Thursday, December 8, 2005

Walking a Tightrope


Wow. . I intended to updated again much sooner than this.  Erin's friends and family have supported Lunch for Life to the tune of 127 ornaments.  Every dime of that goes to research for neuroblastoma.  Thank you, thank you , thank you.  I know I don't talk about it much, but with current treatment options, the best we can hope for with relapsed neuroblastoma is to treat it continuously and hope that her body holds out and her cancer stays at bay until researchers make a breakthrough that will stop it in its tracks.  If that wasn't enough to add urgency to my message, I have learned that two other children from College Station have been diagnosed with neuroblastoma in the last month.  The latest, an adorable eighteen-month-old boy, is the son of one of my colleagues in the Management Department.  They are moving through the shock and horror of this discovery right now, and I don't envy them a single moment!  I also have a hard time fathoming how a cancer that affects three children in a million can strike two children from a department with fewer than 40 faculty.

Now, on with the Erin story.  Erin's counts tipped down at the end of last week.  She woke up Saturday morning with worse than usual sniffles and 100.4 F temperature (Quelle Horreur! awfully close to that Magic 101 mark that wins us a three-day stay at the local hospital spa).  We stayed on the fever watch all day. . .forcing her to watch television and be coddled.  We also cleaned house fiercely in preparation for a dinner party we had scheduled for Saturday evening.  The plan held together, and we were able to enjoy our friends without having to rush off to St. Joe's. 

Sunday she felt well enough for Sunday School, quesadillas at Gina's, and a gingerbread house building party at Nico's.  I graded reports all afternoon (watch for this repetitive theme as the update continues) and enjoyed Davis's show that evening (while I graded reports).  I also pondered what to do about Erin's sniffles/cough fest that had entered Week 8.  I felt we had dodged a bullet on Saturday, but if we didn't get it cleared up, we were eventually going to get unlucky and end up with a hospital stay.

Erin's white counts had roared back by Monday which comforted me some, since she had come home from school early with a headache and other minor complaints.  I graded at home and kept her company.  Tuesday we saw an ENT who suggested a heavy-weight antibiotic (Augmentin) and a tapered steroid to clear out her sinuses, and I hoped that would do the trick.

Tuesday night we celebrated Saint Nicholas's Day and Nico's early birthday with the Tjoelker's.  We ate part of his gingerbread house and had a grand time.  The festive occasion was followed a few hours later by the barfies and a new set of worries about Erin.  Again, we got lucky (what kind of warped person am I to start a sentence about the barfies with "we got lucky"?) in that she only got sick once and never pulled a true fever.  We stuck around the house, with a fire in the fireplace, burning Christmas-scented candles, and listening to Christmas-scented CDs. . .and I kept her company by grading reports.

This morning, Erin declared everything "All Good," dressed herself in a warm, yet gay-spirited outfit, and headed out to school.  She just couldn't believe that it rained most of the day yesterday and got as cold as it did and DIDN'T SNOW.  I dragged my sorry self up to my office (does anyone know why the University closed today over 24 degree weather?  Is anyone out there laughing as us?) to. . .you guessed it, grade.  I guess that's why they pay me the big bucks.

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