Friday, September 14, 2012

After the intial diagnosis.

We started her first round of chemotherapy on the 21st of December. This weighed heavily on our hearts because Christmas was just days away.

We had time before chemo to go Christmas shopping, something that we had totally put on the back burner. We were very fortunate to receive many donations so the girls could have an amazing day. That month was tough for us, emotionally & financially.

Ryan was going to switch jobs, he had a job offer that payed very well, the day before she was diagnosed he accepted their offer and put his two weeks in. The job he was at he loved, he had been there for a long time. There were a few hitches when Mallory was diagnosed, one huge one was the benefits were rocky and he would have no vacation time, something when you have a sick child YOU NEED. The place he was and is still working at came back and offered him a better position and exceeded our expectations, something we always be forever grateful for. A few of his coworkers donated vacation time to him as well, seeing as it was the end of the year we had already used up all of his. Looking back on it, we are entirely blessed that he works with good hearted people and we are glad they made it work with us.

We bounced our Mortgage on top of everything that month. When you end up spending 8 days in the hospital unknowingly you need EVERYTHING you can possibly thing of, between food & clothes, and driving back and forth, and down to socks and underwear, our normal income wasn't cutting it. Thanks to everyone that helped us get back on our feet quickly, without you we would probably still be digging out. 

Our first experience with chemo was rocky, it took 7 hours to actually get a room. Which looking back on it now was not that big of a deal but at the time, I was completely irritated, annoyed, and upset. I just wanted to start the process of getting her better, a few hours didn't matter but it was still frustrating.

Mallory received 2 chemotherapy drugs over 3 days.

During these days she was also put on IV fluids that ran non stop to prevent any chemotherapy from sitting on her bladder and kidneys for too long.

At the hospital they give Zofran every 6 hours to prevent nausea which is a common problem with these medications.  She also was on constant heart monitors and oxygen as well to make sure she was holding good. We never had a probably with any of these through this round.

Carboplatin: which did not effect her much while she was receiving it.
Etoposide: this chemo PISSED Mallory off, the minute it would hit her system she would be inconsolable, after speaking with some of the nurses about this they informed me that some kids feel like there noses are burning. It also made her smell like metal (one of the weird side effects).

Luckily we figured out quickly the Etoposide was the one that was going to effect her the most so every time she had it we would give her benadryl before to help calm down what she was bothered by.

She had another blood transfusion before we left, the 1st of many chemotherapy induced ones to come.

Honestly we had NO idea of what to expect when we got home, we just knew we would be on house arrest with it being Christmas that was REALLY tough. Having to deliver the bad news of our absence of presence from seeing our family. We really didn't know what to do so we did what we thought was best, the less exposure to people the less likely she'd get ill. It was one of the most AWFUL things we've ever had to do, we missed it, we really did.

All things considered, we skyped with Ryan's family, it wasn't the same but at least we got to see them!!

Christmas Day for us was wonderful, Mallory was feeling a little crummy but not too bad yet. So we seriously opened gifts for 12 hours straight. We let Jillian lead us, if she wanted to open a toy and play with it then we'd let her, then an hour later she'd pick another one, so on and so forth. We had an amazing dinner donated to us that was so so great, I would haven't been able to pull off doing that myself at all. Jillian and I ran to my moms house to pick up the gifts for my girls and drop off the gifts we had picked up for them. So it wasn't the Christmas we had in mind but it sure was nice to spend all day enjoying out little punkies.

The worst part about this Christmas was it wasn't "normal" for us, it hurt, this Christmas hurt us more than anything. To not be able to spend some of that time with our parents, brothers, and sister and all of there amazing kids was the worst. This Christmas will be much better. I had looked forward to baking cookies, bringing Jillian out into the snow, and none of that stuff was accomplished.