July 7, 2005
Worse ANC and Kings Island Adventure
Salutations my fine feathered friends!  (OK, I'm
running out of interesting greetings...so sue me...)

As you know from my last email, we've been on pins
and needles about Avalon the past week.  Last
Thursday's ANC was a mere 84.  Diane (our nurse
practitioner) felt that Avalon's ANC had been
artificially suppressed because she's been fighting
a virus ever since her port replacement surgery.  In
fact, I forgot to tell you last time, that they went
ahead and put Avalon on high test antibiotics last
week.  The logic is that her counts were so low, she
was extremely open to a bacterial infection.  In case
her snooty nose was bacterial rather than viral
(also, to ward off bacterial things) - she started a
course of antibiotics.  

A week later, her snoots are no better, so we
definitively know that she's fighting a virus, not
bacterial.  Our next question was what are her
counts?  Last week, her blood values indicated that
there should be a huge jump in ANC very shortly.  
My concerns were that the jump wouldn't be large
enough to make Avalon safe to take into public.  
Thankfully, our clinic indulges paranoid moms, and
allowed us to take her in on Tuesday, to find out if
she would be able to go to Kings Island on
Wednesday.  Good stinkin' thing we did.  Avalon not
only didn't increase her ANC...she fell off even more
to a horrifying 42.

I admit to being completely terrified at the moment.  
When the nurse called with the results, I couldn't
believe it.  Their fears are the same as mine - viral
pneumonia.  With no ability to fight infections, her
"cold" could become something life-threatening.  
Not a pretty picture, and not something I'm doing
well with.  The nurse even told me to make sure I
watch her behavior very closely.  With an ANC this
low - children don't even have enough white blood
cells to spike a fever.  They can become dreadfully
ill - and not even give you a fever as an indicator.  
Its all a matter of knowing your child's behavior well
enough to recognize trouble.  Color me utterly
paranoid at the moment.

But no matter how scared we are about Avalon - life
still must go on for the other two.  So, Nick went
ahead and took the girls to Kings Island on
Wednesday.  The trip was a gift from Adventures for
Wish Kids.  AFWK is a local organization that plans
parties, outings, and general fun for families of
children with life-threatening illnesses.  

AFWK was formed by a family who lost their son to
a brain tumor.  Their wish trip through Make-A-Wish
had been a dream come true - and they chose to
volunteer with Make-A-Wish even after they lost
their son.  They became disheartened, when
funding issues stopped MAW from offering any
additional outings for families.  They and a kind
benefactor, started AFWK in their garage, and it
has now grown to service several thousand families
in Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati.  They
organize several events year-round for children and
most importantly - their
families.  Siblings and
parents are included in all events - so that the
feeling is inclusive and family-oriented.  I am a
HUGE fan of this organization, and have even
helped arrange for a few new sponsors of events.  If
you're looking for a great place to donate time or
money...I highly recommend them.

Anyway, the Sunday July 6th, Kings Island day is
one of their biggest events.  Everyone in the family
gets free admission, free parking, a free box lunch
at the picnic grounds (with characters), a
commemorative T-shirt,  and each child even
receives spending money for souveniers.  How
fabulous is that?!  We had been looking forward to
it for weeks.  

The AFWK day happened to fall during the time that
Nickelodean's Parade was going to be at the park.  
So every time we saw a commercial for the parade,
Ambrosia would squeal and say, "I'm going to see
that!!"  After waiting and wishing for weeks over
rides, characters, and a parade...sissy or no sissy -
the older two girls had to get to go.  

Avalon and I stayed at home, and had another in a
long string of quiet, house-arrest days.  Daddy
suited up and took Aurora and Ambrosia for a day
of fun in the sun at Kings Island.  They played in the
water park, had their pictures taken with characters,
rode rides, ate ice cream, and licked on
elephantine-sized suckers.  They even managed to
stay until the fireworks - since we'd had to miss
them on the 4th.  All told, they reported having the
time of their lives.  They came home with stories of
water-ride-wedgies,
roller-coaster-and-viking-ship-screams, and lots
and lots of giggles.  The day gave the kids exactly
what Adventure For Wish Kids wants - a day of
normalcy.  

All too often, siblings get lost in the malay that is life
with cancer.  I can't tell you how many times I've had
to explain why we can't do something, go
somewhere, or have something.  From the backyard
pool, to trips to McDonalds, to time in the hospital -
the older girls have given up a lot.  It was nice to
give them back a little something special.  Its
wonderful that an organization recognizes the
needs of the siblings and the desires of parents to
get to pretend, for at least a little while, that they are
"normal".  Three cheers for Adventures!  We owe
them a huge chunk of our sanity!

So although I'm currently a wreck about Avalon's
numbers, I am enjoying hearing the telling,
re-telling, and re-re-telling of the Kings Island
Adventures.  Aurora took pictures with her new
camera, and Ambrosia has been regaling me with
her stories.  I think they had enough fun to tide
them over for the next few weeks.

All in all, we're in for a quiet week at home, but hey -
we're
at home, it could be a whole lot worse.  I'm
currently crossing my fingers, toes, eyes, and nose
hairs that we get to
stay at home.  If you have 2
minutes...would you please cross something for
Avalon too?  We'd greatly appreciate it!

Have a wonderful week!

Love to ALL of you!!!!
Alicia, Nick, Aurora, Ambrosia, and
Avalon
Spongebob, Nick, Ambrosia, Aurora
Wanda and Ambrosia
Ready for the helipcopter ride!
Can they grin any bigger?
Still smiling...
Dora, Diego, and one happy Ambrosia
These are from the Nick parade.  Its
pretty easy to see why Ambrosia was
so excited about it!
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Our Journey:
Avalon's Army of Angels
Avalon's Army of Angels