Friday, February 20, 2009

Loogie, loogie, ow! ow!

The mouth and throat sores have returned with a vengeance! Since last night, Krista has been battling an ever-worsening mucositis. There is an incredible amount of phlegm as well, which has lodged in her chest. She has to work incredibly hard to cough it up, and it's exhausting just to watch, let alone go through. Putting anything in her mouth makes more mucus, so she hasn't been able to eat or drink anything today. The doctors have mentioned that it is strange to see this degree of mucositis so late in the game, and took a culture to see if it might be viral. As a precaution they started her on an anti-viral medicine in the meantime. Other than that, there doesn't seem to be much help for it. Even the "magic mix" (a mouthwash numbing agent) isn't very effective, so they are only able to help her pain with morphine. Thanks Janelle (Krista's mother) for being here to help her through the day!

Platelets were better this morning (22,000) than yesterday morning, but we're still seeing the same evening drop-off (8,000 tonight). She's getting a transfusion as I write this.

Aside from those problem areas, though, things are really picking up for Krista. Her liver function is improving. Her urine output is increasing. Her white blood count is up to 0.6 with 200 neutrophils. That means that the stem-cells have officially grafted! Her oncologist joked that she needs to leave the ICU, because that's where sick people belong. He has quite a sense of humor. But the reality is that they are working on getting her back upstairs to the transplant wing. The ICU team needs a little more convincing -- maybe the single-pass dialysis tomorrow will do it? (That was going to happen today, but the kidney specialist was pleased with her urine output and pushed it back to see what she could do unassisted.)

Praise God for the progress, and continue to pray for relief in her mouth and throat. And, even though there are no signs of it yet, start praying that she won't be affected by Graft-Versus-Host Disease. That's where the new immune system attacks parts of the body that it doesn't recognize as being on the same team. A little is OK, as it would clear out any leukemia that may have slipped past the radiation and chemotherapy and then fade away, but any more can cause anything from lifetime discomfort to serious danger. The doctors have taken every precaution to avoid this, but it doesn't hurt to pray!

Some people have asked me to clarify what blood donations are currently needed. Krista no longer needs blood plasma, since her liver is slowly producing clotting factor. She definitely needs platelets of any type -- European/German of any blood type donors are best, other racial backgrounds with negative blood types are next best, and the rest are a good fall-back. Occasionally, about once per week, she gets whole blood transfusions and you'll need to be O-negative to donate directly to her. Thank you so much to everyone who is willing to make that drive to UCLA (even if they aren't able to take your donation). I've know that there have been people who have learned that they were anemic because they got turned away. Hopefully, they will improve and be blessed because they wanted to be a blessing! That reminds me of our theme verse:

Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
The LORD will protect him and preserve his life;
he will bless him in the land
and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.
The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed
and restore him from his bed of illness.
(Psalm 41:1-3)

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