Friday, February 20, 2009


I don't even know how to start this blog today! I would say that this day is the worse out of them all for Mike and I. I feel dizzy, shocked, angry and even more sadness at this time. I am trying to be positive, but right now needing to vent and experience this pain. I wish more than anything that this nightmare would end. I am sorry if this causes everyone to feel that Mike and I have only been thinking negatively. We have not, but even I know as a Social Worker who provides counselling that experiencing pain at the forefront is an important process that needs to be released to prevent externalization (outburst of unproductive emotion, etc...) and/or internalization of pain (symptoms of depression, etc...).

Anyway, here goes with explaining why this day is so bad. Gabriel had his bone marrow and spinal tap today to determine the percentage of leukemia cells left in his bone marrow. He was close to 100% upon admittance to the hospital. As of today, he is now at 30% (this is not the bad news), but the factor that was in limbo until today was the genetics of his chromosomes. This process was determined by sending samples to Toronto to determine whether the process of chemotherapy would be more complex depending on the mutation of his chromosomes. The results were that there was a mutation in his chromosomes, which has reduced his cure rate to 80% and not 95%. It also means for stringent chemotherapy into the second month. In addition, we are still waiting to determine one more possibility within this chromosome mutation. The question to be answered over this next week is whether Gabriel is a "fast-responder" or a "slow-responder" to Leukemia treatment? If he is a "fast-responder" then treatment stays the same, but the induction stage to cause remission will be two months of comprehensive treatment. However, if he is a "slow-responder" then Simone, Mike and I will be tested to see if we are a match for Gabriel. The treatment becomes even more extensive and the cure rate is then reduced to only 50%. I never would have imagined our life could get any worse at this time. I am praying that he is a "fast-responder" to treatment, so we don't have to worry about further treatment beyond chemotherapy. However, we also know that elements in treatment can change. An interesting aspect of our discussion with the doctor today occurred when I indicated that we saved Simone's stem cells from her cord blood. She looked astonished at this declaration and seemed more hopeful. She inquired as to why we thought to save Simone's stem cells. I stated that we thought we should do this just in case one of our children needed help one day. Upon saying this I realized that I never thought this day may be fast approaching and we may be confronted with this as an option. For a long time we felt guilty that we never saved Gabriel's. We did not know much about stem cells 3.5 years ago and Ontario did not have private banks to hold stem cells. When Simone was born this option was available and Mike and I did not hesitate. We are glad we made this choice if it will save our beautiful son's life. In addition, our doctor stated that they would never have used Gabriel's stem cells as they are uncertain about the onset of Leukemia cells. There is some research being developed after babies are born when they do the heal pokes to gather blood samples. If we had only known???

Mike and I are asking everyone to fervently pray for healing for Gabriel and strength and peace for Mike and I during this time. We love you all!


  1. Hey Tina, Mike,

    We've been praying today, knowing that Gabe was having testing done. Sorry it was a tough day. There is still great hope, and we'll continue to pray that he is a fast-responder. Let us know if there is anything we can do.

    Thinking and Praying constantly,


  2. Hey Tina & Mike,

    I just got in from taking the girls to camp, and Todd told me to read your blog. I am so sorry that today was such a hard day. Please know you can call us day or night to vent, cry or scream. I can only imagine your anguish over these new details. There is so little we can do to help, or so it feels like, but if you need a hug - we've got those.
    It is difficult to understand this journey your family is on. Know that we will support you in any way we can.

    Lots of love,


  3. Hi Tina and Mike. We can't even begin to imagine what you are going through right now. I know it is very hard for you to be strong at times, but you have to for Gabriel. We are praying that he is a fast-responder and that there will be some good news in his situation to help lift everyone's spirits. There is still hope-do not give up, (I know you won't). We are constantly thinking of you, Mike, Simone and Gabriel and praying for you all. Please try to take care of yourselves and if there is anything we can do please let us know. Love Always Kristen, Jeff and Alexandra xo

  4. I'm amazed at your clear focus. And blessed for your truth and transparency. You both are an inspiration to all who know you. Please don't hesitate in sharing your rawness, yes my beautiful Tina you are entitled to all human emotions. I love you my dear friend, and I am in awe you kept Simone's stem cells even when it was a new option, for if it can help Gabriel in any way then it is not a coincidence and along with your faith I too believe the God of the Universe cares about the days , no- each moment that you are experiencing. Each of us, who love each of you will be all and do all in our power for you, please don't hesitate to ask for big things and little things, l, J.S.

  5. Hey guys- I'm so glad to hear you're at home. Hope things are looking up.We're all praying for you. Let us know if there's anything you need done here, Mike. Best wishes, Kevin McHugh