Monday, August 31, 2009

Hope and Prayer, we need lots

Delayed Intensifcation here we come. Maren is so excited to see Dr. Randy that she asked if we could go tonight. I told her Dr. Randy was getting ready for bed (unlikely as the poor man is usually there until 8pm and takes overnight call every 3 nights or so), but she thought that was reasonable and agreed to go in the morning. I hope that she isn't disappointed. Please pray that she is able to keep up her beautiful, happy spirit, that she doesn't have any complications, and doesn't have to be hospitalized for any part of the next 56 days.
I took these pics of the kids on the couch thinking that I can't wait until they're sitting there at Christmastime, healthier and happier. I also thought it would be nice to document Maren's hair, because she is expected to lose it - eyebrows and all - during this phase. I can't say I'm really bothered by the idea of her cute little bald head, and for now she seems a little excited about getting an "orrcut" just like Daddy's.
Below is our stocked pantry. Does this bring up any memories of Y2K? We are pretty much going to be isolated for the next 2 months. I think I'll make my last trip to the grocery store tomorrow (I forgot to buy ketchup - and that's popular stuff in our house). I went to Coscto and Target over the weekend and I've never felt more OCD in my life. I'm sure I looked like Monk constantly wiping the cart and my hands, but the stores were packed. Maren starts her steroids tomorrow night, and her appetite is expected to skyrocket. I just hope that I got the right things or I'll have some 'splainin' to do to a cranky 2 year old! Here's hoping - for a lot!

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Let the Good Times Roll

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A Confession

Yes, that's right peeps - 1/2 dozen donuts all eaten up. I am responsible for eating 5 of the 6 in a period of 6 hours. A drive-thru Dunkin' Donuts is just beyond my ability to control temptation. Some people tend to lose weight when life gets stressful. I'm thinking I'm not going to be one of those people. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Clinic Chronicles: Interim Maintenance, Day 40, Lollipops and Chemo

Clinic got off to a good start with Maren getting a lollipop from Nurse Crystal. Lollipops are a very special treat for her since she has trouble swallowing and we never give her stuff like this. So she lives it up while I watch her very closely and try to remember there are lots of medical professionals at the clinic =).

Her ANC was 1400 yesterday so that was pretty awesome. She was able to get her last dose of Interim Maintenance chemo, and we can know that she'll probably be okay in terms of infection patrol for the next day or 2 before the new chemo really kicks in.

The picture below is Maren getting her Methotrexate through this portable little IV machine. Pretty fancy stuff. The visit took a little over 3 hours due to us being overlooked initially, but I really can't complain when all I have to do is put her in the van, drive 30 minutes, and sit in a nice room for 3 hours to get a lifesaving treatment for my child (Of course, it's Maren that has endure all the yucky feelings of chemo, not me. I wish she didn't need all of this chemo nonsense, but I am so grateful that it's available to her.).

What's next? The dreaded 56-day Delayed Intensification is scheduled to begin September 1st. We'll be back to clinic weekly, if not more often. If her ANC and platelets are high enough she'll start out with a lumbar puncture, steroids, and a few other chemo meds. Some are things she has not had before and they can have pretty serious side effects (i.e., heart failure), and taken all together they pretty much crash her immune system. This means we'll be on tight restrictions for going out or having visitors, because something as simple as a cold or the flu could mean hospitalization and seriously put her life in danger. I'm not one for stirring up fear, but I am nervous about this next phase. Please pray that she will get through it smoothly, with no infections, no hospitalizations, bad side-effects, or steroid-induced diabetes. Thank you.

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Miss M gets a lollipop

Just a cute video.

Elijah B.

For Elijah, clinic = grandma

She even brings things like sand trays to help him learn how to make letters.

Yes, he's got it made in the shade on clinic days.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Week in Review

I need to wake up Maren in about 1 minute to get ready for clinic, but I thought I would take some time to post a few pics of our week before I get back to chronicling clinic, lest you think that's all we do =).

We celebrate birthdays - these two are birthday specialists.

Watch Granddad make hay.

Roam the farm.Posted by Picasa

Make "cowboy faces" on the old rocking horse at the pond house.

Clean up in Grandma's tub.

Get groceries delivered!! Woo Hoo! Yes - that is milk under that produce. Nothing beats milk delivery in my world.Posted by Picasa

Camp in the front yard.

Make lots of messes, and wear last year's Halloween costumes.

I hope you've all had a wonderful week too. Thank you again for thinking of us, and for praying for Maren. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to us. We'll keep you updated on clinic. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Clinic Chronicles: Interim Maintenace, Day 30

Just like last week Maren was up early, and excited to go to clinic. She had to skip breakfast and milk in order to be sedated for lumbar puncture, but she didn't seem to mind. As we pulled into the hospital parking garage she exclaimed, "My hospital! My hospital! I love my hospital!" This was just before I was pulled over by the Pixburg Police for running a stop sign inside the parking garage (at about 8 miles an hour, by the way), but that's another story, for another time. Lets just say, I'm glad I finally gave up my North Carolina license from 5 years ago and got a PA license a couple of weeks ago. That could have been one ugly traffic stop otherwise.
The day got even more exciting when Maren found Daddy in the waiting room. I didn't tell her he was coming, so that was a sweet surprise.

Blood pressure in the vitals room. I think this is her least favorite part of the day. She hates the blood pressure cuff, and it always takes a few tries to get it to work because she won't sit still.

Nurse Crystal often has little goodies to give out, and today Maren got a beach ball.

We are thankful that she is very active these days.
It's certainly a welcome change from a couple of months ago.

Maren's baby doll is very active as well.

Nurse Jackie accesses Maren's port.

Her lab counts were just high enough to get the works this week.

This is Dr. Randy administering Maren's "silly medicine" (fentanyl and versed).
This Maren starting to look "silly."
The LP is just about done at this point. Methotrexate was injected into her spinal fluid. She then had Vincristine and Methotrexate pushed through her port.

Recovering with Dora,
and Daddy.
And more cookies.