This past summer Cinda wasn't feeling quite right and she tired easily. Anyone who knows Cinda, knows she's always on the move caring for children with special needs at the Bay-Arenac ISD Living and Learning Center, but even yard work and her favorite walk along the river became exhausting.
By October, she was admitted to the hospital where it was discovered she had Acute Myeloid Leukemia. As it was an aggressive cancer, Cinda was transferred to the University of Michigan Hospital for immediate treatment. There Cinda started 7 days of round-the-clock chemotherapy with hopes of achieving remission, so she could explore the possibility of a bone marrow transplant.
While recovering from chemotherapy, Cinda learned her sister was not a good match to be a bone marrow donor and the first round of chemotherapy had not put her leukemia into remission. This was definitely a low point for the Cinda and her family. A few days later she started a second, more aggressive chemotherapy regimen to beat down the cancer.
The second round of chemotherapy proved to be more aggressive and Cinda was exhausted. During recovery she endured 15 days of fever as her body battled pneumonia and two other infections. After more than a month in the hospital with weeks of fever she simply wanted to go home. Finally good news arrived, another sister was determined to be a “perfect match” as a bone marrow donor. A few days later, on the day before Thanksgiving, she was discharged from the hospital to continue recovery at home. She was so thankful to be home for Thanksgiving!
With a “perfect” bone marrow donor match, we were anxious to learn if the second round of chemotherapy had worked. On December 5 we learned it had worked and she had 0% cancer in her blood! With these promising results the doctors immediately scheduled Cinda for a bone marrow transplant to occur the week before Christmas as her cancer would certainly return without the transplant.
Cinda is very anxious and grateful for the opportunity to receive a bone marrow transplant and, ultimately, a new immune system to fight her cancer. She is scheduled to start a third round of chemotherapy next week followed by the transplant scheduled for the week before Christmas. Following the transplant, Cinda will spend a couple weeks recovering from the chemotherapy as the doctors monitor her new immune system and signs of Graft vs Host Disease.
If Cinda’s Graft vs Host Disease is manageable, she will be discharged from the hospital in early January but she must remain within a short driving distance from the UofM hospital for three months as doctors continue to monitor her. During this time a family member must be with her at all times to provide care and monitor for Graft vs Host Disease. By April, Cinda should be able to return home where she will spend the rest of 2018 recovering with her new immune system.
“How can I help?”
We have all heard a version of this question from friends and family during times of need. To be honest, the love, compassion, prayers, and stories of beating cancer have been so helpful for Cinda and her family… especially during the weeks of uncertainty and vague prognoses. Please continue with this wonderful emotional support.
Financial support for Cinda is also helpful as she faces financial uncertainty. It is almost certain she will not be able to return to her job caring for children and she may not be able to work any job for quite some time. The most immediate financial concern is the cost of an apartment near Ann Arbor for three months. During this time Cinda’s family will stay with her to provide 24/7 care and she will focus on recovery and frequent doctor visits. Needless to say, the costs of travel, hotels, and medical bills have added up over the past two months and those costs will increase dramatically in the coming months.
Thank you all for your emotional, financial, and spiritual support.
Courtney, Kathryn, and Andrew
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