Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Induction - Day 1

Today is the day that Ellie officially begins her cancer treatment. Her cancer type (acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL) for good and bad, is the most common form of leukemia. Because of this, there is a very standard protocol already in place to treat Ellie. As of right now, she is considered "standard risk". This is good because it means that she can easily follow this treatment plan, or "road map" as it' called.

Today is Day 1.

There are some big days coming up...Day 4, Day 8...but I'll get to those later.

This first week is intense, as she begins receiving treatment, but also as the doctors look to see how she recovers from her initial sickness. She will remain in the hospital until this week is over, assuming she responds positively.

Without a doubt, Ellie has been through a lot these past few days, and last night it seemed to finally catch up with her. In the past few days she's been stuck multiple times, had a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, a failed lumbar puncture, and minor surgery. Plus, she's had a cold and generally doesn't feel well, all due to the leukemia. She has her good moments and bad, but generally everyone is commenting on how well she is doing and loves to be around her.

She was scheduled to go back in for her lumbar puncture this morning at 11. Everything went great! They pulled spinal fluid to test, and also administered a chemo treatment directly into her spinal fluid. Since the port was placed successfully last night, now all of her treatments will be given through that port or orally. She will have some chemo administered again through another lumbar puncture, but that's still a while away.

Ready for her first chemo treatment!

Resting after the lumbar puncture to administer the chemo.

The afternoon proved to be tough on her. Recovery from anesthesia kind of throws her off. She does not want to eat much, she does not want to move or be touched and she was unable to take a nap. We finally got some yogurt in her late this afternoon. Getting her to eat for the past two weeks has been a real struggle, so this seemed like a small victory. But, she is also extremely constipated. So constipated in fact, that she eventually threw everything up. 

This is the great balancing act that we now face. She is in pain because, amongst other things, she is constipated. Medicine to help that problem can make her nauseated. Eating can make her vomit. But she needs to eat to stay healthy. As of this afternoon, she is scheduled to get the following types of medicine:
- keep various levels up to prevent kidney and liver failure
- make her have a bowel movement
- anti-nausea
- pain medication 
- steroids
- oh, and her first IV treatment of chemo
Everyone that talks to us had mentioned how resilient children are, and it is true. Ellie has been amazing throughout all of this. It is very hard to see her in this much pain, but I know that (hopefully) the worst of it is almost behind us. 
Please continue to pray for Ellie's complete and permanent healing. 
Pray that she experiences relief from her pain. 
Pray against fever and infection in her body. 
Pray that she responds well to the intense treatment that she will be receiving this first month. (More on that later.) 
Pray for Eva and Nora as they learn about why their sister is so sick.
Pray for strength for Mike and myself...physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially.


  1. Lifting those specific needs up. Love to you all.

  2. Praying for your family and Ellie constantly since we heard. We will be praying for the things you requested. Children are very resilient- I pray that for Ellie and Eva and Nora as well. May God grant you strength.

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers Laura. Especially for Eva and Nora as they try to make sense out of all of this.

  3. You are constantly in our prayers. You are blessed with an amazing family and wide group of friends that will love and support you through this. I encourage you be let people help. Many will ask what they can do and you may think that you don't want to ask for "little things" but those "little things" add up and can sometimes feel like a hugh mountain for you to climb. If you need someone to pick up something from the store or you or to do a load of laundry, ask. Doing something, however mondane helps those who care so much to support. With love, affection & prayer, Aunt Terry

    1. I love you Aunt Terry. Thank you.

  4. A mountain of prayers for all of your requests for Ellie. May God's hands wrap around her and provide her with comfort, an appetite,some needed sleep for healing and his mighty love for all of you! Sending lots of love and hugs Debi Ortiz kl