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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A letter from Lynne's Friend

For those of you that don't know Lynne McClintock, she is Alicia's best friend. I received this letter from Lynne's friend last night and thought I would share it with all of you. I found it to be very insightful.

Hi Kattie,

Lynne McClintock and I have been best friends since we were 4 and she has kept me in the loop in regards to April while I live in Atlanta. What amazing friends you all are and how lucky she is to be surrounded by all of your love. No one can understand what it feels like emotionally or physically but April, but for her to know she has a great support network is the best thing you can do for her and her family.

I took care of my auntie for 4 years that was like my big sister and it is a tremendous honor to be with someone throughout this journey and try to put some perspective on our own lives when someone is potentially suffering. April seems to be an amazing friend, mother, wife, daughter, sister and to all of you this is so hard to understand. Her outlook seems to be so amazing and her will at this point is in the hands of God and what he chooses to guide her to do with however long she has left on this earth. A miracle would be absolutely the best answer to our prayers, but realistically, honoring her wishes, demands, supporting her anger and grief is all you can do. I hope that she find peace in the fact she was blessed to have given her husband and family a beautiful child and knowing it is such a great gift AND to have lived what little life she has.

The most challenging part of all of this is how your faith is challenged and what everyone else can do with that, it was my personal learning lesson. I was blessed to have the time I did with my aunt, to make sure she knew I would not rather be anywhere else, and know that I would do anything to make her comfortable till the end. I had asked one of the hospice nurses how they can do this day in and day out, and she said what an honor it was to be with someone till their end of life on earth and assist them where they were going next. Just the same as the nurses were there when we born to help us into this world. I was fortunately given the gift to be there till the end and experience that one last breath.

Please make sure April knows there are prayers for her peace all over and from people she has never met. That we all celebrate her life and what time she has left is so precious as she very well knows better than any of us. And make sure to take her for a couple girly martinis for me and send me the bill!

Best to you,


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April's Story

In May 2006, when April was twenty weeks pregnant, she went in for a routine ultrasound to find out the gender of her baby. The ultrasound would turn out to be life-changing in more ways than one. Happily, April found out she would be the mother of a little girl, but sadly her doctor also discovered a tumor. The doctor dismissed it as a ‘fatty deposit,’ even though April had previously had cancer. April asked her doctor for tests because it was so alarming to her, but again she was dismissed.

After the delivery of baby Emma, April began to experience major pain that continued to get worse and worse, so she finally went to the ER, begging to be tested. Unfortunately, they found that the tumor had grown immensely. April was sent to surgery for what was thought to be a benign tumor and possible ovary removal. During the surgery, doctors found the cancer everywhere in April’s pelvic region. A full hysterectomy was performed. April’s doctors tried their best to remove all the cancer, but it had metastasized. She then went on chemo to fight a long list of cancers, because her doctors were unsure what type of cancer April actually had. The tests showed that it was not ovarian cancer, but, rather, another type of cancer that had spread to her ovaries. At that point they thought it was Stage 4 cancer, which is incurable.

In January 2007, April’s doctor told her they received a pathology report from the hospital that had performed her last surgery in the spring of 2004 to remove a non-cancerous tumor. The pathology report showed that the precursor cells that were found in the last, non-cancerous tumor were the same as the cells that were found in the most recent, cancerous tumor. It was a promising hope that April could possibly have ovarian cancer with a strange cellular makeup. That took it from a stage 4 to stage 3. Although the prognosis was still serious, there was hope that April’s cancer might be wiped out.

Once it was discovered that the precursor cells were the same, the plan was to still continue on with chemo for another six months and to have April receive scans about every three months to see if there was any new growth. During the scan in August of this year, April received great news: the doctors believed that there was no new growth, only an inflammation that measured at .5 cm which they believed to be swelling from the last surgery. April’s family was ecstatic for obvious reasons, one of which was that April had made it a whole year with no return of the disease.

Unfortunately, immediately after that last scan, April began experiencing pain again. She trusted her instincts and went in and asked to be checked out even though she had just had a scan. She had an exam the following week, and they found that that small, .5 cm inflammation was, in fact, the cancer. It had really never gone away and was just being held at bay with the chemo. April got another scan in early September, and this one verified the tumor had already grown to 4-5 cm in three weeks.

At the time of this writing, April has started back on chemo, but it’s a different kind of regimen. One part of the chemo drug is called Topotecan, and there is also a bio agent drug called Avistan. The plan is for these drugs to keep the size of the tumor down, or wipe it away all together. There are also tiny spots all throughout her pelvic region now, along with the tumor.

The plan is to keep April on a chemotherapy regimen for as long as is tolerable. If the chemo treatment is not successful or sustainable, there will then be other options. April’s doctors’ prognosis is for a one-year survival rate, with a one- to two-percent chance of the cancer going into complete remission. Even with that news we are obviously holding out for a miracle and hoping that April will be healed.

Isaiah 40:31
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;they shall mount up with wings as EAGLES they shall run, and not be weary;and they shall walk, and not faint"