Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How We Got Here - and Where We're Going

12/30 - Georgia's 10th birthday 

For the previous two weeks, Georgia had been feeling "not herself." For the first few days, she was just easily fatigued and periodically had a low grade fever (less than 101). Her symptoms came and went, and on Christmas Eve morning, we took her to the pediatrician to check for a bladder infection. Her tests came back normal, and the pedi said it was probably a virus and that she would be fine. 

Georgia rallied for Christmas - of course, she did - but in the days that followed, she grew more fatigued, shaky, and pale, and we suspected she was anemic. So on December 30th, we took her back to the pediatrician for bloodwork. When we got the results a few minutes later, the pedi told us we were being admitted to Dell Children's Hospital for more tests. 

12/31 - Diagnosis 

The next morning, Georgia underwent a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy (which took about 15 minutes, and which she was asleep for), followed by a blood transfusion. We got the diagnosis about 2:30 that afternoon - Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) - and the Peachy Keens were born, vowing then and there that we will fix it.
  
1/1 - Day One of Treatment  

Georgia started 2010 with a spinal tap, which came back clear of any leukemia cells, insertion of a port-a-cath, and her first round of chemotherapy - some directly in the spinal fluid and some in her port. She got another unit of blood and began her steroid regimen.  

1/2-1/3 - "Easy" days

We've learned that chemotherapy drugs stay in your body about 48 hours, so the two days after treatment are spent watching for nausea or any other adverse reactions and waiting for the next treatment. All that waiting can get kind of boring, really, especially when you're feeling as great as Georgia does, so you end up doing things like this:

 

Teasing the doctors -
I know you said there were side effects, but this is ridiculous!


Fooling the nurses with the GEICO money guy


And hangin' with the Lady Longhorns!

1/4 - Going Home

The last day in the hospital included two more units of blood and a tour of the clinic where Georgia will receive most of her chemotherapy. As magical and amazing as DCH is, the clinic is even more so! We will never be without plenty of things to do and people to talk to.

Before we could leave, Georgia had to get one of the hardest parts of her treatment out of the way - the PEG shots. The medicine in the shots is so wonderful, but it is very thick and very hot, and the injections are given in the thigh muscle. We prayed about those shots a lot, and even though Georgia got three injections at the same time, she hardly cried or made a sound. The nurses couldn't believe how strong she was - they said big teenage boys don't take those shots half as well as she did. Just more proof that our girl is way tougher than ALL could ever even think to be!

1/5 and beyond

So now we're home and taking it easy until we go back to the clinic on Friday for Georgia's second round of chemotherapy. We did venture out yesterday to get her a new "do," so take a look at Miss Pixie up there in her profile picture - tres chic! We also had a belated birthday party, and Georgia was thrilled with the new purple trunk she'll be taking to Camp Mystic soon.

We are so thankful for all the messages of love and support we've received over the last week. Prayers, healing thoughts, and good vibrations are what we're asking for, and we feel them coming in from all across the country. Georgia has six months of treatment plus two years of maintenance ahead of her, so we hope to keep the love flowing throughout her journey. She is a quiet warrior and an inspiration to everyone we've encountered so far, and we know she will recover and go on to do the great things that she is destined for. We'll keep you updated here, so leave comments - Georgia would love to hear from you! Well, here, I'll let her tell you herself:

video

36 comments:

  1. Hi Georgia! I'm reading your blog this morning, and am, of course, impressed, but not surprised at your remarkable bravery, and strength. I am with you in spirit, and I know deeply that whatever challenges you must face now, will inform your already excellent character and knowledge of the world and its people. Whatever amazing achievements and adventures you will choose later, and all the lucky people who will benefit from knowing you and your work, will be transformed because of this experience.
    I love you, I support you, and I would love to visit whenever it is the right time.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE, Camille

    P.S. I predict a 5 scoop ice cream cone in your future. (:

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  2. Love you, Georgia!! You're my hero!

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  3. Cute new haircut! We love you.

    Joe, Darien, Zoe and Clark Wilson

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  4. I'm Marla Camp's aunt in Dallas - - just sayin' "you go, girl" - - BEAT UP that cancer monster!
    big hugs to you and your family - Luanne Samuel

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  5. You are awe inspiring, Georgia! We're thinking of you and sending prayers and healing thoughts.

    The Bueides - deb, john, addie and jack

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  6. Hi Georgia, I am a Texas-ex, I have been living here in the Northeast for the last 23 years! Wow, the first time I have counted how long since I graduated UT. I lived in New York City for 13 years and now Rowayton, CT for 10. Maybe you could look on the map and see how far I live from New York City. I hope that if you and your family ever want to visit you give me a call. I have a son 13 and a daughter 9, her name is Hannah. My prayers are with you. I have a good friend whose boy had the exact same thing as you and he is doing great. :) He loves to sail.

    My best, Christy Sagalyn

    my email: christy@tanendirected.com. (I work for an ad agency, you can check out our web-site and see my picture.

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  7. Hi Georgia! I posted your blog on my Facebook page! I hope you get lots of new followers and supporters! Here's to full remission in 30 days!

    Cathy Cramer

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  8. Hi Georgia! We're so impressed with what a great job you're doing so far! Stay strong and know that you have tons of people who love you and are rooting for you!

    Claire's friend Isabella and her parents, Brad and Jennifer

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  9. Martinique Duchene-PhillipsJanuary 7, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Georgia, you are amazing! I love the new "do". We're thinking of you and sending you and your family lots of love and prayers and good vibes and love. Here's to remission in 30 days. Hook 'Em Horns! Texas Girls are extra tough.

    Martinique, Weldon, Austin, Rachel and Sebastian Phillips

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  10. Hi Georgia! Johnny and Dylan would like to send you a joke or riddle every day. Ask your mom if she still has the picture of you and Johnny when you were about 2 years old. Johnny's 9 years old now and Dylan's 7 and here is their first joke/riddle:
    What has a bottom at the top?
    Your legs!

    P.S. I love your new haircut! Very sophisticated!!

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  11. Hi Georgia! We are going to follow your journey to kick ALL in the bootie! We are the Nichols girls from O'Fallon Missouri. Beth, Claire and Gail Nichols ( We are friends of the Golders) Love the cute hairstyle ;) We have been praying for you each night and want you to know that we love you!

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  12. Hi Georgia! I love your blog. It looks great and it looks like it is going to be very popular. We love you and everybody says "hi". (Baby Evelyn says " ahhaaaa" but I know that means hi and I love you). Owen is busy drawing you a picture right this minute. He likes to draw suns and stick people with lots of arms, legs and eyebrows--just so you know what it is when you get it in the mail! Say hi to Lolly, Ivy, and your mommy and daddy from us. Post more pictures too.
    Aunt Meghan

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  13. Hi Georgia! I'm Claire from the previous, "Nichols Girls" post. I'm 12! I think you are really amazing and inspirational! I was just wondering, have you heard of Life is Good? it is a company that sells t-shirts, hats and all kinds of "good vibes" stuff! Check it out!! Just type Life is Good into a google or internet explorer search engine and you can look at stuff for hours on there!!! I think you will be impressed!!! Just wanted to say hi and tell you that i'm thinking of you:-) Love, Claire;)

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  14. Georgia... you are quite popular! So many people have visited your site!! Hang in there tomorrow. Love u.
    Missy
    p.s. Tell your Mommy that Helio Lives. :)

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  15. Georgia, We love your blog and can't wait to see you soon! I hope all goes well tomorrow.

    Kisses and hugs from Claire and Vivi!

    Love,
    Aunt Kate

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  16. Hey Georgia!
    You have some more friends of the "Nichols Girls" from Missouri who are praying for your speedy recovery!
    I am Claire and Gails' "Pappy" and my moustache is kinda like yours except it's way gray!!
    We admire your sense of humor and your courage. They will help you get better!
    We are former Austinites and now live at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.You might want to google Sunrise Beach, MO and you'll see where we are!
    With our love and admiration,
    Maga and Pappy

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  17. Hey Georgia, I haven't officially meet you, but feel like i have already. My sister n law is Melissa Golder. I know how special you and your family are to her. She has been keeping me posted on whats going on, and now im reading your blog. Just wanted to let you know how special I think you are and I know God has big plans for you and your future. Remember God is with you ALWAYWS, He is your strength. From what I've heard you have amazing strength. You will be in my prayers!
    Love,
    Tracy

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  18. Hey Georgia! We would like to make a donation in your name to your favorite cancer-fighting organization. What do you choose? Ben, Elizabeth, Jennifer & Todd Peters

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  19. Hi Georgia! I am praying for you in San Antonio, and if you are anything like your grandmother Leslie, you will have this thing licked twice as fast as everybody expects!

    Kim Moore

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  20. Hi, Georgia!! Our family is keeping you and your family in our prayers!! We love your family. We've read your blog and will continue to keep up with things that are going on...Keep up that positive attitude, because that goes a long way toward helping with recovery. Your Dad can tell you who we are!
    Much love,
    Doris Jean and Nathan Eaton

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  21. Hi Georgia! I'm your Aunt Kate's brother, Ash (does that make me your uncle once removed?). My wife, Janet, and I are thinking about you during this challenging time. We are grateful that you have such loving parents and family around you and that the best medicine that science has produced is available to help you recover. Our little boy, Logan (your cousin once removed, I guess) is too young to say much, but it won't be too long from now when he will get to know you. Hm...you might end up being a great babysitter in a few short years!

    Please keep your spirits up and remember that tons of people love you and are pulling for you every day.

    Love,
    Ash, Janet, and Logan

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  22. Georgia-

    I hope you get well really soon. I hope I see you soon at school.

    Your friend,

    Ben Porter

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  23. Hey Georgia!
    I hope that today went well!! I sent your blog link to all of my friends so you can expect some comments from Missouri! Keep up your good attitude!!! You rock:D
    love, Claire

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  24. Hi Georgia,

    I'm a friend of Grandma Leslie and have known your beautiful mom since she was a baby. I am reading your fabulous blog everyday and sending you tons of love, hugs, and kisses. You're the BEST! Stay strong and know that you have many, many people who love you and are supporting you and your wonderful family! Hugs - Carolyn Roberts in the Woodlands

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  25. hi Georgia i hope your feeling all right.get well soon.we want you back in the community!


    Ayush and Ashna

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  26. scott and soraya mcclellandJanuary 9, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    Georgia-

    Glad we can keep up with your progress via your blog. I love the photo of the Geico money on the toilet. Hilarious!

    We want you to know that you are in our prayers and that we think of you often.

    Love,

    Soraya and Scott McClelland

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  27. Hi Georgia,

    I love your blog and am following along with every post. :) I hope you're feeling better and know you're going to beat ALL! By the way, I have to agree with everyone else - love your new haircut!

    All the best,
    Kari H. (I work with your dad.)

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  28. Hola Georgia, All those lucky doctors and nurses get to hang with you this semester while you get to teach them about humility, perseverance and adaptability. The three keys to happiness! I miss you and hold you in my thoughts and heart every day. You are an amazing person and I know you will overcome this challenge and be even stronger for the spectacular life you have ahead of you. You are one of the most important leaders in our children's community at Parkside. I'll never forget how you stood next to Eli as his courage friend at the cultural challenge last year and helped him get through his performance. If you are interested in working on some new guitar styles and songs please check out the website called ultimate guitar . It's awesome!! Just like you!! I hope to visit you soon, LOTS OF LOVE!!!! Uncle, Jo Jo P.S. The hair rocks!

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  29. Hi Georgia!
    My name is Edie. I've been friends with your Lolly for 45 years and I've known your Mom since she was a baby. I just want to tell you how brave I think you are and that I know that you will beat this "thing." I've been reading your blog and I must say that you are a very impressive little girl!
    I think that you look just like your Mom...very pretty! I like your hair! It's very cute!
    I have alot of funny stories to tell you sometime about your Lolly. We have had many good times together. I will enjoy telling you about some of the crazy things we did "back when."
    Keep up that great attitude and fighting spirit!
    Lots of love to you!
    Edie








    Lots of love to you!
    Edie

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  30. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW THAT QUIT A FEW OF YOUR "FOLLOWERS" ON THE SECOND PAGE LOOK ALOT ALIKE ,AND ONE GRANDMOTHER THINKS SHE IS THREE SMALL CHILDREN.ALSO ONE COUSIN SEEMS TO THINK HE IS HOUSE OFF THE T.V. SHOW..I KNOW YOUR PARENTS ARE LOOKING THESE OVER BUT I'M JUST SAYING.....NANCY DREW WOULD BE LOOKING INTO THIS.XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

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  31. I love your new haircut! I also like the sunny yellow background of your blog. Very sunshiney, much like yourself!

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  32. Georgia, you're in our thoughts and in our hearts as we see you healing with ease ..love, your neighbors (green house) renee, john and jonah (7) trudeau

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  33. We met at JoAnn W's last summer. Keep your beautiful smile. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Debby & Jimmy Coburn

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  34. Hi. I'm Abby's friend, Sarah. Abby is my friend in Maryland. Her name is Abby Coburn. I hope you feel ok. Sarah

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  35. Hi Georgia,
    My name is Lee DuBois and I'm from Northfield Vermont. We adopted a dog named Tessa from your Aunt Lee. She's an amazing woman, who rescues lots and lots of dogs.You are also an amazing girl who we I will keep in my thoughts and prayers always. You take care and I will write again from Vermont real soon. Lee

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  36. Hi Georgia,
    Your Aunt Lee told me all about you and your treatment and how strong you are. As I laugh my way through your blog I see you also have a fantastic sence of humor!! You are in my thoughts and prayers all the way from Little Rhode Island!

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