Thursday, May 15, 2008

TNT Thursday

I have designated Thursdays as 'TNT-Thursdays' in hopes to update you on the marathon we are training for with Team in Training. We are running in honor of 3 people who were affected by Leukemia and Lymphoma and were very close to us. I hope in doing this that I can raise awareness (and funds) to help fight these diseases. Medicine has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go!!

Leukemia. It’s a word that didn’t conjure up many emotions 10 years ago. I knew it was a form of cancer, but beyond that I really didn’t know much.

That all changed on Wednesday September 22, 1999 when we got the call to let us know that Lindsay had leukemia. Lindsay? Not Lindsay! I was in shock - speechless for a few moments while Steve tried to figure out what news I had received that had caused such a reaction. As I told him the news that Lindsay, the beautiful 16 year old daughter of our dear friends Steve and Cheryl, had leukemia I could see his medical mind racing. His first question was what kind of leukemia (I didn't even really know there were different kinds!) I asked. "AML" I said. The look on Steve's face said it all. If there was a 'good' and 'bad' leukemia. This was the 'bad'.

A bit about leukemia:

Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. It is characterized by the uncontrolled accumulation of blood cells. The major categories of leukemia are myelogenous and lymphocytic, each of which can be acute (A.M.L. and A.L.L.) or chronic (C.M.L. and C.L.L.).

Acute leukemia progresses rapidly, resulting in the accumulation of immature cells that are unable to function in the blood and marrow. This results in anemia (shortage of normal numbers red blood cells), impaired ability to fight infection (shortage of normal numbers of white blood cells) and easy bruising and bleeding (shortage of normal numbers of platelets).

Chronic leukemia progresses more slowly and allows a greater number of more mature, functional cells to be made.

So, Lindsay had AML - Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. She was admitted immediately to the Children's Hospital and started treatment. The next 3 months were spent waging war on the bad cells and trying desperately to put the leukemia into remission so that Lindsay could receive a bone marrow transplant. Steve and Cheryl had a steep learning curve as they spent hours in the hospital trying to understand and make sense of every test; procedure etc.. that Lindsay was having to undergo. They started a page on Caring Bridge to journal about their experience and to keep friends and family updated. One can not even imagine what it is like to watch one's child go through something like this, but through her journal Cheryl gave us all a glimpse. (I will be sharing some excerpts from her journal in future TNT-Thursday posts). Strengthened by their faith in God, they walked through this dark valley as we all prayed for Lindsay to be cured. She was 'cured', but not in the way that we had prayed. Lindsay passed away on December 20, 1999, having fought the good fight. No more pain. No more sorrow. And we will see her again.

We are so blessed to have had Lindsay in our lives for as long as we did. Here is an early picture of our oldest son R with Lindsay at the Minnesota State Fair. I can look at this picture and then close my eyes and hear their little voices and their squeals of delight as they 'flew' on this ride. I'm pretty sure the next picture in the sequence was R giving Lindsay a big ole kiss on the cheek!

Our families are close. Together with our friends Renae and Mike, we form the Triple-R Gang. (All of our last names begin with R.) We often went camping in the fall; to the cabin in the summer and have rung in many a New Year's together. And when we get together we can still feel Lindsay's quiet presence because I think a little piece of her lives in all of us. And we are blessed.

Lindsay is one of the reasons that we are running. It may be too late to find a cure for Lindsay, but we also race for all of those whose lives will be turned upside down this year by the diagnosis of leukemia. We race to find a cure.

Until Next Time


rohanknitter said...

Thank you for sharing about Lindsey. I'm sure the thought of her helps spur you on! I had a cousin die from leukemia at age 16, about 30 years ago now. His parents still say that was the very hardest thing they've ever gone through. (which isn't hard to imagine)

marit said...

Thank you for sharing. Take care.

Marianne said...

I am so sorry to hear about Lindsay!

Leukemia has touched my family in a number of places. My mom's dad lived 3 weeks after his leukemia diagnosis in his early 50's in Iowa. My godmother's mom died of leukemia, but she was older, which is a little bit easier, maybe? Our neighbor down the street died of leukemia in his early 50's, too. He had had his bone marrow transplant, and was about to be released to come home, when all of a sudden, he had a low-grade fever, which quickly grew to a massive infection, and he was gone in a couple of days.

Thank you for all you are doing, Janice! {{{Hugs}}}