Sarah writes about today's highlights:
Round two of chemo is over!
Blood transfusion - her hemoglobin was low Clarification: Ellie's bone marrow test indicated that while there is still some disease present, there has been improvement since the initial testing (which happened before her first round of chemo). Her bone marrow will be tested before each round of chemo until we find that there is no disease present. Once this is determined, we will be able to have her stem cells harvested to be transplanted back into her at the end of chemo.
Today was Ellie's third and final day of her second round of chemo. Round two was not exactly as easy as I'd hoped but I have a theory that, while not based on medical knowledge, is rather logical and makes me feel better. The theory is this: strong negative reactions (in terms of chemo) equals powerful work on the part of the medication. I would much rather the chemo do it's job in a powerful way, even if it's unpleasant, than Ellie's body (most importantly, the cancer cells) become accustomed to the drugs. And now I must confess, lest any of you who like my theory think that I am exceptionally brilliant, I did have help thinking this through. For those of you who may disagree completely, my disclaimer is that I have absolutely no medical training and am a mother who has a deep need to put a positive spin on watching her daughter suffer (without it all having meaning, it just plain stinks - and I won't be having that!).
I'm tempted to breathe a giant sigh of relief that this round of chemo is over, but we are now heading into the arena of after-effects. Now begins the fight to get Ellie to eat while keeping the stomach, throat and mouth pain at bay. This was brutal last time, but we worked and fought and Ellie was a trooper. By the time we got back to the hospital to start round two, Ellie had actually gained weight - she was 54 lbs. To know how exciting this is to us, you have to realize that before finding out that she had cancer, the most Ellie (at a height of 4'2") had ever weighed before was 48 lbs.!! We have mounted a full scale nutritional attack! In this crazy world of cancer, there is so little that we can control that it feels really good to be able to research and execute a plan. We are whole-heartedly on board with the chemo doing it's work, and so we want to do our part in making her body strong and healthy to withstand the process. Our plan is to completely eliminate refined sugar, processed food, and chemicals of any kind. We have begun giving her whole, natural and organic foods. Lest any of you worry about the emotional state of an 8 year old who is denied sugar, we have people who are finding, buying and making sweet alternatives to refined sugar. All of this brings me to another theory - and this one is very simple, perhaps even "blonde" if you want to go there (and believe me, in the mode in which I now operate, you do NOT want to go there) Cancer = evil; Nutrition = good and which one always prevails? :-)
Well, enough of my babbling for this evening. I am too tired to look up the reference, but the verse that comes to mind is "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you" and it sums up my feelings for each and every one of you out there who are praying for us and loving us. That is what keeps us going every day. Thank you.
We appreciate your daily prayers for us, but I would like to ask that today you would focus your prayers on all of the things that we have to thank God for:
Knowledgeable and patient medical staff at the hospital who always have time to answer our never-ending supply of questions and concerns (we love you, Kristen).
The strength and grace from God that gets us through the days (and nights).
The special times of joy that our family has been able to have together.
Ellie's fighting attitude and ability to find joy in the simplest things. She had a fun time today petting and playing with dogs. And did you know that an 8 year old can sit comfortably at the base of an IV pole while it zooms across the room (with Uncle Michael at the helm)?
The always faithful family and friends who take care of us each and every day as we take care of our children and each other.
The list could go on and on, but I suspect that as you pray God will show you many more things to thank Him for!