Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Week #8 of LTM
Another silver lining in this cancer cloud is an organization that I’ve mentioned previously called SuperSibs! Back at the beginning of our journey through the Tragic Kingdom (to quote Gwen Stefani) Kendrie was inundated with cards, gifts and toys. I could tell that Brayden and Kellen were starting to think, “Hey, this leukemia thing might not be so bad if it turns your life into a perpetual state of Christmas!” (because they pretty much said that) and was fortunately turned on to SuperSibs! SuperSibs! helps children redefine the "cancer sibling" experience - by providing needed support services and by helping to draw out the greater and important lessons that may benefit these children later in their own lives.

Brayden and Kellen have gotten some neat things from SuperSibs! -- t-shirts (we were told a photo of them in those t-shirts would appear in the November issue of Family Circle, in an article profiling the organization -- I can’t wait to see if it’s true!) small toys and trinkets, stickers, cards, etc, but they received their hands-down-favorite item from SuperSibs! earlier this week --- these awesome trophies! Not only do they say “For Your Strength, Courage and Love, YOU are a Super Sib!” but they also have each child’s name engraved on the trophy. In fact, they’re nicer looking than some of the soccer and t-ball trophies my kids have gotten in the past. And if you have small children who play organized sports, you know it’s **ALL** about the trophy!! So really, this was a perfect gift and we appreciate it very much. Well, all except for Kendrie who wanted to know where was HER trophy???? I'm happy to add SuperSibs! to the list of organizations to whom I will be trying to repay the kindness, when all is said and done.

"Thank you, SuperSibs! for honoring and supporting the siblings of children with cancer"

One Year Ago Today:

It was a Monday, and Kendrie had been running a fever and complaining of arm and leg pain, and the always-fun-to-report-to-the-doctor “pee-pee” pain, since Thursday night. In fact, she’d been complaining of leg pain for quite some time, but the four-day fever was what was bothering me. My kids had never had a fever that didn’t respond to Tylenol. So I took her to see her pediatrician that Monday morning. Although he had never seen Kendrie as a patient before (new military doctor, recently assigned to the base, etc) he patiently listened to my concerns. While he agreed with me that it was probably just a virus, which is exactly what the other doctor had said six weeks ago before sending us on our way, this new doctor suggested running a CBC to rule out any kind of bacterial illness, and a UA to rule out any kind of infection.

So off to the lab we went, where Kendrie proceeded to urinate all over my hand while I held the specimen container, the size of a mini-Dixie-cup, under her in the bathroom, trying in vain to aim for “the stream” (we would soon discover there was a better way for 4-yr olds!) Then, it was time for the blood collection. The four-letter word that best describes this situation is U-G-L-Y. “Stoic”, my child is not. She screamed bloody murder and it was quite stressful, for everyone. (I also think it set the tone for the upcoming two weeks from Hell, but that’s another story.)

Later that afternoon the phone rang and I was surprised to hear the doctor’s voice on the other end, calling to discuss Kendrie’s lab results. He said, and I quote, “that her blood counts were “interesting” “. Hmmmm, interesting??? Just what exactly does that mean??? Apparently her red blood count and her hemoglobin were very low (normal is around 12, and hers was 4.8) and he felt we should get her in to see a specialist immediately, since she was obviously extremely anemic. And, bring her back on Wednesday for another blood check (Yikes, that should be more fun and merriment all around. Did he not hear her screaming, even all the way from the lab?? And he wants to do it AGAIN???)

So I’m thinking, anemic? Ok, well, I can cook more red meat, or give her supplements, or whatever it is we need to do, but I went ahead and called the specialist’s number, only to discover, to my ABSOLUTE HORROR, that it was a pediatric oncologist/hematologist’s office!!! What the hell???? But I told myself not to panic ... after all, hematology means blood, right? It's been a long time since Biology 101, but I was pretty sure that was right. I went ahead and took the appointment they offered, two weeks away, ………… penciled in another blood count for Wednesday ….…. started researching various forms of anemia on the internet …..gave Kendrie some more Tylenol in the meantime ………………… hey, wait, this wasn't going to mess up our trip to Nashville this weekend, was it?......

To be continued…………

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