(post by Tammy)
As many of you have heard, Natalie started her second round of chemo on Jan. 8. It has been quite busy for us for some reason this second time around with Natalie. She has way more energy than the first round so we've been trying to keep her occupied with activities in the hospital schoolroom, walking around the hospital floor, and with visitors bringing craft activities for her to do. She talks non-stop all day and definitely keeps us and the hospital staff busy with her questions. The good thing is that the staff here all love Natalie. Some of the nurses tell me that they fight to sign up to be nurse. Sometimes they can't because somebody else has already signed up for Natalie for the day. We feel lucky to be at this world-class hospital.
She finished chemo this past Friday and is starting to get really tired because her counts are low. During chemo, she always is full of energy. It's the two or three weeks after the chemo that she gets the fevers and her risk for infection is high. Those are the weeks we really need extra prayers for her to not have any complications! We've been asking everybody to pray that the rest of her chemo treatment goes as well as the first round or better. She did so incredibly well the first round and we truly believe it is because so many people prayed for her.
Grant and I met with her main treating doctor yesterday and she said that they are sticking with chemo for Natalie since it is effective. No bone marrow transplant because Sean is not a match for her and the risk of complications from a non-related donor is not worth trying in her situation since chemo is working. She said that after this second round, Natalie has 3 more rounds of chemo. They are all a month long. They explained that the goal of the first round was to get her to remission, which was accomplished. The goal of the second-fifth rounds is to kill any other cancer cells that could possibly be there. They said that studies has shown that those who only do two rounds of chemo have a higher chance of a relapse, which they are trying to avoid.
If all goes well with no complications, which we are praying for, Natalie should be able to resume her normal life activities in May. The thought made Grant and I tear up a little because our life is everything but normal these days. They will remove her broviac in June. It is possible that she could make her big wish this year and go to Disneyworld.
This is what we are asking people to pray for:
1. Natalie is cured this year. No relapse ever and no bad side effects from the treatment that she is gettting now. I know that the doctors can't label her "cured" until five years, but there is no reason why she can't be cured this year.
2. No complications at all with her entire chemo treatment. That the rest of the rounds go as well or better than the first round.
3. Natalie will never need a bone marrow transplant. Her bone marrow will make the good blood in abundance on its own.
4. Her body recovers quickly from each chemo treatment so we can have longer time at home as a family. It was so wonderful to be home as a family even if it was only 4 days the last round.
5. Lastly, none of us get sick!
We are pretty exhausted. Actually, beyond exhausted these days. My sister Tracy is helping out this month and my mom is helping out with Sean until March. Grant's parents and my sister Dinh will come back in March to help out as well. We are trying to figure out support after that but that takes energy that we don't seem to have these days. This is where we need help from our friends to figure out. If all goes as planned, then April will probably be the only month we need extra help with.
Thank you as always for all your prayers and support for our family. Although this has been so hard for us, we do feel fortunate to have the friends and family we have.