On June 1, 2010 our two year old, "Little Air Bear," was diagnosed with Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Type M7. After enduring 146 days at Primary Children's Medical Center, Erin is now in remission and living a full life at home with our family. Her strong will and constant happy smile is an inspiration to us all. Through our difficult circumstances we found great strength and peace in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for checking in on us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

42 Month Clinic - 3 1/2 Years in Remission

First, I have to share something. In a home where cancer is a common word, sometimes our kids just don't use it correctly.  Like, when fighting over who gets the stool at the sink first to brush teeth.  Things might be said like, "well you got the stool first, you always go first".  And then a sibling retorts, "well you got cancer first."  Um, yeah.  I don't really get it either.  But, our older kids were 3 and 4 years old when Air Bear was 2 and got cancer.  So, they really have no idea how awful cancer (and all that comes with it) is.  My son was SO thrilled today that we got to go to Air Bear's Hospital, he yelled as he jumped out of the car to go to Chinese class "I get to go to Erin's hospital today!!"  He loves, like LOVES, like super-duperly loves her hospital.  They have an amazing playroom on the 3rd floor and that is just about all he remembers from the whole cancer experience.  He dreams about living in that playroom.  Our kids are now 6, 7, and 8 and they have odd conversations about cancer.  I try my best to explain what we went through, but they'll never completely understand.  I'm grateful for that.  I'm grateful that they only remember the bright happy things about what we went through. 

Well, let's shout it out!  YIPPEE!!!!  Yippee for another successful hospital visit!  It's amazing how quickly time flies and we don't think about cancer coming back.  I hardly bat an eye about going to get a blood draw now.  I didn't sit and worry if this one would show signs of her cancer coming back.  It is just one of the perks of getting further and further from where we were on June 1st 2010 when we found out our Little Air Bear had Acute Myeloid Leukemia. We are in the clear to come back in one year.  We get a whole 'nother 365 days away from the hospital (and all the memories that come back when I visit).  Niiiiiice.


**Pictures from today's visit**

Playing in the waiting room.  She had just gotten her poke in her arm to draw blood and was a champ at holding still and not crying!  And, she had it all planned out how she was going to pick a prize from the prize box for her sister and brother instead of herself.  Sweet, huh?!




Getting ready for her ECHO
We get these yearly because her hard core chemos can cause future heart damage.

She watched Frozen on the TV while I watched the ECHO of her heart.
Results say everything looks fabulous!  Take that nasty chemo!!!



Her older siblings enjoyed playing in the playroom while they waited!

A new toy in Oncology - she was excited!


She colored a picture for me.
"To Mom - Luve Erin"


She's growing!!
She is in the 0% for weight, but she JUMPED up to the 11% for height! 
Wowzers!


She branched out here and chose chocolate milk instead of Root Beer.

Awww, Dr. Verma . . . let us count the ways we love you!


"Mom, let me listen to your heart."


Labs from 42 Month Clinic
 White Blood Count 6.2 (normal 6.0-10.0)
Hematocrit 40.9 (normal 34.0-40.0)
Platelets 241 (normal 150-400)
ANC 1600 (normal 1500-8500)
 
Previous Labs from 36 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 7.6
Hematocrit 40.1
Platelets 238
ANC 2800

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Childoohd Cancer is Right Next Door

You just never know what the future brings.  A year and a half ago we changed jobs and found ourselves a comfy home in a wonderfully cheery neighborhood.  A few Sundays ago I opened my email to find the most shocking news.  Our 16 year old next door neighbor (and fabulous babysitter) was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma.  My heart just burst!  It was like all that yucky-cancer-hurt buried inside my heart was burst open and thrust upon someone else.  I wanted to catch all that bad cancer pain in the air and not let it escape to another mother's heart.  I had been there.  Now they are living it - right next door to me!

The minutes after I found out that our own Little Air Bear had cancer my father said we would see great blessing come from this trial.  I firmly feel that.  This blog receives hundreds of hits each day, and over the last 3 years I have received many many many messages and emails from other mothers and fathers who are facing similar trials.  Sharing our experience with childhood cancer has been a great opportunity for me to give back, to help lighten the awfulness of it in others' lives, and to offer a brightness of hope that God is there and that He will lift us through our trials.

I have spent the last month working out a way to help our neighbors lighten their trial.  Childhood Cancer is draining in a million ways, but money is such a hard beastly reality of cancer.  All the food, gas, wear on your car, medical bills, family outings to forget about cancer, follow-up visits, and late effect treatments just add up like crazy all while you're still dealing with the normal financial realities of life.  It is a lifelong burden a family with cancer is faced to deal with.

For the entire month of March P.S. I Adore You will feature our friends as their cancer family of the month.  All donations made that month will go directly to their family.  So, hurry . . . donate and/or shop . . . their super fun items change daily and are discounted a ton!

Directions on how to donate:
Please visit www.psiadoreyou.com.  Once on the P.S. I Adore You website you may (1) choose to purchase something, from which a percentage will go to my neighbor.  Or, (2) you may donate directly by clicking on "Donate to Childhood Cancer" on the top left of the homepage.  The items P.S. I Adore You sells on their site change daily, so feel free to stop by their site a few times this month to see their ever-changing stock of awesome discounted items.

Check out the P.S. I Adore You Facebook Page and "like" them to get daily updates on new items added daily.

Those who donate at least $10 between now and March 10th will be entered into a drawing for a $20 Pizza Pie Cafe Gift Card.  Win win!  Every 10 days a new prize will be announced!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

36 Month Clinic - 3 YEARS in remission!!

Erin (and the rest of us) have made it three years.  THREE years!  Yay!  We are so happy.  It feels so good to have gotten to this point.

So a few months ago all our kids got flu shots at our local clinic.  Our 7 year old son has a particular fear of needles and screamed (like so so so loud!) and thrashed throughout the entire clinic while me (super pregnant) tried to hold him down with the help of a nice grandma-aged nurse.  The nurses were so upset with him, like super upset.  They gave me that look that said, "you are a bad parent."  Then we left and the 20 people in the waiting area all gave me looks of disgust that our son had scared their kids and now no kids in the clinic wanted to get shots.  So due to that lovely display from my son I had a good talkin'-to to all the kids on the drive home.

Did I mention that we have 5 kids now?  I know this blog is nearly all for Erin's-cancer-related-things but our family is also a big part of who Erin is now.  Here they are down below, aren't they cute?  We banked the cord blood for our two youngest little girls in the event that Erin would ever need a sibling match for a bone marrow transplant.



Today my Little Air Bear decided that she was not going to cry during her blood draw like her brother had.  (Thank you!)  She went in like a champ and had a few tears and a few little sad cries, but I did NOT have to hold her down this time.  After 3 years of awful blood draws she is finally getting the hang of it.

Erin is doing so well.  No complaints here.  She has another appointment next June for an ECHO on her heart and a blood draw.  But after that we will only have to visit her Oncologists ONCE A YEAR!

Dr. Verma had a good chat with Erin and Erin responds funny and silly because she hardly remembers anything cancer related.  Dr. Verma said that now that Erin has reached 3 years it is very unlikely that her original cancer will return.  Super happy dance from me!  Erin did have some serious chemotherapies and the Daunorubicin can cause heart failure many months or years after the chemo was stopped so that is why we are having the yearly ECHOs.  The Etoposide that she had has a 3-4% chance of causing a secondary cancer.  Then there's the future possibility of infertility, endocrine problems, learning problems, and emotional issues.

It is a relief to know that she is pretty far out of the risk zone of being one of the 50% of kids with AML who relapse.  Now she only has a 3-4% chance of getting a secondary cancer from her chemo.  That's something to celebrate

Looking at Erin you wouldn't even know that she had cancer.  
She is truly a miracle!
She is proud that she beat cancer!



Labs from 36 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 7.6 (normal 6.0-10.0)
Hematocrit 40.1 (normal 34.0-40.0)
Platelets 238 (normal 150-400)
ANC 2800 (normal 1500-8500)

Previous Labs from 30 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 8.6
Hematocrit 39.4
Platelets 400
ANC 4600

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Honoring Brielle!

It's that time of year again ... our CureSearch Walk.
Last year we raised $6442 in honor of Little Air Bear!
This year our family has chosen to honor our dear friend Brielle Beus 
for our CureSearch fundraising.

DONATE HERE!!! to Angel Brielle's Team

Brielle and Erin both fought Acute Myeloid Leukemia and were diagnosed around the same time.

They enjoyed walking in the CureSearch 2011 walk together!!

Brielle fought AML a few times and underwent 2 bone marrow transplants.  
She passed away August 10th, 2013.  
She has the most beautiful smile!!



We miss Brielle and her smile so much. 
You can read her beautifully written obituary HERE.

100% of your donation will go to Childhood Cancer Research!!!!


This year our family won't be able to physically attend the SLC CureSearch Walk, but we are still fundraising and hope to raise $2000 by October 5th.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

30 Month Clinic

Erin's doing great!  Today we had a blood draw and an ECHO in Cardiology.  I'm sure Erin could be heard screaming during her blood draw.  She was in hysterics.  Each blood draw we do brings more and more tears.  It must be that as she's growing older she understands more about the pain and how much she HATE being poked.  The ECHO was a breeze and she was completely relaxed and watched Super Why while she laid there.  The ECHO results came back completely normal and her CBC came back normal!  Yay!  Here's to 2 1/2 years in remission for Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  
Take that cancer!



We got to the Oncology Clinic and she got started right away on making a Butterfly Mask.

 
She is a pro at the blood pressure cuff.


Then we got the usual Root Beer and Chocolate Pudding.  Chips have been outlawed in the clinic, so there was a little disappointment that she couldn't have the regular Cheetos too.


We finished the morning off with a family trip to Lagoon.  


Labs from 30 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 8.6 (normal 6.0-17.0)
Hematocrit 39.4 (normal 34.0-40.0)
Platelets 400 (normal 150-400)
ANC 4600 (normal 1500-8500)
Labs from 24 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 8.4
Hematocrit 39.3 
Platelets 250 
ANC 4000 

Labs from 21 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 8.
Hematocrit 40.4
Platelets 273
ANC 2900
Previous Labs from 18 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 8.6
Hematocrit 43.6
Platelets 311
ANC 3660
Previous Labs from 15 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 9.2
Hematocrit 43.6
Platelets 317
ANC 4200

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Seeing Beautiful

There was a time when I saw cancer
There was a time when I saw sickness
There was a time when I felt heartache
There was a time when I felt despair

Now I see beautiful
I see health
I see life


Thank you to all of you who have happened upon this blog today.
I hope you find hope and feel God's love as you read through my posts about Little Air Bear's cancer story.  Thank you for leaving comments about your own children who have fought or are still fighting cancer.  God will support you through you trials your troubles and your afflictions.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

24 Month Clinic - TWO YEARS!

  TWO YEARS IN REMISSION!!!
Erin has made it two whole years in remission from her Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  I am thrilled.  Once we hit 5 years the chances of her relapsing are just about nil.  The further we get from diagnosis the better her chances of never relapsing.
Erin survived getting her blood drawn in the lab. She did so much better when she was 2 years old, now it's like she knows the reality of how much she dislikes being poked.
THE GOOD NEWS IS . . . . . 
We got the okay to only have blood test twice a year!
It's too bad you couldn't just see me doing a jig!
So now we only go back two times a year instead of four times.

Erin getting her height taken.  She is wearing the mask because she had a cold she was fighting and we didn't want to get any of the other kids in the Hem/Onc clinic sick.
Getting her blood pressure taken.
 
 For like two years you've been seeing me post about her snacks, but SERIOUSLY, this is just about the ONLY thing Erin remembers about being in the hospital . . . eating Cheetos and drinking root beer.  I think it's pretty cool she doesn't remember all the awful things.
Here's the Not-So-Good-News . . . 
Erin is small.  Like super small for her age.  From December 2011 to December 2012 she gained exactly 1.12 pounds and only grew 2.01 inches!  This has everyone worried.  Erin weighs 11 pounds less than the average girl her age.  We were ordered to go to radiation to get an x-ray of her wrist to check if her bone growth is normal.  Here she is getting the "picture" of her hand taken.  She totally doesn't mind x-rays which is cool for us!
 Welp, her bone growth is spot on.  I was thankful for that since I didn't really want to have to go down the endocrinology avenues of hormone therapy.  But, we're all a little stumped about her body size.  We don't really have a plan either, just lots of hope that she'll keep on growing.  Maybe she'll continue to grow and that she'll keep on growing into her late teen years and catch up to everyone or maybe surpass us all and be 6 feet tall (or taller) like some of her girl cousins and aunts.

We also apparently missed getting her yearly ECHO on her heart, just a little mix-up in Oncology.  One of her chemos can cause severe heart damage so they monitor her heart every year.  We're not too worried about her heart right now since all her past ECHOs have come out great so we're just going to do it in June when we go back again.
Things are going great here and Erin is happy!  Her blood work from the last CBC is listed below and it all looks wonderful.  Something kind of cool is that we moved into an area where another little cancer survivor girl just lives down the street.  She had AML M7 just like Erin and was 2 years old when she was diagnosed.  I actually met her and her father at PCMC when we were both inpatient with our kiddos.  Small world!!
Labs from 24 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 8.4 (normal 6.0-17.0)
Hematocrit 39.3 (normal 34.0-40.0)
Platelets 250 (normal 150-400)
ANC 4000 (normal 1500-8500)

Labs from 21 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 8.
Hematocrit 40.4
Platelets 273
ANC 2900

Previous Labs from 18 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 8.6
Hematocrit 43.6
Platelets 311
ANC 3660
Previous Labs from 15 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 9.2
Hematocrit 43.6
Platelets 317
ANC 4200