Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 27

 Not sure WHAT is wrong with my emotions but today I’m definitely more angry or feisty than scared.  Guess this roller coaster ride is just getting started.  Everything frustrates me or makes me tear up.

Making pizza with dad
Of the many instances of things that got me going today, the one that really makes my blood boil is an attempt to host a blood drive at the HIP.  Kennedy received about 4-5 blood/platelet transfusions her first three weeks of treatment.  Having the HIP as a huge resource and knowing how important blood is in saving lives, our marketing department decided to open the HIP up for a blood drive. Christina (my wonderful, sweet colleague) even came up with some perks for those that would donate and then reached out to Life Source to try and set one up.  When she got the return call, she was met with resistance and negativity.  All the excuses in the world….”we need 30 pints of blood and last time we did one, we only got 10 (that was 7 frickin years ago)…it costs $7k for us to come out and that’s too much money if we don’t collect enough blood…you don’t have a large enough area…and on and on she went”.  Really?  We have daily foot traffic of 50k, 30 pints is not a problem, especially if we market it.  Who would think it would be so hard to host a blood drive?  Needless to say, this is now my mission and I’m irritated.
Kennedy and her makeup

On to Kennedy.  K spent the day with daddy who hosted a pizza-baking event.  I came home from work to a wonderful array of pizzas made by Mr. Maddox and Miss. Kennedy.  Dad also gave K a long bath, which she loves.

I did day two of learning to read and dad spent time reading and doing homework with Maddox.  Kennedy is still out eating the family 3:1.  Two more full days of steroids to go.

Thank you to all who have sent gifts, clothes, make-up and cards – it is all appreciated and the kids are having a good time playing.  We came home to more packages and lovely cards - thank you so much for thinking of us and praying!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 26

K and Sofia celebrating by making cakes

Today was a hard day for me.  Gene and I both went to work and K stayed with Gala (our nanny).  I felt like a crying machine, anything and everything set me off.  Thankfully I hid in my office all day so no one saw what a mess I was.

Staying positive is a must at home but suddenly I’m scared.  I’m scared that she’ll get a bacterial infection.  I’m scared that the chemo could cause damage to her heart or brain.  I’m scared that I’ll be working 4-days a week and miss her like crazy.  I’m scared I’ll regret going to work instead of spending every second with her.  I’m scared that after 2 years and 3 months, this wicked disease could come back.  I’m scared that if it did come back, the next course of treatment is most successful with a bone marrow donation from a sibling.  Only 30% of sibling bone marrow is a match and what if Maddox wouldn’t be a match?  I’m scared because they say of the 90% that are “cured”, 25% - 40% go on to lead a long healthy life.  Well, what about the other 60 – 75%? I know, “what if, what if, what if”.  A lot of “what ifs” can change anyone’s world but most have not been faced with such scary statistics.  This pit in my gut just won’t go away today.  I know I must sound crazy but I’m so damn scared.
Bath time goofiness

Coming home reminds me of how much she has changed.  She doesn’t look the same anymore.  Her face is swollen, her tummy looks pregnant and her hair is half gone.  It doesn’t matter, I lover her the same, if not more now than ever.  It’s nice that Kennedy is still Kennedy despite her new drug-induced appearance.  She’s a little more introverted, but still her sweet self.  I just hope this damn treatment doesn’t hurt her soul because it’s killing mine.

After work, K had her girlfriend Sofia over.   She really shouldn’t be having guests over but she NEEDS it.  She needs to be a kid.  Kennedy missed Sofia’s birthday party on Saturday but got to celebrate her real birthday today at our private party.  The girls made bracelets, cakes, brownies and shrinky-dinks.

Maddox the banker
After Sofia left, I gave Kennedy her first reading lesson.  A friend at work brought me a home-school book for reading and lesson one went great.  I will take turns with Molly and Gene teaching Kennedy how to read so she is ready for kindergarten.  I’m not sure if she’ll start on time but I want the education aspect of the class to be a breeze.  She’ll have a hard enough time with her shaky hands, shiny head and exhaustion. 

After our lesson I scrubbed my bathtub and gave K a nice 40-minute bath.  While she was having a great time in the bath, Maddox got his reading done and entertained both of us.  When he was done reading, he got dressed like dad and pretended to be a banker going to work. 

For feeling so down today, the day was actually a good one.  Kennedy was happy and giggly which made me feel a bit better.  I am now utterly exhausted after my full day of work and playtime.   I’m back to work tomorrow and dad will spend the day with K.  Off to bed, hopefully tomorrow I’ll be as cheery as K and a bit more positive.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 25

Met a fabulous family.

Kennedy putting on make-up for her visit with ella
This morning dad got up early to take Maddox to his wrestling meet.  (Maddox took 3rd at regionals, yay Maddox).  Kennedy waked me up when she crawled into bed with me and held my hand - the best alarm ever, and said  “I’m hungry”. 4.5 more days of steroids, at least that is what we were told.  Induction ends on Friday and the regiment changes completely which includes a temporary reprieve from steroids.  Most of the time Kennedy replaces “I’m hungry” with “steroids” as they have become the known culprit of endless starvation.

K and I spent the morning organizing the toys in the basement and putting on make-up.  I think I would have gotten more done if I didn’t stop to feed the eating machine every half hour but I didn’t do too badly.  Around 1:30, we stopped the cleaning and met a wonderful little girl (not to mention her fabulous mom and sweet little brother). 

When Kennedy was diagnosed with Leukemia, the Child Life Specialist recommended reaching out to another family who was diagnosed with ALL just 1.5 years earlier.  With that introduction, we learned about the Build-A-Bear incentive for clinics (or pokeys) and also read a heart wrenching and inspirational blog that gave us our first glimpse into life with Leukemia.  Today we got to meet Ella.

Ella was diagnosed with Leukemia in August of 2010, 9 months before her 5th birthday.  Ella is now in kindergarten and has a full head of beautiful red hair.  She is still undergoing chemo but is vibrant, strong and absolutely adorable.  Gene and I had so many questions for Ella’s mom, Kate. She answered every single one with complete openness.   It was such a breath of fresh air to talk with someone who knows what this is like, how scary it is and how badly we wish “we” could fix it.  It also didn’t hurt that Kate was a warm and friendly person.
Kate brought some supplies to decorate bandanas and the girls did a few projects.  Once the bandana dries, K will model it for mom to post.

Grandma came over and worked on the basement with me and Maddox went to Alek’s for the evening (thanks Jane). 

The count down begins for Friday’s clinic and the end of induction chemo.   A new chemo regimen will be introduced based on her risk level.  This Friday Kennedy will get a spinal chemo infusion and have her bone marrow tested to determine her risk level.  Please start praying for “under .01” which will make her low-risk.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 24

I like good days.  And when I say “good”, I’m not saying that we did anything outstanding.  A good day is when Kennedy isn’t nauseated, isn’t in pain and has enough energy to seem somewhat like her self.  Today was a good day.

Maddox and mom started the morning at the Y, Maddox at swim lessons and mom at a much needed/missed TRX class.   Kennedy hung out with dad for the hour and was waiting for another feeding when I got home.  We used to space out feedings with at least an hour in between but she can’t even last that long anymore.  The doctors seem ok with the compulsive eating and said that after next week, she may not have an appetite so enjoy the appetite.

My Aunt Joanne and cousins Alene and Nikki stopped by with what seemed like an entire toy store for both kids.  They were kind enough to wear masks so Kennedy wouldn’t have to.  When K had enough of all the excitement, she kindly said she needed to rest and they left.

K and mom took a nice 2 hour nap – I’m starting to really enjoy napping.  Although there is a ton of stuff I could be doing instead, Kennedy doesn’t like to be alone so that means I get to nap too.  Gene ran out to the store to buy shelving for all of the bears and art projects Kennedy is accumulating.  Now K and I have another project for next week – organization.  For anyone who knows me, they know I’m the care-free clutter queen but I’m going to give it a shot.  I hear that kids like to be able to find their toys too J

Jane stopped by to bring dinner for us tonight – thank you! 

K opening more stuff from when she was
in the hospital from her Pre-K teachers
On a side note, I know that a lot of our friends and family have asked why Loyola?  Why not Children’s Memorial, Mayo, St. Jude’s, Etc?  In the beginning we didn’t have time to ask or answer these questions because the treatment process needed to start right away due to the aggressive nature of ALL Leukemia.  We did know that our doctor and hospital was part of Curesearch, which meant her treatment was part of a protocol that involved 271 hospitals (including St. Judes, Mayo Clinic, Children’s Memorial and more).  What I recently learned is that we were lucky (blessed) to start with one of the nation’s best doctors in pediatric hematology/oncology. 

Dr. Richardito Manera, MD is our doctor.  He is a Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist. Per US News Health and Castle Connolly's estimation, Dr. Manera is among the top 1% in the nation in his or specialty.

There are 333 top pediatric hematologist-oncologists on the list of U.S. News Top Doctors. The physicians were selected based on a peer nomination process. Within this list of the best pediatric hematologist-oncologists, 179 have been named to a highly selective list of America's Top Doctors (ATD) by achieving national recognition for outstanding work.  Dr. Manera falls in the 179 doctors with this recognition.  



Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 23

A good day.

Kennedy before clinic
Outside of waiting a little longer today and me freaking out about being in a pediatric waiting room full of germs, clinic was GREAT!  Dr. Manera was out and his associate Dr. Hemminway saw K.  No platelets or transfusions needed and the antibiotics were stopped (so no re-accessing the port).  In addition, her blood counts were up (ANC is now at 400) but she is still severely neutropenic* .   I’ve used the word a lot so figured I’d define it below.

She received her Vincristine chemo and we were done.  My biggest concern of the four hours was Kennedy being scared about having the sticky removed from around her accessed port and not having enough food to satisfy her.  Thankfully, the nurse let Kennedy remove the saranwrap-like sticker herself and we had just enough food to keep her from going crazy. 

The rest of the day was uneventful. Kennedy took a nap when she got home and played with  Maddox most of the evening.  I walked half way down the stairs to the basement to check on them and heard Maddox sweetly saying “I understand, you’re always hungry”.  Apparently, Kennedy was filling his ears with conversations about food.

Kennedy usually has some nausea after the Vincrisine but lucky for her, nothing yet.  Here is to celebrating no pokeys, better blood counts and togetherness.

*Neutropenia (noo-troe-PEE-nee-uh) is an abnormally low count of neutrophils, white blood cells that help your immune system fight off infections, particularly of bacteria and fungi. You have several types of white blood cells, and between 45 and 70 percent of all white blood cells are neutrophils.

The threshold for defining neutropenia varies slightly from one medical practice to another. Neutropenia in adults is generally defined as a count of 1,700 or fewer neutrophils per microliter of blood. The cell count indicating neutropenia in children varies with age.

The lower your neutrophil count, the more vulnerable you are to infectious diseases. If you have severe neutropenia — fewer than about 500 cells per microliter of blood — bacteria normally present in your mouth and digestive tract can cause infections.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 22

Had a great mommy/daughter day at home.  We started the day by making sugar free cupcakes and decorating them.  We played Barbies, did some art projects and ate a lot!  Kennedy’s girlfriend Sofia came by for an hour.   

Listening to her talk to her girlfriend made me realize how much K thinks about food AND how much she’s grown up in only 22 days.  K has been with adults so often she is starting to sound like one.  

All four of K's build-a-bears that she built in the hospital arrived today.  Kennedy was ecstatic.   I’m thinking we will be ordering another one tomorrow  after clinic. 

Molly came over to help K with some pre-K projects.  I thought I had to prepare a lesson plan but Molly had me beat.  She came with a packet of shapes and site words – thanks Molly.  After they were done, Molly spent some time playing build-a-bears with both K and Maddox.
Tomorrow is another mommy/daughter day and a chemo day.  It is also the day we find out if they need to de/re-access her port for more days of home administered antibiotics.  I prepped K for the Pokey just in case.  We also packed a ton of food and crafts (just in case her counts are low and needs blood or platelets). 

Hoping for an easy day at clinic tomorrow, no pokey and another fabulous day with my sweet girl.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 21

Written by daddy Gene:
Full good day at home.  We were all happy to be sleeping in our own beds, finally! We bought a baby monitor so I could hear her all night.

I had to administer antibiotics at 6 am so mom could sleep before work.  I looked forward to going back to bed but I got the wakeup call at 7:15 am, “I am hungry!!!  Daddy you promised you were going to make a special breakfast”.  I promised to make Mickey Mouse pancakes with M & M’s the night before in yet another conversation about food.  The promise was fulfilled and both kids were eating pancakes by 7:45.  Mom grabbed one on the way out the door too.

Kennedy was feeling good all day, but needed to take a few naps to recharge.  The challenge was again to ensure she did not over eat. She is constantly hungry because of the steroids that she takes.  I went to the store and got organic chicken and our nanny made a fabulous soup.  Getting Kennedy to eat meat is sometimes a challenge but Kennedy liked the soup it so much she ate 3 bowls.

In the afternoon we built a dollhouse together for hours and Kennedy played dress up with a new hat and glasses.  Molly came by to help Maddox with homework and said “hi” to Kennedy.  I noticed Kennedy was very insecure about her “baby” hair (as she calls it) but thankfully Molly is great with her and told her how beautiful she looked.  Molly will be tutoring Kennedy while she is out of school.  We are lucky to have her since both kids adore her.

Mom came home and took Maddox to wrestling and went to work out.  Grandma came by to visit.  Today was an uneventful day, which is a good thing.

Before bed, Kennedy had a meltdown when she was brushing her teeth.  She hates her hair and wants to shave it off now.  I don’t feel so great about it but mom thinks it’s ok.  We will sleep on it and see how Kennedy feels tomorrow.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 20

We’re home J

The morning went well except K was a little bit crabby.  I guess that’s to be expected with all the steroids they are pumping into her.  We knew today MAY be the day we would go home but I wasn’t holding my breath.  I kept feeling her head every 5 minutes waiting for the heat but thankfully it never came.  Again, I didn’t get my hopes up so I didn’t pack but instead pushed Kennedy into the playroom for some dollhouse action and a little arts and crafts.  Of course I made her wear a surgical mask the whole time (germaphobe mom on the loose).

Got a frantic call from Gene this morning too.  Apparently he was all ready to go to work in his car, (that’s why his dad drove him home from the hospital last night) but I had the only pair of keys in my purse (at the hospital).  He was not too happy with me.  Thankfully grandpa came to the house and let Gene have his car for the day.  I am lucky to be alive after that one!!! 

Around 11am we got the news, we could go home – woo hoo.  I ran back to the room and packed up everything fast.  We accumulated a ton of stuff over 7 days but I managed to clean house in about 10 minutes.  The social worker arranged for the pharmacy to drop off the antibiotics we would be administering through the port and also said they arranged a nurse to come to the house.  The antibiotics were due at 1 but she could get them as late as 3pm to stay on doc’s scheudle.  To say we were elated is an understatement. Texted Gene too and I am assuming he did a happy dance.

We got home around 12 and the antibiotics arrived around 1:30.  At 2 I started wondering…where is that nurse?  Thankfully I took the number down for Reli-a-care (or something like that) and made a call.  They had NO CLUE of what I was talking about.  Finally, Doris, our nurse, called me back.  Apparently they knew they were going to take care of us but never got the confirmation call that we were released.  Doris got to the house around 2:45 and trained me how to administer Cefepime through the port.  

We need 2 flushes, 1 antibiotic and 1 heparin syringe for each dose.  The antibiotic is administered over 10 minutes at 1ml each minute every 8 hours, around the clock. With a flush before and after and concludes with the heparin.  The dose was prescribed for 10 days, which is much longer than Dr. Manera told us (he said 2 weeks, starting with admittance date).  If the 10 additional days is correct, she will need her port de-accessed and re-accessed at clinic on Friday, which will mean another pokey for K (yikes!!!). 

Kennedy is happy to be home and came home to a ton of packages.  She was thrilled.  Maddox was so excited, he was showing off one of his new hats (a swim cap that dad bought him).  He got all dressed in his swimwear to model his new head-piece.  Kennedy also modeled some great new hats tonight from friends and neighbors (thanks!!!).  She is happy to have them but doesn’t feel a need for them quite yet as she still has some hair that is hanging on.

Kennedy had a bath for the first time in 20 days.  It was a quick one since we have to be cautious of the port.  We also put her earrings back in.  Everything has to be done so cautiously so I dipped both of her ears and earrings in alcohol and wore gloves and a mask to put them in.  She’s happy.  Dad administered her port antibiotics tonight.  I’m sure a picture of us would have made everyone laugh.  We both had gloves and masks on and were sterilizing everything.  All the while, Kennedy was munching on string cheese.

I work tomorrow.  Dad and Kennedy will hang out at home and Maddox will be back at school.  It feels great to be home with the family – it’s the most normal night we’ve had in a long time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 19

Spent my first night alone last night.  Dad spent the night with K in the hospital and Maddox slept over at his buddy Jake’s house (thank you Todd and Laura).  I thought I’d enjoy “me” time but it was awful.  I did everything and anything to keep myself busy, starting with making Kennedy cupcakes to decorate and ending with researching the causes of non-bacterial, febrile neutropenia online with Cousin Nicole.  Thankfully Nicole is a pediatrician and can help decipher reality with my flashes of madness.   After I did everything I could to distract myself, I cried myself to sleep like a baby. 

I’ve tried so hard to not say, “it’s not fair” because it isn’t fair.  It isn’t fair that Kennedy has to go through this pain and suffering and can’t have fun and go to school like a typical 4 year old.  It’s not fair that Maddox hurts because he misses us so much.  It’s not fair that Gene and I have to dance with cancer for the third time in our lives.  No one said life is fair.  On the upside, it is fair that she is still here for us to hold and love.  Sometimes seeing the glass half full is hard but we can’t take it for granted – ever.

Gene said the day was good.  Dad and Kennedy made a Red Riding Hood book in the playroom (we’ve watched Hoodwinked way too many times this weekend).  They also played and ate a lot.  Maddox spent the day with Gina and Cannon at the movies (thanks Marci for everything!).  I went to work.

Cousin Nicole and I made up a list of questions for Gene to ask the infectious disease doc and we all won a small battle.  Kennedy will not need to have blood drawn from a separate site if she has reoccurring fevers during one hospital stay.  One poke at admission is fine and subsequent days after that, they will draw from the port first. Only if that comes back positive for bacteria growth will they need to do a pokey.  YAY!!!!!  Both doctors also told Gene that Kennedy’s counts looked better today – her WBC, Hemoglobin and platelets went up.  We MAY even be able to go home tomorrow.  I’m not holding my breath about this but I will celebrate the counts.  
I got to the hospital around 6ish and we decorated cupcakes with our teenage next door neighbor Nick who is here for chemo.  Of course we all wore masks, including Kennedy.  Grandpa came to pick up Gene and take him home; just in case we really do get to go home tomorrow I will have a car here.  Keep those fingers crossed that whatever virus is causing the fevers is gone, gone, gone so we can go home.

Thank you to all that have sent stuff for the kids and apologies if I have not addressed this before – it is appreciated and so kind.  Thank you from all of us.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 18 (morning)


We woke up happy and had a ginormous breakfast.  Right after her meds, her face started getting red, she complained of a headache and she was cold.  100.7 and 100.9 which means another peripheral blood draw.  K flipped, screaming “no more pokey”.  It’s is heart wrenching.  Our nurse came in and said that they had to draw right away to catch the fever.  I said absolutely not without the numbing cream (buys us an hour).  I won this battle but lost the battle to have the blood drawn only from her port.  Seriously, they just drew blood from her hand less than 48 hours ago but they said it is only good for 24 hours without another poke.  Of course K had no fever in 24 hours!  I don’t know if it was her drinking my water or the access and deaccess of the port yesterday or the walks in the hallway, or the food, or the….neutropenia.  It could be anything.  I want to scream!

Outside of pokey, this means another 48 hour sentence and it is killing her cute little spirit.  She needs to be home!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 17

Some people are so ignorant.

Last night before bed, I had Kennedy accompany me to the Bear Necessities lounge for her late night snack.  In the lounge was a lady that noticed Kennedy’s hair and asked what she had.  I said…”she has Leukemia, but don’t worry, the hair loss means she’s beating it”, (probably more for Kennedy’s sake than mine).  She goes…”Oh, my friend’s son had that but they lost him”.  Really?  Did she really say that?  So I responded back, “ALL has a 90% cure rate so I’m not too worried.  Sorry about your friend”.  What I really wanted to say was “F-you, how dare you say that?”  What is wrong with people?  This isn’t the first time either.  When one of my vendors found out about Kennedy; he said he was sorry and went on to say he just lost his mom from cancer so he understands.  Again, really?  Enough time on ignorance…

Kennedy woke up feeling okay but after her nap she felt sick.  She had pain behind her left knee when she walked, abdominal pain and some nausea.  She was HOT.  Gene took her temp with our thermometer and got a 38.1 – CRAP!!!!  But when we called the nurse, their thermometer read 99.7 – THANK YOU GD!

Thanks to a suggestion from a new friend we met through the Child Life specialist, Kennedy will be getting a Build-A-Bear every time she gets a pokey.  We built our first one last night online.  Friends take up stock…we will be investing weekly when her port is accessed.  After they had to de-access and re-access the port this afternoon, low and behold, we built another.

Cousin Nicole came by today with some hats – K looked adorable.  I also got a full 20 minutes at the Loyola gym, it helped to get out for a bit.  Dad let me borrow his gym shoes since I didn’t bring any – a little big but not too bad.

Grandma brought Maddox for a visit and my germaphobia nearly did me in.  Wow – boys are definitely gross.  I had Maddox sanitize at least 10 times because of his hands in his mouth or other parts of his face.  I feel so bad making him crazy but he really needs to make a change for the family or we will be in the hospital for fevers a lot over the next 2 years.  I witnessed a big oops of my own today when I saw Kennedy grab my water bottle and take a chug of it instead of her own.  I grabbed it immediately and made her rinse with mouthwash. I am praying we won’t see a fever because of it tomorrow!
 Dad took Maddox out for dinner and went home with him to get prepared for his wrestling meet tomorrow.  Kennedy, Grandma and Mom hung out for the rest of the evening and I got my first hair cut, compliments of Kennedy.  I still owe her one more so I will be going a bit shorter.  Who cares, it’s just hair…it will grow back for both mom and K.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 16


Damn cancer.  We have been sentenced to a minimum of 48 more hours of hospital time which is starting to feel like jail time.  Kennedy spiked a fever of 100.8 right before chemo and only 2-hours before our scheduled release time.  It cam from out of nowhere – neutropenic fevers suck because often they are not associated with any bacteria and sometimes are just a contaminate.  Kennedy has no immune system so any little germ can set off a fever.  Fevers also mean “pokeys”.  Pokeys mean trauma.

Gene was at the hospital with her today and had a really hard time with it.  Kennedy cried on his shoulder for about 10 minutes before she passed out from exhaustion when he told her about the pokey.  During her nap, she sweated out the fever and woke up to a normal temp.  This was very good but didn’t save her from pokey.  The nurse put some numbing cream on but it didn’t work.  It took 4 nurses to hold her down to take her blood. 

Of course we are racking our brains of how she got sick and I choose to blame the infectious disease doc and the 2 residents that accompanied him just 24 hours earlier.  They did not wear gloves or masks.  I questioned this but the doc said they wash their hands and use sanitizer and that is enough.  I figured I should trust the fearless leader of the group since infectious disease is his specialty and why would he jeapordize her health?  I winced as one of the residents was being over touchy and bending over her but figured they knew what they were doing.  That won’t happen again – ever.  Gene posted a sign saying “masks and gloves, please” on her door today.
Hair was a big topic today and Kennedy is convinced that the hair that is falling out is bad cancer hair (thank goodness the power of suggestion works on her).  She is excited to get rid of it and wanted to pull more out and cut more.  She wore a hat and a scarf tonight and looked adorable.  Kora went and chopped her beautiful long locks to donate to Kennedy.  Words cannot express our gratitude for that kind of gift but THANK YOU!  Kennedy was so excited when she saw Kora’s picture, she asked if she could have her “underhair” tomorrow.  I told her she’d have it in two weeks. Kennedy will give me my hair cut by the end of the weekend.  I hoping for a bob and not a pixie cut.

Gene and Kennedy spent the rest of the day playing.  Dad even let her put art paint on his face, that was until it started burning.  Not sure acrylic paints should be applied to skin.

Maddox is disappointed his sister won’t be coming home just yet but we made plans for him.  He is all set with a weekend at grandmas, a wrestling meet on Sunday followed by a sleepover at Jake’s and a movie date with Gina and Cannon on Monday.  Hopefully by the time he comes home on Monday, Kennedy will be home!

Side note:  Thank you Brian for changing Kennedy's home blog picture and making this a happy place to visit!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 15 (only 809 days to go)

We get to go home tomorrow!

Last night was a typical night with Kennedy – up every two hours for a feeding, like a newborn.  Each time a tech or nurse would come in to administer antibiotics or get vitals, Kennedy would pop up and say “I’m hungry”.  Her stomach is huge and hard.  It looks very uncomfortable but that doesn’t stop her.  Each time (like every 40 minutes) Kennedy wanted to eat during the day, I made her walk down the hallway to the Bear Necessities room that housed the refrigerator so she could get a little exercise. 

We did a lot of arts and crafts today to keep her distracted. We also started working on thank you notes for all the generous gifts.  I’m exhausted just thinking about getting them to all the wonderful people in our lives.  

A lot more hair fell out today, it’s about half gone.  I’m surprised at how quickly it is happening and K is upset.  She keeps saying “But mom, everyone is going to think I’m a boy in a dress”.  I told her that was nonsense.  We would get her some fancy earrings, a cool scarf or wig and she can even wear make-up if that will make her happy.  She immediately put on the hat Christina knitted for her when Dad brought it this evening.

Kora is getting her hair cut tomorrow and we found a place online (hatswithhair.com) that will create an “underhair” that Kennedy can wear with hats or scarves and wouldn’t be as hot or itchy as a full wig.  I doubt she will wear it all the time but it would be perfect for a birthday party or anywhere she’s not 100 percent comfortable.  Options are good.

Infectious disease doctors came in and noted they were happy with her progress.  Dr. Manera also came in and said she was ready to go after tomorrow’s chemo.  We can’t wait to get her home.  A home nurse will be by to set up the IV administration of the antibiotics.  Right now she is getting the drugs every 6 hours.  Kennedy will receive one more blood transfusion this evening to make sure her counts are ok to go home.  Her hemoglobin was around 7.

Gene and I had a changing of the guard at around 7:30pm.  He could already see the changes from yesterday (puffier cheeks and less hair).  It’s hard to watch her change right in front of our eyes, I wonder how Maddox will react. 

Speaking of Maddox…I came home to a wonderful surprise.  Maddox wrote us a note (based on the blog he was helping me write the other night).  I asked if I could post it and he said "yes.

Written by Maddox:

Dear family

My sister is in the hospital.  I got a little sick to.  I’m home from school.  It is not fun being sick.  My mom is going sleep at home like my dad did last night.  To day I saw a cool movie it had sord fighting and that movie had soss in it.  My sister will be home tommoaow.  I miss my mom and dad.  Thank you God for making my little sister get out of the hospidle.  I love you Kennedy.  My grandpa called today and said that Kennedy was fealing good.

Your friend Maddox

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 14

 Her hair is falling out….fast.

Written by Daddy Gene:
Noticed her hair is falling out last night. We slept most of the night, woke very up hungry. Cheerios for breakfast, what else? Doc Manera came in around 8:30 am checking up on her. White blood count is low, but expected. Probably will get blood tomorrow. Over all he is very happy with all K's results. Infection docs were also there, everything seems ok so far, however we will be administering antibiotics once we are home and a home nurse will come and show us what to do. Scary.

K and me played and ate all day. I tried to space feedings as much as possible, but most of the time I was very unsuccessful. Went for a few walks in the hallways and did many art projects.

Written by Mom:

I got to the hospital around 6ish and was shocked about the hair.  I expected her hair to gradually fall out but clumps came out from all over, it wasn't like that yesterday.  Dad had to leave right away because Maddox is now home sick with a tummy bug.

Kennedy of course was an eating machine.  She didn’t stop eating from the time I arrived until the time she went to bed at 10:30!  We combed out her hair to remove the pieces that were falling out.  We also played with the Barbie hair she HAD to have.  The extensions entertained her for about a half hour…if only she knew how much time it took to print each extension out at work today (long story – but don’t buy them!!!).  

Grandma came to visit at night and I let Kennedy cut her own hair.  It is something she always wanted to do so I figured why not? It’s all coming out anyway so she chopped away.  She didn’t do too bad though she refused to look in the mirror.  I made the hair loss a celebration of her beating cancer and winning.  The hair she is losing is cancer hair and the hair she will grow back will be cancer-free.  She seemed OK with that and celebrated a bit with me but she is also very sad.

Auntie Kora will be donating Kennedy’s new hair.  Now we just need to figure out if a wig is the way to go or a wrap with hair attached AND where to get it done.  Anyone know where to go locally to have something made?