Well, we had a good conversation with Dr. Graham. I'm sure CR absorbed a lot more of the details than I did so I'll let him post his version later. But, basically, Dr. Graham is willing to provide the stem cell collection and infusion (collection before Radiation Therapy and infusion after Chemotherapy treatments) portion of Abby's treatment. He is familiar with the St. Jude's study and believes we could accomplish the same thing locally.
At this point, Abby will have a catheter surgically inserted next Thursday or Friday at UMC in Tucson. They will begin the collection probably Monday, the 7th. They like to do 3 separate sessions with a day between each session. It sounds like each session is complete within an hour or two. The catheter can also be used for the Chemotherapy treatments.
She would then begin her Radiation Therapy at the end of the week at Good Samaritan Hospital. This would last about 6 weeks. Following the Radiation Therapy, she would receive 4, monthly Chemotherapy treatments I believe at Banner Desert Hospital. It sounds like our local oncologists would handle the specific protocol for the Chemotherapy. We are optimistic that they would be willing to consult with Dr. Packer in DC about what he has found out at his seminar.
So, praise God that things seem to be falling into place. Also, praise God that Dr. Shafron (our surgeon) is so concerned that Abby is taken care of. I really feel like he sincerely cares about her. We were having some trouble working with our neurologist getting orders for a blood draw to check her medication levels (we believe high levels of Dilantin to be the cause of her dizzy spells). He made a few phone calls yesterday and took care of something that we had been trying to do since we were in DC on Wednesday. Then, he called our house last night just to find out what transpired in our meeting with the oncologist. Finally, he called today to give us the results of the blood draw (which did indeed indicate that her Dilantin levels were too high), calculated her reduced dose and talked me through how to adjust her dose. He also offered to contact a very popular neurologist that we are interested in working with who also works at Phoenix Children's Hospital to get us an appointment. Why is this man who must have a million other things to do (I was told by his office staff that he was scheduled to be in surgery all afternoon today) willing to take the time to do all this for us? He is a very kind-hearted man, but I have to think that God has moved his heart in our favor as well.
Well, it's 3:06 and Elizabeth is still asleep. Another thing to praise God for! She took a really short nap this morning after waking up at 5:20 so by the time afternoon nap time came around she was one cranky baby! You can also pray that I will have wisdom about how to get us back into as much of a routine as is necessary and possible now that we have a plan. We all could use a little predictability :)
God's blessings to all of you prayer warriors! We love all of you!
09:43 PM, 28 May 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo
Hopefully, a plan
Well, we'll know more details tomorrow, but we think we have the beginning of a treatment plan. God seems to be leading us to a doctor in Tucson who might be willing to do a part of Abby's treatment which will include harvesting stem cells. This will allow her to receive higher doses of chemo (after a 6 week round of radiation therapy). The stem cells would be given back to her to help her body recover more quickly from the chemo.
Please pray for our 1:00 pm phone conference with Dr. Michael Graham in Tucson tomorrow. Pray that he will be willing to work with us to receive most of the treatment here in Phoenix, that we will ask the questions that we need to ask and that he would be willing to converse with Dr. Packer (the Washington DC doctor who is willing to share the latest information he is receiving the next two days at a conference).
We'll update you more tomorrow.
04:18 AM, 28 May 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo