Alese Coco's Journey through Hodgkins Disease

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Monday, March 28, 2005

I'm Not Feeling Well...

I’ve had two treatments of PDX and I’ve been pretty sick. The day of my first treatment I felt okay, the next day I was little nauseous and felt a little run down, as the week progressed these symptoms became worse. The side effect of this trail is very different from MDX/CD-30. This has been much more challenging than anticipated. I have treatment for three weeks in a row and then I’m off for a week. I still have to get blood work done during the week I don’t have treatment.

The good news, I had my Mom out with me for nine days, I was so happy to have her with me, she has been such a blessing in so many ways. More good news, I was able to come home for Easter and be with my family, I also had to get my bone marrow typed at UCLA. Last week, Mark and Shallyn were typed and we’re seeing if one of them will match.

Due to Spring Break, my Mom and I had some challenges getting a flight back from New York, but we finally were able to get everything taken care of. We had a layover in Baltimore and Mom who is not a fan of flying wasn’t thrilled about our 7-1/2 ride! She was quite funny throughout the flight; I think she left permanent marks in the arm rest of her seat. :-} While home I was able to go camping with my boyfriend and his family, I had a blast.

On Wednesday of this week, I will fly back to New York with my Aunt Anna. She will be with me for eight days; I’m looking forward to spending time with her. My Mom’s family are very loving and caring people; and are true examples of people who live what they believe. I’m blessed to have all of them in my life!

Please join me in prayer that I begin feeling better in between treatments.


Fight 2 Win,

-Alese

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Starting PDX Trial...

Ok- so as I have confessed in the past, I love that time of year when I get to say I’m a whole year older, there is nothing better than birthdays! This year was no exception, except it was more like a “birth-week”. I was lucky enough just to be able to come home for the occasion, and that was good enough for me. I was notified by my Mom about a week before I came home, that a woman that we went to church with, who I had met at my benefit wanted to take me out on the big day. Her name was Janet, and she too was a Hodgkin’s survivor. Anybody who has gone through cancer, or something of the same magnitude, has an instant common ground and bond. She set up a whole day of pampering and shopping- it was unbelievable. To top it off the Beach Reporter even wrote an article on it, it came out today March 17. I felt like a princess for the day. Thanks to everyone who made my birthday so incredibly special. The next night I received tickets to see my favorite band, Maroon 5; I went with Pauly, we had a total blast. At the tail end of my busy week, my Mom told me that we were having dinner at our family friend’s house, the Baird’s. They are like a second family so I thought nothing of going over there in my pajama’s for dinner. When I walked in, I realized that we weren’t exactly there for dinner but for my surprise party and anyone and everyone who I could possibly dream of coming was there! I was shocked! Which is totally crazy- because I rarely get surprised; I always like to be in on the action. Thank you to everyone to took part in my party- and thanks to everyone for not giving it away! I loved it!

I flew back to the East Coast on Monday, with my Mom, it’s great to have her out here. On Tuesday I had a bone marrow test done, thankfully this time though, I was put under with anesthetic. And just like every other time I have been put under, I woke up and said, “Don’t do it yet! I’m still awake!” Then I heard the familiar and reassuring words, “We already did it.” Thank God.

Yesterday, I started PDX… I didn’t leave Sloan Kettering until 8:00 p.m. The actual PDX treatment went fairly quick, but I had blood draws every hour until just before 8:00 p.m. I feel okay, I’m fighting bouts of nausea and just feeling run down. I’m encouraged because they’ve had good success with PDX with Non Hodgkin’s patients; I’m the first patient in the country to take part in this particular PDX trial.

I remain positive and request your continued prayers.

Fight 2 Win
-Alese

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Pictures...


Air Force One


My back yard after the snow storm


Katie and I at the top of the Empire State Building


This was hanging off the front of my house after the blizzard!


The Lake right near my house


This is the Madison Cinema 4- It's so cute I had to take a picture!


The perfect view of New York City from the top of the Empire State Building


Preston and I hamming it up at the Madison train station


I convinced some of New York's finest to let me get behind the wheel


Katie and I at the madison train station


Maroon 5!


Pauly and I at the Maroon 5 concert

Friday, March 04, 2005

Keeping You Posted...

I just thought that I would update you on what’s been going on. I’ve decided to go with a drug called PDX, it was an option earlier on to use, but since the trial was recently revised- and I’m the first Hodgkin’s patient to get the new version. I have lots of good news: there is a large chance that I will not lose my hair. I told my doctor, “Okay, I know that we have an agenda for me to get healthy here, but it’s taken me two years for my hair to reach my shoulders, I really don’t want to take the chance of losing it again.” He said he doesn’t think that I will [insert prayers here] :-) More good news I don’t have to get a port-a-cath-(Which is a small device placed under the skin in you chest. It empties into a blood vessel and makes it easier to give chemotherapy and to take blood for tests.) I’ve had two- and I really don't like having a port. And, the best news of all, I get to be home for my birthday! The only bummer is I have to get all of the tests that I just had done two months ago re-done. That includes bone marrow, and that gets done a week from Monday. Since I have an awesome doctor he’s arranged for me to be put to sleep this time. As soon as all the tests are completed, I’ll start PDX.

I have to tell you a great story… Someone who visited my website was nice enough to give me New York Knicks tickets. I love basketball! It was on the Feb 28th, and I had doctor appointments earlier that day. The game was at night and it was snowing like crazy outside. I got done with the appointments earlier than expected, and since I’m staying in Madison, NJ, we really didn’t have anywhere to go for a good three to four hours. My Dad called Madison Square Garden just to see if it would be at all possible if we could get into the facility a little earlier. They said they would call us back. Twenty five minutes later we they called and they asked us to meet someone from the Garden an hour and a half earlier than the ticket time in front of the Play by Play restaurant. We did, and I expected him to show us to our seats, but instead he took us on to floor seats on the court and we got to watch the shoot a round! I couldn’t believe what was happening! It gets better... then this man named Cal, who has got to be one of the nicest men I have ever met, introduced me to Penny Hardaway, Vlade Divac, Trevor Ariza, and Walt Fraiser! Then we met Larry, who also works at Madison Square Garden, and he asked Knicks photographer took a picture of my Dad and I on the court- and he did! It was insane! It will honestly go down as one of the best times I’ve ever had. Thanks to the family who gave me tickets and everyone at the Garden who made it such a special night.

Fighting 2 Win

-Alese

Ps- I know I haven't posted pictures in a long time, it's because I'm running a 56k modem on the east coast and it takes like an hour to load one picture. So while I'm in town, I'm going to connect with my web master and we'll load some pictures- I have so much to show you guys!