Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chemotherapy Plan

Madeleine’s Blog 

May 30, 2012

So do not fear, for I am with you
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God
I will strengthen you and help you
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Isaiah 41:10
We have been waiting to hear the final recommendation from Madeleine's oncologist, and it came today after some final test results came in. The doctors had said to be ready to start chemo at any time, but Madeleine's wish had been to have "at least a week of summer" before having to jump into any chemotherapy. That wish is being granted in that her treatment won't begin until Thursday, June 7th.

The doctors believe that the best treatment for Madeleine will be an aggressive chemotherapy that Kaiser provides down in Riverside, CA. (20 centers in the US offer this type of melanoma treatment, but the Kaiser Riverside center treats the most melanoma patients in the world using this therapy; the center also provides other top melanoma therapies to patients.) In talking with the top melanoma specialist there (Dr. Gailani), he has treated many, many patients with a similar stage of melanoma and believes this treatment would be the best one for Madeleine's situation.

Madeleine (along with her mom and aunt) will go down to Riverside on Wednesday. She'll spend 5-6 days in the hospital receiving the chemotherapy, and then will be home to recover for two weeks. Then back down for another week of treatment, and home for two weeks of recovery. After those weeks, they will reevaluate and make further recommendations based on what they find.
This type of chemotherapy can be very challenging for your body as it uses three different chemo drugs to attack the melanoma, as well as two types of biological therapy drugs to boost your immune system so that it can also go to work fighting the cancer. We would really appreciate your prayers - that the chemo would be effective and that the side effects would be manageable.
Madeleine - enjoying the kids today...and vice versa!
In the meantime, Madeleine wants to enjoy her days of summer. You might think that she would go out and try to do something "splashy" today - but instead, she came and helped out on a field trip with her mom's kindergarten class (see adjacent picture).

In addition to that, Madeleine plans to have fun at her friends' graduation parties this weekend, maybe take in a Giants game, and she is looking forward to teaching swim lessons at La Cantera for the first few days of next week (and after she gets back, if she's up to it).
Assistant coaching last year at La Cantera

She is particularly excited about taking over  coaching the swim team at La Cantera, which is a great opportunity for younger students to get started with competitive swimming (see the adjacent picture from a story that the Press Democrat did last year about the program).
As a family, we want to take a moment and again thank all of you for your encouragement over these past months. Honestly, we couldn't do it without you. And that's just talking about the people we know about! We also know there are people out there praying who have never met us - that is just amazing.

As always, thank you for your concern and your prayers...


Lawrence Makin said...

Madeleine, I'm sorry to hear about you needing further chemo treatment. It's great you've got a strong support group to help you though, and I pray that the treatment works for you.

Just know that your strength comes not only from within you, but also from God. That combined force is unstoppable against this evil.

Now I'm sure you've got a large enough support group, but if you need an extra set of shoulders to cry on, mine are broad. I've been through this with my mom and now with myself, so I know how you must feel.

It's great that you've got a week off to enjoy some of your summer though, hope you get to live it up a little! We've got the Queen's Diamond Jubilee over here in England, so it's a 4-day weekend - hooray for 2 days off work :-D

Anyway, good luck on Thursday onwards - I'll save a prayer for you.

Maria Aiello Saunders said...

Hi Madeleine and Family,

That DAMN cancer!! I was so sad to hear the latest news, but so inspired by your positive attitude! Faith and a positive attitude are your keys to recovery. Laughter is great medicine also - watch lots of funny movies and TV shows as you go through this next phase of treatment. Faith and laughter have helped me get through some very trying and painful times this past year!

Continuing to pray daily! =)