Journal entry by anne kolenic

Here is what Casey posted on FB a short time ago:
We did it everyone!!!  After 34 days at MD Anderson I have official made it home and am so beyond happy🤗. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers, it’s the only reason I’m where I am today 😘
#punchleukemiaintheface #byebyefloor17 #itsjustrootbeerinthatshot #imissedmyfurbabiessomuch
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Journal entry by anne kolenic

They will be performing both upper GI and lower GI scopes tomorrow to see what's gling on in Casey's gut. Since she is still having nausea and not keeping much down they feel she could have an infection or even a little acute Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD). Depending on what they find will depend on treatment for it. She will stay in hospital at least 2-3 more days.

She did eat 1/2 PB&J today and kept it down along with some liquids!! Say some extra prayers for the tests tomorrow but also over the next few days. Besides physically tough lately, she is just sick of being in the hospital, not eating, and its hard for her missing all the family festivities this weekend surrounding Dutch and Stephanie's wedding. 
Love to all.

Journal entry by anne kolenic

This is cut and pasted from Casey's FB post this evening, the pictures too:

A lot has gone on in the past month and I haven’t done my job to keep y’all posted, but I’ve been busy fighting😜.  It has been a very treacherous storm so far, but the clouds are clearing and my sparkle is getting brighter.  I’m so appreciative of all the thoughts and prayers and just know that they are truly working😘.  I hope to go live soon because I really miss chatting with y’all 🤗.  Happy summer!
#punchleukemiaintheface #cancersucks #rebuilding #keepingthefaith

Journal entry by anne kolenic

Casey's counts continue to go up: WBC=6.2 Hgb=9.9 and platelets =151,000. Her throat is still extremely sore and inflamed--just needs more rest and healing. She is a little disappointed in that because she is actually craving food and just would like to eat again. Doctor advised another day or two of no eating and minimal to no speaking to let her throat heal. The dietitian came and saw her to go over what she should start with and how to re-introduce food into her diet again. She is looking forward to that. She is doing her laps and continues to move around and much as she can.

Once her throat heals they will begin to wean her off IV meds and will start talking about discharge. All very encouraging and exciting news. Hugs to everyone and thanks for all those extra prayers and well wishes.

Happy July 4th to those in the USA!!!

Journal entry by anne kolenic

Well Shane's over achieving stem cells along with the neupogen shots have pushed Casey over a big hurdle!!! Yesterday she started feeling better and actually walked four laps. See picture below of her new shirt she wore while walkkng today. Her white count yesterday was 0.5, so starting to go up.

Then today her white count is 3.3!!! She was also given permission today to leave the floor and walk off the unit. Power of prayer and medicine🎉  her throat still hurts but is much better.

Journal entry by anne kolenic

There hasn't been much to update over the past week. Overall Casey has been doing pretty well. However, she is now at toughest part of her treatment and is need of all of us to really send up prayers of support and strength to get her over this next hill.

Her counts are at their lowest and her body is starting to succumb to the effects of the high dose chemotherapy that she received. Chemotherapy acts by killing fast reproducing cells, such as cancer cells are, but unfortunately chemo doesn't know the difference between good and bad fast reproducing cells. This is where the side effects come from. Given the high dose of chemo agents she received Casey is experiencing severe inflammation and irritation of her mouth and esophagus. This is very painful as basically the tissues in these areas are sloughing off. All that can be done for this is pain and symptom management. They have started her on a pain medicine drip to help.

This will get better as the new stem cells start to engraft, just takes time and healthy cells to heal it.They did start her on the neupogen (growth factor) shots to help stimulate the new cells to grow. As the new cells engraft their first job will be to heal these affected areas, so often the first signs of engraftment are resolution(or lessening) of the side effects. Then the counts will start to go up in the peripheral blood.

So please continue the prayers of love, support, encouragement, and strength to get her through these next 5-10 days. This is the toughest time of the transplant process.

With gratitude and a thankful heart for all of the love and support you all are providing.

Journal entry by anne kolenic

So Casey received Shane's stem cells today and all went well. Happy (new) Birthday to her🎂.

Overall Casey has been doing pretty well this past week. She has had some good and bad days. Some nausea during her chemo days. They also found a blood clot from her central line the second day of admission. So while her platelets are >50,000 she has to get daily shots of a blood thinner.

Cookie stayed with her until this past Sunday and then Mary Kay came in and is staying this week. Continue the prayers. Love u all❤

Journal entry by anne kolenic

So Casey finally got into a room this evening after a nice long wait. She was cleared by Doc and transplant is a GO😆

Tonight is IVF and other preparatory items prior to chemo starting in the morning. First chemo is scheduled to start at 600am. Cookie flew down last night and has been with Casey for the day.

Will continue to post as the process proceeds. Love and prayers to you all❤

Journal entry by anne kolenic

Shane completed the stem cell collection in one day!! They needed 4 million cells and they actually were able to collect 11.5 million on Monday. So happy that he is an over achiever! So they will use the 4 million needed for transplant and then freeze the remainder for five years (sort of an insurance policy, in  case Casey were to need anything in the future)-hopefully never needed.

Casey met with her Transplant Doctor and team today and here is the plan: She well get a new central line placed on Thursday, then she will go in to the outpatient center Friday for "Demo Day"-they will basically give her a dose of one of the chemos she will get for transplant and then draw lots of blood samples, this will give them the information to plan her dose of chemo for transplant. She will go home late Friday eve. Then she gets a few days off (Sat-Tues.) Candice will be going down Sunday or Monday. Then Casey will have one last appointment with Dr. Schpall on Tuesday for final clearance to start. Once that appointment is done and Casey is cleared fro transplant, she will get admitted that day to start the transplant process. She will start chemo Wednesday, June 13th. Then on Tuesday, June 19th Casey will receive Shane's stem cells (Transplant Day is referred to as T0). 
Mary Kay will be going down to Texas after Candice leaves, then Mike's sister will be coming down to help out.
Thanks to all for the love and support. The next few weeks will be a journey so please continue to keep Casey and Mike and their caregivers in your thoughts and prayers.

Journal entry by anne kolenic

So Shane is in Texas now and has begun his prep for collection of his cells. He will get his stem cells collected tomorrow and Tuesday if all goes as planned. Casey posted a video on FB last week of the 2 of them shaving each other's heads. See pic below for the final results as well as the fun shirts Casey had made!

Casey sees her transplant doctor this Tuesday and the tentative plan is for her to get admitted Friday to start prep for transplant. We will confirm that after Tuesday's appt. Once she is admitted, she will get chemo for 5-7 days to wipe out her bone marrow, then they will infuse Shane's cell into her. She will in the hospital for minimally 30 days.
Thanks for all the love, prayers, and support. #StronglikeCasey

Journal entry by anne kolenic

Well Casey was finally transferred to MD Anderson this morning-arrived about 1015am. She has been in the emergency room (their way of admitting patients) since then. She has been seen by the leukemia team and evaluated.

There are currently no beds available, so she will remain in ER until one opens up. They have done a repeat bone marrow biopsy (BM bx) because they need to send out for additional tests. The preliminary BM bx appears to be a myeloid form of acute leukemia (AML). There are however different sub groups and we will not have that information back until early next week. They are going to give her another unit of blood today to help her feel a little better. She has not had a fever for over 24 hours, but is real tired.

Chemo may not start till Monday or Tuesday. The goal is to get as much information about her type of leukemia to give her the best treatment to fight it. They will continue to monitor her and give supportive treatment (IV fluids, IV antibiotics, and blood products as needed).

She remains in positive spirits, is glad to be at MD Anderson, and is ready to get this game rolling.

Will post updates as available.

Casey’s Story

Site created on March 23, 2018

Casey's newest competition actually started in early March when she became sick with a virus. As the next two weeks went on she became more fatigued and worn out. After being admitted on March 19th to the ICU and receiving blood, she was then diagnosed on March 22nd with Acute Leukemia. She was transferred to MD Anderson in Houston, Tx. to start treatment and begin the battle........