Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Counts are good

Yesterday Jessica's counts were great and they scheduled our arrival time for 1 p.m. today, Tuesday, May 17th. Her ANC was the highest I have seen it in a while at 4.9 or 4900. Total white blood cells were 6.1. Her platelets were 298. Her hematocrit was 24, so almost to transfusion point, but they just decided that if she needed a transfusion they would give it to her at PCMC, which is what they did when we arrived today. Dr. Affiy wanted her to be given the red blood cells before chemotherapy. It is now 10:30 p.m. And we have just started chemotherapy, but even though it is late, we should still be able to get off good time tomorrow morning. They have been hydrating Jessica since we got here. Her urine output and certain ph levels have to be at certain levels before they can start chemotherapy. Through the night we get her up every 2 hours to go to the bathroom. Sometimes she needs to go even more often than that. She is such a trooper! She just let's me pick her up, carry her to the toilet, set her down, and there is no complaints. Anyway, all is well. Even though she wasn't seeming super tired with her low hematocrit, after the blood transfusion the color came back into her skin. Little rosy cheeks....pretty darn cute!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

One more change

Last Friday we received a call from our Dr. at Primary Children's. After a meeting with all of the doctors that have been working with Jessica, the general consensus was that Jessica should still stay on the higher protocol of chemotherapy. More information came back on the warnings that had come back on this protocol from the clinical trial and it was found that out of the 3 deaths (total children- 36), 2 were unrelated to the drug treatment. With as much success as Jessica has had on this treatment, they all felt that she should continue on with this protocol. If she came in today with the same diagnosis it is true that they would not start her on this protocol, but we believe that it is a blessing that Jessica was able to receive this treatment and continue it because her tumor may have never been able to be removed as successfully as it was. Our Doctor is always so great to have us think about it and make sure that we agree. Cody and I agree with the doctors, even though it will be hard to see her blood counts drop so dramatically. We are just very grateful for good doctors who are constantly thinking about Jessica and very concerned about what is best for her. As long as Jessica makes blood counts this next Monday, we will head up Monday night or Tuesday morning for an overnight stay for chemotherapy. Jessica is still doing great! Her ANC (Immune system cells) came up even though she received the lesser chemo on May 3rd. We continue to count our many blessings!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fun Adventures!

Jessica waiting to show her Dad what radiation treatments are all about.
Cody was with us as much as he could be. Cody, with his mother, worked back home and held down the fort while we were gone. Jessica is so lucky to have such an amazing Dad and I am so lucky to have such an amazing husband!!

Just part of the process of radiation. Jessica laid completely still for her treatments and did not have to be sedated. She was amazing. There was one day that she had to lay still for well over an hour. Most of her 13 days were not that long, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.

Jessica and her cousin Kate with Uncle Jeff's fiance, Christina, who the girls, and all of us for that matter, absolutely adore! We came home the first weekend in between radiation for Christina's Bridal Shower. Jeff and Christina will be married on May 20th! That same weekend, we also threw a surprise 8th birthday party for Alyson. Her birthday is April 6th, and we had to be up north, so we surprised her the weekend before and then we were able to do her baptism the weekend after her birthday.

Jessica holding her cousin's, Isaac, Andrew, and Lucy's new puppy! This is the day we said goodbye to Aunt Sara and the kids as they headed off to Texas for another baseball season for Uncle Brandon. We will be excited to see everyone in less than a week for Jeff and Christina's wedding! Cute Jessica and her little wisps of hair up front that she has never completely lost.

Jessica with her Grandma Sheri Schmitt.
Grandma Sheri has been such a blessing to our family. She is the one who took over as mom for Annalise and Alyson (and Cody....again :) while we had to be up north for so long. Sheri has given up so much time to be here in St. George. I honestly don't know what we would have done without her. She kept things as normal as possible for our older girls. Annalise and Alyson love their Grandma dearly. It was not easy on Sheri to step in, but she did. We always came home to a much cleaner home than when we left it and yummy food to eat. Sheri is always checking in on us even when she is not here. And when she says I'll be there if you need me, I know that she means it. Sheri sacrafices so much for all of her children. She is a huge blessing to each one of them! Sheri had just retired from teaching school last year. We know that it has been a gift to have her help with our little family.

Jessica and Caleb with Grandma Chipman at our Easter Picnic at the park

Grandma Chipman has sacraficed much time and effort to be there for our family. She is always there whenever we need her. She is teaching 5th grade full time, but even with that she has taken a whole lot of time to help where needed. Her Christmas break and the first week back for her 5th graders was spent with us in the PICU at Primary's. Grandma Chipman is the one who got Jacob started on solids, which made being away from him longer much easier (since the little guy has never taken to the bottle). And Grandma Chipman is a cancer survivor so Grandma and Jessica have a special bond. Grandma knows what Jessica is going through. My mother is a great strength to me. You could definitely say that she is my Hero! She is aware of our needs and takes special care of all of our children, especially Jessica's older sisters who have really struggled through this whole experience. My mom has also made sure that Cody and I take time together. She has taken the kids several times, making sure that Cody and I get some quality time together.

How truly blessed I am to have two amazing Mother's! And how blessed Jessica is to have two amazing Grandmother's!

To both of my mothers (my mother and mother-in-law)


On our way home one weekend, in between radiation treatments, we met Aunt Lydia and Uncle Nate in Beaver. They were headed up north for a reunion. Aunt Lydia, who is a registered nurse, has been a great strength to us! She is always so willing to step in and help at anytime. What is amazing is that I know that each one of my 7 siblings would do anything, absolutely anything to help when needed and they have done so much! I love my family. I just can't say that enough!

The second weekend in between radiation we were able to come home for Alyson's baptism. It was a beautiful day! Can't believe that my Alyson is 8 years old!

Jessica with her best cousin Kate

We have been so lucky to have my Sister Amelia and her family to stay with in Farmington. We feel so comfortable in their home and it makes it so much fun!

Jessica on the last day of radiation with some of the amazing staff at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

We had a great experience at Huntsman!

At Huntsman we were able to quickly valet park for free everyday. This is one of the nice valet parking guys with Jessica on a very cold April day in Salt Lake!

Here is Isaac, Jessica's very good friend, bringing her flowers. Isaac always makes Jessica smile!
Great friends, Jessica and Isaac!
Jessica visiting preschool with her friends and Miss Mary. Jessica loves spending as much time as she can with Miss Mary!
A hiking adventure to Red Cliffs just yesterday, Friday, May 6th!

We all had a great time hiking and playing in the water! Jessica had a great time. It is times like these that we will look back on with sweet memories that will never be forgotten!
Alyson, Jessica, Caleb and Annalise on the trail at Red Cliffs

How lucky they are to have each other and how lucky am I to be their mother!