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

Thursday, December 31, 2009


More Improvements!

Kim is sleeping right now, so I am going to post a quick update while I am thinking about it! So much has been happening, even since my post last night. Kim is continuing to do better, and I can't tell you how happy we are.
This morning the doctors decided that she could come off of the blood pressure monitor, so the sensor that was in her wrist is now gone and her hands are totally needle free! She also was able to come off of her catheter, and she moved into a reclining chair for part of the day. Best of all, she's been doing great with her breathing, and so just about an hour ago, they took her off of her "high-flow" respirator and now have her on just a regular oxygen flow. They are going to move her feeding tube to her stomach, and keep her on that until she has more of her strengh back, but they've taken her off of the clear-liquids diet and said that she can eat whatever she feels comfortable with. They count her calories, and they will make up the difference at night through the feeding tube. Luckily, she hasn't thrown up yet today, so she seems to be doing well with it. They are also probably going to take the PICC line out of her arm in a day or so, since she has so few (comparatively) IV fluids they have to give her now.
Her fever is still down- dare I even say gone now? She's looking great- no longer puffy, though she's skinnier than ever, and her color is good. Her ANC wobbled between 0 and 100 for a day or two, they stayed at 100, and as of today is up to 200. They were worried that high white blood cells could cause her to feel really sick, if they were to start flooding the areas she had the infection, but so far it doesn't seem to be much of a problem. Hopefully this is because her infection is gone now, but it's hard for them to tell. They are still giving her most of the anti-biotics and keeping an eye on her.
As far as awareness goes, she's still very tired, and when she is awake, she's still loopy. They are still giving her pain meds, and plenty of other things that make her tired. It will probably be a while before she's off of all that- they are going to put her through a whole rehabilitation cycle to get her weaned from the narcotics, so she doesn't react badly to coming off of them. Our little druggie :)
At this point, with just the IVs, regular oxygen flow and feeding tube being the only special machine-related things she has going on, and some regular vitals monitors that she usually has upstairs anyway, they will keep her here for another day or two, and if she's still looking good, then she can go back up to the ImmunoCompromised Services unit. Yay!
Though she has been asleep most of the day, even in her reclining chair, she did wake up for a little bit to drink some broth and juice, and she talked for a while to mom, dad and me. She knows where she is, and sort of what she's been through, and she knows she's crazy right now (she sang the "I'm a nut" girls camp song for us) so she's not as bad as she has been, but she still rambled about a lot of different things. For just a little while she got emotional, and told us that she felt so sorry, and bad for us- that we'd had to go through all of this with her, and we didn't even get to be sedated like she was. She said it's better to be sedated. She remembered coming out of it, towards the end, and she said it was hard- that she just wanted them to put her back to sleep, but she knew she had to wake up and start working on getting better. But after we all cried a little bit, and told her that we love her so much and we're just so glad she's getting better, she cheered up and started telling us funny stories. Like how she was throwing up all through the movie Ice Age, and how she'll never be able to watch the show again, and in fact, she hates it so much that she'd like to tear it into little pieces, and set it on fire, and throw it off a cliff, and when the forest rangers came to yell at her for hurting the forest, she would tell them that they just don't understand! Oh, you probably had to be there, but I was laughing so hard, I thought I'd crack a rib. Not long after that she zonked out again, and is now sleeping peacefully...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It seems like a lot of things have been happening really fast for Kim this past day or so. She continued to build up the strength of her lungs, and has been getting rid of a lot of the excess fluid inside and around them. Later yesterday they removed the draining line from her side, because they weren't really getting any more fluid from it. (Don't you think 2600 CCs is enough?) And they decided that if she was still looking good, they would remove the breathing tube today, and put her back on a regular respirator. And, they decided to go for it. She's ended up handling it really well, and has been able to breathe on her own. She still has a lot of residual mucus that she's working up, and she still has to be on a constant oxygen flow, but she's very glad to have that tube out of her throat.
They still have the feeding tube going down into her intestines, but they've removed the suction line that ran to her stomach (the one that she coughed up a couple of days ago.) They probably would have left it in longer, but it stopped working, so they decided to just take it out. Since then, she's thrown up a few times a day... definitely not fun, but she's allowed to be on a clear-liquid diet. As soon as her stomach starts behaving, they will probably take her off the feeding tube as well.
Because she is still coming off of the sedatives, and working other drugs through her system, she's been pretty loopy again today, and really tired. They did get her out of the bed once, for physical therapy, but for the most part she's been sleepy all day. But, it's fun to be able to talk to her, a little bit. She's partially not used to being able to talk again, and partially doesn't like to because it kind of hurts her. Her vocal cords are still recovering, and she sounds pretty froggy. When her oncology doctor, Dr. Barnette, came to visit her again today, he told her that she should switch to filtered cigarettes. ;)
So, even though it's been a really rough day for Kim, it's been a day of lots of changes, that we can hopefully keep for the better. Her fever is still down, her swelling has gone down, and her color is getting better. I'm so glad, and I can't wait to see her continue to improve. Some of you might even hear from her in the next day or two, who knows? Hopefully it won't be too much longer before we can move back up to the ICS- and use cell phones! Anyway, thank you all- and lets keep praying for Kim's recovery!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This is the tray that I told you about- where the fluid that drains from around Kim's lungs goes. Since I took this picture, she filled this one completely (2000 CCs) and has another column and a half on the next one filled. Over 2600 total- so that's what, over 80 ounces? Something like that. It's crazy, because it's kind of thick, like jelly.

This is my bed at the B&B. There is a queen for mom and dad, and actually a normal (borning) twin that I could sleep in, but who could resist a darling window seat bed? So I moved the blankets over. Thanks Ronald McDonald, and MYRON and LESLIE!

This is a picture dad took during our Christmas phone call with Mike. Kim was pretty much out of it, but it was so wonderful talking with him!

Our family Christmas picture- after we opened our presents. Kim was our real present that day (hence the lovely bow- don't tell her that I was the one who put it on her!)

Kim's note! I was so thrilled that she managed it. Oh, how I love that girl.

Kim's new bed, on its way in.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Kim hasn't really been changing much these past few days. But she has, bit by tiny bit, been improving. Baby steps. :) They are very gradually lowering the settings on her respirator, so that her lungs are doing more work, little by little. It's gotten to a pretty tricky stage, because the work they are doing is finally starting to break up some of the mucus in her lungs. But, the breathing tube makes it difficult to get rid of. There is a suction line that can be lowered down the breathing tube, and a bit past it, to pull up fluid that is coming out of her lungs. But, it has to be done manually, so we have to keep a close eye on her. When she starts coughing, she'll need it done, and some other times she just tries to show it with her eyes. It's a little scary for her, because if too much fluid builds up, it blocks the line and she can't breathe.
As I've mentioned before, she has a suction line running through her nose, down her throat and into her stomach to pump out any fluids that make their way there. Her feeding tube goes down the other side of her nose, down her throat, through her stomach and into her small intestine. So her stomach isn't really supposed to be doing much at all right now. They try to keep it drained so that she won't throw up, but sometimes when she's coughing really hard, she works up a little vomit anyway. This is always the worst, because she ends up with fluid from her lungs in her windpipe/trachea blocking the base of her breathing tube, and vomit in her throat/esophagus filling up her mouth, so I know she feels like she is drowning, and she panics a bit. The nurses have always been really good to get her suctioned out as quickly as possible, and Kim knows this. But it's still not fun while it's happening. One time she was coughing and gagging so hard, that she actually worked the suction line up from out of her stomach, and into her mouth. Her vomit is yellow, from the potassium-rich nutrition fluid they still have on a constant drip into her. So, try to imagine poor Kim starting to spasm, turning bright red, with wide panicked eyes, yellow fluid frothing out of her mouth, and then a long plastic tube working its way out as well. No, actually, don't try to imagine it. The nurse really did handle it all very quickly, and we were there with a nice rag to keep her from getting all messy. I am most grateful that her heart has been getting so much healthier. One of the chemo’s that they gave her last time really made it weak, and prone to those SVP/beat-twice-as-fast attacks. But, now that it is getting stronger, she hasn't been getting them, and that has really been wonderful. Also, I'm glad that she's still been kept on the sedatives, and so she probably won't remember that lovely experience. Though I guess we'll have to see what she remembers when she's well enough to come completely off the respirator.
Another fun thing I forgot to tell you last post was that poor Kim has started to develop bed sores. They've tried to keep her rotated, slightly propped up on one side or another for a change, and to keep her blood circulating... but alas, it was to no avail. So, today they brought in a special bed that they ordered up for her. It's like a regular hospital bed, but with an air mattress on top. And not just any air mattress- this one is made up of smaller air chambers that will inflate and deflate slightly to keep the pressure on her body changing now and then. It was pretty exciting getting her moved onto it (it involved a Lot of people, a special inflatable moving pad, and some serious furniture rearranging) but she agrees that it is more comfortable than her other bed was.
They lowered Kim's sedative level a bit today, so she was a little more conscious and active than she has been for the past week. I know it frustrates her a little, when she can work up the energy to be frustrated, to not be able to talk, but it is nice to look at her, and be able to interact with her a bit- once I get the hang of asking short and simple, yes or no questions. Most exciting though was that for just a little while today, she was strong enough to grip a marker and write a little bit on a board for us. She said that it was hard to breathe. The respiratory doctor came in just to talk to her about it, and after carefully checking her ventilator, she explained to Kim that it would feel a little harder because they had lowered some of the settings and Kim was going to be doing a little more of the work now, but if it got too hard, they could go back up on the settings. Faced with this clearly defined goal, Kim nodded to show that she would work on building her lungs up. Oh, I am so proud of her. The other thing Kim wrote was that she wanted a warm blanket. Which... brings me to my other news. Her fever went away completely for the first time today. As of late this afternoon, she was at a normal, human temperature, and stayed there until we left around 1030 pm. She has literally had a fever non-stop for the past three and a half weeks. It will probably go back up again, but that she was able to get this low, at least for a while, is great.
As you can see, it's still a really rough road for Kim, but I can't help but feel that she is on the right track. Thank you all, so much... this really is a miracle.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I hope all of you had a great Christmas. Ours was different, of course, but it was really nice to be together and feel like Kim is going to be okay. The best part of the day was when Mike called. We were able to talk to him here in Kim's room, and even though she wasn't really with it, she was still With Us, and it was wonderful. It sounds like Mike is doing really great. I'm just so glad that we were able to be upbeat about Kim's condition.
As a side note, did you guys know that I've started a blog for Mike? I haven't done too much with it yet, but there should be at least a weekly update from now on as to how he is doing. The address is
We opened a couple of presents here in the room, but we're saving our Real Christmas for when Kim comes home. She doesn't even remember yesterday, so it doesn't matter that we didn't do too much.
I forgot to tell you in my last post a little more about Kim's infection. Because she is fighting it her whole body through, despite it being centralized in her lungs now, she's swollen and puffy all over her body. She is also slightly jaundiced (turning yellow) because of a billyruben buildup from one of her neutrition fluids vs. still having a hard time flushing it out of her body.
They think they have her more or less stabalized now. She's still very sedated, and can't move much at all, or talk. But she can sometimes nod, or shake her head to communicate, and can squeeze our hands and wiggle her feet. They are going to get her started on some basic physical therapy on Monday.
What we are really waiting for now is Kim's blood counts to start building up again. They should be coming up any time from now, to a couple more weeks from now if she is slow, and that's when her body will be able to better eutalize the antibiotics, and really start to heal itself.

I wanted to give a special thank you to all of you who have brought gifts for Kim or our family. Even though we haven't opened them yet, we told her that so many people are thinking about her, and she seems to really appreciate that.
Also, I wanted to let Kim's friends know that she felt really terrible about not getting your gifts to you before Christmas. But she has them, and when she is better and at home, she wants to give them to you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

an Epic Tale

On the Eve of this sacred holiday, I bring you tidings of an epic tale, worthy to be counted with those of heroes of old: that of Kimberly Nelson. From a potential heart surgery, to a vicious war against cancer and infection, Kimberly has been fighting. She has been required to exhibit tremendous strength, courage and faith. Again and again she has returned to the field to battle her foe, and again and again she has triumphed. However, as with any epic tale, just as the last, glorious victory was near, her foe lashed out with one final, infectious blow, nearly tipping the scales that Kim has been struggling for so long to keep in her favor. Kim has found that she and her brothers (and sisters) in arms, those who have been fighting along side her- supporting her, helping her to carry on- were not strong enough for this final campaign. We have had to call in the reinforcements. Aided by hosts of doctors, nurses and specialists, and strengthened by redoubled efforts of all those who have come to know her, Kimberly is literally battling for her life. And our cherished heroine will be victorious. Here follows the continued events of this, her story:

(Don't ask- the mood just struck me.) Here I am, again with Kim. I've missed being with her so much. Though she's been kept unconscious these past couple of days, it's very difficult to be away from her. However, today was a special day to see her again. Though her status hasn't changed much, the doctors decided they could try taking her out of the paralysis, and just keep her on the pain killers and sedatives. Fortunately, she's handled it well. She's helping the respirator a bit with her own breathing, so they've backed off a bit on the pressure (it will still be quite a while before she loses the breathing tube) but the main thing is that she is slightly more aware today. By that I mean, yesterday she was out cold, and today she blinks, moves her hands a bit and wiggles her feet. And I can tell she understands us to some extent, and can tell that dad, mom and I are here. Remember though, it's not like we are Trying to wake her up. The point is to allow her to rest and recover. She's still got a very high fever- up to 104 today. Her lungs are getting better, but slowly. That is where her infection ended up settling. She has a kind of strep there (not necessarily the same one that they found in her initial blood infection, but it was caused by it: a chain reaction sort of thing.)
They were finally able to get a feeding tube into her. We learned that Kim has a very strangely shaped stomach, apparently. Instead of being sort of horizontally positioned and folded gently in the middle, like most, hers is long and tall, with a curve towards one end. It just made feeding the tube through into her small intestine a little more difficult. Funny girl.
She's still draining lots of fluid from the space around her lungs. I am looking at the collecting tray they have, and she's all the way up to 1300 CCs now- not including a lot that is still making its way through the tube. That's over 40 ounces. They are also sucking fluid out of her lungs when she starts to work it up, and sucking junk out of her stomach (remember, her feeding tube bypasses it, so they mostly try to keep it clear to avoid her throwing up- very unpleasant with all of these tubes down her throat.) So, there are a number of clear containers stitting around her bed holding all sorts of weird Kimmy-juices. :)
At this time, I am just so glad that Kim is healing, and that she is semi-awake. The sedatives they have her on, as I've said, tend to have a pretty strong amnesia-affect, so it's not likely that she'll remember any of this. But it's nice to be able to feel her awareness of our presence. It's going to make Christmas morning a lot more fun :) I hope all of you enjoy your Christmases as well!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The nurses and doctors at PCMC have been busy taking care of Kim. They were able to successfully do the bronchioscopy, to see what she has going on in her lungs. They are testing a sample that they took right now.
They also inserted a small draining tube into her abdomen, just outside of her lungs. She has so much fluid outside of her lungs pressing against them, that it's contributed very much to her difficulty breathing. So far, they've drained off over 300 C Cs of fluid- that's over 10 ounces. They also found that she's retaining fluid in other parts of her body, like her digestive system, so they've put off inserting the feeding tube until they can get that a little more under control.
Her blood pressure is doing better. When they give her fluids, like blood and platelets, they usually take her off blood pressure medication, but put her on when she hasn't had fluids for a while. They currently have her off of her heart medication as well, because her latest MRI showed that her heart was looking stronger. Can you tell that this whole thing is sort of a balancing act? They've been doing a great job of it so far.
Probably the biggest thing that's happened recently was just tonight. Because she has so many lines and IV's and medications (as I told you, she had additional IV's on both hands and feet to try and keep up with it all... but those only last so long, can be more painful, and can only take some of the drugs they give her. Others need to go through larger lines, like the one she has in her chest) they are giving her an additional permanent IV line, a PICC line.
Actually, they just did it an hour or so ago, so along with the double-lumen broviach line she has in her chest, she now has a triple-lumen PICC line in her upper arm. This is going to be very helpful in getting her body what it needs. For a little more info on PICC lines, go to this website:
The picture at the top of the page is a double-lumen line, to help you understand if you didn't already know what that means. What's cool about lumens is that you can add additionally branching caps to them, so as long as the medications/fluids are compatable, you can have up to something like four IV lines in each lumen. The main line feeds directly into the superior vena clava, just above her heart, as does her chest/central/broviach line. (So many different ways to say it all! But I hope you get what I mean. I will take a picture of all of it on Kim some time soon. It's getting pretty busy! I think she's up to 13 IV pumps at one time now... and who knows? Maybe more on the way.) It will be nice not to have so many IV's on her outer body- she was getting pretty bruised! And they don't usually work as well. Plus, each time they stuck her again, there has been risk of more infection. Her immunity is still at zero. But they've been so careful with everything so far, it's more a matter of comfort and convenience at this point.
Overall, Kim still has that infection that started this whole thing, and they're still working to get it taken care of- while also fixing her body up. The nurses think she looks better today than she did yesterday, so that's great news!
Did I do better this time? :) Thank you all! Love, Emily
PS- don't forget my usual disclaimer against spelling and grammar. I decided long ago that I was just going to type as it comes to my mind, and just let all of you forgive me for my little mistakes!

To All of You

Dear Friends and Family,
I feel like I need to apologize to all of you. I have been having a pretty rough time this past week- we all are, aren't we? But I've let it get me down, and though I've been totally honest in my posts, I feel like I haven't been as positive as I should, and as I have tried to be up until now. I think it was because it just seemed like I wasn't doing the situation justice if I said things like, "...but I know it will just be a matter of time before Kim gets past this as well!" or, "It's been rough, but she'll be okay!" I felt fake, being optimistic, and I was also selfish. I thought if I shared the worry unfiltered, you would all be more inclined to pray for Kim. Because really, it's gotten to the point where she really can't get much worse than she is. If she has any more complications, or she doesn't pull through the state she's in now, she's not going to make it. But those are just facts. And I now feel guilty for not showing more faith to all of you.
Although things haven't changed much for Kim, I KNOW SHE IS GOING TO PULL THROUGH THIS. I'm not just saying that because of karma, or "the secret" or even the simple healthy facts of maintaining a good attitude. Though we have as a family faced the fact that she may not survive this, we KNOW that she will. Kim had already done so much in life, and touched the lives of so many others, but I know it's only a small part of the things she will accomplish her whole life through.
It is going to be a rough road still, but I couldn't ask for a better family, or better friends to help us along the way. Thank you all, so very much.
Love, Emily

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

They are putting a feeding tube in Kim tonight. She had just been getting her nutrition intravenously before- now she will have a line feeding directly into her small intestine to nourish her. They bypass her stomach so they don't have to worry about her vomiting any more, though she hasn't done that since they put her on the paralyzing drugs.
While they have her on the respirator to get her lungs back into function, they will keep her sedated (unconscious.) They are also giving her pain medication and the drugs combine to create an amnesia-like effect, so she shouldn't be aware of or be able to remember any of this later.
Right now she has two nurses assigned to her day and night, and regular checks by the doctors. They are taking very good care of her- moving her around so her body doesn’t get stiff. They are very carefully monitoring all of her vitals and chemicals- matching how she is doing with what they will give her. It's a constant process.
Today all went well, aside from a temporary drop in her blood pressure, which they were able to get back up. The bronchoscope, probing of her lungs, went well. They are working to get them clear.
There is not much more we can do than wait and see what happens next. At this point, we know we will be spending Christmas at the hospital- probably in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.) At this point we're just hoping she'll be well enough to be conscious for it.
They have her on the respirator, along with heart monitors, more medications, and pretty much everything else there is. She is currently sedated, and they have given her meds to paralyze her as well. She has additional iv's in both hands and feet, along with her central lines. They have her on a cooling blanket to keep her temp down. As well as pumping air into her lungs, they are sucking out some of the blood and mucus that was there as well. They have her paralyzed because of everything they have running into her, but also because when she moves, her heart has been having SVT attacks. This is from the heart condition she had before- it causes her heart to beat almost twice as fast as it should- up to 260 plus bmp. There has been so much more happening... I can't even think of it all. I will be here the night again with her. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

If you want to get anything to us, please drop it off with my grandma Mary in Logan and I will get it from her when I come back up tomorrow. We are going to be staying at the Ronald mcdonald house until further notice. Though as I said, I will be home for a couple of the next days. We are still waiting to be called back in to see Kim.
Kim's lungs are collapsing, so they are putting a breathing tube down her throat and keeping her on a respirator. I guess I sort of jinxed us with my last post. I will keep you updated.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Family in Salt Lake

Well, we have some good news for the family. Dad was able to get his project at work finished- and it went wonderfully. He'd designed a new machine to make a part for a customer company. They were getting it built and starting their first few productions- and everything went well. Everyone is thrilled with his work, and we are so proud of him. He finished the last of what he had to do today, a little earlier than he thought he might be able to, and he came strait down here to the hospital. It's really nice to have everyone together again. He and mom are at the B&B now, and will probably plan on staying down here all of this next week. I need to go back to work for the first few days of the week, but we're starting to plan on our Christmas here at the hospital.

Kim really hasn't changed her status very much. But, I would like to think that she is getting just a little bit better. She seems to have a little more energy today, and though she still has fevers and the whole nine yards, it just seems like she might be getting a slight edge on it all. KNOCK ON WOOD!

She is still so tired and weak. I'm sorry if any of you are feeling neglected. I know in the past she's been able to keep in close touch with her friends at home. But I think it is going to be a while still before she is up for much more than just trying to get better. We're hoping she can at least get to the point where they'll send her back up to the Immuno-Compromised ward where we usually dwell. We really miss it up there- both the slightly more comfortable surroundings (it was kind of nice having all four walls solid- here, two of them are glass doors with curtains) and the wonderful staff, many of which we've gotten really close to.

It is such a huge relief to no longer be Constantly worrying that she'll stop breathing at any minute. It's still really difficult to know what will come, as they still don't have her infection pinned down, but the slight improvement does wonders for moral. Thank you all again- we couldn't have done it without you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Still has a fever, still breathing too fast (exhausting) and she may be getting a feeding tube if she can't start eating. Not much else has changed.

Yesterday, some of the Utah Grizzly Hockey players came around the hospital. They game Kim a signed jersey. She didn't remember it happening, but at one of her more coherent moments mom told her about it, and she asked to see the picture. She agreed that they had been pretty cute.
Not much is new. I've been with Kim all night, and she still has a high fever and a hard time breathing. They keep changing the machine she's on to try and make it easier. She's been getting up to 80+ breaths per minute.
She hasn't really been able to fall asleep tonight... just drifts in and out, but is rarely ever really awake, either.
I think I mentioned before that when the shift changes from day to night, and vs vrsa, they have us leave for that hour (between 7 and 8 am or pm.) That is probably when I will head back to the hotel and give the car to mom, so she can come up and spend the day with Kim... and hopefully I won't sleep too long, so we can all three spend some time together when I wake up.
Well, now that I've bored you with probably a few too many details (I'm pretty tired at this point, so forgive my rambling) I just wanted to say that one thing I've thought about when she's struggling between breaths (not right now- she's doing okay right now) is that I'm sort of praying over each one... and so are all of you. And for as many breaths as she needs to take, she's probably got enough prayers to cover her.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Latest

Once again, mom and I are both at PCMC with Kim. Because we're so worried about Kim, and don't want to leave her alone, we got a room at the nearby Ronald McDonald house, and will take turns sitting with her. Dad is going to come down when he can, but he has a huge project going on at ATK, and has to do a lot of work- probably through the weekend.

As of today, Kim is a little more lucid, in that she doesn't talk as much as though she were awake and dreaming at the same time. She can focus more on what is going on in the room. But she's still so weak that she really doesn't say much. She still has to be on the breathing mask, too, and that makes it harder for her to talk. Fortunately she's been sleeping a lot, and though she tries to talk in her sleep sometimes, she's more relaxed.

We heard the rest of the test results this morning. As well as her lungs (which I told you were 75% fluid filled as of the scan) they tested her heart, and found that it is only pumping at 53% capacity. So, they gave her additional medicine today to help it pump and to relax her veins so that the blood moves more easily.

She still has fevers and the infection- no news there.

I just wanted to thank those of you who have been a help to us, and who have been praying for Kim. Mom has been taking this pretty hard, so if you want to get in touch with us, please leave a message on my phone, or send me an email.

For those of you who may like to participate as well, the Logan 15th ward is going to hold a special fast for Kim this Sunday. We're so grateful to them for their support.


I am sorry that I have been sort of crazy with the posts. I am not really sure if I'm making sense half of the time.
Kim is doing worse. They put her from just oxygen flow tubes to a CPAP machine- one that fits over her mouth and nose and is more forceful about blowing oxygen into her.
The results from her scans came back, and we found out that her lungs are 3/4 filled with fluid. When I put my hand on her ribs, I can feel them crackle when she breathes. She is practically panting all of the time- has been for days now. They don't want to put her on an actual respirator unless it is absolutely necessary, because with her immunity so low, the risks almost outweigh the benefit.
They stopped giving her the medicine we thought was making her loopy last night. So what has her totally delirious now is most likely the fever and exhaustion. She hasn't been able to rest much at all since this hit her on Saturday.
Leaving her was very hard. She has been having a lot of pain in her abdomen, and it hit again just as we were about to go. I think it is from being so tense trying to breathe for so long. That's when they gave her the breathing mask.
Hopefully the mask will help her lungs. Hopefully she'll be able to rest more tonight to help herself heal. Hopefully the medicines they are giving her will start to kick in and help the infection and fever. Hopefully the blessing she received earlier helps. Hopefully she'll be okay until mom can get there again in the morning. Hopefully the rest of us can keep it together while she is going through this. Hope and prayers.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pics of PICU

It's a wonder Kim even smiled for the picture of her with Ben and Irish (don't you love his tiny santa hat?) Well, it's not much of a smile, but I guess it's the best she could do. At least she recognized a camera :) She was also herself enough to throw off the cloth we've been keeping on her forehead- vanity never faileth! But of course, ten seconds after this she was once again staring in her mind's own version of "Pirates of the Carribbean"

in the PICU

Hey, it's Emily. I am down at Primary Children's. As I said before I came down, it looks like Kim will be in the intensive care unit longer (they call it PICU: "pick-you" because it is actually the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.) We had to move everything out of her other room, and we've packed most of it into my car to bring back to Logan. We can't really stay the night with her, so both mom and I will be coming back, and Mom will probably come down again in the morning.
Right now they are changing the charges in Kim's room, so we aren't allowed to be there, for about an hour. I was able to go in earlier though and spend some time with her. I guess she is technically doing okay, but it's pretty hard to see her like this. She is breathing really fast, and may still have fluid sitting on her lungs. They have her hooked up to so many machines: to monitor her breathing, oxygen level, heartrate, heart pressure (a line going into her heart- because of her murmer etc that have been issues before), potassium level, blood pressure, etc. They are giving her oxygen, potassium, saline, platelets now and then, blood pressure medication, antibiotics, antifungals, antinausea... etc.
As I said, she is breathing quickly, is very tired, sometimes has pain in her abdomen, and is very confused- to the point of being delirious. So it's hard to see her this way, especially because we still don't really know how she's doing overall. They've done CAT scans and echocardiograms on her today, to see what's going on. We should know in the morning how things are working.
Really, I should just focus on the fact that SHE IS GOING TO BE FINE. Two of our favorite nurses in the ICU came down and gave her a blessing tonight. This is so hard, but I'm sure she'll pull through soon.
I took a couple of pictures, and will try to get them posted now. Once again, as always, thank you for praying for her.

still in ICU. I don't know

Kim seems to be doing well at one time, and bad at another. They now think she will be in the ICU for a lot longer, and I am going down now to help mom pack up her room. Kim is on all of those medications, and they've made her delirious, so fortunately she doesn't really know what is going on. neither do I. I'll post later tonight. love you all

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Update- still in ICU

Kim is once again responding well to treatment. They'll be keeping her in the Intensive Care Unit until they have her infection under control. Her fevers haven't been as bad for a while, so it looks like things are going well. I'll let you know when we have an official verdict. Thank you all so much!

Intensive Care Unit

Kim has been sent down to the Intensive Care Unit after all. She started having a really hard time again in the night, and they decided to just get her down there so she can be on more medications and machines in hopes of getting her stabalized. As of now, they are not planning on taking her lines out. If everything goes well, she should only be there for about 24 hours.
They are still battling the strep infection. There is a chance it could move to other parts of her body. Between that and her being so weak right now, her fevers have been getting as high as 106.
Mom is the only one who is allowed to be in with her. Also, there are no cell phones allowed in the ICU, so for now they will be a little out of touch.

I will keep you updated.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Last update- good news

Okay, I didn't end up leaving earlier. Kim was doing very badly for a while... they ran more blood tests, did some scans, and called in doctors from Intensive Care. Her fever has been over 102- up to 105, and she was shaking, pale, she couldn't breathe, and her hands and feet were going numb. But, they got some medicine in her, and she's been getting a bit better. So they still haven't sent her to the ICU. She's been kind of stradling the line for the past couple of days, but so far has stayed just on the upside. They'll keep an eye on her for the next while, and she may go up and down some more, but hopefully she'll pull through it within a day or two.
The bacteria in her chest is a kind of strep. So far as we know, it's still there, the tests aren't back on that yet. But as long as she can keep on top of it, she'll be okay.
I doubt they'll end up doing surgery on her, and though this does weaken her, so long as she can beat the next couple of days, she probably won't be set back too much. Thank you all for the prayers. I'll update again tomorrow.

Another Update

I am about to head back to Logan. Kim's fever has gone back up, and they've scheduled more tests for her. She's not quite through this thing yet, so please keep with us. We'll keep you updated. Thank you all- Emily

PS- Santa just came by :) We took a couple of pictures that we'll try to get up soon.

Update on Kim

It's Emily again- I am at the hospital with mom and Kim. Kim is still not doing well- her fever is still high, but they think they might have the infection contained... we're still waiting on the final results from some tests to be sure. But they haven't moved her down to Intensive Care, and they seem to think she'll be able to pull through it.
I won't lie- she's on oxygen, extra fluids, heart monitors, and a nearly constant stream of check-ups. She's really weak, and tired. But I know she'll be okay- if we just keep praying for her. Thank you all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pray for Kim

Hi Everyone, it's Emily again. I have a special favor to ask all of you. I know you've been keeping Kim in your thoughts and prayers, but if you could say an extra prayer for her today, we would really appreciate it.
Kim has contracted a blood infection through her IV lines, and has been battling a very high fever, nausea and more weakness than usual for a couple of days. So far, the antibiotics they have her on aren't making much of a difference. If she is not better by tomorrow, they will admit her to intensive care, and surgically remove her lines. Dad is with her now, and will stay an extra night and go strait to work tomorrow, because of the snow. For the same reason, Mom doesn't know when she'll be able to get back down to Kim. It's a hard time for our family.
This is obiously not just stalling Kim from getting home soon before Christmas- it's one of the toughest things she's had happen yet. So please, pray for her today.
Thank you all so much
Love, The Nelsons

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 11

These are the decorations I made out of construction paper and paper towels. Look how short my Christmas chain is getting! Time to get out of here! ;) My ANC is officially at 0 now. Good. Now it can go back up and I can go home in time for Christmas! WOOHOO! I was tested for c-diff (gross icky bacterial infection in the intestines) but the two test results came back negative. But they don't believe it and are thinking about testing me AGAIN and keeping me on the antibiotics anyway. WHAT?! Crazy doctors!

Oh good, my nurse just told me I didn't have to take the antibiotics anymore. Happy day! :)

I'm growing my eyebrows and eyelashes back. Yay!! I wonder when they're going to start falling out. But I'll enjoy it while it lasts :)

My taste buds are still all weird from the chemo. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast and it was like eating a sponge. Very weird. Speaking of food, last night mom and I got take out from Sizzlers. It was tasty! But the lady who took the order really messed up mine. I asked for lemon herb chicken and fries. I got the chicken, shrimp and rice. The rice was good though and I gave mom the shrimp. :)

So not much is happening, which is good. Just trying to find ways to pass the time. I did start reading "Chalice" by Robin McKinley yesterday and finished it.

Thanks again for all your love and support :) You're all so awesome!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holidays at the Hospital

I love you Kimmy- go for it :)

Day seven

It's day seven of being back in good ol' PCMC in room number 4415. I have a purple floor! I have my room all decked out for Christmas. I just finished with my last dose of chemo this morning! Now I play the waiting game. Fingers crossed for no complications! My ANC is still high enough that I can go out for walks, now that everyone here isn't so paranoid about H1N1. So I get out as much as I can without worrying too many people. One tech almost called security because she thought I wasn't coming back. Opps. It's been pretty nice. As long as I'm drinking enough, they'll keep me unhooked from my pole. SWEET! Me and my pole do not always see eye to eye.

Oh my ANC got as high as 2600! That's in the normal range! WOOHOOO! Go bone marrow go! Crank out that blood! YAY YA!!

My fingers are crossed that I'll be home for Christmas. And my toes and my arms and my legs and my eyes and whatever else I can cross :P. They are very understanding here when it comes to the holiday season. I bet I can be home in time. As long as I don't start getting fevers, infections and fun things like that. Knock on wood.

I've found out that I'm really blessed. A tech told me most kids they send home end up coming back in a few days with a fever or something. I've been able to enjoy over two weeks of freedom each time I've been home. I only have to go back when the doctors say it's time for more chemo. The tech said that's rare. :O WOW! I had no idea. More tender mercies from the Lord. He's really watching out for me. I just wrote Mike a letter. I told him how this trial is not a time to despair, but to rejoice. I get to learn and grow so much from what I'm going through. That's a blessing. I feel such love from my Heavenly Parents and my Savior that my heart just wants to sing! I am shown incredible love from family, friends, and even people I've never met and probably never will. Love is amazing.