Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Follow Up from CHOA

Good evening everyone. We just wanted to give you an update from our news of earlier today. Elena has received her second unit of platelets and her first unit of blood and is now getting the first of several doses of IV antibiotics. She spiked a fever around 4pm but has not run a temp since around 5:30. Praise God! Elena is due to receive another unit of blood tonight and will then alternate fluids and antibiotics throughout the night. Please pray for peace, healing and comfort for her as this will be a difficult night. Elena has not had much to eat or drink in the last 36 hours and has continued to feel nauseous. She has thrown up blood again this evening. Please pray that the doctors can find out what is causing this and pray that all of the blood, platelets and medicines that Elena has received will do what she needs them to do to heal her body.

On a brighter note, Elena was excited to find out that her nurse for the night shift was someone that she knew from when she was first diagnosed and with whom she is really comfortable with. This has made a big difference in Elena's disposition already this evening. She is an amazing girl!! She wants so much to be a normal kid again. Earlier today, as I was carrying her to the infusion room to begin her treatment because she was just too tired to walk, we passed by a little friend of hers who was playing in the common area and Elena noticed she had gotten a hair cut and told her how much she liked it! She is always wanting to make the other kids at the clinic feel better or have a better day! I am constantly amazed by these acts of kindness because they are so heartfelt and sincere, which makes seeing Elena suffer like this so much harder. Thank you for all of the prayers and love and support that you continue to shower upon our family! We pray that you find rest and comfort in God alone!

In Him,
The Tates

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

Update on Elena

Sorry for the late update, a lot has been going on.

While at the clinic this morning, Elena had a nosebleed that wouldn't stop. She also gagged when they did the strep test and threw up. She threw up blood. Dr. Lew was there when this happened and made the decision to admit her into the hospital at least for overnight as a precaution. Her counts are very, very low. Her ANC is 0 (this is how they determine your body's ability to be able to fight off an infection, below 500 is severe), her platelet count is 13 (it should be at 75) and her red count is 7 (below 8 requires a blood transfusion).

Elena has already received platelets at the clinic and will be receiving blood and fluids once she gets settled in a room at Scottish Rite. She and Mark are on their way there now. It's just a short elevator ride and walk under the road through the tunnel from the clinic to the hospital.

They will monitor Elena tonight. If all is well, she will go home tomorrow.
She will not receive any chemo today. The plan is to do it tomorrow.

We will keep you posted.

Thank you for your prayers!
In Him,

"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!" Psalm 31:24

Please pray today

Good Morning,
Please keep Elena in your prayers today. She had a really rough night last night. It seems like we just laid in bed together, there wasn't much sleep happening. She is battling nausea, a headache, cough, sore throat and a slight fever. She has a clinic appt at 10am. She is scheduled to receive chemo in her port and also her final PEG shots (a chemo drug given in the thigh muscle, both legs at the same time).

I just told Mark yesterday that I couldn't believe that we were "skating" through the second phase of Delayed Intensification. He replied that he thought we were on thin ice, we still had two more appts to get through.

I am praying that I didn't speak too soon, that Elena will only have a minor cold or perhaps strep (Liv had strep this weekend), that her counts will be high enough to escape being admitted into the hospital, that she receive her scheduled treatment today with NO side effects, and that her current symptoms will stop.

Thank you for being there for us today and everyday!!
In Him,

"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wow! What a day!

Thank you for the prayers! They worked! The girls had a fabulous time at the Fun Run today! We did too! The weather was a little cool, lots of clouds and only a tiny shower.

Here are some pictures from today's fundraiser.

Elena with a friend pushing her.
Elena made a total of 41 laps
with friends and the Boosterthon guys pushing her.

Liv made it around the track 36 times! You go girl!

Yes, these are the fabulous, fun, amazing Boosterthon guys!
Yes, the girls still want them to all come live with us!
I think they love our girls almost as much as we do.

Home. Hot, sweaty and happy!

Here's the back of the girls shirts.
It shows the tallies of the laps they completed.
Time to hit the showers!

Thanks again for the prayers!
Continue to lift up Elena as we begin the shots at home again this evening. Pray that she not be anxious, that the sting of the chemo is minimal, and that there are NO negative side effects. Pray that Liv will not be anxious either. She is the super sister hand holder for the event. : )

In Him,
The Tates

"The God of all grace..will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another Week, Another Clinic Visit

Today's visit was a good one. Elena was sedated and received methotrexate to her brain and spine. She also received vincristine and ARAC through her port. It was a really quick visit. Elena was at school by 11:30. Praise God for another great visit!

Tomorrow, the girls will be participating in the Boosterthon Fun Run fundraiser at school. They both have had a wonderful time getting pledges to raise money for their school. They have also enjoyed getting to know the group of guys who are leading the Boosterthon. Yesterday, the girls even wished that they all three lived with us!! They said they would be like brothers who they could play with all the time. : )

Liv will be running laps around a track. Elena will be pushed in her wheelchair around the track.
Please pray for great weather and a fun filled day tomorrow. Pray that Liv will be a great example through her joy and kindness. Pray that Elena will feel like she is a part of this event and not feel excluded in any way.
They should both be well rested....It's about 8:30 and they are both already sleeping! Thank you Lord! They both need the rest. I pray they will wake up renewed and ready for another day!

We'll update again tomorrow. Tomorrow night begins another round of ARAC shots to be given at home in Elena's leg. It has definitely been one of the most difficult things to do this past year. But, only three more to go!!

As always, thank you for taking the time to check in on us!
In Him,
The Tates

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What a day!

It was a good day today. Why you might ask?

We all woke up this morning to a brand new day.
Elena received chemo and blood as scheduled.
We only have three more weekly visits before moving into maintenance. Amen!
Elena never once complained about her eight and a half hour clinic visit.
Olivia was happy and well taken care of after school by a dear friend.
We were blessed to have a wonderful dinner provided for us to enjoy tonight.

Our amazing friends and family prayed for us today and do so everyday.
We have soft, warm beds to snuggle into tonight.
We are home.

It has been a good day.
Thank you, God, for this day.

In Him,
The Tates

"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." Psalm 54:4

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Good News!

We found out today that Elena counts are good for chemo tomorrow- yea! Praise God!However, her red count is low, so she will have a transfusion tomorrow as well. Her appointment has been moved up to 8:30am. It will be a very long day. Elena will receive cytoxin (an hour long infusion), three hours fluids (because cytoxin can be toxic to your kidneys!), ARAC (via her port), vincristine (via her port), and blood (via port). Mark will bring Elena in the morning. Then I will meet him at 2:45 at the clinic, so he can go to a job for work at 3:30.

Since Elena is starting this final month tomorrow, we are thinking the rest of her appointments will go on as planned. Right now, clinic visits are scheduled for the 24th, the 31st, and then the FINAL weekly appointment is scheduled for Thursday, April 8th - one year and two days after her diagnosis and on the exact date she received her very first chemo treatment!! First and last on the same day - - one year apart!!! Wow!

While this date does not mark the end of Elena's treatment, it does mark the end of her intensive phase of treatment. It means instead of clinic visits every 7-10 days, we will now only have to go to the clinic for chemo ONCE A MONTH! Elena will have to take oral chemo medications at home every day, but clinic visits definitely decrease. This phase of treatment is called 'Maintenance' and will take us to August 2011.

As always, thank you for being our faithful prayer warriors and storming the Heavens for us!

In Him,
The Tates

"In Him and through faith in Him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence."
Ephesians 3:12

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Fews Pictures

Fun at the park on Saturday!
Aunt Linda came to visit this weekend. It was SO wonderful to have her help.
Of course she always brings her dog, Tally, with her.
Sweet Tally!

Elena at the clinic with the couple from the Songs for Kids Foundation.

What should we sing? I don't know!

What a trio!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On our way..sort of

Overall, today was a really good day. While Elena's ANC dropped from 660 to 620, the rest of her counts were good. So, Dr.Lew wanted to go ahead with the sedation, but hold off another week before giving her the rest of the scheduled chemo drugs she would have received today. Bottom line, Elena received one fourth of her scheduled chemo.
The sedation went just fine, Elena has never had any trouble being sedated or waking up from sedation. She is definitely ready to eat and drink something as soon as she comes to. She doesn't really care for the required 'stay lying down' time after. She constantly asks, "How much time left now?". Maybe next time I should move the bed so she can see the clock. : )

Last night, we were feeling rather tired and defeated. Today, we woke up strong and ready!
Thank you for your emails, calls, prayers, and concern. We were definitely lifted by them and reminded that God is faithful and his compassions are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). Our prayers were answered, we had peace of mind and heart, patience, energy and joy. God is good!

The joy part of the day came when Elena was able to leave the sedation area and move to the regular infusion part of the clinic. Our favorite CURE ladies were there, with sweet treats of course, our favorite CHOA volunteer, Trina, was there, overflowing with love and joy as usual, and the added bonus...a couple from the Songs for Kids Foundation were there. If you remember Elena had a ball singing with them back in November. Needless to say, she had a great time singing with them again today. She sang about eight songs with them! It definitely felt like a party in the gathering area today. It is amazing to see the smiles on all of the children's faces, thanks to all of these wonderful volunteers. At least for a little while, it was a happy, rocking place today in the lives of these children.

Elena's next step will be another counts check first thing Monday morning. If her ANC has recovered, she will return to the clinic on Tuesday to continue the treatment she began today. So, until then, we will love every moment we have and put it all in God's hands.

Thanks for taking the time to check in on us.
In Him,
The Tates

For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear Him, and He rescues them. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in Him!" Psalm 34:7-8

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just waiting...

Good Evening!
Sorry it has been so long between posts! Elena is on a two week break in between phases to give her body a chance to recover before she starts up again. Last week, her counts were fantastic...yesterday most were good, but her ANC was only 660. It needs to be at 750 to start up again. So, the plan is to go to the clinic as scheduled tomorrow. They will check her counts again. One of Elena's nurses said if her counts are close, they will go ahead and start this next phase.

We are all rather tired of being in limbo, but we also do not want to go on if Elena' s body is not ready. Please pray that whatever happens tomorrow, it will be the right thing for Elena.
If we do start treatment tomorrow, it will be a very long day. We are scheduled to arrive at 8am. After checking her counts, Elena would be sedated (once again) to treat her spine and brain. Then she'll receive three different types of chemo, as well as fluids this time, via her port. That process will take at least four hours.
Please pray for peace of mind and heart, patience, energy, and joy to fill us all!

We will definitely send out another update tomorrow.
Thank you for your prayers!

In Him,
The Tates

Tonight's scripture is a passage. I couldn't narrow it down. I needed to type it all to remember God is in control and our power comes from Him and Him alone.
I hope it speaks to you as much as it speaks to me.

"I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory...for ever and ever! Amen"
Ephesians 3:16-21

Some fun ....

Here's a little of what we have been doing these past two weeks.

Elena had a blast Friday night with her friends
at a mall scavenger hunt birthday party for her friend, Morgan.
Here's Elena with the birthday girl and friends
getting bouncy balls
at Old Navy.

For a school project, Liv had to complete a time line of her life.
It was really hard to narrow down her life to a few great events!
We had so much fun pouring over eight years of pictures!
Here's Liv with her completed project.

Last Sunday, Elena stayed after church for Junior Jam.
It is a monthly event at our church for the 4th and 5th graders. Once a month they get together to complete a service project of some kind. They have a great time being together and have learned that serving not only brings joy to others,
but to yourself as well.
This month the kids painted a classroom at the church.