Sunday, February 26, 2012

Radiation begins this week

Madeleine’s Blog

February 26, 2012

For Madeleine, this has been a good week of enjoying recovery and getting back into some of the things she loves. She actually healed quite quickly from the wisdom teeth extractions, and continues to gain strength since her major surgery. This week she was able to enjoy some swimming, and even a little running. 

Madeleine also is excited about getting to be one of the swim captains for her swim team at Montgomery High. While the coming season of radiation and interferon treatments is expected to affect her ability to compete, she has a lot of passion for working to support and encourage her team in whatever way she can. 

This Thursday (March 1st) will be her first radiation treatment down in Rohnert Park, and she will have treatments two times a week for three weeks. The radiation will be high dose, and targeted right at the problem area. It really is amazing how much pre-planning (with computer and CT scan technology) goes into this treatment in order to target the area, but with the fewest side effects possible. 

We would really appreciate your prayers that the radiation would be effective against any remaining melanoma, and that the side effects of the radiation would be kept to a minimum. Having these kinds of treatments in the midst of your senior year can be a little challenging, so we are grateful for your prayers and encouragement.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wisdom teeth - recovery and more

February 18, 2012

Madeleine came through the wisdom teeth surgery quite well! She is gradually healing, and has not had too much difficulty so far with pain or swelling. Of course, having pain meds and also the perspective of how difficult the previous surgery was has helped her with this. The hardest thing about this surgery so far is that it has delayed her getting back in the pool and to the gym, which are some of her favorite things. It’s hard for this girl to rest and recover (the surgeon said she needs to take it easy for two weeks)!

The next phase of her treatment for melanoma will be radiation, which will start on March 1st. She will be having high-dose radiation (to the left side of her face and neck) 2 times a week for three weeks. While radiation has unwanted side effects, the doctors believe that it will give her the best chance possible of eliminating any residual cancer cells in the area.

Thank you for your continued prayers...for her recovery, for her ongoing fight against melanoma, and for the effectiveness of the upcoming treatments.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Unexpected surgery

February 14, 2012

Madeleine really has done so well with all of the challenges of this situation. Sometimes it is the unexpected "smaller" things, however, that catch you off guard and make you feel like you're taking a step back, even though it is a necessary step in your progress forward.

Today, we found out that because her radiation treatments start in a few weeks, Madeleine will need to have surgery to have her impacted wisdom teeth out...and it can't wait. (Apparently, after radiation, your jaw is no longer able to heal very well and so you need to take care of any potential problems before you start radiation).

So, she is scheduled to have all four impacted wisdom teeth out this Thursday morning (2/16). As you all know, she is still working on recovery from the other surgery, and had just begun to get back to the pool - which she loves.

Please be praying for Madeleine, for the surgeon, and especially for her recovery. Thank you all for the encouragement - the notes, posts, emails, texts, and meals have been wonderful. We really appreciate all of you.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Plan of action

February 11, 2012
There's no guarantee life is easy...
But because I have such amazing friends 
and family with me every step of the way
I know I'm going to make it through this next year of treatment...

We got a call from the doctor last night after the specialists met about Madeleine's situation. They feel it would be best for her to have 4 weeks of radiation treatment in the area where the surgery was done. This is because there was a "positive margin" on the cancerous lymph node that they took out, and so radiation would be the best weapon to fight against melanoma in that local area. They are also recommending a year of treatment with Interferon. (Interferon helps trigger your own immune system so that it fights cancer, and also helps "interfere" with cancer cells as they try to divide.) The specialists feel that this 2-pronged approach would be the best way to proceed in her situation.

As many of you know, these types of treatments have side effects that are bound to be challenging. We are grateful, however, that the specialists were unified in their recommendation, and that the doctors are continuing to confer with UCSF as they move toward finalizing the treatment plan.

For now, Madeleine still needs to heal up some more before this next phase of treatment begins. Although, thankfully, she avoided the major side effects of the surgery, she still has some muscles and nerves that need to recover so that she has full range of motion and comfort. As always, thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

For those of you who have asked: If you would like to leave a comment, 
you don't need a special account to do so. You can just click on "comments" below and then sign in as "anonymous."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Let the consultations begin!

February 9, 2012
We want to give you a quick update. Today, we met with the radiologist to hear about some of the up and downsides of doing radiation therapy in Madeleine's situation. They are not yet making a recommendation about radiation in her case because more test results and discussions between specialists are in process. In fact, a group of Kaiser specialists will be meeting tomorrow regarding her particular case. These doctors, in turn, are also in frequent contact with the melanoma specialist from UCSF whom we met with last month (Dr. Adil Daud).

Madeleine is continuing to heal from the surgery and gain strength. She is pretty much back to school, and has even been in the pool a few times this week! That being said, she still has some recovering to do, but is well on her way.

We really appreciate your continued prayers for her and for wisdom for her doctors (and us) during these coming days of consultations and decisions. Thanks everyone!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February - recovery continues

February 2, 2012
Madeleine's recovery continues! On Tuesday, she had her stitches removed and the doctor said she is healing very well.  As many of you know, Madeleine is usually very physically "keeping still" in order to heal has been a real challenge for her. The doctors have said that she can begin some lighter physical we will see how long she is able to stay away from the pool! This week, she is beginning to go back to classes at school, staying as long as she is able.

Madeleine & brother Max (2/1/12)

We are still waiting for the final pathology reports, and the specialists at Kaiser and at UCSF have been consulting with each other to help determine the best way to proceed with her treatment. They are looking at traditional drugs such as Interferon, as well as newer drugs and possibly targeted radiation in the area where the surgery was done. They are also testing the melanoma to determine its exact genetic type in order to figure out what might be the best way to proceed. Typically, they want to wait for several weeks after the surgery before beginning any sort of drug therapy, and so we have time to look at all the options and have all the consultations needed.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragements. Now, we really need wisdom and a clear idea of what to do as we go forward. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors who are looking at her case, and for us as we eventually decide between the options.