Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I have to share this because I am still laughing. I am in the hospital with Natasha and I need to get pajamas on. My clothes are stored between the door to the hall and the bathroom. The nurses hardly come in at night, so I thought I could be lazy and quickly change my shirt. As I start to put on my hoodie I hear the door starting to open. I had forgotten midnight vitals! The head opening of the hoodie is tight and I was struggling to get it on. I made a split second decision and tried to run to the bathroom. I couldn't see and the door was closed so I ended up just sort of running around trying to find my way to it. Tasha's poor male nurse entered to see me in my bra with my hands halfway suspended in my hoodie running around in crazy circles like a chicken. Awkward vitals. VERY awkward vitals. I am quite sure he is scarred for life.


Recently we have started the most difficult round of chemo that our Natasha will hopefully get. It is called Delayed Intensification. I think the name says it all. Above is my little sweetie while receiving chemo. She refuses to give me a "normal" smile because she likes the posed ones better. She is usually well entertained while receiving the "elixir from Heaven". Here you can even see that she has been eating noodles.
Unfortunately, it only takes a few days to see the effects of the meds. Her whole body becomes weak and sickly and she gets really tired. Our biggest challenge is that her vocabulary is not big enough to tell us if she's nauseated or in pain. When Abigail went through this phase she started to shake. It took a trip to the hospital to determine that Abigail's shaking was due to pain. I was devastated that she had to go through that. Consequently, we often give meds to Tasha now even if we just suspect she might be in pain.
We have known going into this phase that it is 'the scary one'. When Abigail was starting her DI (as it's referred to in the Clinic) they sat us down and explained that if she were to die, it would be likely in this phase. This is because chemo is strong and dumb at the same time. It just kills everything--including her immunity. We slowly watch as her ability to fight back is taken away and just hope that she isn't exposed to anything that would make her sick. Unfortunately, our twins are 5 & 6 out of 7 kids. How do you avoid germs? Prior to the start of this phase I decided to be proactive. I spoke with our wonderful elementary school principal and all of my kids' teachers. We set up a plan to pull our kids out of school around the time that Natasha's numbers would dip. They will do their schoolwork at home for a few weeks. It seems extreme but if missing 3 weeks of school would help keep your sister safe, most kids would be willing to make the sacrifice ;) I also made a PowerPoint presentation that I took in to the 3 younger classes and explained in simple terms what Leukemia was and how chemo worked. Much of the presentation focused on germs and hand washing. After that, all we could do was hold our breath and hope for the best!