(post by Grant & Tammy)
Last week went pretty well for us despite Natalie's blood counts being extremely low. Today is day 10 of the recovery period after chemo. Natalie's ANC is at 70. To give you a reference point of how powerful chemo is, her ANC was at 1650 before second round of chemo. The good news is that chemo is working. The bad news is that Natalie is vulnerable to getting sick and infections until her counts recover. They said day 7-10 after chemo are the days where her counts will go the lowest before they go up again. She has been doing great so far-very energetic and happy. She is actually tiring Grant and I out.
As the doctors put it, while most kids do arts and crafts in their rooms, Natalie plans great projects for the day. They always love coming into her room to see what the project of the day is for Natalie. Last week she made clothespin dolls, clothes for her stuffed animals, colored crystals, her second movie (Baykids helped her with that), learned to knit, and attempted to build a big house out of popsicle sticks for her clothespin dolls. She probably would've finished building the house if not for the fact that she ran out of popsicle sticks. The staff here gave her sterile tongue depressors (expensive popsicle sticks) to help her out a little, but they were not enough to finish the project.
Sean came out to play Bingo on Thursday with Natalie for the first time last week. It was so sweet to see them laying next to each other in Natalie's bed giggling. He is so amazingly patient with her. At one point, Natalie wanted him to leave the room because he was too loud and he did it without complaining. Sean and I walked the halls and went to look at the fish tank in the lounge until Natalie was ready to have him back in her room. They played Bingo next to each other in Natalie's bed with Natalie looking over at Sean's Bingo card every second to make sure that he was playing correctly. Natalie won first and Sean won a minute after her. She picked out a book with a locket, and Sean picked out a robot puzzle. They had a pretty, young woman who was a childhood cancer survivor host Bingo. When Natalie saw her with the long, thick, curly blonde hair, I could see her eyes light up with hope.
We are hoping that her counts go up this week and no fevers and infections. If all goes well, we may have longer time at home as a family this round.
Also, thank you to the Gregory Gardens PTA for the gift package. Natalie played MadLibs for the first time and loved it. Thank you Mrs. Trette for the class picture and letters. That also put a big smile on Natalie' face. Lastly, thank you Maritza for the incredible art supplies and food. Natalie was craving a Costco hotdog and roasted seaweed the last couple of days so she is feasting on that for Chinese New Year today!