Wednesday, March 25, 2009

As I write, the rest of the family is vegging in front of the TV because everyone is sick. Esther & Isaiah seem to be on the upswing, but Anya and Israel are both miserable.

In brief:
  • The specialist didn't find any fluid in Anya's lungs
  • Anya has developed infection in her eyes so she has been prescribed antibiotic eye drops
  • Anya continues to take Tylenol and prescription cough medicine for her other symptoms
  • Anya continues to have a fever so she has not been released to continue her chemo

Anya seems to be feeling the worst she has felt for at least several months. She just lies around crying, sleeping, or even at times babbling nonsense. We're hoping she starts feeling better quickly!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Clinic Initial Results

Fortunately, Anya was able to return home after her appointment this morning. Her lab work showed that her ANC has dropped since her last visit a week ago, but it is still in the safe range - praise the Lord! And the radiologist inspected her xrays, and said that it looks like there is no fluid in her lungs - yeah!

There is still a chance that Anya would have to return to the hospital sometime in the next few days if one of the following happens:
  1. If the doctor who is also going to review Anya's xrays finds something that the radiologist missed.
  2. If the doctors find that something is growing in the cultures they took this morning anytime within the next 72 hours.

Obviously we are glad that Anya didn't have to stay in the hospital, but we are still praying that she would get well quickly. She is pretty sad and miserable, the poor thing.

Esther also visited the doctor this morning, and was prescribed an antibiotic for her eyes because she has some type of infection in them. The doctor thinks that it is just whatever virus that is causing the rest of her symptoms but wants to treat it just in case because she is so uncomfortable.

Life is never boring with three kids, is it?!

Visit to the Clinic

For a few days, Anya has had a little cough but yesterday afternoon she developed a fever, sore throat, heavy chest, and body aches. Esther, Isaiah, and I have also been feeling under the weather but because Anya is on chemo which can decrease her ability to fight infection, she has to make a trip to the clinic this morning for blood work and a chest x-ray. They are hoping to find that her white blood cell count is high enough to fight the virus and that there is no fluid in her lungs.

I'm not really sure what will happen if they do find fluid in her lungs, but she is worried that if they do, she will have to have more breathing treatments. When Anya was originally admitted to the hospital, she was very sick and simply terrified of everything that was happening to her. There were many things that were painful and extremely uncomfortable, but for some reason she has attached a lot of the memories of pain and discomfort to the breathing treatments. Whenever we talk about her first time in the hospital, she mentions how terrible those treatments were even though in and of themselves they aren't that terrible. But because she remembers them being so awful, we are praying that there would not be fluid in her lungs and that she wouldn't need breathing treatments.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rash Update

Anya's rash has now worsened and become pretty itchy. There are times when she just cries because it itches her so badly. The doctors suggested that we try Benadryl, and it seems to help - especially when we use the higher end of the allowed dosage.

While getting dressed for the day yesterday morning, Anya asked if I could put her hair in pigtails. After I finished, she asked to look in a mirror and for the first time saw the rash covering her nose and cheeks. In a frustrated tone she said, "I look ridiculous with this rash on my face!" As a mom, of course, I tried to reassure that she was beautiful and that the rash didn't distract from that.

Later I shared the experience with Israel and he said that she had also asked him if she still looked pretty with the rash on her face. Of course, he reassured her as well but was now realizing our need to try and use this and similar experiences to teach her that there are times when our external appearance is affected by things like sickness or tragedies, but that we need to keep such things in perspective because our physical appearance is really such a small part of who we are and what we are supposed to be. I was so thankful for that realization!

So later as Anya and I were laying down for an afternoon nap, I took the opportunity to discuss the values of external and internal beauty and how it directly applied to her situation. I reaffirmed that she was a beautiful girl, but that we needed not to be so focused on external appearance knowing that life experiences may negatively affect the way other people think we look but that what is most important is what is in our heart. And I had to take the opportunity to apologize for being inappropriately concerned with some of the physical changes that come with pregnancy and aging and told her that I would try to be a better example in the future. Wow, what a lot to try to explain to a little five year old girl. But I think she got it, and I'm thankful Israel saw this important opportunity!

Monday Lab Work

On Sunday, we discovered a rash developing under Anya's arm on her rib cage. She was only slightly itchy so we decided to wait to report it to her doctor on Monday, during her scheduled follow-up lab work.

Once we arrived at the clinic on Monday, in order to protect the other children, Anya was placed in an isolation room and wasn't allowed to go into the playroom. And as a mom who is sometimes on the other side of the fence - I was very grateful!

After the nurse inspected Anya and the lab results came back, the nurse told us that the rash was probably a viral thing and that it was probably what caused the abnormal spike in her enzyme levels last week. They also said that her enzyme levels were now much closer to normal (only slightly elevated). All of the other numbers they check were in a safe range, so the doctors told us to put Anya back on her daily chemo meds.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March Appointment

Last Friday was Anya's scheduled monthly appointment. Most of the morning before she arrived in the procedure room, she was crying because she wasn't able to eat and was tired. But thankfully she was able to fall back to sleep after she & Israel got settled in the room, and woke up feeling much better after everything was finished. And by the time she got home, she was cheerful!

Later that day we received a call from Joy, Anya's nurse. Apparently Anya's liver enzyme level was elevated which means that her liver was fighting to clear something out (which probably explains why she had been so tired the couple days previous). According to the doctor it was most likely trying to clear out whatever virus she had in the last month or so.

Because her daily chemo is filtered through her liver and the doctors don't wish to work her liver more than necessary, they asked us to discontinue her daily chemo medication (while continuing her five days of steroids). They also asked us to bring Anya back in on Monday the 16th for more lab work so they can check to see if her levels have returned to normal, and to see if they can detect a virus that may have caused the problem.

Anya completed her five days of steroids on Wednesday morning, praise the Lord! Some rounds of steroids are harder than others, and I would say that this one was more difficult than some. She was up through the night unable to sleep three different nights - poor thing! One morning she even apologized for having to wake me up in the night - what a sweet princess!

Wednesday was the first night in as long as I can remember that she didn't have to take medication. I must admit that it was kind of nice. Of course, in the big picture, we want her to be able to take as much chemo as possible to make sure that the leukemia does not return. But in the short term, the break was great! So we'll enjoy these few days of medicine free living as much as possible!