Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 2 of the IL-2 treatment and some more pictures

Tiffany just emailed me this update: "Jon is just about to receive 5th dose and his body is tolerating the IL-2 great. The Dr. is very happy with all the results so far. He has been able to maintain normal B/P and heart rate. Getting a little puffy in the eyes and tummy :> which is completely normal and expected to gain a lot more. He seems pretty happy and alert right now, but doesn't have an appetite at all."

So, so far so good! Keep those prayers coming everyone!



Tiffany and Jon had some AMAZING family photos taken by the fabulous Clara Jerome . And they would like us to send a great big THANK YOU to her! Take a look at these. Have you ever seen a more beautiful family?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Everybody please join us in prayer...and an update from Tiffany

This is an email I received from Jon's aunt Barb. I think this is a wonderful idea and am going to be emailing this to all of my family and friends and hope that you will do the same.

"Hello Family and Friends,

As many of you know, my nephew Jon Unander has been admitted to the Huntsman Cancer center today to begin his first week of treatment for his melanoma. We have fasted and offered our prayers in his behalf and for his wife and children. His name is in the temple.

Wednesday is his 31st birthday. We want to do something more for him. So we are asking that everyone and anyone who knows and loves him, or knows someone who does, will stop whatever they are doing at 7:30 p.m. (Mountain time) (That would be 6:30 pacific time and 9:30 eastern etc.)and kneel in prayer to ask that the Lord will give him strength, comfort his family and especially that the treatment will have the intended effect. Please forward this email to any of your family and friends that all can participate if they would like to. Jon’s family will greatly appreciate our efforts in asking for these blessings for Jon and Tiffany, Maxwell and Kenadee. Let’s exercise our faith together as family and friends! Thank You, Barb"

I hope everyone joins us in this! Set an alarm on your cell phone, alarm clock, watch (or ANYTHING) to remind you to pray at 7:30 MST.

Next, I have a letter from Tiffany that she sent to everyone on the Facebook page today. I thought I'd paste it here for everyone to see and read also.

"Thanks for all of those sweet messages that everyone put on the facebook page for us and thanks even more for the thoughts and prayers. We are really feeling the prayers today because we have strength and are holding tight.
Jon started the IL-2 at 9:30 am this morning and will get a strong dose every 8 hrs. until his body can no longer take it and it bottoms out. (meaning no more urine output and heart rate goes over 200 and blood pressure is lower into the 80's/40's.) So far though his heart rate has doubled and is in the 120's with blood pressure staying within normal limits and only sometimes going low. He is having hot and cold flashes and has a lot of tremors here and there. Also, the doctors said he will get sort of a sun burn look which is already forming.
Please keep us in your prayers and thanks for all the support, Its great to know we have such a great support network to lean on during this hard time. Tiffany"

Here are some picture updates from Tiff:







Friday, November 13, 2009

Bad News: November 13th Update

This update was just sent to me by Cheryl one of Tiffany's sisters:
"I just talked to Tiffany and have some BAD news to relate... Jon just had several more tests done at Huntsman including a PET scan which showed that the cancer has spread to his liver, pelvic bone, hip, and femur. They are, of course, devastated by this news.

The plan is to admit Jon to Huntsman this Sunday night to start treatment with an immunotherapy drug called Interleukin-2 (IL-2). This is a substance that is normally produced by the body during an immune response. It works with the body's immune system to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. The prognosis with this treatment is 10%. During administration he has to stay in the hospital as the drug is very toxic. It can cause flu-like symptoms that are quite severe. It is known to be much worse than chemotherapy in its side effects, but at this point it is the last resort.

He will stay for one week in the hospital while getting this drug and then will be home for 2 weeks, then will go back in for 2 weeks of treatment then home for one week, then back in for another week. At that time he will be reevaluated and have more testing done to see if the drug is working as intended. If not, another round will begin. During the first week he is home he will be going to Huntsman for daily radiation of his hip and pelvic bone to help decrease the pain. Right now he is in so much pain he has to use a cane to walk and cannot sit for very long.

The doctors are also in the process of finding out if he is a candidate for another investigational and rare therapy that is only done in Maryland and Texas. It is TIL cell(tumor infiltrating lymphocyte) harvesting and replacement. With this procedure Jon's lymphocytes would be harvested (removed) and then cultured for 7 weeks in the presence of Interleukin-2. After that time period the "activated" lymphocytes would be transfused back into his body. The goal with this treatment is that his body would then be able to fight off the cancer. He would have to go to Texas to have this done in between sessions of Interleukin therapy at Huntsman. The prognosis with this type of treatment is 25%."

I also cannot stress enough how much they need help in the way of monetary donations. He cannot work anymore and the bills are really going to start piling up. So of course they have that stress on top of everything else. Please spread the word about this need and also donate as much as you can. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Update on brain MRI and the next step in care/November 3rd 2009

The MRI done on Saturday shows NO brain involvement. This is great news! The pelvic MRI showed a quarter size spot of cancer with a larger surrounding area with potential "early" cancer cells. This may change the surgical treatment as more bone may need to be removed. The next step is to do a biopsy on the affected pelvic bone to find out what type of cancer it is. This will be done next Wednesday, Nov. 11 and the results will be given to Jon and Tiffany on Monday, Nov. 16. At that point the plan is to have the oncology team at Huntsman get together and have a discussion regarding the plan of care.

Also a 6 week follow up PET scan will be done on November 13 to make sure the cancer hasn't spread and that everything still looks the same as it did 6 weeks ago.

This next part applies to any local family and friends that would like to help out: Right now Jon continues to work and go to school despite being in pain and feeling very tired. The bulk of the family responsibilities is falling to Tiffany so anything we can do to lighten her load will be very helpful. A few of Tiffany's sisters have been going by (and plan to continue to do so) weekly and helping with cleaning, organizing and any other household chores. Anyone that would like to come by also is welcome to! The more the merrier. Some people have brought in meals and the plan is to set up a schedule for this so that they are getting help with meals on a regular basis. If you would like to bring by a meal please contact Tiffany by phone, or email us at the blog and we will let you know how to contact her.