Alese Coco's Journey through Hodgkins Disease

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Saturday, January 29, 2005

I'm Home!

Even though I have totally fallen in love with the East Coast, you can’t beat home, or California weather for that matter. This past week my little town of Madison was hit with a blizzard and leaving the house was out of the question for a good 3 days. All I could think was "Thank God I am such a good food shopper!" I lucked out, in the fact that, for those three days I didn’t have to go to the city. As I have expressed before, I love the snow. What I am not such a fan of, is shoveling the snow. I didn’t even give it a thought. But when I woke up one morning I saw two men with tractors outside, I was beyond stoked! Turns out they do this for all the homes in my track of housing. I took so many pictures of my little winter wonderland before the tractors got down to business. (I have to wait until I get back east to load them) … My breaking point was when the evening news announced that it was -1°F! At that moment, my love affair with actually experiencing a true winter was kinda over, and I called my parents to inform them that if I wasn’t flown home soon, I may turn into a blonde popsicle. When I landed in Long Beach, the weather was in the mid 60’s, and I couldn’t have been happier! My Dad was sitting out front waiting for me, and when I climbed in the car, I realized that, yes I couldn’t be much happier- Lola (a.k.a. the center of my universe) was in the car! We both freaked, and for the first time in roughly three weeks I got to hold and play with my dog. It was almost surreal. I don’t think that I stopped smiling all night, and the only thing that put my smile to rest, was just that, to sleep in my own bed. It has been a great few days. I have been fortunate enough to be able to play catch up with many of my friends and family. It is nice to spend time with my Mom, I have missed going to coffee with her in the mornings and just hanging out with her. This weekend I have plans to watch my Dad and my little brother ride dirt bikes. Even though Shallyn just left the East Coast, we picked up right where we left off- frequenting Yogurt Zone. We are without a doubt their best customers.

Alright I have lots of good news and some bad news, I’ll give you the good news first…

GOOD NEWS… I’ve had my last treatment on the MDX & CD-30 clinical trial. For the next few months, I have to do follow up with blood work. On February 14th, I have a PET scan; this will provide conclusive evidence to my doctors if my body has responded well to the trial. Over all, I feel pretty good, just the nagging itching is still bothersome. My SED rate fell from 34 to 30, a normal SED rate is 0 – 20, the fact that it’s going down makes everyone happy.

GOOD NEWS… On February 2nd, the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach is having a benefit for me, comedian Evan Davis is headlining; he’s so funny. Mike Lacey, who owns the Comedy & Magic Club, is donating all the proceeds from tickets sales to my medical care and treatment. Mike has been a friend of our family for many years and I am touched by his generosity and willingness to help. If you’re not busy Wednesday evening, come join us for an evening of fun and laughter.

BAD NEWS… For as long as I can remember, I have never washed my face, and I’ve never really had any problems with my skin- ever. I consider myself really lucky, and my sister always teases me that one day it’s going to turn around and bite me in the rear end. MY DAY HAS COME! It totally figures that 5 days before the benefit- where I’m sure plenty of pictures will be taken, a blemish the size of China, has developed on face, one so big that it requires it’s own zip code, I’ve name him Bob. He has 4 days to vacate the premises, and then I can only pray that Max Factor will be able to come to my rescue. But if a blemish is my biggest problem these days, then I’m a happy camper, and I consider myself pretty darn lucky!

Continuing my Fight 2 Win,
-Alese

Friday, January 21, 2005

I'm Feeling The Love...

I want to thank everyone who has written in my guest book over the last month and a half. I’ve read every entry that’s been posted, some twice. I appreciate your words of encouragement and prayers for me and my family.

If you have a moment, we populated the section “People Who Inspire Me” as I’ve journeyed down this road of cancer. I met many people, both children and adults who have also been afflicted, some survived and too many have succumbed. I’ve been honored to be, or, to have been part of their lives. If you have some time, take a few minutes to read their stories; I hope they will inspire you as they have me.

Lastly, we’re doing a couple fundraisers to help offset my medical expenses. Currently, two things in the works; first, our family friend Mike Lacey, who owns the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, is having a fund raiser for me; he’s going to donate all the proceeds from ticket sales for the February 2, 2004 show. This is so unbelievable and since I’m already scheduled to be in California during this time period, I’ll be at the show. Comedian Evan Davis is going to be headlining, he is very, very funny. Tickets are $15.00 and we’ve created a link to Comedy & Magic Club’s website if you’re interested in attending.

The second is silicone wristbands (like Livestrong) only they’re lavender, the Hodgkin’s color. On the top is says; Fight 2 Win The bottom says; www.alesecoco.org - There’s a limited quantity available and we created a page for wristbands that’s accessible from the home page.

Never lose hope and always Fight 2 Win,
-Alese

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Pictures...


Me and my Mommy at the Ronald McDonald Christmas Party



The cutie in the Green asked if I would be in his conga line- I was honored



This is Tasti-D-Lite, a.k.a.- The mecca of frozen yogurt


One of my favorite kids at RMDH

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

So Far, It's Been A Good Week...

I received the results of my PET scan today… No growth reported compared to the CT scan that was done in November. (WHOO HOO!) For the short term, this is good news…no tumor growth or reduction in tumor size is good. At this point, we’re happy with no growth. I am going to be scanned again in two months, and we’ll have a clear picture how I’ve responded to this trial. I really like the trial that I’m on so far, compared to some of the other chemo’s that I’ve been on, this stuff is a cake walk.

My car arrived….I was so happy to see that big truck pull up with my car, I was having a little happy attack while my neighbors were pulling out of their driveways and heading to work- but I was so excited over the fact that I don’t have to order a cab to get around town anymore, I didn’t even care. The first thing on my agenda was food shopping, and I loaded the trunk and passenger seat to the limit. My fridge has been “Aleseified” with all kinds of healthy foods. If the label says “low” or “non” chances are it’s in my kitchen. It’s so weird to go food shopping for only me; I’ve never done that before, in a way it was pretty cool.

My sister Shallyn arrives on Friday with two of our friends, I am so excited. I miss my sister so much! She’s not only my little sister- she’s like my other half, my best friend. I can only go so long without her before I feel like a big chunk of me is missing. But that goes for my whole family… I have a confession- sometimes I call my house just to hear my dog Lola bark.

I still have Hodgkin’s symptoms; the worst is deep skin itching, I get deep skin itches that are really intense. I can take a medication called Adarax to alleviate the itches; however, the medication has some side affects, but it’s better than itching. It could always be worse...

-Alese

*Pictures will be posted on Saturday*

Thursday, January 06, 2005

I Got A Little Homesick...

I'm back in California until January 9th... I've had two treatments and they've gone fairly well. Outside of some severe bouts of nausea I'm doing okay. On Monday, January 10th, I have a PET scan; this should provide my doctors with some indication how I'm responding to the different medications they're giving me. My schedule is fairly simple, every Monday, I see my doctors, the next day, Tuesday, I receive treatment and then every couple of weeks they draw blood from me everyday.

On New Years Day, I moved to New Jersey, my father's employer Honeywell has allowed me to live in corporate housing for the next six months. Honeywell's corporate headquarters are in Morris Township, New Jersey and I'm living in a little town called Madison a few miles away. This town is so quiet and beautiful; the townhouse has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a private gym, and attached garage... It's unbelievable.

On treatment days, I take a taxi to the train station, followed by a forty-minute train ride into Penn Station. Penn Station is right below Madison Square Garden (literally) and ten blocks from Time Square. It takes about twelve minutes to get to Sloan Kettering by cab from Penn Station. I've learned that the cost of transportation in New York City is very expensive. Early next week, my car is going to arrive, this will eliminate the cost of taxi's to the train station, market, pharmacy, etc. I also purchased an unlimited monthly train pass to Penn Station. Hopefully, this will reduce some of these expenses.

Next week, I'm going to meet with Kim Holland; she has really been an inspiration to me. She's battled Hodgkin's Disease for ten years; she's a courageous woman whose story is very inspiring. Kim left her web address in my guest book. If you have a moment, visit her website.

Thank you all again,
Alese


Ps- I have so many pictures to share with you all, I'm still waiting on my computer to land- thanks for your patience.