Thursday, February 10, 2005

The start of Consolidation

Abby has been pretty happy lately. Not just sitting on the couch. Her counts are very good, 900 ANC, good total white cell count, and every thing seems to be going good with her blood production. Since she is so good, we now get to move into the "consolidation" phase of the treatment. 2 months, 4 new chemo drugs, weekly lumbar punctures and administration of Methotrexate in her spinal fluid, and a couple anti-nausea drugs to tone down the side effects.

Tuesday was the start of this treatment and she was there with Tiffany for most of the day. They had to hydrate Abby really well and get the Ph of her urine to a certain place while they gave this one chemo drug, cyto.... something. We also started 6-MP which is an oral chemo drug that Abby is learning how to swallow. At this point she seems to think they are like a mint and therefore should be chewed up or just sucked on... not the same minty taste though I would think. Last night we ground it up and put in some chocolate syrup and that seem to work. This med she can't have with food, especially dairy or citrus because it binds with those and don't work the same.

The other drug she is on is Ara C, I don't know the long name, and it is give via her Broviac tube. We gave this to her yesterday night after giving the anti-nausea medication to her and hour prior. It is only about 3 mL but I think that was one of the harder things that I've had to do. Tiffany was reading Abby a story as I clean the tube end, added saline, then the Ara C, saline again and then heparin to keep the line from clotting. As I gave it to her, I started getting nauseous just thinking about what this drug will do to my now cheerful little daughter. I had to take a break so I went into the kitchen to throw away the now empty syringe and wash my hands. I washed them for a bit longer than usual, pondering as to what I was really trying to wash off. It's hard to give her these drugs knowing what they do, the good and the bad. Obviously if they keep her alive, or even have the chance of curing her, which they do, I will continue to give them to her, regardless of the side-effects. It's just hard.

We went upstairs as a family, put Anna down and then together Tiffany and I prayed for Abby. We even anointed her with some oil, not as a magic cure-all, I really don't know why we did, maybe just by faith, just to feel a little closer to our God, knowing that He has the power to heal her or not, and being ok with that. I really feel like we gave over our control, our desire for a full uninterrupted night sleep, and our "suppose to's" again. Not in a defeated way, but a hopeful way; a way that let us just fall in to God's arms and be ok with whatever the night would bring.

The night brought sleep, lots of it in fact. Abby cried out just once and went back to sleep before I could get upstairs to check on her. She didn't throw up either!

Ahhhhhh..... I love a good night's sleep.

Monday, February 07, 2005

All I Can Say

Well, that Dave Crowder song came on as I was standing in my living room, looking at Anna eating her peanut butter toast with Abby's fleece jesters hat on and her pjs, whiggling around in her chair like she does. I had just done the second meet at the door and switch off with Mark for the day as he now took Abby to PVH to have blood taken to see if we need to go to Denver tomorrow for chemo since her blood isn't tip top yet. I thought, ya know, I'm so glad God takes us as we are. The song says, "Lord I'm tired, so tired of working, and Lord I'm so alone. Lord the darkness is creeping in, creeping up to swallow me. I think I'll stop here and rest awhile. This is all that I can say right now, and this is all that I can give." And with God, that's enough. In fact, I'm learning that for God, that's what He most wants. Our realness, for us to just give him what's really there, even if it's not very spiritual. I'm so thankful for that. I am hanging in there. That seems to be what I say to everyone when they ask me how I'm doing. I am hanging by a thread sometimes, but God has me in His hand. Thank you all for your continued love, it is a great comfort to my hurting heart. It is great to see my little girls smile and laugh again. She is teaching me so much.

Denver, 4 out of 7 this week

So for our week "off" between induction and consolidation we went to Denver 4 out of the 7 days, the final trip was Saturday night where Abby was admitted to the hospital for a high fever. We were just about to head out to our friends house and have some hang out time, and I mean just about, when we decided to take Abby's temperature again. We had been monitoring it since she has a staph infection and Dr. Smith told us to call if it reached 102, 101 under the arm. It had been hovering around 100 for a few days but Abby was acting fine. I was getting Anna ready when Tiffany said that it read 100.8 under the arm... I told her to take it again, for sure our thermometer was wrong... sencond reading, a solid 101... add a degree for under the arm and whola! 102. Called the doc and he said I could take her to the ER or bring her down to Pres./St. Lukes. I told him that I'd be right down.

We got down there in good time and of course her fever was gone and never came back all night. Oh well, being an hour away it's not worth it to wait and see if it persists or keeps climbing. We only had to say the night and Abby was released durning the half-time show on Sunday.

Actually I was glad to go down because I've been a bit concerned about her eye. Her left eye is now drifting towards her nose and she is more often than not closing it to see better. Dr. Smith talked to some eye doctors and checked her out for anything serious at the hospital and she looks fine. He thinks it is probably just that she needs glasses. I'll be relieved when we find out for sure though because it just seems odd to me that this started to come on after a heavy duty month of chemo, low cell counts, a staph infection, and major antibiotics.... but that's just how my brain works, could be nothing.

Other than the eye thing and a yeast infection, yup we got medication for that one called in last night, Abby is in good spirits. Her blood counts are coming back up and she should be good enough to start the next phase of chemo, consolidation. That will start out with an all day appointment tommorrow at the CHOA clinic to infuse another chemo drug into her system. We'll also have an eye appointment sometime this week but otherwise it should, and I say should with a lot of hope, be a fairly mellow week, except for the antibiotic does every 8 hours. At least this antibiotic only takes 5 minutes to put in... way better than the vancomyacin which took 2 hours+.

Well, there's the update, hope all is well with you and your family too.