Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Better with friends

Thanks to all of you for checking in on us when we returned from vacation -- it was great to hear from so many of you in the guestbook who were keeping us safe in your thoughts. I think we’ve fully recovered from our trip, although Blaine is still pitching a big one (or, as Kellen said tonight about Kendrie “Help her before she has a condition fit”) about paying that ticket… but being the law-abiding citizen that he is (well, except for breaking the law in the first place, of course) he’s going to pay it and be done with it.

The kids have settled back into school and Kendrie had her monthly chemo appointment today. She woke up in a good mood and ate a good breakfast, but half way to Atlanta she told me she didn’t feel well and wound up getting sick before we made it to the clinic. Yes, I know she’s on chemo … but I was still a little bit surprised since it was the first time in a long time that has happened to her. She did have her weekly oral methotrexate last night, so I’m chalking it up to that and will remember to pre-medicate her with Zofran (the anti-nausea medication that cost more for one pill than John Kerry’s entire campaign budget) next time.

When we got to clinic, we discovered our friends Madie and her mom Regina were there, and we also go to hang out with Catie and her mom and dad, Jenny and Tre’. Needless to say, it took Kendrie all of about three seconds to perk right up once she saw her friends. And Madie was a great distraction in the exam room, since Kendrie was pretty determined not to cry in front of her when she got her port accessed. Thanks, Madie!

I do feel compelled, however, to point out the obvious difference between the two girls. Both female, both five years old, but take a look at this picture and tell me what you see.

Madie, with the adorable floral peasant blouse with the billowing sleeves, leopard-print pants and zip-up, knee high black boots. Hair in a ponytail, and fingernail polish applied to her hands. Now look at Kendrie (who, by the way, dressed herself this morning. I take NO BLAME for this outfit!) Hiking boots, sweat pants, old Lion King sweatshirt and a ball cap. She is SO not a Miss America waiting to happen.

And here’s a photo of all three girls having their picnic in the infusion room at the clinic. Catie is having her inpatient chemo this week and we were so happy that our schedules overlapped.

l-r, Madie, Kendrie and Catie

Even better, this coming Sunday is the Lighthouse Family Retreat Annual Christmas Party, so we’ll get to see them again in just a few days!

Kendrie’s counts AGAIN are on the high side….. ANC of 2780. And that is at 125 percent of the oral methotrexate for the past month. The nurse practitioner said we would not tweak the meds up (again) until her counts have been high for three consecutive months. If they are high the next two months, they will bump up her 6MP. I know I should be happy that her ANC is staying strong, as that means her immune system isn’t too suppressed. She feels good, looks good, and is more than holding her own at school. But the neurotic, paranoid part of me worries that if the chemo isn’t that hard on her good cells, is it being as hard as it should on her cancer cells? Are we giving her *enough* chemo to kill all the leukemia cells??? Oh well, I’ll just focus on the fact she isn’t having any complications. Blessings right?

Speaking of blessings, if you are looking around this holiday season, thinking, “Wow, I’d really like to know what I can do to help my fellow man” (and you know you were thinking that, weren’t you?) then let me make a suggestion. Or TWO or THREE. First, make time between now and the New Year to donate blood. Blood banks traditionally run short during the holiday season and it’s not just the accident victims who need it --- it’s the kids and adults with illness, cancer, and bone marrow problems who need platelets and red blood cells on a regular basis.

Suggestion Number TWO is to contact The National Bone Marrow Registery and find out how you can register as a bone marrow donor. Not only do people die while waiting on an organ donor list, but people --- CHILDREN -- are waiting on the bone marrow list, desperately needing a transplant for survival, with no matches to be found. One such child is Taylor Krueger. Please let Taylor be the inspiration you need to sign up to be a bone marrow donor. I have been signed up as a donor for almost ten years and am starting to wonder if they will ever call me! But at least I know that if there is even the remote possibility that I could help save someone’s life …. Someone like Kendrie …. I’ve ready and waiting.

And finally, suggestion number three, if you are pregnant or someone you know is pregnant, consider donating your baby’s cord blood. Cord blood transplants are becoming more and more successful as treatment options and it’s easier for a relapsed cancer patient to find a cord blood match than a bone marrow match, so the potential for medical miracles with cord blood is huge. Check out Spencer Rocket’s web site if you don’t believe me. Huge, baby, HUGE!!! He is a walkin’, talkin’ success story!

Take care,

WORST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: The indignity of mom dumping out the cooler in the van this morning when I told her I was going to be sick …. And her actually expecting me to use it. I looked like a college frat boy after an all-night kegger with my head in the ice chest. (Mom speaking --- “Hey, in my defense, we were doing 70 mph on the interstate. What did she expect me to do? Swivel around in the drivers seat and cup my hands under her mouth? It was the ice chest or my purse, so the ice chest was the obvious choice!” And she started steroids today. Ugh.)

BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: OK, lets’ be honest, cancer really stinks. But I have made some pretty good friends out of this whole sick-blood thing, and I was so happy to get to have lunch with Madie and Catie today!!! Madie, hope you are home resting ok, and Catie, hope your hospital stay is going well! See you both on Sunday!

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