Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lately (Day 47-65)

The first few pics were supposed to go with the last post… just the amazing friends, hospital staff and family that we have.

These next few pics were taken right before the transplant. They are some of the most treasured pictures that I have. Taleah loved every minute of it. I love seeing that bald head and it brings an overwhelming amount of emotions. 

It has been a roller coaster as usual. Scott was able to spend a little over a week up here with us and it was wonderful to be a family. It is always more stressful when Taleah doesn't feel well. She started feeling better the night before he left and it made the week without someone staying with me much more bearable. She was almost back to herself at times and I was more than thrilled. She was taking selfies, dancing, making up cheer routines… which are things she used to do. I can't even describe how happy I was to see some of her spunk coming back. I mean this happened about 4-6 hours of the day which was a huge improvement.

The labs are continuing to look pretty good. It seems as though things are on track. She doesn't love going to clinic except for the crafts that pass by the time. Her broviac line has been giving us some trouble. It doesn't always want to draw blood, which is a problem. It seems like we have been trying everything to get it to draw. We just need it to cooperate. 

Taleah also had her first lumbar puncture post transplant. She handled it pretty well. They found some white cells in her CSF, tested it for leukemia cells and luckily they were not. They explained to me that it was inflammation in the spinal column and it was very common. They also told me that we would not be continuing these LP's due to the white cells. I am not sure how I feel about that, but apparently it will do more harm than good. When I told Taleah that she didn't have to have any more, she replied, "They really don't bother me, but I just hate the bandaids." Good for her and sad that they don't even phase her anymore. 

I left to Saint George for the weekend while she stayed with my aunt and then my mom. She was thrilled to spend one on one time with them and informed me that she needed a break from all of us. Ha. I needed to move Slade back so that he could start pre-school and soccer and feel "normal".

It felt so good to be in STG. I loved being at my own home. I miss it so much. It didn't feel right because Taleah wasn't there, but it was a great reminder of how much I want to be home with my little family. All 6 of us. Soon enough.

I must say that Taleah was a little heartbroken when she saw all of her friends going to kindergarten. She asked me why she had to get cancer. I hate when I don't have an answer for those kinds of questions. I decided that we would have "kindergarten" at our apartment. I have a few supplies and I can play pretend. She enjoyed getting "ready" and came ready to learn. It lasted about 20 minutes because her energy level has been going back down. It was a moment I will never forget as a mom. I want her to feel normal but I am not sure if that helped or made it worse. 

She is such a sweet girl and it totally sucks that she can't be like the other kids. Just a little slap in the face that cancer has total control of our lives. Ugh. Not for long though… that's what I keep telling myself. We talk about the things she will do once we get back and the activities that she wants to be a part of. I keep trying to give her things to look forward to. 

The past few days have been rough. Slade started preschool and I was SO sad that I couldn't be there to take him. I feel like that is my job and I can't do it. Scott was able to take him and I know Slade loved that so it is really nothing that I should worry about. Aside from why I was having a rough time, Taleah is really having a rough time. She has been fatigued, nauseous, and throwing up. I feel like we can't get caught up on the fluids and eating and we have fallen too far behind. Luckily, we have clinic tomorrow and hoping some fluids will do her some good. She is losing weight and it is hard to see her just skin and bones. I miss her little chunk. She can hardly even get up to go to the bathroom. It seemed as though we were headed in the right direction and now it feels like we have taken 5 steps back. 
We do dressing changes at home once a week… and I pointed out at clinic last week that her line has been slowly sliding out of her chest (it's not supposed to do that). As I was changing her dressing, I noticed it had slipped even more. Well, when I turned to grab the new dressing to place on… I looked back and her line is slowly coming out. I immediately stopped it, but didn't know what to do other than put the dressing back on. This is something we will definitely address at clinic. I don't even know if it is in the right place anymore. Ugh just one more thing to stress about. 

Today has been rough so I am feeling a little down about things. We still have a good 40 days up here. We will be doing her bone marrow aspiration on September 10 (day 85) and it will take about a week to get those results. Those results are key in telling us if the transplant is working/as worked. We would love for it to be 100% donor, but only time will tell. If things look good, then we can come home. I am trying to focus on getting us there. I miss Slade. I miss Scott. I miss my jobs. I miss being a family. But this is all worth it if we can cure Taleah and have our happy, healthy girl back. 
Positive thinking.
 Rely on Miracles.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Surviving- up to Day 47

This rollercoaster ride sure has some good moments. The concert in the hospital was definitely one of those moments. It was extremely humbling and touching. These kids were all confined to their rooms and making the best of their night. They opened their doors and shared their talents. Kids ranging from 2-17. I wish I had all of it on video. Here is a link to a small part of it and it is pretty obvious that these kids are special.

There is just something about PCMC. You never want to be there when you are trapped there, but at the same time it is a really special place... and has a really special feeling about it. The people that work there are all angels and make it so much better. Taleah had her "favorites" but never really had any that she disliked. I had my favorites as well and those nurses will forever hold a special place in my heart! I mean, we practically lived with them for 4 months. You can never get away... when you are sleeping, when you have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and make the long walk down the hall, when you are brushing your teeth or taking make-up off, ect. There is always someone. They see the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the pretty and the ugly. They know way too much, but still make ya feel like they aren't even judging. It's great. They really are great. Taleah wanted to make a music video of the nurses to a song she loves (don't judge me for the song she chose). They were such great sports and played right along. I had to share the video so everyone can see how awesome they really are (I really wish I wasn't in it... the things we do for our kids).

As for Taleah... it has been a rough week. I guess not has rough as weeks before, but you just hope and assume that she is going to be better now that we aren't in the hospital. It is a long road ahead and I have to remember that this is a marathon not a sprint. Ugh.. that patience again. I think the poor girl feels like she will never be normal again. She keeps asking me questions about when and how long. I think she is trying to grasp how long life will be like this.
Some days are better than others. I would say, on average, she has about 3-5 hours a day that she feels pretty good. Pretty good meaning that she will sit up, on the ground or at the table and do something (play game, color, craft). The rest of the day she prefers to lay on the couch or in the bed and "watch something" (she doesn't really watch). They are encouraging her to get up and move but it is really hard to do. We are also encouraging eating/drinking and that is a task in itself. We have her on fluid at night this week because of the cold she caught and I think it has made a difference. No food sounds good to her and she would prefer to eat 1 or 2 bites and I have to force an additional 6-8 bites. It is a constant battle. Her temp has been a little higher than her norm and it gives me anxiety. Fevers are not taken lightly so sleep has been limited because I felt the need to take her temp all night long. I am hoping it is her body fighting the cold, but ya never know.
 The pills... oh man. It is a battle every morning and every night. She takes between 8-12 every morning and night. I wrap them in starbursts every Sunday (takes me about 1-2 hours to prepare the pills for the week) to make it easier for her so I can't imagine what it would be like to do it without... which I am threatening at this point because I am sick of the battle. I know she hates it and so sick of it but it goes back to the concept that we are doing all of these crappy/hard things to try and save her life. That is hard to fully explain to a 5 year old, but I think she gets more than we give her credit for. She is a smart girl.

We will go to clinic for our weekly appointments and we will check labs again. They say that her labs are looking great so far and even better than average at this point. That is great to hear, but I am not sure that I will ever rest easy again. Again, that is no way to live so maybe once we get to Day 100 and know that she is 100% donor and then I can feel a little better. She will receive 4 more Lumbar Punctures with intrathecal chemo (which is routine) over the next 8 weeks. I really really really wish that they would let us return to STG a little sooner than 100 days. This living apart thing is not very fun at all. It seems very rare that just the 6 of us are under one roof. I miss that. I miss being a family. I know the time will come, but I still miss it and yearn for that day.

We are super grateful for the people in this world. The amazing family and friends. The amazing strangers that are so willing to give. There is NO way that any of this would be possible. Especially the days when I have a bad attitude and pity our lives. It's so lame that I get that way, but those amazing people always change that around in no time at all.
Taleah is lucky to have so many that love her and support/pray for her.
We always talk about that day that we can give back and help others.
That will be the day! Can't wait!
(my dumb computer won't let me upload pictures... next time because I have some good ones)