Thursday, February 23, 2006

Feb. 23, 2006

...on Day 13 of 29 --- in Chemo-speak...

-when Erica first entered the hospital, she was too weak to even sit up by herself. Lifting her head up was a chore. Now she is able to sit up, fluff her pillow, and reach for The Economist.
-from using a bedpan to independent bathroom trips.
-from yakking and unable to eat to eating like two sumo wrestlers.
-from waking every 60 minutes to sleeping for four hour stretches.
-from me washing her in the shower while she sat on a stool to standing (almost!) independently to bathe herself---if you don't count that little fainting spell yesterday...
-from the inability to get out of bed because of the pain in her leg to walking three laps the other day. Hopefully we'll beat that record today!
-from having four different IV lines in her arms to having only one Picc Line.
-from getting pricked every few hours to only once every other day.
-from having new bruises appear out of nowhere to vanishing purple and green smudges.

The other day, I ran into one of her many doctors. He explained to me that the reason all the doctors and nurses were so extremely concerned about Erica was because of the comparison to the 'normal' leukemic patient that is seen. Usually, they are admitted with a white blood cell count of 90,000-100,000 with the high being around 300,000. So when Erica presented at 750,000, everyone was shocked and hyper-alert. They hadn't seen anyone with such a high WBC count, ever. They had no frame of reference for what to expect and seeing how well she is improving, they are beyond thrilled. They said that they couldn't have hoped for a better outcome! So I would say that her largest accomplishment is bringing that insanely high number down to the 250 we're at now!
Today we are cutting her hair to a nice bob as her long locks are starting to fall out. I'm not much of a hairdresser, but I'll post a picture afterward and hopefully I won't botch it too much! She seems rather unphased by this loss... almost amused by the amount of hair that began to fall only yesterday.


Ward Frye said...

Hi Erica!

This is Ward, Christine Chu's friend from San Francisco. I just wanted to let you know that the group of us San Francisco TNTers who ran the 1/2 Marathon in Austin TX last Sunday all finished. Despite the 29deg weather and skating across icy bridges (I would have preferred ice skates to running shoes for that) some of us actually got personal best times. We all ran the race to honor you and our other honorees. I took a picture of us that I'm sending to Christine to forward to you.

I know we've never met, but I want to let you know that you and other people I know that are battling cancer have inspired a new path in my career that has just evolved over the past few days. A group of scientists have asked me to join their start up to help get two or more novel cancer drugs into clinical trials. They are a long way from market, but these new generation Topo inhibitors have shown great promise to treat a wide range of cancer. The number of new drugs in the pipeline to treat leukemia and other cancers is truly amazing, and the dedication of the scientists developing them is truly inspiring.

On another note, if during your journey you run into any young cancer patients that are video gamers, have them check out Ben's game -

I've been involved with the San Francisco Make-A-Wish chapter for a number of years, and this is one of my favorite wishes. In fact, if you feel up to it and have a laptop, you make want to try your hand at the game. It's pretty fun.

Hang in there Erica. I'm so happy to see all the great progress you are making.


V-Omega said...

Though I'm sure you will look stunning with no hair, your true beauty lies in your spirit. I've always admired you for your indomitable spunk. Keep it up!


Kellie(Lutz)Munro said...

Hello Erica! You look absolutely beautiful! You haven't aged a day since high school :) Your courage is outrageous and awe-inspiring. Know that you are in my thoughts every single day. It's amazing how something as unfortunate as this brings us all together again. I'm glad to see you've linked up with Rosanne (we're related through marriage). She too is an inspiration to life!!! Stay strong and keep a smile on your beautiful face :)

CLASS OF 1997... who is working on our 10 year reunion? I'd love to get involved... reach me at

Kellie (LUTZ) Munro