Initially granted a one-week break due to her low ANC (absolute neutrophil count), Emily’s treatment was postponed for a second week when her ANC did not go up. After a two-week hiatus, her ANC has dramatically improved (up to 2,200) and we are beginning to see positive signs of her body recovering both from her chemotherapy and from the Leukemia in general.
During the break, we have focused on improving Emily’s food intake. Battling both nausea and diarrhea, Emily’s nutrition has been declining and in order to avoid the placement of a nasal feeding tube, the family has tried making mealtime fun for Emily. She seems most likely to eat when other people are eating with her and even better if she can eat off of your plate! Her interest in food is still going back and forth but so far, the doctors have not ordered the feeding tube and we hope it stays that way.
One of the initial indicators of Emily’s illness was her refusal to walk and her general malaise. We have seen Emily’s playful spirit steadily improving since her treatment began and the past two weeks have brought significant milestones in Emily’s mobility. She has gone from crawling, to standing with assistance, and finally to walking on her own for short distances! Check out the video below for a clip of Emily taking some of her first steps on her own in over four months!
Along with the return of her strength and spirit has come a great enthusiasm for playtime. Emily loves to swing in the front yard and to ride around the block in the family’s pedal car. At Ethan’s Little League playoff game this past weekend, she was goofy and silly in true Stitch fashion – cheering on her brother and playing pirates with William. Last weekend, Emily and sister Sophia celebrated Mother’s Day with the girls by going on a garden walk through Sacramento’s Fab 40’s neighborhood.
Some of the recent pictures show another improvement in Emily’s condition – a decline in the puffiness around her face and body! Processing the chemotherapy is tough work for Emily’s liver and has caused a backup of fluids in her body. Shortly after her treatment began, Emily became swollen and puffy, most notably in her face, but we are finally seeing evidence that her liver is functioning properly again as our familiar little Stitch returns!
With her ANC back up, Emily will begin her next four-week round of treatment tomorrow. For the next two weeks, she will be at the infusion room four days a week for chemotherapy. Then two weeks of just one-day-a-week treatments. From there, the doctors will plan out the next phase depending on how her blood responds.
Please join us in praise for the improvements in Emily’s spirits, mobility, and physical well-being. Please keep praying for an increased appetite and an overall improvement in her blood work, as evidence that the treatment is working to fight the Leukemia in her body.