Welcome Sophia Hope Bell!!!

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Interim MRI results

We have reached the 3 week point after the most recent round of chemotherapy. It's time for round 3 which will be given over 3 days. She will receive cyclophosphamide (cytoxan) and etoposide (VP-16). The VP-16 will be given over 3 days, so we'll have a full day on Wednesday the 11th and half days Thursday and Friday.

Her blood counts were good. Her platelets were 318,000, up from 84,000. Her white blood cell (WBC) count is 4.5, the lowest we have seen yet, but her ANC is 1035, which is still above the threshold for treatment. Her hemoglobin is 10.6, which is consistent with what we have seen previously.

On Monday (yesterday) Madelyn went in for a mid-treatment MRI to check how she is responding to the first two rounds of chemotherapy. We were a littel hesitant about this because of the problems she had during anesthesia when her port-a-cath was placed. For this test, however, she only needed to be sedated a little deeper than sleeping to ensure she did not move for the 1 1/2 hour test.

She came back to us around 2:30 and began to rouse quickly. Sheila was allowed to feed her and the world was good again. We packed up and went home. With the MRI complete, our focus then shifted to the results. Has chemotherapy been effective? What if there has been no change? What if it is worse? What then?

I had a softball game Monday night @ 7:30 against the "new" BCBS Blue Dogs. When the game was over (we won 17-2, I was 3-3) I had a few beers with the guys as a way to keep my mind off of the results. With our chemotherapy appointment scheduled for Wednesday, we asked the doctors to take their time and we would review the results then.

Sheila called me about 9PM and said doctor Kevin McRedmond had called her with the results. She was in tears and instantly I felt sick. I quickly realized that with a scheduled appointment on Wednesday, there is no way they would call with bad news that late at night. According to the radiologist and oncologists, all of Madelyn's affected areas show a 50-75% REDUCTION in tumor size (also a reduction in tumor count in the liver). I fell to my knees and cried like a baby.

I hung up with Sheila and called Kaitlyn. She had softball practice and was not home yet. I spoke with Kelli and explained things to her. I then called my mother and left her a message.

I didn't come home until 10:30. I had a few more beers and reflected on the good news. This is surely the work of the Lord. Yesterday in the hospital, as we left her with Dr. Hubbird (pediatric sedation), I felt overwhelmed. I had to stop in the hallway and gather myself. Most people figure that as you go down this path, you become more accustomed to dealing with stress, shocking news, potentially negative results, etc. I reached a limit Monday. I sat in the sedation waiting area waiting for Madelyn to return and told Sheila that I just felt like crying but didn't know why. Now, we finally have some fresh good news. We of course approach this with guarded joy, and its still in her and we will have many more nights of worry. But for now, I have to say it feels good to take just a minute and realize that the last 6 weeks have begun to reverse this curse and we may be on the way to complete recovery.

I hope everyone had a happy Easter and for at least moment truly remembered the purpose of the holiday. I love my backyard because of my dogwood tree. Only two days removed from Easter, the blossoms are gone. I love that flowering tree. I touch the petals, each tip appears stained in blood and I think of what Jesus did for all of us and I am grateful. God did not do this to us, but he did allow it to happen. Now when I pray, I thank Him for all of the blessing I have and ask for his will to be that Madelyn does not suffer and that he use her as a testimony to the power of the Lord and prayer.

Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers and support.

The Bell Family