Just Hit Restart

Hello everyone, I hope this finds you well.

The big news this month is that I am moving back to Pullman on Wednesday! I am very excited and so is my family. I have been spending the last month going through my old things and giving a lot of it away to my family and Goodwill. It’s funny how losing 85 lbs. can really change your wardrobe ;).

I’ve finished up on all of my various appointments. I had an MRI on Tuesday and the lesion at the top right of my brain disappeared, so it was just an after affect of the chemo treatments. I’ve been doing lots of PT and am really looking forward to going to the gym at WSU!!

There have been a few setbacks the last few months, so I have felt like one of those punching dummies that keeps righting itself after every blow. I think I will remain upright now as all is going well.

I have been gearing up the last month for my trip back and trying to cram as much life as I can in before I start over in Pullman. It will be great to reconnect with friends there. I am really going to miss the family and friends here on the Westside, but it is good to get back to work.

I had a left accelerator pedal installed in my car Blue so that I can use my more responsive left foot to drive. As it is now, I have been driving by myself for a week now, I Love the Freedom!

Well I still have a whole room to pack so I will update again when I have wireless again and am settled.

Take Care and thanks for reading,

Back & Better than Ever

Hello to everyone who is still checking my blog after a month of inactivity!

I am doing well! I’ve had my PEG and Port out plus re-immunizations and follow-up MRIs. Some of it set me back for days or weeks, but I am now looking to finally healing and then strengthening for the rigors of everyday life. I have new running shoes and walking sticks so I can make it past the mailbox and on into life. I’m trying a new strategy of leaving my brace for my dropped foot at home and using the poles for stability. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

My Mom and I visited my sister in Bellingham last week and took a day to ferry over to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. It was such a beautiful day, saturated with good memories and powerful surprises of how much I have healed. I now have enough wool to spin (on my spinning wheel) for a couple years after we visited the alpaca farm! It was great to go out for my first trip and to visit family and friends.

Though I have been to hell and back, I have realized that this cancer experience has affected a great scope of people, specifically caregivers. This is as much a healing time for them as it is for me. Heavy emotions and worries of my demise can now be laid down and a mantra of optimism and happiness can be picked up. I want to recognize those who have helped me and to let you know that I will be fine and that I couldn’t have asked for anything better – a restart on life with eyes grateful and happy.

I am so very much looking forward to the day I can see all of you again. Thank you for your support and I really hope you are having a great summer!


Relay for Life

This winter, as you all know, I asked Serry if she would like us to start a Relay for Life team, through the American Cancer Society. With tears in her eyes, knowing that both the previous and next months of her life were going to be the worst she's ever faced, Serry joyfully said yes--YES, start a team, YES, I will be on it, YES!

After months of planning, the day for Relay finally came on June 26th. Serry had been done with treatment for just over a week; knowing that she still had (and still has) a long road to recovery and health before her, but knowing that she is ALIVE and well.

I was team captian for The Brainiacs, and tried to organize our ever-growing team. Some of us got to the high school early on the 26th to get set up--with canopies, tents, coolers, more water than we could ever drink (or wear!), blankets, snacks, food... despite this being our first year, we were prepared.

6:00 started the first lap, the Survivor's Lap, and as that time drew near, more and more of our teammates and family showed up. Serry and both her mom and dad arrived a little before 6:00... in time to register, get survivor t-shirts, and prepare for one of the most emotional laps around a track I've ever seen.

Our team had 5 Survivors on it... and I couldn't have been more proud to see them all lining up; especially since our Survivors included my sister, her mom, dad, and my dad.

At 6:00 sharp, the Survivor Lap began. I think all of us were in tears of some sort. The fact that I was watching my sister WALK 1/4 of a mile, when she hadn't walked much further than the mailbox since last summer made my heart catch and my soul surge with thankfulness.

When Serry posed for this picture, the only word that ran through my mind was VICTORY. She fought the battle and WON.

The back of her shirt says it all: SURVIVOR.
After several laps around the track (most of them in the wheelchair), we were able to convene back at our tent. If you're not familiar with it, Relay for Life is a 24-hour event. We raised money prior to the actual event, and then were able to raise even more during Relay. From 6pm on Friday through 6pm on Saturday, our team had at least one member walking the track the whole time. MIXX 96.1, a local radio station in Olympia, broadcast live from the event the entire time. EVERYONE there had a heart for seeing a cure for cancer.

Because we had almost an entire day to go, we fired up the grill and had dinner - enjoying the company of friends and family. Serry was a celebrity during this time. Many members of the team had yet to meet her, and we kept running into friends on the track who've been praying and supporting the rest of us, but hadn't had their opportunity to say hello to Serry.

For those of you not there... I haven't seen my sister so happy, so CONTENT in a very long time. She was loved. She was supported. She was making a DIFFERENCE.

Serry and many of our family and team members stayed through the 10:00 Memorial ceremony. Just before 10:00pm, teams placed Luminaria on the edge of the track. Luminaria are simply paper bags filled with sand and small candles. On the outside, however, are the names of loved ones who have passed away from cancer. Heartwrenchingly, our team placed several bags outside of our tent.
During the 10:00 hour, names previously submitted by Relay participants of those who have lost the battle to cancer were read out loud. The entire list took about an hour to read. It was sobering, silencing most who were walking along the track, quietly listening to the Memorial and reading the beautiful inscriptions and names on the Luminaria. I found out later that Serry told Grace the same thing that Gentry and I shared with each other... We were so very thankful that there was one less name to be read this year. For every moment, every smile... they did not have to read our Serry's name.
As I mentioned before, most everyone went home after the Memorial, and all but three of us went to bed (in tents, campers, trucks) after about midnight or 1 am. Don't let anyone tell you differently, even in June in Washington, the middle of the night is FREEZING.
Gentry, bundled up as much as she was, can certainly attest to that.

Blair, Gentry, and I survived the night with little to no sleep (somewhere between 50 minutes and 2 1/2 hours), and prepared ourselves for another 12+ hours of walking, smiling, laughing, yawning, and pottie patrol (Don't worry, it wasn't as bad as it sounds!).

The day dawned gorgeously (if you ever have a chance to walk from 4 am to 5 am on a nice day, DO IT--I promise you won't regret it... you'll watch the sky go from nighttime black to gorgeous sunrise... it's SO worth it!).

Saturday progressed... the sun came out, the air warmed again, we recorded approximately another $1,000 in fundraising money... Serry came for the last few hours--having enjoyed a leisurely 12-hour sleep before (OK, so I was jealous... 50 minutes vs. 12 hours!?).

Throughout the whole rest of the time, she was content... Happy.
This is what I call her chillaxin picture. :)

We finished Relay, some team members clocking 10, 18, even 25 miles walked. We were exhausted. We were happy. My sister is ALIVE.

For more pictures from Friday night, please see the slide show my uncle posted:

To Whet Your Appetite...

More about Relay for Life later... for now, enjoy our victory. :)

Yes, today is the day...

I don't have much time to write right now, but guess who just called me?

And guess what she had to share with me?
She is no longer neutropenic. Her counts are back in the normal range.

She. Is. Alive. And LOVING it.

Here's to REMISSION. Here's to LIFE.

Serry - I am SO proud of you.

TREATMENT IS DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right! No more CHEMO. No more STEM CELLS. She's DONE!!!

Of course, we still need some prayers over the next few weeks as her numbers drop. They'll head down and hover around zero for awhile--during that time she'll do the fluid, blood, platelet dance. But TREATMENT? Treatment is DONE. :)

Serry just texted me and said she just had her last drop of chemo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow's the day....


Monday - Wednesday is chemo, then Friday is stem cells and home.... I'm not sure if you all are seeing the picture here... We're talking REMISSION in a matter of weeks.

Let's all give Serry lots of love and hugs and encouragement for the next week. More than you've done all year!!!


Keep the prayers coming for this last round - God is faithful!!

Happy Spring!!

Hello everyone!

Just wanted to let you know that round three neutropenia stage is going very well. I haven’t lost my energy as I have in the past two rounds and my counts as of today are beginning to re-assert themselves. I’ll be going in for round four chemo June 1st. I have been doing pretty well over the past few days and have begun to think about life past cancer treatment. I have even begun to casually look for a small house or condo in Pullman! :) It is so exciting to begin thinking of the future! The warmth of spring has begun in earnest over her in Olympia. I am looking forward to going for walks outside when I am stronger.

Take Care all and I hope you have a lovely day,

For a change of pace...

Hello all,

This marks the first time I have posted on my blog! I wanted to give Emily a break and let you know how things are going for a change since I am feeling good and able. She has done such a doggedly cheerful good job keeping everyone informed and I greatly appreciate it. Thanks Em!

Here is the update:
I became an inpatient at the hospital for the eighth time for the third round of chemo Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with re-infusion of my stem cells on Friday. Everything went smoothly and my body luckily didn’t have any unforeseen reactions. The chemo this time was reduced 10% since round two chemo was pretty hard on the old body. I was ecstatic to come home Friday evening and enjoy the beautiful spring atmosphere (what wonderfully greenery and colorful blossoms!).

The next week and a half I will become neutropenic, meaning my remaining red and white blood cells and platelets will naturally age and die, causing the counts of each to go down. The chemo killed off production & hope of replenishment of these critical cells when it hit the bone marrow. Luckily the stem cells I received on Friday will, over the coming days, mature into these three cells as my body needs them, thus I am ‘rescued by my stem cells!’ This ‘rescue’ is a great artificial means of jump-starting my recovery. As of today I have no white blood cells (for fighting infection) and will be getting platelet and red blood infusions in the next few days. This has all been a fascinating learning process and is normal for the special protocol of chemo (St. Jude’s Protocol) that I am receiving. One interesting side note is that to my Doctor’s knowledge, only 6 to 19 year olds have completed this protocol successfully, and here I am at 30!

I am at home right now and very happy to be here. I will be so exhausted soon that I will barely be able to walk, but I couldn’t be more content to be home on the family farm – it is a calm place for healing and simple joys. If all goes well I hope to start the fourth and final round of chemo at the beginning on June! WoooHooo! :)

Before I go, I must tell you all that from the beginning of this I have drawn great strength and inspiration from your comments. No matter how hard it gets, I still read and re-read your comments and manage to smile and take a heartened breath. I can feel your hope, love and strength through your words and it means the world to me. From my heart, thank you.

Here is a picture of my Mom yesterday after she got her braces off holding her congratulatory bottle of sparkling cider. What a great smile!! She is with me at every step, every day and she is my Mamma Bear, my pharmacist, my motivator, my supporter, my watchdog and yes this is cheesy, my hero. Love ya Mom and Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope that you are well and that you will have a chance to enjoy this budding spring.

Take Care,

Fishing Queen!

Good afternoon all! You'll never guess what Serry did to enjoy the 70-something degree weather we had this Friday? She headed out to a local lake and went FISHING!!
Here are some fun pictures for you to enjoy... it was a GORGEOUS day and absolutely perfect for fishing. Here's the "gang" (i.e. Serry, my dad, and friend, Steve) out on the lake.
Steve has the COOLEST chair EVER for fishing... it's a Cabella's RECLINER. PERFECT for Serry!

Of course some of you want to know what she caught... I don't know all the specifics, but, besides all the ones they released, she brought home 16 and 17 inch Rainbow Trouts! Here's the hunter with her catch...

I LOVE this picture. All she needs is someone feeding her grapes and some palm fronds waving at her to cool her off.
I heard stories from both her and Dad about the day... it simply sounds so HAPPY. I'm really grateful that they got to have such a wonderful time!!

Today was Serry's last day of "vacation." Tomorrow she heads back up to the hospital for round 3 of chemo. Please pray for everything to go better than it ever has. Everyone is watching more and more closely each time--there are a lot of things to monitor. We need healthy kidneys, salt and potassium levels up, blood, platelets, and everything else that can be "counted" need to not drop too far.

Each time gets more difficult... We've only got two left--two more months of this and then she DONE with treatment and on to recovery. Please keep her in prayer; and drop her a note of encouragement on here. I know it's tough to go into each one of these sessions.

Healing is GOOD...

Quick note... Serry got out of the hospital on Sunday. She's home and LOVING IT. Has lots of doctor appointments, just checking things out and watching what's going on inside of her. It sounds like they're going to dial down the chemo a little bit next time to help protect her body. We all appreciate your prayers and support so much!! Thank you!

If you haven't donated already, don't forget about Relay for Life! Click the picture on the right and donate in Serry's name! Let's kick cancer in the can!

Hospital and such

Hi all...
Just to keep you updated - Serry took up temporary residence in the hospital yesterday afternoon. Her counts had bottomed out and she was low on blood, platelets, etc. In fact, as of yesterday, she was down to 100 platelets--when 100,000 is normal!! Yikes!

After a good night of fluids, platelets, blood, and whatever else they could throw at her, her numbers have started climbing. She said she's feeling better and is so thankful for the transfusions!

Leave her a note here to help her keep her spirits up!!

A Blessed (if a Bit Blustery!) Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone - He Is Risen! :)

Serry came home from the hospital the middle of this week... she had to stay to get some of her potassium and electrolyte levels up. She's been home now for several days without crashing--a big blessing! She did have a rough start to the week, though, and felt a bit discouraged. Your notes and comments always help cheer her up and push her on--please keep them coming!

We're getting together today for a quiet Easter dinner. Gentry even came down from school last night for just a quick trip! I'm headed over soon... it'll be good to be together.

May you all have a blessed Easter, today...

Halfway Done With the Chemo Part...

Good evening, everyone...

Serry went into the hospital on Thursday and had chemo Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sunday was a day off, with today being her transplant day for stem cells. She had a few low numbers, however (like potassium) so she's staying overnight to make sure that her body gets back on track.

I was able to stop by the hospital on Saturday and play a rousing game of Scrabble with Serry. Between her chemo brain and my trying to sound out letters to invent words, we were quite a pair. I was pretty impressed, though - after several hours of playing and laughing, we ended the game with a lonely "U" left. I've never played that well before! :) It was a good evening for me, and I certainly hope for Serr.

We've been having some wonderful weather here (think 70 degrees!) and from the view in Serry's room she can look out and see the gorgeous blue skies, birds flying around, and, I think, a bit of Lake Washington sparkling in the sunshine. I really hope she's feeling better tomorrow to be able to feel the toasty sunshine. If not, it WILL be summer later. :)

Please keep praying for our Serry. She's doing well, and sure is fighting, but this is hard. She needs all the support we can give her. :)

Tomorrow's the day

Tomorrow starts the chemo process... We're rooting for you Serry!!!! Love you so much!

BTW - could we get some extra prayers for Serry's ear? She injured it awhile ago and just found out that her eardrum is ruptured. Ear drums take several months to heal if they decide TO heal... so we need it to decide to heal in the first place, and then to heal quickly. Thanks much!

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb...

Or is it In like a lamb, out like a lion this year? Sure is hard to tell with our weather!!!

There's not a lot to report for you all... Thank you from Serry for all of the birthday wishes. She had a wonderful day and was so grateful that all of you shared it with her! Here's a picture of her birthday night--first time she's been "on the town" since September! This is me, her, and her sister Kaiti. Almost all of us were there--Gentry was in the middle of finals so couldn't make it down.
Serry starts treatment again this coming Thursday. This will be round two of four. I think she's going into it a little better than last time. Last time she was dealing with the recent after-effects of shingles and a sore ear. The shingles have been slowly recovering, and hopefully the pain will continue to diminish. I just got word that this morning she was able to hear out of her bad ear, too!

Leave some love and enouragement here for the next round. I'll keep you updated as I have information!


Yes, that's right, on St. Patrick's Day our Serry turns the big 3-0!!!

Celebrate with us - Give her the best birthday wishes you can!!! :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SERRY. We love you bunches and bunches. And BUNCHES.


OK - So I'm a little behind here... Serry came home Tuesday! She now has some time to continue recovering from the last chemo before she has to go back in.

In the mean time... think:
Numbers starting with 3...
Irish Bands...

...more on that later!

Yep, She's Still There

All of Serry's counts are still really low, at least as of yesterday. She's got some intense pain going on, so is trying to just keep things quiet and peaceful so she can get through this part. She'll probably be there into this coming week.

Please keep praying for her. She's in pain and would really like to be through this part of it. Let's keep her spirits up! Send her lots of smiles, everyone!

Hospital Visit

Hey all -
I'm a bit behind here, but getting caught up now.

Tuesday night Serry headed up to the hospital because she was starting to hurt and just didn't feel good. They got her settled in the hospital, did lots of tests, and basically determined that what she's feeling is a result of last week's chemo. Her white blood cell count dropped down to .1--which means any issues she's having are exaggerated even more because she has no immune system to fight it off.

The doctors have said she'll spend several days there, so I'm not sure when she's getting released. Every time I talk to someone up there she's sleeping! I think that's good. It gives her body some time to just do it's thing and then start creating more white blood cells!!

So everyone... leave her a quick message, let her know you're thinking of her!

Chemo and stuff...

Hello, everyone... greetings from snowy Washington! (OK, so it was snowy last night... close enough!)

I'll be you're wondering how Serry's treatment has been going this week! Well... she started chemo on Monday night after getting all tucked in up at the hospital. They did chemo (I think I have my days right) through Wednesday. She's had days full of walks up and down the hospital hall, reading magazines, checking Facebook, chatting with family and nurses, watching Animal Planet (at least, that's what I heard was happening today!), and I'm sure more. Today was a rest day--no treatment or anything. Tomorrow she'll get some of her stem cells back and then be released to go home. About 24 hours later, she has to head back up to the hospital for a special shot... I'm not exactly sure what it does, but I think it's to motivate those little guys to do their special magic.

Monday she'll go up again for a check up, then Thursday she'll head up for a little more chemo. I'm not sure what happens after that... each "round" will take approximately a month to complete. I'm pretty excited, though, that the big guns have already fired for round one!! I am just imagining the chemo from this week running through her body screaming, "COME ON, CANCER CELLS! I DARE YOU TO SHOW YOUR PUNY LITTLE FACES!!!" I don't know what you all imagine when you think of chemo, but MY chemo drugs sure are fierce. :)

In continuing news... I want to thank everyone who's made a donation on our behalf for The Brainiacs--our Relay for Life team. You make ME stronger just knowing that you care. As a reminder, the link is always on the right of these posts, but here it is again for convenience: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/brainiacs When you go to that link, feel free to click around and see who all is on our team (we're always growing!). You can also do two special things... if you want to donate, just click the Donate button on any of our pages. If you want to join our team and have FUN walking at the Relay on June 26-27 (don't worry - it's not all about running a marathon!!), click Join Our Team at the top. The more the merrier. And if you're a survivor - make sure to include that!!

Thanks you all... you're such a blessing!!

Here We Go!

Serry's had a great week of healing and tomorrow starts the journey into the land of chemo!

Everyone post some extra encouragement, smiles, jokes, loves--whatever you can think of to brighten her day tomorrow!

Drumroll Please...

...and chemo isn't happening this week. :) Serry's faced some snafu's this week that have caused everyone to delay chemo until next Monday. Let's pray for her that she heals from everything and actually has a RELAXING week. Much love to you, Serry!

My Sister, The Rock Star

So... good evening! Serry had a doctor's appointment today with her neurologist. She also went in for an MRI. The doctor was very pleased with how Serry's progressing--especially in light of her MRI results. Want to know what the results were??? NO VISIBLE TUMORS. I'm going to say it again because I just can't believe it and I LOVE to hear it. No. Visible. Tumors.

The battle is by no means over. Serry starts chemo on Monday and will be fighting on that front for awhile. HOWEVER... The results from this MRI are so stinking fantastic. I thought you'd all want to know... I know it keeps making me cry. This is the best news I've gotten in a long time.

Serr - you just keep on being strong and getting healthy. We love you bunches and bunches and bunches.

Chemo and Relay

Hello everyone, here's your long-awaited update as to what's happening in Serry-Land. :)

First of all, Serry's been FABULOUS the past few days. She's gaining strength by the day, very cheerful, and has even been in a few stores finding some excellent deals! :) I'll admit it... yesterday, despite her doctor's appointment, she had WAY more fun than I did during my day.

What's next, though? Well, next Monday she'll scoot on up to the hospital for a five night stay. She will be doing chemo and stem cell transplants during that time. This dose will be a cocktail of three drugs--two of which she's already taken separately. I'm not exactly sure what the process will be, and I think the doctor's will be watching her to see how she responds to figure out just how to give her the medication. I'll keep you updated as we progress.

ALSO... we have started a Relay for Life team. :) We're The Brainiacs!! :) Here's our website: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/brainiacs We'll all be updating the team page AND our personal pages, but at least we've got a start. Relay for Life raises money for cancer research, advocacy, services, and more... it's put on by the American Cancer Society--and their goal is to eradicate cancer... can you imagine? Life without cancer... it's an amazing thought. You can help support the fight by donating today... If you'd like to be on our team, let me know. The event is June 26th through 27th... 24 hours of walking to end cancer. I'll post more about it later and add a link.

I hope you're all having a blessed week...


No time to post, but...
She's done! They've harvested all that they need. They're taking out her Meherker (sp?) catheter (what they run the blood through) today and doing other stuff.

In a later post:
* Next steps
* Chemo
* The Brainiacs? Team Serry? Let's keep everyone guessing for now. :)

Doubled :)

Just FYI - She doubled her stem cell counts today - she got 3.15! Yeah, buddy!

WHO Started Stem Cell Harvesting Today??

WHO Started Stem Cell Harvesting Today??

A. Barbara Walters
B. Serry
C. Kirk Cameron

To all of you who guessed B - you're right!!!! :) Serry is RIGHT NOW getting her stem cells harvested... she's snug as a bug in a rug in the hospital. Basically, her blood is passed through a machine that is able to separate the cells that are needed and store those, then deposit the rest of the blood back into her body. I believe that all of her blood will be passed through the machine five times for each harvest session. They're also trying to collect more at a time for this go-round... because she wasn't able to give as much as they wanted last time. One of the coolest (or should I say warmest?) things, in my opinion, is that they're able to keep the blood warm while it's out of the body! Serry's staying toasty!

Here's a quick view of her CD34 numbers (The ones they needed to start the harvest)...
Thursday - 2
Friday - 5
Saturday - 7
Sunday - 20!
WOOT! Remember that she had to get to TEN for them to start.

Now they're trying to harvest 10 more of the stem cells (I know, we're counting so many things!). She had 3.13 from the previous harvest. I'll keep you updated as I learn where her next counts are going. For now... keep thinking HIGH and FAST. :)


CD 34

Serry's CD34 count is at a 2 today. We need a 10 for them to start harvesting. Start thinking big numbers!

She's so cool...

WBC = 3.2 today!!!

Quick Count Update

White Blood Cells (WBC) - 1.4 (SWEET!)

CD34 (for harvesting) - did the test yesterday... will see if it's high enough to draw today, definitely will start on Friday!

Count total of harvesting - 3.13 (from last time's harvest)
Desired count - at least 13.13


Good evening, everyone,

I have a quick update here for Serry... She's been feeling the effects of the chemo ever since she had it... it's dropped her white blood cell count, made her not heal from minor issues (no white blood cells = no immune system), etc. She's felt kind of funky over the past week or so - still Serry, but not quite up to snuff.

Here are some numbers for you... (let's hope I Googled some of the right numbers, GRIN) White blood cell counts measure the total number of white blood cells in a microliter of blood, reported as an absolute number of "X" thousands of white blood cells. A normal measure for white blood cell counts would be 4,500 - 10,000 (or, I think, 4.5-10). Serry dropped down to .1 this weekend. Since then, she's been increasing daily... .2 on Sunday, .24 yesterday, and .5 today! Once she gets up to 1.0, they'll start counting her CD34 - that's when they'll know when they can start harvesting her stem cells.

Serry wanted me to make sure I left you all a note directly from her, too. :) I love this part. Serry said (it's not verbatim, but it's close):

"Make sure you tell everyone how much I enjoy their words of encouragement. They are a great source of strength and joy. I read and re-read them... no matter what people write, I really appreciate that they write and how much they care."

The long overdue chemo/Stem cell/General life update...

Good morning everyone!
Last you heard, Serry was in the hospital getting chemo. She was there for 3 days--chemo on Wednesday and Thursday. Here's a fun picture of her time there...
As she said - she's "totally tubular! 5 bags up and all going in!!"

Back to the chemo, though... I was really confused as to why she had to have chemo when she hadn't been able to produce enough stem cells to HAVE chemo. I just trusted, however, that her doctors knew a sliver more about cancer and the body than I do (insert laughing smiley here). I finally had it explained to me and now it makes complete sense...

Basically... her body was really worn out from the radiation and treatments that happened in the fall. Her bone marrow was, in a sense, all dried up. It wasn't creating new stem cells in the way that it needed to. Therefore, the chemo drug that they gave her last week's intent was to kill off all of those old, dried up, unusable cells, and encourage the body to make fresh, new, eager-to-work cells. After the chemo had a chance to start it's work, they began giving her shots again every day to, hopefully, be able to start harvesting soon. She's been getting these shots since Saturday, and I believe she said that they'll check her blood either today or tomorrow to see if her numbers are up high enough to begin the harvesting process. We're REALLY hoping that this round takes - these little guys are the ones that get to save her life over the next few months!

Here's something else I recently learned... Have you ever heard of the blood-brain barrier (BBB)? The BBB is a semi-permeable structure in the central nervous system that restricts the passage of various chemical substances and microscopic objects between the bloodstream and the neural tissue itself (i.e. the brain), while still allowing the passage of essential substances, like oxygen. This means that, for the most part, drugs like the majority of chemo drugs are not allowed access to the brain. HOWEVER, when a person has brain cancer... they have to find those drugs that ARE allowed access. That means that there are a select few drugs that the doctors can use to kill off the rest of this stuff. Interesting? We thought so.

Finally, I'd just like to RE-emphasize how much your comments, thoughts, and prayers mean to Serry. I know she cherishes each of you. And a special note to the Pullman gang... she really misses seeing you every day. I just got a chance to hang out with the whole family last night (Serry looks great, by the way!) and I think that you guys are all helping pull her through this. OH... you... and cinnamon rolls. That's the final thing I want to talk about before signing off. Serry hasn't really been eating over the past few months--she's been on a feeding tube, so she's still getting "fed", but not much REAL food. Well... over the past two days, she's certainly turned around! Yesterday she ate a ton of food - and kept saying, "I'm hungry! I'm hungry!" In the morning, she mentioned to Gentry that she wanted cinnamon rolls... and Gentry provided. You all know Paula Deen on the Food Network, right? As in... "My favorite foods are mayonaise and butter!" Well, Gentry found a fabulous recipe for cinnamon rolls... and Serry got to eat one! YUUUMMM. If I had the pictures she took, I'd post them. ;)

Have a good week, everyone.

Chemo and all...

OK - Here's the story as I know it.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday, Serry will be in the hospital getting some pretty intense chemo. It's just two days, but this stuff is really powerful--so we want it in and out of her system as quickly as possible. She'll still be in the hospital for part of Friday - then be able to go "home" (i.e. stay with family near the hospital). Saturday morning starts the harvesting process over again. That means shots for a few days to up the production of stem cells, then the actual harvesting. Her counts for stem cells were just above 3 when they finished last time... we need, I believe, at least 10 more - 15 was what they were looking at before. It WILL work this time... Serr's had more time to rest... time to let the final effects of the radiation wind down. I'm not sure what happens after the harvest - I think right now we're just looking at the immediate procedures.

Thanks for your love and prayers. Serry can DEFINITELY use them as we head into this next phase.


Hey all... I know nothing of this other than the quick note I read from Serry... so I'm sharing with you all. Here's what she said:

"Serry is going back into the hospital on Wednesday thru friday for chemo to jumpstart my stem cells. Wish me luck as this is my last chance for the stems... ..."

So... start wishing and praying... :)


The one thing (and pretty much ONLY thing) that I like about this whole situation with Serry is that it's proving just how many people care about her! I mean--you are all HER friends, FAMILY friends, some friends that we've never met in person, even! I think that's pretty amazing.

Hi everyone, Emily here again. I apologize for the long silence... but here I am! It's time for me to catch you up...

Because Serry's numbers weren't increasing with the stem cell harvesting, they stopped the harvesting process. As Serry said, her "bone marrow was tired and there was too little to harvest." So, instead of doing harvesting this past week, they've been making sure she's taken care of in other areas... fluids, tubes and gadgets, etc. This weekend she was able to stay home and rest... eating Jell-O and watching Dog Town on National Geographic.

I would love to tell you the exact plans for the next few weeks, but I'm not quite sure myself. I think they involve people like home care nurses and nutritionists, and last I heard chemo was supposed to start around the 19th... but a different kind of chemo that they had originally planned on. I learned that the radiation is still working on her - it takes about 60 days after the last treatment to finish--which means that it should be done affecting her in the next week or two.

I'm sorry I don't have many specifics, but I think we're all just taking things as they come - kind of what you have to do in this situation! :) Serry is strong, she's uber cool, and soon she'll be DONE with this. I know we're ALL looking forward to that day.

Signing out with some loves from our old dogger... We miss you, girl!

Today's Harvest

Today got us up to 2.672. We need bigger numbers.

And you know what?? With all this snow and awful winter weather we've been having, why don't we all leave messages filled with sunshine here?! :) I think Serry could use the SUN, even if it's only electronically. So Serr... think SUN, WARMTH, Summer rays... We love you!!!

Harvesting Update

So Serry just finished day 2 of the harvesting process. I know next to nothing about the specifics of what they're doing, but here's the latest info... She needs counts of 15 before they finish... and as of today they're only at 2.62.

Prayer requests...
~Numbers would shoot up QUICKLY so that they get what they need and it doesn't take forever for it to happen.
~Endurance for this - they're traveling back and forth from the hospital and that, combined with the stresses of the procedure, etc., are tiring.
~Continued healing... She's still recovering from the radiation/chemo from before.
~HEALING in general. As always.

Thanks everyone.

Tomorrow! :)

So... as I think I mentioned in the last post, Serry's getting shots that will lead up to the stem cell harvesting. The plan was that they would be harvested some time this weekend or even as late as Monday. However, I just got news this afternoon that she's going in TOMORROW for the harvest! This is really good news - it means fewer days of shots and putting her body through all this stuff--and having the weekend OFF. :)

Please keep her in prayers for the harvesting procedure, too. I don't know much about it, but... we always need things to go smoothly and perfectly.

Isn't Serry just exceptionally fantastic? :)

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