Kim was diagnosed with AML Leukemia on July 22, 2009, just after she finished high school. She'd been feeling well, just showing a few bruises when she went to Primary Childrens Medical Center for a heart surgery to fix a relatively minor condition she's had since she was born. A blood test before the surgery showed that her blood had been completely taken over by the cancer. They admitted her that day and began treatment right away. She went through five long rounds of chemotherapy, doing relatively well, with the exception of one infection that led to a very scary stay in the Pediatric ICU. She spent almost all of that time in the hospital, with just a few breaks to go home. By the end of March 2010 she was allowed to go home for good- officially in remission! She was so excited to finally go to USU Fall semester, and got strait A's in all of her classes! Psychology, Humanities, Family Finance and ANATOMY. Not a week after finals, at a regular check up at PCMC, her blood tests showed that her cancer was back. And thus began round two- Kim's goal was to make it to a bone marrow transplant. We had found a donor, so all that was left was to get her in remission once more. After three rounds of chemotherapy, her body was no longer strong enough to keep fighting, no matter that her spirit was. She will always be with us. 7:48 pm, March 31, 2011

Monday, August 31, 2009

Inspiration for Kim's Blog Title

Marrow Test: What It Could Mean

Kim went down to Primary Children's for a marrow test today. They also did another blood test while she was there. They took marrow from her hip, and fluid from her spine, and also gave her a shot of chemo in her spine. The results from the tests won't be back for a couple of days, but we have the results for her latest blood test now. Though it still does not show any leukemia cells, her ANC (overall immunity) is still only at 300. She needs to be closer to 750 (normal person is 1500) before they can start chemo again (they had her scheduled to come back to PCMC Thursday for this- hoping she'd be high enough by then.)

They have two theories as to why her levels are taking so long to come up (hers are taking longer than they normally see.) 1- because she's a young adult and her body has, for the most part, stopped growing, her blood doesn't generate as quickly, or might not. Or, 2- she still has some leukemia cells in her marrow that are keeping her normal cells from growing.

So, here is what they've decided as of today: they will wait for the results of her marrow test. This will really tell us where her levels are at, and if she still has any leukemia cells. (They test the marrow because that is where new blood is formed- and also new cancer cells- in the case of a blood cancer like Kim's- so it is the best test of what's really going on in her body.)

If her marrow tests show that she actually has some leukemia cells in her system, then she'll go back Thursday to start treatment, regardless of her ANC level. If, however, her marrow shows no blasts/leukemia cells, then they'll have her stay home for another week or two to get her levels back up.

So, I guess at this point... we're hoping that she gets to stay another week! One, because that means no more leukemia, and just lazy Kim, and two, because.... we get to keep her here that much longer! Obviously, we want her to be able to get on with her treatment, so she can be done with it allthat much sooner... but, hey, if she has to stay around here, we'll just have to accept it!

Thanks to all of you who have been so careful with Kim while she's been here. Obviously, she's still in a very critical state of immunity (remember, under 500 is still the danger-zone.) But we're doing our best to take care of her!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Latest Update

One of the things that the home-health care nurses do for Kim is take blood samples every few days and send them to the hospital to test her latest blood counts. This morning Kim had her first sample at home taken. We got the results back in a phone call from Primary Children's this afternoon:
Her ANC (the important one) level is up to 200 (from under 100 in the last test. Still not out of that under-500 Danger Zone.) Her red blood cells were at 28, and platelets are at 14. Better than zero.
They also said that Kim needs to come down on Monday for her second bone marrow test. (This is the one where they poke directly into her hip and rip out a sample of marrow to see if there are any cancer cells lurking in the dark recesses of her body.)
We also have the day they want her to return to the hospital for her second round of chemo: Thursday, a week from today. That gives her a couple of extra days to bask in the non-fluorescent light of freedom.
I have just been informed by Kim that I should not try creating new posts past midnight. Apparently, I get a little weird. Sorry about that- goodnight all!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fun with Kim at Home

Well, I have filled you in as to Kim's condition up through Monday. Now I need to give you Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday's news. (This is why you should never let yourself get behind!)
Kim has been balancing her resting up/building her blood counts and her catching up with life at home. It's been tricky, but I think she is having a good time.
I know this is going to sound a little crazy to some of you, but as Kim can really only do things at our house, or out of doors away from people, we decided to try going for a hike. So, Tuesday evening our family drove to the Wind Caves trail head and set off. We were worried that Kim would have too hard a time with it, but she really did well. We took it easy and had a great time.
Wednesday Kim spent a bit of time catching up with friends from high school. She's seen a few other people here and there as well.
And today Kim, Mom and I went on another hike, Crimson trail. We spent most of the afternoon out, and though it was pretty tiring for her, she once again did well with it. She really enjoys getting out in the fresh air and getting a chance to relax.
Tonight, we celebrated Mom's birthday (Aug 11th) and my birthday (Aug 17th) as Kim missed both of those. Though we are still missing Mike, our missionary, it is so great to have Kim home for a while. Even that much family is something we've really missed this past month.

Mike's Mission Address

I've been thinking about this for a while now. Our brother, Michael, is out on his mission right now- Florida, Orlando. He's been gone since March 4th. I know it is hard for him not being able to be with Kim for all of this. Also, though we've tried not to let this happen, I know that he hasn't got quite as much attention as he used to now that we have so much to do for Kim. So, if any of you would be willing, I know that letters or small packages would be greatly appreciated. Here is his address:

Elder Michael David Nelson
Florida Orlando Mission
10502 Satellite Blvd Ste E
Orlando, FL 32837-8426

Thank you everyone!

Attention: Regarding Kim's Immunity and Such










Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Finally at Home!

Dear friends and family- sorry for, once again, not posting for a couple of days. Things have been very crazy- but nice, this week.
As you know, it looked like Kim would still not be able to come home for a while as of Sunday- her ANC (blood count for her immune cells) was still far too low. However, Monday afternoon they threw us for a loop by deciding to send her home anyway- that evening! There was so much still to do to get ready for her arrival: more last minute cleaning, a few welcome signs, etc. They also had to pick up the prescriptions she will have to take while she is away from the hospital, contact the home-health care service that will be helping us while she is here, and pack up her entire room and stuff it in mom's car!
As glad as I am to have her back, I was really sort of worried that they were sending her home so soon- her counts were still just abvove zero... which means virtually no immune system. And, try though we might, our house is just not the sanitary enviroment that her hospital room was.
The deal was that Kim could come home, to the care of family and the home-healthcare nurses, until her counts become high enough for her to start chemo again. Then she will go back to PCMC for round 2.
The main thing we are looking at is called her ANC- Absolute Neutrophil Count. Basically, her immunity cells. A normal, healthy person has an ANC of about 1500. Kim's was at zero, and when she came home, probably only about 20. Once she gets up to 500, she will be out of the most critical stage, and when she hits 750 she will head back to the hospital. Maybe this will help some of you understand why I am so worried about her, and might come off a little bit overprotective. Things that don't even phase a normal, reasonably healthy person could do horrible damage to her system. Even Kim likes to pretend that's not what's really going on- after all, aside from feeling tired sometimes, she feels fine. But that's how it is. So those of you who would like to see her while she is here- please be careful.
As I said, Kim and Mom drove back Monday night. The most important thing we did was to meet with Carol, our good friend and Kim's main home-healthcare nurse, and go over what things will be like while she is here. She went over being very careful with keeping Kim away from germs, and made sure we had down the procedures for giving Kim her medications while she is here. (Several times a day- one of them a 3x/day IV.)
And so... there you go! A small vacation back to the real world for Kim. She's going to try to mix getting a good taste for "normal life" ... while trying to be careful, because it's really not normal, not quite yet.
Thanks to all of you, as always, for your love and support. I'll be posting more of what Kim gets up to, how she's doing, and some general rules and guidelines. ~~~ Emily

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday August 23

Yesterday was a good day for Kim, she felt well and her spirits were up because her ANC white blood cell count was up to 100 (normal is >1500) which doubled from the previous day and we were hopeful that she may could come home Monday. She continues to exercise which her Doctors praise her for as that is so helpful for her body and well-being. She had a fun visit from her friends Melissa and Whitney followed by Emily and Scott. While her friends were here, Em and Scott took me out for some shopping and eating which was a good break and fun time. When we came back, her friends had just left and we had fun playing games and visiting.
Dr. Fraiser came in this morning to give us an update on Kim and said she wouldn't be able to go home tomorrow because her blood counts took a dip and she still is needing transfusions. She had platelets yesterday. If she is needing attention, there is no sense in sending her home only to have to bring her back on a daily basis. So, we are probably here for a few more days until they see more progress.
That's a bit of a let down from what we were hoping, but it will eventually come. Dad

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday August 21

Weekend Warrior by David
Time for Julie (Mom) to go home and David (Dad) to take over for another weekend. I really consider it a privilege for me to be here with Kim, she is such a sweetheart to be with. I enjoy her positive attitude, pleasant personality and how much she loves me. We do have a great family. Kim has been such a strength and example of courage and hope in this experience and I continue to be amazed at this little girl of mine. Julie has also been so good to Kim, she loves being here with her and Kim loves it too. I almost feel bad for Kim with me taking over for Julie, as Julie is such a compassionate and fun person to be with. It does seem weird to not be with Julie much anymore; with her here on the week-days and me on the weekends; but otherwise, we are doing fine.
Kim seems to be doing well now and is getting bored being here, which is another sign she is doing better physically when she is bored and wondering, why am I here? She is working out on the stationary bike now as I'm typing this in her room at 7:30 pm Friday evening. Her blood counts are coming up a wee bit, but not significant yet. But the fact that they are starting to come up is a good sign and we are hopeful for being able to come home next week sometime, keeping our fingers crossed. I am so grateful for the love and support we've had from so many friends and family. My mother, sisters and brother and families have been to visit and been so helpful. Kristine is always offering me left-over meals from her work, and I've enjoyed that. Where I've been here on the weekends, my home ward is probably thinking I've abandoned them and they may be wanting to release me from my church calling. I just want everybody to know that I do love the Lord, my home Ward and feel so blessed in so many ways. David Nelson

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This has been a pretty great week for Kim. Monday was one of her tired days (sometimes, especially when her blood levels are low, and if she's had a rough night- lots of nurses in and out and all, she really just has no energy.) She's been springing back the couple days. Her doctors have revoked her hospital-roaming privledges, worried about her immune system. But she's had a stationary bike in her room a couple of times, and has been able to have a few go's at that when she's feeling better.

Her blood counts still aren't coming up. But at least her cancer cells/blasts remain at zero.

She's had a lot of really great visits this week. Thank you so much those of you who have come by! Afternoons and early evenings are best- and it's always best to call before coming over, in case she's not feeling well at the time, or has an appointment with the doctor or something. You probably wouldn't know it from looking at her- but she still wears out really easily, so try not to stay more than an hour- and remember she doesn't have an immune system! I am such a nag :) but really, she loves having company.

Our good family friends, the Fowlers (Kim's BF Melissa's family) came to visit Kim on Wednesday evening. (This is the picture shown above.) We've always been close to the Fowlers- Brian is our home teacher, and we've gone on a few family vacations together. It was really great for them to be able to come visit Kim. (Brian, Aleta, Josh, Melissa, Amy and Emily.)

Tuesday night our Bishopric from our student ward came to visit Kimberly- Bishop and Sis Belnap, Bro and Sis Cook, and Bro and Sis Falk. It is really great to feel their support and know that they care so much about Kim, though she has only been in the ward for a short time. Bro and Sis Falk's baby grandson just went through a similar experience with leukemia at Primary Children's, so they were able to understand much of what we are going through.

Our next door neighbors and friends of Kim's from the family ward, the Mechams, came to visit Kim, too. (Above is a picture of Marie and Kim.) And they brought her a cute present. Thanks, guys!

Also, Scott (my Fiance) and I have been down a bunch of times to see Kim since mom has taken over the general shift from me. (I miss being with Kim all the time!) Kim has loved getting to see him, too. Really, he's a part of the family. She didn't even mind when he once again beat her at our Sorry Championship!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Hey Everyone! Kim has been doing really well this weekend. The kidney trouble seems to have gone away, and her CT scan didn't show any infections in her body. Also, for the past couple of days she hasn't been having fevers- a huge relief for the nurses and doctors! Her main struggle now has just been eating enough to please the nurses! She still doesn't have much of an appetite, and feels a little sick sometimes. They're keeping her on her IV for good measure, but still encourage her to eat as much as she can.

Her blood counts are all still very low- but creeping up a bit. As this point, we're just waiting for them to get higher, so she'll have a strong enough immune system to come home. Hopefully within the next week or two. If not, she'll just have to stay at the hospital until her next round of chemo.

Kim has to keep a dressing- sort of a huge fancy bandaid, over the site in her chest where her line enters her body, just to keep the risk of infections down, and also to support the line so there is a smaller chance of it getting tugged or ripped out of her flesh. It has to be changed one a week, or when it gets wet. Mom changed it last Sunday, and last night I got my first turn. (Once again, we are learning how to take care basic care of Kim because we'll be doing a lot of this while she is at home.) It was pretty cool.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday & Friday

It's 1:00 pm, and Kimberly is still sleeping. She had a long night- her temps are still high, and her kidneys are starting to show some increased strain (higher levels of some chemicals than there should be,) so they've been keeping a close eye on her all night, changing her antibiotic again, and have kept her hooked up to monitors that she hasn't used much since she went off of her chemo. Also, her red blood cell count and platelet count was really low, also making her tired. She just got another transfusion of blood, and will be getting platelets later.
Because she is still having fevers, they are going to giver her another CT scan in about an hour to look for infections in her body. It has been about two weeks since her last one, and they are worried that there could be a hidden infection or abcess somewhere in her body. So, they'll check for that.
Yesterday one of the hospital neutritionists came by to see Kim, and gave her a hard time about not eating enough. She gave her some high-neutriant drinks and guilt, and then took off. The drink Kim tried made her sick, and she threw up a few times. She ended up eating more towards the end of the day... but still, when she wakes up, she'll be glad to know that she missed the neutritionist this morning.
Also yesterday, Sister Nolan from our family ward came by to see Kim. She brought her a lovely, Huge card that everyone had signed. (I'll get a photo up soon.) She was also lucky enough to be here for Kim's first bought of nausea. Later, Melissa and Charla came by and brought Kim some snacks and chinese food. She's been able to get some of that down, so that's good.
And, Kim got her first bit of post-mail through the hospital. Aunt Kris sent her a card, and one of the hospital staff brought it in. That was really cool. So, I just thought I would say, if you want to mail or bring anything by the house in Logan, we'll get it down to her. But, if you feel like sending something directly to the hospital (other than the hand-deliver e-mails, see side bar for more info) you can mail things to the hospital address (also listed on side bar) attention Kimberly Nelson in room 4417. Thanks, everyone!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bald and Beautiful

Today, we shaved Kimmy's head. Her hair was getting thinner and thinner, and shedding all over the place was getting sort of annoying for her. She decided it was time. So today mom came down, and we bit the bullet. I trimmed it short with some scissors, and mom buzzed it off with a razor.

She's dealing with it alright- pretty well, actually, now that it's over. At the time she was pretty sad. It didn't help that she's had another fever come on tonight, and so has been really cold and tired. I have a few pictures from the event, but I'm going to wait until morning to add them. I need to look through them, and check with her to be sure that they're all okay. (Right now they've given her an antibiotic, some tylenol, and some benadryl, so she's out of it.)

Last night they started her on a new antibiotic, as she's been having fevers. Her blood was clear, so they were going to take her off of it- but after tonight's bad one, they're going to keep her on it a while longer, just in case. They have to give this one to her with benadryl, because she reacts to it with a hot red face and scalp. They give it to her at 2 am and 2 pm- so be warned that her afternoons are a bit dozey around here :) (for now)

I don't know if you can see this, but this is a pic of her face as the red flush/reaction to the new antibiotic, was starting to fade. It looked pretty cherry-ish in person :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Today is Mom's birthday! We are planning to celebrate it when Kim comes home... but we still wanted her to know that we love her, so much. She has been absolutely amazing throughout this whole ordeal with Kim- doing whatever she can to make sure the whole family is still taken care of. Of course, she's always been like that. She really is the best :) Thank you, Mom- we love you!

Yesterday Kim and I made cards for mom, and when her friend Brandon came to visit- he made one, too! He dropped them off at our house for mom when he got back to Logan. Thanks, BJ!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Kim's friend Ben had these AWESOME wristbands made for her. They say KEEP RUNNING KIM! ... which is pretty much her motto in life. He's been giving them out to their friends, and brought a bunch to the hospital for others when he came by with Mel and Charla yesterday.
These things are all the rage. If I were you, I'd see what I could do about getting one! ;)
THANK YOU, BEN. This is just one more amazing show of the great support that Kim really needs to get through all of this.

Catching Up - Some Amazing News

Hey Family and Friends- I'm sorry I haven't been updating the blog. Dad and Mom have been taking turns here with Kim, and now I'm back today. I could have updated this from home, but I've been up in Bear Lake for the most part trying to get my scuba certification finished. (The weather kept me from getting all the way through- but I will probably finish it up this weekend.)

I would like to start out with some Incredible news. As of Saturday, Kim's blood counts are showing her leukemia cell level is currently ZERO. By the end of her first month here at the hospital, she needed to be at less than 15% to avoid getting a bone marrow transplant (as neither Mike nor I are matches for her... we were really praying she wouldn't need it.) Less than 5% would have been amazing, and pretty rare. For her to be all the way to zero is a small miracle. It won't be official for a couple more weeks- they have to actually test her bone marrow again (poke the needle into her hip) but for now, we're thrilled!

Now, even if her level does stay at zero, she won't be officially rid of the leukemia just yet. She still has to undergo all five months of solid chemotherapy (basically go through the whole cycle that is making up this month four more times) and will have to do other follow-up treatment for a couple months after that (exactly what depends on how things go up to that point.) She will always have to have checkups to make sure it doesn't come back, or she doesn't get another kinds of cancer (you're more likely to develope another if you've had one.) BUT- this means it's working. And I KNOW she is doing so well because of her strength and spirit, and because of each and every one of you- your love, support, and prayers. Thank you!

Now, for other news since I last posted. For the first few days Kim was still sick to her stomach, but in recent days, almost all of her negative symptoms have been fading. She's getting back some of her energy, her eyes don't hurt anymore, her rash is fading away (you can still see it, but it's fading and doesn't itch at all anymore,) she's doesn't have the nausea anymore, and her lungs are clear of the fluids. Her bones have been aching, but this is actually a good thing- it probably means that they are starting to develope marrow again, and so all of her other cells. It's not showing up yet- basically ALL of her counts are at zero right now- red blood cells, white blood cells/ immunity, platelets, etc. So we still have to be very careful about germs. Also, though all of her insane bruises from before the diagnoses have faded away, she's started to get small ones again from little things she's brushed up against. This is because her platelet levels are so low. They also won't let her shave her legs with a razor, because if she cuts herself, she'll have a very hard time healing. They've been giving her more blood and platelet transfusions to combat it, and of course until her body needs to start showing it's producing again, bringing her levels up, before she can come home for her week. (Should be another week or two.)
The really big thing is that in just the past couple of days, her hair has started to fall out. We thought it would have lasted longer than this, but here it goes. So far it's been a very even process- so it's just thinning out overall, and not leaving bald spots, but it should probably all be gone within just a couple more days. She's trying not to let it bother her too much, as it was inevitable, but it's still a little hard to be able to run your hand through your hair and come away with handfulls of it. Aunt Leslie has already knit her two beautiful caps, and is making a couple more, and I brought her a couple from home. So... we'll make do!

This is a picture we took on Sunday. We've been collecting her hair in this bag. Just so you know, this is a Pose, and was very difficult to get. She kept cracking up and ruining the pout :)

For those of you who have done sympathy-shaves and buzzed your heads in Kim's honor, please email me a picture of yourself! I would like to add a special section to the blog for all of you.

Katie and Sue Dunn, our practically-cousin & aunt, came by to visit Kim and brought her an awesome puzzel and other activities and prizes. :) Thanks for visiting!

Sorry! Will post more in a few hours. Kim is doing well :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Wednesday is Bingo day at PCMC. They have their own channel throughout the hospital, and patients can call in to announce their win. After, they bring around prizes on the prize cart. Today Kim won a teddy bear. Last week, she was getting her CAT scan... but she managed to win a heat pack anyway. (Everyone wins in Bingo.)
So far today not much is happened. She threw up again last night, and is still feeling a little ill today, and tired still. But her eyes are feeling better- so that's something. I'll let you know how the day ends later.
Thank you all again for your love, support and prayers. This is my last day with Kim this week- mom and dad will be taking over. I should be back again next Monday.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Today Kim went out for another walk, but she's really not feeling well. For some reason, her eyes are really hurting. So, she's pretty much had to keep them closed all day. Fortunately, she has music on her iPod, and we downloaded a book to listen to. Sometimes the chemo can make eyes sore... we're hoping it will go away soon.
She threw up for her first time last night, but is feeling alright today. They are still keeping her on anti-nausea medications. (She got sick very suddenly just as the nurse was about to give her the night-time dose of it.)

Monday, August 3, 2009


Today has been Kim's last day of chemo- she has one more dose (4 am) and then she'll be off for about a month. Though she won't be receiving any new chemo, what she has had will continue to effect her over the coming weeks. Her blood count, immunity, and blast levels (leukemia cells) will keep dropping. This is part of why she has to stay here for so long. In a couple of weeks, the effects will be done, and they will test her marrow again (poke her in the hip) to see where she is at. This is how they will determine if she needs the marrow transplant, and also how they will decide her specific treatment for the next few months. (Her "roadmap") Then she just has to wait for them to get to a healthy enough level, and she can come home for a few days. Then she'll come back and start over again. (Sorry for repeating myself, but I can explain it a little differently each time I learn more about it.)
Today Kim had a little extra energy, (no visitors) and so the doctor took pity on her, and said that if she was very careful, she could go out for a walk. Yay! (She usually has to stay cooped up in her room.) She had to wear a face mask, and be careful not to touch Anything, but was able to walk through the hospital a bit. She's still having trouble with her rash and being tired... but getting out was nice.

We have the results for my blood test, to see if I am a match for donating marrow to Kim. I am not. We are still waiting to hear back on Mike's results. Once again, for more information on becoming a marrow donor, please visit

Weekend Pictures

View from the window

Another view from the window

The view from Kim's bed (the doctors and nurses keep commenting on how popular she is! Thanks everyone! She could use some new mylar balloons soon... :)

Mel, Whitney and Cassie come to visit

Aunt Emily (mom's little sister) and her kids Mauri and Colin come to visit, along with Grandma Marie (Emily's husband, Darin, and our cousin Ashlyn came, too, but both of them were feeling a little sick, so they didn't come in the room.)

Kim and Grandma

Our cousin Heather and her husband Tom, and children Felicity, Melody and Toby came to visit and brought Kim some beautiful decorations/treats that she and our other cousin, Des, made.

The rash on Kim's back. (She did give permission for this photo! Just wanted you to see that she really is covered with it... so far, it's been a bigger problem for her than anything else!)

Checking out her new Johnny Depp magazine

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Logan 15th Ward

Today our family ward, the Logan 15th, held a special fast for Kimberly. We wanted to thank you all for your love and prayers. We know they are helping her.
Thank you to everyone else who has been fasting and praying for Kim. She would not be able to do this without you.

Weekend Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Sorry I haven't had a post up for the past couple of days. It has been a crazy weekend. I am happy to tell you that Kim is still responding well to her treatment, and is nearly through her first round of chemotherapy. (Day 8 of 10)

We are so glad that she still hasn't shown any signs of sickness from it- she just gets very tired sometimes. Her appetite has come back, since being able to come off of some of the chemo (for the first five days, she had three different kinds of chemo- for the last five, she has just one of them.) She is still having a lot of trouble from a rash that she's developed. The doctors can't quite tell what's causing it, but have started trying a few things to help her get rid of it. (Changing her antibiotic, keeping her in the sterile hospital gowns, etc.)

Because of her discomfort there, and her tendancy to tire easily, we wanted to remind friends that it's best to keep visits short. But please don't hesitate to come! Your love and support means so much to us.
I will have more pictures up soon, but here are some lovely flowers that her friend Aaron sent to her. They have to stay at home, but she appreciates them anyway.