Alese Coco's Journey through Hodgkins Disease

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Steady Progress…

Alese continues to respond to antibiotics and spirits are good.

Her breathing is improving and for the first time today the level of oxygen she’s receiving has been reduced.

If the steady decline of oxygen dependency continues they will treat her again on Thursday.

We request your continued prayer for the following. First, dependency on oxygen will completely cease. Second, they will be able to treat her on Thursday. Third, this fungal infection will be successfully treated and she will be absent of any long term side affects.

Thank you for the still moments and keeping us close to your thrown. Father, thank you for hearing our prayers and touching Alese life. .

Blessings,

The Coco’s

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another Step Forward

Yesterday was a good day...

She had a little trouble breathing in the morning, but normalized later in the afternoon.

She is making progress, her white count went up and her labs look better. We are taking one day at a time. She’s an amazing young women and she just radiates joy in the mists of this storm. She’s our hero in every sense of the word.

Alese’s very best friend, Preston, came visit her yesterday, what a joy it was to see her smile, laugh and sit up in bed.

This morning they removed the breathing mask and replaced it with a nasal cannula. This is another step in the right direction.

Father Thank you for this progress Alese is making daily, we give all the glory for this to you and we thank you for each new day you bring. We ask for continued healing.

All our love,

The Coco’s

Friday, April 27, 2007

Two Steps Forward…

The last month has been both a physical and emotional rollercoaster ride… The daily improvements have been followed by daily set backs.

However, as she approaches being in the hospital one full month, we’re seeing the tide beginning to change and one positive improvement is now being followed by another.

* Her white count has tripled in the last 48 hours to over 5800.
* Her lungs are sounding better daily.
* She’s eating and thankfully, she’s put on a little weight.
* She remains symptom free from Hodgkin’s, her arms and legs have healed from the wounds of her itching.

Please continue to pray specifically for the following… First, treating the fungal pneumonia will be successful. Second, her oxygen saturation numbers continue to improve and dependency on oxygen will cease. Third, treating this cancer will continue without further interruption. Fourth, she will be forever cured.

Yesterday, turned out to be a good day both physically and emotionally. Her Uncle Rich and cousin Aaron came to see her and our close friends Jan and Ellie stopped by to visit and their warmth lifted her spirits.

Heavenly Father, we come before you with grateful hearts. We asked for you to increase Alese’s white count and you tripled it. We asked that she would not have to be put back on the ventilator and you heard our cries and answered our prayers. We thank you for the many blessings you have given to us daily. Alese feels your hand upon her and the comfort and peace that only come from you living in are hearts. Thank you for providing for all of our needs and guiding us through this journey.

All our love,

The Coco's

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Day By Day

Alese woke up at 4:00 a.m. this morning struggling to breathe….

We thought we were taking a turn for the worse and after a lot of prayer her numbers began to normalize and she was able to fall back asleep around 6:00 a.m.

Around ten o'clock this morning things began to improve. Her heart rate went down and her oxygen saturation was at normal levels. The best news is her white count jumped from 300 to 1500 over the last 24 hours. Although normal levels are 3000 to 8000, the fact that she’s on the way up is a positive sign and we pray this will continue upward.

There are many doctors working with Alese right now and her short term outlook varies depending what group of doctors weighs in. We’re staying positive and supporting Alese with love.

Alese had a very special visitor today her Grandma, this put a smile on Alese's face and Mom is always such a blessing to have around. Also want to say Thank you to Ron for donating platelet's to Alese. Ron works at City of Hope and has been a wonderful support and blessing to our family.

Father we come to you with grateful hearts and thanksgiving. We feel your arms of love and comfort around us. We don't know were this road is leading and our faith, hope and trust rest in you. Please multiply Alese’s white count and prevent her from going on a ventilator. Thank you for giving to us all we need as we Fight 2 Win this battle.
Blessings,

The Coco's

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We Have Clarity.....

Alese had a CT scan yesterday evening…

Doctors compared the scan she had at City of Hope in January to the scan yesterday and they have determined that the fungal pneumonia is causing her breathing problems.

Although there is Hodgkin’s Disease present in her lungs, the driving problem is fungal pneumonia and it has worsened over the last two weeks.

Her white count is improving, due to chemotherapy her white count has been very suppressed over the last two weeks, and this improvement will help her fight this infection.

By no means is she out of the woods, fungal pneumonias are bad. However, this is a much better scenario then if HD was causing the breathing problems because her body was not responding to chemotherapy and thankfully, this is not the case.

We ask for specific prayer for the following…First, her white count will continually improve. Second, treating the fungal pneumonia will be successful. Third, her breathing saturation will improve. Fourth, she will not have to be placed on a ventilator.

On Sunday, when Paul was with Alese, Yvonne, Caroline and CeCe, who are part of Paul’s Honeywell family, came by to visit Alese. She told me she was very encouraged by their visit and she loves the large stuffed dog.

Yesterday, Pastor Glen and his wife, Nancy came to the hospital, it was awesome. They prayed with Alese, read her scripture and encouraged us both. We are so blessed by their love, support and living example. Then her Aunt Jennie suprised us by stopping by to give us love and support. Then to top off the day, three of her favorite Nurses from City of Hope came by UCLA last night to suprise her. Thank you Aunt Jennie, Gilbert, Martha, Randy, I know I’ve said this before, but we could not have gotten through all of this without our church body, family and friends. Thank you.

Father, thank you for bringing us through a very difficult yesterday. Thank you for hearing our cries and touching our lives with so many special people. Thank you for comforting us in these times of uncertainty. Thank you for the doctors and nursing staff at UCLA. Please surround Alese with Angels and comfort her soul.

The Coco’s

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Breathing Issues Persist…

The breathing problems have worsened and we request your prayers for Alese.

Specifically, that her oxygen saturation will increase and her heart rate will return to normal.

Father in Heaven we know you are the ever lasting God and that you reign forever. Please let your hand of mercy and grace be shown to your child in need. Let her lungs clear and allow her her to breath on her own. We praise your Holy name on High

The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on the wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31


The Coco’s

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Standing Firm...

Alese seems to be a little better today… She has come to terms that what happened to her was very serious and most people do not make it through all that she has been through.

These infections in her lungs are serious and the doctor informed us today how lucky she was to just be on oxygen with all that she’s battling in her lungs. He told us that people who have these kind of serious infections that she has in her lungs are on ventilators, or simple do not make it.

Hearing this put everything into perspective for us and we’re grateful for so many answered prayers, and having her here is a true miracle.

Alese’s Aunt Jennie (my dear sister in law) e-mailed me some encouraging scripture that touched my soul and I want to share.

"Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today" Exodus 14:13

Charles H. Spurgeon provides a great commentary that really ministered to me…

This verse contains God's command to me as a believer for those times when I am confronted with dire circumstances and extraordinary difficulties. What am I to do when I cannot retreat or go forward, and my way is blocked to the right and to the left?

The Master's word to me is, "Stand firm." And, the best thing I can do at these times is to listen only to my Master's word, for others will come to me with their suggestions and advice.

Despair will come whispering, "Give up-lie down and die." But, even in the worst of times, God would have me be cheerful and courageous, rejoicing in His love and faithfulness

"Stand firm.” I must maintain the posture of one who stands, ready for action, expecting further orders, and cheerfully and patiently awaiting the Director's voice. It will not be long until God will says to me, as distinctly as He told Moses to tell the children of Israel, "Move on" (Ex. 14:15).

Thank you Father for the many blessing you’ve poured upon us…Please continue to keep your hand on Alese, guide her through these days and weeks ahead. Continue to fill her heart with joy and peace. Please touch her body and make her whole.

Blessings,

The Coco’s

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Status Remains The Same…

Alese's breathing has shown no improvement over the last 24 hours.

Her blood numbers have dropped due to chemotherapy and at this moment she’s neutropenic.

They’re giving her Nupogen with the hope that her numbers will recover quickly. If things progress in the right direction, she will receive another cycle in 10 days.

A Physical Therapist came up to see her today and they’re working on getting her moving again. At this point, even sitting on the edge of her bed is a grueling event, she’s very, very weak.

We’re both operating on very little sleep, one of us is with her constantly and we've been trading places every 48 hours. When we’re home, we resume our normal work schedules and life’s daily tasks. We’re both tired and request your prayers for strength.

Please continue to pray that Alese’s breathing will improve and that her dependency on oxygen will cease.

The Coco’s

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Surprise Visitor...

We'll get to the surprise visitor in a minute...

Alese remains oxygen dependent, however, her level of oxygen dependency is down to 40%. The bad news, she continues to desaturate quickly if she removes the mask.

We're hoping to see a bounce from the chemotherapy in the coming days and the oxygen dependency will cease all together, and she'll be released from the hospital. Please continue to pray this issue will be resolved.

This morning, Dr. O'Connor came to see Alese, he was in Los Angeles giving a speech over the weekend and extended his trip one extra day, and came to see Alese. She was very surprised. He spent three hours with her and he also took time and met with her doctors at UCLA. Thankfully, everyone is on the same page and we're happy they're working together.

Father, thank you for your caring for us and loving us. Lord, we ask that Alese's lungs would completly clear and that she would be able to breathe freely and clearly.

We request your continued prayers.

The Coco's

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Day 14…

This is the 14th day Alese has been at UCLA…

She’s feeling better and she was awake most of the day. Treatment for the fungal pneumonia is ongoing and she continues to receive IV antibiotics.

At this moment, her oxygen saturation levels remains a concern and although the volume of oxygen she receives has been decreased, she remains oxygen dependent.

As soon as this problem is resolved, she will be discharged to come home.

Alese completed the three day EVA infusion Saturday evening and thankfully, she tolerated all three days without any side effects. If the HD responds to the chemotherpy, we'll see a possitive bounce within the next 96 hours.

We ask you to pray for three specific issues...

1) The oxygen saturation levels will be resolved and she will not be oxygen dependent.
2)Her transplant team will be able to collect between three and five million stem cells in the coming weeks.
3)The transplant will be successful and Alese will remain cancer free.

Father, we thank you for so many answered prayers and hearing the prayers of Your people. Please continue to bring Alese comfort and heal her body from this cancer, forever.

Blessings,

The Coco’s

Friday, April 13, 2007

Treatment...Finally!

Thank you for you prayers… Yesterday was a good day.

Just before noon Alese was moved to the 10th floor and a few hours later the repertory issue was under control. Her oxygen dependency went from 95% to just 8% by 8:00 p.m.

Just before 10:00 p.m. she began receiving the second cycle of EVA and just after midnight her oxygen dependency increased again. Doctors feel this was most likely caused by chemotherapy.

Her cheeks have color and her smile warms the room.

She ate In & Out Burger again late in the afternoon and she told us that she's planning on having the same today.

Father, in all circumstances we give you praise, glory and honor. Thank you guiding our path and lighting the way throughout this journey. Heal Alese’s body, give her emotional and physical strength in the coming weeks and months.

All our love,

The Coco’s

Thursday, April 12, 2007

50 – 50 Day

Yesterday was good day medically and tough day emotionally…

Chemotherapy was put off yesterday due to staffing issues on the 10th floor. There were enough beds available, just not enough nurses to care for patients.

It was back and forth all day, and early last night they told us they were not going to move her until 10:00 this morning, and treatment would start before noon.

Her oxygen saturation levels were good yesterday and as the evening progressed her level of oxygen dependency went from 50% to 95%. At this moment, they’re trying to figure out why this is happening. Please pray this issue will be resolved quickly.

The plan was to treat her Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and hopefully, she would be able to come home in the Saturday/Sunday time frame. Now, we'll wait and see how things progress.

Although she’s symptom free during the day, she’s gets the itches at night, which follows close to her six year trend. Alese’s body has always responded well to chemotherapy and for the most part the bounce she receives from treatment is quick and symptoms subside within three or four days.

Father, please comfort Alese, we ask for your guiding hand during these critical days and ask that she would experience complete remission from the stem cell transplant. Please continue to mold and shape all of our lives as it brings pleasure to you.

The Coco’s

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Chemo Resumes…

Alese will resume chemotherapy treatment beginning today…

Yesterday was a good day, she’s awake and talkative. She ate a cheese burger from In & Out Burger, along with fries and a chocolate shake for lunch. At dinner, she had a and salad and meatball sandwich. Anything to put weight on her 112 pound frame would be good.

This morning she’s being moved to the 8th or 10th floor and soon thereafter she’ll begin a three day cycle of EVA. (Etoposide, Vinblastine, Adriamycin) She will not receive the “A” portion of the regimen; she’s already had a lifetime dosage of Adriamycin, as it was part of ABVD regimen she received in 2001. Any further use of this drug would permanently damage her heart.

As of now, her breathing is improving, she looks good and she’s currently absent of any HD symptoms.

The goal of the EVA regimen is to shrink disease in her lungs prior to collecting stem cells. Once stems cells have been collected, a very aggressive and modified version of MOPP will be introduced with the hope of eradicating all HD from body.

Father, thank you for so many answered prayers, we’re grateful all you have done and the mercy your shown in our lives. Please continue to heal Alese’s body and cure her from this cancer.

Blessings,

The Coco’s

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter…

We spent Easter Sunday afternoon at the hospital with Alese… Our incredible Journey of Faith family brought Easter dinner to the hospital and our family spent the afternoon together.

Alese continues to make positive progress, her breathing is slowly improving everyday and things appear to be moving in the right direction. It is our prayer that chemotherapy treatment will resume on Wednesday.

Once the severe symptoms are gone, treating this fungal pneumonia will be done on an out patient basis for thirty days. It will not prohibit her from receiving any conditioning chemotherapy; however, she cannot be transplanted until this pneumonia is completely resolved.

I know we’ve said this many times, but its worth repeating. Thank you for your continued prayers, we could not do this without your prayers and the support of our family and friends.

Please pray that Alese will achieve complete stability in the coming days and the weeks ahead, and that her lungs will and respitory problems will completely heal.

Thank you Father for Your faithfulness. Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins. Thank you for rising again and conquering death. Thank you for loving us, caring for us and your gift of eternal life.

The Coco’s

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Turning The Corner…

Just after 1:00 p.m. today, Alese began to turn the corner and doctors at UCLA feel she’s on the road to recovery.

Early this morning, things were still on shaky ground and the respiratory doctor told us “This could go either way.”

They’ve diagnosed her with fungal pneumonia, which is being treated with IV antibiotics and oral antibiotics.

This has been a four week roller coaster ride and we appreciate your prayers, e-mails and letters of encouragement. We pray the worst is behind us and hope that Alese will resume treatment for HD next week. However, treating this pneumonia will be long term and treatment will be ongoing.

As we continue along this journey, the grasp on the hand of our Creator tightens.

Lord, we asked You to give Alese’s doctors wisdom and we thank You for answering our prayers. We thank You for Alese’s life and the grace, courage, dignity and faithfulness in which she walks. Guide her steps and mark the path as this journey continues.

Celebrating His resurrection,

The Coco’s

Out of ICU…

Alese is out of ICU and back on the fifth floor…

Her oxygen saturation level is stable, but she’s receiving the maximum amount of oxygen without being placed back on a ventilator.

This morning she’s wheezy and resolving this issue is our foremost request for prayer.

We’ll update the site as information becomes available.

The Coco’s

Friday, April 06, 2007

Moved To ICU…

Alese was moved to the Intensive Care Unit at UCLA this afternoon…

Over night, her oxygen saturations levels dropped dangerously low and efforts to raise them all morning have failed.

At this moment, they’re making one last attempt to raise them before placing her on a ventilator.

These are critical times and we request your prayers.

The Coco’s

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Request For Prayers...

The problem she is having right now with her breathing is caused from the surgery she had on March 14th.

The blood in her lungs is left over from when the Doctor cut her main artery. This is causing her to work harder to breath and is causing infection in her body.

We ask for prayer that her body will either absorb this extra blood and fluid or that the Doctors at UCLA can go in and surgically remove the blood.

Please join us in praying for this to happen and that she will have no further suffering.

Dear Father in times of uncertainty we look to you as are greatest physician. We ask that you would remove this blood and fluid from Alese's Lungs and bring her breathing back to normal so we can continue with her treatment. We Thank you for carrying us during the times we cannot walk. Please bring comfort and peace to Alese.
Amen

The Coco's

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Procedures Completed...

Procedures Completed...

Alese had the broncolscope this morning and they put her completely out, pain
free, thank you Lord.

Around mid day they moved her to the fifth floor.

Late this afternoon, they extracted blood and fluid from her lungs and
determined this was left over from the incident from March 14th. Although, they
could not put her totally out, she experienced very little discomfort during the
forty- five minute procedure.

She's still.receiving antibiotics right, we're not sure when they are going to
release her, we're praying for Friday.

Father, thank you for giving these doctors wisdom in treating Alese. We thank
you for answering our prayer and that she experienced little pain throughout the day.

Please continue to hold Alese in th palm of Your hand.
The Coco's

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Request For Prayer…

Doctors are still trying to diagnose the issue with Alese’s lungs, her right lung still appears cloudy in the x-ray, Wednesday morning they plan to take a fluid sample from her lung.

They’re going to stick a needle in her back though her lung to obtain this sample, they can sedate her, but they cannot not put her under for this procedure. This procedure is as horrible as it is described.

Our prayer is that her x-ray in the morning will clear of any fluid and they will not have to do this procedure. However, if they want to obtain a sample anyway, we pray that she will be pain free.

She’s still receiving antibiotics and she’s breathing on her own and her oxygen saturation levels are normal.

Lord, we ask that the fluid in Alese’s lungs would clear and that you touch Alese’s body from head to toe, and the suffering this child has endured for so many years would cease. Please comfort her and renew her strength.

Over the last three weeks, we’ve seen miracles and we believe God can heal her. Please join us in prayer.

The Coco’s

Still In The Hospital...

Alese remains in the hospital; she’s at UCLA and receiving antibiotics and platelets.

The x-ray of her lungs yesterday showed lightly cloudy, they don’t know if it’s fluid or some type of pneumonia. They’re going to scope her lungs today and take a biopsy to determine exactly what it is.

The hard part right now is feels good, she’s fully alert and knows exactly what is going on, and at this moment, she’s very discouraged. She just got out a week ago and now she’s back again.

We’ll post information as it becomes available.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

The Coco’s

Monday, April 02, 2007

Back In The Hospital…

Alese woke up with a fever this morning of 101.0…

Doctors at UCLA have determined an infection has originated around the area of the stitches were the chest tube was removed.

Her oxygen saturation level dropped to 88%, much lower then the normal 98% - 100%.

She will remain at UCLA until both issues are resolved.


We request your prayers.

The Coco’s