Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Full-on into the battle!

Madeleine’s Blog

August 20, 2013
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

Deanne & Madeleine flew to Maryland again on Monday - this time for the TIL treatment that we have been waiting for. Can't believe the time has finally arrived.

Checking out the new hospital bed!
Looking back, our very first consult with NIH was in mid-June; Madeleine's major liver surgery was in the beginning of July; the extended recovery (and growth of the TIL cells harvested from her liver tumor) took up the rest of July and the first part of August; and finally, here we are today. 

There have been more scans and tests than you could ever imagine...or want to go through. But in the process, we have faith that this treatment will help bring healing to Madeleine and, also, that the information gained from all these tests will help provide valuable information to the researchers as they work to help even more patients down the road.

This week, Madeleine heads full-on into the battle once again. 

Tomorrow, they will surgically place a central catheter up by her neck so that her IV medication and blood tests can be administered.

Then on Thursday begins the 5 days of heavy-duty chemotherapy that will bring her immune system and blood counts down to "zero." This isn't done to directly fight the cancer, but rather to keep her immune system from fighting the precious TIL cells that will be infused one week later. Along with the TIL cells, she will also be given high-dose IL-2 for several days. Finally, she is expected to be discharged from the hospital on September 12th after her counts come back to normal.

Please pray for Madeleine during this time - especially for her emotional and physical strength. The treatment ahead typically has some pretty challenging side effects. And it is followed by long days of being "cooped up" in the hospital without family and friends.

Deanne and Madeleine have already been really touched by some of the people at NIH who have reached out to them. This includes nurses, patients who are in different phases of the same treatment, family of those patients, and (most recently) a former NIH melanoma patient who lives near NIH and came over with a welcome basket and lots of encouragement for Madeleine. These people have already been such a bright spot during this stay at the hospital, and we're really grateful for them.

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