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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Finally Kim has a chance to really get some rest. She never can get a full night's sleep at the hospital. She's still getting used to it, really.
I can't even tell you how amazing it is to have her home again. We just spent a little while tonight looking at some of the pictures we took of her while she was in PICU, and it was really just a very strange feeling... remembering everything we've been through these past two months. Kim is truly the most amazing young lady I have ever met.
I'm sorry I didn't write more sooner. I'm just enjoying soaking it all in. Also, I'm sorry I have to be a little mean about visitors, but you wouldn't believe how tired she is all the time. She has such a long way to go to catch up still. She has to spend most of her time laying down, and she still has a lot of medications to take through her home IV, but compared to where she was just a few weeks ago... she's improved immensely!
We've decided we are going to have Christmas on Saturday, with Christmas Eve on Friday evening. Although we're still missing Mike, it's so great to have our family mostly together for such a special season.
Kim is going to be in Salt Lake most of tomorrow, for checkups and such. She will probably be going back for her last round of chemo some time towards the end of next week.
Once again, I'm sorry I have to be mean about company, but she's really not up for it. She might be in a few more days- we will let you know. We do love you all so much, and appreciate everything you've done for us.
Christmas Eve in two days! :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Finally, we might have found the reason for Kim's fevers. A MRI and then ultrasound have revealed an abcess under Kim's skin. It's not a big one, or one they could operate to remove, but with a specific target they think they can nab it with some specific antibiotics. They're going to get her started on those, and if her fevers improve (always those fevers!) they'll send Kim home, even on the exta drugs. (I think she's resorted to trying to be a pain, so they'll try to kick her out that much sooner. ;)
Anyway, thanks those of you who are still sticking here with Kim. I can't wait to have her home.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still no news. The doctors decided to do Kim's Bone Marrow Asperate (Test) yesterday, just in case the fevers, which she is still having, are being caused by leukemia cells growing again. Obviously, that would be horrible, and would completely change the how they will continue her treatment.
We are a little worried that they might just choose to start Kim on her last round of chemo without letting her come home for a break. We are still waiting for the results from the bone marrow, and several other tests they've taken the past two days, before they decide what they will do. We should know by Friay or Saturday.
In my mind, Kim is not really through everything she's dealt with this past round until they clear her to come home. I'm very glad she's been feeling better, but until they get these fevers figured out, she's not really through it yet.
Thanks everyone, for your love and continued support. She still needs it as much as ever... though she's really still too weak for company, just knowing you're there for her is helping to get her through the tough times of being stuck in the hospital. In another week, she'll have been there for two solid months.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hey everyone- I just wanted to let you know that Kim is still not home yet, and we still don't know when it will be. She had a pretty high fever yesterday, and we still don't know why. (For a little while, we thought there might be something wrong with the thermometer they were using on her! But they checked it against another, and still keep finding her toasty.)
As a testament to her still-weak state, yesterday she also had a moment of vertigo, and fell and smacked her head on the wall. She has a couple of nice goose-eggs, but nothing worse. (Knowing Kim, I'm really surprised they haven't found anything yet for as many times as they've scanned her head...)
As the weather is finally clearing up a bit in Cache Valley, I'm really hoping that she'll be able to come home ASAP! (A red burn day wouldn't have been very fun for her, especially because our house is mostly heated by a wood burning stove, which we can't use on those days.) So lets keep our fingers crossed... I know my 2010 calendar is somewhere in that pile of presents, and I'd really like to start using it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hi Everyone... Christmas still isn't here yet, but we're hoping it will be within the next week or so!
Today we found out that one of the things that has been giving Kim so much pain over this past month has been kidney stones. Her left side hurt her a lot around when she was in the intensive care unit, and they think that is when she started passing them. We didn't realize this until today, though, when she finally got the first (and rather large) one out of her system. We will know more tomorrow, but she is of course hoping that she has no more to pass. That was one benefit of being so drugged and sedated in the PICU- she missed a lot of the pain, or at least can't remember it well now... but I can remember how much it hurt her those first few days she was there. So of course, I'm hoping she's through it as well.
Her blood counts are quite high now, but her platelets are very low. I didn't know this, but fevers kill them like none other. She basically has none, and has to get transfusions every day.
Because her ANC is high enough, they do let her go wherever she likes in the hospital, if she wears a mask. She's made a few trips around, but, as always, can't do very much because it wears her out so quickly. She went down to the PICU yesterday to visit the doctors and nurses who took care of her. They really like to see patients who are doing better. Today she tried to go down to the quick sacrament meeting they have in the building, but got too tired and dizzy to make it.
Things are still very slow, and we don't know exactly when Kim might come home, or when they will start her on her next round of treatment, but she is still doing just a little bit better every day... and I can't tell you how happy it makes me :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

On the 34th Day of Christmas...

... my true love gave to me... some medicines into my IV... (I realized I miscounted on the last "days of Christmas" I posted- I forgot to add the original 12!)

Kim has not gone a whole day yet without spiking a fever. Today they put her back on all of the antibiotics tehy could think of, and sent her down for another CT scan. Everything is still coming back negative, so tomorrow they are going to try again taking her off of the antibiotics. Hopefully that last blast of them will have wiped out whatever was causing the fever (the worry is that it is still that infection lingering in her body somewhere.)

Kim is still tired and recovering, but she is well enough to be a little annoyed with the uncertainty of it all. She feels a little better every day, and her blood counts keep coming up. She wonders what her body is trying to do to her :)

Dad is going to spend this weekend with Kim, and mom will be coming home tonight. Dad has spent this week redoing our main bathroom (paint, caulk, etc) and hopefully mom and I will be able to do some more Christmas preparations... and HOPEFULLY Santa will decide to visit us within the next week or so! I'm still counting the days... up... til Christmas!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The 32nd Day of Christmas...

Christmas hasn't happened yet, but we're still counting up the days til it's here! It really may not be much longer now...
Kim is still at PCMC, but will likely be home in the next day or two. She's looking good, her doctors just want to make sure she doesn't have any more fevers, and keep an eye on her for a little bit longer.
I just wanted to remind all of you that she's still very weak, so even when she does come home, she'll probably just spend most of her time resting. So please, if you want to see her, just send her a text or email, or call my family, and let them know when you could come by, and Kim will let you know if she is feeling up to it. Also, as it is flu season and all, please keep in mind that she really, really still has to be careful, even if her counts are looking okay.
Sorry I have to nag- you have all been so wonderful and supportive, I just want what's best for Kim while she's at home. (Friends- please pass the word along to others who may not check the blog as often.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hey Everyone- Chrismas may not be too far away! Kim is still doing better, bit by bit, and this morning she was able to come off of the feeding tube, and one of her antibiotics. Her ANC has been at 400 since yesterday. They are going to keep an eye on her for a while more, and if she keeps looking good, and her ANC gets to at least 500, they might have her come home for the rest of her recovery. They're still not sure that they have the infection totally out of the way- so she's still on a lot of other antibiotics, but getting her off of vancomiacin was really good. She was mildly allergic to it, so she had to be premedicated with benadryl and tylenol before she could take it, and it runs for at least four hours- and she has to take it three times a day. This means a lot less time being hooked up to her IV pole, as most of her other meds only take a half hour or so.
Getting the NG/ Feeding tube out was probably the best thing for Kim. It was always kind of irritating to have going down her nose and throat. But it is going to be hard for her to keep up on the calories now. She has still been losing even more weight every day, so that's one of the things they are still closely watching. And she still has bedsores that are far from healing. But she's going to do her best, and I know she will be great.
Thank you so much for still keeping her in your thoughts and prayers. She still has such a long way to go, but it certainly does make me feel great seeing her do a little better every day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just a little more evidence that this is going to be a looong and slow process for Kim: today her ANC went down again (back to 100) and this evening she had a fever for a while. But, they are hoping they can have her off the feeding tube on Monday, if she's very good until then and eats a lot, and doesn't throw it all back up. There is one more medication that they are hoping they can slowly get her off of- an antibiotic that is very time intensive, before they will consider sending her home. Once she does get home, they will probably have her stay a little longer than usual, to have a chance to build back some of her body before they bring her back for the last round of chemo. She's lost even more weight in just the past couple of days, but hopefully that is a trend that will soon be reversing.
She's still so tired all the time, and very weak. She jokes that the physical therapy she's doing isn't really helping- because she feels weaker every day rather than stronger, but she really is getting slightly better. It's just a much slower process than anything she's used to.
I told her today that since she's going to building her body up again from scratch, she could be anything she wanted to be: a ballerina, a cross country runner, a swimmer... but she said all she wants to do is sprint and lift weights! So I said it's a good thing that she already knows how to do that, and how to build up to it. The trick is just getting there.
Today we started thinking about the "track meet" we want to have when Kim gets better- this spring or early summer. A little like the Laps of Love we did in her honor in October, but this time as a tribute to all cancer patients and survivors- with maybe a few other small differences. Like maybe some short distance races? T-shirts? We'll let you know, and if any of you have any great ideas, let Us know!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Kim's ANC is now at 200, and so far she still seems to be moving in a general upwards direction. She hasn't had a fever for a couple of days now, but she's still on the antibiotics, because we're not sure if she's completely rid of the infection yet.
She's been able to walk short distances in the hall without the walker/all on her own- yay! but it is definitely going to be a long process getting her strength back. She hasn't had much nausea the past day or two- thank goodness! She's still on the feeding tube, and still struggling with pain and bedsores, but she's feeling a little better every day, and we're grateful every day for her improvement!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hey, good news! Kim's ANC finally decided to start moving! She's up to 100 as of today. (If any of you are confused because I said her ANC was rising over a week ago, I'm sorry about that. It was just her white blood cells back then, but PICU didn't know qutie what I meant when I asked about her "counts".)
She was still really tired today, mostly because for all that she doesn't do much in the day, she has a very hard time sleeing at night. They are trying some new sleep medication on her tonight.
Overall, it's still very slow progress- but it is still progress, and we are so grateful for it. Thank you all, so much.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hi everyone! Sorry I neglected my posting for a few days. When Kim very first moved back to ICS, she was just starting her fever again, and I was worried she would start struggling again- so I sort of held my breath, and held off on posting for a little bit, and then things came up. No more procrastinating!
Though she is still feverish on and off, overall she is still progressing bit by bit. The past couple of days have been slower, of course. Right now she's just gradually trying to get some strength back. They still have her on the feeding tube, but she has been able to come almost all the way off of her oxygen. We're really just waiting for her counts so start to come up, and her fevers to go away.
She had a CT scan on Sunday, and we got the results back for that today. They scanned her whole body, but didn't see anything bad. No obvious infection, swelling, or trouble of any kind. I am hoping the fever is just a result of building white blood cells, but I guess we will see. Her ANC was still at zero, and white blood cells alone were at just 200. But she will come up.
Just so that all of you know... Kim really is getting better, and though she's still the same girl we know and love, she's still a long way away from being herself again. She's so tired and weak, so please don't expect too much of her for a while yet. Not even texts, though she might try now and then. I'm just hoping that she'll be able to recover well, and hopefully before too long. She still has one more round of chemo to go. But the progress she Has made has been incredible. I know that more people are praying for Kim than we even realize. And I thank you all, so much. I know it has made a world of difference. I will keep you updated,
Love, Emily

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year

Emily has been in Logan for a few days, so I’m going to take a crack at this blog thing. I’m sure it won’t be as entertaining as Emily’s. On New Year’s Day, Kim met a wonderful objective by graduating from the PICU to the ICS. She was released from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit about noon on New Year’s Day and brought up to a more familiar environment and friends. We are so incredibly thrilled in what this all means, SHE’S BACK! As they were wheeling her bed down the hallway of the ICS, the nurses yelled out hooray for Kim and congratulations and welcome back. They were all glad to see her back. What a great welcome from her friends at the ICS. That is so cool. Kim’s circle of friends and admirers’ continue to grow, even in this great trial in her life. I admire Kim so much in how she is handling this with such courage and positive attitude. She was determined from day-1 to have a positive attitude about all this; to help her, her parents and those who care for her. One bad thing happened on New Year’s Day though, her fevers returned and that got us all concerned, as that is how her dreaded bacteria infection started. Her temperature has been between 100 and 105 deg F. In the 3 days since, they have been testing her blood for any signs of bacteria or fungi, and all tests have come up negative, she is clear of that thank goodness. However, she still has pneumonia, weakness, tiredness and nausea and quite a bit of pain. She is still a very sick girl and her body is still fighting something, hence the fevers. We had hoped her blood counts would start climbing by now, but not so, her total white blood count has been hovering between 0 and 200, but her ANC is zero. Darn. I wonder if she doesn’t actually have some germ fighting white blood cells in production and they are going right to her lungs rather than hanging around in her blood flow. She has been getting a platelet transfusion every day and red-blood cells every few days. Julie has been kept busy caring for Kim’s every need and entertaining her with reading. Today (Sunday) the PT got her out of bed and had her walking down the hallway here at the ICS. The picture shows her resting in a wheel chair between laps. She enjoyed that but after a few laps, she was glad to get back in bed. I got to go to Sacrament Meeting here and the Elders brought the Sacrament to Kim and Julie and the sisters taught her a great lesson. I certainly do love the spirit here at the hospital and the great people working and serving here. I’ve also loved the volunteers serving at the Ronald McDonald House; all this, along with your faith and prayers has helped make this experience for all of us much more bearable. David