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5/31/2016 Latest post:
Welcome to our CaringBridge site! We've created this account in order to communicate various updates concerning Joanne and her medical condition. Most of you have probably received the email excerpt below; however, through this site, you are able to continue to obtain further information and updates about Joanne. Below is the beginning of her chemotherapy treatment story and overall prayer request:
A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up - Ecclesiastes 3:3. A TIME TO PRAY! That is why I am sending out this email.
Most of you have shared some of my journey with the cancer I was diagnosed with 3 years ago, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL.) The first stage of treatment was called "Wait & Watch." Seemed like a dumb game plan to me, but over the past several years I've come to understand the thinking behind not rushing into treatment. Some people with this disease will never need treatment. Unfortunately, I am not in that camp.
Once I saw I was going to have to do treatment I began praying God would close doors on all options, but the one I should use. He is such an awesome God and His timing perfect. I had looked into a therapy called IPT (too much to explain in an email) and was moving forward not seeing any closed door. My oncologist did not approve of this as it's an integrated therapy not accepted in the medical world or by insurance. I was going to GA for 6 weeks for the treatment at a center that was started 2 years ago by an oncologist. I had one last question for him, "How many CLL Patients had they treated and what was the success rate?" One hour before my appointment with my oncologist on Friday I get a message that the Dr. in GA would not recommend I do IPT and go with the conventional treatment. God's timing is perfect! I was able to shift my thinking and walk through the door of conventional treatment with the confidence only God could give! This Thursday, I will begin a treatment with a drug called Gazyva. Of course, like any of these type of drugs the side effects are nasty. So I would ask you to pray for the following:
No reaction or infection from the drug at the site of the infusion - this is common. My immune system to stay strong - currently my numbers are in normal range. (I will also be doing my alternative treatments to keep it strong if I am able.) Treatment will not trigger any other medical issues. Platelets to stay high so I have no issues with the brain bleed
There are other side effects, but the ones above are ones most important ones to pray for.