Wee early Saturday, September 21, 2002
Hello Family and Friends!! I hope this finds you well! I'm again writing to you from Christi's room (5310) at Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. (And I'm still waiting for someone to pop in this room and say, "Ooops! We made a mistake! She doesn't have cancer; you can go home now.) Since I doubt that will happen, I'll go ahead and update you on our little Christi.
She has had two very good days. The chemo really knocked her down, but then she got over it and was up and about. The nurses told us that what she was given was absolutely brutal and the fact that she didn't get sick over it is super and shows how strong her little body is! Today she made a friend with another first grade girl, Delayne. They played computer games together and colored.
As I write, Christi is taking her third round of chemo. She's complaining that her tummy hurts, etc. Before this ordeal began less than two weeks ago I thought chemotherapy was a one day / one-shot deal. I've now learned that hers at least is a potent, complex cocktail dished out over a period of a week. The prescription is: one day chemo treatment, the next off and her body is hydrated on that off day, and then she gets a different chemo concoction again the next day. I just wish I could do this for her! It's hard feeling helpless and only being able to make decisions for her instead of being able to make her pain go away.
Yesterday I left the 5th floor for the first time in over a week that we've been here. I went outside, crossed a four lane highway and bought laundry detergent as I've found a laundry room here on the floor to take care of our clothes.
Shayla is doing fine I hear. We miss her soooooooooo much! My Mom has her and has been making these darling little video emails which we play over and over. Christi gets the biggest smile when she sees and watches her sister telling her goodnight or whatever the case may be. It's great to hear her little voice and see her little face. (Thanks, Mom!! I know how trying this is on you too!! Remind Shayla that YOU are the boss now that Christi is in the hospital - it's still NOT her! Hug her close and tell her we love her and hope to see her soon.)
We are scheduled to come home on Monday. We're thrilled; however, extremely anxious. We hate to leave the care here in this tremendous hospital in case we need it. They tell us that when we leave Christi will have 3-4 good days and then she'll rapidly decline. Our schedule will be two days a week for three weeks to be treated here at the hospital and one week a month she'll stay here for chemo. This should continue for about 5 months until she has her surgery to remove her tumor. (The chemo is hopefully shrinking it down so it can be removed.) Her bone marrow transplant / stem cell transplant will take place after she's healed from the surgery and that will have her here for 8 weeks starting in early March 03 providing that she stay well enough to continue with the intense chemo. So that's the game plan. We appreciate all of (you) her cheerleaders on the sidelines praying and pulling for her!!
We treasure all of you "Prayer Warriors" as some of you have called yourselves and hope that you'll continue throughout the ordeal. This part of the war should take about a year and we hope to bring home Christi as the trophy for winning the war. Please continue. Your emails have brought me great strength and even Shayne is reading each and every one. It seems like as soon as I get down, someone has typed me a line or two and it helps so much to know that you're with us in thought and prayer during this most difficult time.
Again, thanks all! We cannot possibly thank you for all of the kindness you have shown us through your emails, cards, words, etc., etc., etc. Please have a wonderful weekend and know that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!! You're keeping us strong for Christi. Thank you!
PS: The following email will contain a picture of Christi with a friend that she made today. It was so nice to see her play and to talk with another first grade girl that was diagnosed with cancer in late June.
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Shayne & Angela Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org