Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quick update!

Today is Jessica's 3rd day at the hospital here in St. George. Last Thursday, her ANC (her immune system) bottomed out to zero. All of her counts dropped dramatically, which is to be expected, we just always hope that her ANC won't go to zero. Thursday she needed red blood cells because her hematocrit was 20, so Cody went in with her to get a transfusion. They went in about 7 p.m. and didn't get home until 11 p.m. All went well until about 4 p.m. On Friday when she spiked a temp. of 101.6. With healthy kids that isn't always alarming, but with Jessica and kids like her, they admit them right away. This happened with our last round of chemotherapy so this may become our normal. They started antibiotics and drew blood cultures right off. Friday evening her platelets had dropped to 13 so they gave her a transfusion of platelets also. At first her cultures looked fine, but soon after the first look they showed signs of a staff infection. The good thing was that by Saturday morning her temperatures were back to normal and she physically looks and acts ok. They have done more blood draws. They are doing them each night at 7 p.m. Her counts today were, total white- .7; hematocrit- 26; platelets- 61; and ANC- .1. To me, her body is starting to rebound. I hope we keep moving on up. Last round of chemotherapy we chose the daily neupogen shots to help build back her immune system more quickly. This round we chose to try the 1 time shot of neulasta. If she keeps coming up each day from now on, I think that neulasta will be the better choice for Jessica! Hopefully we will be able to come home tomorrow. We head back to Primary Children's one week from tomorrow on February 28th. They will do a CT scan, then we will meet with our oncologist and the surgeon to decide if surgery is possible on March 8th. We are crossing our fingers that the scan will show great improvement! After surgery Jessica will have radiation for about a week and she will continue chemotherapy.
Jessica is doing great and still has a very positive attitude. She just has a great outlook on life! Kids are amazing! Thank you to everyone for all of your love and support! So many people are doing so much for our family. It means so much to us! We truly love you all!

One of the special children that we met at PCMC, Ari Lane, passed away the end of January. We just found out yesterday. We love her And her family so much. They were a great strength to us during our stay at PCMC. Ari's brother and sisters were such great examples to our kids. They were so kind and thoughtful, mature beyond their age. We feel very lucky to have been able to meet their family. It was a
blessing for our family! Our thoughts and love go out to them at this time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

PV Boys Basketball Fundraiser

The Pine View High School boys basketball team has teamed up with Nike and Eastbay to raise cancer awareness. Nike has donated pink basketball shoes to the team. The boys will play 3 games wearing the shoes. From now, until the final home game on February 18th, the shoes will be up for silent auction. You can place a bid by emailing Coach Larsen at or calling Pine View High School at (435)628-5255 ext. 140. If you would like a specific players shoes, make sure to mention their name. Also, specify if you would like the shoes "as is" or signed by the player. The shoes were designed to raise cancer awareness and therefore they are very unique and can't be purchased at just any store. The team will be donating all proceeds to Jessica and her family.

The next 3 games are:

Friday, the 11th, at 7:00 PM at Pine View High School. Pine View vs. Dixie
Wednesday, the 16th, at 7:00 PM at Canyon View High School. Pine View vs. Canyon View
Friday, the 18th, at 7:00 PM at Pine View High School. Pine View vs. Snow Canyon

The bidding will end after the game on the 18th. You do not have to be at the game to receive your shoes. Just make sure you leave your contact information when making a bid.

Thank you to Coach Larsen and the Pine View High boys basketball team for thinking about my niece, Jessica, and raising cancer awareness. The amount of love and support that has been shown towards Jessica and her family is simply amazing!

Sara (Chandra's sister)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A week of fun! Counts are up!

Monday, Jan 31st in the afternoon, we got the good word that Jessica's counts (ANC) were up! The neupogen shots everyday for 11 days finally kicked in! Her platelets were still quite low at 27, but no tranfusion needed. She had gotten to 18 while we were at the hospital here in St. George, so they gave her platelets then. Hopefully they keep coming up! Platelets are what give her blood the ability to clot. (For all those non-medical professionals like me) The low end of normal for Jessica is about 150. (Lots to learn!) This is a picture of Jessica with her very best cousin Kate. They were visiting from Farmington. Jessica loves Kate! When we first went to Primary Children's on December 21st, Jessica asked when we were going to go to Kate's house. A few days turned into 4 weeks at the hospital. On January 20th, the day Jessica was discharged, her first request was to go to Kate's house. Even though it was back tracking a little before heading home to St. George, Aunt Lydia and I, Jacob and Jessica, took a detour to Aunt Amelia & Uncle Jason's Home to see Kate (and everyone else too :) Kate's mom, Amelia had her fourth baby, Henry, on December 27th. There has been a lot going on in our family and through it all everyone has pulled together to give their support and love to everyone!

Jessica and Jacob have a lot of love for each other. While at Primary Children's, Jacob was a great distraction to me and to Jessica. Jacob is the best medicine for Jessica. When Jessica felt discouraged or sad, Jacob could always bring a smile to her face. What a blessing Jacob is to our family! Just another reminder of the miracle of life! What a priviledge to be the mother of 5 beautiful children. A great and very humbling, sometimes overwhelming responsibility, but truly a gift!

From left to right, some of the little Chipman cousins: Will, Ben, Zach, Abby, Emmy, Kate, Jessica, and Caleb. Big sisters Annalise and Alyson were at school, but while they were at school, we celebrated the fact that Jessica's counts were in a safe zone.

Jessica was back to her normal happy self this past week. She played with friends and cousins, and even went to her Thursday music group, which she loves! Jessica doesn't always want her picture taken, but maybe that is because her mom is constantly wanting a picture. We just have to catch her at the right moment. We have had a lot of happy moments this past week! There are always happy moments, but it has seemed a little more normal this week.

Jessica, Kate, Andrew, and Annalise frosting valentine cookies at Aunt Sara's new home. A Chipman family get together had been planned for last Monday night, but we had talked about the possibility that Jessica and mom might not be able to go. Kate and her family were to arrive just in time for the party, so everyone was thrilled. Sunday night Jessica said, "I know that my counts are going to be up, Mom." And boy was she right! We had a great time with our family!
One funny little moment I need to jot down so I don't forget. Right after we returned home from Primarys I was giving Jessica her first bath. Her hair was coming out in quite large amounts and I was just putting it on the edge of the tub. Caleb walked in and with a very distressed look said, "What did you do that to Jess for?" How cute was he, very concerned about his sister! Jessica's hair is pretty much all gone now, but most of the time she doesn't even think about it - One of the benefits of being just 4 years old.
We are now back up at Primary Children's for our 5th round of Chemo. Cody drove up with us and then he headed back home for the kids and work. Cody's mother has come back from Idaho to be with the kids. Before Cody left, we met with the Dr. this morning and then we were admitted for our 4 day stay. Dr. Afifi told us first of all that Jessica looks great, so much better than when she was last here. She then told us to plan on returning in 2 weeks, after this treatment, for a ct scan and then a consultation with the surgeon to look at a possible surgery date. So far, things are going very smoothly. Jessica is happy and has a great attitude about being back up here. Four days will be very easy after having had a 4 week stay!
Thanks again to everyone for all that you have done for Jessica and for our family!