Christine was getting ready to send out "Counts 101"...b/c she thought we may all need an update as Lizzy prepares to go into her 3rd phase of chemo, The Interim Phase. I told her I was starting to worry that I was about out of a job b/c she is so well versed these days, so she graciously let me send out a Lizzy Update! (Thanks Christine!) So lets dive in....As you know, the chemo is a 2 edged sword. It certainly knocks out leukemic cells, but in the process it can also have difficult side effects for Lizzy. The most important telling signs of the effect of chemo are the blood counts. The normal ranges are as follows: WBC (White blood cells) 4.5 - 13.5, RBC (Red blood cells) 4.10 - 5.10, Platelets 135K - 466K, Hemoglobin 12.0 - 16.0, ANC (Absolute neutrophil count) 1,080 - 8,000.
As of this past Friday Lizzy's "counts" were: WBC .09, Plts. 66, Hmg. 10, and ANC 400. So as we can see, The Consolidation Phase, that Lizzy is about to complete, has really dropped her counts. Low WBC's mean a very compromised ability to fight infection. Low Plts. mean decreased ability for her blood to clot, Low ANC means she barely has any "good cells"...
Can you imagine...I sure can't... Yet, with Lizzy's counts being SO low, Christine tells me Lizzy was taking pictures of her when she was giving Lizzy chemo last week. I can just picture it....Christine giving Lizzy chemo ( I need to just stop= and think about THAT for a minute).....and Lizzy making light of the moment...taking pictures!
As January comes to an end, Lizzy will be wrapping up her 2nd phase of chemo (The Consolidation Phase). The next few weeks are critical. Lizzy will continue to finish up the chemo protocol, and she will undergo a new, very draining test on the 27th. She will have a GFR test. I am not sure what that stands for, but it is a test of her kidney function. It is a 4 hour test in which they will inject dye over a 2 hour period, followed by blood draws every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours. This test is important b/c not only do they want to see how Lizzy's kidneys have been handling all this chemo, but they want to assess how Strong her kidneys are going into the next phase.
After the 4 hour test in the morning of the 27th, Lizzy will then receive chemo in the afternoon. It will be long, tiring day.
In the next phase, The Interim Phase I, Lizzy will receive "High Dose Methotrexate." She has gotten methotrexate before, but not high dose. In High Dose, the methotrexate is infused IV over a 24 hr. period, followed by 6 shots over a 2 day period, of a different chemo that helps the effectiveness of the methotraxate (I think). The Interim Phase I should begin on Tuesday, February 3rd. .(Are ya still wearing orange on Tuesdays?!) In this phase Lizzy will go though 7 day cycles of chemo, with an inpatient stay every 10 days for 3 night/4 day stay. This phase lasts 57 days.
In the middle of Christine filling me in on all of the treatment details, she suddenly embarks on a totally different track. She excitedly tells me about the birth of her nephew! Blake Gerald was born on January 13Th weighing 8 lbs. 13 oz. Blake is Christine's sister's first baby and the Lothrops are THRILLED!!!! Again, I continue to be amazed at Christine's and her family's determination to look on the bright side of life, and celebrate with others. Here she is...telling me about chemo therapy for her daughter (Of all things)...and she slides into celebrating her sister and nephew!
Additionally, Randy was out skiing with Jimmy today. He called and talked about the family going to dinner, but Lizzy's ANC is too low, so Christine declined...she did mention she hoped he'd bring her and Lizzy home take-out though! (hint, hint!)
As far as meals go, the Lothrops appreciate getting meals on Tuesdays...clinic day (Orange day too!). Those can be long days, and they are never sure what time they will be home. Sometimes as late as 7pm or so. Christine also appreciates meals for Jimmy when she is in the hospital for 3 or 4 days with Lizzy. Randy usually pops down to the hospital for a bit, and she worries about Jimmy. If you would like to help with meals, pls. call Annette Sargent at 573-0013.
Lastly, please=call Christine before you visit...her cell is 349-5966, and her home is 234-4565. Lizzy enjoys friends, but when her ANC is low you can not visit unless you are over 14 and have had the flu shot, same rules apply at the Lothrop house as in the hospital. Additionally, Lizzy may be not feeling well. (Although she wouldn't admit it to anyone but her mom!)
The Lothrops THANK YOU for your continued prayers.
Please join them in Thanking God for: Lizzy having no headaches this go-round, and for her to not have to go to the hospital after this past dose of "Ara - Stinking -C" ( Ara-C). Please pray for good results from the kidney test on the 27th, and for minimal mouth sores going into the 3rd phase. (Mouth sores are common in this phase and are VERY painful....making eating, or drinking, or even being comfortable very difficult.) Additionally, Lizzy's Plt. count needs to be 75K or greater, and her ANC 750 or greater to go on to the Interim Phase I.
In closing I wanted to mention a passing comment that Christine made to me last week. We were talking about The Christmas Holiday, and how wonderful it was to have their whole family together. She said that they were grateful that Lizzy felt well enough to be out of bed on Christmas. Lizzy also felt well enough to be out of bed for most of the day on one other day. ....Yup - as I understand it....Lizzy had 2 days of feeling really up to par. And I thought to myself...."Wow,....we,...those who love and want to surround the Lothrops, the Glitter Girl community at large, really only get a small look at life at the Lothrops. I think in reality, there are some very hard times...Let us PURPOSE to continue to pray for their every need, and for Lizzy's total and complete healing. And let us all stay alert to the everyday ups AND downs that they cycle through. I want to challenge myself, and you to join me....in praying for the Lothrops each and every time they come to mind. Let us be open to God's promptings...fast?, pray?, serve?, hug our kids?, love our spouse?, call our mom/dad?, right a wrong?...(By the way...love is a verb!)
God's word tells us He will use hard circumstances for good....He will...He does...He is (Romans 8:28)! During this season, the season of chemo treatment (2 years or more)....let's not miss the opportunity for Him to work in OUR lives, as well as the Lothrops! I want to encourage the Lothrops, and each of us...with this promise...God tells us, in Ephesians 3:20-21 - "Now to Him, who IS ABLE to do IMMEASURABLY more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is as work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!"