Erin, John and I all went to Primary Children's Medical Center for Erin's one year (12 month) clinic follow-up appointment (for Erin's Acute Myeloid Leukemia). We first stopped in Cardiology for an ECHO. We thought she'd also have to get an EKG, but we were happy to find out she only needed the ECHO. Erin really hates the EKG because she really doesn't like all the sticky things they put all over her chest.
She did great in the ECHO, we promised her that she could pick out a special prize if she didn't wiggle. We watched some Sesame Street during it and she did pretty well holding still.
Erin's ECHO results look really good, everything is normal. She had the ECHO throughout her chemotherapy treatments because the Mitoxantrone (an Anthracycline) can weaken her heart. Our Oncologists gave her doses of Mitoxantrone during her treatments, but they kept them at a level just below the "dangerous zone" for heart weakening. She will have another ECHO in 3 years and then one every 5 years after that.
Then, we went to the Lab to get her blood drawn. We had the best, most skilled, nurse EVER! Seriously, this girl was amazing. Needle in, blood out, needle out...in probably 3 seconds flat. The nurses in the Lab where we've been going locally always seem really scared to poke a crying and kicking 3 year old. If it weren't so darn expensive to visit PCMC we'd go there just for this nurse.
Erin still says she's brave and strong, but after so many bad experiences getting her blood drawn we have lost that fearless little attitude. We asked the Child Life Specialist to come blow bubbles to help distract her.
I hope I don't look like a mean mom "smiling" while restraining my upset child.
We got to the Hem/Onc Clinic a bit early and they were early so Erin only had a few minutes to work on her holiday sticker picture in the waiting area.
Before we even set foot in our room Erin told us she needed to get her snacks.
I think it's so funny how she knows exactly what to expect and how the routine goes. I am thankful that a few clinic appointments ago one of the nurses showed us where the snacks were and told us that we could just go get them ourselves. It is so nice to do that because sometimes we have to wait quite awhile in our room for someone to come see us. We really make ourselves home at clinic.
I should mention that Erin had been sick for 5 weeks with a cold. I took her to our Pediatrician back in the first part of November for a fever and cold symptoms. The fever went away, but her cold symptoms, as well as eye discharge, continued for 5 more weeks. Last week I finally called the Pediatrician again and we determined that she had a sinus infection (this is her second one). I didn't want to take Erin to her clinic appointment with something that she could pass on to her cancer fighting friends so we got the antibiotics and she finished them up a few days before her appointment. This is just one of those reminders that Erin's immune system just doesn't fight things like everyone else's. She hangs on to everything she gets and it usually takes her twice as long to get over it.
She had a good time with Dr. Fluchel. He is our primary Oncologist (I think this is the first picture we've taken with him). We appreciate all that he has done to help Erin through the last year and a half.
While we were in Clinic, my friend Autumn popped her head in to say "hi". We really have made a lot of friends through all of this and it is always fun to see who else is "in" at the same time you are so you can visit. We stopped by their room before we left and I had to marvel at how amazing Aubree looks. She had a bone marrow transplant shortly after Erin finished her treatments.
We checked out of clinic and stopped by ICS (the cancer ward) to visit our friend, 11 year old Brielle. Brielle and Erin were diagnosed pretty close together and they had their treatments at the same time. Brielle is back in ICS recovering from her second bone marrow transplant as her AML relapsed in November. She looked so good and she surprised me when she said she was happy that she'd have to spend Christmas in ICS, she didn't want to risk getting sick by going home too early. We also stopped to visit a new friend we've made through our cancer moms group who has a 20 month old little girl (so close to Erin's diagnosis age) fighting AML. Tenley is part-way through her second round of chemo. We also had a lot of fun smiling and laughing with all the techs and nurses we met in the ICS halls. I was surprised how many of them remembered Erin, they all marveled at how tall she'd grown and how beautiful her hair looked.
Erin standing by the "Believe in Miracles" tree outside ICS (the cancer ward)
She was dancing with the snowman.
Although it is nice to stop by ICS and see all our friends, I really have a hard time doing it. I have now only been back there two times since we left last December.
Erin's labs look grrrrrreat! She has been approved to have follow-up appointments every 3 months now instead of every two months. We will do every other appointment at Primary Children's and our hometown hospital/Pediatrician, that means that we only have to go back to Primary Children's two times in 2012! To say I'm excited it a big understatement!!!
Labs from 12 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 8.6 (normal 6.0-17.0)
Hematocrit 41.6 (normal 34.0-40.0)
Platelets 258 (normal 150-400)
ANC 3600 (normal 1500-8500)
Previous Labs from 10 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 7.7