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Hello Everyone! My name is Jennifer and I am Benny's daughter. I have created this Caring Bridge site for our family, and loved ones as to keep everyone in the loop on my Dad's treatment. As many of you know, several weeks ago he was diagnosed with Biphenotypic Acute Leukemia. It is my understanding that this is a mix of ALL ( acute lymphoblastic leukaemia) and AML (acute myeloid leukaemia).
I will do my best as to keep everyone updated as new information is provided to me by my Dad, Linda, Broc, or any of the Dr.'s that I am in communication with. I have 3 very busy boys at home, so when needed I have Broc and Linda who can also provide updates :)
Here is a little background on how everything began... After feeling unwell for several months and suffering from severe exhaustion, unexplained fevers and a terrible rash my Dad was admitted at Medical City Arlington back in Late October. He had been seen my his primary DR, as well as a dermatologist (for the rash) and after my Dad's condition worsened they were all certain he needed to be hospitalized for further testing. After doing lots and LOTS of blood work they determined that he had an extremely low white and red blood cell count. He was put into isolation for several days until most of the labs were returned and that is when he was diagnosed with Leukemia. His physicians at MCA felt that he needed the next level of care, as this is a life-threatening form of cancer if not treated properly. So they did their magic and he had a bed at UT Southwestern ready and waiting within a few days. Amazing! Prayers answered. I feel like his time spent at MCA was Phase 1 of his journey, those first couple of weeks were a scary blur of trying to coordinate talking with Dr.'s and getting answers. He was super sick. It was a very emotional time for Dad , Linda and of course Broc and I as well. We finally had concrete info, and we were really encouraged that he was being transferred to literally the BEST hospital in North Texas!
Phase 2 First of all, I would like to point out to everyone that this place was FANCY. To even step onto the 11th floor (The Bone Marrow Transplant Floor) they have this state-of-the-art thermometer and they scan your eyeballs to see if you have a temperature! It was crazy. Then you walk into his room and it's like a 4 star hotel. Complete with Dallas skyline views, and giant big-screen TV's...I was impressed!! They do all of their xrays in room as to not expose patients to unnecessary germs. They definitely know what they are doing. Anyways, back to Dad :) At this point he was still feeling very crummy. No energy, no appetite. They were drawing blood like crazy, and re-doing most of the tests that MCA did, because they needed the most accurate information as possible. This meant that he would have another bone marrow biopsy, and these are no fun at all. After several days of waiting and being poked and prodded again, the Dr.'s had a pretty good idea on what was happening and that's when they informed us which type of Leukemia he has. This meant that he could finally start treatment, he was READY! They started him on a chemo that would treat several types of Leukemia since he has this rare form that is hard to treat. The plan was to start aggressively ....in hopes to wipe out any remaining white blood cells. Once you are at zero, what should happen is your body will start making new ones and you keep your fingers and toes crossed they are GOOD ONES! About 10 days into treatment was when the chemo kicked in and he did about as well as anyone would. Nausea, and extreme fatigue took over. After a really long and what seemed like a never ending stay, he finally received some wonderful news....his body was generating healthy white blood cells!!! They were able to let him go home the weekend after Thanksgiving! His journey is nowhere near being over though...he will visit the hospital once a month for his chemotherapy...each visit lasting 3-5 days. If all goes according to plan his treatment should be about 8 months. The staff at UTSW has been nothing short of amazing! All in all, i am really proud of how he has handled things. Multiple bone marrow tests, spinal taps, chemo, blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, and who knows what i am missing?!! Linda has been such a trooper through all of this...send her some healing thoughts and vibes as she is caring for my dad on top of managing her busy work schedule. Currently Dad is resting at home, and he is set to be back at UTSW on Tuesday, December 5th for round 2. As of right now, we are asking for no visitors. He is very weak, and his immune system is still very compromised. Also, for those of you asking if we need help with anything....with the exception of a grocery store run for Linda, there isn't much of a need at this time. If there ever should be a need, I will update through this page. And of course please contact me if you have any questions! Please feel free to leave messages of support, I know he would love to see them! We appreciate every one of you, thank you for your love and support!