Gail MEAKER

First post: 4/1/2017 Latest post: 9/16/2017
Welcome to Gail's CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. 

Original Diagnosis. Gail first learned she had Lymphoma in October 2016 when her breathing was compromised by enlarged lymph glands in her nasopharynx and other enlarged glands were found throughout her body. She immediately was started on the standard treatment but unfortunately it was ineffective.  In December 2016 she was advised by doctors at NIH to switch treatments to an experimental "bridge" protocol aimed to reduce the cancer but not expected to be a permanent cure.  Gail has responded well and her doctors have now advised that she have a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) as soon as possible while she is in a relatively healthy condition.   The BMT is expected to effect a complete cure. 

BMT Procedure. Gail was tentatively scheduled to have a BMT at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD on April 21, 2017, buta scan on March 31 showing that the lymphoma is not yet under control has delayed the procedure.   After more rounds of a differnt chemo protocol, we are hoping the BMT can be rescheduled for late May or early June 2017.  The procedure requires Gail's immune system, which is not capable of fighting Lymphoma, to be wiped out.   By transplanting bone marrow from a donor, her system will be replaced, growing new healthy cells and an immune system that is able to fight Lymphoma cells.   Her niece, Ariel Meaker, has been discovered to be a viable donor and has generously consented.   Gail will start preconditioning for the BMT by receiving 5 days of chemotherapy and 1 day of radiation in the week prior to the BMT.   Meanwhile Ariel will be donating her bone marrow.  

Post-BMT.  The BMT requires Gail to be in residence at Johns Hopkins for approximately 60 days.  Once her immune system starts to grow again, she will be dismissed from the hospital but must remain nearby in a special residence for transplant patients.    Her fever and vital signs will be closely monitored so that she can re-enter the hospital within minutes if she needs urgent care.   She will also be receiving outpatient treatment on a frequent basis.  

Caretaking.  A number of friends and family members have volunteered to be in residence with Gail as she recovers.   Her brother, JR, will attend her for the first 4 weeks.  In addition to taking her temperature and taking her to appointments, caretakers will shop for groceries, prepare food, and assist her in normal living tasks.  It is likely that she will need some assistance when she returns home as well.  Gail's dear friend, Gladys will be arranging a calendar of caretakers.

How You Can Help. Gail very much appreciates the assistance already received throughout her odyssey - cards, calls, gifts, visits, food, dog walking, and many other kindnesses.   At first she is likely to be too weak and too immunity-compromised to receive visitors or phone calls.  Please look for notices on CaringBridge regarding when she can receive visitors and calls.  Meanwhile, your cards and words of encouragement on this site will bring her good cheer.  

CaringBridge CoAuthor.  Gail's cousin, Sally Meaker Unger, will be maintaining the CaringBridge website with updates about Gail's condition and ensuring that Gail is kept apprised of messages left for her here.   Please leave Gail a message and stayed tuned for further information.  

We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

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