Journal entry by Leslie Cavanaugh

The week started out normal with labs on Monday.  Amazingly, her numbers had rebounded enough to keep her biopsy appointment on Tuesday at Cincinnati Children’s. Tuesday was an especially long day...6:30am hospital arrival for procedure, and then multiple appointments with oncology and the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) team. Alyssa at one point casually mentions she’s had a weird pain in her lower left hip/butt area, almost like a pulled muscle.  Dr. Norris orders an MRI before we were to leave and it turns out that she’s got some obscure infection in the muscle.  She said she’s never seen anything like it when there’s been no trauma to the area.  It was a serious enough infection to put her back in the hospital for IV antibiotics, even though she felt fine and did not have a fever.  She did at least allow us to get back to Louisville and go to Suburban hospital. Alyssa was discharged Friday and must continue the IV antibiotics at home for next 14 days. 

We also got results back from biopsy.  She is still not in complete remission, even though she’s very close and the change from the previous month was significant. So at this point the plan is to go on to Part 2 of the consolidation phase which is 4 more weeks of chemo. She will then get another biopsy.  If the numbers are where they are suppose to be, then the transplant will get scheduled for after the holidays.  If the numbers aren’t there, then they will try an additional 4 weeks of a new type of chemo drug.  Regardless of that result, the transplant will get scheduled. So, looking at either early January or mid/late February for the bone marrow transplant. The donor search for a 10/10 match continues (donors are screened on 10 different areas to provide the best possible match). Half of all transplants are done with less than a 10 out of 10 match.  Because of her age and race they are very confident they will get a good match.  PLEASE do not let this stop anyone from following through with getting registered!!! The need for donors for ALL ethnic groups is very much needed.  Even though you might not match with Alyssa, there is a possibility you can be the match for someone else!  We cannot say thank you enough for the response.  Preliminary numbers from the WKU donor drive stood at 609 people signing up.  UK athletics also did a drive this week and Purdue Volleyball (thank you Jessica Lucas😘) sponsored a drive as well, in conjunction with their big match tonight vs.Nebraska. 

Looking back, last month alone has certainly been a roller coaster ride.  What started out as a 2 1/2 year chemo plan has turned into maybe 4 months of chemo and a bone marrow transplant.  Not where we wanted to be, but the silver lining is that the transplant will give her the best chance for a cure.  She’s got a particularly nasty mutation of Leukemia and it’s going to take her every bit of fight she’s got to knock this SOB out.
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