Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No Joke

So, Georgia is off the PEG train. After taking the actual shots like a champion (again), she quickly developed a severe allergic reaction and had to be admitted to the hospital Tuesday night. Streak over. Sort of.

We're focused on staying out of the hospital for things we can possibly avoid (like infection from being around sick folks or too many folks, especially when her numbers are low), but this was a situation we couldn't prevent. In fact, about 30% of kids have some sort of allergic reaction to the PEG shots at some point, although the severity varies kid to kid, dose to dose. While Georgia never quite reached respiratory distress, it was very close, and the amount of medicine required to counteract the full-body hives and nausea told us loud and clear that we can't put her through this again - especially since subsequent reactions would probably be worse.

What this means, as I understand it, is that she will most likely receive an alternative asparaginase medicine that is given in six shots for every one PEG shot. I'll let you do the math on that, but the answer is: it's a lot more shots. Luckily, Georgia is a Shot Warrior - did you know? Indeed. Plus, the chance of an allergic reaction is much smaller than with the PEG version, and the side effects are supposed to be less intense, so I think(?) it's a good trade-off. The bottom line is this medicine is so important in fighting leukemia, she has to have it one way or the other, so whatever we have to do, we'll do it, Peachy Keen style!

That said, the one good thing about spending the night in the hospital? A surprise visit from Floyd the Therapy Dog, in all his Easter finery:


In other news, we are one month away from Will's first century ride in honor of Georgia! If you haven't donated to his efforts for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, please click on his picture in the sidebar to learn more. Also, he and his wife, Dianna, have started a blog (click on the link in the sidebar) about their participation in Team in Training and their dedication to helping find a cure for blood cancers. Their journey began when Dianna's niece, Allie, was diagnosed with ALL as an infant 15 years ago, and they are still doing their part every day, so thank you, Will and Dianna!

That's all for now. We hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring-ing

We took advantage of the beautiful weekend, and Georgia enjoyed every minute of it. We took a walk around our neighborhood hike and bike trail where we saw, truly, the biggest bullfrog ever - the size of a cat, as it hopped away! Afterwards, Georgia and Ivy donned their bathing suits and tossed around some water balloons, and we finished the afternoon with the First Official Snowcone of the Season. A month ago, we were throwing snowballs - crazy Texas weather!



Tomorrow, Georgia gets one IV medicine and her third round of PEG shots, and that's it for this week. Hopefully, she'll be up and hopping around again just in time for Easter!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hills, Valleys, and Legos

Georgia is back on track, her usual perky self, after a long, rough day Wednesday. She needed two more units of blood, which made her feel great, but an early morning combined with her current medicines made her feel pretty awful until she finally fell asleep in one of the amazing "quiet rooms" at the clinic. She had a real (hospital) bed, lights down low, and NO noise, so she was out for over four hours and woke up feeling like a new person. Amazing what a little (or a lot!) of Hemoglobin can do! And because she's had far more good days than bad days, we know we're due for some hiccups now and then. Plus, her Thursday and Friday appointments went off without a hitch, so she's definitely on an upswing!

Starting next week, we go back to one- or two-day weeks for the majority of Georgia's treatment - barring any unforeseen (though not unusual for this protocol) bumps in the road. Our goal is to keep her out of the hospital (lovely, though it is) if at all possible, so we are ever vigilant about preventing any infection. Even with some pretty low ANC numbers here and again (again, normal, comes with the territory), we've managed to keep her fever-free, so let's hope that streak lasts!

Two more weeks, and we're on to the next phase of treatment. If she goes day-for-day on the current schedule, Georgia will be finishing up about the beginning of August, just in time to get back to school! YAY! She misses her friends and teachers, but she loves all of the blog comments, emails, cards, and well-wishes that make her still feel like a part of the community. Not to mention all the support she receives from all of you - we couldn't ask for anything more than to have you all Keepin' Georgia on Your Mind. Thank you!

And thanks to Giles, Georgia's classmate, for these great pictures:

Legoland loves Georgia!

His dad ran the Austin Marathon with his Georgia bracelet on - nice time, Simon!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Shine On

WOW. What an amazing event! St. Baldrick's was a huge success and incredibly inspiring to boot. Overall, the event raised over $80,000, and thanks to you, the Peachy Keens raised over $5,000 on our own! We came in a strong second place, including a last minute addition to the team who was the very last shavee of the day - thanks, Mike! And just so you know, you can keep contributing throughout the year - to St. Baldrick's in general or to our team specifically - so get those lemonade stands and car washes going for a great cause! Thanks for all of your donations, your support, and for always Keepin' Georgia on Your Mind!

Before ...

and after - Go Peachy Keens!

Lolly and Romy show their support

Georgia and Poppa

I'll add some more pictures (and a video, if I can figure out how!) to our Keepin' Georgia on Your Mind Facebook group, so you can head over there, too. We all had such a great time on Saturday and look forward to participating again next year ... any volunteers? : )

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow - Act II

So, I've done my part, and the rest of the Peachy Keens are doing their part tomorrow. Now YOU can do your part by supporting childhood cancer research!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hi, I'm Bald!


And how was your St. Patrick's Day? Click here to see the official shave-a-roo.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ivy Explains It All

It's Spring Break around here, and Ivy is enjoying some quality time with Lolly and Poppa in San Antonio. Recently, she decided to share Georgia's story with her class at school and "invite their questions." She later reenacted the scene for us here:
video
I think that about covers it, don't you? Georgia got leukemia, she's better now, no one knows how she got it, but keep her on your mind. Just the facts, ma'am.
Georgia is gearing up for the clinic this week and St. Baldrick's this weekend. I, on the other hand, won't be participating on Saturday because - here's the big announcement - I'm shaving my head on Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day, on LIVE television! One of the organizers of St. Baldrick's was touched by Georgia's story and contacted us about doing an interview/shave to promote Saturday's event. Georgia thought it was a great idea, so I said yes and will be going bald on Wednesday at 8:30ish am on the local Fox channel. Anything for our girl!
We are SO close to edging out the top team for St. Baldrick's, so please donate! Our totals have far exceeded our expectations, but we want to raise as much as possible to help other kids who may not have had as much success in their treatment as Georgia has. Having a proven treatment plan to follow is incredibly comforting for all of us, and the fact that Georgia has responded so well, so quickly is not something we take for granted. Not everyone is blessed with the fairly smooth journey we've had so far, but with your help, we can make a difference in treatment options and cure rates, so please join us in "Shaving the Way to Conquer Kids' Cancer!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Good Friday

Not much to report today - just that it's a beautiful day here in Austin, Texas, and Georgia is feeling great! The week off really served her well, and she's ready to ramp it back up on Tuesday. She'll be back on the four-days-for-two-weeks schedule, and the longest, hardest day will probably be this Tuesday, so any extra good thoughts and vibes that morning would be appreciated!

Yesterday, during an impromptu drive by her school, Georgia had a short visit with our dear Joe and Claire - she was so happy to see them! Later, Ivy delivered the most darling quilt, lovingly sewn by the students and teachers in Upper Elementary. Georgia will certainly be snuggling up in it at the clinic these next few weeks, so thank you, friends!


Also, a HUGE thank you to everyone who's donated to St. Baldrick's! The event is a week away, and we're just $50 behind the first place team! If you haven't already, please visit our Peachy Keens team site (click on the picture over there in the sidebar), and give what you can - your gift could push us over the top! And stay tuned for a very special announcement re: St. Baldrick's ...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Taking a Break

At Georgia's appointment on Thursday, our hero, Dr. Neff, decided to give her the week off next week - to recharge for the second half of this phase of treatment. While we want to avoid ANY delays if we can help it, I think it's a good idea so she can shake off the last bit of those PEG shots and their effects. She's feeling significantly better this weekend, as compared to last weekend, and her gin game is near-professional at this point. A card shark just like her great-grandmother (GG), who is spending the next week or so with us.

For now, we're prepping for The Best Night of Television All Year - the Oscars, of course! The popcorn's popped, our ballots are printed, and we're ready for the show!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

MARCHing On

So it turns out that those PEG shots were a little nastier than the first time around, but as of today, Georgia has bounced back. Just in time to head back to the clinic tomorrow! She's got another LP-ITC and some IV medicine, and then she's off until Tuesday. Yay! Plus we're looking forward to a visit from her great grandmother and aunts this weekend, hopefully with some lovely Austin, Texas weather!

Also on the horizon - St. Baldrick's! Seventeen more days of hair! I recently learned that one of the recipients of a multi-million dollar research grant from St. Baldrick's is Children's Oncology Group, which is conducting the clinical trial that Georgia is participating in right now. So knowing that she has directly benefited from funds raised through St. Baldrick's makes us even more determined to help "Shave the Way to Conquer Kids' Cancer!" PLEASE join us by clicking on the picture in the sidebar and making a donation. Spread the word to your family, your co-workers, your real friends, and your Facebook friends - we're almost half-way to our goal, and every little bit counts! And we're still recruiting team members, so Be Brave! Get BALD! Thanks everyone!