Today was another long and exhausting day at Egleston.
After beginning our early morning in Atlanta traffic, we met with the oncology doctor who wrote the research study Elena may be eligible for. He was very nice and answered all of our questions regarding the study and transplant in general. We then signed four different consent forms, including the one for Elena to receive her bone marrow transplant at Egleston.
After signing the consent forms, the first official part of this journey to transplant began. Elena was to have labs drawn from her line and have a bone marrow aspirate performed to determine the current amount of leukemia cells in her bone marrow. However, her line did not have any blood return. It could be flushed, pushing fluid in, but was not allowing any fluid (blood) to be drawn out. So, the nurse received permission from the doctor to use a "clot buster" medicine to see if that would free up the line. After sitting in the line for 30 minutes, it did not work. Elena ended up having to have her labs drawn from her arm. Not fun having a line that isn't working like it should!
The team decided to proceed with the sedation and bone marrow aspirate since fluid could go into the line. Elena was finally sedated three hours after her scheduled procedure time. Here it was our first time in the out patient clinic at Egleston, not knowing anyone who is about to perform a procedure that Elena has had countless times and we were aggravated and frustrated. Many prayers went up and we said "Hallelujah!" when Elena awoke from sedation, bone marrow aspirate complete, no complications, and BOTH sides of her line were working properly!! We said our goodbyes and thank yous and quickly walked across the street to Emory's Winship Cancer Center for Elena's radiation simulation appointment.
There, nerves set in - wondering what this appointment would really be like. Everyone there was wonderful! They clearly explained what was happening and it wasn't so bad. Elena had a CT scan and xrays taken of her lungs so that metal shields can be made to protect her lungs from the radiation treatments. She also went to the room where the treatments will take place. She laid on the bed in the position she will be in for her treatments. The technicians took measurements along her entire body in order to calibrate the machine specifically to Elena and the amount of radiation that has been prescribed for her.
After our long and stressful day, we were thrilled to come home to a surprise luau party for Elena! Some of our cousins from Wyoming are in town visiting. They knew Elena was not happy about having to go to her appointments. So, Shaye, Logen, and Olivia planned a fun party complete with snacks (all of Elena's favorites!), punch, decorations and a hula contest. It was wonderful! After snacking, laughing, and dancing, they are chilling out watching a movie.
We are continually being blessed by the loving actions of others! Today alone, prayer warriors were storming the heavens for us, thoughtful gestures of love and compassion were being planned to help make our day brighter, and a delicious meal was delivered to us by a dear, sweet friend so that we could spend this evening together worrying about one less thing.
We are grateful! We are blessed! We thank God for each day!
The perfect reminder from another dear, sweet friend this morning:
"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Psalm 139:9-10