Friday, December 31, 2010

Update 12/31

After a CT scan this morning revealed fluid around Jessica's lungs, a tube was inserted in her side to extract the fluid. A lot of fluid has already been removed which should help her lungs immediately. Also, the tumor and nodules on her lungs showed no new growth. The plan now is for Jessica to have her 2nd round of chemo on Monday. The effects of chemo have set in, but after a rough night, she is doing much better today. She remains in the PICU. Her lungs are still in need of support. Her fever returned in the night and they are still trying to determine the cause.

Chandra and Cody have spent a lot of time today with all of their kids at the hospital. The kids can't see Jessica because she is in the PICU, but they have spent time enjoying the fun kids play room at Primary Children's. Chandra was doing Annalise and Alyson's hair when she said how she had missed doing their hair. Alyson responded, "I've missed your hands in my hair."

While all of Jessica's nurses have been great, the nurse she has had today really has known how to get her to respond, interact and even giggle a little. Her nurse, Blake, juggled her stuffed animals which Jessica loved. We are hopeful that with the removal of the excess fluid, Jessica has turned a corner.

Sara (Chandra's sister)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Update 12/29

Jessica's condition continues to remain about the same. During the night Jessica's oxygen levels were a little low so they moved her this morning to a stronger machine to help open up her lungs. She also has been battling a fever off and on and they are trying to determine where the fever is coming from. Jessica was started on an antibiotic as a precaution. We are so grateful Jessica is in the care of great doctors and nurses at Primary Children's.

While I was with Jessica last night in her room she said to me, "Sara, is it night or morning?" I told her it was night time and she could go to bed if she was tired. Sweet Jessica closed her eyes. The question Jessica asked sums up how it can feel being in a hospital room for an extended amount of time. Chandra stated that the days are all running together and she has to think for a minute to determine what day it is. It is definitely a difficult time, but Chandra and Cody, as hard as it may be, remain so positive and hopeful for the best. Jessica is a fighter and although she is not getting out of the PICU as soon as we had hoped, she will get there.

Chandra told me a sweet story today. Jessica has a really good friend, Isaac Lloyd. They are both 4 and the best of buddies. They walk into church together with their arms around each other and do the same as they go into preschool. Isaac got a gum ball machine for Christmas. When Jessica became ill, Isaac decided he would charge a quarter for each gum ball and save the money for his friend, Jessica. As Chandra was telling Jessica this story, Jessica laughed for the first time since becoming sick. She chuckled, "He is going to give all his money to me?" Chandra has told this story to Jessica many times and she gets so excited thinking about her good friend Isaac and the money she might be getting.

Sara (Chandra's sister)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Update 12/28

I came to Salt Lake late last night from St. George and I spent time with Jessica this morning. While I was there, she played with "Grandma's itouch", painted a picture and put together a Toy Story puzzle. Her lungs are not improving as much as they had hoped so she continues to stay in the PICU. Jessica is anxious to return back to the 4th floor where she will be able to eat. All patients in the PICU can only be fed through a feeding tube. Although she is getting plenty of nutrients, she feels hungry and wants to eat real food. Chandra told me about a coversation she had with Jessica last night as they were both going to sleep. Wanting to know what she would be able to eat, she asked her mom, "Do they have cheese quesadillas with ranch here? What about noodles?" As Chandra and Jessica were both almost asleep, Jessica said, "What about bananas?" She then said, "Okay mom, you can go to sleep now."

Chandra, Cody and baby Jacob continue to stay at the hospital around the clock. Jacob is not allowed in the PICU so they take turns staying with Jessica while the other stays with Jacob in the waiting room. Alyson and Caleb continue to stay with Grandma Chipman at my sister Amelia's house in Farmington where they are enjoying their time with cousins. Their oldest daughter, Annalise, is staying with her Grandma and Grandpa Schmitt in Idaho where she is having a great time. Chandra and Cody are being so strong at this difficult time and are so grateful to all of the well wishes coming from people they know and from complete strangers.

Sara (Chandra's sister)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Update 12/27

Jessica is still in the PICU but her lungs are improving. She started chemo today. The doctors did not want to wait any longer because the issues with her lungs are directly related to the tumor. We are hopeful that Jessica responds well to chemo and that the tumor will start pulling away from her lungs. The current plan for Jessica is weekly chemo treatments. After 10 weeks of chemo they plan on removing the tumor. If Jessica continues to improve, the doctors have stated she could possibly have her chemo treatments in St. George.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Update 12/26

Jessica has been moved to the ICU where she will use the CPAP machine to help her lungs work at full capacity. One of her lungs is partially collapsed due to the effects from the surgical biopsy and the tumor. While the preliminary results from the biopsy suggest the type of Wilms that responds well to chemo, they are still waiting for the final results which should be in by Tuesday. Jessica will start chemo Tuesday or Wednesday.

Please continue to keep sweet Jessica and her family in your thoughts and prayers,
Sara (Chandra's sister)

Special Fast Today!!


January 8th at 7:30 AM @ 163 South 2060 East
Saint George, Utah
Donate items to address listed above until
January 8th. Bring baked goods the day of.
Come and shop or simply donate. ALL
proceeds will be put in a trust fund for
the Schmitts to help pay medical bills.
Questions: Call Ann or John (435)656-2688
Call Mary or Kelton (435)703-1217

Friday, December 24, 2010

Jessica's Story

After a couple of weeks of Jessica not eating well, Jessica’s mom, Chandra, became worried. Jessica's stomach felt bloated and Chandra felt it was due to constipation. After a visit to their doctor on the morning of December 21st, they were immediately sent to the hospital for more tests. After a few hours their worst nightmare was confirmed; sweet little Jessica had cancer. That evening, Jessica, her parents, and her baby brother Jacob were on a flight from St. George to Primary Childrens Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Jessica has been diagnosed with Wilms Tumor. After a needle biopsy Wednesday morning did not reveal enough information, a surgical biopsy was performed Thursday and a portion of the tumor was removed. Due to the size of the tumor the doctors want to start an aggressive form of chemo so that the tumor will pull away from other organs and be easier to remove. The biopsys will help doctors to pinpoint the exact type of Wilms and to choose the specific chemotherapy that will be most effective.

Wilms Tumor is a cancer of the kidneys that typically occurs in children age 3 to 4. Since Jessica's cancer has spread beyond the kidneys, it is considered Stage 4 . This sounds pretty scary and there may be a long road ahead, but with faith, prayers, and great doctors and nurses at Primary Childrens, we are hopeful for a full and speedy recovery.

Jessica is 4 years old and the 3rd child of Chandra and Cody Schmitt. She has 2 older sisters, Annalise (9) and Alyson (7), and 2 younger brothers, Caleb (3) and Jacob (3 months).

Chandra and Cody are overwhelmed with all of the love and concern that has been shown to them at this difficult time. They are so thankful for friends and family and the wonderful caregivers at Primary Children's Hospital.

Posted by: Sara (Chandra's sister)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Email Update #4

New update this morning for Jessica Schmitt:

Bob just got off the phone with Cody. Cody indicated that they were at this moment doing the surgical biopsy of the tumor. As we said last night the needle biopsy wasn’t enough of a tissue sample. A correction to something a family member said, that they took the bad kidney was not correct. Cody said that the “kidney is consumed by the cancer, and that there really is no kidney left, it is all cancer”. So when the family stated it was gone they were correct in a sense. It is not a functioning, viable kidney. The cancer IS in her lungs. The way Cody stated it was that the cancer is “everywhere”. They are not going to go in and remove the tumors because it is too dangerous. They are going to start aggressive chemotherapy for the next six to eight weeks and then reassess her condition. Going in right now and removing can cause the cancer to spread or even cause her to bleed out (as Cody indicated). They are trying to stop the cancer growth.

Just remember to keep them in your prayers and remember the fast on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Email Update #3

Hey Mandi,
Here is the latest we've heard.
Hey everyone,

So I went over and talked to Chandra's dad tonight and he indicated that it is a kidney cancer. I know we have heard a lot of different things regarding the origin of the cancer. The issue is that the size of the tumor is so huge in her little body. It has been hard for them to say exactly where and what it is in. He indicated that the doctors were meeting with Cody and Chandra tonight. I have since talked to Chandra's sister and she got an update from them:

They did a needle biopsy of the tumor today but it wasn't enough sample to make any conclusions from. So they are preping her for surgery in the morning to take a surgical sample of the tumor. Chandra's dad said they already removed one of her kidneys. They also said that they are pretty sure the cancer is in her lungs as well. In the morning they will get a better picture of the type of cancer and where the cancer is exactly. It is unknown what other organs it may be affecting.

Just remember to keep them in your prayers. Remember the Schmitt children. Annalise I understand is taking this pretty hard. The kids are on their way tomorrow to Salt Lake with their grandparents to spend Christmas as a family, even if it is at the hospital.

Email Update #2

"I just received a call from Becky Burns and she heard through the extended Schmitt family that Jessica is in surgery and this was what they found at Primary's before going in:  The biggest tumor is in her stomach and that is what was pushing on the liver(and causing her the pain).  They have confirmed that the cancer has moved into the lower part of her lungs and possibly in the liver too.  It is a super aggressive cancer and right now they are just going to try and get rid of it.  We'll let you know more as information comes in."
Love, Vera
For now I will be posting emails updates that I recieve and information from Joan (Chandra's Mom)

"Bob has been making calls to the Elders in the ward to call all their home teaching families, and start praying for the Schmitt family. He is also letting the Elder's Quorum know that they will be having a fast as a Quorum on Sunday and anyone else who can participate would be great.

Here is the update. We just spoke with Chandra's family and things are pretty bad. Jessica was complaining of a side ache for a couple of days and when the pain intensified today, they took her in this morning to the doctor. She has been having tests done all day and the doctors here confirmed that she had STAGE 4 cancer. The tumor size in her liver was bigger than her heart. It is pushing into the lungs. Stage 4 means it has gone from one organ into another. Cody and Chandra are flying to Primary Children's tonight and they are going to run tests on Jessica all night. In the morning she will be having surgery to remove the tumor. Chandra's family said the doctors said they would be there at least a month. Right now the best thing we can do is pray that her little body will do good in surgery tomorrow morning.

Please keep all of the Schmitts in your prayers.

We will keep you updated. Cody is keeping in touch with Bob."