|TUESDAY, AUGUST 19, 1997|
WE CAME HOMEAshley came home from the hospital last Tuesday. After the first vomiting episode with the tube-fed formula, she did great with the feeding tube. Her tummy problems finally subsided and she began feeling MUCH better. For that we are thankful.
KISS-FM AND THE DALLAS COWBOYSSomething really neat happened on Monday of last week. The Morning Crew from popular Dallas radio station KISS-FM 106.1 came to Children's Medical Center to visit the kids in the hospital and spread some cheer. They did a little show in the Troy Aikman Theater, and then visited with the kids individually and interviewed several of them.
Kidd Kraddick, the host and star of the morning show, spent some time talking with Ashley. After they had visited for a while, Kidd pulled out some tickets to the Dallas Cowboys game against the St. Louis Rams on Friday, and gave them to Ashley. That really brightened up her day.
On Tuesday, during their morning radio show, the KISS-FM Morning Crew spent quite a bit of time talking about their visit to the hospital and how much they were touched by the kids they met. Kidd talked about Ashley, and about how much her spirits were lifted when he gave her the Cowboys tickets. I was at home listening, and began to get teary-eyed when they started talking about my Ashley.
About ten minutes later, I suddenly heard Ashley's voice coming through the radio! She had called from the hospital to tell Kidd how much she appreciated their visit, and they put her on the air! She sounded so sweet!
I e-mailed Kidd and asked him if it would be possible for me to get a copy of the tape of Tuesday morning's show. I told him I would like to digitize the parts where they were talking about Ashley, and of course the part where she called in and talked on the radio. I want to put those sound bytes in RealAudio format on my web page for the world to hear. At the time of this writing, I have not yet heard back from him.
We went to the Dallas Cowboys game Friday night. There were EIGHT of us! Ashley really seemed to enjoy the game. She started feeling worn-out just before half-time, so we left and went to my brother Clint's house and watched the rest of the game on his big-screen TV. Clint ordered pizza, which finally arrived after midnight! We ate pizza, then started the 45-minute trek back home.
Saturday and Sunday, Ashley felt really weak. Her bottom was red and irritated from a rash of some kind. The itching really bothered her. She was also in a lot of pain from an area on her bottom where the skin was split. A little before midnight, the pain became unbearable. She screamed for about 30 minutes because it was hurting her so bad. I called the hospital and talked to Dr. Glaser. He called in a prescription for some Tylenol with Codeine to help with the pain, and an ointment to help topically with the pain and itching. The only problem was, there is not a 24-hour pharmacy here in Waxahachie. So I drove up to Dallas at about 12:30 to pick up Ashley's prescription. By the time I arrived back home (about 2:30 AM), Ashley was sound asleep, so I just let her sleep.
BACK TO THE HOSPITALOn Sunday morning, Justin and I went to church while Susan stayed home with Ashley. She would not have been able to sit through church with the extreme discomfort caused by the rash and fissure on her bottom, plus she was still feeling quite weak. That afternoon, Ashley started running a fever. I called and talked to Dr. Glaser again, and he said we needed to bring her in. So back we went, checked into the hospital Sunday afternoon, and Ashley is still there at this time. Her blood counts are still low from the last round of chemo, which means that her body does not have the ability to fight infection. Her bloodwork also came back showing a bacterial blood infection. So now they are pumping her full of all kinds of antibiotics to kill the bacteria.
Yesterday, one of the doctors came into the room and was talking about needing to keep Ashley in the hospital for 5 to 10 days to treat the infection. Ashley was not at all happy with that news, and displayed a bit of anger. Then Dr. Winick came in and visited with us at length. She is a wonderful person. Ashley just loves her (and so do we). She also happens to be a GREAT doctor. Dr. Winick is very understanding, and realizes how important it is for Ashley to get back home (Ashley has plans for the weekend). Dr. Winick explained that there are several factors they will be considering today, trying to determine the earliest possible time that it will be safe for Ashley to come home. They want to see her blood counts begin to improve, and they need to find out if the bacteria causing Ashley's infection is sensitive to any of the antibiotics she is being given. Hopefully we will hear more encouraging news today.
Ashley is really getting tired of all this hospital stuff! She was home for about five days after her last week in the hospital, then went back in on Sunday, and is scheduled to go back in for another week of chemo next Monday. She is having a difficult time accepting the reality that all of this is necessary in order to make sure that she gets well. It really gets her discouraged at times.
WEEKEND PLANSIf Ashley is out of the hospital and able to make the trip, we plan to travel down to the Houston area this weekend to visit with my brother Mark and his family. There is a special reason for the trip. Mark and Christie worship with the Clear Lake Church of Christ, where Mark serves as a deacon. One of his duties is working with the teens, which he thoroughly enjoys. When the Clear Lake teens heard about Ashley's situation, they wanted to do something to help. They got their heads together, and decided to have a garage sale to raise money to help our family. The garage sale was held a few weeks ago, and was a tremendous success. The teens decided that they wanted to present the check to us personally, rather than just mailing it. (They also want to meet Ashley. She has become somewhat of a "celebrity"!) So we are going to Houston this weekend to be presented with a check from the Clear Lake Church of Christ youth group, and to meet this wonderful group of teens up close and personal. We are praying that Ashley will be out of the hospital and able to make the trip. If you want to join us in that prayer, we would certainly be most appreciative!
NEXT ROUND OF CHEMOAshley is scheduled to go back into Children's next Monday, August 25, for her next week-long round of chemo. This time she will be getting Cisplatin ("the mean one") for five days, and Vincristine for one day.
THE HOUSEThere is a bit of exciting news to share. We have been approved for the mortgage loan on our house! We signed a contract on Friday, and the mortgage company is in the process of getting everything ready for us to close the deal, which should take place in about two or three weeks! We are so excited about getting this house. In almost fifteen years of marriage, this will be the first time that we have actually owned our own house. I am looking forward to the sense of permanence in our lives that I think we will begin to experience by having a house that actually belongs to us. Ashley and Justin are really excited about each having their own room. I just think that things will be a lot better once we get settled into our new home. I know that many of you have been praying for this to become a reality in our lives, and now it is about to happen! Thank you for your prayers. Praise God for His never-ending blessings!
PLEASE PRAY FOR BABY RACHELSweet Baby Rachel was born on September 26, 1996, to parents Bobby and Cecilia Gean. On May 5, 1997, at age 7 months, Rachel was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Bobby and Cecilia were living in Florida when they learned the horrifying news about their new baby. They were flown to Dallas, Texas, in order for Rachel to be seen by doctors at Children's Medical Center.
Because of the seriousness of Rachel's condition, she needs a Bone Marrow Transplant in order to live. For the Bone Marrow Transplant to work, Rachel needs to have a Bone Marrow Donor who is a "match". For most leukemia patients, the best chances for a match come from a brother or sister. Rachel is an only child.
Because Rachel is half-Hispanic and half-Caucasian, finding a match will be very difficult. The most likely candidate will be someone who is Hispanic. Unfortunately, there are very few Hispanics on the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
Rachel is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, while a Bone Marrow Donor is desperately sought.
If you would like to send a card or letter to Baby Rachel or to Bobby and Cecilia, here is their home address:
PLEASE PRAY FOR LITTLE JONATHANJonathan is a beautiful baby. He is eight months old, and had brain surgery yesterday. He has a rare form of rhabdoid tumors. The doctors have said that there have only been 20 other cases in the world, of children with the same kind of cancer as little Jonathan's. Gregg and Stacey, Jonathan's parents, are pretty stressed out and overwhelmed at the magnitude of what they are facing, but they are holding on to every strand of hope the doctors can give them.
Jonathan's surgery went well. The doctors feel like they got most or all of the brain tumor, which increases Jonathan's chances and gives Gregg and Stacy even more hope. I am asking you to increase Jonathan's chances even more by pleading his case before the Father's throne.
PLEASE PRAY FOR MICHELLEOne last prayer request. Michelle is a 15-year-old girl whose parents, John and Kim, founded the North Texas chapter of Candlelighters, a support group for pediatric cancer patients and their families. Michelle has leukemia, and went into remission for two years. Yesterday she relapsed. She is back in Children's, and they are looking at treatment options, including the possibility of a Bone Marrow Transplant.
John and Kim are strong people and have been through the tough battle with the cancer monster before. Their last battle ended in a two-year victory, and they have spent the past two years being a source of strength and support and love for others who have walked down the same road. Yesterday, you could tell that the news of Michelle's relapse hit them hard. Now they need to be on the receiving end of the strength and love that they have been providing to others for the past two years. Please pray hard for Michelle, and for John and Kim, and for their other children.
THANKS FOR THE PRAYERSGod is the God of all wisdom, and the God of all mercy. He certainly has the power to heal the body which He designed in the first place. He wants us to pour out our hearts to Him, even though He already knows what we need even before we ask it. Thank you for your continued prayers on behalf of Ashley and our family. Thank you for your prayers for Rachel, Jonathan, and Michelle. Prayer makes a difference!
GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFEYesterday I called 1-800-MARROW-2 to find out how I can become a Bone Marrow Donor. There are thousands of people like Baby Rachel out there, who need desperately for someone to give them a second chance by being a Bone Marrow Donor. I urge you to call the National Marrow Donor Program at the number above, have them send you the same information that is now on its way to my mailbox, and carefully and prayerfully consider participating in this incredible program. You might literally save another person's life!
God bless you.