Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Another Round Complete

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     Let me begin by saying how humbled I am by the outpouring of support, love and encouragement I received after my last post on hope.  It felt so heartening to know that my honesty and transparency about my own struggles was something that not only spoke to you and brought about awareness for the lives that families with a child with cancer live, but also brought encouragement to those of you who may struggle with the same things.  So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
     Second, I apologize for not posting here sooner, but since our last post, our lives got very overwhelming, with some positive and some more challenging things.  We spent time celebrating and savoring Hazel's birthday!  We went to Disneyland with our family, hosted a birthday party (combined with her big sister Elizabeth, whose birthday is very close) and were the grateful recipients of a special Unicorn Party put on by the amazing foundation Create A Smile (a product of the love and devotion of a fellow cancer fighting family, The Youssef Family, to other children fighting this disease).  







     Unfortunately, in the midst of all the blessings and fun, our whole family developed very bad colds, including Hazel.  And, for me, it turned into one of the worst flus of my life.  We were dealing with illnesses for the better part of two weeks, and boy I was exhausted!
     Not long after recovering, and with Hazel and I still affected by a lingering cough, we began her fourth round of chemo.  We had to be down at the hospital (45-90 minutes away, depending on traffic), every morning by 8:00am, and stay for several hours while the infusion was completed.  We were able to have the weekend at home, but come Monday morning, Hazel was extremely run down and spiked a really high fever.  We rushed back to the hospital and were admitted.  Her white blood cell counts were absolutely zero, so she was extremely neutropenic and fighting a fever.  So antibiotics were begun to protect her from anything life threatening.  The challenge with these antibiotics, is they cause her severe diarrhea and cramping, and quite a bit more nausea.  The last two inpatient stays, her gut was so upturned, that she developed C-DIFF, which had to be treated with more antibiotics that made her equally nauseous. Thankfully, this stay, she DID NOT DEVELOP C-DIFF!!!  We were able to break the vicious cycle, if only for one cycle!  So thank you for all of your prayers, because they are clearly working!  Thank you God, for giving our daughter a reprieve!  
     Although she did not develop C-DIFF, she did still have some pretty significant diarrhea.  I spent most of those first days helping her through her discomfort and encouraging her as she would tell me, through tears, "I just want to be done feeling like this!"  When the urgent diarrhea stopped, she then developed a profuse bloody nose, that lasted throughout much of an afternoon. Not only was this terribly frightening for her, but the clots that developed after, slipped down her throat, making her gag a vomit them back up.  She found it increasingly more difficult to cope, and it just broke my heart.  Thankfully, over the next several days she felt better and better, and we were able to return home very late Sunday night.  To say we are exhausted would be an understatement!




     Clearly, these treatments, and subsequent inpatient stays have really begun to take their toll on our little Hazelnut.  Because she has been so nauseated and vomiting almost daily (sometimes, several times a day), it has made it difficult for her to keep weight on.  As her counts keep getting knocked down to nothing, she barely has time to recover in time for the next round.  She is so tired and unsettled from the constant traveling and changing in schedules, and is becoming more and more frustrated with not feeling well.  Despite her challenges though, God has blessed her with a spirit of bravery and perseverance that has carried her through each day and each challenge.  She faces each treatment and hospital stay without complaint, she breathes deeply through every single poke, and she even spends time reassuring me (for example: "Mom, it's ok if I throw up, because I always feel so much better afterwards").  
     Her perseverance inspires me every day, and brings me so much hope.  I am reminded of the bible verse  Romans 5:3-5 "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

21 comments:

  1. God bless Hazel...

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  2. She has my continued prayers, I pray as well for her family.

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  3. We continue to send love, prayers and encouragement to the entire family.

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  4. God bless you all and especially Hazel. I know how difficult chemo is for an adult so I cannot even imagine how strong and brave little Hazel is. I hope she beats this horrible thing

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  5. May your faith continue to give you love, strength, and hope.....your resilience, and candor, as well as Hazel's spirit, are inspiring beyond words !

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  6. God bless her and keep her safe, may her positive experiences in the future far out way any suffering she has had to endure in this time.

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  7. Praying for you, Hazel! You are an awesome warrior and I am believing for your victory over that nasty ol' cancer!!!

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  8. continued prayers for this beautiful child. God bless you all!

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  9. Even though we are far away in another state, Hazel always stays in our thoughts, hearts and prayers. She inspires me every day.

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  10. Keeping your sweet love in my prayers. Prayers for the road ahead as she battles with such bravery and for all of you that love her so.

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  11. What an inspiration you and your family are not only for Hazel but also for those lives you touch either going through a similar situation now or will be in the future. Hang tough knowing there are many, many of us rooting for Hazel. Take a deep breath once in a while and take it "one day at a time." Sending hugs. Robbie Small

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  12. God bless her and all of the family. I cannot even imagine how you are enduring this.

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  13. God bless your dear family. I've kept you in my thoughts and prayers for some time and will continue to do so. I'm a friend of Amy and Kerri's.

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  14. God Bless.....prayers for your baby girl and your family

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  15. Sending healing for Hazel! I'm glad she had such a wonderful time on her birthday, in Disneyland and at the unicorn party! I'm sorry she's having such an awful time with chemo!*hugs* I'm glad she's going home! I wish peace for Hazel, you and the rest of your family!

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  16. Remember Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Praying for you all! Keep up the good fight of faith.

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  17. Bless you all my friend. Thank you for sharing...It has to be so draining finding the time and strength, to go through it again when writing it down on paper...and yet you persevere...prayers non stop. Too you all..wendy

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  18. Lauren, My favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 40:31. but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Lauren you are an inspiration to Hazel and the Love of a daughter towards a parent is self eveident. Keep up your astounding work. Hazel will grow in strength not only physically but spiritally. Bless you and all of your family. Craig Berg

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