Alexa Meinke : Alexa's Purple Vision
Back, neck and shoulder pain is something that everyone has experienced and dealt with at some point. Take some Advil, do some yoga, try using a heating pad and hope it goes away. During the later part of Summer 2016, Alexa started to experience these aches. A trip to her primary care provider and a Xray lead to indicate it was most likely a pinched nerve or strained muscle causing constant pain and numbness. She pain managed it as many of us do: yoga, chiropractors, and heating pads. Eventually, the pain became too overwhelming to bare, and her primary doctor advised her to get an MRI.
The visit to Baldwin Hospital occurred during the first week in December where the MRI was performed. The medical team at Baldwin decided that she would be best suited to be rushed to Regions Hospital for additional tests and images. The tests performed at Regions revealed tumors had decided to invade Alexa's body, starting in her breast and spreading to her spine, neck, lung and pelvis. This was where we also then discovered that due to tumors moving into her spine, some of her vertebra (T1-T2), decide to move out. At this point, Alexa was immediately admitted to Regions. Plan of attack: stabilize her neck and spine with surgery to prevent spinal cord injury, and to biopsy the tumors to determine if they are cancerous or not.
Friday, December 9th, biopsies were completed on the tumors in her breast.
Over the weekend, we had meetings with several Doctors about our plan of attack. There were many emotions flying each and every day. However, with all the recent instability, we found comfort and peace in knowing our amazing medical team will be giving our girl the upmost best care possible.
Monday, December 12th, the day of surgery. Today was the day that her neck and spinal cord would be stabilized with rods and pins. That day we also discovered the test results and were informed that Alexa has Stage 4 Breast Cancer and it has spread very aggressively. Needless to say, many tears were shed, but we still knew that she was in the best hands. Before surgery, Alexa had a Healing Touch practitioner come in an administer a session. Alexa mentioned to Erik that as soon as the session started, she was seeing the color purple. We have come to find that purple is the color of the crown chakra. The energy centers that are the most well studied are seven points starting at the base of the spine moving to the crown (above the head). The crown chakra is connected to spirit and higher self. It's also the place of infinite consciousness and spirituality. This is Alexa's Purple Vision and we know it is carrying her to health and happiness.
Surgery ended up lasting from 3:14pm to 9:48pm. They decided to extend the surgery an additional two hours, with the hope that she will not need further spine/neck surgery as we move forward. The surgery went extremely well. Even though it was more intense than they anticipated, having to fuse a stabilizing rod from the base of her scull to her T5 vertebra, due to not being able to find any healthy bone. During this surgery, they were also able to do a biopsy from the tumor on her upper spine. At the end of the day, our amazing team made her spine safe and stable again!
The next day, our team was hoping that Alexa would be able to walk to the bathroom, and our amazing girl decided to get up and walk around the entire eleventh floor at Regions Hospital TWICE! Nothing will stop her!
The eviction notice has been given to these tumors and cancer cells. Radiation treatment started on December 14, 2016. Alexa is currently fighting to kick these unwanted tenets in her body out while at Regions. Erik, Kevin, Carol and Carly's devotion of time and love to Alexa is as unstoppable as Alexa's good spirit, laughter, and fight. Many nights have been spent in the hospital chairs or on the floor; never wanting to leave her side. We have a devoted team of family and friends ready and willing to make her recovery smooth and full of clean, good energy.
In the near future, Alexa will be healing at their home in Prescott, WI.
For any friends or family wanting to show love and support now or in the future, please send messages of Love.
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With much love,
Although there were challenging moments when dealing with pain from the surgery, the holiday weekend did allow for a little brake from radiation and other follow-up appointments, which gave everyone a change of pace for a few days.
Tuesday, appointments eased back into the daily routine, and all systems were looking good to be released onWednesday!
Wednesday, December 28th was filled with so many wonderful moments! From beginning to end, it was a day of joy. Alexa was able to finish her final radiation treatment followed by a PET scan! The results of the PET scan showed no new cancerous areas, and finally, she was able to come home to her adorning pups. Snuggled in her own bed with Cocoa, Foxy & family, watching movies and eating homemade food is the perfect way to end the day.
Thursday, we embarked on the new journey of kicking this cancers ass from home! Relaxation, laughs, snuggles and good food, are all going to be a big part of our daily lives from here on out, and we are looking forward to it!
I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to the staff at Regions and how blessed I am for the loving support from friends and family!!!
After being readmitted to the Hotel (Regions Hospital) due to a complication during her radiation treatment on December 18th, we found out that Alexa’s L1 vertebrae was fractured and putting pressure on her spinal cord (OUCH!!!).
Once this was known, we were able to meet with our surgical team from the prior surgery (which was just last week, remember!) to discuss a new plan. It was decided that it would be best to fully stabilize Alexa’s spine; a new surgery would take place to fuse rods to her existing bone along with cadaver bone from her neck down to her pelvis. Time was not to be wasted, so surgery was soon scheduled for Wednesday, December 20th.
We’d be lying if we said that everyone on Team Alexa was ready and willing for the new surgery. But, thanks to all the support and love from family, friends, and even those some of us have never met, we found strength. Another boost to everyone’s moral towards this next step was when her medical team reported that the recent MRI discovered Alexa was already showing signs of new calcium & bone growth from her surgery just last week! This exciting news only reinstated the fact that she would become stronger and more stable than ever after this upcoming surgery.
The question of how she would go about her already scheduled treatments of radiation after being readmitted to the hotel on Monday was also weighing heavy on everyones minds . Would they be possible with her L1 fracture? Would everything have to be put off after surgery? Nope! Because Alexa is so strong, she was able to continue her radiation treatments, even completing one on the day of her surgery!
The big day was upon us, and emotions were high. Happy, nervous, anxious, confident…you name it, we all felt it. The morning at radiation went well and everyone (including our strong as steel warrior, Alexa) was then ready to get the surgery done and become stronger more stabilized. Carlie did Alexa’s hair for the surgery, and split it into two warrior style top-knot buns. Soon, all of team Alexa was sporting the look, and even some of the hotel staff!
Surgery lasted from 2:48pm to 12:15am. She came out of surgery stronger than steel…literally... walking thru a metal detector will not go unnoticed with titanium rods along both sides of her spine! ☺
Although there was a small bump in the road after surgery with complications coming out of anesthesia and send us to the surgical ICU for a bit, the day after surgery was full of strength, a fully stabilized spine, sitting upright in a standard chair with no neck brace, eating real food (tuna fish sandwich & berries), another successful radiation treatment, and being surrounded by loved ones.
No matter what this cancer tries to do to stay renting space from her body, they will get evicted! Even if it means doing a little renovation and adding in extra hardware to lock them out!
Home. This past weekend, Alexa was finally at home! Relaxing with friends & family, decorating the Christmas tree, snuggling with her pups, Cocoa and Foxy, watching the Vikings game, and lets not forget, getting engaged! These were a few of the favorite activities over the weekend at home for our beautiful Alexa.
Over the past few days, Alexa was able to relax in the comfort of her home. The rooms were filled with laughter from friends and family that came to visit, the smell of home cooked meals being prepared in the kitchen nearby, and the warmth of the fireplace. A daily routine and sense of normality was starting to take form.
The morning of Monday, December 18th, was her strongest morning thus far! Our day was looking to be great! We went to her scheduled radiation appointment and had plans to go home to do some online Christmas shopping. Unfortunately, due to some complications from the radiation therapy, Alexa had to check back into Regions Hospital, or as she calls it, her “Hotel”.
The overwhelming support of so many people out their fighting and cheering for Alexa has not gone unnoticed. Because of the encouraging words, acts of kindness and generosity, Alexa and all of her family have been lifted both in spirit and motivation to never stop fighting. We ask that you continue to share Alexa’s story, pray, and send healing thoughts her way.
Prayers to you and your family, I know this is hard my family is going thru cancer and heart issues at this time as well. God is good.
Fight like a girl, Alexa. I am your father's cousin. I am a 10 yr survivor of stage 111b breast cancer. You got this, girl!!
Love you Alexa. I know you will stay strong and brave! Thoughts and prayers go out to you. Thanks for being an awesome dance teacher and friend. Love, peanut