Thursday, January 22, 2009

We're gonna booooowl tonight...

Well, not tonight, but on February 21st. Here is the scoop:

"As you all know Michele and Andy Fowles are going through a difficult time right now. We are writing you to let you know that we are planning a bowling fundraiser for the family on February 21st. It will be at Brunswick Bowling in Lake Zurich from 12:30 - 4:30. Please send us your name & home address and we will mail you the invitation. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

Thank you, Lauren Anderson, Ann Marie Belgrave, Amy Waco, Jill Fornelli"

If you would like more info, shoot me an email at and I will get you in the know.

**Attention girls from high fun would it be to all get together with our kids and put our bowling skills from gym class to good use??? Let me know if you want to set up some teams :)

Also, here is the latest from Michelle on her 3rd treatment:

"It's me again ... I hope this note finds everyone well. Overall I have some good information to share today. Every day seems to be another day filled with a wealth of knowledge and another day in which I realize how little I knew before today.

My dad was the lucky one who joined me in my treatment today ... actually, I was the lucky one. The hours I had with him today were some of the best hours I have had in a long time, which probably seems ironic given how we spent those hours together today.

I arrived at 8:30 this morning to have my usual 13 viles of blood drawn by two of the funniest and sweetest phlebotomists I have ever met. Always nice to have a good laugh while they are filling 13 viles with your blood :) After that, I had the opportunity to meet with my doctor and discuss some of the side effects I am experiencing. I have now been flagged as the lucky lab rat who is not only receiving the drug in this clinical trial, but is also experiencing just about every side effect that has been noted to date as a result of the drug. Ok so maybe that isn't all "lucky", but I have to be happy and thankful for the fact that I am not receiving the placebo.

Up to this point I have been experiencing delightful side effects such as itchy skin, a rash (which decided to appear on my neck so I could show it off), and "stomach issues". Now, my newest addition to my collection is a hyper-active thyroid. Along with the hyper-active thyroid comes weight loss (not complaining here as that post-pregnancy baby weight is melting away), jitters (like I had 10 cups of coffee), feelings similar to anxiety, sensitivity to heat, and more emotional. A combination that might just make my husband let out a sigh of relief that he is not having to deal with right now (just kidding). At this time my thyroid is only minimally affected, but has potential of worsening as a result of today's treatment. The doctor explained that everyone's body has a toxicity level and this drug is likely becoming too toxic in my body, hence the side effects.

There are "fixes", but for now they will monitor me closely over the weeks to come. If I amaze them by doing well, I will return in 3 weeks for my final infusion in the treatment phase and begin the maintenance phase which are infusions spread 3 months apart, as opposed to 3 weeks. If my side effects worsen I will not be able to receive my final treatment infusion and will be moved directly to the maintenance phase. Not too much more on that until we see what happens these next 2 weeks.

Another informative thing I learned today is that the anti-body in the drug attacks cells with many "ports" (non-medical term my chemo-nurse used to explain this to me). Cancer cells have a lot of ports, so the antibody attaches to them and shuts them down. The cells found in your endocrine glands and in your gut also have a lot of ports so the antibody also attaches to them and causes them to malfunction as it can't differentiate between good and bad cells ... hence the issues I am having with my thyroid and stomach.

In addition, I am not receiving additional white blood cells to boost my immune system as I originally thought. A BIG misunderstanding on my part ... the anti-body is not boosting my body's immune system, it is enabling my body's immune system to fight the cancer cells. The big difference that I learned here is that my immune system is actually suppressed, not boosted as I had previously believed. Therefore, I do need to be careful what I am exposed to ... like sick children ... ha ha (just spent the last two weeks with 3 out of 4 sick kids)!

And we trek on ... chin up and a ton of faith that things will continue to go just as planned ... and I trust that plan.

God bless all of you ... especially those of you that made it all the way to the end of this drawn out email! :)

One more thing, I got this email from Michele's sister, Katie:

"One of Michele's girlfriends came up with the idea of having all of her girlfriends order a cancer fighting t-shirt called a Warrier t-shirt to be "Her Warriers", supporting her in her battle against cancer. I wanted to send this information along to all of you in case any of you are interested in being one of Michele's "Warriers". The idea is we would all order these t-shirts and wear them on the 14th of every month, which is the date of her birthday (and also at the bowling fundraiser if you are attending). Once you get the t-shirt, take a picture of you in the t-shirt and on a 4x6 notecard, write some words of encouragement to Michele. These pictures and cards are then going into a photo album that Michele can pull out when she is having a bad day and requiring a "pick me up". The t-shirts represent the fight against breast cancer and the proceeds go to breast cancer, but the symbols on the t-shirt can be universal in representing the fight against cancer of any kind. The t-shirts can be ordered on the website by clicking "store", then scroll down to the section "Limited Edition Army Wives WIP Gear". It is called the Warrier T-shirt. They are $20 each and please note that they are tiny-T's, so for example we got Michele a Large and it is tight fitting. If you would prefer a regular t-shirt, ordering the double XL gets you an equivalent to a mens large standard t-shirt.If you are interested, please send me your picture and encouragement card once you get your t-shirt.

Love, Katie"

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