Friday, February 15, 2008


Barbaric – Barbaric – Barbaric! Those were the words the PA said to me after she had performed Erica’s bone marrow biopsy yesterday at Stanford. Jaci and Erica have both shielded me from being with her when she had one of these procedures done in Boston as they felt perhaps I couldn’t take to see my child having an instrument being drilled into her ileac (pelvis) bone. They were right. To see her face grimaced with such intense pain and hear her cry out loud with tears rolling out of her eyes is definitely not a sight a mother ever wants to see. I know now why they have barred me from the room when Erica underwent this procedure. I tried to fix my eyes on her rather than the long needle being inserted into her hip, jerking her into excruciating pain. However out of the corner of my eye I can see when the needle is being extracted, again causing her to bite hard onto my fingers to stop herself from screaming. The needle is inserted again for more blood needed for testing the cancerous cells. After this comes the really really hard part when an instrument resembling a type of drill that actually drills right into her hip bone to extract the bone marrow and some bone chips. I can’t even begin to tell you how much pain and agony this must have caused Erica because even though local anesthesia was administered, she cried out several times in pain, flailing her legs and gripping my hands so tightly I lost feeling there. Seeing her like that, it’s impossible to stop my own tears from flowing.

After it’s all done, when she felt more like her stoic self, she turned to me and asked ME if I was all right. The tech that came in to collect the blood and marrow sample, turned around and remarked that it’s the first time he has ever heard a patient, having just undergone this grueling experience, ask another person how that person was. It is just the nature of my sweet and loving daughter to think of me first rather than the pain she is still feeling. How blessed am I.

After that terrible procedure, we had to go to have her heart checked to see how strong her heart is and to determine the chemo dosage she can further endure. It was interesting to see her heart pumping and the blood flow in the sonogram. That took another half hour. By the time we left Stanford it was rush hour traffic and I had a pretty tired lady in the car.

Yet after half an hour of rest whence she sipped some hot tea and snuggled in bed with a heated pad with her favorite word puzzle, she was revived sufficiently for an evening with family and close friends for a Chinese dinner feast.

Tuesday February 19, 2008, Erica will be admitted into Stanford Hospital for intense chemo treatment for four days. A week later, there will be another bone marrow biopsy to confirm that she is in remission. The rest of the time in hospital will be for evaluation of and treatment for any possible infection and/or any of the many side effects.

And so, we begin another episode in Erica’s long hard struggle against leukemia, this time against AML.


Nancy said...

This is all too familiar. I felt the bmb many times, even though I received local anesthetic. I feel her pain. I was always told to use a cold pack (not heat) post bmb. Our thoughts are with all of you. I was shattered to hear of her relapse. We're hoping for a matched donor for her. It took 2.5 years for my donor to be found (not a perfect match) but I'm 21 months post-transplant and doing well. Keep blogging..I'm a fan and pulling for you. Take Care!

Anonymous said...

I've heard success stories from autologous transplants. Is this an option for Erica?

artineh said...

I'm so sorry you had to observe this mama Murray! It must have been horrible. And it sounds just like Erica to see if you were alright. That's why we all love her so much! It's truly truly unfair for you all to be going through this. But I have lots and lots of hope.

For those of you who want to support research on these horrible diseases, I have a friend who is doing Team in Training and is fundraising. Here is her website:

I will definitely be planning a trip to come see you, Erica. Love you and miss you lots!

Georg, Stephanie & Liam said...

I have been reading Erica's blog for sometime now and am amazed at the dynamic strength she and her family possesses. I am hoping for the best, and that you can find comfort in the little things....

Cheering you on from Sacramento!


Corinne said...

I hope all goes well tomorrow and over the next 4 days. Good Luck Erica and family.

Aaron said...

Not a day goes by that we don´t think of you back here in Boston. The Fletcher community is just not the same without you. We miss you tremendously. I'm sending you a huge hug from all your fans!