Thursday, 31 December 2009

Painting Pretty

I am stuck home these days, so I think I'll probably start blogging a little more.
I have 3 new posts just today!
Read On



















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Acouple More From The Hospital

We took these on a different camera then we usual so I forgot about them. This 1st picture is Millie getting her 1st dose of Vancristine (her main chemo drug). They will change throughout the next couple years, but as of right now they just push it right into her PICC Line. That is the drug we go to the Oncology Clinic at Primary Hospital for every Monday.



They have a bunch of Child Life Specialist at the hospital and they are basically there to play with the kids, bring them games, paints, crafts, whatever they need. Millie and I made this puppet from the supplies they provided for us.


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In the process of being at the hospital Millie's hair turned into the biggest rats nest I have ever seen. It took 2 days and a deep conditioning to get it completely out. I was afraid it would make her hair come out but we have recently found out that it shouldn't for the next month. I wasn't sure if it would right away, we heard a few different things at first.









The Child Life Specialists also provide different dolls, books, or ideas to help the kids wrap their head around what is going on. We read Millie a couple different books about other kids with cancer and at the end she said, "mom, I don't want my hair to fall out". I cry even thinking about it. After that night her persona changed completely. Before we were able to cheer her up, get her to smile, and giggle. Once she knew about her hair she was heart broken. It was her icing on the cake. Now that we have officially been home a week and we are trying our hardest to make life "normal" for her. Today she painted (pictures to come) and yesterday she played dress up for a minute.




Going Home.

Austin BoBoston

Not sure why Austin has ended up with this nickname, but we all call him Austin BoBoston. He is such a sweet little guy, that is when he's not fussing. He seems to be a little colicky. Just what we needed!
Austin had his 4 month check up yesterday and he is doing great. On his own growing chart he is a champ, compare him to a 4 month growing chart and he is 17% in height and 11% in weight. I didn't realize how small he still is, He seems so big to me.
I am grateful to have Austin in our family. He seems to be the only one that can put a BIG smile on Millie's face these days. She adores her brother.
Millie had her 1st appointment at the Oncology Clinic on his 4 month birthday so sadly this was the only picture I got of him on the actually day. The ones below are the next day.

We LOVE you Austin!



Okay, I'll take the hat off...

video
I'm cute but I only smile in the beginning of the video.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Christmas Miracles

Our Christmas was one that we will never forget! I was so grateful to be able to come home for the holidays. When we were told Millie had Leukemia both Brady and I thought our initial stay in the hospital was going to be much longer then it was, we were there for 5 nights.

It was shocking to be admitted to the hospital, go through all sorts of testing, 2 blood transfusions, caring her to the bathroom every 30 minutes because of all the fluid they were pumping into her little system (one of the nurses told me she was getting double what the 16 year old boy next store required), holding her down during occasional procedures, then be handed a mask, a binder of info, and be sent home.
"Big Gulps huh, Whelp See Ya Later".
The day we went to the ER Millie had her preschool Christmas program. Look how cute she is even though she shouldn't have had enough energy to walk.



Being home has been an interesting experience. It seems that we brought home a middle school girl and a rapidly growing 16 year old boy. Millie's mood swings have been intense to say the least. She'll scream at us for no reason not to talk to her, about her, to each other, and most importantly "DO NOT BE NICE TO ME"! It's amazing what the steroids are doing to my baby girl.

The 16 year old boy living in my daughters body wants to eat constantly! She had a chemo treatment on Monday and because they did a spinal tap and took bone morrow she had to be anesthetized. She was so hungry before her procedures. She just kept yelling at us that she had to eat NOW! Since she wouldn't stop talking about food I decided to try playing a waitress game with her. I took her order for what she wanted to eat when she woke up.

Here's the list:

  • a bag of cheesy Cheetos
  • an egg sandwich (call it egg salad and you'll get your head ripped off)
  • a slice of cheese and peperoni pizza
  • the round noodles, with red stuff on top (also known as spaghetti)
  • cheese without anything else
  • and a Slurpee.

The 1st thing she asked for when she came to was her Cheese Cheetos and Slurpee. Luckily the hospital was stocked with both! On our way to pick up Austin we got take-out from Big Apple Pizzeria. There we ordered the pizza and spaghetti, while my mom got the cheese and egg sandwich ready.

SHE ATE ALL OF IT!

Not only will we go broke from medical expenses, but we are going to have a killer grocery bill.

Millie and Brady made a darling gingerbread house. They were really cute; when Brady was doing EXACTLY what Millie told him to do.

Millie's Christmas List:

  • Snuggie
  • Horsie that has sparkly hair
  • Sparkly Barbie
  • Water balloons

She was really worried that she didn't get her list to Santa so I called the mall ahead of time and they said we could head right to the front. After dousing Santa's hands in sanitizer Millie was able to get him her list.


I love that at South Towne Center they don't make you buy their pictures, but the Santa only looks at their camera. This was the best I could get.



Millie didn't really enjoy Christmas it was sad. I think the best part of her day was when Jager came over to visit. Austin on the other hand LOVED his new toy. He was so cute. He immediately started spinning the sides and hitting the mobile.
The picture is a little blurry, but look how adorable he is.

Millie loving her snuggie and her daddy.
*Austin had his 4 month birthday on Monday (Millie got chemo, so sadly he got a little neglected), I will try to post a little more about him tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Battle with Leukemia Begins

Thursday December 17th was a day we will never forget.

Amanda, my cousin Sherry, and I were at Millie's Christmas program at her preschool, and we all noticed how pale she was, and that her throat and cheeks looked swollen. After the program ended, I went back to work, assuming she was alright, while Amanda after talking with her mom took Millie to the pediatrician. They preformed a blood test and after seeing the results, she sent them to the hospital for further tests.

We hadn't been there long when the oncologist came in and told us that he was fairly certain that Millie had leukemia, but wouldn't be certain until more blood tests were completed the next morning. With little more than that, Millie was admitted to the hospital while we waited anxiously.

She got a blood transfusion the first night in the hospital, and despite the claims that it would restore color to her face, she was still very pale, and would be until more transfusions were completed. Although we still hadn't heard anything for sure, by the way the hospital staff was treating us, it was clear to us that everyone else knew she had leukemia.

At around 10:45 in the morning on Friday the 18th, a group of doctors from the oncology department came in to tell us that the tests showed that she had leukemia, and that a slot in the operating room had opened up for 11:00 - just 15 minutes away. They said that they would explain more later, but the short description was that she would have a spinal tap to get samples of her spinal fluid, a bone marrow sample would be taken from a vertebra, the first chemo drug would be put into her spinal fluid, and a picc line would be put into her arm. With that, we got her in a wheel chair and I wheeled her down to the operating room.
This picture is of Amanda calling her mom during Millie's procedure. Despite the fact that we already knew that she had leukemia, it was a major shock to find out for sure and have her begin chemo just 15 minutes later. It went smoothly and Millie didn't even notice that she had been poked and prodded, other than the single picc line which replaced two IVs, which was a good deal in her mind.

Although Millie didn't love being in the hospital, she did love the pancakes, bacon, and chocolate milk could be delivered to her room.

If you look close at the arm she is eating with you can see how swollen her elbow got. She had a ton of mutated white blood cells that didn't have anywhere to go, so they got trapped in her elbow. This picture was taken when the swelling was coming down and it wasn't hurting her as bad. Originally if she even thought you were going to touch her arm she would start crying.
This isn't the most flattering picture of me, but Millie sure is adorable. She always wanted one of us to be laying in her bed.

We thought Millie would be really happy that Santa came to her room, because she'd been wanting to see him for weeks. Much to our dismay, she instantly dismissed him as an impostor. "Mom," she said, "that's not the real Santa - Santa doesn't have glasses!"

She was pretty happy to have her little brother come visit her.

Millie and Amanda taking an afternoon nap, which I'm convinced Amanda and her have taken every weekday since Millie was born, although Amanda will never admit it...

I can't put into words what this past week has been like, but I'll try to describe it a little. It is truly heartbreaking to have to tell a four year old girl that she will lose her hair. She loves her hair, and never wants it to be put up because she loves how long it is. At her age, she associates short hair with boys, so this was not only a threat to her looks, but her very identity. She has no concept of time, and even if she did, we wouldn't have the heart to tell her that she's going to go through chemo for 2.5 years. She was crushed to learn she wouldn't be going to preschool, primary (Sunday school for little kids), or dance class for a little while. Most of all, she was scared. She saw so many loved ones come visit her, choking back tears, and although she doesn't understand what leukemia is, she understands our reactions.

She's starting to do better emotionally, but is still scared, and is still very worried about her hair. We were sent home on Tuesday the 22nd. She was happy to be home, but still depressed. The next night, I took her to rent a DVD from the RedBox vending machines at the local McDonalds. There was a boy, I'm guessing 12 years old, who was there with his family. He was bald and was obviously going through chemotherapy. I pointed him out to Millie, and she got really excited. Who knows what has been going through her innocent little mind, but I think seeing this boy out having fun with his family helped her to realize that it might not be as bad as she was afraid it would be.

For all of you who have helped us this past week, in any way, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! So many people have been so good to us. We had so many people stop by the hospital with gifts for Millie, which helped her so much. We had Oxford friends from around the world have gifts sent to her room and to our house. We had friends, family, and neighbors call to tell us that they are there for anything we need. We had gifts sent by old neighbors that we haven't seen in years, and even from people we don't know, who heard from mutual friends about us and wanted us to know they're thinking of us.

When we found out that we would be allowed to come home with just a few hours notice, some of our family members and 19 women from our neighborhood, showed up to clean our house and disinfect every surface they could find. They showed up within minutes of us telling family that we would be coming home. This show of love would be impressive at any time, but was downright unbelievable given that it was December 22nd, right in the middle of the busiest week of the year.

The hospital staff was so good to us. There were so many people who would come by and try to cheer her up, and we felt that she was in the best hands possible.

Last, but certainly not least, my employer Magnum, was more thoughtful than we could have imagined. We shouldn't have been surprised by this, as they were very considerate and helpful when Amanda was on bedrest followed by Austin spending a month in the NICU at the hosptial, but they were so incredibly kind to us following this horrific news, that we couldn't believe it. I love my job, there isn't anything I'd rather be doing, but knowing how much they care for me and my family, I can't express how grateful I am to be working with such fine people.

So many people have shown us support that I couldn't possibly list them all here, but we are indeed grateful for everything. Thank you all for your friendship, your support, and most of all, your prayers.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Our Little Blessing

We finally blessed our little Austin December 6, 2009. We decided to do a private blessing at the Flamm's Barn and it was a beautiful evening. We were surrounded by people we love. Brady did an amazing job, I am proud of both my boys.

Here is the man of the hour

He wore the outfit Brady was blessed in. It makes me giggle. He is so dang cute!

Our Little Family

The girls side
Aunt Marg, Lindsay, Grandma, Me, Carly, Sherry, Kim, Kim
Grandma Ellsworth, Nana, AUSTIN, Zabett, Codie



The boys
Grandpa Jeff, Brady, Andy, Bryan, Adam, Roscoe, Griff, Grandpa Jager