Alese Coco's Journey through Hodgkins Disease

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Back To The East Coast.

I flew into Newark very early on Monday, September 12th, and I was able to come home for a few hours and sleep before heading into the City for a late afternoon appointment at Sloan Kettering.

Initially, I was supposed to receive treatment, but after examining me Dr. O’Connor decided against treatment and gave me a few weeks off, he also removed me from future PDX treatments. In the meantime, Dr. O is making arrangements for me to begin SAHA. There’s a possibility that they might blast me with some low dose conventional chemo during the treatment gap. At this point, I just don’t know, I’ve learned to be flexible to different treatment regimens and realize these are clinical trials and things can, and do change.

I had a great time in California… It was awesome to be with my family and although it was a difficult week, the timing for me to be home was good. I arrived in California on Tuesday, September 6th and my Uncle Dave died on Wednesday, September 7th. Uncle Dave had been fighting non small cell lung cancer for the past year and half. He was one of those people who never smoked a day in his life and contracted lung cancer. He was a great man who loved and worshiped Jesus; cherished Aunt Celeste, adored my cousins Joshua (19), Heidi (16), Benjamin (13) and Hannah (9) Uncle Dave was someone who truly loved and cared about his family and friends. His life was an awesome example of someone who lived what they believed. I am privileged and honored to call him my Uncle; his loss in my life is equivalent to my Uncle Mark’s (my Dad’s brother) who went to be with our Creator when I was 12. It’s kind of ironic; he died on my Uncle Mark’s birthday, September 7th. He will be missed and family gatherings will not be the same with out him.

Fighting 2 Win,

Alese

P.S. If you have a moment you can read Uncle Dave’s story on the “People Who Inspire Me” page.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Short Visit Home...

I'm doing well and I feel pretty good...

"Dr. O" gave me the green light to come home for the next week. I haven't been home in two months!! I am so excited to see my family!! So after my treatment Tuesday morning, I'm hopping on a plane an heading west. As I have mentioned in so many of these journal entries before- I love my dog… Lola, she completes me. I cannot wait to see her.

I'm still receiving PDX, I receive my second treatment of this cycle on Tuesday (9/6) and another round the following Tuesday. I've only had a few nose bleeds this last week, if the bleeds continue they're going to cauterize the affected area of my nasal passage. If they persist thereafter, I'm going to be transitioned to SAHA. This drug is manufactured by Merck and was a phase III clinical trial; unfortunately, it was taken off the market when the Vioxx problem occurred. SAHA has return for clinical trials and the revised regimen will be available within the next thirty days. This is really the drug that I initially wanted to be on, but it was unavailable. Every woman out there will appreciate this: the only side effect is weight loss! I know that I don’t need to lose any weight, but I’m looking at the positive :-)

Dr. O'Connor also told me about three other new drugs that are coming out this month to treat Hodgkin's. All of them have shown great promise in the laboratory; we'll see how things go, I might wind up being part of one of these trials in the future. At this point, I'm just so happy they have this under control and that I'm able to live life. :-)

Like many of you, I've been glued to the TV this past week as the events unfolded in the Gulf Coast. The victims of hurricane Katrina have endured incomprehensible circumstances, for thousands every day life as they knew it, is over. Of the many rescue images shown over the past week, one really caught my attention and I was moved to tears. A family was stranded on the roof of their house and as a rescue helicopter flew over head, they were waiving large American Flags; homeless, battered and weak; their spirits were bent, but not broken. Their courage, strength and determination are the backbone of this country; our nation will unite, rebuild and move forward. We're American's, that's what we do.


Fight 2 Win,

-Alese