Friday, October 31, 2008

Thank you Lord!

Today was a great day! Liz took both chemo shots to her thighs. There were many potential side effects,yet Liz continues to respond very well! Her body seems to greatly appreciate the job the chemo therpy is doing on her leukemia cells! Liz's body has been so replenished since we have been here that SHE SEEMS VERY MUCH HER NORMAL SELF! Thank you Lord!!! The new doctors are constantly alarmed by Liz's slow heart rate until they inquire, only to find out that she is a well conditioned athlete.
Tomorrow flu season starts here at Childrens. Along with that comes strict rules on our floor. Age 14 and above with flu shots. Max 3 to 4 visitors at a time. Best time is afternoon evenings. Doctor visits and procedures seem to go on much of the morning.
Lizzy's spirits are high, our outlook and sense of God's hand on EVERYTHING has been nothing shy of a miricle. Thank you everyone for your prayers, both those of you that we know and those that we have never met!
I have included a picture of one of Lizzy's favorite nurses Katie who has been with us from the start!!! Also Dr. Jen Pope, she will be Lizzy's doctor for years down the road. She is awesome!!! Till tomorrow! God Bless, Randy

Liz's body continues to respond very well to Chemo!

Happy Halloween!

For Mason Middle School!

Hey everyone! I have a request from Mrs. G. She wants me to let all of you students and friends of Lizzy to know that this coming Tuesday, team unity and anyone else who wants to join will be wearing orange for Leukemia in honor of Liz. So feel free to join! Make sure to take pictures to send to me so that I can put them on this blog for her, my email is
Cat !

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Locks of Love!!!

Big night last night! Liz's Aunt Theresa cut 10 inches in length per Liz's request so that it could sent away to Locks of Love.

Good morning!

Here is the rest of the update from last evening!

First: I understand the Induction phase a little better...
This Phase is 29 days. Day 1 was 10/28, and Day 29 is 11/25.

**Day 8 is a very important day. Day 8 is on November 4th.

Up to this point Liz will have had lots of IV chemo on day one (10/29),
prednisone each day ( this is by mouth ), and an IM shot of chemo on
day 4, 5 or 6 (Not a shot every day, just one shot on one of these

**On Day 8 (November 4th), Liz will have another spinal tap, and
another bone marrow aspiration. They are looking to see if the chemo
is working by checking the white blood cell count in the spinal fluid,
and in the bone marrow. The results of these procedures will give a
good indication if Liz will be a Rapid Responder, or a Slow Responder.
(PRAY!...Rapid Responder)

If she is indicating she is a Rapid responder, that will be confirmed
on Day 29 (November 25th), by another spinal tap, and bone marrow
If the tests on Day 8 (November 4th) lean towards a Slow responder,
they will do another bone marrow aspiration (no spinal this time) in
one week (Day 15 - November 11th).

Additionally, on Day 8 (November 4th) Liz will again get heavy doses of
chemo. Two will be IV, and one will be Intrathecally, which means
through the spinal tap.

Lastly, they will be taking blood tests daily to assess Liz's complete
blood count (CBC), and to assess any side effects of the chemo. If her
red blood count is down she will be more tired, if her white count is
down she is more at risk of infection (her white count WILL be down as
this is the point of chemo), and if her platelets are down she could
bruise of bleed more easily. Occasionally, if the RBC's or the
Platelets are down, she will get a transfusion of blood or platelets.
These go through the IV.

At some point, (this is a good thing), Liz will get a "port." This is
a minor procedure (under general anesthesia I think), in which they
will place a diaphragm like access just under the skin by the clavical.
This way, all the IV meds, and some of the blood work will be able to
be done via the port. The benefits of the port are that Liz won't feel
a stick (they put a bit of numbing cream on it ), it is just about
invisable (you kinda gotta know that it is there..or you wouldn't know
it was there...), she can swim with it (she will have it for the next
few years), and there is a decreased risk of infection with each stick.

OK - a little more?
On to the fun stuff!

The Lothrops chose to be enrolled in the study that compares side by
side chemo protocols (both of which have the same effect), with the
side effects of each. There were 2 options. In one, she would go to
the outpatient clinic once every 10 days or so to recieve escalting
doses of chemo, in the other she would spend a few days in the hospital
getting high doses of chemo.

She was randomized to the High Dose Methotrexate (The name of one of
the major players in the chemo arena). This is great news b/c Randy
and Christine had hoped for this option, but there was only a 50%
chance of being randomized to it. ( If they did not randomize, the
would automatically fall to the clinic option.) Now, in the beginning
phases (many months), when Liz gets chemo, she will be admitted to the
hospital for a few days.

The other very cool thing is that Liz's oncologist, Dr. Absolon, was
hoping for this option too. He had worked for several years at St.
Judes, and has lots of experience with the High Dose protocol.

When Randy and Christine were trying to decide whether to randomize or
not, Christine kept coming back to believing if they randomized then
God would choose, but if not, she was they decided to
trust God...! God chose High Dose Methotrexate!

Dr. Absolon (male) is the attending oncologist, and Dr. Pope (female)
is the Fellow. (This means she is a pediatrician who is in the process
of specializing in oncology.) Dr. Pope was one of the Drs. that Liz
first met when they went to the ER. Dr. Pope and the Lothrops had an
instant good rapport. The Lothrops are very grateful that Dr. Absolon
and Dr. Pope are the Doctors that will be directing Liz's treatment.

By the way, the Lothrops tell me that each and every one of the staff
is amazing. They are all respectful,professional, helpful, and hope
giving. Randy told me that yesterday they had spilled something on the
floor, and asked for help to clean it up. The young lady in
housekeeping popped in, and cheerfully cleaned up the spill. Randy
thanked her, and her response was genuine and amazing..."Oh sir, I like
to keep the floors clean for the patients...!" Even housekeeping holds
the values of kindly serving the patients and families...

That reminds me....on the first night Liz was in the hospital they
changed her room. They had to wait awhile b/c the floor was being
waxed. Christine and I would go down the hall to see how close we were
to changing rooms. The house keeping gentleman was kind, friendly and
caring. After we got Liz all moved into her new room, Christine
noticed a note. The gentlman had pulled the privacy curtain back, and
secured it with a paper wrap. On the wrap he had written a note of
encourgment to Liz and her famly. How 'bout that for going the extra
There is a teacher in Mason that has had each Lothrop child in her
class at some point. Her name is Mrs. Gravlovic. Randy wanted me to
tell you, again, how God is meeting their every need, many times even
before they know they have a need. Mrs. Gravlovic approached Randy and
volunteered to teach Liz at home. She said she would get whatever
training she needed, and would go to the Lothrops home after she
finishes her school day. Amazing! (At some point Liz will be able
to go back to school, but it will be awhile...)

If you are wondering about bringing a gift to the Lothrops, but do not
kwow what to bring here are 2 ideas. Apparently Liz likes some kind of
"sports wrap, or pre wrap" to put her hair up. She uses it like a head
band..sort of...It comes in lots of colors, and seems to be the cool
way among athletes to keep your hair pulled back. It can be found at a
sports store. (I am out of my element I may not have
explained this right!)

Additionally, yesterday, the Lothrops were give a manual of information
related to leukemia, treatment, resources, explanations, definitions
etc....did I mention that this is a MANUAL! (Think large, and thick...)
Included in the manual are book lists of suggested reading. There is a
list of general books, a list for children, and a list for adolescents.
If you want to e-mail, or call me, I can read the lists to you, and I
can keep track of the ones they already have. The lists are long, so I
don't think I can type all the books, but here are a few examples: 1)
Childhood Cancer and the Family, 2) Cancer in Children: Reasons for
Hope, 3) I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow up, I Want to go to Boise:
Children Surving Cancer 4) On With My Life, 5) Kids With Courage.

One last note. The other day, when the Drs. were reviewing all the
treatment options, meds, etc...we asked them when Liz might expereince
the side effect of the chemo. They said people respond differently, so
they could not give us a definate answer. They will be keeping a close
eye on Liz to assess for side effects... This means that Liz could
very well experience some of the uncomfortable side effects of nausea,
vomiting, mouth sores...etc...The potential of side effects are always
present, and are not to be taken lightly.

Liz is in a good season of treatment right now. I want to caution us
though, that the road ahead could very well be difficult. The
indicating factors of continuing this protocol of treatment are how Liz
responds to the chemo...side effects, blood counts, secondary
infections etc...She is being hit with very, very powerful drugs that
are intended to wipe out each and every cancer cell. In the process,
the rest of her body could be affected with many very uncomfortabe,
difficult side effects.

We need to continually pray:
Giving thanks for the negative genetic makers yesterday.
Giving thanks for the protocol, and the Drs.
Giving thanks for God's continuing provision for the Lothrops needs.
Protection from the negative side effects, and secondary infections.

The other night Christine said that it was blessing that the diagnosis
was leukemia, and not an inoperable brain tumor. That really struck
me. How our definition of a blessing can change in the blink of an


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hi all!
I wanted to get quick note out to let you know that Liz had NONE of
the genetic markers that would of been concerning. This is terrific

Liz also responded very well to chemo last night. She had no n/v.
This morning, as she was just mentioning to Christine that she was
feeling a little queezy, the nurse walked in with her next dose of
antiemetic...(anti n/v). Perfect timing!

Additionally, the chemo did not make Liz tired last night or today!
She was up talking and playing a game with Randy and Christine till
after midnight! And, this afternoon, she was visiting with friends,
smiling, and playing on the computer. By the way, Liz's grandpa gifted
her with a new computer that is much faster than the old one. She is
REALLY enjoying it!

Liz was adorable tonight...she is thinking about getting her hair cut
into one of the cute new do's of the season. She and Katherine
etc...were looking at lots of options on the computer. They may play
beauty shop tonight and we will all see a new style tomorrow!

Randy was telling me how God is answering their every need. For
instance, today he asked about physical therapy for Liz. She is doing
fine, this is just an extra measure to help her maintain her muscle
tone, and range of motion. Randy said that within an hour the PT was
in Liz's room, worked with her, and said he would be back tomorrow.

Christine INSISTS on most visitors wearing a mask. If a visitor is
around lots of people, the mask is mandatory. (Like in school for
instance, where you can pick up a bug and not be aware of it yet...)
Lizzy is not too keen on this new rule, but it does not look like
Christine is giving in! So, if you are around lots of people in the
day, and/or if you are 18yrs. or younger, then please take the
initiative to put on a mask before you go into the room. The masks are
just outside the door. And don't forget to wash your hands too! There
is a sign on the door asking all to wash their hands, but Christine is
concerened b/c she does not think people are seeing the sign as they
are anxious to get to see Liz.

There are a bit more fun stories and answered prayer to share with you,
so I will pass that on in the morning. For now, know that all is well
on the 5th floor in room 45! It was peaceful with Liz's friends,
aunts, grandma and siblings. There were smiles and hugs. Liz has this
hot pink finger nail polish on, and it matches the bandage that covers
her IV. Adorable! There are balloons and treats... All in all...a
quiet celebration of God's provision even amidst this storm.

Randy told me he can feel your prayers. He is peacful, and grateful.
It is so clear that God is present. We know, in reality, that God is
always present, but He is revealing himself in wonderful ways through
you, your prayers, and Liz's good medical news today.

Please keep praying:
-Thank God for how Liz responded to her first dose of chemo.
-Thank God for the absence of concerning genetic markers.
-Thank God for his very real presence to the Lothrops.
-Thank God for the amazing medical staff that surround Liz and her
family. (More on that tomorrow!)
-Please continue to pray that Liz would respond favorably to chemo.
-Please continue to pray that Liz is a Rapid responder.

I will send out the rest tomorrow.

Thank you Lord Jesus for holding Liz in the palm of your hand, and
carrying her through these past many days. Thank you Lord for making
yourself real and tangible for the Lothrups. Thank you for Liz's

More good news! The genetic markers are cleared and everything is headed in a positive direction! Liz got a new Mac computer from her grandpa today and she has been very occupied with that and with some chocolate ice cream.. keep the prayers coming!

A new day of hope!

From Deb...
Hi all -
I was able to be with The Lothrops yesterday as they met with the Dr.
for about 2 hours. They were learning about the treatment protocols,
the length of each phase, and the side effects of the meds. The Dr.
was terrific. He was able to explain everything clearly. He was
patient, and has a great bed-side manner. There were even a few jokes
thrown in!

Liz will be on a regimen of treatment that will last close to 3 years.
The first phase is Induction. They began that yesterday. The next
month will be very hard as they are hitting her with very, very
powerful chemo. The goal is to get Liz in remission this first month.
This is very, very important as it is an indicator of her overall
response to treatment. At the end of Induction they will do another
spinal tap, and bone marrow aspriation to see if she is in remission.
We all need to pray towards that end.

If Liz is not in remission at the end of the month, they have
continuance phases. They seem to classify the response to treatment as
Slow Responders or Rapid Responders. We are praying Liz will be a Rapid
Responder. However, Childrens Hospital is excellent and experienced at
treating all kinds of cancer, and they have a strong plan if she is a
slow responder.
Quick claification...regardless if Liz is a Rapid or Slow
responder, the treatment regimen is still close to 3 years. There many
phases that seem to alternate b/w very high doese of chemo, and lower
doses of chemo. The goal is quick remission and the prevention of
relapse. The kind and strengh of the the treatmen for next 3 years
will e dependent on how she responds to each phase.

Today there is a team meeting at 1:00 with all the oncologist and other
specialist. They meet each week to discuss new cases. They should have
the results of the last genetic marker by then. Although rare, but
seen a bit more in children over 10yr., there are several genetic
markers that would put Liz at the higher end of high risk, meaning high
risk for relapse. We did also learn that there are a few genetic
markers that would work in Liz's favor. The Dr. said they may find no
markers at all....they are rare, but the are sometimes seen in pts.
over ten, so he was not making any promises. At any rate, this genetic
result is very important in Liz's course of treatment.

So, Liz was to start Chemo yesterday or last evening (Hospital time!)
Although The Lothrops are to expect some common side effects like
nauseua and vomiting (n/v), the Drs. say they have lots of options to
relieve those side effects. They will give her strong pre-meds to help
alleviate n/v, but the meds will make her very sleepy. If she needs
stronger med, they can give her more. As a result of the n/v meds, Liz
will probabaly be sleeping alot. The meds make you very tired too.

The nurse liason was at the meeting yesterday too. She was able to
answer many practical questions, like how the Lothrops insurance will
work. I think her name is Mary, and she will probably rank right up
there with the Drs. and nurses as one of the Lothrops new best friends!
She is very knowledgable about the many, many resources Children's
offers. It seems they have people to help with insurance, school when
appropriate, Locks of Love...etc. Although this is not at the fore
front of anyone's mind at this point, The Lothrops do have good
insurance. Of course, school is not a priority either, but it is good
to know there is a liason for when school comes back into the picture.

Mary ( the nurse liason) told me to let people know that a good gift
for Liz would be an extra charger for her phone, i-pod,
camera...whatever she has...I am not sure what she has. Mary said that
many times the chargers fall off the tables, or get pulled off by
accident, and it would be a real bummer if that happened and Liz was
not able to text etc!

We need to make sure we get a flu shot, and not visit if we have the
slighest thought that we may have the sniffles etc...

Be sure to wash our hands when we visit...

**It is important to realize that when/if we visit, the Lothrops may or
may not be able to accept visitors. For instance, yesterday during the
2 hour Drs. meeting...or, Liz may be just feeling really sick, or Randy
and Christine may just be too exhausted...It is not they do not value
our love and we need to realize to not take it personally
if we make a trip and they are not able to accept our visit. I was
talking to Christine about this the other day, and I encourged her to
be honest with what she and her family's needs were. She said if
people visit, and they cannot accept visitors, even a wave through the
window would be very encouraging. I just wanted you to know that your
visit would not be would be very much appreciated, yet one
of the best ways we can love and serve the Lothrops is to give them the
freedom to do what is best for their family at any given time.

So, that said, pls. know that yesterday the Lothrops were in good
spirits. I think it was good to finally have some answers, and know
the plan. Randy and Christine are taking care of themselves...I think
Randy even got a run in the other day. Liz, I am sure is overwhelmed.
Through out the Drs. meeting, she was texting or reading, but she was
listening too, because she would occasionally put in her 2 cents about
a side effect, or a recommendation...over her shoulder, like an was very cute!

What to pray for:
The genetic marker to be in Liz's favor
That Liz will be a Rapid responder
That Liz would have minimal side effect from the chemo
That LIz would be protected from any seconday infections or
That the Lothrops will continue to sense God's presence

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

good news!

Hello everyone,

Liz is doing great right now! She just got a massage and we have gotten the results back that there was no blast of leukemia in her spine that she was tested for yesterday! She will still be treated as if there was, however, it is very good news that it was only a small white blood cell. Keep praying though for that one last genetic marker that was mentioned by Kendall. Thank you for all of your prayers. We have had a request for a family picture to be put on here, when Jim is here tomorrow we will take one as long as Liz feels up to it.


God is Good!

Christine and I would like to thank each of you for keeping Liz in your prayers! There has not been a day gone by that we haven't absolutely and completely senced God's presense in every action, and every interaction. We know that Liz has been saturated in prayer! Your support has been overwhelming! Randy & Christine

Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.
Hebrew 11:1

Tuesday, October 28th, 5:30 a.m.

Some additional details from Deb:

As Cat noticed, Lizzy's results came back ALL, which is the easier of the 2 kinds of leukemia to treat...except "easy" is not the right adjective... More on that in a bit...There are 3 indicators of high risk ALL:

1) Age - Anyone less than 1yr. and over 10 yrs. is in the high risk catagory. Liz is 14, so that does make her in the higher risk. The doctor explained though, that this means given the same treatment as a 1st-10yr. old, the risk is higher, but with more intensive treatment for Lizzy's age group, the results are the same. So, this is not a major concern b/c she will be recieving the more intensive treatment.

2) If her blood counts were way high on admission, she would be in a high risk catagory. They were not over the limit, so this did not apply.

3) There is a "genetic marker" that, if it is postiive, will put Lizzy in the high end of high...regarding risk of relapse. The results of that marker will be back in 2-3 days. The induction on chemo is the same whether the marker is present or not, so they will begin chemo in the morning. However, if the marker is present, it will present the need for more intense treatment, and Lizzy will be at an incresed risk for relapse.

Christine said, a few times, that she is afraid people will forget to pray. Specifically, she is asking for prayer that Liz does not have the genetic marker...If you have a chance, please email her and let her know you ARE praying that the marker will not be present.

As Cat mentioned, the Lothrups have decided that they will consent to a clinical trial. The trial is NOT a blind study, and puts Liz at no risk. It is a comparison of 2 treatments, both of which have the same positive effect in treating ALL. The research is doing a side by side comparision of the side of effects of each treatment. It is a national study over 3-4 years with the intent to study close to 2500 patients. Children's hospital will likely have 2-3 hundred patients involved.The main difference in the 2 courses of treatment is that one course is done in the out patient clinic every 10 days or so, and one is done on an inpatient basis for 2-3 days every 4 weeks. Randy and Christine will have a 2 hour meeting with the doctor tomorrow to get their questoins answered.

The doctor noted that ALL is rare, and there are about 2,000 cases per year that are diagnosed....(seems like a lot to me...) He is a very sincere doctor who offers his time and sincerity. When he told Randy and Christine that ALL is rare, he quickly noted that this fact is not even relevent for them, since their daughter has been diagnosed. The course of treatment, given either option is about 2 1/2 years. The phases are outlined and the days numbered. For instance: Phase One lists the 1st month of treatment on a day by day basis. It details what meds Liz will be getting and when, and if they are by mouth, IV IM etc...

The common side effects are many: nauseu, vomiting, mouth ulcers, potential hair loss, etc.... These side effect are about 20% likely. There are other, more difficult, side effects that have a 10% likelyhood, and even a third, worst cataegory that has a 1-3% likelyhood. It is going to be a very rough road, and Liz will have many days of feeling absolutley awful. There will likely be many long days, and even longer nights. There is nothing easy about this treatment.

As noted already, get a flu shot (not the nasal aerosol) if you think you may be visiting in the future. DO NOT visit if you have even the smallest thougth that you may be sick, and be sure to wash your hands.

All it all it was a very hard, long day with the procedures and the decisions that need to be made. Christine said she is feeling better though, just having some kind of direction to go in. (Although she is holder her breath waiting, and praying for the results of the 3rd marker). Lizzy seemed tired, but in good spirits...eating mac and cheese, french fries and gator aid....= ) Chemo begins in the afternoon...PRAY!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hello Everyone,
I have just gotten back from the hospital. We have found out that she has Acute Bprecursor limphoblastic leukemia. She has been deemed for a more intense chemo because she is older than 10 years old. She and my parents have decided that is going to be a part of a research team to help future patients. Tomorrow she will begin more intense chemo, today was only a little bit into her spine. A lot of helpful extra information should be released by wednesday pertaining to the specifics of this type of leukemia.
As far as visiting, you saw in the other post that it is iffy, however, if we allow you to come starting SATURDAY november 1st, if you are entering the room you need to have had the flu shot. This needs to be the shot, not the new nasal flu spray. The nasal spray contains a live virus and even wiping your nose could spread it to her. The shot is not a live virus. So you need that in order to come or nurses will not let you in.
Also, all persons entering the room need to be above the age of fourteen. And no large groups.
Thank you all for the support and prayers,

*BTW, after the bone marrow aspiration and small chemo injection Liz was doing GREAT today, she was not tired or complaining of any pain. She rated it a 2 of 10 in her back.

Monday, October 27th, 6:55 p.m.

This was in the comments, from Liz's sister, and I wanted to make sure everyone saw it:

Liz actually may not be taking visitors for a little while. If you are sick at all in any way please do not come, even if it is sneezing. She is getting her first bit of chemo today so make sure you call me or my parents to see if she is even up to seeing anyone, she is going to be very tired and very sick.However, the cards and caring is all very appreciated. If you have made her something you could maybe send it with the Sargents, they are here often. Or with my brother Jim. Liz deffinately loves the cards.Thanks, Cat

From what I understand, Liz made it through the bone marrow evaluation fine, and they are waiting on the results. If the results don't come in the next few minutes (before 7:00 p.m.), iz nd her family won't know anthing until tomorrow. Keep praying...

Monday, October 27th, 1:07 p.m.

I'm receiving updates from a variety of sources on any given day and am doing my best to make sure the blog is as updated and clear as possible based on those updates. Here is the latest from Deb McIndoe, a friend of the family:

Today is a big important day for Liz. She is having a "port" put in, that will allow the staff to give IV meds, and take blood easier. She is having a spinal tap to test the spinal fluid, and also to give an initial med that will protect her organs as the chemo starts to work. The leukemic cells will die quickly and will be need to be flushed out.

Liz is also having a bone marrow aspiration to see what kind of leukemia she has. The tests should be back tomorrow the latest. The doctors will start an aggresive protocol of treatment tomorrow based on the results.

Leukemia is when the bone marrow produces way too many immature white blood cells. These immature cells cannot fight infection, so Liz is more prone to infection, and they also take up lots of room so there are much fewer platelets, red blood cells and mature white blood cells. Before the bone marrow today, her platelets need to be 100 or above. The nurses gave her a 3rd bag of platelets last ngiht as her level was only 61.

There is MUCH to be hopeful for. Childrens is an amazing facility, and the oncology unit is in the top 3rd in the world. The protocols are even better than when I worked in pediatric oncology 15 years ago, and they were terrific then. Lizzy is in for a very rough season though. As chemo destroys fast-growing cells, it affects good fast growing cells like hair and mucus membranes. They will try to support her with anti-nausea meds and such, but she will likely expereince nauseau, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth ulcers and maybe hair loss. She will feel VERY sick. Her white blood count will drop very low, and she will be prone to infection. All of this is to be expected, and can be very serious. At the very least, there will be many late nights, and Liz will be very sick for awhile.

They changed Liz's room last night. She is on the 5th floor in room 45. It is a bigger room, and she was up for giving Randy (her dad) instructions on how to hang her cards on the wall! (Adorable!) She is making a montage on the wall, so colorful home made cards are a treat!

If/When you visit, please make sure to wash your hands. Christine (mom) likes it when visitors take the initiative to wash their hands! Yes, we need to PRAY. For for wisdom, for peace that passes understanding...for complete and total healing!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday, October 26th, 8:08 p.m.

I spoke with a friend of Liz's family this evening, and it sounds like she had a pretty peaceful day. No tests, no poking, just preparation for the bone marrow evaluation tomorrow. Be praying that the test will go smoothly and that the results are positive. I'll let you know as soon as I hear something new.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday, 10:39 p.m.

Liz had an MRI this morning resulting from a concern that she might have something on her spine that could cause her to be paralyzed permanently. She wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything because the doctors had to be prepared to send her into emergency surgery if anything showed up. Around 3:30 this afternoon, the doctor came in and told the Lothrops that the MRI was "really encouraging." Nothing on her spine to be concerned about, and so far, it looks like it is just leukemia ("just" sounds ridiculous, but it could be leukemia and a host of other major issues), as well as a resulting infection that caused the high fever last night.

Liz also received the first of three units of blood that were intended to help get her counts back to normal (she had already received some platelets earlier this morning to help with clotting). From the first unit alone, the change in Liz was dramatic, from lethargic, disoriented and practically motionless to alert, smiling and moving her legs without effort for the first time since her back injury. Her color returned to normal, and she got to enjoy some cheese fries and Coke while receiving the transfusions.

Currently, Liz's infection is being treated aggressively with antibiotics to prepare her body as much as possible for leukemia treatments. Tomorrow, she will have a PICC line inserted in her upper arm to give her more flexibility and movement during treatments and transfusions, but otherwise, it should be a quiet day. On Monday afternoon, she will have a bone marrow evaluation to determine what type of leukemia she has - there are two different broad categories, one with a 50% successful treatment rate, the other with an 80% successful treatment rate. Once the doctors have determined the broad category (praying for the second), probably sometime Monday evening, she will begin treatment on Tuesday morning. If she has the 50% type, she will have aggressive treatment continuously for one year. If she has the 80% type, it will be an aggressive treatment with occasional pauses over two years.

Needless to say, it has been an overwhelming and exhausing day for Liz, Randy, Christine, Cat and Jimmy. Please be praying that they all get some sleep tonight and have some time to process everything tomorrow before the whirlwind begins again.

Saturday, 6:00 a.m.

At 10:30 p.m. Friday, Liz was taken to Children's Hopital ER for a fever and bloody nose. After a series of tests, around 4:30 this morning, the doctors informed her and her family that she has leukemia. They will know in the next 48 hours what type of leukemia it is, and Liz will be in the hospital for at least three weeks to begin treatment. Please be praying for Liz, for her dad Randy, mom Christine, sister Cat and brother Jimmy, as they deal with the difficult news and prepare for what could be a very long road. We'll do our best to keep this blog updated as we get news.