The Steps

April 9, 2013

Julia began her second round of chemotherapy last Monday. Since her port was left accessed, Julia did not need to have extra pokes for blood draws and no longer needed an IV to give chemotherapy. Hopefully, this would make things easier.

Julia developed a runny nose and cough over the weekend. Since Julia has allergies, we are thinking that could be the cause. Checking with Dr. Stern, we began to give Julia her Claritin on Wednesday. Julia seemed to be doing better with this round of chemo. She was not sleeping through the afternoon as she did during the last cycle.

Thursday night the fever hit and after speaking with the doctor, we quickly packed up and headed to the ER at CHOP. After being triaged and labs drawn, we waited in the exam room for results. Julia’s counts were good, but her potassium and sodium were low. They started an IV with both, along with antibiotics and by 2 AM, Julia was admitted. She would get a 24 hour dose of antibiotics as we waited to see if anything grew in the blood cultures. They also took a chest x-ray to make sure there wasn’t fluid building up in her lung again, especially since they just removed the drain and Julia had developed a cough.

Friday at 10 PM, Julia was cleared for discharge. Nothing had grown in the culture and her sodium and potassium were back to normal. The attending doctor said there was no real change in the X-ray from the prior week, so with that, Julia was “de-accessed” and we were on our way home, arriving just before “our Prius turned into a pumpkin”.

Julia slept in on Saturday and woke up feeling “great”. We took it easy during the day, but we could tell that she was starting to get tired of being cooped up in the house. After dinner, we took her out for frozen yogurt. It felt like spring, the air was clear and fresh, and Julia was all giggles and smiles.

Sunday was another late start, letting Julia sleep in and get much needed rest. We are letting her sleep as much as needed, letting her body be her alarm clock. Julia woke up feeling good and soon headed for a play date with her pal, Jake. She had a great afternoon and reluctantly came home in time for dinner.
After her bath and a snack, Julia said it was time to go to sleep. Heading to the steps, she turned and said, “Come on Dad, let’s race!” John and I stopped in our tracks – it was the first time she has wanted to do this in more than a month. I held my breath and held back the tears as I listened to the race – “I’m first Dad, I’m number one!”

It was a great weekend.

Today, Julia started the second week of chemo for this cycle. She was very nervous getting her port accessed for the first time. We remembered to put the “tickle cream” and some Press N Seal over the port site (thank you Mr. Glad) before we left for chemo. Julia was as brave as ever and squeezed my hand extra hard as her nurse, MJ, put the port needle in Julia’s chest. “That wasn’t so bad” and immediately after Julia was talking about getting her edamame to eat during her chemo.

After her chemo was through, Julia was examined by Pattianne, the nurse practitioner. Pattianne carefully listened to Julia’s lungs and looked at her naked chest while she was breathing. She continued with the exam and when all everything was complete, Julia went back to her. Pattianne said that she could not “clinically hear anything different in Julia’s lungs”. I held my breath and held back the tears.

It was a better Monday.

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Julia's Grace Foundation  |  PO Box 1081, Royersford, Pennsylvania 19468