Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mr. PVHS 2012 for Taleah!

This year at Pine View High School the Mr. PVHS pageant is all for Taleah Stevenson. This is an amazing event put on by the students under the direction of Mr. Miller and his student organization. The different clubs and organizations at the school sponsor a male member of their group to represent them in the Mr. PVHS Pageant. The whole theme of the event is what organization can raise the most money for the chosen cause. Taleah was chosen this year! The event will be held this upcoming February 24th. They have also added a 5k run in connection with the event the Saturday prior on February 18th. I will post more information on how to donate as soon as I have it working right. You can also visit Taleah's blog by clicking on her name under Other Little Fighters. Taleah is an amazing little girl with a long road ahead of her. Lets all show our support for Taleah and her family!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A wonderful Christmas!

Christmas this year has been beautiful! Being together, home for Christmas, truly is the best gift ever! My heart aches for those families and children currently undergoing treatment. My heart aches for those who are where we were last year at this time. So many unknowns, sad moments, and fears, but here we are, we made it through and so will they! No matter what, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We have been so blessed to have our Jessica, healthy and happy, back to herself!! It is hard to believe that we spent Christmas at the hospital last year and that Jessica went through all that she did. Just so thankful for our many blessings. So very grateful for Jessica, for our whole family, for the many wonderful doctors and health professionals, for so many others who gave so much love and support to our family during a difficult time. I just hope that our family can be there for others in their time of need. Merry Christmas and wishes for a beautiful New Year filled with Faith, Hope, and Love!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No more Port!

Two days ago, Tuesday, October 25th, was Jessica's last day with her Port in! She had surgery to remove it Tuesday night at about 7:45 p.m. A very late surgery, but all went well, quick and simple, and she is doing great and very excited to be done! No more regular blood draws and NO MORE CHEMO! Her CT scans that were done on Monday look great. The spots on her lungs that the doctor was a little concerned about 3 months ago look much better. In fact where the largest tumors had been and where there had been some leftover material of some sort, they now see nothing in those spots. And the two areas where there was calcification have gotten smaller. The doctor says that those may take some time to completely dissolve, but this was definitely Jessica's best scan yet! It is strange to have this behind us now. Jessica will return to Primary's every 3 months now for 1 year for scans. Recurrence most often happens within that first year, but the 3rd and 5th years will be the big milestones to get to! It has been a journey we will never forget! The many children, families, and health professionals that we have come in contact with will never be forgotten! Many friendships and bonds have been made throughout this journey and we are so grateful for the opportunity to know all of these amazing people! It will be fun to watch Jessica continue to grow and learn and it will be fun to watch her beautiful hair grow back. The other day she was talking about her hair again and said, "When my hair grows back, Mom, I want a ponytail with a braid." So cute! With the difficult challenges always come the happy moments and many lessons learned! So thankful to be at the end of this journey. So thankful for the many little miracles that have happened along the way! And I am so thankful for a beautiful little daughter who is definitely a Miracle!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Back to School for Jessica!!!

Jessica had her labs done today and her immune system has returned and her platelets seem to be on there way back up! Jessica was hoping she could go back to school on Monday and when I told her that her counts looked really good she just got a big huge grin on her face! With the ringing of the bell at Primary Children's, I had forgotten about the two chemo treatments that Jessica had here in St. George. She received Vin Cristine last Wednesday, along with getting Red Blood Cells and Platelets. Her Aunt Lydia went with her again to get her transfusions. She always has a ball with Aunt Lydia, who rented a red box for them and has made transfusion time something to look forward to. Jessica will get her last vin crisitne, and truly the very last treatment, this Wednesday morning. Vin cristine is what they call a place holder. It is a chemotherapy, but it does not affect Jessica's counts. I guess that is why when we left Primary Children's almost 2 weeks ago, we felt done. No more trips to S.L.C. for chemotherapy! Today Jessica said, "Mom, can you see my hair growing back?. When my hair grows back, can we braid it and pull it in a pony tail?" Is that the sweetest!! She makes very sweet comments about her hair every now and again. One time she said, "On my birthday, mom, my hair will be back. It will probably be like Jacobs. (her baby brother)" And another morning as we were getting ready for church Jessica said, "Mom, I look beautiful without hair." And she does!!! So grateful for my beautiful daughter and her amazing spirit and the strength she has shown through it all! I am so happy for her to be back at school. She is surrounded by some great little friends who I know will be a great strength to her! And her big sisters, Annalise and Alyson, have been very anxious for her to be back at school with them! They are so excited to meet Jessica at her classroom door after school!! They are great big sisters and can't wait to do their part to watch out for Jess! Caleb feels the excitement and wants to go to school too! I think we will definitely need to put Caleb in preschool next year! He will be ready to go to kindergarten, but that September birthday will keep him from going until fall of 2013. As strange as it sounds to say, 2013, it will be here before we know it! Time just doesn't slow down. There are times I just wish we could put the brakes on...even just for a minute! But, I am always reminded that I better focus on what matters most. I certainly fall short, but hope that I can do better each day! Jessica's experiences this past year have really helped our family put things into perspective! I can honestly say that I am so grateful for this journey. I am so grateful for Jessica's Miracle!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Celebration Day!

Jessica finished her final treatment at about 8 p.m. last night! It took us the extra week to make counts, but we made it up. The fluids following the chemotherapy will keep us here until about 6:30 p.m. tonight and then we will head for home. She is doing well! We arrived yesterday at 8 a.m. for a quick cross and type for a needed blood transfusion and then she had an echo of her heart at 10 a.m. The blood started around 11 a.m. and took about 3 hours. It took her until 6 p.m. to be going to the bathroom enough to start chemotherapy. Both Jessica and I have really been missing everyone, but especially Jacob because he has always been with us and we left him home with dad this time. I kept nursing Jacob so that I could keep him with us at the hospital, but it has been only at night and he certainly doesn't need it anymore. He turned a year on September 15th, which is hard to believe. Cody decided to take a couple of days off to be with the kids. Caleb, who just turned 4, has always come up with us too, but has stayed with my sister in Farmington, which he loves. Caleb loves coming up north, but was excited to get to stay home with his dad. Cody was the one who said, "why don't you just leave Jacob too." He is walking really well now and it didn't take long to think that it would certainly be easier in many ways and a lot more fun for him to be home with his dad. So Jessica and I headed off on our own. Jessica didn't want to leave Jacob behind at first, but I assured her that we would have a fun time together. Yesterday, Jessica's Grandma Sheri, Aunt Jan, and cousin Tallie came down from Idaho. We got to spend the day with them, which was tons of fun! Between a pizza party, paper flower making, barbies, pretend cell phone calls between Grandma and Jessica, a visit from our friend Makenzie who is up here at Weber State, and lots of laughs and smiles from Jessica, it was a very fun-filled day! Even Aunt Amelia and cousin Kate made a late night stop after a treck to the Utah Symphony! Jessica had a great day! By the evening her appetite was no longer there, but this has happened every time with the chemotherapy. It will build back up and now we don't have to keep returning to have everything go back down....YEAH! They do a special song and bell ringing for the kids when they finish treatment. We should be doing that this afternoon. We are scheduled to return in 4 weeks for scans and appointments. They will evaluate her counts then to see if they feel she is ready to have her port removed. She might have it removed the following day or because she may still need blood products it may have to stay in a few more weeks. These are huge achievements for Jessica! She has been amazing through every last moment of her journey! It has been a great experience in so many ways, even though it will be so great to have it all behind us! We never know what may come our way or what the future holds, but we have witnessed countless blessings in Jessica's life and in our own lives. How important it is to recognize lifes miracles even when they seem difficult to see. They are always there....always! Jessica truly is a miracle!

We have the most amazing family and friends. If not for them, our journey would have been extremely difficult! We are so grateful to you all! Thank you for all of your love and support! We hope that we can give the same kind of love and support to others through their life's journey's. Someday soon.... : ) I will post pictures! I promise : )

Monday, September 5, 2011

1 more treatment left!

No matter what is happening in my life, time just goes by too quickly. Here we are so close to the end of Jessica's chemotherapy treatments. We spent last week at Primary Children's. Jessica did well. Her kidney is still struggling some, but somewhat expected by the doctors. They just continue to keep a close eye on it. One of the drugs, cytoxin is hard on the bladder. She continues to have red blood cells in her urine, with protein and some other things, but the only thing they can do for that is just flush a lot of fluids through her system during chemotherapy. This has kept Jessica in the hospital for a day longer the last few visits, but overall Jessica is doing great. She is so excited that she only has one more chemotherapy treatment! I have yet to post pictures. Jessica has had many reasons to be excited about the past month! She has had some special moments with friends at the hospital also! She is always thinking about those special friends! Jessica is scheduled to report for her last treatment on Sept. 20th. The last couple of treatments she has had at least a weeks delay, but we are shooting for the 20th. Jessica is amazing! She has come so far! We all love her so much!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Delays, but doing well

Jessica is scheduled to have chemo next Tuesday, August 2nd. We will meet with the doctor at 12:30 and then she is scheduled to be admitted after that for an overnight stay where she will receive cytoxin and Doxyrubicin. We are looking at the statistics over the past 5 years of children who were on similar drugs to Jessica. That is about as far as the track record goes, which is why we have even more questions. It isn't a protocol that has years of experience. Two years ago there were changes to the protocol and they are looking more closely at the drugs again. We have decided to omit carboplatin, which is part of the 4 night stay 3 weeks following next weeks treatment. Jessica has had a lot of complications after the last treatment. Besides the infection and so many tranfusions of platelets, her blood pressure is high. We are treating that with meds, but it is always higher than it used to be. We certainly had blood pressure issues at the first until the other kidney/tumor came out in March. But since surgery, up to this point, her BP has been fine. We just need to make sure that her kidney is okay. We have had 2 weeks delay because of her infection and platetlets. Yesterday, they were still only 91, which isn't normal yet, but above 75, so she can have chemo. I have never seen her platelets get hit as hard as they did this time. They have been super slow to return on their own. She had a total of 6 units of platelets in about 8 days. She also dropped to an all time low of 2 before her last transfusion.
Jessica is now able to take meds through her mouth again, her choice, so no feeding tube is necessary. She feels good and looks great, even though her blood pressure is a little high. A fun little announcement is that Jessica's wish from Make-a-wish, which was a playhouse, should be here on August 4th. She is very excited!! As we all are. When Jessica wished for a playhouse, I don't think the playhouse that she got to choose had even crossed her little mind, but it will be something special for our entire family in honor of Jessica and her strength through her cancer journey. Make-a-Wish and our volunteer Jackie have been so great with Jessica and all of the kids. G-Force construction laid the cement foundation in the backyard, and they were also great with the kids and did a wonderful job. It has all been a great experience, something we will all never forget. Lots of fun memories will be made in the playhouse. A great big thank you to so many who make foundations like Make-a-Wish possible!!
I can't believe that school starts on August 15th for our 3 girls. It is hard to see Jessica already 5 and ready for kindergarten, but I can't help but be happy for her because she is so excited to be at school with her big sisters. Caleb will be a little lost without Jessica, but at least he has Jacob :)