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Update on Alex's Fight Against Leukemia

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Quick Update: Thursday, January 9, 2003 @ 11 pm

Hi Everyone,

We were all set to go home tonight, as Alex had been afebrile (w/o fever) for 48 hours. I got our discharge papers, packed everything on the banana cart, went to pick her up and &#$@ she spiked a 38.4 degree fever! Anything over 38.3 degrees and you don't get to go home. Alex had a synergist shot (to prevent RSV) just before she spiked, and one of its side effects is fever. Of course if I had known that was one of the side effects, I would never have allowed it to be given today. If it is a drug induced fever, then hopefully it will break quickly. Otherwise we'll be stuck in-patient for her birthday.

Andrea continues to do well. She was moved from ICU to a Medical floor today, which is amazing considering how critical she was only a couple days ago. She even got to go down to the NICU to see Nicholas today, which really lifted her spirits. Hopefully she'll be released sometime next week.

Well I'm going to wrap this up and crash for a little while on my comfortable (not) hospital chair bed. Thanks again for four years of love, prayers and support. Take care.

-- Todd


Quick Update: Wednesday, January 8, 2003 @ 11 am

Hi Everyone,

The rollercoaster appears to be on its way back up again. Andrea is doing a lot better this morning, as her fever has broken. The doctors appear to have found the right combination of antibiotics to fight her infection.

Alex had a fever early this morning, but for the moment her temperature is normal. All morning she's been riding her bike, tap dancing, playing games and doing puzzles with Nurse Melissa and then a volunteer. I swear she spiked a fever because she was bored at home! She'll need to go 48 hours without a fever before she'll be released, so let's hope it doesn't return. I really want her home for her birthday.

Andrea's Mom is coming up to stay with Alex tonight and I'm going to head back to Tacoma General. Going to spend some time with Andrea and then do Kangaroo care with Nick tonight. Then I'll be back up at Children's tomorrow morning for Alex's bone marrow aspirate. Going to be living on caffeine for awhile.

Thanks again for four years of love, prayers and support. Take care.

-- Todd



Wednesday, January 8
, 2003

Hi Everyone,

As unbelievable as it may seem, Alex spiked a 102 degree fever tonight and had to be admitted to Children's Seattle. At the exact same time, Tacoma General called to tell me that Andrea would have to go back into surgery. If there was ever a time I was going to stick my head in the oven, this was it. Luckily Andrea's Mom and sister Wendy flew up on Monday night, so I sent them to Tacoma General to be with Andrea and I rushed Alex to her hospital.

Andrea started going downhill shortly after I left her this afternoon. Her fevers returned and she was having trouble breathing. The CT scan showed what appeared to be a spreading infection on her abdominal wall and infiltration of her lungs. They put her on Lasix and that appears to have reduced the fluid in her lungs. They then operated on her at midnight to ascertain if she did have an infection. They got in there, did a quick survey of the tissue around her incision and again there was nothing! At this point we are no closer to figuring out the cause of the fevers, but at least for the moment she is stable. They had to intubate her for the surgery, but when I spoke with Andrea's Mom they were planning to extubate her soon.

Alex is doing relatively well. I got her to the ER around 7 pm, got sent up to the Hem-Onc floor at 10 pm and we got into a room at 12:30 am. This time of the year is an extremely busy time for the Hem-Onc floor and they had to do a lot of rearranging to get Alex into a private room. Lucky for me Alex was in a great mood, the entire time we were waiting. Her temp hasn't gone above 102 and right now it's only about 100 or so. She's been put on antibiotics to fight what is probably a simple virus and hopefully we'll be able to go home in a few days. I would really like to have her out of the hospital and Andrea out of the ICU by Friday, since it will be Alex's 5th Birthday. A friend of ours (Janet Arsenault) had arranged a private movie showing for us at Regency Theaters on Friday morning, but I think we'll need to reschedule. If we're lucky we'll be out of the hospital by late Friday or early Saturday.

Catching some Z'sAnd finally Nick continues to do great. Only got to spend a few minutes with him today, but we got some good news. As long as his blood gases continue to come back normal, they are going to extubate him in 4-5 days. This means he will be off the respirator! There is one big caveat to all of this. Even if he does get taken off the ventilator, there is always the chance he'll need to go back on at some point. The Preemie experience, like the Leukemia experience, is a real rollercoaster ride and even when things are going well you have to be prepared for the worst.

Thanks again to all of you for everything. I honestly don't know what's going to happen next, but we'll just keep fighting until we get through it. Take care.

-- Todd


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