Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tammy Jean Muth: April 21, 1960–July 30, 2012

On July 30, late afternoon, Tammy Jean Muth, originally from Oxford, AL, passed away in Omaha, NE. In March 2011, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy. After receiving a bone marrow transplant to help treat her cancer, she developed post-transplant complications—a serious and terminal lung condition. However, staying true to her spirit, Tammy didn't lose her fight because she never once gave up—she was a strong and an amazing person. Rest in peace sweet mother, partner, friend and companion. Words cannot begin to express how much she is loved and will be missed.

Tammy was preceded in death by her parents, Horace and Frances Crosson; and nephew, Aaron Redden. She is survived by her fiancé, Jeff Inman; her daughters and son-in-law, Ashley Muth, Alecia Muth and Tony Vacanti; her stepfather, Henry Alexander; her sister and brother-in-law, Shelia and Dean Redden; her nieces, Tassi and Brittany Redden; and many more family and friends.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Home Sweet Apartment!!

Hi Everyone.....This is Tammy.  It is with much gratitute to let all of of you know that we are back in our Seattle apartment!!  My hospital stay consisted of  44 nights and I was SO ready to get back to our little place even though it isn't home!!!  It's much more like an apt that a hospitial room!!   We got back on Friday night.

Although I was very eager to get out of the hospital, there was a part of me that was really kind of scared.  For the past 6 weeks,  if I someone, there was always someone watching over me 24 hrs a day in case I felt sick or needed medicine for some reason. 

I don't think I can put into words how I've felt this past month & a half.  Obviously I've done a lot of praying, asking God to give me the strength to make it through the transplant.  He has been by side helping me through!  My time spent in the hospital was not without complications!!  The doctors first found the wire in my heart which turned out to be a bigger deal than I originally thought.  After visiting with several cardiologists and radiologists , they suggessted I continue ahead with the originial trasnplant decision to continue the transplant without having to perform surgery first.  I still need  followup on my heart wire issue but that will come after need to followup on the wire issue after I have Thank the Lord!!!  

Here is what m schedule has looked like so far; this is the beast I remember >>>>

Feb 8 -- Hickman Line Placement (Outpatient)
Feb 9 -- Checked into hospital  on Thursday night
Feb 10-- Because of a threat of a blood clot, I had the port that was put in my chest in May 2011 removed on Feb, 2011.
Feb 11-- Started chemo
Feb 12--2nd day of chemo
Feb 13--3rd day of chemo
Feb 14--4th day of chemo
Feb 15--5th day of chemo
Feb 16-- Total body irradiation
Feb 17-- "DAY 0' My rebirth day!!  Day of transplant!!!
Mar 23-- Last day spent in hospital

I was required to have the port removed and the wound was left open to heal.  This is a slow going process but according to all of the health care professionals, it is healing nicely. It is considered a "wet to dry" wound cover and therefore should heal sooner.  That's another one of my prayers.

Jeff and I met a couple out here that are from Omaha, NE.  (Dick & Sharon....great people).  They actually attend the same clinic (Cancer Center of Omaha at Immunuel) that I do Omaha What's funny is that that they were there on a day were we were taping that they rembember that~~

Easter is right around the corner and the kids are coming back out!  Yea!!  Alecia  & Tony will be here for a few days and Ashley is actually moving out here to spend the duration of the the time I will spend here with me. 

God has blessed me!!  I have received so many nice cards and messages from many of you.  Last Thursday, my cousin Lisa(Jim Bryan't wfie)  is a flight atendent for Delta.  She arraranged her scheduled so that she could fly to Seattle and spend 2 - 3 hours with us.  What a treat!!!   It is very true .... that during difficult times, the good comes out in people!  I've had several good cries because I had the opportunity to  see the good that so many people have within them and I'm so thankful that God was carrying me through this so that  I could enjoy all of this! 

If you could see all of my nice cards and wishes I've received since being sick, you would know exactly what i mean!!  The niceness that has been pouring out has been phenomnal! 

That's all 'm writing for now .... will write more to you later!!!

Love to you all.  Tammy

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 11

Hi everyone ...... this is Tammy.  I just wanted  to send a message to say hi and let you know that things are going fine, I guess!!  My doctor keeps telling me I look great.    I've never been more exhausted in my entire life! Everything difficult thing you've ever heard about a transplant's true!!  I have NO energy .... not even enough to talk!  That says a lots!

I have a great support team and want to thank all of you.  I love hearing from all of you whether it is an email, text or a card, I look forward to getting them all!!  I read the cards and then we hang them in my room to brighten it.

Last night I was up all night "self diuresing" (urinating)??  The doctor was shocked this morning, my output last night was over 7 liters. He said he's seen that only one time before since being at this hospital.   Supposedly that's a good sign, my body does not feel the need to hold on to the extra fluid.   Needless to say we didn't get much sleep last night and it has put a damper on making any progress today.  Jeff has been great about doing everything!!  He had plans to go do laundry but chose to stay here with me since I feel poopy today.

I can't explain how important the role of a caregiver is.  I know I have many and am thankful for each of you.  My main caregiver right now is Jeff who has spent many of his nights standing in the the bathroom with me.  However Alecia & Ashley know exactly what that's like too.  My platelets are so low that an alarm has to be set on my bed so I don't get up alone and take the chance of falling. Tony got out of "bathroom duty" but has been very helpful with my with phys therapy, everyone is so wonderful!!
I've never been a huge fan for the Bet Midler song  "Wind Beneath my Wings" but it keeps coming to my mind everytime I REALIZE what a caregiver has to do do!! EVERYTHING!! Some of those things aren't that pleasant!!

Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You're everything I wish I could be
I could fly higher than an eagle
For you are the wind beneath my wings

A caregiver is literally my legs, arms, everything to me right now. 

Just wanted to say hi ..... love you all!!  Please remember me in your prayers that engraftment will start soon and my numbers will start coming back!!  With an umbilical cord transplant, it takes longer for my numbers to start recovery so WE (me AND my caregivers) need prayer that God will give us strength to get through this.

God bless you all!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Update from 2/21/12, from Ash

Hey guys, it's Ashley. We just wanted to give you all a quick update. It's four days post transplant and overall she is doing pretty good--although, she's been in a fair amount of pain (in her legs and arms) and the doctors are still trying to figure out the right pain med combo to help minimize this. Hopefully they will find the right concoction soon!!

Right now, it's a bit difficult for her to eat because her saliva production is down making it hard for her to break down solid foods and she's also fairly nauseous at times. Also, absolutely nothing sounds good to her...especially not hospital food! However, we've figured out some "go-to" items that she is able to tolerate, but the nutritionist would still like her to be consuming a bit more. She also has a rash on the trunk of her body (most likely a drug reaction) that's being treated with steroid creams. Overall though, her doctors seem pleased with her progress!

Thanks for all your prayers, please keep them up and pray the cells engraft as she continues down the road to recovery!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's happening so far ....

Hi everyone .... this has been a very busy second week!!  We have appointments most all day everyday.  I have had or will have every test you could possibly think of!  They check EVERYTHING!!

I had a scare yesterday.  Jeff and I attended a 90 minute class so we turned our phones off.  When the class was over, I had three missed calls and a voicemail from my doctor and Jeff had one.  I was SOOOO nervous to call her back.  It reminded me of when the transplant was cancelled back in August ... I received a call from the doctor that he had important information he needed to talk to me about.  Yesterday's news was quite a bit different!!

Yesterday my doctor told me something that stopped me in my tracks!  She said after reviewing my CT Scan, they saw a wire in my heart.  What???  I couldn't even process what she said at first.   Their best guess is that it is the guide wire from the central line or port I've had inserted in my chest.  The wire is approximately 10 cms long.  I had to go to the University of Washington hospital this morning to the Radiology Dept.  Again I feel God was definitely with me! Their advice .... leave it alone.  The wire has been in since May 2011, maybe even March 2011.  It actually goes into the vein and then curves out and appears to be resting in the fatty layer around my heart.  The radiologist felt that it would be difficult to remove now because it has been there so long.  Fortunately I am having no problems and my EKGs are normal.  Tomorrow I have an echocardiogram scheduled.

Besides the wire incident, the results I've gotten back on other tests have been good.  The great news is that my bone marrow biopsy and lumbar puncture came back clean!!  We have a meeting tomorrow to discuss the protocol for the transplant.  Please pray that the Seattle doctors are given the knowledge to know what to do and how to proceed.  It seems we are really working towards a transplant date but I want to know that the medical team is completely sure everything has been checked and corrected if need be.

Seattle is definitely the place to be for a transplant, I just want to make sure we a following God's plan.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The first week of many baby steps!!

Yea .... we have one week behind us!  The clinic is not open on the weekends so we have a break as long as I am on an "out patient" basis.  It is very gloomy here today.  When the clinic is not open, the shuttle does not run so Jeff and I walked two miles (round trip) to Walgreens for our Saturday fun!!  I wonder what tomorrow has in store for us??  

My last Caringbridge update was before my bone marrow biopsy, lumbar puncture and skin biopsy.  I was really dreading those tests!!  Actually the procedures were not bad.  I elected to have an IV sedation using a medicine that causes temporary amnesia.  I had it once when in the hospital in Omaha.  It is so amazing!  I was awake through the procedures but very relaxed.  Although they gave local anesthetic, I could still feel pain occasionally but I don't really remember the details.  It's weird how that medicine works!

We have a full week next week!!  I just pray that my tests come back with good results and we can move to transplant!! 

That's all the news for now.  I will let you know what happens next week.

Love to you all!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We're here .... no more waiting!

Good morning!

It's Thursday morning, our third day in Seattle.  I am so excited to be here, I've met with two of the doctors and I really like them.  Not that liking them really matters, but it's nice to have doctors that you look forward to seeing.

Traveling here wasn't the easiest!  We were supposed to leave Omaha at 12:40pm and arrive in Seattle at 5:35pm.  We got to the airport early, got through security and was happily waiting at our gate when Jeff noticed the flight we were taking was not even listed on the "departure" board.  We soon find out that due to mechanical reasons, our plane had been grounded.  After several itinerary changes we were booked on a sold out flight to Phoenix hoping for the best.  We made it to Seattle but our luggage didn't. 

The first two days of appointments went well, I just feel that I am in the right hands.  Every organ in my body will be checked prior to transplant.  Although I am one of those people that "just really don't want to know", it is comforting to know that I am probably having one of best physicals I've ever had! 

Today are a couple of biggies!  I am having a bone marrow biopsy to make sure my cancer is still in remission.  I will also have a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to ensure that I do not have cancer cells in my spine.  I will also get a skin biopsy.  That is because I agreed to participate in MANY studies and one requires a skin biopsy.  I'm glad to do it!!  I am in Seattle today because of people participating in studies!!

Thank you for all of your prayers!!  They are working!  I feel strong and have peace of mind.  Please continue  to remember us in your prayers. 

God bless you!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seattle's Right Around the Corner

Hi everyone!

Today is Thursday, Jeff and I leave on Monday, 1/23, for Seattle!!  I cannot tell you how excited I am!!  I really hope I can get the cord blood transplant...we will not know for sure until I actually get to Seattle and more testing is done.

It is in God's hands and I'm just along for the ride!!  :-)  God willing, I hope the transplant is a success and I can start helping others.  Today was so rewarding for me because Ashley, Jeff and I helped at a local bone marrow drive and I was asked to "say a few words."  There ARE NOT words to express how this experience touched me.  I was expressing the need for bone marrow donors...not for me but to help other people like me!!  According to my plan, and hopefully God's, this was only the beginning! 

Please keep my family in your prayers.  I am hopeful 2012 will be our year to reach out to others in need like so many of you have helped me.

God bless you, I love you all!!