March 4, 2005
Another low ANC
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2005 10:34 AM
Subject: March 4, 2005 Avalon


Hello my favorite cheering section!

Well, folks...as the saying goes...Game ON!

Avalon's numbers have, again, hit the bottom.  They've smacked, kerplunked, plopped, and
are in intimate contact with...the bottom.  How does an ANC of a whopping 6 sound?  When
you keep in mind that an Absolute Neutrophil Count below 1000 is considered dangerous...6
sounds rather on the stinkola side.

Normally, chemo would be suspended until her numbers rebounded.  However, we are in that
I-warned-you-this-would-be-awful phase of chemo called the Delayed Intensification.  So, we
just plow on through - no matter what.  Well, it would appear we've hit the "what".  In other
words,  yes, we are paranoid.  Yes, we are once again hyper germ-a-phobic.  And yes, we are
back to driving her batty by taking her temperature a zillion times a day.  She sees my hand
coming at her forehead and starts growling.  I may just be a bit irritating to the princess....

Truth is, for all of the lovely side affects of the past few weeks, she's actually been behaving
reasonably normally.  As long as we are vigilant with the anti-nausea medicine, she eats,
plays, and throws temper tantrums like any soon-to-be two year old.  She is nearly two
pounds heavier than at diagnosis, and has grown over an inch and a 1/2!  She even has
some hair left at the moment.  (Although, they consistently tell us to not be too attached to it.)  
All things considered, she's doing remarkably well.  

Yesterday she received infusions of Vincristine and Doxorubicin in her port.  She also began
another 7 day course of ridiculously high oral doses of Decadron (steroid).  As usual, the
steroid is paired with Zantac, to counteract its affects on her stomach.  We're giving her
Zofran, an anti-nausea medicine, twice a day and her normal stool softener is also still twice a
day.  Of course, mouth treatments continue to be vitally important at twice a day, for both of
them.  I have to say that dilligence counts with the mouth treatments - she had no ulcers
yesterday.  MInd you, it took some serious bribery and green-beret-quality stealth manuevers
to actually see inside her mouth - but once we did, it was beautifully clean.   

For my highschool friends who have recently joined our little "club", I welcome you with open
arms and a thankful heart.  This is the part of the update where I always tell everyone how
much we appreciate them.  I will never be able to convey to each of you, and our "forward
friends" how much we feel you've helped Avalon.  

I've recently had to admit to myself that I'm not quite as OK as I thought I was with all of this.  
Truth is, I'm about 90% OK, 10% wreck.  You know what?  That number would be completely
reversed if it weren't for the astounding amount of love and support that all of you so
generously offer to our family.  Each person, each family, has their own set of challenges that
they battle every day.  It is amazing to us, that you are all willing to step outside of your lives
for a few minutes at a time, and offer your thoughts for our daughter.  I find you all to be
inspiring.  And again, I thank you from the bottom of my soul...

Have a great weekend!!
Alicia, Nick, Aurora, Ambrosia, and Avalon
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