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Thursday, November 8, 2007

An update from Alicia

Some of us received this email from April's sister, Alicia, last night and I wanted to pass it on to you. I have highlighted an area that is very important.

As most of you know by now, April is once again in the hospital. She was admitted on Monday and had a suction tube inserted through her nose into her stomach. She was not happy about that at all! Good news is that tonight they decided to remove the tube and watch and wait again. They are taking this very slow so we still don't know when she will be coming home.

The doctors are still not exactly sure what the obstruction is, but they are thinking it is either scar tissue or the tumor moving around a bit. Our hopes are that if we load her with her chemo drugs it may help "shrink" the problem. Surgery is there VERY last step if all of this doesn't work. The complications of this surgery would do much greater harm than good.

The best thing we could all do to help April would be to let her rest while she's in the hospital and to keep praying that she will feel better. She gets overwhelmed by all the visitors, phone calls, and text messages. It really can get overwhelming when there are SO many people trying to contact her. We know that it is hard to wait but the best way to get updates would be to wait for them to be sent out. It may take a while, but if we don't know anything, then there is no new news. I know watching and waiting is frustrating but that's all they can do for her at this point. We don't know what the future holds and can only wait and see.

Thank you all for your support and understanding during all of this. April feels so blessed to have so many people care about her. I promise to keep you updated as soon as new information comes along. We do check this website daily and April is aware of all the messages left. Lets keep praying that she continues to improve.

Another thing that was brought to my attention yesterday is how hard this has been on the extended family especially the little ones. While this is hard for all of us adults that kind of understand what is going on it is extreemly hard the little ones that just don't understand why Auntie April isn't better. Please pray for their little hearts!

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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"