Sunday, February 15, 2009

My friend Deana

This is my friend, Deana. I mentioned her in my last posting. I knew she was still sick. But I didn't know how much worse it would quickly become.

In August, Deana was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma and quickly started on intensive chemo therapy treatments that required lengthy hospital stays. This cancer is so aggressive that they really have to monitor the chemo closely, if you attack this cancer too quickly, it can kill you. Deana kept regular updates on her progress and she always sounded up, tough and ready to fight. It looked and sounded like she was winning. By Christmas, it sounded like she was just about cancer free and just needed to focus on regaining her strength. She still had some discomforts but they were assumed to be side effects of the chemo. She mentioned pains in her chest and they thought it might be shingles and had her start a round of antibiotics. When that didn't work, they ran more tests. She had a mass in her chest and was told the cancer was never really gone. A different chemo approach was started. She was back in the hospital for lengthy stays. That was just 3 or 4 weeks ago. Two nights ago, I received this email.

Dearest friends, (written by Jack because I couldn't bring myself to write it)

Deana and I met with her doctor today and received some disturbing news. Apparently Deana's cancer is not responding at all to the chemotherapy treatment she's been receiving these last several weeks. It has started to appear on the right side of her face causing a numbing sensation that Deana describes as 5 novacaine shots after a dentist visit.

Deana has tried two different chemotherapy protocols and is now going to start a third (possibly final) no later than Monday. We will know in as little as two weeks if it is successful.To our shock and utter dismay, the doctor is not optimistic about this round of chemotherapy, but given the odds are greater than zero, we charge forward. We will not give in.

Tomorrow, Deana's oncologist and I will each be contacting medical oncologists at M. D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, TX. Apparently their lymphoma treatment is the most progressive and if there are applicable clinical trials with experimental drugs -- should it come to that -- that hospital will be leading those efforts.

Deana wanted me to let everyone know that while we are hopeful, and are trying to remain positive, that the doctor did tell us that given the aggressive nature of Deana's cancer, we are dealing with just a matter of weeks for Deana if not addressed. He has encouraged us to contact Hospice.

I apologize for the impersonal nature of this update, but wanted to make sure to keep you all informed.

Please keep Deana and our boys Zane and Zachary in your prayers. It means so much to us. We need them now more than ever.

On a much happier note, when asked last week by his teacher how Zane's parents met (apparently a Valentine's Day exercise at school), he responded: They ate chocolate donuts, brown donuts and chocolate donuts and just fell in love. Priceless. This hangs on our refrigerator now.

Please, please take the extra moment to hug your spouse and kids today and often.Either I or Deana will post an update just as soon as we know more.

God bless you all,


This is Jack. Filming his boys at the Lizard Wizard birthday party.
This is Zane.

This is Zach.

Please keep this family in your prayers.

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