About Nicole Gularte

Two-time CAR T-cell recipient... 🎗

24 Hours Away

In my previous blog post I discussed how I was not overly anxious about receiving my test results this Thursday. Well, that has since changed… now that we are just 24 hours away, I am extremely anxious about tomorrows results.

I am excited more than anything, but worried at the same time. I have mentally prepared myself for the worst, but hoping for the best. This is my life – and my future depends on these results. To avoid additional stress I am taking the day to sort through my emotions and calm my mind (see photo of my new journal at the bottom of this post). I have to remind myself to live in the present moment – not the future nor the past – for those are things you cannot change.

In 24 hours I will have the answers we’ve all been waiting for. Cancer free or not? Either way, this is my journey and it is not going to end here. I have a lot of fight left in me and any bad news just makes me want to fight ten times harder. Cancer can not mess with me!

Updates tomorrow 🙏🤞😊

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CART 22 UPDATE

Yesterday was my day 28 check up for my CART 22 research trial at UPenn. The test results from this bone marrow (BM) biopsy will reveal if I am in complete remission – making me a two-time CART survivor!

Unfortunately, the portion of the test results we need will not be in until Thursday, December 13th. We are testing for minimal residual disease (MRD), which will tell us if I am in a “deep remission” – meaning the treatment worked! 😃 I have an appointment scheduled that day with Dr. Frey and we will discuss the results. I promise to update everyone (via blog post) on what those results reveal.

Surprisingly, I am not too anxious for the test results… perhaps because I believe that the CART 22 treatment worked. If it did not work, or if it is not a lasting remission, I believe I may have the opportunity to try a third CART trial… the future of medicine is definitely changing the world – this I know.

I am happy to be blessed with, and surrounded by, amazing people in my life – both physically and virtually!!! I am in the best of spirits, I feel great, and it’s the holiday season – what’s not to be happy about. I choose love, not fear.

So I have added a few photos from today’s hospital visit and BM biopsy. I even took a picture of the marrow they pulled from my hip (the sample on the slide in the photos below), which is the specimen that will be used for our MRD test – how exciting 🙏

I would like to also add that in my journey of becoming an eight-time leukemia survivor, I have endured more than 50 of these BM biopsies 😳😮

After my appointment at UPenn, Bentley and I made our rounds (as usual) at the research building. It’s not very often he is in his office nowadays, but Dr. Carl June was there yesterday and Bentley and I stopped in to say hi. We had a nice, short conversation and Dr. June said something that made me smile and think – I can’t help but trust that I am exactly where I need to be.

Updates on BM biopsy next Thursday!!!!

The Best Birthday

I was able to bust out of the hospital just before my birthday which is an amazing birthday gift, but the real reason this has been the best birthday ever is because I have been blessed – so blessed to have another birthday. Two months ago, I didn’t know if I was going to be dead or alive. Today, I am very much alive and feeling wonderful. In a couple of weeks I will have results from my bone marrow biopsy which will reveal if I am in complete remission – making me an eight-time leukemia (ALL) survivor!

I just boarded Amtrak and am headed from Philadelphia to Philipsburg – A four hour trip to visit the most inspirational family in the world – The Whitehead’s! 😃

This is my third visit to stay with the Whitehead family. I am looking forward to our visit – it is homey and peaceful, and I always come home feeling ten-times more inspired! Not only do I get to hang out with Tom, Kari and Emily, I also get to see their dog, Lucy and my dog, Sir Bentley (who has been with the Whitehead’s since part of my hospital stay). Definitely looking forward to some major pet therapy and being blessed with good company. 🎊

I want to thank everyone for the many amazing birthday wishes and especially thank those of you who supported my birthday fundraiser for the Emily Whitehead Foundation – I am forever grateful.

I also want to thank my mom for being here for my birthday. I was sad to see her depart for California yesterday and I cried, but we had such an awesome visit. Thanks mom, for helping me grow stronger. 😘

And, I thank God for blessing me with another birthday! 🎂