December has been quite the busy month, with preparation for Christmas and Sydney’s nine outpatient trips to the hospital, the month has flown by. Monday, December 2nd, Sydney began the next block of her treatment – 1st Reintroduction. She had to be at the hospital at 6:30 am. Even at 5:45 am, Sydney was quite perky and happy during the drive in. She was thrilled that she was going to the hospital and coming home the same day! This visit entailed an operation to insert the port, a bone marrow biopsy, a spinal tap with IT chemo and pulling the PICC line. Sydney did well through all the procedures. Her opening pressure for the spinal tap was 23.5 (normal is between 10-20). This is great considering her pressure on Nov. 8th was 38! Sydney is thoroughly enjoying not having the PICC line in her arm and being able to scratch it! She comments frequently how glad she is that it is out!
The week of Dec 2nd Sydney was also on steroid (Dexamethasone) twice a day for 7 days. The mood swings a four year old can have are quite scary! The weeks of Dec 9th and 16th Sydney went to clinic on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Mondays were longer clinic appointments; consisting of an exam, counts, and chemo. She received IV chemo (Vincristine and Doxorubicin) and an Erwinia shot in her thigh. The Erwinia was required because Sydney had an anaphylactic reaction to the PEG. Unfortunately, one IV dose of the PEG equals 3 shots of Erwinia. Wednesdays and Fridays were shorter clinic visits. During these visits Sydney received only the Erwinia shot. The week of Dec 16th was another week of steroids. The weeks of Dec 23rd and 30th Sydney went to clinic on Mondays and received IV chemo. No shots during these visits; which was much more pleasing to Sydney!
Prior to each IV chemo treatment, Sydney was pre-medicated with Zofran to reduce nausea and we administered as needed at home too. Fortunately, she has not experienced many upset stomach issues with the chemo. Her main side effects have been tiredness and lack of appetite from the chemo and extreme mood swings and crabbiness from the steroids. Thank goodness they were out of her system by Christmas! For our Christmas celebration with the Hawk Family on Dec 21st, Sydney did not even want to open presents.
On December 11th we received the best Christmas gift – Sydney’s bone marrow biopsy results. “Everything looks great. No evidence of leukemia, MRD (looking for even the microscopic levels of leukemia) is negative, and we’re not seeing any Philadelphia chromosome in any of the cells.“ This news from Dr. Randy certainly lifted our spirits and Joe and I were in a buzz talking about the good news. Of course Sydney overheard our excitement and asked, “What is everyone so excited about?” She did not comprehend the magnitude of the news, but was glad hear that she was getting stronger and we were all talking about her.
Santa made a surprise visit to our house on Sunday, December 15th. Addison and Sydney were shocked! Sydney didn’t say a word to Santa and wouldn’t sit on his lap, but did warm up a bit to give him a big hug! After Santa's visit, Sydney couldn't stop talking about him! Addison was excited to take a photo into school the next day to show her teacher and friends.
When Sydney went to Clinic on December 20th she was excited to see a huge Christmas tree in the lobby! Piled 3-4 feet high around the tree were gifts donated by the City of Pittsburgh and local area police departments for the children! Sydney was able to choose any gift she wanted. Her selection was a big girl bike, pink of course! She is thrilled to upgrade from her trike to a big girl bike! Fortunately we have had a few warm days and Sydney has been able to get out and ride her new bike. A perfect gift for Sydney , thank you!
We had a wonderful Christmas at home with our girls, which was our best gift! Santa was of course good to Sydney and Addison, giving them the top items on their wish lists – a pink dollhouse for Sydney and a crib and changing table for Addison’s Bitty Baby. We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon and evening surrounded by our families in our home. We rang in the New Year with a quiet celebration at home with Addison and Sydney. Joe and I look forward to a happier and healthier 2014 for our family!
May you be Blessed with the same for yours.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!