Wednesday, September 14, 2011

National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

 Yesterday was National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day and September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Gold is the color of childhood cancer and grey is brain cancer. I feel like I am responsible to help get the word out. There are many ways you can help and donate to the cause. I hope someday in the near future there will be a cure and children won't have to go through what they do now. One easy way to help out is by going to Chili's. This month you can color a chili pepper drawing and donate a dollar or more and the proceeds go to St. Jude's Childrens Research Hospital. At St. Jude's they are dedicated to finding cures and saving children. Also at Chili's they have slap bands and t shirts you can buy and the proceeds also go to St. Jude's. On Monday September 26th, 100% of  Chili's profits will be donated to St. Jude's. So go eat there that day and help show your support for childhood cancer.  There are so many children whose lives are affected by cancer.  36 children will be diagnosed with cancer today, another 7 will lose their fight and numerous others will relapse and some of them will be told there is nothing left to do. This happens every single day. I hate it because I know how hard it is.

Anyways, things have been going well around here. Jaylie has been feeling good and pretty normal. She went in on Thursday for her weekly blood check and her counts were good. Her ANC was the highest I have seen it yet, even during radiation.

**Here is a little info in case you want to understand the blood counts better. The bone marrow is the spongy part of the bones and it is where blood cells are made. When chemo is given the factory slows down making blood cells.

There are 3 types of cells found in the marrow and blood: white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Chemo and radiation cause low counts of these blood cells. The blood counts usually drop 7-10 days after treatment and come back up about a week or two after that. 

White blood cells fight infection. There are different types of white blood cells but the ones we focus on are neutrophils. Neutrophils help to fight infections. ANC  stands for Absolute Neutrophil Count- its the number of neutrophils in the white blood cell count. The lower the count, the higher the risk of infection. When it gets lower than 500, the risk of infection is high.  This is why we have to be so careful with Jaylie, chemo knocks these counts down to zero. This past week it was at 5700! They said shes not extra protected because it is high though, bummer! Her ANC is usually around 1300. Dr. Harrod and Christina, the NP, said they don't normally see chemo patients with normal counts and hers was :)

Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Oxygen attaches to hemoglobin in the red blood cells and the hemoglobin carries oxygen to all organs and tissues in the body.  Hemoglobin shows how much oxygen they cells are able to carry. Normal hemoglobin is between 12 and 16. If it gets less than 8, Jaylie has to have a blood transfusion.

Platelets stop bleeding in the body by forming clots. When the platelet count is low, there is risk for bleeding. Nose bleeds and bruising are common. Jaylie had bruises all over her legs and arms this last round of chemo. **

Jaylie goes in today for an audiogram. She has to get one done before every round of chemo because chemo can cause hearing loss and they want to monitor so it doesn't get bad. She had no loss before this last round of chemo which was great because radiation can cause hearing loss too. We are hoping her hearing hasn't changed since last time.

She starts her 2nd of 6 chemo rounds tomorrow. We head to the hospital in the morning and will be there until Sunday. She's not nervous or scared. Her experience last time was good so she is totally fine going. We got some school work to take and work on so that will be good. I am a little nervous about it but I'm sure it will be fine.

Here is a video that shows how well Jaylie is feeling. It also shows how crazy my kids are :) I love it!

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