Monday, March 31, 2008

For a Limited Time

You can donate to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!!! Well okay, not really. You can always donate but I am only going to run one more marathon this year (I swear) so for a limited time you can donate through me. Clicking on THIS will get you directly to my webpage. From there all you need is a credit card and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others (laying it on kind of thick aren't I?). Seriously, Team in Training is hoping to cross the billion dollar fundraising mark this year and we need your help to do it! Thanks for considering the cause. We love you!

Home Again

Kate's counts today were better! She's technically still neutropenic (ANC of 450) but she no longer has a fever and is feeling good so they let us go. Also, her hemoglobin is 8.2 and appears to be on the rise as well. I was very grateful to see her doctor in the hospital and for him to say exactly what I wanted to hear. He told me that the drastic change in her counts can't necessarily be explained but that "it didn't mean anything bad". So good to hear!
Kate's chemo is on hold until we go to the clinic on Thursday. The counts should be high enough by then to restart the chemo and we'll be back to business as usual. This was just a little bump in the journey to a cure.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hospital Update

Kate hasn't had a fever since last night but she's still getting antibiotics every 8 hours. She is definitely feeling better today, she's eating, doing crafts and our favorite smile is back. Not surprisingly, her blood counts didn't magically improve today but weren't drastically lower either. As long as we are talking numbers too, it seems that one of the lab values is wrong. Kate's hemoglobin taken at 5:30 pm last night was 7.6 and at 4:30 am today it was 8.6. Ummm, that's impossible - so we'll see what it is tomorrow and then we'll know which one was correct.
We were so happy to see that our nurse practitioner was on-call today! It was very nice to see the familiar face and to talk with somebody who knows Kate. After spending some time talking with her and the attending about Kate's counts, I feel less nervous. Apparently, the numbers can take such a drastic dive from a viral illness (even if it can't be explained physiologically) so we are just going to keep checking the numbers and see where we end up. She explained that a mechanism has been built into Kate's protocol for determining when/if they need to check out her bone marrow and do a biopsy. I feel better about that too. She's not there so we are doing good! They are holding her chemo until the counts rebound and will probably start her back on lower doses once we are discharged.
Hopefully her cultures won't grow anything and her numbers will bounce back. If so, we'll be able to go home in a day or so. As always, I'll keep you up to date. Thanks for your prayers!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bump in the Road

Kate was admitted to the hospital today. She has been fighting something for the last 3 days but today brought a temperature of 101 and instead of celebrating Jason's birthday we went to the ER. I was sure that all we'd need was some antibiotics, some blood cultures and a follow-up on Monday but was surprised to see that all of her counts were low. Her ANC, the count that indicates the bodies ability to fight infection) was 230 (anything below 500 with fever is an automatic admission).
What is concerning me more right now is that her hemoglobin dropped from the high 10's 2 weeks ago to 7.6. She isn't bleeding and there hasn't been a change in her therapy so I don't know why that would be the case. I am anxious to talk to the heme/onc doctor in the morning and find out more. I am hoping that he'll tell me it happens all of the time and not to worry.
For now, Kate and I are kickin' it in the AFLAC cancer center and trying to make a "party" out of our stay. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Miss Pixie

As you could probably tell from the last post, Kate's hair is really coming in. It is as soft as newborn hair and definitely has some wave to it. Her hair was beginning to look like permanent bed head so we thought we'd try to shape it and help it grow out looking a little bit cleaner.

Here is the final shot. Which in truth, isn't much different from the before shot except around the ears and back. The stylist is trying to grow out the top and work toward her cute bob cut again. We think she can pull off any hair style though! In our eyes she's been adorable bald and now with a pixie cut too!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Clinic Visit

Kate's clinic visit was a highly anticipated one for me this week. Since she'd been so on again/off again sick and puny I was worried about her counts. They are holding strong though. Her ANC is 690 and although they'd like it to be around 1500, it is above the neutropenia marker of 500. Her hemoglobin continues to hold it's place in the 10's so we are doing good!
Kate's NP and I had a good talk about her counts She told me that both practitioners and parents tend to pay so much attention to the numbers or "counts" that we sometimes forget that the kids are getting several forms of chemotherapy and that they can feel bad, especially if they have some sort of bug on top of it all. It was a good reassuring talk that this Mom needed. :)

Friday, March 7, 2008


Sometimes I have a hard time posting about things as they are going on, in part because I have too much emotion surrounding the topic. Last Thursday Kate told me her tummy didn't feel good. She was also very pale and began complaining about her knee hurting even though she hadn't injured herself (bone pain is a big worry for leukemia kids and makes Moms very anxious about the very bad word - Relapse). The next morning Kate wouldn't eat (which is VERY unusual for her) and then she threw up later in the day. The highest her temp got was 100.0 but I just had this sinking feeling that about 5pm she'd spike a temp, so I called the clinic. The nurse said that they were seeing lots of viruses like this and not to worry too much but of course bring her in if her temperature reached 100.5. All weekend long Kate kept telling me how tired she was and took several naps at her own request. She'd perk up a bit after awaking but then feel punky again not long after getting up. I checked her temperature way too many times last weekend!
Let me say that Kate does have an amazing prognosis and the odds are definitely in her favor. I believe that she'll be cured, so it is quite unnerving that I get so anxious about the possibility of relapse. I think the combination of bone pain, lethargy, pallor and belly pain were just the right combination to get my mind whirling. There have been a few times like this in the last 10 months when my mind recalls stories of kids like Kate who relapsed and are now undergoing bone marrow transplant or in worse states.
So on Monday I called the clinic again because Kate came home from school saying that she was feeling sick. They told me for the second time, that as long as she didn't have a fever we could just keep watching her and we would check her counts on Thursday if she wasn't better. I know that it is normal to worry but each time I have a week like this I swear years are taken off of my life.
Well as the blog title implies, Kate is better! She began feeling better Tuesday evening in fact and is back to her old self. I am so grateful for answered prayers and the calming reassurances that I am given in times of need!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

CHOA Benefit

Kate is dancing because she is the lucky winner of a $10,000 playhouse! Our friend Stephanie invited us to a Children's Healthcare of Atlanta fundraiser last weekend where we purchased a few raffle tickets. I am still in shock but we did in fact win the grandprize. Kate and Ava loved every minute of the event but especially have their hair done with sparkles and watching the whale sharks swim at eye level.
This week I spoke with the architectural firm who designed the playhouse and they confirmed that we'll be getting a 2 story castle in our backyard! Ummm, a castle? The girls are going to go absolutely crazy for it though. I think the construction will begin in another 3 weeks so perhaps we'll have them put some AC in for the summer. :)