Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Fun

Even though Elena couldn't go trick or treating this year, both she and Liv made the most of it. 
Elena made a mask to wear and dressed up for pictures. Liv said she would take two bags and collect candy for Elena.
Hope you enjoy the pics!
 Two temporary visitors to our home
 Mummy dogs for dinner - with homemade chili!

 Ready for a fun night with friends!
 Perhaps the best part of the night - sorting candy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day + 97

As you can clearly see by the lack of blog posts, we are settling in to our new life at home together. This recovery phase is definitely different and a little strange. We are so thankful to be HOME, but Elena's day is far from normal. Things like masks, isolation from visitors, no outings, OCD handwashing, flushing her central line, changing her line dressing, and setting timers to give medications on time around the clock all remind us that we still have a ways to go before we are done.

Some of you have asked why Elena has so many restrictions now that she is home. Basically while Elena is on immune supressing drugs and her body is trying to rebuild and recover, she is especially vulnerable to infections - viral, fungal, and bacterial.  These can range from mild to life-threatening.  It is critical that we take extra percautions to protect Elena from the germs that are around us all the time in the environment, on food and spread by animals and people. So everything that Elena can't do - go to school, church, stores, movies, resturants, eat anything prepared by anyone other than ourselves, and go outside without a mask, are all things we have to do to protect Elena. While these changes are restricting and can be frustrating at times, they are all things that are necessary for her recovery.

With all that Elena can't do, we are LOVING what we can do! Cooking at home, eating meals together, watching movies, decorating the house for fall, playing games, organizing all of Elena's new craft and scrap booking materials, sleeping in our own beds and more! Even mundane things like taking care of the house and laundry are welcomed after life has been so abnormal for so many weeks!

At Elena's last appointment, they told us she didn’t have to come back to the clinic until Monday, November 5th.  So, we will continue to enjoy these days at home.

Thank you for praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day + 92

Today is the 3 month anniversary of Elena's bone marrow transplant!  Wow!  We are in awe of God's amazing love and grace and we give Him all of the praises and glory for Elena's continued healing. 

We also praise Him for a great clinic visit yesterday.  Elena's red and white cells have gone up and her platelets are holding steady.  She feels good and continues to work on her strength and stamina by walking and exercising.

Elena's next clinic visit will be on Nov. 5th, day +103!!!  She will have blood work done to check counts and the status of the CMV virus.  She will then have a CT scan to check her lungs for any sign of infection.  Please pray for the CMV to remain undetectable, for Elena's counts to continue to rise, and for the CT scan to show all organs clear of any infection. 

Praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"...Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."   Eph 5:19-20

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day + 88

Twelve and a half weeks post transplant finds us settling in to our new routine at home for this phase of our lives, and we are loving every minute of it!  This is what we have been praying and hoping for over these last several months, and now we are living it! Praise God for answered prayers!

Elena is doing well physically and emotionally.  She is working hard to regain her strength and stamina by taking walks and doing other exercises.  She loves to plan meals and help to prepare them.  She is keeping up with her school work with the help of the home bound teacher, and can't wait for the day that her isolation restrictions are relaxed so that she can do even more.

Olivia has begun her second nine weeks at school.  She ended the first nine weeks with great grades and perfect attendance.  She is also enjoying dance class and chorus during the week.  In December, her fifth grade chorus group will be performing at a Gwinnett Gladiators ice hockey game and at the state capitol.  On weekends she likes playing outside and hanging out with Elena.  She has been very understanding about the fact that we can't go places and do certain things as a family right now.

Elena's clinic appointment is on Wednesday this week.  Please pray for continued healing for her body.  Pray for the CMV virus to remain undetectable and for her counts to continue to improve.

Praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."  Psalm 25:5

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day + 83

We found out today that the CMV virus was not detected in Elena's blood yesterday!  We are rejoicing and praising Him over and over again!

Elena will now only have to receive the antiviral infusion medication once a day instead of twice. Another HUGE step toward her complete and total healing!

We are going to bed tonight praising God for His continued blessings of improved health for Elena and thanking Him for each of you.

In Him,
The Tates

"I will praise you. O Lord, with all my heart. I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."
Psalm 9:1-2

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day + 82

Happy Monday!  Sorry that it has been so long since our last update.  We've had quite a bit of catching up to do around here, doing all of the things we haven't been able to do for the past 87 days.  We have been hanging out and enjoying being together. It has been so nice all being in the same place at the same time.  This weekend was the most wonderful weekend we can remember!
We have also been trying to settle in.  We are having to adjust schedules, organize medical supplies and medications, and coordinate Elena's three infusions around our work schedules. While there have been some challenges, it is definitely better figuring it all out from HOME than from any where else!
Thank you so vey much for your prayers!  Please continue to pray fo Elena's complete and total healing. We will update more this week after we hear what Elena's CMV levels are.

In Him,
The Tates

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens ..." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day + 77

Tonight words can't begin to describe how we feel.
Here's a tiny glimpse into our day.

Saying bedtime prayers together and
tucking in both of our girls tonight
was absolutely wonderful!!
Thanking God for His faithfulness!
Praying for His continued protection over Elena and each of us.
"I will praise you. O Lord, with all my heart. I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."
Psalm 9:1-2

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day + 75

Clinic visits are always filled with waiting, wondering, questions, and sometimes answers.  Today wasn't any different. We were there for over two hours. Most of it was spent waiting.  We wondered what Elena's counts and levels would be.  Her counts were mostly stable.  Potassium was good.  Magnesium was low.  The CMV level was not negative. It has increased slightly.  Liver enzymes were also slightly elevated. Lots of good and not so good. Then, the big question - - when can Elena go home?  Today, a clear plan, an answer - - Wednesday!!  

On October 10th, Elena will be going home!  For the first time since July 15th, Elena will sleep in her own bed.  For the first time in 87 days, our family will be together in our home.  We are beyond excited!  We can't believe it!  We are also guarded.  We do not want anything to happen between now and then to change this. Please join us in praying for no fevers and no problematic side effects ever.

We also need you to know that Elena coming home doesn't change her condition.  She is still in the early stages of recovery.  Her body still has a long way to go before achieving  full and complete healing. Even though Elena will be home, she will still be in "isolation".  We can not risk Elena's health.  The same restrictions she has had for the past 85 days will still apply. 

Elena can not eat any food prepared by anyone other than ourselves.  Elena will not be allowed to go any where other than our home and the clinic. When she goes to the clinic, she will still be required to wear a mask in the car and until she gets into the BMT unit at the clinic. Visitors will also have to be restricted.  :(

We are praying that nothing will get in the way of Elena finally coming home.

Always praying and believing!!

In Him,
The Tates

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day + 72, + 73, and +74


We have enjoyed a weekend filled with quiet, laughter, rest, and relaxation. We are so very thankful for every moment and every day.

We are thankful to have another one tomorrow, as it is a three day weekend for us. Even though tomorrow morning brings another clinic visit and not another lazy morning, we are thankful we will be there together.

Praying for good counts, Elena's blood to be negative for the virus, good potassium and magnesium levels, and a clear plan for when Elena will be allowed to go home.

In Him,
The Tates

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day + 71

Today was another good day!  Elena's clinic visit went very well.  We found out that the level of CMV in Elena's blood went down significantly!  Praise God!  They will check the level again on her next visit Monday morning.  Please pray for Elena's blood to be negative for the virus at this time.  We need two weeks of no virus before they will start reducing the anti-viral medication from twice a day to once a day, and then two more weeks without detection before they will stop the medicine altogether.

We also found out that Elena's counts are doing well with her white cells holding steady and her red cells and platelets going up slightly.  This is encouraging because some of the medicine she is currently taking actually cause counts to drop, so having them go up is wonderful.  Another big praise!

Elena spent the rest of the day planning fun activities for our family time this weekend!  She is so excited about seeing Olivia and getting to hear all about her week.  It is so nice to see her get excited about things again! 

Please pray for continued healing and for a clear plan on when we can move Elena home!

Praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.  Lord my God, I will praise you forever."  Psalm 30:12

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day + 70

Today was another good day!  We spent time working on a puzzle and making lists of things Elena wants to do when she gets out of here; doctors permission needed of course.  She is getting stronger and stronger, and is feeling more and more like her old self.  Praise God! 

Elena also had a visit from the county home bound teacher today to keep up with her school work for the week.  This is always a nice change from the same old routine here at the RMH. 

Tomorrow is another clinic day.  Hopefully we will get some good news on all of our outstanding issues and questions.  Please pray for a smooth visit, for Elena's counts to have risen and for the virus to have gone dormant.  Please also pray for complete healing for Elena!

In Him,
The Tates

"But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, "The LORD is great!"  Psalm 70:4

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day + 69

Still no word on the status of Elena's CMV.  We hope to get good news tomorrow or Thursday at the latest when we go for Elena's next clinic visit.  Please continue to pray for the virus to be negative and for Elena's counts to continue to rise.

Still praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."          Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day + 68

Today marked the start of Elena's 12th week of BMTmania.  More than eleven weeks of treatment and recovery, followed by more treatment, and more recovery.  Seventy-eight days away from family, home, church, school and the town she has lived in for the last 13 years. 

We had no idea what to expect when we checked in to what was once a new hospital for us. One that we had never been to before, but has now become a home away from home of sorts.  We are so thankful to have this type of medical facility and care so close to home so that Elena can benefit from the cutting edge treatment that she has received over the past several weeks, right along with the loving, healing family time she can now enjoy on the weekends.  God is so good!  He always gives us what we need, when we need it!

Elena's clinic visit went very well this morning.  Her counts have remained steady from last week and she is handling all of the changes in her care like the seasoned pro that she is.  We are still waiting on the results of her blood work to see if the level of CMV detected last week has gone down. Please pray that the test done today will be negative for the virus and that Elena will continue toward complete and total healing.

Please also pray for no negative side effects from any of the medication that Elena is taking to help get her to where she needs to be.

We are still praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right."  Jeremiah 26:14