One Big Adventure
An opportunity to log in some of the thoughts and activities of our homeschooling family of eight. We love books and good food and aspire to a Christ-centered, multi-generational, agrarian life.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Maybe tomorrow

Thanks so much for the encouraging notes, thoughts and prayers.

It looks like James got his last fever last night around 8 p.m. and they are trying to send us home tomorrow. Some things need to be in order--like being able to take what we need home to give James his antibiotic through his central line--and he can't have any more fevers before we leave.

The initial blood cultures grew out "staph epi". It is a bacteria normally found on the skin that can be harmful when it gets in the blood. They will keep an eye out on James to be sure it doesn't rear it's ugly little head when his counts drop during upcoming chemo.

James is back to his normally silly, saucy self today and that is always encouraging.

As always, we hope for the best, but realize that we're not out of here until we see the hospital in the rear view mirror!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A fever and staph

We spent yesterday afternoon and evening in the emergency room with James in Macon due to fever. Because his counts were pretty good, they gave him an antibiotic and sent us home with instructions to give James tylenol every 4 hours and if the fever broke through the tylenol, we were to bring him back or call the oncologist on call in Atlanta.

We finally arrived home Friday night around 10 p.m. We learned that we had missed a power outage and were grateful that the lights and air conditioning were now back up and running.

In the first four hours at home, James' fever went up to 39.9* Celsius (104* Fahrenheit). We called the on-call oncologist and by the time she called back, James temperature had reached 40.2* Celsius (104.4* Fahrenheit) and she said to bring him on in to Children's in Atlanta.

We spent Friday night in the car and the emergency room. They did more labs and gave James more antibiotics and tylenol. Some time in the morning, we were moved up to the cancer floor. We learned that the first culture, from the ER in Macon, grew out staph. The doctors ordered a different antibiotic, which initially seemed to help.

Overall, James is improving. He is still spiking temps, but they aren't going quite so high (his highest temp so far has been 40.6* C (105.2 F) and the tylenol is helping to keep the spikes at bay a little longer each round.

In order to go home, James has to be fever free for 24 hours and he has to have a negative blood culture. Once those two criteria are met, James will need to have an additional 10 days of antibiotic. If he can be given a drug that can be dosed for once a day, we can do that at home. If it is more than once he attending physician told me that it could very well be a two week stay.

Please pray that God's will would be done and that He would keep James safe.

Thanks for checking on us.

Love, Stephanie

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Screaming along

It seems that the folks down here in our little community have "squeaked" enough to the local phone company that we are now getting in the neighborhood of 44.0 Kbps connections to the WWW. Yee Haw!

I might even be able to post some photos from home at this speed!

James has done remarkably well this second half of this chemo cycle and we are very grateful. We came home from the hospital with TPN (IV feeds) and we are working at using his g-tube as we are able.

I asked Dr. Keller how long it will take the nerves, damaged by the vincristine, to regenerate. His answer, "Months." This goes with what happened with his last run of vincristine--3 doses in March, James didn't get enough strength to begin crawling and pulling up to cruise again until June. Dr. Keller wasn't sure if only getting 2 half doses this last time would make a difference.

That was Thursday. On Friday, James did a little crawling, so that is certainly something to rejoice over.

This week, we are just administering some at-home chemo and we will have to drive to the pediatrician's office for a blood draw. Dr. Keller suspects that James' counts will either require some blood products or maybe some time in the hospital. He said this is the most likely time for unscheduled hospital visits. We'd be grateful to bypass this one, of course.

The next scheduled hospital visit is August 27th.

In other news: Framing on our new house is scheduled to begin tomorrow. If you think about it, pray for cooler weather and protection for the guys doing the framing. I think Owen will be having a great field trip as long as they are working there.

Love, Stephanie

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Minneapolis bridge and suffering

I am often asked how we 'do this' with all we have been through over the past few years with Vern's layoff, James' medical issues, this move just following a leukemia diagnosis with James. The short answer is: we believe God is sovereign and holy. We are keenly aware that we have it easy compared with what we deserve. God is merciful to us and has given us so much better than we deserve.

Of course, in our world and culture today that doesn't make any sense to very many people. Not even Christians. And I am terrible when it comes to explaining this to folks. However, when I see a good answer, I know it. My mind dances with excitement, saying, "Yeah! THAT!" I found an article online today that was a "Yeah! THAT!" article for me. John Piper writing about the tragedy in Minneapolis. I hope you'll take a few minutes to read it here. And know that whatever the tragedy is you are enduring in your life at this moment fits in, big or small.

I find tremendous comfort in that. I hope you will to.

Love, Stephanie

Onward and homeward

It looks like we are on track to go home this afternoon. My parents are driving down from north Georgia/North Carolina to pick us up and take us all home. Then they'll stay with us to see the children and check out the progress on the house and head home tomorrow.

James is progressing along, the pressure ulcer around his g-tube is mostly fill back in--it looks MUCH better. The GI docs don't want us to use the tube for feeding yet (just medincines and some supplements), so we are going home with TPN (IV feeds). The nurse from yet another home health care company is coming to show me how to use their pump and bring me the TPN and supplies. She won't be here til about 2:30, so that will give us time to pack up and get some other things done.

Lord willing, we hope to be on the road around 4 p.m.

In other family news: Vern started back to work this week. He had teacher pre-planning days Monday through Thursday and today is his first day with students (so we are especially grateful for the flexibility and availability of my folks to help out in the transporting department!)

Things are progressing for the house: last week the foundation was dug and poured and the block was laid this week. Our friend, Joey, ordered the lumber yesterday and it will be delivered next Friday. Lord willing, framing will begin August 13th. We hope to be finished by the 24th and have a roofing party on the 25th. Our friend, John, who does lots of roofing told us that seconds of metal roofing can be had for less than half of higher grade metal roofing. The only 'problem' with it is that the color didn't perfectly match. That puts a metal roof within our budget and we are really excited. Please pray for us as we start to line up an electrician, plumber and HVAC person to come in once the house is dried in.

Thanks for your prayers and for checking up on us. Please let us hear from you when you have a chance!

Love, Stephanie