Alese Coco's Journey through Hodgkins Disease

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Playing Catch-up...

Okay…Here’s what’s been going on, the doctor appointment at City of Hope went great! Dr O. has been trying for the last couple of months to make this work for me. This allows me to receive treatment in California while remaining under his umbrella of care. I’m relieved this has finally happened.

GND is still considered a clinical trial and not all cancer centers have access to this regimen. Dr O knows a doctor at City of Hope named Dr. Leslie Popplewell; she used to work with Dr. O. at Sloan Kettering before moving west. She was very knowledgeable, very kind and I feel comfortable being in her care while I receive treatment in California. I am not leaving Sloan Kettering; I will commute to New York for doctor appointments once a month and scans every three months.

I’ve been sick for the last 10 tens days... I have the worst cold of my life and I don’t know if it’s just me or the common cold is evolving, but I don’t remember it being like this 5 years ago. Often times when I come home, I try and make up for lost time with my friends and sometimes I don’t get enough rest, which compounds the problem. I’ve been playing catch-up with myself and sleeping.

I’m on antibiotics, and drinking cough medicine like its diet Pepsi. I’ve been coughing so much that I’m starting to annoy myself and I’ve lost my voice- but to be completely honest, my voice probably needed a vacation of it’s own. Today is the first day that I am starting to feel some improvement. (YEAH!!) That was my best lip synched scream. :-) I’m feeling ok, and I have no complaints!

Life is good. I’m with my family my friends and my doggy Lola. I’m enjoying life and a little bit of normalcy… Thank you for your continued prayers.

Fight 2 Win,
-Alese

Friday, May 19, 2006

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Well we’ve been trying for four weeks now, seeing if I can receive treatment in California- we’ve been hitting some road blocks, but the words “give up” are not in my vocabulary. So, I push forward, off to NYC…

Dr. O. has been talking with one of his doctor friends at City of Hope in California for the past number of months. I’ve been getting treated with GND twice a month, every other Monday at Sloan Kettering and he’s trying to work it out so that I can get treated in California for the next four months. The plan is to treat me with GND in California and I’ll fly back to New York for doctor’s appointments, scans, etc. when necessary. I can’t lie though, getting to see Dr O. and his team is always a plus (I love you guys!)

Everything was worked out to begin May 15th. I would drive 42 miles (and never seeing ice and snow) to City of Hope, and receive my third round of GND. Unfortunately, late last Friday afternoon, I found out the COH doctor had some scheduling conflicts and she cannot see me until the following week. This would put me a week behind on treatment and that can’t happen. So, my friends at Corporate Angel Network - Darcy, Vicky and crew pulled through as they always do, and at the last minute secured me a flight to the east coast.

Yesterday, I received my third treatment at Sloan Kettering. My best friend Bekah came with me again, which has been really awesome. I can’t begin to describe how helpful and selfless she is. Bekah, thank you. You bless me beyond belief. We flew back to Cali Thursday morning. I feel good and all my blood numbers remain within acceptable limits. I have no complaints, my energy level goes up and down, but I’m thankful that there are ups. Please continue to pray that my blood counts will not drop and my energy level will be filled with ups!

Fight 2 Win,

-Alese

Recently I saw the movie “Akeelah And The Bee”- if you haven’t seen it, go! This quote was in the movie and I wanted to share it with you…

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not in just some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. "

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Back In Cali…

Sorry I’m late writing this update, I’ve been living life and lost track of time. That’s a good thing, because I feel good. WHOO HOO!

My friend Bekah and I flew back into L.A. late last Wednesday (5/3) evening… We had a great time in NYC, our flight was delayed for several hours and we arrived in the City around 11:30 Sunday night. We had a great night sleep and we arrived at Sloan Kettering at 10:00 Monday morning with a couple dozen donuts for Dr. O and his staff. Cherine, I hoped they shared them with you!

I’ll get to the medical stuff in a minute, but I wanted to share this story about Bekah’s family and the Coco family. This is intense, but it’s a story that needs to be told. Bekah’s family and the Coco’s have been friends for forty years and in the early 70’s our families shared a mutual crisis. Here’s what happened…

Our grandparents went to the same church in Redondo Beach and in 1972 my Grandfather and Bekah’s Grandmother were part of a group of 30 people who went to the Holy Land. Unfortunately, the Yom Kipper war began the day after they arrived in Egypt and they were sequestered in the Cairo Hilton for 17 days.

My Grandfather told me they regularly heard bombs going off and saw tanks driving down the street. When the bombing got too close, air raid sirens blared and the group was hurried to the basement, were they huddled for safety in case the hotel was bombed, this went on day and night, every day for seventeen days. Scary huh?! (Papa, you are so brave!)

At the end of the war, they were allowed to leave, the only problem was the Cairo Hilton wanted to be paid before the group checked out of the hotel. Even with everyone pooling cash they were not even close to meeting the hotel bill. Remarkably, Bekah’s Grandma had something in her possession that no one else in the group had, a MasterCard. The hotel accepted the card and soon thereafter they were escorted by the military to a shipping port were they boarded a grain ship and taken to Greece. After arriving in Greece, they were out of harms way and group took a commercial flight to New York and then back home to California. Needless to say, Bekah and I have both been given extensive instruction on travel safety and not surprisingly, we both carry a MasterCard.

Okay, back to the medical stuff… My blood work was good, my red and white counts are normal, and my platelets are 118,000. I was happy with the platelet count; normally my numbers are in the 90,000 range. Although lower than normal, they’re good for me. I received my second round of GND without incident. So far, so good- I appreciate your continued prayers.

Also, my friend Dennis Jarvis made a short film and made the top ten finalist for Quicksilver, if you have a moment, copy and paste https://host237.ipowerweb.com:8087/webmail4/parse.pl?redirect=http://www.Quiksilver.com%2Ffilms to your browser, its called 'Donuts'. Vote for Dennis!

Fight 2 Win,

-Alese