Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friendly’s Friday Update

Isabella had a great week.  She felt well enough to go to school from Tuesday through Friday.  She could have gone all week but she had an appointment at Hassenfeld on Monday.  We fully expected Isabella to only do half days at school, but she had enough energy to do a full day.  And her teachers said she was very active running around with the other kids all day - they were surprised she made it through the whole day.  Plus, when Isabella came home, she would also have occupational therapy.

Last night, Isabella's older sister, Annalise had a concert recital with her third grade class.  Annalise had been practicing her violin for quite some time now, so we were all excited to get out and see how she and the rest of her class did.  Annalise and her class did great, so to celebrate, we did something that we haven't done since Isabella got sick - we went to Friendly's for dinner!

We also have a medical update for Isabella.  Apparently, Isabella's white count has dropped again, which means that her bone marrow is still not fully producing white cells.  Her oncologist does not want to start harvesting stem cells until Isabella is producing white cells at a normal rate.  So this means another week delay, which also means another week at home and another week at school.  Part of us is happy that we get another week at home with Isabella, but another part of us is concerned how the lack of treatment is affecting the remaining cancer cells.

Here are some pictures from the week.

Here is Annalise at her concert.


Isabella with her classmate Kimberly cheering on Annalise at the concert.  Aunt Beth sits next to Isabella.


Isabella at Friendly’s.  They gave the kids these decoder spy glasses to find hidden messages in puzzles.


“We all knew Annalise had a big head, but this is ridiculous!”


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Isabella's Lolo

Isabella's middle name is Emma. She was named after my dad, Emmanuel, who died about a year before she was born. Seven years ago today in 2002, we took my dad to the hospital because he had been suffering from some weakness in his right side and had collapsed while trying to stand up. An MRI of his brain showed a tumor. Unlike Isabella's tumor which is a primary tumor, my dad's tumor was a secondary tumor which had spread to the brain from his lungs (he had been a smoker all his life). On March 28, 2002 he went into surgery to have the tumor taken out. He then underwent some chemotherapy for a few weeks, but died less than 4 months later on July 25.

Today is also exactly four months since we took Isabella to the hospital and found her tumor. It was on that day that our lives were devastated with the news, and I in particular could not help but think about my dad's short battle before succumbing. By all accounts, Isabella is doing much better than my dad did. After his surgery, he never regained mobility and his speech was greatly diminished. Aside from her weakened right hand, which is greatly improving, Isabella's recovery has been nothing short of miraculous, and we hope that she will be fully cured.

But her battle is not over yet, and we still have quite a tough road ahead. Isabella never met her "Lolo" (which is filipino for grandfather), but unfortunately she now has more than just a name in common with him.