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Hi everyone; tonight I’ve been blessed with the job of writing up the latest Lydia update (a blessing for me because I can take some solace in the action of writing and feel like I’m helping contribute to this fight).

Today Lydia’s oncologist says she’s doing well in spite of a couple of slow downs along the way. She’s doing so great, in fact, that she’s expected to go into remission within 6-8 weeks.  Then the plan will be to keep Lydia healthy during her remission for a couple of months; once that happens she’ll have a bone marrow transplant.

The transplant will be risky but necessary, as the chemo just treats the symptoms of the leukemia.  The white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, and without new marrow the “bad” cells will continue to reproduce. In most cases biological siblings are the best matches for a marrow transplant (not parents), and since Lydia doesn’t have a biological sibling, the next best option would come from stem cells taken from cord blood donations (from a donation bank). It seems tiny “new” stem cells work best for tiny “new” babies. If no match can be found within a cord blood bank, the next option will be looking to the bone marrow donor registry (http://www.marrow.org/). 

If you’re interested in becoming a marrow donor or having your name put into the donor registery, it only takes a simple cheek swab to test your marrow compatibility. Click on the link above or call 1-800-Marrow-2 for more information. Right now it will cost $65 for the necessary test to be placed on the registery, or in May of 2008 there will be a national marrow drive & potential donors can join for free.  However, Lydia will need her transplant before then, and the hope is that a match will quickly be found.

Once Lydia gets her transplant she’ll be in the hospital again for a couple of months.  Lydia’s diagnosis is confirmed ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia), and her specific subtype is MLL. A good definition I found reads, “In infant leukemia, a gene called mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) breaks and recombines with one of many partner genes to form a translocation, an abnormal rearrangement within a chromosome. Because MLL plays a critical role in blood cell development, the translocation causes the overproduction of defective white blood cells that are the hallmark of leukemia.”  If you’re interested in learning more about ALL in children, the National Cancer Institute has a helpful website http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/ALLinchildren

That’s all for now; keep praying and let’s all join together in Lydia’s fight. Anyone interested in becoming Liz’s “scribe for a day,” & helping her blog info should first register with Word Press then give Liz a call and she’ll get you set up.

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight; I have kept the faith; I have finished the race.”

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