Welcome Sophia Hope Bell!!!

Welcome Sophia Hope Bell!!!
Maddy has officially become a big sister!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Update - VMA/HVA results

Hi all, and thanks for visiting! I have noticed that visitation to the site has waned a little bit. I know you're all busy and we appreciate those of you who take time out of your busy schedules to stop by. With us in a wait and see mode now, there are fewer medical updates then before. We will continue to keep you up to date on her continued development.

Sheila and I are a little concerned with her liver. She seems to have some enlargement, but this is sort of expected. We received the results of the VMA/HVA urine tests performed on a specimen drawn on 1/8/2007. VMA (Vanillylmandelic acid) and HVA (Homovanillic acid) are end-products of the catecholamine metabolism related to neuroblastoma. For our situation, this is a non-invasive way to monitor Madelyn's disease. Between the raw values found in her urine and the ratio of the two, doctors can deduce how her disease if progressing without radiation (although we will be doing MRIs every 6 weeks to visualize the tumors). The values we got today were

VMA: 223
HVA: 160

The only value we had from before was a VMA of 359. Obviously this is a significant drop, but use caution when reading this. The initial results from urine taken on 12/13/2006, were sent from Palmetto Richland to Quest Diagnostics, a local laboratory. The Oncology group sends their VMA/HVA tests out to another lab, and this is where the most recent results came from. SO, in our minds, the recent results are our baseline. We'll have a repeat VMA/HVA every three weeks, ad we'll document those results here. While there is nothing that indicates we should read a lot into the decrease we see from the two tests, at least the value did not increase. If this decrease is as it reads, neuroblastoma can still progress and we could see a future increase. While this is a good non-invasive test, it is used by our Oncology team as a reference point and not a sole indicator of Madelyn's disease. All disclaimers aside, we were happy to hear that the results were in and did not indicate anything we should be concerned about at this time.

ACTIVITIES: Sheila bought Madelyn some Baby Einstein books today. She LOVED the book of colors, and we established a while back that her favorite color (as determined by her physical reaction) is red. The first page is red, and she absolutely lit up when she saw it.

FOOD: Madelyn is in her third day of peas. She makes this awful face, but after a few spoonfuls moves toward the spoon to shorten the distance to her mouth. We're still deciding what the next food should be. Please vote on your favorite using the poll on the right side of the page.

Sheila has been working regularly, and both grandmas have been pitching in to watch her. Having them both nearby is a God send for us. I probably should tell them that in person since I've told the entire WWW.

We are getting into a regular schedule for church. We were members of Seacoast (http://www.seacoast.org) in Mt. Pleasant when we lived in Charleston. We attended the Columbia campus and loved it. It is a great environment to worship. If you enjoy music, friendly people, and a straight-forward message then we encourage you to attend Seacoast near you. If you don't live near a campus, they have Podcasts for you Ipod users, Windows media files for download, and a new Internet Campus (currently in Beta).

Enough for now. We'll post more good news soon. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers; you are in ours. Next visit is 1/30/2007 for an MRI and physical exam.

The Bell Family

Monday, January 15, 2007


Well, Madelyn is an old pro at rolling over now. She rolls to the right side from her back to her belly. But once she gets there, she gets mad b/c she wants to be back on her back so she can roll over again. Now we need to work on rolling from back to front. We have moved on from carrots to peas and at first she didn't seem to like them too much, then she couldn't get enough. Something else we learned is that she loves new sounds that Mommy & Daddy make at her. Please click here to look at the video where she heard Daddy making an oinking sound for the first time!

We love you all!
The Bell Family