Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Calzada Saga- part 2

At the beginning of each "Calzada week" Becki would get lab work done, then a chelation, and then would meet with Dr. Calzada.  On this second trip, Dr. Calzada drew a drop of her blood and analzyed it under a microscope.  He saw that her blood looked much clearer and healthier.  The problem was a 400 point rise in her IgA levels as well as other lab indicators that really concerned the doctor. For those of us who aren't so medically savy, we didn't understand how her blood could look better but have the actual disease be worse.  Apparently IgA's are formed in your bone marrow cells and that is what has gone awry.

We don't really understand it either, but basically Becki's IgA is being made with only short chains instead of healthy IgA that is made of 2 long chains and 2 short chains. The real sign of improvement for Becki is if the IgA is made appropriately and the levels decrease.

The doctor told her that he was going to give her 1 month and if the IgA wasn't looking any better, she would have to undergo chemo and bone marrow transplants at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake. He discussed with her that all she had been doing to strengthen and cleanse her body would help her get through the chemo and transplants easier if she had to go that route.

Becki emailed the family and expressed how she was "scared spitless" of even thinking about going down that path.

When she got her labs back at the end of the week her white blood count had actually improved, her calcium was still in the normal range (which meant the bones weren't involved yet) and her kidneys and liver looked great! These are good things.

Undergoing all these treatments was not fun, but Becki had an experience with another of Dr. Calzada's patients that made it all worth it for her:

"The woman with breast cancer got out late like we did and asked us if we wanted to ride with her instead of taking the shuttle. While we were sitting in the very long border line, she asked us if we were Mormon - just like that - out of the blue "are you Mormon?". When we said yes, she said, "so, what do you believe?" In my 51 years, no one has ever asked me that question. It was SO COOL. I gave her a 10 minute spiel and she acted very interested. We are going to try to find a church and pick up a BOM [Book of Mormon] for her. I have taught the missionary discussions many times as a stake missionary, but this was so real missionaryish! It made the whole week worth it."

Well the month passed, Becki had new labs done, and nothing had improved enough. The cancer had clearly moved out of the smoldering state and was getting ugly. Unfortunately, it is a race with the clock.  The one thing we needed we didn't have- and that's more time.  Dr. Calzada told Becki she needed to go to Huntsman and do whatever they told her to do.

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