We headed downstairs into the main lobby area to wait for the shuttle. Kayla was NPO again (meaning no food before sedation) so Denny and I had to sneak behind a wall to rotate eating a few bites of breakfast without doing it in front of Kayla and risking making her feel sad about not being able to eat anything. As we were sitting in the Grizzly Cafe (which is all basketball themed), Kayla asked us if we are on Vacation. I said, "honey, do you think we are on vacation?" She said, "well, even though we got to fly here... no!" We chuckled a little and just looked at her lovingly in agreement.
After we arrived at the hospital and did our normal check in w/ arm band and clearance. This will be the start of every single day (monday-friday). Since she still had an IV in her hand, we assumed this blood draw would be easy. No pokes! Well, it wasn't that easy. They had to do another saline flush before getting the blood. When Donna did it last night, we pushed the saline soooo slowly so it wouldn't hurt. This morning, the nurse pushed it so fast. Poor kayla was screaming begging for her to stop. That set her off again. Then she yelled out, "THIS ISN'T A VACATION AT ALL". Poor thing! It was pretty hard to get her to calm down and breathe after that. She got the blood work done though, so that was good.
Next we took her upstairs to the RO Clinic (Radiology Oncology) for her Bone Age X-Ray. That was easy. The child life specialist came and got us while we were waiting to take Kayla back for her next appointment and told us that we had to come out into the lobby. That there is an amazing instrumental Christmas concert going on right outside of the doors. They reassured us they would come and grab us if our names were called. So, we walked out into the lobby to listen. I don't know if it was just because of where we are or what we are going through right now, but this was the most gorgeous music I had ever heard in my life. There were bells, bongos, guitars and all kinds of instruments. It was so moving. I couldn't help but well up looking around at all the families all stroking their kids shoulders like I was, or some of the moms dancing with new born babies in their arms to the music. I couldn't help but just pause for a second and be so thankful for that moment with Kayla.
While we waited for her sedation to begin, the four of us walked down stairs to the Radiology department to meet her Radiation Doctor. He won't be delivering the treatments to her, but he will be managing her care. His name is Dr. Pai. We really REALLY liked him. We talked about what to expect with Radiation Therapy. What the short-term effects might be and my main concern, what the long-term effects might possibly be. Honestly (and we also expressed this with Dr. Pai) we don't expect Kayla to have any effects at all that can't be worked on in the future. We went over products that she is allowed to use on her skin and hair during treatment. Funny enough they recommended Johnson and Johnson's for her hair. Now really? You don't want to battle me on this one. That is one area "I" have done my research on. I explained that I will be continuing to use Original Sprout. It's free of anything and everything that could be dangerous, including hormone disruptors. He smiled and was impressed with our knowledge in nutrition and overall health. We explained that since her birth we have been so careful with all things involving our kids. We don't go to fast food places. They mostly (within control) only eat organic and we limit anything toxic in general. So, knowing what is about to happen to her and what will be purposely put into her body is really hard to swallow for us.
Before I knew it, Kayla was under sedation again and receiving her bone scan and simulation. We knew that the risks of them finding anything in her bone marrow was low, but still a possibility. The simulation was for the team to get the beams for radiation in the exact right location. They placed tiny permanent dots (tattoo's) on specific spots on her head so that every time she receives treatment, she will be lined up perfectly each and every time. It's a very precise measurement. It has to be 100% accurate. They also made a mold of her face while she was asleep. This is what will allow for pin-less radiation. She will comfortably lie face down with her face gently cradled in a comfortable pillow type thing (think massage table style).
While Kayla was still under sedation, we met with the Pheresis Doctor. He will be in charge of harvesting her stem cells. This will take place on Tuesday. Tuesday will be a BIG day.
After, we met with Dr. Hajjar (pronounced Ha-Jar) for the bone scan results. ALL looked great there. We signed all of the paperwork for the protocol aka her treatment plan.
Simultaneously, Denny had to meet Kayla in recovery from her sedation(yes, we actually had to be in two different places at once during the end of the day, I have no idea how a single parent would do that). She was out of sorts so he had to take her back to our room while we finished our scheduled appointments.
Later, Denny had to take Kayla back to the Hospital after waking up for the next phase (because she was too ticked off directly after to go then). We have to give her harvest boosting medicine every day until Tuesday. Think fertility treatments... you give the mom shots to boost the egg numbers. This is like that except it isn't multiplying eggs, it's multiplying her stem cells for harvest. This will be used for her stem cell replacement. It will boost her immune system and help her recover during her doses of chemo in the future. It will be hard to get right now, but great for the future.
I need to tie in Tuesday. I am so tired, I'm afraid that I'm not making sense. I hope I am! Sorry if I am confusing you. I'm going to break it down:
Tomorrow & Sunday we have nothing on our agenda except for going to the medicine room mid-day for the "stem cell booster shot". Monday she also has this and probably a meeting w/ the nutritionist, child life specialist and "HOPEFULLY" physical Therapy. (they are booked until Tuesday, but we are pushing for Monday... she really needs it!)
Tuesday: Kayla will probably be admitted early, around 6:00 for sedation. A double lumen catheter and a femoral line. It will stay in place the entire time they harvest her cells. This should take around 5 or 6 hours. She won't be able to get out of the bed the whole time it's happening. BUT, she can eat. Hopefully they will be able to harvest all the cells they need for all the rounds of chemo. If not, then she will have to have it done a little longer on Wednesday morning.
Wednesday: They will do a practice run for radiation (no beams used). Along with who knows what other appointments.
Thursday: Radiation - Day 1.
One thing we learned tonight is that we can't Skype! I am so bummed!!! I guess St. Judes has a protection on their wifi b/c it's a "kids" hospital. I get it... but I'm so bummed about that. Maybe when we finally get into the target house? I doubt it b/c it's still SJ property.
Ok, that's it for now. It's been another long long day. Kayla is doing good. Her pain is tolerable. We are giving her nothing but high-calorie foods to try and increase her weight. She was only 37 lbs this morning. She is tolerating all of this pretty well considering. We are SO happy to have a day to ourselves basically tomorrow.
Here are a few pictures Donna took today when she got a chance to wander around a little that we wanted to add:
|One of the many playrooms|
|Inside the chapel|
|This is my favorite picture EVER!|
|Anthony lining up his loot|
Ok, night night time for us! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...............