Alex's   Place

Update on Alex's Fight Against Leukemia

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Thursday June 8, 2000

Hi Everyone,

Back in the hospitalAs usual, sorry for the long delay in updates. We thought things were crazy trying to sell the house and get moved up to Washington. Unfortunately things just got a whole lot crazier. We got the news on June 2nd that we never wanted to hear again as long as we lived. Alex has relapsed. As you can imagine, Todd and I are devastated. Alex still looks and feels great which makes it both easier and harder to deal with.

She received an infusion of a new drug called Mylotarg today. It's a "smart chemo" that targets the leukemia cells and has very few side effects. We have been looking at this drug since last year just in case Alex relapsed. We are feeling very blessed as the Mylotarg trial that Alex is part of just reopened on June 2. If she hadn't relapsed during an active Mylotarg trial, she would have gone straight to traditional reinduction chemo with all its terrible side effects. The infusion went very well today and she spiked a fever, which is a sign that the drug is working . We will draw her blood every day to watch her counts as this is a very fast acting drug and patients are usually neutropenic (no white cell count) within days.

Alex will have a bone marrow biopsy next Friday (6/16) to see if there has been a reduction in the leukemia cells. If there has been a reduction, she will have a second and final infusion of Mylotarg the following Thursday. In August or September, she will have a second transplant. This is so hard for us to think about, because it was torture to watch her have to go through the pain of the first one. Luckily, if we can get her into remission her chances are very good. Fred Hutchinson has about a 70% success rate with children going through second transplant if they can get them into remission first. She will have to go through a tougher conditioning regimen before transplant this time, including total body irradiation. This is very sad for us since she is too young to harvest her eggs and the radiation will leave her sterile. Hopefully when she is older she will understand and be able to forgive us for the terrible choices we have had to make to keep her alive.

We want to thank all of you that have been praying for us faithfully. We cannot do this without you, your prayers and God's grace. We see everyday how He is holding us in one hand and paving the way for tomorrow with the other. The events that have happened to allow us to be here, and for Alex to get the treatment she is getting, are nothing short of miraculous. The relapse is still very hard to accept, but we know that God is in control and will take care of us. Please pray every chance you get for Alex. Your prayers have gotten her through in the past, and they will get her through again. Please also pray for strength for Todd and me. We are exhausted. We wanted nothing more than to be able to move up to Washington and sit on our tushies for a while and do nothing.

We will try to update you as often as possible. Please forgive us if we are slow with them. Thank you again for staying with us on this roller coaster ride. Dramamine anyone???!!!


Andrea, Todd & Alex


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