Monday, November 10, 2003

Glad to see Induction go

Well, we only have a few days left of our initial "induction" phase, and much like a bad houseguest, I will be more than happy to see it go. Watching the side effects of these medications has been difficult. Typically, most kids on steroids (one of the drugs) can become irritable and agitated (to put it nicely!) but Kendrie has done just the opposite -- become withdrawn, quiet, spends a lot of time alone, and cries often. The only time she really gets upset is at the clinic for procedures, or sometimes at home when taking her oral meds -- otherwise, not much response to anything. She doesn't even get off the sofa, or out of bed, to greet Blaine and the kids when they come home each day. It has been 32 days since I heard Kendrie laugh, which is depressing, but we can occasionally get a smile out of her, usually when Brayden or Kellen do something to cheer her up. It has certainly been difficult to see our normally happy, playful child turn into a moody, non-communicative grump-butt, 24-7. I thought that wasn't supposed to happen until the teen years??!

The physical effects of the drugs are becoming more apparent, as well. The steroid has caused weight gain and swelling, mainly in the stomach (resembling Kristie) and in the cheeks (resembling Marlon Brando in the Godfather). Picture a blue-eyed, blonde, fair-skinned sumo wrestler, and there you have her. Ok, maybe it's not that bad, but those cheeks are getting pretty puffy.

She has been having leg pain and achiness, causing her to limp around the house and have trouble getting up and down from the floor. If she needs to get up, she crawls over to a chair or sofa, and pulls herself up ve-ee-eee-ery slo-oo-ooo-oo-o-owwwwwly. She also complains of stomach pains, which is normal, but still frustrating in that there isn't much we can do to help "make it go away."

Her appetite is just hysterically huge! Dr. Atkins must be rolling over in his grave (no disrespect intended) at the amount of carbohydrates this child is consuming! This morning for breakfast, she had two bowls of chicken noodle soup, four pieces of toast, a slice of pizza, and two breadsticks. And not just any breadstick will do, oh no! They MUST be Pizza Hut breadsticks. The kind you can buy at the grocery store and keep in the freezer are not good enough (and we know because we've tried every kind there is the past three days). Needless to say, the employees at our local Pizza Hut know me by name at this point. Oh well, at least she is over (for now) her cheese, cheese, anything cheese phase. Dairy cows all over Wisconsin are sighing with relief.

But I shouldn't complain about the side effects of the medications, since it is these very medications that are hurting her now, but will hopefully (God willing) provide her with a complete recovery.

I want to thank all of you for checking in with us, signing our guestbook, and showing your support through your cards, e-mails, phone calls, etc. It's a huge boost for us to know so many people are praying and rooting for Kendrie, and our entire family. We are doing a pretty good job, I think, of focusing on the positive and staying hopeful. That doesn't mean it's not scary, though. Another mom, on another Caring Bridge web site (aren't these the best for keeping in touch?!?!) put into words exactly how I am feeling, and I thought I would share it all with you, just to help keep it in perspective:

"The reality is that statistics don’t mean anything. Emily will not be cured 80 percent. She will either be cured or she won’t. And, frankly, any number less than 100 percent survival rate is NOT good enough. "

So with that in mind, even though we work hard to keep our chin up (or in Kendrie's case, all of her chins for now!) it's still good to know we have the support and love of all of you! Thanks so much!

WORST THING ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: I only have five more breadsticks in the fridge. What will happen to me when they are all gone?!?!?!?!?!?!

BEST THING ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Mommy spends much, MUCH more time playing cards and working puzzles with me now than she used to. (I think she feels a little guilty about that.)

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