Tag Archive | "cancer"

An update on #JennStrong as she undergoes bone marrow transplant this week

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An update on #JennStrong as she undergoes bone marrow transplant this week

Posted on 11 June 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

Today, my beautiful wife and best friend enters Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center to receive the greatest gift that any leukemia patient can be given: a bone marrow transplant and a second chance at life with a new DNA from a very generous (and anonymous) donor from somewhere out there in this wonderful world.

We’ve received so many cards, letters, emails, Facebook and Twitter mentions via #JennStrong – the sheer volume of love that has flowed in the direction of Jennifer Ford Aparicio over the past 90 days has been staggering and eye-opening – and we want to first just express our gratitude for all of the concern and offers of kindness and sweet gestures. As awful as some our experiences have been with people over the years, this time in our lives will always be remembered for the good (if not the BEST) in people, especially when some days the burden felt very heavy for us.

The love has truly been medicinal on some days when she struggled physically and emotionally. Make no mistake about it, this has been heavy lifting in so many ways.

We’ve been peppered with so many questions and concerns regarding her health and honestly don’t know where to begin with dispensing some of the more amazing – and at times “gruesome” for the queasy amongst us – information regarding blood cancer, leukemia and bone marrow transplants. I’m probably the biggest wuss on the planet when it comes to the mention or sight of blood (and Jenn is diabetic to begin with) so this whole thing has been like seeing snakes for me from the beginning.

But here’s what you really need to know and hopefully this blog answers some of the FAQs of the #JennStrong bone marrow transplant:

Jenn enters the hospital today and will undergo a week of chemotherapy in preparation for her bone marrow transplant next Tuesday, June 17. (This will be her new “birthday.”) There is no “surgery” – just a bag of stem cells and blood that gets attached to her via her port, a pair of tubes that were inserted into her back on March 21st.

Our understanding is that there are many less than desirable outcomes that could result from this procedure – there are whole handbooks on Graft vs. Host Disease and other scary complications. Our doctors have been steadfast in their belief that she’s a great candidate for this procedure and that a perfect match and new DNA and bone marrow could give her a whole new lease on life over the next six months. They were also very sobering in their discussions of all of the percentages of living vs. dying, cure vs. recurrence of cancer and various ailments that could exist or take place during the next few weeks.

But it’s also very clear that this is Jenn’s only chance to survive because even though she’s in remission and cancer free right now, her pathology indicated that her specific leukemia would certainly come roaring back before the end of football season.

Last week a dear friend and client went to breakfast with us and began the conversation by saying, “Wow, you guys have been through a lot of bad stuff!” And we said, “Sure, but let’s examine where we were three months ago and the amazing place where we are now.”

On March 20th at 8 a.m. after months of planning with Jenn and my family, I announced the release of my book on the Orioles and Peter Angelos called “The Peter Principles” and my radio comeback after nine years off the air. Nine hours later, Jenn was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. She began chemotherapy the next day.

On March 27th the doctors somberly entered her hospital room and told us that in terms of treatments there are three types of leukemia: good, intermediate and bad. We were told hers was

Comments (1)

#JennStrong UPDATE: My wife needs a bone marrow transplant

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

#JennStrong UPDATE: My wife needs a bone marrow transplant

Posted on 25 April 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been 36 days since my wife, Jennifer Aparicio, was diagnosed with leukemia and as we go deeper into solving the mystery of this blood cancer and navigating how she will survive this diagnosis, we’d like to update the thousands of people who have reached our way regarding her condition and our situation. We sincerely appreciate the #JennStrong love.

On the night she was diagnosed – March 20 – we had to make a family decision regarding how public or private we were going to be with her cancer. Once we told our inner circle of friends and family, we realized that there was going to be no way to “hide” from this leukemia or my public status or her extended family, friends and loved ones. In the world of social media, we’re all very active and we think that’s healthy.

We quickly decided that we’d rather be transparent and go after this cancer the way we’ve done everything in our lives: “all in.” We couldn’t hide. We couldn’t stop rumors or misinformation if we decided to unplug or hide from the world – as many people did for many years before the explosion of the internet and social media. We didn’t want people worrying and wondering: “How’s Jenn?” So, we decided to simply be ourselves and share our information with the world.

Honestly, we were blown away by the rapid response, reach and love that so many people showered us with in the first few days after her diagnosis. Now, more than a month later, she hasn’t left her hospital room for more than a few minutes at a time to wander the halls of Johns Hopkins. She hasn’t seen a sunrise or sunset in 37 days. She hasn’t seen Kitty (except on Skype) for 38 days. She’s attached, via a tube in her chest, to a stand that she takes everywhere. She has no immune system and is susceptible to virus, illness and fever at any time so having lots of visitors isn’t smart, safe or feasible.

Cancer sucks. It really, really does.

We have posted a myriad of funny pictures, some tender moments, some Red Sox love from Boston, some gifts and upbeat videos, but please don’t let us fool you – this is the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed. It’s gruesome. Lots of blood, kidney issues, breathing difficulties, waiting, needles, procedures, tests, fevers, chills, rashes, itching, exhaustion, nausea, diarrhea, lesions and sores in her mouth and general aching all over – it’s the worst thing you can possibly imagine.

And, again, I’m not going through it. I’m just observing and agonizing almost helplessly while I do everything in my power to will my best friend to victory over this disease in the coming months.

She’s really tough. Just as I wrote last month, we believe in the cure. We believe in a happy ending. And we’ve befriended and met people who are survivors and they’re all coaching Jenn along in this journey. Over the next few weeks you’ll meet them on my radio show, “The Happy Hours” on WNST.net & AM 1570 and you’ll hear their stories of survival.

Erik Sauer, who is the founder of There Goes My Hero, beat this thing in 2008. Michele Bresnick Walsh, made famous by her incredible trip to Fenway Park where Big Papi and the Red Sox Nation gave her #JennStrong love and a #BostonStrong jersey before the Orioles game last Saturday on marathon weekend, is also a survivor (and major O’s fan) is helping coach Jenn through this fire.

They are living, breathing “heroes” in my heart and mind. They’re trying to help save my wife’s life. It doesn’t get any more powerful or profound than that. And only because someone else saved their life.

Jenn and I learned of her true diagnosis a few weeks ago and have come to grips with the fact that only a bone marrow transplant can save her life.

This is a rocky road, navigating a rare form of leukemia called

Comments (2)

WNST & Sport Clips team up for #JennStrong to beat leukemia

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WNST & Sport Clips team up for #JennStrong to beat leukemia

Posted on 04 April 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

Thanks to the many folks who’ve reached to us to support my wife, Jennifer Aparicio, in her battle with leukemia. Over the past two weeks we’ve known her hair was going to fall out from the chemotherapy and I shaved most of my hair on the first morning after her diagnosis two weeks ago.

I’ve received many notes, texts and seen social media statuses regarding other folks wanting to join me in my solidarity with my wife, who had her hair shaved off last night at Johns Hopkins. She looks great and is battling the normal side effects of her cancer treatment but we remain #JennStrong & #BmorePositive for a cure and a happy ending.

In the meantime, we’re trying to raise money for a great group of folks at a local organization for leukemia victims, called www.theregoesmyhero.org. My new friend (and angel) Erik Sauer is a leukemia survivor from Bel Air who founded the group after receiving a life-saving bone marrow transplant from a 19-year old girl in Germany in 2008. It will become our mission over the next few months to help him fund his foundation but more importantly to get many folks to become bone marrow donors as we get some WNST events together later in April and into early May. We’ll have a lot more details coming over the next two weeks about ways you can help.

In the meantime, for those who want to shave their heads in support of #JennStrong, we’re offering you this great chance to stop by any of the 18 participating Sport Clips in the Baltimore  area and tell them you want your head shaved for leukemia. (They will either use a No. 1 or No. 2 cutter…they do NOT use razor because of safety issues!)

We’re requesting a $10 minimum donation to the organization and we’d love if you tagged your new “cue ball” hairstyle on Facebook, Twitter and beyond with #JennStrong and #BmorePositive. The money goes to There Goes My Hero for funding and bone marrow transplant love.

This offer begins on Saturday, April 5th and extends through next Friday, April 11th.

I’ll be having my head shaved on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Fullerton location (7964 Bel Air Road) just outside the beltway. You’re welcome to join me or go to any Sport Clips location near you at your convenience and simply share the picture on social media. We will retweet and share all photos in solidarity for #JennStrong and all leukemia patients and their families.

Thanks for all of the support and love for our mission to find a cure for Jenn.

The last 15 days have been a hard, humbling yet immensely rewarding period for us. Your love, words and offers keep our energy and spirits high.

And here’s more on There Goes My Hero:

 

Appreciate you…

Comments (1)

So, my beautiful wife Jenn was diagnosed with leukemia last week…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

So, my beautiful wife Jenn was diagnosed with leukemia last week…

Posted on 24 March 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

Needless to say it’s been a whirlwind week in my life and if you’ve reached this blog you know that my wife Jennifer has been diagnosed with leukemia and is at Johns Hopkins Hospital giving cancer one helluva fight over the next month and beyond.

To say that we’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness, generosity and sheer humanity of all of the love bestowed upon us over the last three days would be a complete understatement. It was completely unexpected and we’ll never forget this crazy period in our lives.

You have inspired us and made us stronger and even more committed through your caring, thoughtful words and the offers we’ve received from every corner of our lives. The acts, words and gestures have left us feeling truly humbled.

A month ago we were in Brisbane, Australia seeing Bruce Springsteen and my wife woke up the next morning with an insect bite (we think it was a spider) on her right hand. Two days later it swelled and started to throb. By the time we got to Fiji for our final two days on the beach, she had her hand exclusively in a bucket of ice.

We flew for nearly 36 hours to get home and between the flight, jet lag and general fatigue, she began to feel bad a few days later. On March 12, she went to she her doctor with some deep pain under her right armpit. We were worried about breast cancer and all sorts of bad things.

The docs said it was a swollen lymph node and gave her an antibiotic to fight the infection. The next day she went through a battery of tests – mammogram, X rays and blood work to make sure it wasn’t more serious. On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 19 she reported back to the doctors who had long faces of concern when we arrived. They handed us a box of face masks and told us to go to the emergency room at Johns Hopkins right away because her white blood cell count was dangerously low. After five hours in the ER, she was admitted and spent the most of the overnight giving blood and getting tested.

At 8 a.m. the next morning, while filling in for Drew Forrester on fumes of sleep, I announced that was coming back onto the radio every day from 3 til 6 p.m. at WNST.net & AM 1570 with a new radio show called “The Happy Hours.” I also released Chapter 1 of The Peter Principles, a book I’ve been working on for almost five months.

The “comeback,” set for April 1st, was something we’ve been planning together for nearly six months.

Nine hours later, at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, a doctor entered her hospital room at Hopkins and dropped the biggest bombshell of our lives: “I’m really sorry to tell you that you’ve got leukemia and you’re not going to be leaving the hospital for a long time.”

Family, work, friends, goals and dreams – all of it would have to be addressed and put on hold or readjusted to a “new normal” for us. It broke her heart to know that she couldn’t be with our beloved cat, Kitty, for a month. (We’ve since begun Skyping her into chat with our furry companion every morning and night.)

The doctors have told us that if she didn’t get the spider bite, which was what sent her to the clinic to begin with, we might’ve been sitting on a time bomb with her deteriorated immune system. Had she contracted a common cold, it might’ve killed her because her body would’ve been weakened.

Instead, she checked into the hospital very vulnerable but also very healthy and strong, which they see as a great way for her to start her chemotherapy and aids her chances for recovery during this first

Comments (12)