Friday, August 17, 2012

Sushi, Preschool and Freedom

Last Monday, Emilie had a bone marrow aspirate to check for cancer as well as a chimerism test to check the percentage of Nicolas' cells, which is hopefully 100%.  Three weeks prior, they ran three tests exposing her cells to different "bugs". In order to get "off isolation", her cells had to be able to fight the "bugs" and pass 3 of 6 tests.  While waiting in pre-op, we learned that her immune system is working just like a "normal person's immune system".  She passed the first 3 tests, so she was officially off isolation.  Emilie was thrilled that she was "FINALLY FREE!!!".  Free to eat at restaurants, but not sushi.  Free to go to school, but not hang out at preschool.  Most exciting for Emilie, free to go to the mall with her friends.  We said goodbye to her mask...kind of as she will need to wear it near a construction zone (which means every time we visit the hospital).  While we were all excited and extremely grateful about the freedom report, we had 24 hours to wait until we learned about her MRD (minimum residual disease) results.  Tuesday we found out that the MRD results were negative and Emilie was cancer free!!!!  PRAISE GOD!! A huge load immediately fell off my shoulders and I felt as if I could live again.  Weird, I know, but that was my feeling at the time.  The past couple of weeks have been very hard for me and everyone in our family as we anticipated her bone marrow aspirate.  Nervous, grumpy, anxious....  I had to remind myself daily that the God who has sustained us for the last 2 years was STILL IN CONTROL. Emilie, on the other hand, didn't need reminding.  After thanking God for the good results, Emilie said she didn't know why we were so excited about her bone marrow results and that we should be more excited about her being off of isolation.  We explained that while being "free" was great in that it meant that her immune system is working well, but having no cancer in her marrow was even more important.  She responded by telling us that she wasn't worried AT ALL because she knew that the cancer was ALREADY gone.  The night before her procedure, I couldn't sleep and Emilie couldn't sleep.  I thought, great, we are in for a rough wake up to make it to the hospital by 7 a.m.  At 4:30 a.m. I went into Emilie's room to wake her up, but she was already awake.  Not just awake, but chatty and happy.  What??  Emilie is not a morning person and her "we're going to Disneyland" wake up was odd.  She knew.  She trusted.  She hoped. What a wonderful faith Emilie has...faith of a child...that she believes God for all the good things that He desires to give her.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No Joke!


As Emilie is slowly coming out of isolation, her docs are allowing more variety in her diet and while Paul (peanut allergy = no Chinese) is away at Camp Attitude, she decided she'd like Chinese food.  After dinner, she and Nicolas split 6 fortune cookies among themselves.  We don't believe in fortunes delivered in crunchy cookies, but usually make funny jokes about the fortunes or try and guess one another's lucky numbers.  After Emilie read the above fortune, she said, " Well, I already have 4 wheels and I am already happy!".  Really, it's no joke that Emilie got this message in her fortune cookie.  It is amazing that  this is a girl who has been through 2 years of pokes, prods, poison and pain but has such a positive and happy attitude.  Emilie is truly a gift and is an example of how all of us should live.

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances.  We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go.  Martha Washington
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Random Erickson Numbers

132 = the number of days "post bone marrow transplant"!!!
0 = the number of central lines Miss Emilie will have in 2 days
106 = the air temperature for playing baseball in AZ
14 = the number of days Eric was out of the country in June
70 = the number of days until school starts.  Happy number for Emilie, not so happy for the boys.
600 = the number of lymphocytes in Emilie's blood (per mL) a week ago...needs to be 1000 before the above number can really be a happy number...maybe late August, early September
2 = the number of clinic visits per month for Emilie
3 = the number of "swims/day" for Nicolas and Sandy
1 = the number of "dirt rolls" following swims for Sandy
1 = the number of daily baths for Sandy
118 = the number of Facebook friends I have...told you it was random
7 = the number of days Paul will be serving families with kids with disabilities this summer
40 =  the number of days Emilie and I have been home
= the amount of God's love for all of us...it's endless  (∞ is really not a number)
This is the day that the Lord has made,
I will rejoice and be glad in it. 
Psalm 118:24
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Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Frosting is Eight!

Happy 8th Birthday Nicolas!!
I love that you are thoughtful and kind!
I love that you still hold my hand!
I love that your best buddies are Paul and Emilie!
I love that you throw your head back when you laugh!
I love that you smile almost all the time!
I love that you are brave and strong!
I love that you are curious about science and nature!
I love that you are my frosting!!!!
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

There Has To Be More

For a while now, I have been thinking that The Erickson All-Stars blog is purposeless.  Sure, it is a wonderful space to update on Emilie and other family news, but there just has to be more.  There has to be some "good" to be done outside my little family's sphere, so here is some "good" that you all can help us with.
This is sweet Matthew.  Matthew is a fellow LPCH patient who has been battling ALL since he was 2 months old.  Matthew is now 22 months old and is in the fight of his life.  You see, he relapsed around the same time as Emilie and was planning on receiving a bone marrow transplant.  The cancer has been relentless despite numerous chemotherapy treatments and NK cell therapy at St. Jude Children's Hospital.  He and his family will be headed to St. Jude's again for a bone marrow transplant.  I am shamelessly asking that you consider making a donation to this family.  Matthew has two sisters and one brother and his parents are self employed.  Having a child with cancer and dealing with treatments, clinic visits, prescriptions, travel, etc. can be financially overwhelming for a family.  Please consider making a donation.  Any amount can help. Perhaps skip your lattes for a week and donate your savings.  Maybe pack your lunch  for a week and send your savings to Matthew's family.  Please, please help!!  You can donate and read Matthew's story HERE.
This is precious Kayla Rose.  I first learned of Kayla's malignant brain tumor on the same day that we learned of Emilie's relapse.  I was in clinic waiting for Emilie to be moved to recovery after her bone marrow aspirate reading my email when our Purple Peep, Bobbie, informed me of Kayla.  My heart just broke knowing that another child was diagnosed with cancer.  So unfair, I thought and then a couple hours later I learned of Emilie's relapse.  Kayla was diagnosed in November of 2011 and underwent brain surgery here in the bay area.  She is on her second stint at St. Jude Children's Hospital receiving chemotherapy treatments.  Both of her parents and her cute little brother are also in Memphis.  Again, I am going to ask that you consider making a donation to help support this family.  Both Kayla's parents are in Memphis yet the mortgage and other bills still have to be paid in addition to other medical expenses. I can't even imagine.  Please, please consider helping out this family.  It happens to be Kayla's 8th birthday today; you can read her story, wish her a happy birthday and perhaps make a donation HERE.

Please consider helping these strong, brave and courageous families as they travel the road that is called cancer.  Thank you!
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Just Because....

Just because I think he is the cutest 7 year old in the world.  Love you Frosting!!

Nana took the boys to a SJ Giants game only because Freddy Sanchez was playing there for a week.  Game was rained out, but Nicolas got his autograph.  Nicolas ran up to him and said, "Hey Freddy, um, can I get your autograph?".  Freddy said, "Not now, gotta go" and started walking away.  He then stopped, turned around and said "ok" and signed his ball.  Love you too Freddy!
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fifteen

Photo: E. Powers
Happy birthday to our favorite 15 year old!  Thank you for being strong and brave and enduring the last 6 months of "stuff"!!  We are grateful for you; you make us smile and laugh!  We love you very, very much!!
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Twelve


Happy happy birthday to you Miss Emilie!  You are one brave, kind, beautiful, strong, courageous, joyful, generous, loving, thoughtful and funny twelve year girl.  We love you so very much!  Thank you for being the wonderful "you" that you are!!
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Monday, April 2, 2012

Free



I don't have to cry anymore
I don't have to worry about what's in store
I've walked that road exhausted and poor
I don't have to cry anymore

And I don't have to know it all
I don't have to be so proud and stand so tall
I climbed that mountain only to fall
I don't have to know it all

You did that for me
You wore the chains so I could be free
You did that for me

And I don't have to be ashamed
Hang my head or should the blame
Wondering if my life's been in vain
I don't have to be ashamed

You did that for me
You wore the chains so I could be free
You did that for me

Man of sorrows
Well acquainted with grief
Drug down to the city dump
Spread eagle on a cross beam
Propped up like a scarecrow
Nailed like a thief
There for all the world to see
You wore the chains so I could be free

Oh Lord, you did that for me
You wore the chains so I could be free

You Did That For Me by Sara Groves
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hamburglar Stole My Wi-Fi!!

My excuse for not posting??? The hamburglar stole my Wi-Fi...seriously!
We made it to Ronald's House last Monday.  We listened to the 7 rules spiel and then made our way to our very, very, very small home for the next 66 days.  Our room was literally 12'x12' with two twin beds, a small dresser, a frig for meds, a bathroom, a community kitchen and NO Wi-Fi.  Colors?  Hospital colors...blah beige and blue and dark with not much natural light.  Eric and I smiled and tried to be positive about our new home, but poor Emilie wasn't buying it.  Emilie sadly perfected her three point turns in our tiny space. We were spoiled at the Memphis RMH and were expecting the same here.  Anyhow, Tuesday was a new day and we had a clinic visit early in the morning.  As usual, our clinic visits are never short. We ended up leaving the hospital at noon, returned to our room and Emilie took a nap.  Her energy level is a little low and naps have been the norm around here.  After she woke up, we talked about our accommodations and focused on being grateful for having a place to live so close to the hospital and being able to see our family daily if possible.  We decided that we would make our new space our own, bringing comforters from home and using some handmade art.  It would all be okay.  Tuesday night as we ate in the small dining area we had a visit from Art the Clown.  I really didn't want any company, especially a clown.  Art the Clown is a retired pediatric dentist who uses humor to bring smiles to sick kids at the RMH and at various area hospitals.  Turns out, we do like clowns, we like them very much!

Wednesday was spent investigating our new digs.  We are in the Garden Wing, which is actually the isolation wing for immunocompromised peeps...that's us.  It is a wing with 6 rooms a small community kitchen and it's very quiet. We might see 1 or 2 people a day, but our window looks out onto a lovely garden area with cute little birds and crazy black squirrels.  Thursday was another clinic visit.  Early arrival and another late return.  Emilie settled in to watch the Muppets and about half way into the movie, we got a phone call from the front desk.  It was a call to inform us that a suite was available to us if we could pack our belongings and move within a couple hours.  Are you kidding?  (Back in February I told our social worker that we would like to have a suite, so she put us on the waiting list but I really didn't think we would get one.)  I packed up in half an hour, waited for Emilie's movie to finish, got our new key from the front desk and we high tailed it to our suite.    Impressive considering my mom and Eric delivered a SUV full of stuff the night before.  Emilie was thrilled...no more three point turns to navigate the space.  Our new digs have hardwood floors, a kitchenette, a table for eating/crafts/studying, 2 frigs (one for food, one for meds), a twin bed, a double bed and a good sized bathroom.  Same yucky colors, but we've since "happied" things up (photos coming once we get some good lighting in here.)  Our view is of the same garden area, but just a bit better with a tree close to our window so we can get a better shot of our critter friends.  Did I say Emilie was thrilled??  So happy, that she forgot that she needed a nap and proceeded to make a shopping list for Eric as she had many meal ideas churning in her head.  Yesterday was spent meal planning and a little napping.  Today we planned on a quick trip to the market for the meal planning, but it was raining and I didn't want Emilie out in the elements.  Tomorrow we are expecting our boys; they are not allowed in Emilie's room, but there is a common family room where we can hang out.  Emilie will be making them cupcakes and pasta...probably in that order.  Signs of increased appetite are good and dessert first is just fine with me.

Our new space is large, colorful and happy and it has boosted Emilie's spirits and decreased her napping time.  We are grateful for the upgrade!!!  Thank you Ronald, now could you please have the Hamburglar return my Wi-Fi?  (It's really not that bad, I'm plugged in via an ethernet cable.)

I almost forgot to post the really great stuff.  Emilie's MRD (minimum residual disease) came back negative, but really negative, like less than 0.1% negative.  AWESOME!!!  They also look at how much of Nicolas' cells are present in Emilie with 100% being ideal.  They look at a bunch of different blood components, but the data point that stuck in my head was the whole blood value and it was 99%.  All the other values were 97% and higher.  Another AWESOME!  After Emilie's relapse, my view on life has returned to a day-to-day view and I'm not looking too far ahead.  I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I truly believe that God loves us and He is in total charge of our situation.  I trust Him completely and surrender everything to Him.  I am also so, so grateful for good results from Emilie's first bone marrow aspirate!

Be STILL and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 
Psalm 46:10
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Grace, Love and Redemption

Photo taken last St. Patrick's day at our wonderful Crazy Train family dinner.
Once kidnapped and sold as a slave to Ireland, Saint Patrick represents such a beautiful picture of GRACE, LOVE and REDEMPTION.  Saint Patrick made the choice after he was freed from slavery to return to Ireland as a missionary. He used the 3 leaf clover to explain the Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yellow Jello

Right now we are celebrating a negative MRD (minimum residual disease) with a double shot of yellow jello.  Really, we ordered two yellow Gatorades from the kitchen and ended up with yellow jello.  Jello??  Ugh, we're not fans, but it made for a great picture.  Thank you God for "hope" that showed up in a good report!
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Brothers Are Good Medicine!

Just a quick update.  Emilie is continuing to do well.  She is eating and drinking a bit.  Her first real meal was salmon and rice and the following day, she had salmon and rice. Pretty darn funny.  Emilie has an aversion to all hospital food, so it was shocking when she wanted salmon.  I mentioned in a previous post that Nicolas had salmon while in recovery from his bone marrow harvest.  One of our docs, wanted to know the Erickson salmon connection.  Must be in the genes!!!  Emilie is off all IV meds and taking everything by mouth.  She is still on liquid nutrition but that was reduced from 24 hours to 12 hours.  Good progress.  I met with one of the BMT coordinators today to discuss discharge instructions; we are expecting to move to RMH next week.  We were hoping a bit sooner, but 1.) they need to stabilize one of Emilie's meds, 2.) Emilie needs to eat and drink more and 3.) she is getting an IV only med until day 35.  Day 35 is next Tuesday, so we will probably be moving then or Wednesday.  The stem cell wing at Ronald's house has 6 rooms, 2 of which have kitchenettes.  We are hoping that Ronald is saving us a room with a kitchenette!!

Today, Emilie had her first of many bone marrow aspirates which always makes me a bit nervous since her relapse.  One of her docs came by to let us know that her "marrow looked beautiful".  Awesome news!!!  The sample is looked at here by LPCH pathology, it's also sent to Washington to determine the exact (if any) amount of disease and it's sent to a lab to look at host and donor cells.  Tomorrow or Thursday we should know really firm results.  Thank you Lord for good results and for keeping us afloat on our journey.
May the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in HOPE.  Romans 15:13
Oh, and brothers are truly good medicine....

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Eees A Luuuv Day"

I met a man in the community kitchen yesterday and we started talking.  I was really not in the mood to talk as I was just "done", but God nudged me to pop out of my shell and at least say "hello".  The "hello" was followed by asking how his child was doing and he told me that his 3 year old daughter just had her transplant yesterday.  I learned that he also had a "frosting", his 2 year old daughter who was the perfect match for his older daughter.  Sweet!!  He then asked about our story.  I told him everything, with the exception of the exact day of transplant because really, not many men are interested in specific details (Hi Eric!).  So, the first thing he asked was "what was the transplant date".  I told him the 14th...he thought, got a bit teary and then replied "Eees a luuuv day!".   You are right, fellow transplant parent, it was a love day!!!  Thank you God for taking me out of my isolation zone and blessing me with another "frosting" story of hope!

It seems time really flies here in the hospital which is one of God's blessings!  Much has happened since our last update.  Emilie is doing very well.  The official opening of her new bone marrow factory, or engraftment, was March 1.  Her platelets are also rising on their own, which is a very good thing.  The doctors are very happy with her progress.  One of our attending docs has told Emilie a couple times that she must tell Nicolas that "he has really great bone marrow". Ha!  Because of engrafting, Emilie is off of antibiotics and because the muscositis has cleared up, she is able to take most of her meds by mouth.  More good things!  Emilie is also recovering from extremely large blisters on her feet.  The radiation/chemo combo did a number and caused baseball size blisters on both feet.  Thankfully, they are healing well.  Her mouth, throat and foot pain has subsided, so they took her off morphine and are now weaning her off another pain med.  Today, the docs said that if she can take more fluids by mouth and eat a bit, they will send us off to live with Ronald McDonald.  More goodness!  The Emilie we know and love is back as of three days ago...awake during the day, chatty, smiling, doing crafts, doing school with her teacher from LPCH, etc.  Cancer treatment is really a crazy ride, so it's nice when we see some normalcy return.

Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom ALL help comes! He helps us in ALL our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Because I have a hard time posting without a photo....my three "frostings"!!
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

#10


I am proud of my #10!!  He is persevering with a family life that is chaotic.  School, baseball, church, friends....he continues to engage.  He's showing me what a strong, courageous young man he is.  Never give up, #10, never give up!  I love you!
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Calm Among The Chaos

Last night we had a bit of chaos in room 1415.   Emilie has had intermittent fevers for the last five days and antibiotic after antibiotic has not gotten rid of the fevers, so last night they started a new, strong anti-fungal med in hopes of stopping the fevers.  Well, 15 minutes into the dose, Emilie started having an allergic reaction complete with difficulty breathing and coughing.  This led to her heart rate increasing, blood pressure dropping, oxygen saturation dropping and of course lots of nurses and docs in the room.   Prior to the new med, she was given "pre-meds" (Benadryl and Tylenol) to prevent an allergic reaction.  So, on top of all her numbers dropping, she was doped up on Benadryl, which made things a little bit scarier.  About an hour after treating her reaction, she was pretty much back to normal, but her little body was exhausted so she took a good nap.  Thankfully, Eric (who had not been at the hospital for 5 days), showed up 10 minutes into the reaction.  It was nice having him here!!!

Every morning, Emilie's docs make daily rounds and today, they had super news.  Emilie's white blood cell (WBC) count went from 300 to 600 which gave her an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) of 400.  When Emilie has three days of an ANC of 500+, Nicolas' bone marrow is officially engrafted.  Woohoo!!!! The docs think that her WBC may double again...we're hoping for a WBC of 1200 tomorrow.  An increase of WBC also means that her immune system is recovering and will slowly be able to keep "bad guys" away. (Click HERE for more info on BMT. )  Really, really great news.  Every day has it's blessings and challenges, but we know that....
  
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1
and
Be still and know that I am God. 
Psalm 46:10

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Monday, February 20, 2012

19


Nineteen years ago today I became Mrs. Erickson.  Today, I am amazed at how differently our lives have turned out.  Back in 1993, not only did I have big shoulder pads, I had my own plans.  Plans for "my" life, not necessarily "our" life.  I spent every dollar I earned on some sort of flying lesson.  After college I got my private pilots license.  Working in the aerospace industry pushed me further into loving all things aviation related.  I soon got my instrument rating and started working on my commercial rating with hopes of flying banner planes along the LA coast.  My big dream was to fly commercial jets, with really no concern to what my new husband thought.  Well, God had a different idea.  In 1995, I moved back home to work with my ailing dad and help him run his company; Eric followed shortly thereafter.  A couple years later Eric and I were blessed with Paul and a brand new house.  In the same year, my dad died leaving my mom and I to run the company "solo".  A few years later, we were blessed with Emilie and then of course, "Frosting" came along.  All the while I was a "stay at home, jean wearing, self employed, sometimes barefoot and pregnant mom and wife" with a great life, but so very different than "my" plans.  In reality, my plans would have taken me on many wild adventures, but most likely I would have ended up a divorced adrenaline junky living in Marriot Hotels across the country.  So, here I am today, sitting in a hospital room, celebrating our 19th anniversary with Eric via text messages and watching Emilie's vital signs while she sleeps.  I'm certainly not thankful for a sick child, but I am thankful that God redirected my path.  I'm thankful that I have 3 wonderful kids and that I have a husband who has stuck around for better, for worse, for rich, for poorer, in sickness or in health.
Happy Anniversary Eric!!
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Reality Ahead...You've Been Warned!



Up until a couple days ago, things were going fairly well for Emilie.  She tolerated the radiation and chemo treatments well and her appetite still existed.  The monster named mucositis arrived and has been causing havoc since.  Mucositis is the painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes that line the digestive tract, starting at the mouth all the way to the "bum".  It's an adverse effect of radiation and chemo.  Ugh! It is so painful for Emilie that she is not eating, drinking or talking.  She is now taking nutrition via IV as well as all her meds.  The pain is controlled with morphine, that was "as needed" yesterday and changed to "round the clock" today.  Emilie is super tough and tried to work through the pain, but it was just too much.  She is very upset about being "fed" via IV and asked to have the nutrition bags covered with a pillow case.  It's probably not a good idea to send Emilie pictures of yummy food at this point.  Mucositis is normal and expected to last another 1-2 weeks.  We are taking each day as it comes.  Other than the mucositis, today was a good day as far as Emilie's lab numbers.

Nicolas' cells are setting up the bone marrow factory and we will be seeing results of Emilie's cell recovery in about 2-3 weeks.  Because she has had so much previous chemo, count recovery may take a bit longer, but because Nicolas was a perfect match, it may take less time for count recovery.

Emilie has endured so much pain, disappointment and sadness; things that no child should ever have to deal with.  Cancer affects the whole family.  The boys and Nana miss Emilie; Emilie misses the boys and Nana.  The boys and Nana miss me; I miss them.  We all just miss "normal", but we all have choices too!  I am choosing joy and gratitude.  Even with yuckiness all around us, there is always something to be joyful and grateful about.  We're keeping our hands up on our roller coaster.
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Hero In The Shape Of A Brother

 

Yesterday was the long awaited "bone marrow transplant day".  It was a big event in our family as well as in the oncology unit at LPCH.  Emilie went through two weeks of chemo in November and December to get her bone marrow to show zero cancer.  Last Monday, she got a new central line (third time is a charm) followed by radiation orientation.  Tuesday through Friday of last week Emilie endured 3 radiation treatments per day.  She needed to stand for 7 minutes during each treatment and with the help of her straight leg braces, she did wonderfully.  All the months of physical therapy and swimming really paid off; Emilie had great balance and endurance.  She is one tough kid! Last Saturday, she had a very high dose chemo which required her to also have a high volume of IV fluids.  The three of us worked very well to manage the 5 liters of "output" in a short 24 hour period!!!  Sunday and Monday were days of rest and Emilie really needed to rest as the radiation and chemo on her little body knocked her out.

Yesterday Nicolas arrived early for the harvest of his bone marrow.  He handled everything like a little man with no crying and lots and lots of smiles.  He thought it was pretty fun to order food off the hospital menu, play with the height of his bed and ring the nurse when his IV pump alarmed.  Nicolas ordered salmon and mashed potatoes for lunch and when I let Eric and Emilie know his lunch order, Emilie said that he would surely send it back to the kitchen.  When it arrived, Nicolas removed the lid and said, "OOOH, that looks good" and proceeded to eat everything on his plate.  He and I joined Eric and Emilie in Emilie's room to celebrate Emilie's new bone marrow before Nana took Nicolas home.  The (really bad) photo above shows Supergirl, Frosting and the bag of "hope". The hope which is our strong and confident expectation that this bone marrow transplant will keep Emilie in remission for ever. 

We will be staying in the hospital for about 4 weeks after which we will move to the Palo Alto Ronald McDonald House.  We will hopefully be home on May 25th just in time for summer.  We have experienced long hospital stays and lengthy time away from home and we are determined to get through 100 days and put this part of our journey behind us.

I have had many feelings over the last few months and I keep coming back to gratitude.  I am so grateful for yet another shot at life for Emilie and grateful to God for blessing us with Nicolas.  God knew!

Here's the story of Supergirl and Frosting from 2010.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012


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Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Quick Review

A few highlights of our 2011...
(in a crazy random order)
*  Emilie got her central line out in March which meant swimming and water therapy.  Emilie was "free" in the water and it was such a joy to see her in the water since her legs went south.
*  Traveled to Windsor CA (very cute and charming city) to work a water stop for our Purple Peeps.  It was great to see our Aunt Steph, meet Chandra and Bobbie and the other Team in Training members.  Truly inspirational.
*  Emilie finally got her straight leg braces.  She initially started walking with a walker, but quickly moved to forearm crutches.  Great progress!
*  We traveled to Disney World for Emilie's Make-a-Wish and stayed at Give Kids the World.  Nana and Auntie Vicki joined us for the week.  We had an awesome time as a family...lots of laughter!!
*  Celebrated birthdays...Emilie turned 11, Paul turned 14 and Nicolas turned 7.  As always, the kids got to pick their birthday dinner restaurants.  Emilie and Nicolas chose Tyrolean Inn and Paul chose Buca de Beppo.  "Good times, good times!" Emilie had a group of friends over for appetizers and dessert and Nicolas had fun wet/wild party with a water slide in the shape of a huge wave.  It was literally as tall as our house.  Super fun!
*  There is always baseball...Paul played Bulldog ball and Nicolas played his second year of single A.
*  On Mother's Day, Nana was honored at Twin Lakes Church  as "Mom of the Year".  You can read about it here.
*  Emilie has a group called Crafty Chicks 4 Charity which is a bunch of girls making crafts.  The money raised goes to a charity specified by Emilie.  Speaking of blogs, Emilie has a new one called Tweenology.  Blogging keeps her mind busy and her heart happy.
*  Paul cut the tip of his pinkie off with wire strippers which sent him to the ER with Eric.  Not a big event, but it just had to be documented.
*  Emilie went back to school in September and did very well for pretty much missing 5th grade.  Our school, Baymonte Christian School, installed a lift so that Emilie could attend classes on the second floor.  We love the staff, parents and kids at Baymonte!!!
*  Our family participated in the Baymonte Tech Trek 5K.  The kids got their bibs and took off without us.  Paul and Nicolas ran while pushing Emilie in her chair.  Awesome!!
*  Paul graduated from 8th grade and is now a high schooler.  Scary and fun at the same time.

I love, love, love my family and am so grateful that we were able to do all that we did in 2011!!!

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Monday, January 2, 2012

He Knows

Per our normal operating procedures, I go home on weekends and Eric stays with Emilie at the hospital.  I cannot stay away, so I will go home to sleep and see the boys and Nana and then return to spend the day with Eric and Emilie at the hospital.  Saturday was no different...sleeping in, hanging out with the boys and doing some errands.  I got a call from Eric that Emilie barfed (correct medical terminology) on her PJ's and blanket during the night and would I bring a plastic bag to carry the yucky laundry home in.  Whenever we are inpatient, I bring a pillow case and a blanket from home to make things a little "homier" for Emilie.  The next call I got was from my mom telling me that a package had arrived at home for Emilie and if I was still in town to come by and pick it up before heading to the hospital.  Back home I went to get the package for Emilie and then off to the hospital.  At the hospital, Emilie was thrilled to receive a package and immediately opened it to find...
the most beautiful, encouraging, uplifting quilt made by our friend Mitzie!!!  See, God knows what we need and when we need it.  Not only did we need a clean, happy blankie, but we also needed a good dose of God's love that was shown through this wonderful gift.

My God will use his glorious riches to give you everything you need.  He will do this through Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:19

Thank you, Mitzie, for blessing us with your creativity!!!  The colors, design and words are perfect, perfect, perfect!!!  We are grateful for you and Kay!  Thank you for your love, encouragement and support!!

I took the above photos with my cell phone quickly.  The quilt reads:

What cancer cannot do...
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal humor
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot conquer the spirit
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot erode confidence
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot cripple love
It cannot erase memories
It cannot stifle laughter
It cannot silence courage

Cancer certainly does stink, but it is so true that it cannot rob us of the things that are most important.