Melody Swanson Medical Fund

As you may have heard, on October 13th our beloved Melody was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Let's help her and her partner James Killinger fight this battle by contributing to their mounting medical costs. Below you'll find a recent update from Melody herself posted on November 13th. 

So, week 1: spent half of this week in the hospital at Memorial Sloan Kettering, in quarantine on the leukemia floor because I caught that cold that was going around. Had my first bone marrow biopsy done, and the doctors determined that I was very lucky that I'm young and we caught this early, and as long as my levels remained stable I could delay chemotherapy treatment just long enough to be able to go through fertility preservation (freezing my eggs) before starting the chemo that will likely destroy them.  Normally when people come in with an ALL diagnosis the disease has progressed much further and chemo is started immediately with no time to delay. 

Week 2: leukemia doctors put me on a cocktail of steroids and antivirals and antibiotics to keep me stable, and had me up at MSK nearly every day for blood draws and various tests and scans. Started hormone treatments at Weill Cornell with daily blood draws and ultrasounds at their facility, and nightly hormone injections for eleven days. I'm really good at giving myself shots now, so that's a new skill. 

Week 3: started the week with minor surgery for egg extraction at NY Presbyterian, then ended the week checking back in to Memorial Sloan Kettering for my long haul inpatient "induction phase 1" chemo cycle. First three days of chemo were pretty bad - they started me off with the most toxic stuff, so that was a really tough weekend. 

Week 4-present: still inpatient at MSK, getting to know the nursing staff really well here. Have had two more rounds of less nausea-inducing chemo after that first set.  Also now have had two lumbar puncture procedures where they take a sample of my spinal fluid and inject chemo drugs back into my spinal cord - since this is a place where leukemia cells could possible hide out during treatment. 

It looks like I might get out of the hospital by thanksgiving and do my last round of chemo for this cycle as an outpatient on Friday, but that depends on how quickly my immune system bounces back in this next week. 

At the end of this month, I'll get about a week off before starting "induction phase 2" which will be outpatient chemo, four days a week for 6 weeks. 

After that there's about six months of various other phases, mostly outpatient chemo treatment once a week, with some short, multi-day hospital stays interspersed throughout for the more poisonous stuff. 

Each subsequent phase has a different cocktail of chemo drugs, so at this point it's really hard to predict much about how I will be feeling. 

My mom is here from Iowa, and will be staying with us indefinitely to help out with my care and getting to/from appointments for the foreseeable future.  Luckily we have a two bedroom apartment so we could just convert our storage/office room into an actual room with a bed for my mom. 

This has all been very... surreal, to say the least. Thank you all for your support.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Ernesto Reyes 
Jersey City, NJ
Melody Melody Swanson 
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