey and I have received. I can’t express how grateful we feel to know so many amazing people. I already have a whole new perspective on life and attribute that to all who have encouraged and supported me thus far. I love you guys!

Thank you for your support!

Hello Everyone. Thank you to all my family and friends for all of your prayers and support.  I will try and keep this as updated as possible with the latest on my fight. https://rally.org/ligon

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