Elise is severely anemic from treatment, so she had a blood transfusion today. They gave her two units over the course of four hours. She was in the hospital clinic for ten hours having tests, giving blood, getting blood, etc. Going into the hospital like that is more than exhausting. Our girl handles it like a champ, talking to and encouraging the people around her. I think she knows all of the nurses and half of the patients by name.
Some of her numbers were really off, so we repeated a breathing test to check lung function. We don't have results yet. I was there for the last breathing test. It's a pretty funny little deal. The test is loud and isolated and just plain out and out weird. Elise is put into this chamber and given a breathing apparatus to blow into. It tests her lung capacity, strength, processing, etc.
|Breathing test aka "LET ME OUT!"|
Steve got so tickled at the woman administering the test because she's screaming through the glass over the equipment noise of the machinery at Elise, "Suck, suck, suck, suck, suck!!! Blow, blow, blow, blow, blow!!!"
I think The Husband momentarily reverted into a 14-year-old white boy there for a second (think Beavis and Butthead). He and Elise couldn't stop laughing inappropriately (naturally--we are Johnsons).
(Seriously, it's really, really awkward.)
(Admittedly, weirdest test ever outside of a barium enema, but that's a story for another blog.)
Elise also having some pretty significant lower back pain in her tail bone and hip bones. That's pretty normal for chemo (it weakens your bones to the very core, since it harms your bone marrow production), so it's not unexpected, but it still stinks being in almost constant pain. She's loathe to tell anyone she feels bad. She has to be really low to tell you she's hurting or tired. The solution? Good pain meds. We've been controlling the pain via Tylenol until just recently. It's time to break out the big guns now. She made it a very long way into treatment without the good stuff. I'm proud of her stamina.
|Hanging out while transfusing.|
She gained a little more weight (prednisone/steroid related), which isn't a bad thing at all unless you are a 17-year-old girl and that freaks you the heck out. I didn't realize how much steroids impact a person's body. Watching those St. Jude's Hospital commercials I have noticed how round the faces and tummies are of the children. It's the impact of steroids on the human figure.
We learned a little more about the radiation--it will begin after the finish of Cycle Four and will be performed over three-to-five weeks, every day for five days a week at UAB. No further information yet. I will keep you posted when I know something new and interesting.
We are so thankful for everyone who has sent money, gift cards, gas cards, notes, hats, brought food, called, texted, etc. I know that some of my thank you notes have fallen by the wayside. There is no thank you big enough for the support so many have extended to our family.
|The Clinic 8 Entourage--there are another three nurses not|
pictured but present--everyone wants to see Big E.
She is braver than I'd hoped.
She is more resilient than I prayed.
She is more powerful that I ever dreamed.
I know this sounds odd, but this experience has been a blessing. I know more about my almost grown daughter than most mothers get to learn about their teen girls. At a time in her life where she would normally be pulling away and distancing herself to jump out of the nest, she and I are face to face daily. To say I am proud of her is a vast understatement. I am humbled by her every single day of this journey. I pray to God that I can be as strong and eternally optimistic as my beautiful child.
Until next time,
Charlotte and the Fun Bus