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Christmas and The Next Round of Chemo

Julia had a wonderful Christmas week. Her counts were great and she did not need to go back to clinic until Tuesday. She was able to go to school for the week before Christmas vacation and join in all the holiday parties.

On Wednesday night, we made a visit to see Santa. Julia couldn’t wait to see him and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. She patiently waited in line until it was her turn. She ran towards Santa, arms wide open, “Santa, I am so glad to see you!” She quickly climbed on his lap and told him all her Christmas wishes. First thing on the list, “Santa, I want a hug from you.” Santa quickly obliged and her first wish came to be. Julia spoke to Santa for a few minutes, but no one in line seemed to mind and she took her time, making sure not to forget everything she wanted to tell him. As Julia walked away, Santa turned to me and asked “How is she doing this year?” Santa remembered Julia from the prior year; “I will keep her in my thoughts after I go back home to the North Pole”, he added.

On Friday, Julia came home from school to a special surprise. Her brother, John, his fiancée, Amanda, and their dog, Trooper, came home from Kentucky, for Christmas week. Julia was so excited to see them, but especially enjoys having Trooper at home to love this week. Saturday brought Christmas Eve and the pageant at church. Julia was the Star Angel this year. Miss Judy bought Julia a beautiful white hat with flowers and feathers on the side. Julia walked in, carrying the new star, illuminating the church with its lights and her bright smile. Aunt Suzie, Amanda’s parents – Uncle Ken and Aunt Cindy, Pop Pop, John, James, John and I, all watched Julia, as she proudly took part in the Christmas story.

After the service, we all came back home to have the Feast of the Seven Fishes (our traditional Christmas Eve meal). When dinner was over, we opened our presents to each other and shortly after Julia wanted to go to sleep; partly because she was tired from the day’s excitement, and partly because she wanted Santa to come visit.

Christmas morning came and Julia slept until after 9 (definitely catching up on rest from the night before). She patiently waited at the top of the steps with Trooper (I have attached a great picture) as we got in our places so we could see Julia’s face as she saw the gifts under the tree. Julia’s eyes lit up when she came to the bottom of the steps. She was thrilled to see all the wrapped presents.

One at a time, Julia opened her gifts – a doll bed for her new American Girl doll, several games for family game night, and The Easy Bake Ultimate Oven. “Santa gave me everything I wanted”. Little did she know that we got what we wanted, too – Julia having great counts and feeling good for Christmas.

Tuesday brought the start of the next round of chemo – a five day cycle of Cytoxin and Etoposide. Since Monday was a holiday, Julia will get this round over only a four-day period; receiving 20% more chemo with each treatment. If you recall, we adjusted some of her nausea meds during the last round of chemo – adding a steroid and splitting the Zofran. We began this week with the same plan, hoping that Julia would not get sick. As the drugs began to flow into Julia’s veins, you could see the color leave her cheeks, and with it her energy level diminish.

Julia had a good night Tuesday and did not get sick. The nausea meds plan was working! We got to clinic this morning and Julia definitely had the “chemo funk”. She just sat in the chair as her nurse hooked up the fluids to her “tubey”. Julia fell asleep as the drugs began to flow, having little energy to do anything else today.

Two more days of chemo and then two weeks to rest and regain her strength. Hopefully, the nausea meds regime will continue to work and Julia will feel good for the weekend and ringing in the New Year.

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