This post is #61 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.
At this time, we were driving to Little Rock every day for Hannah's radiation appointments, but Mondays were also our clinic days at Arkansas Children's Hospital. We would generally try to schedule our clinic appointments for early afternoon, and then head over to CARTI for her radiation treatment. These clinic visits were pretty simple ... blood pressure, weight, brief physical exam, and blood draw.
Hannah was what the nurses referred to as a "hard stick", meaning it was hard for them to find a good vein, and she would often have to be poked repeatedly to get just a little bit of blood to be tested. In fact, sometimes her nurse would give up and call another nurse over to try. Hannah never got upset or uptight about it ... she was always incredibly patient with them. If Brad was there with us, he would have to step out of the room. He couldn't even watch the process! There was one nurse who could almost always get her blood on the first stick, and we loved it when she was working.
Once an adequate blood sample was acquired, they'd send it off to the lab and within twenty minutes or so, we'd have the results. They were monitoring all her levels, because if her platelets, or her hemoglobin, or her white cells dropped too low, they would have to discontinue her treatments until they rose back to adequate levels. As you can see from my email ten years ago today, Hannah's counts were still hanging in there at this point, but the treatments were beginning to take a toll.
Hannah had her weekly blood draw done yesterday at Children’s Hospital…and thankfully, only one “stick” was needed this time. The nurse called today with the results. All of her counts are still really good. As a matter of fact, the nurse said that Hannah was just “sailing through” all of this. She has eight radiation treatments to go, and fifteen more doses of chemotherapy. Her hair is continuing to thin somewhat, but she is able to fix her hair so that it is really not noticeable to anyone but herself. It appears that the biggest issue she will be facing of the next week and a half of radiation is fatigue. The treatments are really beginning to wear her out. She is still going to school every day, but often falls asleep in the car on the way home from radiation in the afternoons. Please pray that she will have the energy to continue going to school and keeping up with her schoolwork.
Your prayers, emails, cards, and phone calls continue to lift us up and carry us through. We are so thankful for you, our dear friends and family! God has really used you to bless our family, and to remind us that God is good, all the time!
Jill and Brad