Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Day in the Life of a BMT Patient

I always enjoy a Day in the Life stories.  It's so much fun, and so informative, to follow what different people/occupations/countries do for 24 hours.  I've been trying to do 24 hours in my life, to give people a glimpse of what my life is like, and finally (when I woke up at midnight) I had the chance. To top it off, it was one action packed day! This day happened on March 27th, in the midst of the "Dog Days of BMT".

A few things before we begin: while I chronicled everything that happened in one 24 hr period, some entries are daily occurrences   These entries are noted with a double asterisk.  Also, I broke it up into three separate posts, so it's a bit shorter!  Just start reading with this post, and move on to the next two!

Things you'll need to know:
Vitals-Blood pressure, temperature, and pulse-ox measurements.  Scheduled to be taken every 3 hours;  when you are receiving transfusions, taken every 15 minutes.

Pole- there are three different units on Pole, which works out to nine different infusion pumps.  They beep for many reasons...
a) Syringe empty
b) Infusion complete
c) Pain medication nearly empty (2 hours left)
d) Air-in-line (extremely temperamental, can go off in 2 minute intervals)
e) Occluded line
f) Low battery on one of the 3 units
Except for the last one, a nurse has to come and fix it.  The beeps are loud and sharp, and sometimes can be a real nuisance to both patient and nurse. Nurses should get an award for dealing with beeping IV pumps.  Go Nurses!!

Emesis-I haven't recorded every single bout of diarrhea or vomitting, just the major ones.  Something comes out one way or the other usually every 45 minutes.  I know it's kinda gross, and I  didn't want to include it, but my sister said that then I wouldn't be presenting an accurate picture.  She's right, I guess.

A Day in the Life of an Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant Patient

**1AM-Wake up to find I had a bout of diarrhea.  Wash/clean up.  Nurse comes and gets vitals and blood sugar reading.  Exhausted collapse back into bed.
The high doses of steroids I received on chemo have made me temporarily diabetic.  I'm on a constant insulin drip, so I test my blood sugar every 4 hours.  
Half-asleep with a temperature probe under my tongue
**4AM-Wake up to find I had a bout of diarrhea.  Wash/clean up.  Nurse comes and gets vitals and blood sugar reading, which is kinda low.  Forced to drink some juice, which tastes disgusting. Exhausted collapse back into bed.
The chemo has coated my mouth, so that my taste is greatly altered.  For instance, apple juice and yogurt taste spoiled to me, and fish crackers tasted like cardboard.  It's really difficult to eat when everything tastes so weird.  
Checking my sugar- by now I can do while mostly asleep
Even the tastiest of treats can taste bad with chemo

**5AM-Wake up to find I had a bout of diarrhea.  Wash/clean up.  Nurse comes and gets vitals, along with weight.  Exhausted collapse back into bed.  Two minutes later, say hello to the juice from 4AM.
The past few days I've only been puking about 4-5 times a day!  Which is an improvement from earlier this week, when I was puking every other hour.  My throat is really raw, which makes throwing up really painful.  Also, because I don't eat anything, there is practically nothing to bring up, which triggers painful stomach cramps.  

6AM- Wake up to find nurse accessing my Mediport, because I have a fever. Start two new antibiotics for the fever.
So far, they've only been using my tri-fusion catheter.  Protocol demands that the Mediport be accessed  when you have a fever.  Blood cultures are drawn, to make sure the fever is not the result of an infection, but broad-spectrum antibiotics are started as a precaution.  You are confined to your room until you have been fever free for 24 hours.  

**7AM-Wake up to find Doc Brown making his daily visit.  Answer his questions and show him my mouth, all while still half-asleep.
Dr. James Brown is the pediatric resident assigned to me, and he is a very caring doctor.  He finds out about what went on in the night, and if there are any new issues or complaints that I have. On rounds, he will present my case to the oncologist.  
Doc Brown, Mr. Smiley, and me
9:15 -Make it to the bathroom this time!! Wash up, wipe down, and get fresh clothes for the day!
I brought a suitcase full of my own clothes, including shirts, skirts, hoodies and cardigans, scarves and socks, and night clothes.   I didn't bring any t-shirts, only button-down tops, because it makes accessing my tri-fusion catheter and Mediport so much easier.  I find that being in 'normal' clothes (versus hospital gowns) makes me feel much better, not to mention hospital gowns are usually too small for me :) It's important to me to change each day, to feel fresh and ready to face the day.  There are laundry facilities in the ward, and my family washes my clothes periodically.  I also brought some of my own blankets and pillows, to make it feel like my own.  

**9:45- Join my medical team for rounds.
"Rounds" happen every day, including weekends, and each patient is visited.  The attending oncologist and fellow, nurse practitioner, resident, social worker, and various other medical professionals are all present.  The assigned resident presents the patient's current physical condition.  Any issues, complaints, or concerns are addressed;  blood work and medications are reviewed. It is a chance to present everything to everyone at once, and generally make sure everything is in order.    
On Rounds...notice how packed the hallway is! 

Dr. Brown presenting my case to Dr. Petrosiute

10AM- Come back from the bathroom, and collapse on the bed with a racing heart while feeling dizzy.  Within minutes, I'm surrounded by 2 nurses, 3 doctors, a physician assistant, nurse practitioner and my mother, all extremely worried.  My blood pressure is dangerously low, my limbs are swollen, and my hands are tingling. After several minutes, my heart rate begins to slow, and I fall into a deep sleep, surrounded by my amazing medical team.

10:45- Because of what happened earlier, the doctor has ordered an EKG.  The tech arrives and I get one done, while still in my bed.

**11:30- The cleaning lady arrives.  She comes every day, and cleans the whole room.  I love a clean room!

A Day in the Life...Noon to 5PM

12:30- My blood pressure, which they're now taking every hour, is still extremely low, and everyone is worried.

1:15- Doctors order a blood transfusion, because my hemoglobin is only 8.4
Normal hemoglobin (or the level of oxygen in the blood) is around 13-15.  Oncology patients typically have a hgb of 10-12 (which can quickly drop), and 8-9 automatically means you will receive a blood transfusion.  Low hemoglobin results in dizziness or fainting, feeling really cold, looking pale, and extreme fatigue, among other things.  Teenagers are the most sensitive to changes in their hemoglobin, and don't do well with a drop in their levels.  
A bag of blood I'll receive
**1:30- Facetime with my awesome fam!!
One of the awesomest things about technology is being able to Facetime or Skype my family, sometimes multiple times a day!  It helps me get to see them daily, and share in their lives for a few minutes.

**2:30- First bag of blood arrives, and I start transfusion;  I drain the juice from a fruit cup.
My blood type is B+, so whenever I get transfused I always remember to be B+! Also, most days I receive platelet transfusions, because of extremely low platelet counts, which is an elevated risk of bleeding.  

2:50- Start IV Kytril, my main nausea med.  Turn on the Food Network, and pull out a little hair while I watch TV.
I've been on so many different nausea meds, it's ridiculous. But what my nurses find hilarious is that basically the only TV I ever watch is the Food Network, even though I can't eat anything!! I enjoy imagining the tastes and smells of the beautiful food I can see;  I also love to cook and bake, so with shows like Chopped I imagine what dishes I would make!  

3:00- Jen, with Smiles with Style arrives with her cart.  I get a lovely tiara, to cement my princess status, and cutesy little flower nail stickers.  I feel beautiful!
Like I blogged earlier, the love shown me is amazing.  Jen brought a cart full of "beauty supplies", and went to each room to spread a little joy, whether it be dress up supplies, lip gloss, or nail arts.  Thank you wonderful volunteers!! 
One Jen holding a mirror for the other Jen!  
What a wonderful idea! Thank you for making me feel special! 
 3:20- Dr. Petrosiute and Kristen, the BMT nurse practioner arrive, because my blood pressure readings are really worrying them.

**3:40- The second bag of blood begins transfusing.
Normally I receive multiple units of blood or platelets. 

4:00- Dr. Matloub and Linda Wakefield, arrive;  They notify us of an airborne water bacteria outbreak.
There was an unexpected outbreak of Legionella bacteria.  However, the bacteria was quickly caught, and drastic measures were implemented to help ensure the everyone's safety.  

4:10- Dr. Bhaskaran, the oncology fellow manually takes my blood pressure.  Still low :(
Because my blood pressures have been so low, I get my pressure taken manually, since that gives a more accurate reading.  
Dr. Bhaskaran with the flashlight, and Dr. Petrosiute smiling in the back!  
4:40- All the blood transfusions finished!

A Day in the Life... 5PM to Midnight

5:00- The doctors are working on a game plan regarding my low blood pressures.  The fellow and residents each come in and talk to us.  If my pressure readings don't go up soon, I will be transferred to the PICU.
It is not uncommon for BMT patients to spend a few days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU);  the PICU has the advantage of a nurse in your room at all times, and much closer watch over vitals, or other special needs.  The oncology ward will even save your oncology room for you, so you don't have to transfer all your things.  Thankfully, I haven't had to go there so far.    

6:15- Anand and Catherine visit.
It is always a blessing to see Anand and Catherine, who lead Lighted Candles World Impact Ministries.  Anand brought an encouraging message from the Bible- by Christ's stripes, I am healed.  After the tumultuous day, it was a comfort to be reminded that God has promised to heal me, and is going to fully restore me.  Also, it was a blessing to be reminded of all the people praying for me!  

**6:25- New bags of lipids and TPN are hung- my steak and potatoes!
New bags are hung every evening.  The problem is, the new bags will set the Pole alarm of every 3-4 minutes, which means a nurse has to come, clear the line, and hope the beeping will stop!  

6:35 - Dr. Petrosiute confirms the plan to potentially move me to the PICU;  the PICU has been notified I might be coming.
It's always good to have a game plan, so that if there is an emergency, everyone knows exactly what to do!  

6:55- Dr. Matloub and Linda come back, and lay out the protocol regarding the bacteria- there is to be absolutely no water usage.  No one can open any tap, flush the toilet, or shower.  We get bottled water to drink, and Purell to clean our hands.
Wow!! You never know the worth of water until the well is dry.  

7:30- I receive my daily dose of Lasix
I"m on a 24 hr. saline fluid drip, to help my organs flush out the chemo.  However, my body retains too much of the fluid, which increases my weight, and causes fluid-retention in my hands and feet.  As a result, I'm weighed twice a day, and my weight is closely monitored.  If my weight is up, I receive Lasix, which helps flush out the excess fluid in my body.  The problem is...I potty-trot every 10 minutes, for 3 hours, after receiving Lasix.  

**8:00- Sheilka arrives, bearing idlis.
Sheilka is an Indian lady who befriended Mom and Dad when they first came to the USA; she and her husband are our adopted Indian grandparents.  They live minutes from the hospital, and visits several times a week.  Both times I've had cancer, Sheilka made different amazing Indian dishes that I requested, so that the spices masked the chemo taste in my mouth.  This time she brought idlis, steamed rice and lentil cakes.  They are plain, soft, and very gentle on the stomach.  I ate one, the first solid food in over 3 days!  She also brought a delicious red velvet cake, for me to share with the nurses!     
Sheilka and I
**8:45- Dad and Rachel arrive, and Mom leaves
Someone from my family tries to always be with me.  Either Dad, Mother, or Rachel (or a combination) spends the night with me.  They switch out every day, and there have been only one 24 hour period when one of my family was not with me.  It's a huge blessing to have someone with me 24/7.  They basically act like my slaves, running to fulfill my every whim and fancy, fetch food to satisfy my cravings, bring me encouraging notes, or help me when I'm puking or sick, among other things!  Thanks guys!!
One tired guy, in the middle of one tiring night

9PM- I force down two Tylenol pills, since I'm running a fever.
My throat is raw, so it's extremely difficult to swallow.  
I alternate drinking the sickeningly sweet medicine with water

Taking the pills; I think my face says it all

**9:30- Sheilka leaves;  I receive my Actigall
The original 12+ pills I was on daily were slowly switched to IV, as I was unable to swallow.  However, there is one pill I still have to eat every day- Actigall; it helps and supports the liver, and is very important.  It's a struggle, but I'm proud to say that I eat one everyday!! 

**10PM- Turn Food Network back on, while I wait for the Lasix to finish working.
Lasix works for a minimum of 3 hours, so even though I'm tired, I can't go to sleep!  I turn on the TV, because at this late hour there isn't really any noise- I miss the noise of the family; the TV is a poor substitute.  

**10:15- Prepare for bed.  Text Mrs. Libassi and Christina.
Their son/brother Sam just had an auto BMT 2 weeks before me! It was so nice to be able to know what to expect from him.  Check out his blog at 

**11 PM -Go to sleep
My sister took this picture of me and my can't-sleep-without-it -dish 
**11:15- Wake up and puke.
I didn't know if I should include this picture...but hey, it's reality! 
**11:20- Back to sleep.  Until I a) have diarrhea b) puke c) Pole beeps d) the nurse needs vitals
Good night.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!  Since my cancers, Easter has become my most favorite holiday.  Growing up, I knew that the true meaning of Easter was the celebration of Christ's resurrection.  However, I just accepted it as one of the many things that happened in the Bible, and went on with my life.  Last year, as I was going through chemo during Easter, I came to understand this holiday in a whole new way.  I realized that Easter was the finale to the celebration- the real celebration was when Christ suffered and died on the cross.  This made me realize that Jesus went through a lot of pain and suffering too; He completely understands what I'm going through!  At Easter we celebrate Christ's escape from pain and suffering; He overcame the hurt and helplessness that we as humans face.  Because of this, God is able to help us in our hurt and pain.  This understanding has made Easter my favorite holiday!

And it set me thinking...Easter is a show of God's love to us.  He endured the pain of the cross because He loved us.  Shouldn't we pass on this love to others, and remind them that there is a God who cares about each human being?

Holidays are a joyful time, where we enjoy family and celebrations.  But there are many that are not privileged with these pleasures. If they don't have family, invite them to join yours! Maybe, like those of us in the hospital, they can't join the celebrations; then take the celebration to them, like people did here at the oncology ward. The Spring Fling party was a reminder of how many caring people there are in this world; they wanted to remind the patients of God's love, because that's what Easter is all about!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring Fling!

One of the patients here had the brilliant idea to hold a "Spring Fling" party, which was on Good Friday.  The Amazing Angela (the Child Life Specialist) documented all the details that this patient had envisioned for this party, and made it happen, right down to the formal invitations!!  It was an amazing party, and I had an awesome time!
Hanging out with Olena, one of the many amazing volunteers I've become friends with! 
The morning was spent painting Easter eggs, which I've never done before.  A lady from the Kylie Jane Long Foundation brought all the necessary supplies.  She got the kitchen to hard-boil 72 eggs, and helped everyone decorate the eggs.  We used decorated shrink wrappers, rubber bands, and crayons to make cool designs on the eggs. The craft room was full of kids happily decorating!
Painting my first Easter eggs!  
Rachel and I doing our eggs
There was a really fun game to open the party.  On the center of five plates were two small jelly beans.  Then a nurse covered the jelly beans in a veritable mountain of whipped cream.  Each plate was set before five people sitting in chairs, with their hands behind their back.  The five included the two pediatric residents, the palliative care doctor, and two nurses!  On the count of three, each of them used their face alone to find the elusive jelly beans and place it outside the plate first! It was hilarious to watch each of them with a face full of whipped cream.  I'm proud to report that my resident, Dr. Brown won first place!! Unfortunately, the pictures of his whip creamed face turned out too blurry to post :(
Doc Brown hugging his prize- Brutus!
People had donated a sno cone maker and a cotton candy maker.  There was also pizza and an ice cream sundae bar.
Friends sharing sno cones...
The ice cream bar; note the invitation on the right
After the eating festivites, Rachel brought out her nail polish, and we had a nail party!  All the little girls loved it!
Rachel painting Carla's nails...
Little Totty wanted to paint Big Miranda's nails...and Miranda graciously let her!  
Everyone left with a huge Easter basket.  One nurse's church made and donated all the baskets. There were enough baskets for all the patients, and even all their siblings!  The baskets all had different themes, and were age and gender coordinated, with candy and fun goodies. Thank you to those who made them!
Some  of the Easter goodies!
All in all, it was the most fun I've had in a very long time.  But it couldn't have happened without so many people who had given of their time, energy, and money to make a special Easter celebration for the oncology ward.  A huge thank you to the many people who worked so hard to make it happen.  People like you are tangible reminders of the love God showed at the very first Easter, and helped us have an amazing Easter weekend.  
The Easter Bunny with her basket! 
Thank you to whoever packed this awesome basket! 

A Quick Update...

I just wanted to post a brief update.  My ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count, a white blood cell count) has been over a thousand 2 days in a row!  Tomorrow, if it remains over a thousand, will be my engraftment day!  Also, most of my other blood counts are slowly coming up, which is awesome!

I've also been taken of the TPN and insulin, in the hopes that I will start eating more.  I'm working on this, but my throat is still pretty raw and the mucositis makes digestion extremely painful; also the sudden drop in calories has left me quite tired...
My fluids have been cut in half, and my pain medication reduced by 10%.  I now have 2 units on Pole, instead of 3!

The many prayers offered on my behalf is the main reason I'm getting better.  Thank you, and please keep praying, especially for my family to be well so I can go home to them!
A lovely bouquet of cookies sent by good friends.  The middle cookies says To Brighten Your Day, which these gorgeous flowers certainly did!  Thank You!   

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Four-Legged Friends

Just thought I'd upload a few pictures of some special friends that visited me this evening!  Thank you amazing Pet Pals!!
 Sugar and Ruby
 Aww...aren't they cute! 
 Sugar and Princess
Ruby and I

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Bad Hair Day

Everyone has had a "bad-hair" day.  Since yesterday, however, I'm having a no-hair day!    While people have been shocked that most of my hair has stayed in tact so far, little bits of hair have been falling out over the last several weeks.  Last night, however, my hair decided it was through with me!  Just running my fingers through my hair produced thick black strands, which I dropped into piles on the floor and on my bed.  Now, I'm down to a "baby ostrich" phase/look.

I think one of the biggest physical signs we associate with cancer is baldness.  Chemo attacks the fast growing cells in our bodies, which includes our hair and nail cells.  Last time I had cancer, my hair hung on for quite a while, and I never went completely smooth, just all the way down to a few wisps, tactically redistributed!  Since the majority of my hair stayed this far into transplant, I had settled into a pleasant anticipation of keeping my hair (a few BMT patients have kept all their hair!)

As a girl, I always enjoyed trying new hairstyles, finding new accessories, or even simply washing my hair.  So it is incredibly tough to go bald.  While I can't say that I experience any raw emotions, I know that there is a very subtle, yet intense inner emotional component that gnaws at me.  For instance, the inner pain compounded into a major meltdown at 2AM  last night!  Every time I see a pile of hair, my hair, I feel a sharp twinge of emotion.  Sometimes I just feel really sad that I'm going bald; other times I feel stabs of loneliness of being in the 'exclusive' bald club.  But one of the hardest elements overall is watching my parents watch me. Their faces convolute with incredible emotions, including sadness and helplessness.  I have a therapeutic habit of pulling  gently taking my hair out (which my parents beg me not to do).  There is something weirdly comforting to feel the coarse strands of dead hair;  it's kinda like I'm saying goodbye to my hair.
A bit of the hand-picked deluge...more pictures in the next few days!
When I entered college last fall, my head was completely shaved. It was extremely difficult at first, as I saw hair color, style, and lengths of all sorts.  One of my biggest coping methods was wearing loud or big earrings that made a statement. I figured that since I didn't have the privilege of choosing different hairstyles, earrings were as close as I could get; they also filled the feminine gap I felt. Sometimes I hid under a colorful scarf.  As the semester progressed,  my hair started to grow.  Understanding and supportive friends complemented me on the baby hair bows, glittery headbands, and teeny barrettes I started putting in my hair;  thank you college friends, for supporting me and helping me regain some of the self-esteem and confidence my hair stole from me.
 Half-way gone...

A little help to hasten the departure...Joseph and Daniel pulling my hair when no one else was around to stop them :)
Last time I faced the bald challenge with the help of handmade crocheted hats from a dear friend, a bear hat from my dad's coworker, and other whimsical hats.  All in all, I think I'm ready to face this new "bald battle" again!  I know I'll get through this with the help of my dear family, wonderful friends, and "ever present comfort in time of trouble" the Lord.
For the hairs of your head are numbered [by God]...Matthew 10:30 He cares enough to count them, and so He will take care of me!!

 Starting to see my scalp...
I've gone 'smooth' in the back! 
P.S. This post feels really awkward and disconnected to me, and I'm sorry.  I just wanted to write something down now, before the sharp pain dims to a dull ache.  I feel this is just a diary of a few of the thoughts that have been swimming in my head today.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Dog Days of BMT

So since my last post was on dogs, this post is on the dog days!  Credit for this term goes to this week's attending oncologist- Dr. Agne Petrosiute.  It certainly describes these last few days perfectly,as they have been really rough !

All my blood counts have bottomed out, so there is only one direction to go now- up!! Now I'm waiting for engraftment day-when my  blood counts double for three days in a row;  when that happens is different for each person.  On average, it takes about 2-3 weeks for engraftment.  Today is my one-week mark!!
So far I've been experiencing a lot of  pain, puking and diarrhea- all of which makes me extremely tired!  The chemo destroyed the mucus lining of my GI tract, causing what is called mucositis.  Because there is no lining, my throat/esophagus is extremely raw.  As a result, I pretty much can't swallow.  Since the lining in my stomach is gone, almost everything I do manage to get down comes right back up.  It's amazing how much I can bring up, cuz there are times I'm sure there is nothing left in my stomach, but somehow stuff does come up....
I'm getting my daily calories from TPN, or IV food.  The nurses always tease me about my "steak and potato" bags!  The taste in my mouth is also altered.  So pretty much everything has a weird, flat, chalky taste.  
I have some pain in my throat, but also a sensation like heartburn in my esophagus.  For the pain, I am now on a PCA pump-Personally Controlled Anesthesia.  The pump gives a constant dose of pain medicine (in my case Dilaudid).  However, I also have a button I can press up to every 10 minutes, to receive a bolus of pain medicine.  This has really helped me with my pain.

My counts have reached 0, so now they can only go up!
The nausea is becoming somewhat manageable!
No fevers so far!!

Counts to quickly engraft
Vomiting and diarrhea to stop completely
Pain to diminish
No fevers or other infections
Here is Pole 2.0- bigger 'n' better.  I had no idea what a hit it was!
The black line is my PCA.  The yellow is my 'steak' and the white my 'potatoes'.  There are three different modules, running a maximum of 9 different bags (nausea and pain medication, antibiotics, TPN, fluids, and more!)  .    
 Today I was strong enough to go to the craft room and make some jewelery.  Notice the ever prominent puke bowl :)

Some people will do anything for a laugh...(they both are usually dignified nurses)

How they walked the entire floor is still a mystery to me. I wish I could have followed them with a camera...Thank you ladies for making my day!  (I was laughing so hard I started choking- but as they say -Laughter is the Best Medicine! )

My Favorite Visitors

While I always enjoy visitors, I'm afraid I have a special bias toward the four-legged visitors- "The Pet Pals"
David, John and I enjoying our special visitor together!  
My doggie friends always surprise me, as I never know who is coming or when!  But I'm always ready to let them in when they traipse the hallways, looking to bring smiles to every room.  Some doggies are really big, like Keeshonds, and others are really small like Briards.  I've also met Rottweilers  Shih Tzu, Chinese Shar-pi, and even a few retired racing greyhounds!

 John with one dolled up doggie!  
They each come in and introduce themselves.  Sometimes they are in a group, other times they come alone.  They each usually give me a "doggie card"; much like a baseball card.  The card has their name, age, breed, and a short paragraph about what they like to do.  Some dogs will just lie down on the floor, and contently let me pet them.  A few of them will demonstrate tricks.  The last ones even signed my door of friends!! If I'm not feeling well, some of the smaller ones will lie down on a towel on my bed, so that I can still visit with them. For the holidays, they usually dress up, with a fancy or funny collar.  Each of them shares their love with me, and always makes me feel better!  

 Besch and his human signing my door...
Annabelle saying Hi!  
The Pet Pals have received special training and certification to be able to visit.  Oh, and by the way, they usually bring a human with them, to carry their doggie cards and treats.  Thank you doggies (and humans), for brightening my days!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Bit of Pampering....

One of the most wonderful experiences of going through cancer is all the love I encounter.  I think the deeper in pain one is, the greater the love shown to pull them out. People extend more love, but I feel that the more you are hurting the more sensitive you become to the love that is shown.  So on those lines....let me tell you about a few "strangers" who've extended their love to me...

Charlie and Courtney from John Roberts Spa and Salon 

These dear gals showed up to pamper anyone and everyone at Rainbow!  I had a lot of icky glue in my hair from the EEG; to compound that, I'm not allowed to take a proper shower, as it will get my dressing wet.  So....I had a lovely shampoo and blow dry by these dear girls.  They creatively worked around my IV stand, propping me up in the sink with pillows and an office chair!  They also gave me a lovely hand massage complete with salon nail treatments!  After they were through with me, they went on to bring some special joy to other patients.  Thank you so much for giving of your time and talents to make me feel special!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Each day is a day to be thankful for

Hello all,

Each day is a day to be thankful for !!
This is Jen's dad providing an update. Thank you for the notes and gifts and offers of helps and visits that many have made, and most of all, your prayers on our behalf.

I am happy to report that Jen's treatment is progressing as expected, although this experience is not a pleasant one for her or for any of us. Her blood counts (rbc, wbc and their component parts) are all trending downwards, as the effects of the chemo kicks in this week, and they expect it to go to "zero" in the next 2 days or so. She has not eaten almost anything since Monday, and has been on "TPN", or food by IV. She is very nauseated and has pain in her belly, and is on several meds to help with that.  Most food comes out pretty quickly. "Better out than in, I always say" - as she puts it:-)

- She still has a few hours of engaging activities (crafts etc.) per day before tiring out
- Still has a sweet smile and spirit, inspite of her physical condition

Please pray for:
- her nausea and vomiting and painful cramps to stop soon
- protection from infections (which are bound to taken place inside her body already)
- the stem cells to engraft soon and the uptick in her counts to come back up soon

This verse has been very meaningful for me many times in the past, and is again a help to me:
Ps 34: 4  I sought the Lord and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Vijay for all the Anands