Alese Coco's Journey through Hodgkins Disease

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I've Had Better Days…

They told me that I could possibly die from this, in all honesty, that thought has never entered my mind...

Me, die from Hodgkin’s disease, no, I’m not, sorry! Maybe a fiery car accident or a possible earthquake. But, Hodgkin’s disease? NO. And, trust me, I could read you a list of a couple dozen people I know who’ve died from HD in the last two years, I’ve never thought it would effect me in that way and I still don't. I Fight 2 Win, period. End of statement.

My doctor appointment with Dr. O was going well until this subject came up and then I got really angry and really emotional and not necessarily in that order. But, then Dr. O reminded me were I was two years ago when I first came to Sloan Kettering for treatment, my options were also limited, I understand “limited options” to still mean “options” and as long as I have options, life is still at hand. In a conversation after the appointment with my Dad, he told me that he and my Mom have been talking to several other leading HD researchers around the country over the last week and my cup remains half full.

At some point, the plan will be to achieve some type of complete remission using more aggressive therapies and possibly some type of transplant will be involved, most likely an umbilical cord transplant, which carries a complete cure rate of somewhere between 25% – 35%. And, I will still have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials if that ever became necessary, there is a whole new class of drugs available to treat me and unless a transplant takes, but Dr. O feels he can treat and control this cancer. Although, I don’t want to do any type of transplant, I refer to my New York friend Vinnie, who says it best. “I’ll do’s what I gotta do’s.” and I will.

There are two more days of Hanukkah and just five days until Christmas… As we celebrate this holiday season and the New Year is upon us… May the richness of our Mighty Maker engulf your life, may the freshness of the New Year fill your hearts with compassion for those hurting, love for those without hope, and joy knowing that our eternal reward is near.

God bless you all.

Fight 2 Win,

-Alese

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Unwanted News...

Alese was scanned today and Dr. Popplewell called us this evening and informed us the scan results were not favorable.

We spoke to Dr. O'Connor shortly thereafter and we're headed back to New York in the coming days.

We request your prayers,


The Coco's

Monday, December 11, 2006

Schedule Changes…

I’m getting scanned Tuesday afternoon…Initially, I was supposed to get scanned after Christmas, but the date was pushed up.

I went to local emergency room Friday morning to get fluids; they wound up doing blood work and a chest x-ray. My palettes were 20,000 and they called Dr. Popplewell and she told me not to take any more SAHA until my platelets were over 50,000. This afternoon (2/11) they were 26,000, still very low.

I don’t know what my next treatment steps will be, I’m going back to see Dr. O on January 8th…I request your continued prayers.


Fighting 2 Win

-Alese

Monday, December 04, 2006

Feeling A Little Better…

Thank you for praying for me… I believe in the Lord and feel his presence in my life, sometimes the branches sway and the leaves move, but the roots are and remain firmly planted.

I read a lot of e-mails over the weekend and many people ask the same question, “Why?” - I am no different then any one else and my only response is why not? In all honesty, there are many things I don’t understand, but who am I to question my Creator?

There is no question this has been a difficult six weeks. This drug is so harsh that it’s equivalent to having chemo 24/7 for 14 days straight and the side affects are at the same level as a stem cell transplant. However, the good news is that I turned the corner and began feeling better on Saturday, the fatigue is improving and yesterday, I went to the store and bought every single Popsicle they had in stock. SAHA dehydrates me and these help to the fluids in me.

The pain in my side has diminished a little and hopefully this is a sign that the SAHA is kicking in. Dr. Kirschbaum and Dr. O have both told me that SAHA does not work like conventional chemotherapy, which starts working almost immediately, this drug take at least 2 cycles to kick in. Standard chemotherapies wipe out good cells and cancer cells, but SAHA attacks only cancer cells and leaves healthy cells intact, this class of drugs is known as HDAC inhibitors.

I’m was scheduled to be scanned in mid December; however, my parents nixed the scan until after Christmas, we’ve had too many interruptions during this time of year and my parents asked my doctors to hold off until after the holiday. They agreed.

On a brighter side, Christmas is coming and I’m excited, I love this time of year and hopefully, my strength will continue to increase as days pass. Also, the LA Auto Show is going on this week and I’m going, this is an event I attend every year, I love cars and concept cars and I’m soooo looking forward to going.

Lastly, I want to thank the staff at Journey of Faith, the entire pastoral staff came over to my house Friday afternoon and prayed for me. Thank you.

Please continue to pray for me and that my scan I get later this month will be favorable, God bless you all.

Fighting 2 Win,
Alese