Journal entry by Leslie Cavanaugh

This week has been a tough one. We met with Dr. Maly on Wednesday to get the results from the biopsy.  Unfortunately, the numbers were not where they needed to be.  He recommended another 2 weeks of the the induction chemo drugs and then repeat the biopsy. Yesterday (Thursday), we had our consultation with the docs at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. (They are ranked as the #1 pediatric cancer hospital in the country). What we thought was going to be a brief visit, and an agreement to move forward with Dr. Maly’s suggestion, turned into anything but.  We were there for over 5 hours and met with a full team of doctors, nurses, social workers, case managers, fertility experts, etc.  There are 2 factors that have put Alyssa into a high-risk category...one is a “marker” that is present in her cancer cells and the other is now her failure to be in full remission after induction.  Their recommendation is to move forward with the Consolidation phase, which is several new chemo drugs that haven’t been used previously.  The thinking is that maybe exposure to a new drug will move her numbers in the right direction.  They are also recommending a bone marrow transplant at some point soon.

As of now, we are going to follow the recommendations from Children’s. They have more expertise with this type of cancer and the pediatric protocols.  Dr. Maly is onboard with everything they are wanting to do, and will accommodate the lab work and chemo here in Louisville.  It is very comforting to have 2 very good cancer centers working together to get Alyssa better. 

The plan is to start the new chemo schedule on Monday.  That will last for 4 weeks.  We will then travel to Cincinnati for the bone marrow biopsy.  Once her numbers are where they should be, and she has a bone marrow donor, we will move forward with getting the transplant scheduled. This will be done up in Cincinnati. Her 2 big brothers, Taylor and Ben are being screened as potential donors.  We are praying hard that one of them is a match. If not, then she will move to try and find a match through the national registry.  Several of you have already asked about getting screened.  At some point, we would like to host an event where we can swab and register potential healthy, young donors.

Alyssa has felt pretty lousy all week...tired, sore, achy, swollen etc.  She was told that these are all symptoms stemming from coming off the steroid. The good news is they should only last a week or so and today she is already starting to feel better.  Jared arrived just a couple of hours ago for the weekend so, of course, that put her in a great mood.

Please continue with the prayers.  Every prayer and positive wish helps her.
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