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Update on Alex's Fight Against Leukemia

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Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Hi Everyone,

He gained .2 ounces!Happy Four Day Birthday to Nicholas! Nick is continuing to exceed all of the doctor's expectations in the following ways:

1) His lungs are in such good shape that they are planning to wean him off the ventilator over the next few days.

2) He had an EKG today which confirmed that his PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) has closed. The PDA is a blood vessel near the heart and lungs that remains open while the baby is in utero and in full term babies closes within a few days of birth. In preemies the PDA often remains open which can cause a multitude of problems including respiratory distress syndrome, congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) and chronic lung disease. The fact that his PDA has already closed means that he is ahead of the curve.

3) He was weaned off of his low blood pressure medication (dopamine) today, as his blood pressure has stabilized. This also means that we'll be able to pick him up and hold him soon. So far the only time we've picked him up is to weigh him or change his diaper, so we're pretty excited.

Zeke the Zebra keeping an eye on NickObviously there is still a long road ahead for Nick, but he's already shown that he's a fighter. Just like his Mommy and big sister!

Now for the bad news. Andrea got out of the hospital last night, but was readmitted this morning with a fever and severe pain (from her uterus contracting). They're treating her with antibiotics and Percocet (for the pain), and have taken blood cultures to determine the cause of the fevers.

Unfortunately Andrea won't be able to see Nicholas until they rule out an infection, so I'm taking up the slack. I changed Nicholas' diaper for the first time today and got to spend about 90 minutes with him over the course of the day. The highlight for me was when I put my finger in his hand and he clamped down on it. It's the first time he's done that to anyone and it took me back to when Alex was five minutes old and did the same thing. I know it's only supposed to be a reflex at this stage, but it still felt really special.

Alex meeting Nick for the first time She really wanted to tickle his foot!

In more good news, Alex continues to do great. Her platelets went up on their own from 22 to 28, so she probably won't need any more transfusions until her transplant. All of her other counts are close to or within normal range, and she'll be having a bone marrow aspirate on Friday to confirm that she has achieved her 7th remission! Somebody call Guinness, because that has got to be a record for an AML patient!

At least one of us is sleeping!We're still trying to figure out a way to keep Alex in remission, while we wait for Nicholas to be stable enough to fly to North Carolina. Our only options are maintenance doses of IL-2 or Mylotarg. We'll probably make a decision on which way to go by the end of the month, then hope and pray it works. It's a hard choice to make, but there's no way we can split up the family with a child on each coast, and no hospital in Seattle will perform a Cord Blood Transplant on Alex.

Once again I want to thank everyone who has offered their support, whether financial, emotional or spiritual over the past four years and especially during the past few weeks. This has definitely been the most trying period of my life and I don't know how I would have gotten through it without all of your help. Hopefully 2003 will be a less exciting year (in a good way) than 2002.


Todd, Andrea, Alex & Nick

Donations for Alex

Mail to: Frontier Bank
c/o Alexandra Elaine Martini
P.O. Box 527
Lake Stevens, WA 98258


via PayPal

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