Monthly Archives: February 2012

Good News

The first 28 days of Emily’s treatment are called the Induction. During this period, she undergoes an intensive regimen of steroids and both intravenous (through her port) and intrathecal (direct to spinal fluid) chemotherapy. The goal is that by Day 28 of her treatment, more than 95% of the Leukemia cells in Emily’s body have been killed, placing her cancer in remission. The more successful this first period of treatment is, the better her long-term prognosis is for a permanent cure.

Today we learned that as of Day 8 of treatment, there were less than 1% Leukemia cells remaining in Emily’s blood – more than 99% of the cells have already been killed!

If at the end of the Induction period in 2 weeks, Emily’s bone marrow biopsy confirms this rate, Emily’s Leukemia may be classified as Low-Risk with a 99% cure rate!

We are thrilled to receive this news and to know that Emily’s body is responding to the treatment exactly as it should be. Thank you to everyone for keeping Emily in your prayers. It is difficult to see such a little girl struggling through so much but we know this journey has a purpose and that God is holding her in His arms.

Please continue to pray as we await the results of Emily’s first spinal tap. The preliminary results of this tap (completed before her chemotherapy started), indicated Emily had white blood cells in her spinal fluid. Based on that information, Emily was classified as standard-risk for Central Nervous System Leukemia (CNS 2). We are awaiting further microscopic analysis of the spinal fluid to determine whether the white blood cells were in fact Leukemia cells. If they are, even with the good bloodstream results, Emily’s Leukemia may still be classified as average-risk and require more aggressive treatment in the years ahead.

Auntie Jennifer Visits

As for going home, the doctors have said it is possible Emily could leave the hospital as early as tomorrow night or Friday morning. The antibiotics she has been on to fight a possible infection in her Broviac line will finish at 10pm tomorrow night. If the doctors also determine that her Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) is at a safe level, or steadily moving in that direction, she will be released to be with her family once again!

Please pray for the results of the spinal tap tests, that they show positive results for a low-risk Leukemia. Please also pray that Emily’s ANC level will rise so she can return home to her eager siblings and the comfort of her own bed. 

And finally, please praise the Lord that Emily’s blood is responding well to treatment and we have hope for a permanent cure!

Christina gets some special time at home with the kids

 

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Batter Up!

Back at home with the Loves, Ethan, Adam, and William are gearing up for their Spring baseball season. The boys have been playing Little League in the Elk Grove Youth Baseball League for several years, and Dad Jason serves as a coach. Baseball is a special time for the Love family as everyone, including Chrissie and the girls are avid fans. Saturdays in the spring are sun-filled days out at the park, cheering on the boys’ teams and weeknights are busy with their various practice schedules.

Practicing at home with Princess Mouse up to bat, Pirate on first, and a classy pitcher (complete with bowtie!)

In efforts to keep life as normal and upbeat as possible for all the Loves, Jason and the boys will continue to participate in Little League this year and the season is kicking off in just over a week. Jason is coaching Ethan’s triple-A team, the Braves. Adam is on the double-A Red Sox team (an unfortunate fact for Christina, a diehard Yankee’s fan). And William was drafted onto the A’s (single-A).

Jason, Ethan, and Papa Love with last year's team, the Rays

Each year, the League hosts a raffle to raise funds for the teams and each player is required to sell at least $25 worth of raffle tickets to play. If they sell $200 in tickets, their registration is refunded to the family. The League has been kind to offer scholarships for Adam and William this year, and the family has already paid Ethan’s registration costs. However, the boys still need assistance in selling $25 worth of tickets to be eligible, a task Christina normally oversees but is unable to manage right now.

If you are interested in helping the Love boys continue their spring baseball season, Grandma Rebecca is selling the $1 raffle tickets and would be happy to hear from you! You can email her at emily.stitch.love@gmail.com with your first & last name, mobile & home number, and email address and she will be in touch. The first $25 of tickets need to be purchased by Opening Day on March 10th.

Raffle tickets are $1 each and the raffle is held at the League’s annual Dinner and Casino Night on May 5, 2012. You do not need to be present to win (but are more than welcome to come enjoy the festivities!). Prizes include flat screen TVs and a grand prize of $5,000! Check out information on the league here where you can find information on schedules and events.

 

Continued Isolation

Over the past week, doctors have run multiple tests for the signs of the Staph Infection first discovered upon admittance last Monday night. Thus far, only one test has come up positive, the test done in the ER of Emily’s red lumen in her Broviac port. Tests of her blood, skin, and nasal passages have all shown negative results. Unfortunately, the positive test was confirmed as MRSA, a strain of staph bacteria highly resistant to antibiotics. Due to the contagious nature of MRSA, Emily has spent the past week in an isolation room to prevent the spread of any possible MRSA to other patients on the floor.

The doctors and nurses seem confident that Emily is not in danger. Since the first positive result, no other tests, including additional tests of her lumen line, have shown signs of infection. They are however, proceeding to flush her line and finish the ten-day run of her antibiotic just to be safe, during which time, Emily continues to remain in isolation as required by the Center for Infectious Diseases. We have been told that if 3 or more tests of her blood and nasal passages come back negative, the doctors are hopeful to get that mandate reversed. The worse case scenario is that Emily may have to be in an isolation room every time she stays in the hospital for the foreseeable future! Something we would not want, as it means Emily cannot walk the halls like she loves or go to the playroom for activities.

Music Therapy with Daddy

The nurses and volunteers at U.C. Davis have been wonderful in helping Emily stay entertained during this past week. They have brought sterilized toys to her room and even come with armfuls of musical instruments to do Emily’s own session of music therapy! One nurse even let Emily and Christina break out for a few quick rounds around the halls – that’s how certain they are that Emily is not infectious. Emily continues to be adjusting to her time in the hospital. She is eating more, playing more, and even asking to go down for naps! It has been a tough week with Emily returning to the hospital so soon after her first discharge, but we remain positive and strong in the knowledge she is receiving the best care from her doctors and her Father in Heaven.

Dangers of Infection

Emily’s treatment is continuing according to the original schedule, which is good news after the fear the recent infection might put a delay in things. We are still awaiting results on the exact nature of the infection but we now know that it has not reached her blood stream and lies instead in the red lumin, one of the tubes in her Broviac line. She is on a strong antibiotic which will take TEN days to run its course. Ten days in which Emily and Christina will have to remain at U.C. Davis Med Center. The doctors are also performing a “lock” on the line, in which they cleanse it with alcohol for 5 to 6 hours a day for five days, in order to kill any bacteria in the tube.

During her spinal tap on Tuesday, the doctor turned to Christina and said, “I know you are terrified and this is all very hard right now, but she will get better.” It is reassuring for Christina, and all of us, to hear this but we remain concerned about Emily and all she is suffering through.

Emily’s Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) is going to be an important number throughout her treatment. Neutrophils are white blood cells that are key components in the bodies defense against infection. A scarcity of neutrophils (known as neutropenia) makes a person vulnerable to infection. It is normal for a person to have a low ANC as they go through chemotherapy, as the bone marrow is recovering and new blood cells are beginning to grow and mature.

Emily shows us how to wash our hands!

Emily’s ANC is currently at 10. A “safe” ANC – one which would indicate it is safe for her to go home and have her activities less restricted – would be 500 to 1,500. This is a big gap to close before Emily can leave the hospital but the doctors assure us that the number will rise slowly at first and then rise quickly to where we need it to be. In the meantime, the best things we can do are to take extra care when being near Emily, always washing hands and ultimately not visiting when we are sick or feeling ill.

Christina reports that Emily is a Trooper. She is coming to accept the inconveniences of her new life. When it is time to take her blood pressure or temperature (two things she has despised the past two weeks), she now holds her arm out and stays still with no fussing as the nurses perform their tasks. Christina was blessed by the gift of an ergo carrier that she can now use to hold Emily on their many laps around the hospital corridor. Praise for this gift that is going to help save Christina from a aching back!

We continue to be thankful for all of the support and prayers offered by so many. The family is doing well under the circumstances and remains faithful in God to heal Emily in time. Below are some specific prayer requests made by Christina:

  • Prayer for Christina as she misses her other children (and they miss her). She hopes to take a few hours here and there to leave the hospital and spend time with the older kids.
  • Prayer for Christina as she misses her husband (and he her!). The babysitting tree has allowed Jason to spend some time at the hospital but the couple needs all of our prayers as they keep their marriage strong through the challenges ahead.
  • Prayer for Emily as she begins to accept the changes to her life. She is  a “trooper”, according to Christina and is already learning to cooperate with nurses and doctors, but she is woken often from sleep and very much wants to go home.
  • Prayer for Christina as she struggles with feeling overwhelmed by Emily’s illness and all that it means for her life. Christina knows God has Emily in his arms but it still breaks Christina’s heart to see her in pain.

 

Blood and Platelets

Emily is still in the hospital tonight and will likely be there for another few days at least. Tests revealed that Emily has an Infection, an extremely serious risk with Emily’s weakened immune system.  We ask for prayer that the antibiotics she is being given will allow her body to fight back and keep her strong and that her infection is relatively minor. 

Blood cells are at the heart of Emily’s illness and treatment. Leukemia overwhelms the body’s blood with abnormal cells that crowd out the healthy cells that can keep Emily well. So Emily is already at a disadvantage with fewer platelets to help her blood clot and fewer white blood cells to fight off infections. Chemotherapy, which is designed to kill Leukemia cells, also kills some healthy cells, thus leaving Emily with even lower blood cell counts. With her body in such a weakened state, a cold which would have otherwise just caused sniffles, could be extremely dangerous for our little Stitch.

To make up for the attacks by the Leukemia and Chemotherapy, Emily will continue to receive blood and platelet transfusions throughout her treatment. Many people have asked if they can help meet the need for blood and platelet donations. While there is no way to donate specifically to Emily, there is a way to support her by helping the blood bank stay well stocked with these life saving donations. We have created a group number at the Blood Source in Emily’s name. If you are able and would like to donate blood or platelets in Emily’s name, make an appointment today and give them Donor Club #0067. Make an appointment online or call 866.82 BLOOD (866.822.5663) These donations may not be directly used for Emily’s treatment but we can guarantee you will be helping to save lives of many patients fighting illness just like Emily.

Several members of Emily’s family are already regular donors and we have had great responses from medical professionals in this regard. Upon hearing that at least three family members have donated platelets for several years, before having any personal connection to a platelet receiver, one doctor nearly started crying and spent ten minutes thanking the family. We also learned from this doctor that blood relatives actually cannot be platelet donors for Emily, as relatives have similar blood antibodies and it is better for Emily’s health to receive a diversity of antibodies. So if you do donate, please let the Blood Source know if you are a blood relative of Emily Love. They will need to add you to a list so your platelets are not used for Emily.

During a regularly scheduled platelet donation on Monday, God showed Auntie Elisabeth how powerful the witness of Emily can be. Upon letting the Registered Nurse (RN) overseeing her donation know about the family connection and explaining Emily’s diagnosis, the man nearly burst into tears. Over the next two hours, he learned more about Emily and shared some of his own personal story. He inquired about Elisabeth’s faith after she mentioned the trust she has in God to heal Emily and said he is also a Christian and will start praying for Emily and asking others to pray as well. He helped set up the donor group in Emily’s name and when it was time for Elisabeth to leave, asked if he could give her a hug.

It is a powerful thing to share such a personal moment with a complete stranger and to find common ground. This man is from West Africa, working in the US for a training period. He shares our faith and our hope for the best of God’s will in Emily’s life, while also sharing our heartbreak. We know that God has many more encounters in store for each of us who will open ourselves up to witnessing through Emily’s journey. We are thankful for men like this nurse, who care so passionately about a young girl they have never met. We can change lives. Emily is not in this fight without a purpose. God has far more planned and in the works than any of us can comprehend.

Updated & Rewind to First Night Home

Emily was readmitted to the hospital last night after her trip to the ER revealed an extremely low white blood cell count (400, when it should be 4,000 to 10,000).

Unfortunately, her new room is not as posh as the one she vacated on Sunday and there is very little room for visitors, including for Grammie to stay overnight. Due to the risk of illness a low white blood cell count leaves her in, Emily is in a negative pressure room – designed to prevent cross-contamination from room to room by keeping contaminated air from flowing out into the hallways. We have been told that Emily can expect to stay in the hospital two or three days as the doctors help improve her blood counts and get her healthy enough to go home again.

Please pray for Emily’s blood counts to elevate to healthy levels so she can return home and continue her treatment. Please also pray that she be protected from further sickness or infections during this time that her body is unable to fight them off. 

In the meantime, I’ve decided to include the original post I was going to update with last night giving a look at Emily’s first night home. We want this blog to be a place people can receive updates on Emily but also to follow the highs and lows of her journey and the many blessings and smiles God will rain down upon all of us as we walk in faith with Him.

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Emily was welcomed home Sunday night with a great deal of love and excitement!

Sophia reintroduced her to all their toys and the boys kept running back in to give her hugs and smiles. For the first time in weeks, Emily sat on the floor and played without yelling for Mommy. She was so excited to wear normal pajamas that she started dressing herself before Christina could even change her diaper!

Christina was also welcomed back home with great enthusiasm. Emily had to share Mommy with her siblings who were very excited to have mom home to kiss them goodnight. Jason also showed his joy at having his wife home by making space to cuddle with her in the recliner while they caught up on a favorite television show.

A playpen was set up in Jason and Christina’s room, as Emily has had a habit of crying throughout the night and wouldn’t do well sharing a room with big sister. But for once, little Stitch went to sleep without a single scream and was sleeping like an angel until Momma and Aunt Elisabeth realized they’d forgotten to give her medication and had to go in to wake her up. Unfortunately, due to nerves or lack of practice, Aunt Elisabeth managed to squirt most of the first dose on Emily’s shirt and get the second dose coughed back up. After a bit of panicking about whether to call the doctor for advice, Emily was put back to bed with the hopes of more success in the morning.

Emily slept well her first night back home and woke in the morning insisting on shoes and a new bow! Sophia was thrilled to hug mom in the morning and said, “I’m glad you could come home. This is a good time forever!”

Indeed, it is a good time forever! Though Emily still insists on being held by momma nearly nonstop, she now has her siblings to help distract and entertain her. Christina and Jason will be adjusting to a lot over the next few weeks in managing Emily’s increased needs for attention and medical care while still loving on the four older children. Prayer is especially needed for Sophia who is still young to fully understand why Mom has to spend so much time with Emily.

Breakfast was a long affair as Christina now has two daughters wanting her full attention. She is incredibly thankful to everyone who has stocked her kitchen with delicious meals and easy to prepare food that makes it a bit easier to manage house & home with only one hand (the other’s always holding Emily). We will continue to ask anyone willing, to participate in the meal train as a way to support the Loves in the weeks ahead. Babysitting will also be kept up as it allows Christina and Jason time to manage the house and be available to get Emily to a long list of medical appointments. She will be going to the hospital three times a week over the next three weeks and at least once a week after that for the next two years. The emergency babysitting list is also critical at this stage, as there are a variety of scenarios that may necessitate Emily being taken back to the E.R. on short notice. If you continue to be willing to serve in this capacity, be in contact with Aunt Gaby or email us at emily.stitch.love@gmail.com.

We thank God that Emily and Christina could come home this weekend and the Love family be reunited. We are blessed and comforted by the way God is providing for the Loves through gifts everyone around them has bestowed. we continue to ask for your prayers as the journey toward a cure for Emily has just begun:

  • Please pray for all the Love children, Ethan, Adam, William, and Sophia, as they learn more about their sister’s illness and how it will impact all of their lives.
  • Please pray for Jason and Christina as they manage their home and give love to all their children. Pray for financial needs to be met and for rest as they deal with the added stress of everything that is changing in their lives.
  • Please pray for peace for everyone touched by Emily’s disease. It is so hard to understand the reasons for a young child to suffer but we have faith the Lord has a purpose and can use this journey to touch lives in amazing ways.
  • Please pray for increased comfort with the medical care Emily needs. Emily refused another round of medication Monday morning as Aunt Elisabeth and Christina struggled to learn the best ways to administer bad-tasting meds to an unhappy little girl.

Back to the ER

I had a new post ready to go all about Emily’s first night home, but it has been superseded by the reality of Emily’s illness.

As I type this, Christina and Grammie are on their way back to the Emergency Room with Emily, who began feeling feverish earlier this evening. After waiting to see if the fever would go down with rest and even going out to buy a new thermometer because the two at home were giving different results, Christina called the on-call Oncologist for advice. His prompt reply was: bring her in.

Thankfully, Grammie and Chrissie had go-bags all set for just such a scenario and after transferring the car-seat and saying goodbye to Daddy, Emily is on her way.

We are hoping the E.R. doctors may just give Emily something to bring down the fever and send her home, but know that there is a good chance Emily could be readmitted to the hospital. Fevers are a big fear for a little girl whose immune system is severely weakened. On top of that danger is the fact that any fever will cause postponements in Emily’s treatment. She is scheduled for a spinal tap and chemotherapy treatment tomorrow morning, which may get delayed if her fever does not improve.

Please pray that God will heal our sweet girl so she can continue getting the treatment her body needs to beat the Leukemia in her blood. Please also pray for Christina and Grammie as they face another long night in the E.R. and for Jason as he takes care of the older children, who may wake to find Momma and little sister gone again. 

Welcome Home Emily!

After careful consideration of her health and a great deal of prayer from friends and family, Emily was discharged from the hospital late Sunday afternoon!

While the nurses helped Jason and Christina prepare for the discharge, getting medications from the pharmacy and learning how to clean and dress Emily’s Broviac line, Emily enjoyed a day of visitors with exciting time in the playroom.

Last bit of fun before going home

Emily’s appetite still has a long way to go before being considered normal, but she continued to consume more solid foods throughout Sunday and to have more regular bowel movements – two things the doctors have been watching for. Her blood counts are at the best levels we’ve seen since her admittance to the hospital eleven days ago. Those counts will continued to be monitored several times a week and transfusions given as needed. There will be a post soon about how you can support Emily and other blood and platelet receivers by donating in Emily’s name.

The doctors have said there is a high probability that Emily will have to be readmitted to the hospital more than once over the next 2 years. Leukemia weakens Emily’s immune system, making it harder for her to fight infections and also diminishes her blood’s clotting factor. Any high fevers or cuts that bleed are likely to lead to trips to the E.R. and possible return stays on the Pediatrics floor. Precautions will be taken at home to keep Emily healthy and strong and the family will need everyone’s help to prevent exposing Emily to illness that could complicate her progress toward health.

Bags are packed!

Unhooked & dressing for home

Caring for Emily at home will be a fulltime job, made more daunting by the fact that there won’t be a nurse or doctor just outside the door. The Loves have a color-coded schedule of all Emily’s appointments over the next two months (3 a week for the first month alone!) and a list of the times and amounts of each of her daily medications. These were added to the already monstrously large binder of information they have received from the doctors over the past week.

Nurse Heidi and her bow!

Emily was thrilled when the time finally came to have her last tube of fluids unhooked from her chest and to be able to put on “street” clothes once more. Her nurse, Heidi, who has been a tremendous support to Christina and Emily, even went in search of a pretty bow after it was discovered that all of Emily’s accessories had already gone home with Daddy!

Auntie Elisabeth drove Chrissie and Emily home, where Daddy, the boys and Sophia were waiting with big hugs!

Welcome home!

Thank you to everyone who has prayed, written cards, drawn pictures, visited the hospital, brought gifts, cooked meals, cleaned the house, watched the kids, met financial needs, and offered words of support and encouragement. It is hard to believe it has only been eleven days since we first received the news of Emily’s diagnosis. All of our lives have changed in that short time and will continue to change beyond anything we can imagine. Your continued support and prayers are greatly needed and appreciated as the Love family faces each new challenge ahead. God has his arms around Emily and her family and he is using each of you to show his love in this time of trial. 

What we need to get home

Emily received her second round of Chemotherapy drugs on Saturday morning. We had hoped she might be discharged later in the day but a few health factors are keeping the doctors from giving the okay.

Emily didn't like the x-ray

Emily had an x-ray of her abdomen, which has been distended and hard over the past several days, causing Emily a great deal of pain. The x-ray revealed nothing out of the ordinary aside from the swelling caused by her constipation which is already being treated by medications. For this we are grateful and pray the medicines help relieve her pain quickly. Before Emily can be discharged and allowed to go home, the doctors want to see her eating and drinking regularly and having healthy bowel movements. We saw some improvement before the end of the day Saturday and are praying for a Sunday discharge.

Emily received transfusions of platelets and whole blood on Saturday to boost her blood counts which are low due to the effects of the chemotherapy. The purpose of chemotherapy is to kill the Leukemia cells in order to allow normal cells to grow and fill in the gap. Until her body can fill in this gap on its own, transfusions will be used to boost the healthy blood cell count in Emily’s body.

Kiddos just want to be held

Since before being admitted to the hospital, Emily experienced a mobility challenge – insisting on being carried at all times and refusing to walk or stand on her own. This was one of the main indicators that our little Stitch, who is normally moving too fast to be caught, was not well. We now know it was also a symptom of the Leukemia which causes muscle weakness and irritation of the nerves, no doubt giving Emily pain throughout her body and legs. Several of the drugs Emily is receiving further exacerbate these symptoms, and Momma Chrissie seldom gets to put Emily down.

We have already begun to see improvement in Emily’s physical state and demeanor. Swelling, due to the large amounts of fluids she is being given to prevent dehydration, has begun to go down. And after each blood and platelet transfusion, we see  color return to Emily’s otherwise pale visage and a little more pep in her feisty step! Emily finally ate something other than goldfish and m&m’s tonight (some bread and a few bites of spaghetti) and her attitude reared it’s head when she threw her shoes off in protest of having to take a nap! When Grandma and big sister Sophia came for a visit, Emily was happy and lively, giving kisses and being playful.

Prayer Requests:

  • Prayer that Emily’s body will begin to feel better, allowing her to walk and play with her previous vigor
  • Prayer for strength and relaxation in Christina’s body as she has had to carry Emily nearly nonstop for the past month
  • Prayer that Emily’s appetite and thirst would return and her bowel’s become regular so that she can be discharged from the hospital soon
  • Prayer for Christina and Jason as they learn and practice the techniques they will need to care for Emily’s Broviac line at home

Life in Pediatrics

Emily’s current home is a spacious (as hospital rooms go) corner room on the Pediatric floor of the U.C. Davis Medical Center. To get there, you have to wonder through a long maze of hallways and request permission at the always-locked double doors that sound an alarm if little Emily gets too close while they are open. The Peds floor is square – with patient rooms on the outer edges and nurses stations and conferences rooms in the center. There is a playroom staffed by young volunteers and nap-time from 1:30 to 2:30pm daily.

Staying in touch in Peds

Emily’s room houses a steel crib, one padded chair that rolls out into a flat “bed”, a round table with three chairs, a bathroom, a camping lounger for whoever keeps Chrissie company overnight and a convenient storage cabinet stocked by family and friends with healthy snacks. The large window is usually closed to aid with sleep and to prevent the temptation seeing the outdoors would cause Emily who very much wants to go home. The television is almost always showing a Winnie the Pooh dvd that has become Emily’s favorite.

Using her brace to say no to meds!

Caring for Emily is a full-time task right now. She’s always been a handful, but her illness has taken it’s toll on her wild side and caused her to be constantly needing attention and cuddling. Emily rarely let’s Christina out of her sight and puts up quite a fit when Momma does try to steal a moment away. Before her Broviac was put in, Emily had an IV line in her arm and a firm brace wrapped around to prevent her elbow from bending. She managed fairly well one-handed but learned quickly that her brace was useful for letting doctors and family know that she did not appreciate being given oral medications! Emily has begun adjusting to the regular medications she receives, though it still takes at least two people to administer them, and she doesn’t seem to mind having tubes in her chest or an IV cart attached to her – except when the batteries are low and she has to stay put to recharge. She does, however, mind her blood pressure being taken and hates the oxygen reader they attach to her finger, despite her brothers telling her it glows like a light-saber!

Momma, Blanket, Pacifier...all Emi needs

Emily’s main comforts, other than Momma, are her pink leapord-print blanket and her pacifiers. She has at least ten pacifiers and goes through them all each day as she tosses them to the floor in fits of temper or simply decides she likes one better than the others, despite them being identical apart from color.

Play time!

She has books and stuffed animals, pretty shoes and sparkly bows, and a few toys to help pass the time. She enjoys painting in the playroom with dot-pens and has had tremendous fun with stickers.

Not a happy girl

A side affect of one of Emily’s medications is grumpiness and we see that in full force on a regular basis. In all fairness, the dear girl is dealing with a lot of uncomfortable poking and an unfamiliar environment, so her surly mood is understood. She doesn’t nap well despite being tired and changes her mind five times in one minute as to what she would like to do. She’ll insist on playing but the minute she’s in the playroom, wants to go for a walk instead. Anyone who’s hung out at the hospital for a while has likely worn ruts in the hallway floor, as Emily’s favorite activity is walking around the pediatrics floor over and over and over and over and over…you get the point.

Every doctor, nurse, and support staff on the floor knows who Emily is and

Lap 756 with Grandma

comments on her pretty bows and dresses. They tease the family for being on the 800th lap around the halls and know to come find her when it’s time for medications or vitals.

New dress from her nurse

Emily’s own nursing staff are some of the sweetest people we could have hoped for. One of her nurses brought Emily two princess dresses this week and even gave William a present for his birthday! Her lead nurse has shared that she is a sibling of six and was homeschooled, as well. And the child life specialist, who helps patients and their families adjust to the many changes in their lives, cried when she told Christina she had noticed how supported she is by friends and family and how blessed Emily is for that reason. Emily has also come to know other patients on the floor, either in the playroom or walking the halls, and we have shared stories and exchanged prayer requests with several families.

Life in Pediatrics has it’s ups and downs. It is a blessing for Emily to have the constant care and expertise of the medical staff and a comfort for Christina to know there is help outside the door if something happens. However, everyone agrees it will be better all around for Emily to be home. The doctors all say patients heal better in their own environment. At home, Emily won’t have the stress of an unfamiliar place or the constant prodding of nurses checking vital signs. She’ll be surrounded by her siblings who can lift her spirits and will be free of an IV cart to slow her down. Christina will also benefit from being home with all her kids and her husband. The family is holding up well, but there really is no place like home and being altogether. We have all made friends on the pediatrics floor but we hope to leave it soon and not have to return!