Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weekend Update - March 7

We are still at NYU for two reasons. The first is the infection that caused her to spike a fever last weekend. The second is her low blood counts. We think we've treated the infection completely and should be finishing up the antibiotics within a couple days. The blood counts are showing signs of beginning to improve, but Isabella is still severely neutropenic (very low white cells), although her counts have come up slightly. Her platelets continuously drop slowly, but her nosebleeds are getting fewer and stop more quickly. Yesterday, an ENT doctor (that's ear-nose-throat for us non-medical folks!) came by to cauterize one of the ulcerations in Isabella's nose. This seems to have helped her nosebleeds.

The plan so far is to finish up the antibiotics maybe by Tuesday. If her white cell counts improve, we can start another round of stem cell harvesting perhaps on Wednesday. She is scheduled to start Cycle 4 of chemo next Saturday, but that is really dependent on her blood counts being at a certain level. Last cycle was delayed a week to allow her counts to recover better, and that could be the case again this time. If it is delayed, we would then possibly be able to go home next weekend, for a few days before we start Cycle 4.

Otherwise, Isabella is feeling great and eating well. Because she is neutropenic, she's not allowed to leave the room, so we have to try to entertain ourselves. Her new game now is Uno.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jasmina's Fight

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The family and doctors of a little girl from Manhattan are on a desperate search. Jasmina Amena, who turned 6 Wednesday, suffers from a rare and particularly deadly form of leukemia. Her only hope is a bone marrow transplant. So far a match has not turned up, and her doctors say time is running out.

Read more and watch video footage at source.

Jasmina lives a few doors down from Isabella's room at NYU Medical Center and is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant for a rare form of leukemia. Since she was adopted, she has no family that can be contacted as matches and therefore they're hoping to get lucky with an anonymous non-related donor. Doctors estimate that without a transplant, she only has 2 months to live.

Jasmina's school in New York City is having a donor drive this weekend, but you can also request a home test kit.

One for Jasmina

Monday, March 2, 2009

Isabella's Doing Better

Isabella is doing much better since she's been admitted to the hospital. Her blood cultures turned out positive, so she does have some sort of infection that they are now treating with antibiotics. This means she could be here in the hospital for another 2 weeks (yuck!). But her fevers are gone and she's been acting fine.

Also, amazingly, she has started writing with her right hand again! Up till now, she had been using her right hand more and more to do things, but she hadn't written with it since she got sick. But yesterday, out of the blue, she just started writing with her right hand! So now, she can write with both her right hand and her left hand.

She also just stopped the modified Atkins diet. We estimate she was in ketosis for about 11-12 days. We don't know if it really did anything to affect the cancer cells, but we're hoping that there may be an additive effect with the chemo and the diet. Since she wasn't eating because of the chemo, this was the time to try it. We may give it another try during the next cycle of chemo. What made it difficult this time around was that she wasn't used to a lot of the food (especially the eggs and cream) and her lack of appetite. Before the next cycle, we're going to try and get her to like eggs and bacon and all the good stuff that make up the diet.

So Julianne and I are back to doing the hospital duty switches. It doesn't help that we had a foot of snow in CT today, so the trains are a mess. Shouldn't it be Spring soon?