Today was a very special Day at St. Jude. They honored a man, Joe Farris (also knows as "the original Santa" here) had his 100th visit today! The press came out and the hospital and city nominated today, December 19th, an official Joe Farris day in Memphis from this day forward. They gave him a plaque. It was SO sweet! They did a video for him too. It was great to be here for such a great moment for the hospital. I cried when he told the story about some of the patients he has encountered, the power of prayer and the courage to keep begging for money (just like his friend Danny Thomas had done). He has been here since the beginning of the hospital. He comes twice a year bringing donations every time he comes. Such an inspiration. It was hard to get good pics through the heads of the media... but you can see it from my view :) It was on the local news here. If I can link it later I will (It still hasn't reached online... I know, I'm FAST)
I got back to the hospital just as Kayla rolled out of recovery. She was in her usual pain. Unfortunately the motrin didn't help. We tried. Kayla was determined to see Miss Amy. She is the gate keeper, per se, to being able to do radiation without sedation. We all needed to see how close (or how far) we are to that goal.
Amy met us in the radiation waiting are and showed us a lot of pictures of the room. She explained what cells are to Kayla. She explained how tumors form and what this radiation business is all about. I still say that we, as adults, should ALL have it explained to us in kid terms. Not only is it not as scary, but it's so much easier to understand. I love Child Life.
Amy decided that the best step now because of Kayla's neck pain is to have her try out the position in the room and see if it would even be tolerable. So, we all agreed that would be best. Besides that, we need to know exactly what position her neck is in in able to do more PT with her here to get her ready. So we walked back. We got to see the special mask that was made that shapes her face. This is where her face gently rests during radiation. I was allowed to take a few pictures.
Here is Kayla feeling how soft it is on her face and how she can breathe easily through it
This part was easy enough. Next, we walked back to the room where the treatment takes place. Tomorrow, one of us will get to watch (not in the room) while it is in progress. The next day the other will watch. One at a time. It will be good to see how careful they are while moving our baby around. I know hard... but knowledge is power, right?
So, back to my story. We walked back into the room where the action takes place:
This is the big table. The main station!
They quickly got it set up so we could "try" the position to see how Kayla would feel in position
Getting her face cradle in place and ready
The nurse was explaining how kayla will lay. You can see here that she was hesitant. I think it was especially hard because her neck was still so sore. I was not allowed to take any pics once she was in position. I can understand why. We got a good look at how her neck is. NO WONDER she is in pain. She is tilted back into an odd position (head tilted back) the whole time. It is for her airways. It's hard on someone who hasn't had neck surgery let alone almost impossible for her right now. We will keep working on her massage... but it could be a whole two weeks before she is not NPO. It was good to see though. I think Kayla understands the progress she needs to make.
Denny and I are both cleared now for dressing changes. We got the entire kit. That is almost the same as a drivers license. You can imagine the excitement! The nurse was hysterical. She loved how quickly we caught on. I took it from her enthusiasm it doesn't usually happen that quickly.
Tonight we have noticed more changes. Her hair is starting to shed. The skin above her left eye is red as if it has been rubbed raw. I put some Aquaphor on it and some drops in her eye. It helped.... although it was emotional getting it in. These changes are hard to watch but make us even more thankful for the good parts of every day. We have a very full day tomorrow so good night all!