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Sunday, October 4, 2009


Here I sit with my tail between my legs 'cuz I've been bad about keeping this blog up-to-date. Part of my excuse is that I've come to learn that quite a large number of people view this blog, which can be intimidating. Especially when you know many are educators. I try to write good, or is it well? Probably the more accurate excuse is that I let life get in the way. There is never a perfect time, so ya just gotta buckle down and gett'er done! (Right, MB?!)

Any way, we went to the Cleveland Clinic a couple weeks ago. The oncologist there said that Mic is in remission. Wow...was that music to our ears! However, statistics say that he has a 60% chance of it coming back within the first year. Each year after it goes down about 10%. By the fifth year, he has a 5% chance of the leukemia returning. This is why we need his sister and brother to get tested to see if they are a match for bone marrow. It's a precaution so that if he needs a bone marrow transplant, it will be on record. We were taught that a sibling, same mom and dad, is your best chance for a match. Please pray that it won't come to this.

Many of you have told me that you keep Mic and our family in your prayers. I want you to hear me say again, your prayers are being answered! We have so much peace about the situation. Peace is a wonderful gift from God, so thank you again!

We head out to Disney soon. Like many, we are battling sniffles, coughs and sore throats. My biggest concern is that we are healthy enough to enjoy our trip. We wouldn't be going if it wasn't for the kindness of the Woodridge H.S. staff and students. They raised the money through a dance and talent show to send us. Thank you again for your friendship, love and support. You will always have a special place in the heart of the Becerra family. I will make every effort to post pictures from the trip.

My dear friend, Bridgitte, is still in ICU battling infections. Please pray that she continues to fight and has a complete recovery.

While I have your attention, I have recently become involved with a Youth for Christ organization called, The Garage. I'm excited about the ministry because it reaches out to our local troubled teens. If you would like to help, I'm hosting a FUN-raiser. Please contact me and check out the link for more information.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cleveland Clinic

Please forgive us for taking so long to update this blog. Many would like to know if their prayers have been answered and we have been lazy in keeping you informed. This blog has been therapeutic as a means for getting our thoughts, fears, concerns and praises out in the open. The blog has served as a way to communicate with our friends and family. I personally have had to tell myself that I'm not typing this to seek attention or sympathy. You want to know how things have progressed. Again, please accept our apology.

Of course, a lot has happened since Mic was in the hospital for his last dose of chemo. We were happy that once his counts started to come up, they came up quickly. The last blood draw showed everything in low but normal ranges. All except his white cell count. It was at 2.5 and should have been at 4. We are scheduled to visit Cleveland Clinic this Monday, Sept. 14th. They will look at Mic's test results and do a few tests of their own. It will be a long day, but necessary for us to know where to go from here. It will also serve as a second opinion.

After being released from the hospital, the following weekend was our son's 9th birthday. Unfortunately, Mic had to learn the hard way that his body is not tolerating chicken like it used to. In the past, it just took one Benadryl tablet and a half hour wait, to be able to eat chicken. (If you don't know, Mic is allergic to chicken, turkey and tuna. If he has any of these without taking Benadryl, he swells up and looks like he's been in a boxing ring.) Anyway, we ordered pizza and chicken for the party and Mic ended up on the bed waiting for his allergic reaction to pass. Unfortunately, he missed half the party. Isaiah was so busy with the bounce house and his friends that he didn't notice.

The next weekend we went to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where I had a leadership conference for Arbonne. Because Mic is a Vince Lombardi and Packers fan, he thought we should travel 9 hours to Green Bay as a family getaway. (I'm not complaining, it's just that 9 hours is a long time driving on a flat, straight highway. And Chicago traffic is no picnic!) Regardless, it was a change of scenery from the sterile hospital walls. We ate dinner at a renovated train station along the bay and visited an all-year around kiddie amusement park. Mic took the kids to Lambeau field, where they went on a guided tour and bought a new cheese head. (Our old one somehow got bite marks in it.)

A funny story that came out of that visit was when Mic took the kids to swim in the hotel pool. The kids LOVE the hot tub and their daddy decided to join them. As he walked to sit with the kids, he noticed that a couple was relaxing there. When he approached, he saw that the couple's eyes get wider and soon they exit the hot tub. It was later that he realized the pair saw the 4 scars on his chest from the catheters, and possibly thought they were 4 bullet wounds. Instead of recently being released from the hospital, they probably thought he was released from prison! I'm certain he got a kick out of it.

He went back to work full-time the 2nd week of August. Besides the heat in the building, it's been good to get back behind the wheel. From what I have learned, the staff and students at Woodridge H.S. have been glad to have him. I also understand that most are liking his new look. He's now sporting a shaved head (Oops! I almost said "bald") and go-tee (or is it go-tea? Or maybe goat-ee? I don't know, I've never had to spell THAT word before!) Anyway, he looks tough, which is important when you are the principal.

We had fun at Cedar Point this past Sunday, a gift from a family friend. It was such a beautiful day. We are amazed at Mic's stamina. He walked the park and never felt like he had to rest. We all complained that our "dogs" were tired, but he never became winded or short of breath. If you remember, those were the symptoms that put him in the hospital. And, he's even been mowing the entire lawn. . .yippee for me! (I'm just kidding, Sweetie! You know I don't mind the exercise.)

The kids and my Arbonne business have been keeping me busy. I will do my very best to update you in regards to our visit to Cleveland Clinic. It would be great to learn that he's in remission, but may be too soon to tell? Not sure how that works.

I'm sure you've heard enough. Oh, I wanted to add that I love his new mantra. After a long day, and he's feeling tired and a bit overwhelmed, he says out loud, "I'm too blessed to be stressed!" I think that would be a healthy mindset for us all.

Thank you for your continued love and support. You mean the world to us!

Wendy & Family

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Please Pray

I just got a phone call that a dear friend of mine had to have an emergency open heart surgery. It was a 5 bypass surgery and she's having to rely on a "balloon machine" to pump her heart. Please pray for strength and a complete recovery, that Brigitte will pull through this. Please lift up her husband and 2 children. There is power in prayer!


Heading home?

Spoke with my sweetie this morning and he sounded really good. His body is responding positively to his treatment. Last Sunday I posted that his white cell counts were .2. On Monday they were .2, Tuesday .3, Weds. .2, Thurs. .4, Friday .7, then this morning 1.1. This is good news, the cells are multiplying!

His temperature has bounced around a lot this week. It would stay in normal ranges throughout the day, then go up as high as 102 degrees in the evening. They've run a number of tests, including blood cultures, a nose swab and a CAT scan of his head, chest and abdomen. The CAT scan came back "unremarkable." (Those of you that know Mic can hear him say, "Wow! I've been called a lot of things but unremarkable is not one of them!") Since all the tests have come back negative, we can assume that the evening fevers will go away as his blood cell counts go up. And because he is doing so well, it sounds like he may get to come home on Sunday. That's right, this Sunday the 26th! Yippee!

He did end up with a pick in his bicep again (left side this time) which will be removed before he is discharged. His infectious disease doctor told him he's comfortable sending him home with a prescription for an oral antibiotic. This is wonderful news because it is very freeing to not have to wrap your arm in plastic wrap & tape in order to take a shower. Count your many blessings! He hasn't been able to swim with the kids at all this summer, so this also means he will be able to join them in the pool.

Our first born celebrates his birthday this coming Friday. Isaiah turns 9 on the 31st. And did you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger's birthday is on the 30th? He'll be 62. J.K. Rowling (author) celebrates her 44th birthday and Wesley Snipes (actor) celebrates his 47th birthday, both on the 31st. (Google's a wonderful tool!)

Praying that this will be his final treatment and that he will be in remission...forever! His oncologist prefers to do 4 rounds of maintenance treatment, which would take us into August. But because he develops the fevers, it seems that this will be his final dose. Some doctors say 3 maintenance rounds, some say 4. He had 3 maintenance rounds of chemotherapy.

I'm not certain where we go from here. I understand we will visit the Cleveland Clinic for a second opinion. I'm sure that he will have his blood drawn frequently. We understand that his immune system won't be what it used to be, so lots of hand washing! Seems that it's the best way for all of us to stay healthy.

Thank you for all of your support. It's been such a blessing to connect with you and have you pray on our behalf. God hears your prayers.

Wendy and Family

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Counts Are Down

A quick up-date to let you know that Mic was admitted today. His counts are very low. White cell count is down to .2 (that's not a typo), hemoglobin count is at 7, and platelets are at 8. His temperature was up to 103.4 when we got to his hospital room.

I just got off the phone with one of his many favorite nurses, Megan, WE LOVE MEGAN! and she let me know that he had 2 doses of anti-biotics, 2 units of blood and a unit of platelets. They gave him some Tylenol and his temp. is down to 100.9, which will make him feel more comfortable.

His biggest complaints right now are the splitting headaches and the uncooperative veins. Since he has no port or catheter, they have to place an IV in his arm. It's been a very painful process. . .you should see the bruises. But it's what happens when your platelets are low.

The chemotherapy is doing its job, however, we are looking forward to getting through this week. There's a good chance he will not have to under go anymore treatment, praise the Lord! Of course praying that he will make it through this round without a serious infection and that the leukemia is completely destroyed and will not return.

We started planning our Disney vacation, which will be this fall. Looking forward to it and will take any words of wisdom and advice.

Thank you again for all of your kind words. Your prayers continue to sustain us.

Wendy & Family

Friday, July 10, 2009

Home Again!

Howdy Everyone!

This week of chemotherapy went well, and I came home tonight. The nurses pulled out the pick line out of my bicep, so I have no chemo catheter hanging out of my body anywhere, which is nice since I have had a catheter in my chest or bicep since March. Potentially, this may be my last round of chemo, but this will be a discussion between my oncologist and my family. Wendy, our kids, and I are heading to Port Clinton tomorrow morning to spend a night at a friend's trailer. This will be nice to get away from the hospital atmosphere. My plan for the week is to head back into work for a few days before my counts go down. I may run a fever next week and be re-admitted to the hospital, so I will need continued prayers. God has been awesome through this entire journey.

Best wishes,

Monday, July 6, 2009

Round three or Is It Round Four?

Howdy Everyone! I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July holiday. The Becerra family attended two gatherings with several of my "Rittman buddies" and their families. The highlights were seeing my buddy Tim, creator of my blog, and his daughter, while viewing the Wooster fireworks from my other Rittman buddy, Vic's house surrounded with more Rittman buddies.

Currently, I am at Akron City Hospital going through another round of chemo until Friday. Overall, it is my fourth bout with chemo, but it is considered the third "maintenance" round.

Today, a slight concern was my white blood count was low, which could be residual effects from the previous round of chemo (week of June 8), and my doctor debated whether we should wait to do chemo next week and let my counts come up a little. The decision was made to go ahead, which is what I wanted . . . GAME ON, LET'S ROCK-N-Roll! I realize these comments show my "Rittmanite" in me, but these are comments of victory! In addition, this could be my last round of chemo, and I can only praise God for getting me to where I am on my cancer journey.

Another praise is that I was able to spend three days last week in my office at Woodridge High School, and it felt great! I haven't been back as principal since March, and it was good for me mentally to get back to what I love to do. Once again, I can't express enough appreciation for the cards, prayers, and words of encouragement from all of you.

Many of you will never know how important you are to my family, and especially to me. I do not feel alone as I go through this trial (James 1:2-4). I will keep all of you informed, especially next week when counts have a tendency to "bottom out" and I run a fever. Until then, best wishes!

God Bless!