Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gee Family Update 12/30/08

Hi everyone, thank you for your outpouring of love and support for Jodie, my dad and the rest of our family.

Here is the latest, plus some other important updates.

Jodie was checked into the hospital on Friday (12/26), her fever that started on Tuesday was not improving plus she needed a blood and platelet transfusion. Jodie is still in the hospital, her fever will not stabilize and the doctors have not been able to determine the source of the infection. She is good spirits overall. Holding down food has been a problem though, so she has not had much of an appetite.
The latest news from our transplant team at MD Anderson is that we have 22 potential marrow donor matches for Jodie!!! Additional testing and typing is still needed from this short list of donors, but we remain hopeful and confident that God will deliver the perfect donor for Jodie in His time.

My Dad:
He is on his last round of medication to treat the kidney cancer. He will visit his doctors in a couple of weeks to see if there have been any improvements with his kidney. Praise God that he's had minimal side effects from the medication. Besides feeling a little extra tired and dry skin, my dad has felt well throughout the drug treatment.

Prayer Requests and Praises:
Jodie - quick recovery from her current fever and infection and a return home
Jodie - that God will provide a marrow donor very soon
Jodie - Praise God, Jodie's white blood count improved to 0.1 (up from 0.0). 0.1 does not sound like a lot, but we'll take it! Normal range is 4.5 - 11.
Jodie - pray that the immunosuppresive drugs (ATG/Cyclosporine) help improve Jodie's blood counts
Family - Praise God for the many helping hands He sends us, especially Jodie's sister Joyce and now her parents who just arrived from Taiwan.
Family - we need God's direction in setting up the best situation for the kids after the holidays. Full time school, nanny or a combination?
Family - pray for continued good health and strength (if one of us gets sick, Jodie will get sick)
Alex - pray for a smooth return to work
Dad - pray for great results from the medication
Mom and Dad - They are feeling well, let's pray that it continues
Mom and Dad - Praise God that my brother Brian and his family (Jennifer and Kendall) are in Houston visiting from out of town.

Blood Donor Information:
Many of you have asked about donating blood in Jodie's name. Here is the information you will need.

> Dallas and surrounding area (a Carter BloodCare facility, http://www.carterbloodcare.org/)
- provide Jodie's sponsor number, spon047378

> Nationwide
- center should be affiliated with the National Blood Exchange
- then provide name, treating hospital and city
Jodie Gee
Richardson Regional Medical Center
Richardson, TX

- Visit our Save Jodie Gee Facebook page.
We'll post updates, donor event details and other important information.

Upcoming Bone Marrow Drives:
Sunday, January 4, 2009 - Bread of Life Church (Torrance, CA)

Sunday, January 11, 2009 - Austin Chinese Church (Austin, TX)

Sunday, January 18, 2009 (tentative) - Chinese Baptist Church (Houston, TX)

What is Severe Aplastic Anemia:

Always in His Care,
The Gee's

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas From The Gee's

We must say this Christmas was unlike any other in our lifetime. Jodie's battle with Aplastic Anemia for one and the overflow of blessing we feel as family, friends and complete strangers cover us with prayer. Although Jodie is sick, we know that it is part of God's perfect plan for our life and His plans are bigger and better than what we could ever imagine for ourselves. So we choose to trust in Him and His promises.
On Christmas day were thankful to be at home all together. Today, we are in the hospital getting a blood and platelet transfusion plus some antibiotics to help with a fever that Jodie started a couple of days ago.

My dad continues to do well, he is on his second round of medication to treat his kidney cancer. Praise God that the side effects to this point have been minimal. He'll have a doctor visit in January to see how effective the medication has been on the cancer cells.

- Visit our "Save Jodie Gee" Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49735991409
We'll post updates, donor event information and other information to keep you all posted.

- Upcoming Bone Marrow Drives
Sunday, January 4, 2009

10:30am - 1:30pm

Bread of Life Church (Torrance, CA)


Sunday, January 11, 2009


Austin Chinese Church (Austin, TX)

Blessings and a Merry Christmas to all!

The Gee's

Today a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gee Family Update, 12/15/08

So sorry it's been a while since the last update, here is the latest.

- Jodie is at home now and feeling well. We continue to do all we can to keep her healthy until a transplant.

- My dad is at home and feeling well, he's finished the first couple of weeks of medication and side effects have been minimal. We hope the cancer cells on his kidney are destroyed, plus the other growth on his rib and lung.

- Jodie spent 12/5 - 12/12 in the hospital getting treatment for her tonsils. She also received platelet and blood transfusions and also started a treatment called ATG/Cyclosporine. It will hopefully help her bone marrow recover and start producing new blood cells. It's a temporary treatment that will help until God brings Jodie a bone marrow match.

- We had a bone marrow drive at our church this past Sunday, 77 people joined the National Marrow Donor Program. Wow!!!

While I am here at home caring for Jodie and the kids, there is a movement already in progress that is trying to register more marrow donors, not only to help Jodie, but maybe to save the life of someone else too. Look for more details in the future on what you can do to help.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Last thought....

We hope this message finds you all well, but we know many of you may be in your own season of brokenness. In fact, many of my dear friends and colleagues at AT&T have recently lost their jobs through layoffs.
And get this, I even saw my old manager visiting his dad at the same hospital where Jodie is being treated, he was having a pacemaker put in.

Whatever your need, God alone is more than enough.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;

Psalm 34: 17-19

In His Care,
Alex, Jodie, Tyler and Elizabeth

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bone Marrow Donor Testing for Jodie Gee

Jodie was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia on November 10th. Her bone marrow is not making any of the cells she needs for her blood. As a result, she is very susceptible to infections, she can bleed easily and she feels tired. The recommended treatment for a full recovery is a bone marrow transplant. The best chance of a match comes from a donor with a similar ethnic background (Jodie is Taiwanese), but a donor of different ethnicity could still be a match too, just less likely.

Many of you have asked about getting tested to see if you are a match for Jodie. Below is some important information for you to consider if you are interested in getting tested. Getting tested is easy - it only involves swabbing the inside of your cheek with a cotton swab.


Option 1. Join the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) national registry. By joining the national registry, you become a potential donor for Jodie as well as others in need of a bone marrow transplant. Becoming a donor is easy, find an affiliated donation center in your area, fill out a registration form and then get a cheek swab, you will then be added to the national registry.
Jodie's doctors at MD Anderson monitor the registry regularly for potential donors.

For more info on the NMDP and local donor centers, visit www.marrow.org/ or call 1-800-MARROW-2.

Other important information:
FAQs about joining the registry
Medical Guidelines for Joining
Myths & Facts about Bone Marrow Donation

Donor centers:

Option 2. If you would like to be tested for Jodie ONLY, meaning you do not want to be a potential donor for anyone else, then you can get privately tested. You will need to request a test kit from Kashi Clinical Laboratories (KCL) at www.bonemarrowtest.com

-Test kit fee, $165
-Kit Includes: Two cheek swabs, a consent form to KCL and label for return of the sample to KCL.
-Please complete the consent form with the information below to direct a copy of the results to our MD Anderson search coordinator.

Michele Alvarez
Lead Unrelated Transplant Coordinator
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd. Rm R8.1602
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: 713-745-3216
Fax: 713-563-8037

If you have additional questions, please contact JoAnn Wu, Betsy Wong, Karen Chin or Connie Chuan.

In His Care,
Alex, Jodie, Tyler and Elizabeth

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gee Family Update 12/4/2008

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
-Lamentations 3: 22-25

God reminded us of this passage through a friend the other day and it came at the right time.

Since our last update we had GREAT week of Thanksgiving, Jodie felt well and we had a nice Thanksgiving lunch at home with her sister Joyce and a couple of friends. But this week has brought us some new challenges. Monday, we found out that neither JoAnn or Joyce are a bone marrow match for Jodie. Also on Monday, Jodie started to run a fever and her throat started to feel sore. It turns out she has tonsillitis.

Because we have not yet found a match and the process could take months or even longer, Jodie will start a drug treatment next week called ATG/Cyclosporine. We hope it helps her bone marrow recover and start producing new blood cells, but ultimate cure is still a bone marrow transplant.

We fight every minute of the day to try and keep Jodie and our family healthy. Limiting visitors, frequent baths and hand washing and attention to the food we eat. Plus the other concerns of finding and unrelated donor, care for the kids during all the doctor and hospital visits, trying to work when I can (Alex). All of this is overwhelming at times, BUT that is why God sends us his Word like the passage from Lamentations. It sustains us and reminds us that God alone is sufficient.

An update on my Dad: He and mom are doing well. Mom even returned to work earlier this week. Dad started a drug called Sutent which is supposed to reduce and kill the cancer cells in his kidney, lung and ribs. The hope is to treat all the cancer and remove the diseased kidney. They will evaluate his progress after 6 weeks of treatment.

We thank you all, family, friends and even strangers for your prayers and support. God continually uses his Word and you all to encourage us and lift our spirits.

Here are a few things you can specifically pray for:
-Jodie's immediate health.
-Dad's (Jon Gee) Suntent treatment, pray that it is effective and side effects are minimal
-Jodie's ATG treatment works quicker than normal (typically 2-3 months)
-Health for my mom, Tyler, Elizabeth and Alex.
-A bone marrow match for Jodie
-A fun birthday for Tyler, he will be 5 years old on 12/5

We are deeply touched by the overflow of your love and care, from preparing a simple meal to wanting to be a bone marrow donor. Look for a couple of follow up emails, one on "Helping Hands" an online calendar and resource we've set up for local folks to help with meals, grocery shopping etc. and the second on what to do if you are interested in becoming a bone marrow donor.

Thanks for taking the time to keep up with our family.

In His Care,
Alex, Jodie, Tyler and Elizabeth

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gee Family Update 11/23/2008

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

We finally made it home this Satuday after spending last week hospitalized in Houston. Jodie's fever caused some concern for the doctor, so he decided it would be best to admit her last Monday.

My dad has also been at home resting, while still visiting the hospital for more tests and meetings with his doctors.

Our family continues to be strengthened and encouraged by your thoughts and prayers.

-Both Jodie and my dad are both healthy enough to be at home.
-Our family has been SO blessed by friends, family and complete strangers that continue to lift us up in prayer
-Meals, rides to the hospital and childcare from friends and family
-God continues to make Himself real and evident especially during the tougher times.

Prayer Requests:

-That God would bring healing and allow Jodie's bone marrow to start producing platelets, white and red blood cells.
-If a bone marrow transplant is still God's plan for us, that he would provide a match soon from one of Jodie's sisters Joyce or JoAnn.
-While back at home, that God would shield Jodie, our family and home from any infection, virus or sickness
-That God would protect Tyler and Elizabeth during all the changes to "normal" family life
-For the logistics of child care for the kids before, during and after the bone marrow transplant
-Pray the God would bring a supernatural healing to by dad's body
-Dad's doctor's are suggesting a fairly new drug treatment, Sutent. If successful, this will allow the doctors to treat the cancer without immediate surgery or chemotherapy.
-That the cancer does not spread to any other parts of his body

Thank you everyone for your care and concern for our family, God is good.

In His Care,
Alex, Jodie, Tyler and Elizabeth

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gee Family Update 11/17/2008

God continues to show us that our plans are sometimes a little different than His, but in the end they are for our good.

We planned to be in meetings this week at MD Anderson and doing outpatient test to prepare for the Stem Cell Transplant (Bone Marrow Transplant). Instead, we were admitted into the hospital today b/c of a fever that started to spike yesterday. Although I would rather not be in a hospital, it is the best place in the world for Jodie to be right now. Her fever has gone down, she is resting and in good spirits, the antibiotics are making a huge difference as well, something I could not give her outside of the hospital.

God continues to provide even in the lowest of times, short waits for lab work and tests even with a room full of waiting patients, admission into the hospital w/o complicated paperwork or red tape, meals for our family from friends in Houston, Jodie's mom and Joyce caring for Tyler and Elizabeth are just a few reminders of God's neverending love and faithfulness.

My dad was also released from the hospital today, he will be admitted into MD Anderson on Thursday. But he is feeling well and is enjoying being at home for now.

MD Anderson is an amazing place to see. I've only really seen it from the outside all these years growing up in Houston, but I really appreciate the work that goes on here. There are some really sick people getting cared for at this hospital, unfortunately we are one of them right now.

In His care,
The Gee family

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gee Family Update 11/15/2008

Thank you everyone for lifting up our family in prayer and holding us close to your hearts. We praise God for the friends, family and even complete strangers that are praying for us.

Here is an update and some prayer requests. Also, below is an email from my brother Brian on specifics on our dad.

Our whole family is headed down to Houston this week along with Joyce (Jodie's sister) and their mom. The plan is to meet with with Dr. Richard Champlin and his team at MD Anderson.

-Pray for a supernatural healing from God
-pray for wisdom and clear understanding from our doctors on the right treatment and care for Jodie
-pray that Jodie stays free of infection, sickness and any cuts and bruises.

The Family
-Tyler and Elizabeth adjust well to all the changes
-Tyler and Elizabeth and Alex stay healthy and strong
-PTL for Mrs.Lin and Joyce, they have been caring for us keep them strong and healthy
-If bone marrow transplant is the path, that Joyce or Joann would be an exact tissue match and that God's care is over them during the process.

-God has given our family peace and a strength that can only be from Him.
-Family, friends and even people we do not know are praying for us and are walking beside us, near and far.
-That Tyler has been able to experience some normalcy this week by going to preschool twice and celebrating the end of his soccer season with a pizza party with his soccer team.
-Our friends and family in Houston that are helping us with housing, meals and general love and care.
-Your messages and emails, they continue to be a key source of strength and encouragement.
-Psalm 121, this passage has been extremely comforting for us these last couple of days.

God is Good!

-Alex, Jodie, Tyler and Elizabeth

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Our Hearts are Broken, But Our Faith is Strong

posted by Gee Family on November 13, 2008

I don't really remember dates very well, but November 10th and 12th, 2008 will be hard ones to forget.

One Monday the 10th we found out Jodie is battling something called Aplastic Anemia (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aplastic-anemia/DS00322/DSECTION=causes).

And then on Wednesday the 12th our family received more devastating news, my dad Jon Gee has cancer (Kidney)

Both events were sudden and unexpected (like being able to prepare for them makes it any easier).

But we send this note today to give glory to God. Although we are devastated and broken, we feel a peace, comfort and strength that can only be from God. Our faith journey is just beginning, but we trust in God's sovereignty and will for our lives.

We'll send more updates and prayer requests for sure, but we wanted to take this one moment of complete brokenness to give praise, honor and glory to God for his promise to never leave us or forsake us.

Thank you all for your love and concern for our family. We continue to covet your prayers.

-Alex, Jodie, Tyler and Elizabeth

"For this reason I kneel before the Father... I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19

Monday, November 10, 2008

Aplastic Anemia - The beginning of it all

Aplastic Anemia - The beginning of it all
posted by Gee Family on November 10, 2008

This is our original email that explains how we have arrived at this point in our Faith Journey:

Last Wednesday I had to make a trip to the ER due to a low platelet count. Backing up a couple of weeks ago, I had a routine physical done and my doctor had asked me to come back in for a follow-up. He told me that I may have an issue with my thyroid and that he wanted me to get some extra blood testing done. Also, my platelet levels were slightly lower (113000 -- normal is a minimum of 150000) than they should have been and since I had been experiencing some abnormal bruising, he wanted me to see a hematologist.

The day after my follow-up blood test (done for my thyroid), my doctor called and wanted me to go immediately to the ER for a platelet transfusion because my platelet count dropped to 6000 in just two weeks. I thought I'd be back at home that evening in time to make Tyler's lunch for school the next day, but I was wrong. I ended up being admitted into the hospital for safety (low platelet levels = blood not being able to clot). The hematologist also decided to start me on steroids to help my body produce platelets on its own instead of the platelet transfusion.

Initially, the doctors were thinking that I had something called ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), where antibodies produced in my body attack my platelets. However, the following morning, not only did my platelet levels go down to 1000, but my red and white blood cell counts were down. My understanding is that with ITP, only the platelet levels are affected. Due to the decline in my platelets, red and white blood cells my doctor decided to do a bone marrow biopsy for more comprehensive test on what was going on. Basically he wanted to find out if I had Leukemia or aplastic anemia.

By Friday morning my body had responded well to the platelet transfusion, rounds of steroids and a round of Neutroplast (to build up my white blood cells) AND we found out that I am not fighting Leukemia. I was able to go home for the weekend and spend it with family. However at my follow-up visit today, we were told that I have severe aplastic anemia (my bone marrow is not producing any blood cells). Initially, we were going to go the route of medication to see if my body would regulate itself and then a bone marrow transplant if the medication did not work.

After my doctor consulted a colleague at MD Anderson, he wants me to go ahead and pursue the bone marrow transplant ASAP. We will most likely be traveling to Houston in the next day or two so we meet with the doctors there.

My family and I would cherish your prayers as we embark on this journey. We know that God is in control of all of that is going on in our lives and that His plan is perfect. A few prayer requests that we have are:

- Praise for God's perfect timing in all that is going on (going in for my physical - which I had been putting off, my mother is here from Taiwan and has been able to help watch our kids) and friends that God has put into our lives to encourage us and help us through medical questions we have.

- Thankfulness that the prognosis is 80% survival.

- We would find a bone marrow match for me ASAP. The two most likely matches for me would be one of my two sisters, JoAnn and Joyce.

- That he would keep me healthy since my white blood cell count is low and my body would not be able to fight any infection.

- Strength and peace for Alex as he has the extra burden of caring for the daily household tasks and Tyler and Elizabeth, as well as work stress.

- That our children, Tyler (almost 5) and Elizabeth (1), would be healthy during this process so I may be in contact with them. Also that they would have a peace about any changes will occur, even though they may not understand them.

We cannot thank you enough for lifting us up in your prayers!

In Him,
Alex, Jodie, Tyler and Elizabeth