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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thanks to all!! (Novermber 12, 2006)

Hello family, friends and otherwise!
In the past week we have come to appreciate things in a whole new light. Tate is grateful that I am out of the hospital, but is also grateful that I have shaved my lamb-chop sideburns to a more reasonable length because it has made me "more handsomer." The rest of my family seems to be grateful for much more than just facial hair that is under control (however, I think Quinn agrees this is a blessing). Overall, there is a recognizably different spirit in our home. We have spent the week enjoying life and enjoying each other. Although life has seemed to have changed so quickly for us, we currently have the opportunity to slow down and just be our little family. With medications and platelet transfusions I have felt well enough go about a fairly normal routine. Of course, now I decide what is normal... if I don't feel like going into work, I assume that I have a good enough excuse not to go!

All three of my sisters (Team Donor) were able to quickly get their blood drawn and sent back to Chapel Hill. Their blood will now undergo 2 weeks of testing to see if one of them is match for the bone morrow transplant. If all goes well, I will be back in the hospital in December for a week of chemotherapy (goodbye lamb-chop sideburns!) prior to receiving the transplant and then a month in the hospital. We continue to pray that one of my sisters is a match so we can get this whole process rolling. We all are learning a little more patience.

I grew up the Big, Strong and Handsome brother, but I think I will have to add Grateful in there somewhere. Thank you all for your fasting, prayers, thoughts, emails, cards, and phone calls. We have felt a love and support that is way beyond what could ever be expected. We realize that we have a tough journey ahead of us, but we feel up to the fight as we know we will be upheld by your support. We are also grateful that this experience is drawing our family to a new closeness. We have been in North Carolina for more than 6 years, but have never felt closer to our families. I don't think we have ever been so united in prayer for one cause.

Yesterday, we took advantage of the good weather and took a few photos. Although our life perspective has changed just a little, we are happy and doing well.

Thank you again for all your support.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

News from the Silcox clan (Novermber 4, 2006)

Hello family and friends,

As many of you know we have had quite the week! We thought we would let you all know what exactly we have found out and where our journey will take us in the next few months. We apologize that it has taken so long to get any information out, but the information didn’t get to us much faster! Wednesday Jon was admitted to the emergency room after a getting some pretty scary blood test results. He has gone through the works since Wednesday, but in all reality he hasn’t been feeling well for a few months. After waiting for what seemed like eternity, Friday we finally got all the test results of Jon’s bone marrow biopsy. Jon has been diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Before 1970 it was called pre-leukemia. Jon’s bone marrow is producing blood cells, but the cells that are not effective and any good. MDS is considered a type of blood cancer.

The only curative treatment is for Jon to undergo a bone marrow transplant and the critical issue right now is finding a donor. Prior to his transplant, Jon will undergo a week of intense chemotherapy, receive the transplant, and then be in the hospital for at least another month. Thankfully Jon has 3 wonderful sisters who will be tested as donors. It will take almost 3 weeks for them to be tested and their blood to be analyzed. They look for the HLA markers on white blood cells. There are 6 different markers that need to match. Each sister has a 25% chance of being a donor. This is the critical issue we are praying for right now. If one of his sisters is a match Jon will undergo his transplant in December. If they are not matches the doctors will try to find a compatible donor from the national donor registry. A non-family member donor decreases the chances of the transplant being successful a bit, and it also will take much longer. Time is a critical issue because right now Jon’s cells are just useless, but they are not aggressive leukemia cells. If left untreated MDS turns into leukemia which as you can imagine is a pretty significant side effect!! It would take a couple of months to find a compatible donor, and our chances of finding one are about 80%. Also, if any of you are keeping track baby Silcox #3 plans to come the middle of February so the sooner the better for us!

In the short term until a donor and a transplant are set up, Jon will be getting shots to increase his blood cell counts as well as transfusions. He was released from the hospital today which we were just thrilled about! Jon has responded really well to these treatments and his counts are up high enough that he can go back to a lot of his daily activities. He is such an on the go person that I fear staying in the house for a month could drive him crazy. It will be really nice for him to be on a much less busy schedule and treasure him being at home more, but he will have some routine and be able to do many of the things that he loves. With his compromised immune system, Jon just has to avoid sickness as much as possible.

As you can imagine this has been quite an emotional journey, but we are feeling up to the fight that is ahead of us! I know of no one that likes to win more than Jon and I can’t imagine anyone who will give it a better fight than he will. Doctors give him the statistic of a 50-60% chance of living till he’s 85, but knowing Jon it is going to be quite a battle, but I’m sure all will be well and we will grow as individuals and together more than I think we can imagine at this point. We have held each other and cried, but we have laughed more than we have cried. We are both doing really well and Jon looks better than he’s looked in quite awhile. We would like to thank all of you more than we can say for your love, prayers, fasting and concern in our behalf. We have felt strength beyond our own. Our faith is strong and we know that our Heavenly Father is helping us through this difficult chapter of our lives. To those that have watched our children we are so grateful. They are happy and doing well and that couldn’t have been the case without people watching them that loved them. We appreciate all the calls, emails, and offers to help. Right now Jon’s parents are with us and we are being taken care of and spoiled! I think we will have things in control till his transplant at which time family will be coming to help and we will let you know what needs we may have. We have so much gratitude in our hearts for all the support we have felt. It has meant so very much to us!! Emails are always wonderful and it just might take us awhile to return phone calls. Right now we are enjoying all of the simple things of life like being together as a family. Thank you! Thank you! More than we can say!
Love to all!!!!!!
Jon, Quinn, Tate the Great and Captain Cale

P.S. We don’t have everyone’s email, so please feel free to pass this along to anyone we may have missed.

More info about MDS