Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or treat

Got your candy ready? I went to BJ's last night (sort of like a Costco or Sam's Club) and discovered that other people have figured out my secret: the big bars are often cheaper than the fun-size. The candy section looked like a bomb hit it. I managed to get 3 boxes of Crunch bars and a box of Skittles. Bring it on, I say!

A few years ago I gave out gum--packs of Bubble Yum, Bubbilicious, and assorted dentist-sustaining fruity crap. I had so much left over, I boxed it up and sent it to Sahara. Now, of course, every time I see her in her braces, I cringe a little. They're all my fault!

I am not dressing up--but if Amy were, she'd surely be Sleeping Beauty.

Got to the hospital at 8 am, and started the day by getting blood drawn, vitals taken, and an IV put in place for her MRI, which was scheduled for 10:30. Finished all of that, then crossed the hospital to see the audiologist for followup testing. Her hearing is just fine, only a teeny bit of a dip in the high range of her left ear. Nothing to be concerned about, because she's done so well in tolerating the chemo so far.

Went down a few floors to the MRI department after the audiology testing. That is when I started feeling sick; I was so nervous. After a short wait we were called in, and the nurses gave both of us warm blankets (because that whole area is as cold as a meat locker). Sahara assumed her position on the table, and I took the chair. After they got the MRI started, and I was all warm in my blanket, I fell sound asleep, sitting up, right there in the room beside her. I have no idea how I slept like that...must have been sheer exhaustion. MRI's are NOT quiet...that machinery is very loud. LOL. An hour later, it was over, and Sahara and the radiologist were giggling about how I'd napped through the whole thing. :)

We had a break after that, so we had a quick lunch before seeing Dr. Wolff. He ended up being late because of some type of emergency, so it was nearly 2 pm before we were called back. He gave Sahara the biggest hug, and she was so glad to see him, too. It was comforting to see his face again. He spent nearly an hour and a half with us, going over everything, showing us her bloodwork for today (counts are starting to come up, thank God),reviewing what had been happening over the last two weeks, and finally, the results of the MRI. I held my breath as he brought the images up on his computer screen. None of it made much sense, until he brought up the first MRI image, then placed today's image beside it. The difference was striking. It appears that the front of the tumor has indeed begun to shrink; it is visibly changed from the first image. This is VERY good news. The tumor has some other changes showing as well, which are not as clear. There are some white areas that were not there before, but they could be necrotic tissue left as a result of the radiation treatments killing the cells. Worst case scenario, there could be some growth behind those white areas, but it isn't possible to tell right now. He wants to do another MRI on December 1st, to investigate it further. But for right now, we can breathe. I asked him, point blank, if we can consider today's visit to be a good one - and he said yes. :) So, that is a relief, and we can go back home with smiles on our faces!

We have so far to go, and will begin the next steps of the journey next week when outpatient chemo begins in Cape. This trip to Houston was such a hurdle, and it was emotionally draining for all of us. You just have to keep on praying, every single day, and that is what we will continue to do.

Dr. Wolff presented Sahara with a large, framed, signed certificate today, congratulating her on making it through her treatments at MD Anderson with such flying colors. You could just feel how proud he is of her...and his entire staff had signed it. Above his signature were the words: "You are my inspiration." He told her that he has hung her letter to him over his desk, and whenever he feels discouraged, he reads it, and it helps to keep him going. It was such a touching moment, but Sahara demanded that I not cry, so I was a big girl and held it together. LOL.

Thank you all for continuing to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I know that it is helping Sahara to make progress in this battle. God is bigger than any of this, and every single day I tell myself that he doesn't put any doors in front of us that we cannot walk through.

We are looking so forward to coming back home tomorrow! This has been a fast trip, but adding the change to Daylight Savings Time did NOT help. LOL.

Take care everyone - we love you!