Monday, February 13, 2006

Feb. 13, 2006

February 13, 2006
Today is Day 3, in chemotherapy-speak. Unfortunately, today is not such a great day. She is very weak and the reality of it all is starting to set in. She is still uplifted by the thought of visitors, though! Truly, it is difficult to complain since we are at one of the BEST hospitals in the world for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and her doctors are fantastic. Her care here leaves nothing to complain about... except perhaps the frequent nurse visits in the middle of the night :) All in all, she is still doing so much better than three days ago. Each night, either Luke or myself will sleep in a cot next to her for the bathroom breaks every two hours or the necessary oral meds at odd hours of the night. So no worries: she is NEVER alone in there!
For a frame of reference: a normal person's white blood cell count is between 4,000-10,000. When Erica came to Brigham and Women's Hospital, her white blood cell count was at 750,000! After many treatments, it is now down to 125,000 which is still considered "Crisis" but all the nurses find her to be the miracle on the floor! We have staff coming by to check on her that aren't even her physicians just to see the girl who has improved from such a scary place. We are (oddly) so blessed.
Ideally, today they should be putting in a Hickman Line---a double lumen catheter---in a large vein in her chest. This will eliminate having to stick her each time they need blood, give antibiotics, or chemo. It will hopefully remain in her without infection until all her treatments are done, so possibly months or years... If there is no surgery today, we have the green light to put her in a wheel chair and explore the hospital. She is itching to get out of that room and explore. For those of you who know Erica well, you know that she is not one to sit still and watch TV all day!
Her friends from Fletcher are coming each day to say hello--when we aren't snowed in like yesterday--and this brings an instant smile to her face! Perhaps for those of you who were thinking of sending cards, include FUN pictures of yourselves or you and erica together so we can decorate the room some more. She misses EVERYONE so much.
Thank you again for your prayers-------every thought helps!


Robby said...

Hi Erica!
I'm so glad Jaci was able to set up this up so we can all stay up to date on the latest. My dad has kept me up to date thus far, but you know him. He probably makes up sh*t and pretends he knows everything. I'm positive he doesn't know how to read "comments" on blogs so we can talk all kinds of trash about him.

I know you are one tough cookie and will beat this thing down. Heck, if you can recover from my dog Ringo's bites from 12 years ago (Dan calls him Cujo), you'll be up and running around in no time this time.

It sounds like the doctors, Jaci, Luke and your mom are all taking great care of you. Emi and I are thinking of you every day, and we hope you're feeling better every day. Take care!!

Love, Emi & Robby

TheDarkerUma said...


I can't wait to see you, dude!

Marie and I plan on coming this coming Friday (17th). Want anything from L.A.? We do live near the porn capital of the world. Hmmmm, this is a public post, isn't it?

Thanks for doing this Jaci, and I'm VERY glad you were born. (pssst...jaci was born today)

Love Uma

Emi said...

Dearest Erica!

So happy that you have this blog. Just warning you in advance ... if something looks weird or messages don't go through .. it's beacuse I'm very computer challenged. Robby can attest to this .. I'm awful. I've already had to call him 5 times this morning to finally get in and write this message! Phew, glad that I'm in and now talking to you.

Erica, just wanted to let you know that I care for you deeply and that I'm cheering you on. If anyone can beat this, it's you! I admire your strength and humor through this all. I bet you have a bright big smile on your face as you are reading this ... it's the same great smile I always look forward to seeing every time we meet!

I'm very blessed to have such a wonderful cousin like you Erica. It's one of the many perks from becoming a Kwok : ) I am here for you and praying you for every day. I love you very much!


Matt Warren said...


Jaci told me you're the medical miracle over there. I'm hoping that when your doctors write up a journal article about you that it will be mentioned in the Oxy in E-News letter.
I love the diversity of your friends! Uma offered some novelty items, and I offer my friend the priest to come visit you!

Shawn said...

Hey Erica!

So lemme guess you have nurses checking your vitals and drawing blood around the clock, the medical students, residents, and attendings waking you for rounds, and of course food services coming around to deliver the fine meatloaf and Jello special meal tray. I know what you're thinking. "What's a person got to do to get a little peace and quiet up in here?!"

If that isn't enough motivation for you to get better and get out of the hospital. I want you to know that my family and I are thinking and praying for you everyday. We all wish you a speedy recovery, and most of all I look forward to you returning to the Bay so that I can hang out with you, Robby, Dan, Terry and the rest of the Kwoks so that we can party only the way a Kwok can.

Shawn and The Iftikar family

Dan said...

Erica –

Glad to know you’re feeling better!

I can’t believe Robby’s dog bit you all those years back. If that mangy dog wasn’t already decomposing, I’d make bo-shing-tang (that’s dog meat soup - in Korean) out of him right now.

Anyhow, I would ask if Robby punished Cujo but I know he didn’t. In a moment of weakness Robby confided in me that when he first moved to the U.S. him and Eric’s only friend was Ringo. They were such FOBs that only a dog would play with them. Pathetic but a completely true story.

Things are well here in SF. We’re still going out with Robby and his Pops (Mr. Kwok, a.k.a. Uncle Willy, who is so much more entertaining than his boring son) for Chinese food and hitting up Suite 181 whenever we get the chance. When you get better you and Luke need to come back out and visit us again!

I know you’re going to beat this Leukemia and my thoughts and prayers will be with you, Luke and your family until you’re back to full health.



Anita said...

Hey Beak!

I miss you so much, Josh, mom, dad, nic, and Jon have all been calling me to get your updates. We are all praying for you and love you very much.

Tomorrow is Valentines day and Josh and I are having our house inspected. We close on it on the 27th and then leave to get married (OMG!!!!) on the 2nd. So between work, buying a house, and getting married, I pretty much spin around in circles all day and just smile and/or cry at the questions people ask me. Just wanted to give you an update on life in Virginia. I can't wait to see you whether it's when I'm single or married. And if it's the latter I'll bring Josh so you can meet him!! Many hugs and kisses.

slucas said...


Hey dude! I am going to keep this short and sweet because you know I look for any excuse I can to write snail-mail letters. All of my kawaii Japanese stationery was going to waste… until now. An envelope decorated with happy-faced hotcakes saying “eat me” ought to give you a chuckle.

Thinking of you (at least) every hour and wishing for your speedy and full recovery.

With love,

Greg Genco said...

Hey A Ree Ka Sensei!
Hello from Buffalo New York! Probably not a non-stop party over there with the nightly nurse visits and hospital food, but for someone who survived The Pink Room, The Yellow Room, The Blue Room, our little friend Hiroki, The H-Bomb , all those crazy mothers, and crazier "teachers" (yours truly at the top of the list), definitely nothing to worry about it!
Keep on getting better and I can't wait to hang out again soon. Its a little snowy now, but Buffalo aint half bad in the summer. How do you like your chicken wings?
O daijani

Greg Genco said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Greg Genco said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Clif said...

Hi Erica!
It's Roland's son Clif. I've only met you once, but you struck me as a very intelligent and strong woman.

That, coupled with your sis taking such good care of you tells me you'll be back in the saddle in no time.

volvojon said...

Erica My Dear!

This blog this is sooooo cool! THANK YOU Jaci for setting this up and for keeping us all informed of Murray 1's daily report from the land of blizzards you are residing in currently aka:Boston! Also, a very happy birthday to you Jaci!!! I hope you have a chance to go make some snow angels in the street to celebrate! :)
Why am I not surprised that Erica is making such an amazing recovery already from the time she got to the hospital????....probably because this Erica we are talking about! I am so glad that Judy, Luke and Jaci are all there with her and soon Jamie will be out there along with more of her friends including myself in the weeks to come. I just need to confirm my new work schedule tomorrow and then I am going to purchase my tickets hopefully for not this coming weekend but the weekend after!
Can't wait to see all of you and like Uma said, if there is anything any of you need from CA let us know and we can bring it!!!

My love to you all and extra big hugs to you Erica!


Laura said...

Hey Erica! I know we all just met you, but we miss your smiling face already. It sounds like you are in great hands with family and the hospital care. My family has always said that if you have to be sick, it's best to be sick in Boston. You'll get wonderful care. We're all thinking about you and hope you get better very soon. Looking forward to future hip hop classes! Best wishes, Laura Zusman

alison said...

Erica! I miss you and our recent resurgance of long chats! I am looking forward to seeing you when you are feeling better. I thought about coming soon but I have had a mild cold that I just can't get rid of! That's the price I pay for getting to work with twenty 7 year olds! I love you!

Pavel said...

Thanks a lot, Jaci, for creating this blog.

Erica, this is Pavel, a fellow Januarian. Stay strong and you will do wonderful. We will come to see you as soon. We are really happy to know that you are doing very well with the treatment.

M Priebe said...


750,000 white blood cells sounds like a overachiever's approach to the problem. Tough all the way down to the microscopic level! I'm so glad you're getting the best care and surrounded by loved ones. Sandy and I are thinking of you everyday and looking forward to your quick recovery. Let's plan on celebrating your recovery soon on some beautiful beach in the Caribbean. I'll be the one in the Muu-muu- don't want you to get sick again looking at my pasty body! ;)

All our love,

Kore said...

Hey Jaci, thanks for starting this blog, this is a great idea.

Erica!! this is Ester, from the hip hop crew. We haven't met for that long but sharing embarssing stories definetely brings people together ;-) We miss you!! I'll be practicing all the new hip hop steps so I can teach you when you are back.



ProfBurgess said...

Hi Erica, We haven't met yet but I have been hearing about you from my colleagues at the Fletcher School, and I feel a connection to you because two weeks ago I just happened to start training for a 100-mile bike race to support the work of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Professor Gideon gave me the address of your sister's blog, and I want to let you know that, as a fellow member of the Fletcher community, I will be training and racing in solidarity with your struggle against leukemia. It sounds like you're getting great care and are a fighter. I wish you all the best and hope to meet you soon.

Ted said...


Thank you for putting this blog together so we can all keep in contact.

Hey Erica!

So my dad is handing over his old G3 mac so I can use it to store some files. Guess what is on it?? The Lake Powell trip video!!! I thought I had lost all documentation of that adventure but thank goodness I was mistaken.

I haven't had a chance to look through any of it yet but I am trying to remember that quote from Mr. Kratz about riding camels and Sierra Nevada or something...I'm sure you're very excited to know that I still have it. Were you the last one with it? Hmmmmmm... I am going to edit it once again and make sure you get a copy ;)

I miss you very much and am thinking of you! Ann and I both send our love. I will talk to you very soon.


Brooke Holmes said...

HI Erica... I havent talked to you in so long, but you are never far from my mind. I think of you often for inspiration and to find a positive attitude in a bad situation. I have thought many times of calling and just got selfishly caught up in my own life.
Ted told me about your situation, and while "cancer" is a scary word, I just know you are going to be great! I think about your kind and giving spirit and all the times you helped me navigate through Oxy... I just know that your positive attitude and your kind heart will lead you to a safe and quick recovery.
You are in my prayers and I hope to see you soon.

With love,
Brooke Holmes

joyce said...


Look out girl...I will be coming down to Boston before you know it. Can't wait to see you! We certainly can't have another 24 years pass before meeting again! So, I was thinking about the first time I met you...oh yeah, I was 5, and you were, umm...1? And how seeing you at the Odakyu-sen Minami-guchi for the first time all those years later seemed like we had known each other all along. Who knows how long it would have taken our parents to finally get together so we could meet again! Crazy kids...

Glad to know you are in great medical care and constant support from your mom, Jaci, and Luke. And by the time you get this, it is likely you have been paid a visit by Kento-san, who brings hugs and smiles on my behalf. Hope his wit brings some cheer to your day...(he's usually pretty good at doing that!)

Hope you feel better everyday. I miss you so much. Know that you are in my thoughts and in my prayers.

Lotsa Love, Joyce

P.S. Jaci, thank you for this blog...looking forward to meeting you soon! Mom, Dad and Grace all send their love.

Angeli said...