Friday, December 21, 2007

Maintenance Month 3

Kate went to the clinic today to begin month 3 of maintenance. She received her usual IV Vincristine and had her counts checked. Her ANC was even lower than last time at 510 so we are seriously praying that either her counts come up or she doesn't get a fever over Christmas! (Nobody wants to be in the hospital at Christmas.) Her platlets are lower too but the hemoglobin is great at 10.
Right now Kate has a cold and productive cough but she certainly doesn't seem sick - unless sick looks like a girl jumping on a trampoline for an hour a day! She continues to be happy and is very excited for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Follow Up

I just got the check last night from Kate Hansen Day at Chick-fil-A and thought I'd fill you in on the final total. Drum roll please...............

The profit was $1470 plus an additional $170 in cash on December 1st! We are immensely grateful to the owners, Greg and Laurie, for their generosity and kindness. What a wonderful thing they did for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on behalf of Kate. I can't wait to turn my check into the society!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Feeling Good

So Kate is back to feeling well again (as you can see by this picture where she and Ava are playing reindeer). Gratefully her illness was short lived and wasn't accompanied by a fever or a trip to the ER! She's back to school this week and even feels good enough to go to gymnastics too.
Last night I previewed Jason's Christmas DVD and cried all through the segment on Kate. (It will be hard for anyone not to cry when they see it I think, so prepare yourself). As I watched her over the past year I couldn't help thinking what an amazing little girl she is. I am so lucky to have her in my life and have her goodness rub off on me just a little!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Kate came home from school at 11 am on Friday saying that her tummy hurt and that she felt nauseous. After a Zofran (anti-nausea) and a 3 hour nap she seemed better so I chalked her tummy ache up to the 8 pills she had taken that morning.
Her appetite has markedly decreased over the last 2 days and she has continued to complain about her stomach hurting at various intervals. She mostly seems well though so we haven't paid it to much attention.
Then last night she came into our room saying that she was going to throw-up. Thank heavens that little girl knows to go downstairs to get a bowl because she sure needed it. We kept her in our bed with us and through out the night she was sick 3 different times.
A boy in Kate's class went home on Thursday and was later diagnosed with strep throat. She is also complaining of a sore throat but doesn't have a fever so we are going to hold off until the morning and then probably head into the clinic just in case.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Clinic Visit

Kate had a clinic visit today and overall she is doing well. Her ANC is 680 which is still above that 500 mark of neutropenia but it is makes me nervous. She was nauseated last night (don't know why) and has a little cold so maybe those are contributing to the low counts.
I am drilling it into her head that she needs to wash her hands and keep them away from her face. We don't want to end up with a fever and hospitalization at this time of year for sure!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Kate Hansen Day

Our local Chick-fil-A is owned by Greg and Laurie who are some wonderful people. Their marketing manager, Angela, is also an amazing lady who came up with the idea of a Kate Hansen Day at Chick-fil-A. They advertised for the day on their business marquee, on our elementary school marquee and distributed flyers to all of the local elementary schools. They put a donation bucket on the counter at the restauant and pleged to donate a perecentage of the total day's sales to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of Kate Hansen. We were there from 12-2 and it was packed! The customers had to park in neighboring business parking lots because it was so busy.

It was neat for Kate to have so many friends stop by and show their support and amazing for us to again realize how many people truly love and support her. We had church friends, swim team friends, preschool friends, elementary school friends, TNT friends, neighborhood friends and teachers come out for the day. When Summer, one of Kate's little friends saw her, she ran up to Kate smiling and said, "It's your day Kate!". Kate just beamed back and said, "Yep".

We are so grateful to Greg, Laurie and Angela for putting this on and for being generous with their time and resources. I'll post the final donation amount as soon as I find out what it is. Yea for Kate Hansen Day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Flashes of Hope

Kate's portraits came back and they are great. These are a few of the shots that I like. He did a good job of catching several of her emotions that day. The photographs will forever remind me of her at the delayed intensification stage - bald from heavy chemo, bruised from low platelets, swollen cheeks from steroids, band-aid on finger from one of the hundreds of finger pokes for blood counts yet she is still smiling and is forever an angel!

I don't love the unflattering one of me in my workout clothes - kind of wish I'd know ahead of time about the portraits - but I do love it of US).

The photographer comes to the hospital once every 2 months and encouraged us to bring the other kids next time and get a family portrait done. I think we'll take him up on that!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Girly Stuff

I took Kate along for a trip to the salon and she was in second heaven. That cute little girl loves to get her nails done but what woman doesn't really? She deviated from her usual pink shade and chose "Electric Blue" this time. Whoa, was it ever electric!

She especially like the flowers and sparkles that they added for a special touch. Can't wait until the next spa day!


I wanted to let you all know that I reached my fundraising goal of $5,000. In fact, I am now at $5,200 and still going. It feels so good to be a part of such a wonderful organization and to feel like I can contribute in a small way. This of course couldn't have been done without your kind generosity and I can't thank you enough for supporting myself and Kate in this endeavor.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Today's Clinic Visit

Today we headed to the clinic to begin our second month of maintenance. It was a breeze really with only blood counts and IV Vincristine on the docket. Of some interest, (perhaps only to me) was that Kate's ANC went from 5,000 4 days ago down to about 1000 today. The doctors have been telling us that when the kids are sick their counts can really plummet in a matter of days. Being the skeptic that I am, I had to see it first hand to believe it. In fact, when they told us to go to the ER 4 days ago I said "but her counts were nearly 3,500 one week ago". They told us that it didn't matter because after only a couple of days they could easily drop to neutropenic level (below 500) and then she'd have to be admitted. I am going to try and roll with it in the future and not be so frustrated with this whole "checking the counts" ER process because although that trip is a painful process it is in her best interest to be safe.
Today Kate is tons better with only a slight junky cough and runny nose. Her body has obviously been silently fighting that virus though with such a drastic change in numbers. Hopefully we are headed for a more germ free holiday season. Can you say hand sanitizer?

PS-Although Kate recovered quickly, keeping her in my bed was not such a good idea for MY health. I had a painful 3 days of nasty cold and headache thanks to little miss petri dish. Alas, the things we do for our kids...

Another Fever - November 15th

I have FINALLY begun to listen to Kate and trust her instincts when it comes to her body. This morning I told her get dressed for school and when I went to check on her, I found her laying on the bathmat in her bathroom. She told me that she wasn't feeling well and that she had a headache. Uh-oh...fever, was my first thought but she only had a 99.3 temp and didn't seem too ill. Nevertheless, I did keep her home because I can be taught from previous experiences! We went to Jackson's school for the Thanksgiving lunch and over the course of the hour and 1/2 she began feeling worse.
We left and when I rechecked her temperature at home it was 102 degrees. Bummer. Well Double Bummer really because Jason left for 5 days yesterday so we were on our own today. Thanks to Angela and Beth, some quick responding friends, Jackson and Ava were taken care of so I could take Kate to the ER for the obligatory 5 hour visit including a chest x-ray, blood counts and IV antibiotics. We were eventually granted a pass home after Kate's ANC resulted an amazing 5,000. We were all stunned but it is very good because it means that her body was trying to fight the infection.
Boy was I grateful to be going home to my children and not sentenced to 48 hours of IV antibiotics. She is sleeping in my bed tonight so that I can keep an eye on her but isn't looking too bad - especially after Tylenol.

Blood Counts - November 8th

Highest counts ever! ANC of 3540. A few hiccups as of late are a rash and CONSTANT cold like symptoms. She has had a cough and runny nose for what seems like weeks but her lungs are clear and she is fever free with a great ANC so they aren't too worried. As far as the rash goes, Kate has developed a perioral rash which has worsened over the last 2 weeks. I learned today that it is pretty common with kids on treatment and they are treating it with a topical steroid and fungal cream.
Because Thanksgiving falls on our next clinic day, Dr. Keller will bring us back in 11 days for IV chemo and counts. We're cruising along until then.

PostNote -The rash improved after just a couple of days but keeps trying to flare back up. Since we can't continue steroids on the face for any extended period of time we are using Aquaphor which is magical!


Kate came home from school and took a great nap so she was ready to hit the streets tonight. She nearly filled her bucket but I think would have been happy to stop sooner if Ava would have let her!

Kate and Ava got to ride around in style on the double jogging stroller and still Kate said that she was tired after like 10 houses. Is it only me, or does anybody else remember lugging around pillowcases and RUNNING from house to house for more loot until their parents forced them to come home?

Here are our 3 cute trick or treaters. It was difficult to pin our Ninja down for a picture but we managed to grab shot of a stoic faced Jackson.

TNT Halloween Party - October 30th

Kate and the winner of the TNT Halloween Party costume contest. Well, she was the 3rd choice but still...

Kate and the kids got to dress up in their Halloween best for the TNT Halloween Party. Kate was asked to be the judge of the costume contest and roped me into helping her with that assignment. When asked what her favorite costume was she promptly replied, "mine". Okaaaay, so they asked her if she could pick another person who would she choose. Well, being the great little sister that she is, she chose her brother. Again, okaaaay - if you could choose someone that isn't related to you who would you choose? The clear winner - Another Minnie Mouse! So here is Kate with Whitney, her 3rd choice for the costume contest.

Here is Ava as a spunky little fairy. She LOVED Clifford and had a great time dancing around too.

October 30th - The Blues

Poor little pumpkin is down in the dumps. I wonder if her expectations regarding going to back to school weren't quite met, or if we threw her in the deep end by going back full day or what but she is having an emotional go of it (and we aren't even on steroids).
Her first day back, on Friday, went great. Monday she wasn't too thrilled to go school though and today she asked if she could stay home. She said that school is too long and that she coudn't do it. We reassured her (or tried) and sent her off. A few hours later the school nurse called to say that Kate had been in her office for an hour and wasn't feeling well. I really think that she feeling ill emotionally, not physically though.
When we got home she took a nap and perked right up. I asked her why she was so "tired", as she kept saying. In Kate's words - "I'm tired of everyone asking me when my hair is going to grow back and stuff like that." I reply- "I see. How does that make you feel when they ask you questions like that"? Kate- "It makes me feel like I'm not I'm still sick." My jaw dropped. How can a 5 year old articulate herself so well? She is growing up too quickly.
I came to see that in Kate's eyes, going back to school meant that she wasn't sick anymore and that she was over all this leukemia business. She has also been out of school for 2 months and is now like the new kid back at school. She isn't sure of the routines, expectations of her or even who her friends are. I felt like crying with her but didn't. We'll figure this out.

Back to School - October 26th

Kate headed back to school today since her counts were in a good place. (I think we would have waited until Monday if it wasn't class picture day though). She was so happy to be back with all of her friends and they are as darling as they can be with her.

In lieu of having the kids dress up in Halloween costumes the children were given the option to dress up as a character from a book and participate in a "Character Parade". Kate wanted to be Lola - from Charlie and Lola - and she convinced Jackson to dress up as Charlie (which was fine with him since he doubled as Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
I think that Kate feels pretty happy to be back to her "normal" routine.

October 25th - Recheck

Kate's counts were high enough today (a whoping 900) to begin the Maintenance phase of chemotherapy. Her hemoglobin was very good at 10.1 and platlets were high at 554.
Today she received IV Vincristine, followed by a lumbar puncture with intrathecal Methotrexate. She continues to do better each time with the lumbar puncture. Today she barely made a peep and then snoozed for the last half hour while lying flat.
We will continue on this phase for the next 21 months and are ready for it. This is the medical regimen that we can expect from here on out.

1. IV chemotherapy once a month - Vincristine
2. Oral chemotherapy daily - 6-Mercaptopurine
3. Oral methotrexate once a week
4. Antibiotic 3 days each wee - Bactrim
5. Steroid pulse 5 days each month - Dexamethasone
6. Lumbar puncture only once every 3 months now with intrathecal Methotrexate

We are feeling like we are in a groove now and life is good!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


We just got back from the clinic to find that Kate's counts weren't high enough to begin the Maintenance phase of treatment. Her ANC was only 330 but the monocytes were a lot higher at 26 indicating that her bone marrow is really starting to work. Translation, we are delayed beginning her phase until next Thursday (pending an ANC above 750).
I did learn that if we can begin Maintenance next week then July 4th, 2009 will be her last day of chemotherapy. That will give "Independence Day" a whole new meaning for us! It makes me tear up just to type that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Monday Counts

We had our follow up appointment in the clinic on Monday and things are looking better. Kate's hemoglobin was 8.6 so we didn't need a blood transfusion. Her platlets started to go up and there was evidence that her bone marrow had started to kick in as well (ANC of 230). So we had a short clinic visit and will head back on Thursday. If her ANC is 750 or greater we will be able to start the Maintenance phase of treatment. If not, she'll have another week off until the counts more fully recover.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fundraising Update

Woo-Hoo! Thanks to another few generous donations that I received today, my current fundraising total is $3,967 (which is 79% of my fundraising goal). To everyone who has donated - THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. There are many wonderful causes to support but I am touched that you all have reached out (or in, rather) and given so generously to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am encourage by this outpouring as is Kate. We Love You!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Camp Sunshine

Whirlwind of fun - is the phrase that I would use to describe our family weekend. Boy did we have a great time at Camp Sunshine though! When we filled out our survey at the end of the weekend and answered the question, "What was your favorite activity", these were the kids answers. (Basically everything!) This weekend we -

1. Paddled in some boats

2. Played tennis

3. Spent some time at the archery range

4. Played a round of mini golf

5. Painted coasters as a family

6. Went for a night hike

7. Did some arts and crafts

8. Played on the playground

9. Partcipated in an awesome drum show

10. Went fishing and Kate even caught a fish - (Don't ask Jackson what he caught though.)

For those of you that don't know, Camp Sunshine is a camp for children with cancer and their families. Their T-shirt design from the summer says it all. A child's quote on the back of the shirt says, "It's like heaven and everybody should go...but you have to be special and have cancer." The directors and volunteers are an amazing group of people, many of whom are cancer survivors and have their own inspiring stories to share.

The group not only puts on amazing camps year round but they also host weekly and monthly activities for the children and their families. The Sunshine House is fortuitously about 3 miles from our home so we are going to try and make it to an activity each month. Our lives are enriched by the lives of those families we have already met there.

Thanks TNT!

Our AWESOME TNT Disney Team came by last week with a wonderful surprise for Kate. Barb, Alley and Anne Ross showed up with a yummy ice cream cake and a bucket full of treats and hats for each one of the kids! Kate scored about 10 new hats and is having fun coordinating with each one of her outfits. Her favorite - the leopard Brittney-esque hat. My favorite - the pink Atlanta Braves cap.

They were so thoughtful to include all of the kids as well. Jackson has an awesome new ski hat and thinks that the cowboy hat was "totally radical".

Ava is in love with her "Boo" ghost socks and Kate's Minnie Mouse ball cap.

I am so lucky to be affiliated with this amazing group of people! They are a constant source of encouragement and support that I continue to draw from. I don't know how I'd be preparing for a marathon with them.

Friday, October 12, 2007

We're Home

Feeling better, so we get to go home. It is surprising how grateful we can be to be home again! Although the hospital is a good place to receive medical care, it is not a good place to get sleep. I was too tired in the hospital to keep you up to date with the details but can now recap our experience over the last 5 days. Here is a quick review of the blood counts so you understand what I am talking about.
ANC = Neutrophils=Germ fighting cells
Hemoglobin (hgb) = Red Blood Cells
Platlets = Body's clotting ability
Bone marrow - Where these cells are made
The chemotherapy that Kate has been getting over the last 2 months has completely wiped out her counts - thus the need for a blood tranfusion last Thursday and platlet transfusion on Monday. After those 2 transfusions Kate's hgb was 11.8 and platlets were 147 which are nearly in the normal ranges. Her ANC was 70 which is very low as anything under 500 is considered immunocompromised. So this is why we ended up in the hospital when Kate developed a fever. The protocol is to give IV antibiotics until they grow the blood cultures and determine whether the fever is from a bacterial infection or a virus.
When we first arrived, our attending doctor told us that we would have to wait until after 48 hours of negative blood cultures and signs that her blood counts were recovering before we could be discharged. On Tuesday her ANC went down to 60 and hgb and platlets dropped too. On Wednesday the counts looked better with an ANC of 110 but still dropping hgb and platlets. We were hopeful that yesterday her counts would improve but they all dropped again and her ANC was 60, hgb 8.8 and platlets of 68. The fact that these counts were not increasing meant that her bone marrow hadn't recovered yet and wasn't producing the cells as needed. So, based on our conversation with the inpatient physician we were prepared to have to stay for at least another day or two.
We were so happy when the inpatient physician came in and told us that he had discussed the case with our regular oncologist, Dr. Keller, who thought that it would be ok if we went home despite the poor counts. Kate's fever was gone, she was looking great and we were just waiting to see improved numbers. His thought was that it could be a week or more before her counts improved and that we could do that at home. The one downside is that if she gets a fever we will be back in the hospital for another admission. Chant with me - no fever, high counts, no fever, high counts...
We will be going back to the clinic on Monday for repeat counts and to see if we will need any transfusions by then. For now, Kate is doing great. She is smiley, her spirits are up as usual and she has a lot more energy than you would expect for a girl with a hemoglobin of 8.8.
We are headed to Camp Sunshine Family Weekend today and tomorrow and are really looking forward to it. This is a camp for children with cancer and for their families. There is a physician on site and it is an hour outside of Atlanta so we should be safe should Kate develop any fever or other complication. We'll post some pictures when we get back!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

First Admission

Bummer. Not 2 hours after the last post Kate developed a fever! I swear that I jinxed us. After her platlet transfusion we left the hospital and she was really tired so she took a nap. After 3 hours she woke up and told me that her head hurt and felt "smooshy". I put my hand on her forhead and she was hot. Took the temperature and it was 101 degrees. Big time bummer. We knew that with her counts so low she was going to have to be admitted.
She is doing fine now but will have to stay in the hospital for a few days, until her blood cultures are negative and her blood counts start trending up. As always, please keep her in your prayers. I will post more tomorrow when I am less sleepy.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Platlets too!

Not too surprised that Kate did end up needing platlets today. Her platlet count went down from 23 on Thursday to 14 today. She also had a little bleeding last night so they went ahead and transfused her. The platlets have a thick yellow appearance (like congealed movie popcorn butter - yummy) so we teased Kate that she tastes buttery and that we want to eat her up now.

Her ANC was also very low today at 60 but that is better than 0, which is what it was 4 days ago! This was to be roughest phase of treatment but she handled it remarkably well. We were so blessed that Kate never had a fever or required a hospitalization in this phase either. That is a pretty rare phenomenon apparently. Her reward -- another week off of chemo to recover those counts. Yea!!!

We also had a fun surprise at the clinic today. A professional group comes once a month and does professional portraits of the kids for free. The organization is aptly titled, "Flashes of Hope". A make-up artist put some sparkly powder of Kate's face, some shiny lip gloss on those lips and Kate flashed her pearly whites for the camera. The proofs will come back in 5 weeks and I can't wait to see them. Don't worry, you know I'll blog a picture or two once they arrive.

Next Thursday Kate will have a lumbar puncture, IV chemo and will begin the Maintance phase of chemotherapy. This is the last and longest phase of the treatment. It promises to be the easiest too. I can't believe that we are nearly 6 months into the treatment already. The sure hope that the next 21 months will fly by too!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I Did it for Kate!

Mitchell, a young man that attends our church, decided after he saw Jackson's shaved head that the other youth in our church should show their support for Kate by shaving their heads. I don't think that he had tons on support in this matter, but he was persistent in wanting to do it anyway. So, the other night he came to our house and had Kate help shave his head. It was such a sweet gesture of support from a thoughtful teenager. (and you thought that teenager and thoughtful were oxymorons! )

Mitchell made this T-shirt for the event and planned to wear it to school the next day for the unveiling of his do.

This story is one of many that I will try to remember and post for you all to hear. There are dozens of similar ones from our community as they continue to reach out to Kate and our entire family. We are so very blessed!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Fall Festival Scare

Today was Jackson and Kate's elementary school's Fall Festival. It is definitley one of the highlights of the year for all of my kids! Probably because we start preparing for the event in the summer time and they hear me talking about and planning for it for months. Kate has been at home with me as well, so she's gotten an extra dose of running errands, doing tasks like bagging prizes, and meetings with sub-committee chairs.

Unfortunately, Kate didn't get to really enjoy the festival this year though. After just an hour, Kate began complaining to Jason and Gramma H. about her stomach hurting and then asked if they could take her home. When they found me and told me that, I noticed that she had petechiae all her face, neck and torso. (Petechia are small red/purple spots that are tiny vessel hemorrhages. These show up when platlets are very low.) After a while Kate was doubled over and started to worry us. I was having visions of driving her to the ER for evaluation and then I began worrying about what could be causing this pain. Jason, Gramma, Kate and Ava left the festival and I got on the phone with the on-call Heme/Onc doctor to look for some guidance as to what we should do. Because she didn't have a fever, a rigid abdomen, vomiting or bleeding from another site, they recommended giving her some narcotic pain medicine and checking back with them. Gratefully, she took a 3+ hour nap and woke up feeling much better.

This picture is the only picture I took that included Kate before she started hurting. They were all participating in a cake walk in and Jackson won the cake! I felt so bad for Kate that she wasn't able to really enjoy the Fall Festival that she had so been looking forward to. Gramma later told me that Kate was really missing me as well too, so she and I hung out last night and caught up after a busy 2 days. She is doing fine now and hopefully will be on an upward swing. When we later talked to Dr. Keller he suspected that her abdominal pain and general crappy feeling was basically because she was in the roughest part of her chemotherapy treatment.

The Chick-fil-A marketing manager had a special surprise for Kate. She gave her a HUGE cow and Chick-Fil-A meals for a year! Kate has been carrying (or dragging) the cow around with her constantly since yesterday. In fact, she is currently napping with him.

I really wanted a cute shot of our 3 little pumpkins but Ava wasn't having it and Kate didn't like the scratchy straw. So, this is our one and only shot. We hope that next year's Fall Festival finds Kate a much happier, healthier little girl!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Got Blood?

We were not surprised at all to find that Kate needed a blood transfusion on Thursday. Her hemoglobin went down from about 11 to 7 in a week! She looked very pale to us, her heart rate was up and her energy level was going down. Her platlets were also very low at 23 (normal is 150-450). They are going to bring Kate back on Monday for blood counts and if they are lower she will get a platlet transfusion as well. Wednesday was the last day of her 2 very rough weeks of chemo and she has the week off from all chemo so Dr. Keller thinks that the counts will start recovering now. This picture is of Kate just as the treatment was beginning. Due to the hospital lighting I couldn't seem to capture her pre and post coloring but it was markedly different.

Kate spent the 6 plus hours in the clinic watching some shows, doing her school work and as you saw from the first picture taking some rides on her IV pole!

She also spent some time sleeping. Note the glazed look in those eyes.

When Kate was all done getting the blood she looked better immediately. This is her after the bag had transfused. She had color in her cheeks and seemed more like her perky self. We'll see about needing platlet transfusions of Monday.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hanging in There

Kate has made it through the difficult part of the treatment without any glitches so far! For the last 2 weeks I have had to give her a shot a day for 4 days and then have 3 days of rest. Tonight was our last shot and she is particularly happy about that! All in all she did very well with the shots. Her only request was, "can I scream when you give me the shot." Hey, I'm used to children screaming in the ER so it didn't bother me one bit and it helped her to get through the pain. Our routine - that little trooper would sit up on my bathroom counter and choose which arm or leg she wanted the shot in. We'd clean the area, inject the cytarabine into the site and apply a Hello Kitty band aid. After a few more minutes of crying we'd head downstairs to the kitchen for the very important post procedure treat! :)
Kate's visit to the clinic last week was pretty benign. Her blood counts were trending downward (as expected) but weren't too bad. It is hard to believe that she may need blood and platelet transfusions this Thursday but the doctor is pretty confident that she will. I guess these combined medications just wipe out the bone marrow. We are so grateful that Kate has remained healthy despite being in the most difficult phase AND having had a sister at home with croup and conjunctivitis! Those prayers have got to be helping us out.

Just a picture of our 2 squinty eyed cuties!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Our 3 Cue Balls

For the sake of those who don't read our family blog I thought I should post a picture of Jackson's latest transformation. Since Kate was diagnosed the kids have planned on becoming "The 3 Baldies". After we cut off the rest of Kate's hair Jackson was ready to let his go too. We wanted to be able to capture the moment and all be present as a family so unfortunately he has had to wait a week for his big moment. Well, last night he got his wish and what a cute bald head he has!

Every few hours Jackson will giggle and rub his head. Then he'll say, "I forgot I was bald". What a sweet gesture of support Jackson has shown to his sister. We are unbelievably lucky to have our oldest son be such a kind, loving and sensitive child. He is everything that I ever wanted in an older brother.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Month 2 - Delayed Intensification

This Thursday was the beginning of Kate's second month of delayed intensification. We arrived at 8am for blood counts and found that they were good enough to proceed with chemo. This was a good thing since my Mom was here and we had already geared up for the long day.

Kate did very well with the lumbar puncture and intrathecal chemotherapy this time. She actually told me that she was tired and fell asleep BEFORE they even gave her the "sleepy" medicine. After the procedure, she was grumpy until she saw the oreos that I had brought. As you can see in this picture, she was all smiles after that.

Kate received Vincristine and Cytarabine through her port, followed by a longer infusion of Cytoxan. This drug can be toxic to the kidneys and bladder so after the infusion she had to receive several more hours of IV fluid. That poor girl must have gone to the bathroom a dozen times!

In total, we were at the hospital for about 8 1/2 hours but the time actually passed pretty quickly. Kate watched Curious George, worked on some homework that her teacher had sent home, did a few crafts and took a little snooze, too. She was most pleased by Daddy's visit complete with her favorite turkey and cheese roll-ups.

The child life specialist, Christy, had a fun activity planned at the end of the day. She had the kids create their own feeling tree. She asked them what colors they associated with being happy, sad and mad. Kate then did a leaf rubbing with red for mad, blue for happy and green for sad. Christy asked them to tell her something that gave them each emotion. It was a pretty neat exercise and Kate seemed to really get into it. She also is still drawing Vincas and we've tacked these latest works of art on our bulletin board at home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


The Comb-Over Is Not!!!

Over the course of 5 days Kate began to seriously shed her beautiful locks. She would wake up with her pillow and shirt covered and then throughout the day she would pull handfuls out at a time. Yesterday her hair was rivaling the worst-comb over you've ever seen! I think that she was sick of clumps falling in her food too, because she asked us if we could cut the rest off. With a bit of sadness on my part, we obliged and headed off to her hairdresser. As you can tell from the picture below, she wasn't at all traumatized by the experience though.

Kate smiled from the minute we arrived at the salon and hasn't stopped yet. I am thrilled that she looks at this phase as a fun adventure and isn't upset by the change in her appearance.
Grandma Anderson and I both had to try and hide the tears in our eyes during the process because we didn't want to let on that it affected us more than Kate! Although I've known that this was coming, it was something different when I actually had to face it.

Kate's hairdresser was as wonderful as always. She and Kate giggled through the whole thing and at the end she wouldn't even let us pay her for her time. I am again reminded of how genuinely kind and supportive our community is.
Only she and Demi Moore can make bald look good! Kate is very proud of her head, pointing the change out to everyone that she sees. Her head is pretty sensitive right now so we are trying to find soft hats that don't bother her, in case she wants to wear them sometime. Who knows though, she may never care to cover up that scalp!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fun Visit

Everyone knows that Kate is quite a little social butterfly and I think that being away from her friends was starting to make her somewhat sad. As I began thinking about how to manage visits with her friends and keeping her healthy, I received a perfectly timed email from Weatherly, Kate's friend Olivia's Mom.

So we set up an after school visit at our house and Kate and Olivia played for an hour or so. Although Kate got a little tired by the end she told me that she can't wait to see Olivia again. Those two girls are darling together (and silly)!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Winner is......ME!

Well, not really me - more like The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society but I did get a $100 fundraising credit for being the one to raise the most online dollars in one week!

My total raised to date is $1,433. My goal is a whopping $5,000 though, so if you haven't donated yet, please consider it. Just follow the TNT link on the margin, it is really SO EASY.

Thank you so much to everyone who did make online donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society last week. I feel like in addition to helping Kate with her journey through cancer treatment, I am helping another person who will one day be diagnosed.