(post by Tammy)
The doctors were all on alert waiting to see if Natalie would hit a slump this week since she has been doing so good. They cautioned us and the nurses to keep a close eye on her. On Thursday, there was a huge gathering outside Natalie's door when I came back from heating up a cinnamon roll for Natalie's breakfast. When they saw me, they said, " We were all just talking about how amazing Natalie is doing. She looks great and hasn't had a fever." Although they usually do not discharge patients until their ANC hits 500, they feel Natalie is fine to go home if her ANC hits 200. She is at 180 today so we are really hoping and praying she can go home tomorrow. That would give us a week and a half at home before her third round of chemo starts.
So, how did we keep Natalie entertained this week during the wait? I did a lot of Mad Libs with her. She had finished the entire book that the PTA had given her the first day she got it so I ran to Borders and got her 4 more books. She loves it and laughs so hard at the silly stories we come up with. I actually do like Mad Libs because it's teaching her to know the difference between adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and nouns.
We also played Monopoly a lot. One of the volunteer teachers, Dinah, told me that she has never seen anybody play Monopoly the way Natalie and Grant plays it. They both strategize to win the game. I am starting to clue in to her game. Natalie saves her money the first couple of rounds until we are all nearly broke from buying properties. Then, she starts buying and offers to help us buy houses if we let her start buying houses on lots that she does not have a Monopoly on. We fall for it and she wins the game because we tend to land on her properties. She is a true business woman at heart.
At one point of the week when we got really bored, we googled some of Natalie's doctors. She has a lot of them because they all work as a team. It all started because we wanted to see if we could find what the "W" stood for in one of her doctor's middle name. What we discovered was that they all had a pretty impressive resume. Some have written books, won pretigious awards, and are leaders and pioneers in their fields. One is even a New York Times bestselling author, who is not only a writer when he is not on duty as an oncologist, but is also trying to obtain a degree in Divinity from Harvard. Wow, pretty determined people. Of course Natalie told them we googled them. They just laughed and asked what she found. They are trying to convince her to be a doctor or researcher someday herself. They keep telling her that if she ever needs letters of recommendations someday she's got it made.
Somtimes I wonder if Natalie got leukemia because she is going to help advance medicine one day. She actually is pretty tuned into her treatment and is already thinking of improvements that could be made. I think that's partly why the doctors adore her. She tells them what they should research and improve on. "You need to train the chemo to be smarter so it doesn't attack my good cells." " Why don't you invent a biopatch that lasts more than a week?"
Natalie has also made a mysterious new friend named Lara at the hospital. They both have never seen each other since they are both immunosuppressed, but the nurses and teachers keep telling them about each other. They think they will be great friends one day since they are both alike- fiesty girls who love art. What we know of Lara is that she is almost turning seven. She spends her day painting her own renditions of famous paintings that her mom has taped to her walls. She is also very smart. One day, Natalie's teacher came in with a message that Lara sends hellos to Natalie. I do think it would be great if they became good friends after their treatments so we're hoping they can meet each other when their counts are higher.
That's the update for now. We are extremely exhausted and looking forward to the long break from the hospital. Please pray Natalie hits 200 tomorrow!