Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cinic Visit Countdown - 6

Kate has had a cold for months but over the last week her cough has been getting worse and worse.  She has also been complaining quite a bit about headaches and stomach aches which is unusual for her.  Last night she was up for 2 hours because she couldn't stop coughing and her chest hurt - probably from all of the coughing.  This morning when we woke her up for her appointment I started to get nervous when she said that she felt terrible and started crying.  I put my hand on her head and then a thermometer in her mouth which read 101.  Bummer!
Today's clinic visit was supposed to include a lumbar puncture with intrathecal methotrexate, IVIg transfusion, Vincristine and IV Pentamadine. Since Kate awoke with a fever, vomiting and headache none of that happened.  Instead, she got blood cultures drawn, a chest x-ray taken, a viral panel done (water squirted up her nose and sucked back out - yummy) and IV Rocephin (antibiotic) to cover her until the cultures come back.  The chest x-ray looked ok and her ANC was 4000!  Our nurse practitioner thinks that it is so high because her body is mounting a response to her illness.  With all of the symptoms she has, I'm betting this is a virus.  At least her ANC isn't below 500 which necessitates a 2 day hospital stay.  Resting at home is better than the hospital any day!  
In clinic they gave her Tylenol and Zofran and she started perking up even before we left.  She's sleeping now and will hopefully just continue to feel better and that pesky fever will stay away! We'll go back next week for the lumbar puncture and the rest of the medications.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Make-a-Wish Send off Party

Kate met with the Make-a-Wish volunteers over a year ago but due to Emmett's appearance we had to delay the trip - twice!  Apparently you can't go on a cruise if you are over 20 weeks pregnant OR if you have a baby under 3 months.

I have learned that the Make-a-Wish organization is very different from state to state.  In Georgia, they have volunteers who come to your home and meet with the child individually to learn about them and to help them come up with their wish.  Our two volunteers were in their early 20's and do this wonderful thing out of the goodness of their hearts.  In Utah, they have a magical Make-a-Wish center where the children go and take part in activities.  They also have a  specific "wish sponsor" who funds the child's wish whereas Kate's wish was granted by Georgia's Make-a-Wish foundation.  I guess that each chapter is different but I'm not sure why.  Regardless, this is another amazing organization and if you can support them please do!  

Anyway, Kate thought long and hard about her wish and in the end chose a Disney Cruise.  Her wish was granted in the form of a four day cruise to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay.  
The wish volunteers came to our home a few days before the trip to give Kate a send off party.  They brought a Disney themed cake and with it, lit a candle for each child to make their wish upon. It was very sweet to include Jackson and Ava in Kate's wish as they are almost as excited as she is!  More to come on her big trip...

Clinic Visit Countdown - 7

February 28th - Kate's visit went well today.  She got the usual IV Vincristine, 3 hour IVIg transfusion and IV Pentamadine.  For the last year our visits have taken about 6 hours each.  Although we are used to them we welcome those days, like this one, when Kate sleeps for a good 4 hours of the visit.  Today was especially wonderful because Emmett slept too and I got to snuggle up with Kate in her Barney chair (a purple transfusion chair)  and take a little rest with my Kate.  A very peaceful visit and we were grateful for it.  
Kate's ANC came down to 1800 and that is great - almost where it needs to be.  No changes were made to her medications so we'll see where those bloods counts are next visit.  We are getting so close!

Ciinic Visit Countdown - 8

January 29th Kate had another clinic visit.  Her ANC was a crazy 3500 which is actually not so good.  Her ANC is supposed to be around 1500 and they don't want it to be higher than that.  For those of you that have been following the blog this must sound funny.  I have been stressed in the past because her ANC is too low and now I have issue with it being too high.  This isn't because I need something to worry about, it is just the way those fickle counts are the doctors are very specific about where the numbers need to be.  It is so strange because her last ANC was really low (around 600).  As usual, the discrepancies are being chalked up to a cold that she is fighting.  If the ANC doesn't come down by the next visit then they'll adjust her chemo doses to force them in the right direction.
Kate loves going to clinic now (minus the finger poke).  Anybody remember the show Cheers?  When Norm would walk into the bar everyone would shout, Norm!  Well, when Kate walks into the clinic she is greeted with boisterous chorus of Kate!, followed by a round of hugs.  I actually feel bad for the other kids in the room who didn't get the same reception.  Kate really loves the people that work in the clinic and we are so grateful for their ever present smiles, cheerful attitudes and love of Kate.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kate Hansen Day

The wonderful Chick-fil-A owners, Greg and Laurie Mapoles, hosted another Kate Hansen Day today. We were very happy with the response and hope that a great deal of money was raised for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Thank you to all of our friends from Team-in-Training, Briarlake Elementary, church and our neighborhood that came out to support the event. Kate felt very good knowing that the proceeds were going to help find a cure for leukemia.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Monthy Dosing

Kate's clinic day, for January, fell on the New Year holiday, so we were rescheduled for the 5th. This clinic day brought on another lumbar puncture, IVIg transfusion, Pentamadine and Vincristine. I never cease to be amazed by how well she does with the lumbar puncture. She is drugged, but definitely awake and while she feels the pokes she cooperates. That is a lot more than I can say for my patients!
Kate really looks forward to the alone time with me and so I was concerned about how she would feel about bringing Emmett along. Gratefully, Kate doesn't put Ava and Emmett in the same category, because she exclaimed, "I get to be with him the whole day" when I told her that I needed to bring Emmett to the hospital. Whereas she repeatedly asked me "when was somebody coming to get Ava" the last time I brought her. I didn't make that mistake again once it dawned on me that those hours in the clinic are all about Kate (as it should be)! She needed me to be focusing on her and thankfully Emmett cooperated with the plan.

We were a little surprised to see her counts lower this month. She had an ANC of 670 which is hovering right around the hospitalization number. We weren't sure if her constant cold was the reason or not but we just going to pray for no fevers. Kate just keeps on going no matter what and that gives us comfort. Until the 29th...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kate's First Tooth

Kate lost her first tooth on December 31st! A few days before that, we noticed that her two bottom teeth were poking out a bit and then realized that her permanent teeth had come in behind her baby teeth. So we encouraged her to wiggle those baby teeth and wiggle she did. She could hardly wait until today when she could go to school and share the big news with her class. (Apparently, losing a tooth is a VERY big thing in her 1st grade class. Ranks right up there with meeting Miley Cyrus I think.)

Unfortunately, the tooth fairy couldn't get with it and kept forgetting to pick up the tooth and deliver the cash. So, last night Kate followed her Dad's suggestion and wrote a note to the tooth fairy.It worked and she was all smiles when she woke up this morning!