When Emily was originally diagnosed in early February, she had been showing signs of pain and discomfort for several weeks. So when her treatment began, it was hard for family to distinguish what discomfort was from the chemotherapy and what was simply an aspect of her Leukemia.
Now that the Leukemia has begun to recede, the two-week break allowed us to see a return of the energetic personality that earned Emily the nickname ‘Stitch’. When her treatment cycle began anew though, this improvement in Emily’s demeanor made it easier to see just how tough this medicine is on her little body. Within 24 hours of her return to treatment, Emily was clearly not feeling well, with nausea setting in and signs that she was struggling with pain and discomfort throughout her body. Her diarrhea also returned, though it is raising fewer concerns now that we know it is just one of many side-effects that will eventually pass.
Of greater concern this past week has been an increasing need for blood and platelet transfusions as Emily’s blood counts are dropping quickly and her body is not maintianing adequate levels on its own. While transfusions will always be available to help Emily’s body keep up, there is an inherent risk in each transfusion given so the doctors prefer to keep them to a minimum. This past week alone, she received platelets twice and whole blood once and she will receive more of each on Monday.
Thus far, lab tests have not been conclusive as to why Emily’s counts are staying so low but we hope to hear more tomorrow. It could be a result of overworked liver and kidneys or it may just be another side-effect we have to hope improves in time.
Emily has two more weeks in this cycle of her Consolidation phase. She receives chemotherapy just once each week. The next phase of treatment is currently scheduled to begin on June 19th with the first of many 4-day hospital stays. However, with her low ANC and platelet counts there may be another break between cycles in order to allow Emily’s body a chance to recover before the next round begins.
Emily has always been a happy girl and continues to have plenty of smiles. Her strength also continues to improve and she is walking on her own more and more everyday. It is hard to watch Emily struggle with the physical impact of the chemotherapy but when she flashes you one of her big grins or throws her head back in laughter, she makes this journey a little easier for us all.
Please pray specifically this week for Emily’s blood and platelet levels. Pray that her body be able to make these important cells on its own and to maintain the levels she needs to stay healthy and strong.
Please also pray for Emily’s family as they continue to watch over Emily and adjust their lives to the demands of an intensive treatment schedule. Pray for physical rest as well as emotional peace. Every day brings new worries and concerns that weigh heavy on Christina and Jason’s hearts. Pray that God would give them peace and courage in the days ahead.