Abby's Journey Archive

Abby's quilt

Abby enjoying her new quilt

A big thanks to all the Northwest Bible Church kids and grownups who took the time to put together this beautiful quilt. Abby loves all the cheery pictures and the silky satin material!

08:26 PM, 30 Sep 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (2) | Attach Photo

A reason for headaches

Well, after a somewhat long day yesterday, we now know why Abby has had lingering headaches. Our oncologist sent us for a CT scan where they discovered that Abby has a sinus infection. She is now on antibiotics so hopefully she will continue to feel better. She only asked for Tylenol today...she doesn't like how the morphine makes her feel.

We're so proud of Abby. She is having to swallow about 8 pills a day in addition to drinking her regular medication (and they aren't tiny pills). I can't believe she is actually able to swallow it, but as much as she hates it, she does it anyway. In addition, she also has to have an injection of neupogen every day for 14 days following each chemo treatment. She has decided that she wants to learn to do it to herself.

Abby's appetite isn't very good, but it's hard to tell if it's a result of her chemo or her congestion. Please pray that her appetite will pick up and that she will become interested in some favorite foods again.

03:43 AM, 30 Sep 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Successful Infusion

Amy, Abby and her frozen stem cells

Well, we made it. Our trip to Tucson and Abby's Stem Cell Infusion went smoothly. She is still complaining of a headache, but it seems to be lessening each day, thank the Lord. She only needed morphine one time today.

Now, she is starting to complain about her mouth hurting. One side-effect of one of the drugs is jaw pain so we are guessing that is the case. I'll talk to the oncologist tomorrow.

She will need to be seen by them about 3 times a week right now so they can monitor her counts closely. They should drop in 7-10 days and then we pray they will recover quickly (ideally within 14 days). The stem cells should help the recovery process move along quickly.

Abby is glad to be home and we are thankful to be together as a family again. I think sleeping all night long in her own bed is going to do her a world of good. It was a long 5 days, but we praise God for getting us through it. Thanks again for all of your prayers.

03:36 AM, 28 Sep 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Thanks for praying

I know you all were busy praying last night. Abby hasn't been sick since I wrote last. Praise God! She and I had a good night. It was a late night...she couldn't fall asleep until about 11 pm so we watched movies together, but once she fell asleep, she slept great other than the every 2 hour trip to the potty :)

So, now she is finishing up her post-chemo fluids and medications and then we are off to Tucson.

You all can continue to pray for her headache to subside. Dr. Abella says it should let up no later than Wednesday, but we have pain medication to use until then.

10:40 PM, 26 Sep 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Rough night

Abby had a difficult night last night. C.R. said she vomited about 6 times and now they are concerned about her electrolyte levels. She also has a fierce headache which could be a result of one of the anti nausea medications or a result of all her vomiting. They are giving her morphine to help with the headache. So, she will probably be spending most of today asleep (which Dr. Abella says he prefers over having her awake and vomiting).

They are delaying today's chemo treatment until her electrolytes look better. She was to begin that at 11 am and it will be delayed about 4 hours.

I was comforted this morning by a reminder from the Lord that the angels who were ministering to Abby during her radiation treatment are also with her in the hospital. Please continue to pray that we will feel God's presence. He is our strength.

05:33 PM, 25 Sep 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (1) | Attach Photo

Doing well

So far Abby is tolerating her chemo as well as can be expected. She has received her Vincristine,Cisplatin, and Cytoxan. Tomorrow she will receive Cytoxan again. She got sick once last night, but other than that the anti-nausea medications seem to be doing the job. One medication she received for nausea this morning made her feel a little "drunk" which she didn't appreciate too much, but she isn't complaining any more than I did when my ears were plugged up with fluid last week!

Another interesting symptom Abby has been suffering from (which the nurses insist isn't a result of the chemo) is that she has had hiccups 5 times so far today and they have lasted up to 30 minutes each time! If that is the worst of her symptoms then, we praise God!

Keep praying for her kidneys and bladder to be protected from damage. They are giving her preventative medications to help that. You can also pray for an ability for Abby, C.R. and I to fall back to sleep easily. They have to check Abby's urine every 2 hours day and night so we are interrupted OFTEN!

Thanks for keeping us covered!

11:31 PM, 24 Sep 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Chemo #1

We went in to see Dr. Abella yesterday to check Abby's counts and confirm that she had recovered sufficiently from her cold to begin chemo--her draw looked good though she sure didn't appreciate the stick. We also confirmed that the BMT unit would be ready for us on Monday at University Medical Center down in Tucson.

So here we are again at Banner Children's Hospital (they just got permission to change the name of the Children's Center), admitted this time like clockwork. She is being pre-hydrated now and will start the first of the three chemo drugs, Cisplatin, as soon as they think she has enough fluid on board.

One of Cisplatin's side effects is possible hearing problems in the upper registers. We had her hearing tested just a few days ago so we would have a baseline to compare with. Please pray for this issue, as well as for good tolerance on her part against all the other myriad side effects these drugs bring. The other two drugs are Vincristine and Cytoxan.

The chemo regimen will last about 3 days, we will have a day of post-hydration, then we go to Tucson to infuse stem cells.

06:50 PM, 23 Sep 2004 by C. R. Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

MRI Preliminary Report

I just received the preliminary report on Abby's MRI. Praise God! The radiologist says there is "mild smooth enhancement around the resection cavity, but there is no clear evidence of recurrent or residual tumor."

08:35 PM, 20 Sep 2004 by C. R. Oldham Permalink | Comments (2) | Attach Photo

No chemo yet.

We were due at Phoenix Children's at 8:30 this morning for Abby's MRI prep. We arrived on time but they were running behind significantly. Abby proved she is becoming a real pro at having her port accessed--she complained only a little bit as Dr. Loomis (one of our favorite anesthesiologists) inserted the needle. She also pushed the first 4 ml of Propofol and off she went to dreamland.

The MRI took about 45 minutes, and we went for lunch and to A & P's office to check her blood counts in preparation for tomorrow's chemo.

However, Dr. Abella surprised us by expressing some concern about the mild cold Abby had caught. He felt it would be wiser to have her recover from it over the weekend and start her treatment next Thursday, rather than run the risk that chemo-induced neutropenia would cause the cold to develop into something much worse.

I can see God's hand in this--as Amy wrote earlier she has been fighting a nasty infection herself, and as I am writing this we are in *her* doctor's office for a followup appointment. We were not looking forward to trying to manage Abby's chemo if Amy could not be at the hospital.

Dr. Abella took a quick look at Abby's MRI and thinks it looks promising--though there a couple of areas of enhancement, they could be from radiation. We await the official radiologist's report tomorrow and may go for a PET scan to ensure the enhancement is not active tumor.

Thank you all for praying, especially for Deb and Irene from my office for organizing the round-the-clock prayer vigil that went on yesterday and today. What an honor that 63 people from over 10 states, some of whom we don't even know would take a half-hour out of their day (and night!) to pray for us.

11:05 PM, 16 Sep 2004 by C. R. Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Oldham Ailments

Well, this was the week for the Oldham family to visit the doctors. Elizabeth woke up Sunday morning with a very sad disposition which we later discovered was due to some sort of pain in her right leg. She had just mastered walking on Saturday and was EVERYWHERE. We realized she hadn't stood up once yet on Sunday and when we tried to encourage it she couldn't put any pressure on her right foot without crying. So, after a visit to the chiropractor, pediatrition and an x-ray we discovered she had sprained or twisted her ankle. She stood up again today on her own so I'm sure she'll soon be back to her walking before too long.

As for me, my cold will not give up. In fact I felt my ears close up on Tuesday and took that as a signal to get over to my doctor. She confirmed my suspicions that I had developed an ear infection and gave me some antibiotics. They seem to be helping a little but my ears are still closed up. I had a similar infection about 10 years ago when I was teaching and they finally had to give me some steroids to reduce the swelling. Please pray that this will work its way out soon and that I will be up for what's in store for us this weekend. I would feel terrible to not be able to help out at the hospital.

We're scheduled for the MRI at 10 am tomorrow. Dr. Shafron isn't available to go over the results with us so they will be giving us a disc and our oncologist can call the radiologist and get the report later in the day. If you don't get an update from us tomorrow with the results you can assume that for some reason we couldn't get them. If we know something, we'll post it.

Then, Friday we wait for a call from the hospital to tell us when a bed is ready for Abby and her chemo will begin. We feel comfortable following the protocol designed for the neural tumors (which matches the ATRT diagnosis and the PNET with Astrocytoma Differentiation diagnosis). So that is the one we will go with.

Thank you for praying with us. We know you all are covering us and that will help us endure all the waiting and trials to come. God Bless!

04:10 AM, 16 Sep 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Back to normal

Well, Abby seems to be returning to a more normal level of energy. She is napping about half the week and doesn't look like she just can't keep her eyes open like last week.

You can be praying that I will be able to shake a nasty cold that Daniel and Elizabeth gave me and that Abby will not get it at all or at least not as bad.

We are so grateful for all your prayers and words of encouragement.

09:30 PM, 11 Sep 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (3) | Attach Photo

A little better

Thanks to everyone who has been praying. Abby is still pretty tired, but she seems a little better today. She napped again mid-morning, but she stayed awake the rest of the day. Fortunately, she is eating really well, so we're not too concerned about her nutrition.

03:17 AM, 03 Sep 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo

Fatigue update

C.R. and Abby returned from the oncologist in time for dinner tonight so we're posting this update a little later. Sorry to keep you waiting, but our 4 children are less patient than you all :) Anyway, Dr. Abella believes it is quite possible that Abby is reacting to the radiation treatment. Every patient is different so it isn't unusual for her to start feeling the fatigue this long after treatment has ended. Still, they checked her counts which look good and they are culturing her blood to check for mono. If she doesn't improve by the end of the week, they will move her MRI up sooner than the 16th.

We also now have the chemo schedule. Abby is scheduled for a start date of September 17 when she will be admitted to the hospital for 4 days and we will go to Tucson on Tuesday, September 21 for her stem cell infusion. We'll keep you posted on that timeline if anything changes.

Thanks for praying!

01:28 AM, 01 Sep 2004 by Amy Oldham Permalink | Comments (0) | Attach Photo



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