Friday, April 30, 2010

Four Down, Four to Go

I mentioned a while back that we were about halfway through Georgia's treatment. As of today, she's been at it for four months and has about four months to go until maintenance and ... SCHOOL! That has really been the toughest part of all of this for her - missing her friends and her work and the goings-on at school. But it has also been a great motivator as she knows that every day of treatment gets her one day closer to being healthy and back to "normal." She is very good at keeping busy - doing schoolwork and art projects and putting her Kindle through its paces - so I just try my best to keep up with her! We are all getting quite an education every day but are also looking forward to "graduation day" and our end-of-summer ice cream party - it will be here before we know it!

We're thinking of things to add to the old blog here at the halfway-ish point, so pardon our dust as we remodel a bit. Also, we have a new email address: Drop us a line if you want to order bracelets, send pictures, or just tell Georgia hi! We've got a busy weekend ahead of us, including the second dose of Erwinia shots tomorrow, so there will be much to show and tell next week. We hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

All Systems Go

Interim Maintenance has begun! Georgia's numbers were awesome this morning, so she was able to have her IV and IT medicines and the first round of the new Erwinia shots. She was feeling "200 percent" and was so glad to finally get started! We had to hang around a while for observation after the shots, but there seemed to be no adverse reaction at all. SO - she'll go in every other day for the next 12 days for the rest of this round of shots, and we'll continue to monitor for an allergic reaction, which is more likely to occur later after she's been exposed to the medicine more (the PEG episode was on her third dose). Also, she looked a little low in the tank on her red blood count, so I predict a transfusion in the near future, but we'll see. Other than that, today was a great, great step forward!

Speaking of great things, thank you, LINDA, for donating blood in Georgia's honor in Mesquite! See? If you donate, you get an Official Georgia Shout-Out! So get out there and GIVE! : )

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Third Time's a Charm

It's got to be, right? We're headed back to the clinic tomorrow for our third try at kicking off the Interim Maintenance phase, so wish us luck! Georgia is really wanting to "get it over with" at this point - start the new phase, see how the new shots work out, etc.. Hopefully, we'll all get our wish! Stay tuned ...

In other news, Saturday is the Shiner GASP and our hero, Will, could really use your support! If you haven't donated already, click on his picture in the sidebar to visit his donation page and learn more about Team in Training. Or how about leaving a message of encouragement on his personal blog (link in the sidebar)? Because of the commitment and determination of people like Will, and generous people like you, we are making a difference in the fight against blood cancers, so let's show him some Peachy Keen spirit!

Also, we have filled up our blood donation appointments for Sunday! But if you're still interested in donating, let us know because we may need back-ups or maybe even another bus. You can email us or respond on Georgia's FB group events page if you're available Sunday. And don't forget - you can always donate in Georgia's name at one of the local banks, and she'll still get credit. We'd love to get 100 donations over time, so if you're donating in town or out, let us know, and we'll add it to the tally - we could help 300 people with your donations! Thanks!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Going for a Sunday Drive

We're one week away from the Big Blood Drive and Super Awesome Party in Honor of Georgia! Uncle Trent and Aunt Kate have been working tirelessly to promote and prepare for the event, and if you donate that day, you could win one of several fabulous prizes! And you'll feel great, knowing you've done your part to help Georgia and others in need of your generous gift.

Still on the fence? Consider this:
  • According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, which means more than 38,000 blood donations are needed each day.
  • The four-step donation process (including registration, a mini physical, donation, and recovery (snack!)) takes about an hour.
  • One single donation can help up to three people.
  • While blood is often used to treat trauma, it is most often used to help cancer patients as more than 1 million people are diagnosed every year, and most will need blood transfusions during chemotherapy treatment.
  • If the people who donate blood once or twice a year donated just once more each year, blood shortages would be rare.
We've still got a few slots open for donation appointments, and we can always add more, so please sign up! If you can't make it Sunday and still want to donate, local folks can visit any of the six locations around town, give Georgia's name, and she will get credit for your donation. Non-local folks, we encourage you to visit your area blood bank. Thanks, y'all!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Close, but No Cigar

Well, shoot. Georgia's numbers weren't quite high enough for medicine today, but she's on an upswing and she gained a little weight back - all encouraging signs. We'll try again next Thursday and just keep getting stronger in the meantime. And even though she was disappointed we couldn't move forward today, Georgia rallied for some gingerbread pancakes and a few new books! Who wouldn't?

Thanks for all the well-wishes, and we'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Take Two

Back to the clinic tomorrow for blood counts and, hopefully, Day Surgery (IT chemotherapy) this time. Georgia is miles away from where she was for last week's appointment - her appetite and energy have returned, her cough is pretty much gone, and she just feels so much better. I'm sure there will be some anxiety in the morning (mostly about being allergic to the new shots), but I know she will soldier on, as usual. If all goes well with the Erwinia shots, she'll get those every other day for the next 12 days, take a few days off, then 12 more days. After that, she'll have two more rounds like that but not until later on in the protocol.

Speaking of which, starting from diagnosis, we are about 16 weeks into this and, if we go day-for-day with the protocol for the remainder of treatment, we have about 16 weeks to go until maintenance. So YAY! Halfway! Sort of! Inevitably, we'll have some delays here and there, so we're not setting the date of our ice cream party just yet, but we're certainly dreaming about it already! Just keep your calendars open in August, 'kay? Thanks!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Germ Warfare

In an effort to keep Georgia fever-free, we've been pulling out all the stops: cleaning with Super Clorox, washing/sanitizing hands at every turn, avoiding crowds, screening visitors, and wearing masks when necessary. Surgical masks, not ski masks or crazy Halloween masks. We thought we'd covered everything, but thankfully, MAD magazine was there to set us straight:
Have a good week, y'all! : )

Friday, April 16, 2010

Quick Update

So we were a "no go" for medicine today - Georgia's counts weren't high enough. Plus, she's still got a bit of a cough and some congestion, so she'll have a few extra days to get completely over that and build up those white cells at the same time. Actually, as much as we want to get through everything as quickly as we can, I'm kind of glad she'll have more time to rest up for next week and continue the fight. Little by little, we're getting there!

* Special note to Luke: Georgia says "Hi!" and good luck at your new school! : )

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kindness of Others

Georgia has received many wonderful gifts since she was diagnosed. She's gotten cards, letters, emails, and blog comments. She's gotten balloons, flowers, sweets, and treats like books, games, and puzzles. She's also gotten some lovely handmade hats, blankets, and prayer shawls. We are so appreciative of everyone's thoughtfulness and generosity! THANK YOU!

That said, this past Sunday, we were all treated to a fun afternoon, courtesy of the Starlight Foundation - we went to see the Harlem Globetrotters! Trevor and I both remember seeing them when we were about Georgia's age. In fact, because my dad knew somebody, I got to watch the game from the score table and even checked in Curly Neal. Yes, I am that old. The current team was, of course, fabulous and funny, and we all enjoyed the show.

Some very big, very fancy kicks

"The Big Easy"

"Flight Time"

The Magic Circle
(to the tune of "Sweet Georgia Brown," natch)

The Old "Ref, you need glasses!" Bit

Georgia's had a pretty good week since her last clinic visit - we've all been battling colds, but I think we're over the hump. GG has come to stay for the week, so the card games and puzzles have been non-stop, and we've been monitoring the growth of the newest additions to the family - two tadpoles! Friday's clinic appointment will be a long one, including day surgery for IT chemotherapy and the first of our new and improved asparaginase shots, so Georgia could really use your good wishes that day!

Also, we're just about three weeks away from Will's first race and the blood drive in Georgia's honor, so click on those icons in the sidebar for more info. And if you want to donate blood (please!), make sure to sign up for an appointment. Georgia is planning on being at both the race kick-off that Saturday and the party that Sunday, so at least stop by and say hi - she'd love to see all of you! Thanks again, for everything!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How's Georgia?

She really is! She's shaken off the end of the PEG effects, and today was her last day of the Consolidation phase! YAY! As expected, Dr. Neff switched her to the alternative asparaginase shot - Erwinia, for those of you keeping score at home - which she starts next Thursday. Because she has to have six for every one PEG shot she was supposed to have, each round takes 12 days - one or two shots (depending on the dose) every other day. And we've got four rounds to go, so the mind boggles at the numbers, but it is what it is. There is a chance she could be allergic to this version as well, but it's not as likely as it was with the PEG version. Also, her white blood count is extremely low at the moment (ANC is 90!), which is not unusual, but it has to be much higher for her to even begin the Interim Maintenance phase next week, so here's hoping she's on an upswing and that we can keep her free of infection this week!

Otherwise, Georgia is soldiering on, as usual. Yesterday, she had a neuro/psych evaluation - sort of an IQ/learning strengths and weaknesses exam. This is a common part of treatment to determine how she learns and processes information through a series of puzzles, word games, memory exercises, etc.. After treatment, we can use this baseline to see what effect, if any, her medicines have had on her learning and what adjustments we need to make in the classroom and/or at home. Ever the eager student, Georgia LOVED the whole thing and can't wait to get the results. I'm just glad she could put her books down long enough to actually participate in the evaluation!

In other news, Georgia's Uncle Trent and Aunt Kate have graciously invited ALL of you, and everyone you know, and their mothers, too, to a Blood Drive at their home on May 2nd. In honor of Georgia, we're encouraging anyone who can to donate blood and ensure that there's enough to go around in the likely event Georgia, or someone just like her, needs a transfusion during the course of her treatment. She's already received generously donated blood five times since January, and knowing that there is a safe, steady supply available is a huge comfort to all of us. SO, if you'll be in the Austin area on May 2nd, please consider donating! For more information and to sign up for a donation appointment, click on the icon in the sidebar or visit the events page on the Keepin' Georgia on Your Mind Facebook page and follow the link there. If all of the appointment slots are filled, check back because we're adding more! And if you can't donate at Georgia's Blood Drive, please consider donating at your local blood center. Thank you!