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Drew Spinelli Round Two
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July 2007

Welcome to Drew's website! Drew has so many amazing people who love him and want to stay in touch and informed.  We hope this site is a source for both. We intend to update the site daily with information on his treatment and keeping everyone up-to-date on how he is feeling. Drew picked the name Round2. As most of you know, this is his second fight battling very aggressive cancers. The first one, although it left many scars, Drew won with a knockout!  Let's cheer him on now as he fights his way to victory! There are many ways to participate. Leave a message, joke, email or vote for your favorite car. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Tuesday, July 3rd -  Drew is home!  After several weeks in the hospital, he is free and has been instructed to eat everything he can and have fun!  He will be staying at Aunt Barb's house while he is home and visitors are welcome!

Wednesday, July 4th - Drew is feeling ok today, some pain, but he still wants to make the most of the Fourth of July.  We are heading to Riverton for some festivities, then hopefully some fireworks - all are welcome!

Friday, July 6th - Drew had a rough night and had a lot of spleen pain.  He went into the hospital this morning and his white counts are on the rise again.  The doctors made the decision to keep Drew in the hospital at least through the weekend.  Drew is pretty bummed to be back in so quickly.  We want him out by Monday!  Keep your fingers crossed!!

Monday, July 9-  He's out and feeling much better!!  Come visit!  We have plans to hit up A.C. and the beach in the next few days. 

Thursday, July 12 - Drew, Sheryl, Julie, Joan, Tony and Aunt Barb spent the night eating an amazing dinner and rubbing Buddha's belly at the Foundation Room in Atlantic City.  The night was filled with good food, gambling and walking the boards -- and of course, Drew hit the Roulette table and won!

Friday July 13 - 15 - Drew and Sheryl spent the evening at the casinos again.  They ate at Caesars and did some gambling at the Borgata.  Drew spent the rest of the weekend with friends and family grilling out and relaxing on the beach.

Monday, July 16th - Drew had a doctor's appointment today and his white blood cell count is still too high for the transplant.  He was given more chemo to help lower the count and his white count will be carefully monitored this week.  The lower the white count is going into the transplant, the better. 

Tuesday, July 17th - As soon as Drew stepped foot out of the hospital he was off to the shore to pick up his baby (his car).  He couldn't be without it for more than 48 hours.  He got some pizza at the shore and headed home.

Thursday, July 19th - Today was very busy. Drew and his "support staff" (Michael, Cathy, Joanie, Julie, Aunt Barb, Aunt Joan, and girlfriend, Sheryl) were required to attend a four hour class in preparation for Drew's bone marrow transplant. We learned about very special food regulations, how to insure completely sterile conditions for everything that is in his room during his days in isolation following the transplant, and basically what to expect and how to be prepared. That morning, Drew's stem cell donor, older brother Eric, spent about  5 hours in another wing of the hospital donating his stem cells that will be frozen and ready for transplant into Drew this Friday evening, July 27th.  After getting platelets (his counts were very low) and an appointment with the radiologist who will be admninistering the full body radiation next week, we left the hospital - it was a long day!

Friday and Saturday, July 20th/21st -  Drew was feeling really wiped out so he laid low.  His legs and arms became very sore and very discolored due to his low platelet count.  We spent the evening together as a family with Aunt Joan and cousin, Emily, eating and watching a funny movie.

Sunday, July 22nd - Drew woke up feeling better and in a more upbeat mood. He got up and Sheryl drove him around and they went out for lunch and a visit with his two cats. Tried to enjoy his freedom until the very last minute - so Joanie, Cathy and Drew did not get to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) to be admitted until about 10:30 PM.

Thursday, July 26th - On Monday Drew had surgery so that another Hickman could be placed for all of his IV medications.  He then had two days of high dose chemo therapy.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow Drew had and will have several rounds of radiation.  All of these things have left him in some pain, tired and weak, but luckily his pain medicines have kept him very sleepy and somewhat unaware of the side effects.

Tomorrow night is the big transplant.  When you are with your friends and family sing "Happy Birthday" for Drew and say a prayer that these news cells attach, grow and don't leave Drew with his older brother's sense of humor!  We are excited for this new beginning!   

Friday POST TRANSPLANT!  Eric is officially under Drew's skin (lol)!!!  A successful transplant was completed approximately 20 minutes ago.  Everything went as planned with no reactions except for the reactions of the many guests cheering him on in the room!  The room was packed with 5 nurses, 2 fellows,a stem cell assistant and family.  So far so good! He's resting comfortably and we're partying around him!    

Saturday, July 28th - It was a lousy day for Drew.  He is feeling some major side effects of the radiation and chemo.  This is expected to go on for a few more days so even though Drew loves your company, he won't be up for any visitors in the next few days.  Give us a call if you're planning a trip and we'll let you know how he is feeling.  In addition, one of his central lines had to be removed because it is infected.   That central line will have to be replaced and is another surgery that will take place in the future.

For more info about the results and side effects of the transplant, check out 'Round Two' --it is a much more detailed description. We won't know any results for another week or so, so keep up the positive thoughts!  Thanks to everyone for their extra support yesterday and good vibes during Drew's transplant.  

Sunday, July 29th - Not too much to tell today, pretty much the same report as yesterday.  Cross your fingers that tomorrow will be a better day for Drew.

Tuesday, July 31st - Drew is feeling the affects of many side effects that have left him very uncomfortable and weak in the past few days.  He now has several infections that are bothersome and painful. This is causing him to have a very hard time resting at all.  Unfortunately, it seems like new major side effects come on every few hours and these are all new obstacles for Drew.  Drew's doctors tried to replace his central line today but were unsuccessful and they will take him to surgery to try again soon.   Drew is very frustrated and tired and we are amazed at how strong he continues to be.     

Wednesday, August 1st - Today was a much better day because although most side effects are still lingering and others are coming on, a pain team came in to get Drew's pain under control.  He was awake most of the day and was in great spirits - he had the nurses laughing all day long.   Drew also had his port replaced and he is happy that that is over with.  Although things change minute by minute, if Drew continues with days like today he will be up for visitors very soon.  Anyone who visits should be aware that the picture above was taken months ago and Drew's appearance may be somewhat shocking now.  As he puts up this fight he looks like he has been in quite a battle. 

Sunday, August 5th - It's been a long weekend.  Friday evening some of the complications became  life  threatening for Drew.  Drew showed the first signs of an infection when a  fever started and he had difficulty  breathing.   He was moved to the ICU on Saturday morning.  We stayed by his side throughout the day  as things seemed impossible to overcome.  The doctors made the decision to intibate him in order to help him breathe easier and performed a surgery to place a tube in his gall bladder (where the infection is located).  It was a big obstacle for Drew to make it through this surgery because it is incredibly risky to perform any surgery after a bone marrow transplant.  Last night he rested comfortably, and continued to improve.  Unfortunately this morning he hit another hurdle.   He now has an infection in his stomach which requires another surgery.   He will  undergo a  procedure this afternoon in which a tube will be placed in his stomach.    His body is incredibly fatigued and at risk for various other infections but Drew is hanging on.  We are awaiting todays procedure and things are looking very difficult to overcome right now, but then again, it's Drew.    

Tuesday, August 7th - Drew has been putting up an amazing fight. However, it looks as though the infection may be too strong. The doctors are still doing everything they can but Drew may be ready to set down his gloves. Please pray for his continued strength and comfort.

Wednesday, August 8th - Drew's medical situation remains very complicated and we are continually faced with difficult decisions. Some things have changed and others remain the same.  Unfortunately, many of the changes are not in the direction we would hope.  The tremendous show of support yesterday provided a wonderful boost for everyone, sharing stories and hope. Today we feel the need to have a private day, quietly assessing the best way to continue to support Drew.We will carry your love and support in our hearts. As always, please keep Drew in your thoughts and prayers. 

Thursday, August 9 -  As of 6:40 this morning - Drew found peace.

The family needs today to rest and make plans.  Arrangements will be posted as soon as they are made. 

Friday, August 10 - Our deepest thanks and appreciation for all of the kind words that have been shared in the posted messages. They help sustain us during this difficult time. We will continue to post messages as they are received, and hope you will also share your stories of Drew's life.  

Due to circumstances beyond our control, services will not take place until the middle of next week. The viewing will be from 6:00 to 9:00 PM on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at the McChesney Funeral Home, 30 W. Main Street, Moorestown, New Jersey 08057.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday morning at 10:30 AM at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, adjacent to the funeral home. There will also be a hort viewing at the funeral home from 9:00 to 10:00 AM on Thursday morning, prior to the funeral services.

Please be advised that, although the Spinellis have been longtime Moorestown residents, we have recently moved a few miles away to Riverton, where home renovations are still in progress. During this transition, "home base" is at Aunt Barb's home, 104 Augusta Drive in Moorestown, New Jersey.  Her phone number is 856-722-0195.

Saturday, August 11 - Thank you for your continued expressions of support.  For those requesting information about donations, in lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate that any donations be sent - in Drew's memory - to The Kelly Ann Dolan Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 556, Ambler, PA 19002. This is a fund that provides direct support to families in need who have critically ill children.

Sunday, August 12th - Drew and twin sister, Julie's 25th birthday.  The family was very honored that morning with a very special Mass. Monsignor Tofani had spoken with the diocese bishop, Bishop John Smith, about Drew's passing and Bishop Smith offered to say a special mass at the Our Lady  Queen of Peace Church to celebrate Julie and Drew's birthday. It was a very special, poignant Mass which certainly touched our hearts. Monsignor Tofani and some very special ladies of the parish provided a lovely brunch for Bishop Smith and our family. This was certainly a memorable day.

Wednesday, August 15th and 16th - Drew's celebration of life would surely have made him proud and pleased.  So many of his family and friends and many who did not even have the opportunity to know our Drew came to offer their condolences.  We want to sincerely thank all those who waited in the long, long line to speak with the family on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.  We are also grateful to the many who joined us at Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church.  Drew was so honored to have three very special clergymen concelebrate the Mass. Our pastor, Father Damian, delivered a very personal and comforting  homily and Father L. Philip McGann, Drew's great uncle, and Monsignor Richard Tofani, a good friend of the family made this Mass such a beautiful, very touching service.  Drew's family and closest 'guy'  friends served as his honor guard and carried him to and from the Church and to his final resting place. His treasured car had a place of honor in the procession.  As he was laid to rest; as his loved ones prayed, placed a flower, and said goodbye to his earthly body, the sweet sound of bag-pipes was heard in the background.  Many were able to join us for lunch where we continued to share our fondest memories of Drew and celebrate his courageous life. 

 Our family is taking comfort from the words of his doctor as we left the intensive care unit of  Univeristy of Pennsylvania the morning our Drew left this world.  Dr. Porter said he felt confident that Drew was already in his beloved car, with the top open and the shades on is window, driving way too fast up to the heavens - to his well-earned reward.

      Mike, Cathy, Eric, Joan and Julie want to express our most sincere gratitude for the outpouring of love and concern that has surrounded us over the past many months. The incredible number of Mass cards, sympathy cards, plants, flowers, food, phone calls, personal expressions of sympathy, very touching letters,  donations in Drew's memory, and the many prayers have been absolutely overwhelming.  We will be sending personalized thank yous in the near future - but in the meantime, know that your support and thoughtfulness has been incredibly helpful and appreciated.  We have also gotten such comfort from the many postings on Drew's website. Our hope and plan is to continue his memory and fulfill his earnest wish to help others who are fighing their personal battle against cancer - with an annual car rally which would serve as a fund-raiser.  Drew was so excited about this rally and had made extensive plans for the first annual event.  His major disappointment was that his medical treatments had delayed his plan for the rally this past May.  His friends and family are determined to honor his wishes and made Drew's car rally a reality - as a special tribute to him. 

 Thanks to you all and God bless. 

 

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October 8th, 2007 Lauren Parks Spinelli Family I just wanted you to know that you and Drew are always in my heart as well as my families.
September 13th, 2007 Talia Casario Dear Spinelli Family - your entire family remains in my daily thoughts, I hope everyone is doing well.
September 13th, 2007 Anne Clark Please know that Drew and the entire Spinelli family are still in our hearts, prayers and thoughts everyday.

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