Chemo #7

We arrived at the hospital at 8:00 AM on Thursday for the MRI. The nurse in Radiology started the IV, so contrast could be administered halfway through the MRI. The ultrasound wasn’t available, but Leah was very relaxed. We looked at an “I Spy” book during the poke. 

Leah’s head must be absolutely still during the MRI. She wears ear plugs, then ear phones so she can listen to her “MRI” playlist from her iPad. Taylor Swift, Jack Johnson, John Mayer- quiet songs. Next, foam rectangles are stuffed around her head to fill the space in the headrest, and a mask is placed over her face. I remind her… Eyes closed, so your eyeballs aren’t moving. Keep your tongue still. And no bopping to the music. She panicked a little when they first slid her into the tunnel, but we brought her back out and she was able to pull herself together. An hour and forty-five minutes later, the Child Life Specialist gave her a new version of the game Clue for being so brave! New rooms, new weapons, new rules, and new information about the suspects. Who knew Colonel Mustard was a strong athletic man and a great storyteller?

Next, we headed up to the fifth floor for chemo. Dr. Rush always shares the new images immediately following the MRI. Although she can’t provide detailed information, she does speak briefly with the radiologist in order to give us general findings. We were elated to learn that the chemo is affecting the tumor. The official results stated that “there is mild improvement in the overall tumor bulk.” Even though the change is small, it is promising that we see results after only three months of therapy. Thank you so much for your continued prayers. It means so much to us. 💜

A few more blessings followed. The staff surprised Leah with the most beautiful birthday cake! Very fancy- a fondant bow and fondant polka dots! It looked just like a Cake Boss cake, which is one of Leah’s favorite shows.

  

Later, one of Leah’s closest friends stopped for a surprise visit! Homemade blueberry muffins, a long game of Clue, and M&Ms helped pass the time. Needless to say, we did not go home hungry!

Thursday evening and Friday were difficult, because she wasn’t feeling well. Still lying low this week. Squeezed in a few hours of school this afternoon, but it was a challenge.

Yesterday, one of Leah’s friends posted a message on Instagram to “Wear purple for Leah Merriman.” Today at school, so many of the kids were sporting Leah’s favorite color to show her support. She posted this reply on Instagram:

“Wow! Everyone is so sweet and supportive! I might not be at school all the time but all you guys are amazing. Childhood cancer is hard and I love all the support. Texts after school with my friends and everyone gives me hope. That is the best thing for me to do. It makes me so happy. Hashtag BraveStrongGirl! Thanks everyone! 💜✌️#teamleah”


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Update

Still at the hospital finishing up chemo, but wanted to share the great news… Leah’s tumor is shrinking!!! Praise God!

I’ll post more details later. Thank you for your love and prayers. ❤️

Prayer Request

Matthew 18:19-20 “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Please pause for a moment tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM and pray for Leah’s complete healing.

A Few Changes

Chemo went well on Thursday. Each treatment, the PICU team rolls a portable ultrasound machine into the room and uses it to locate a good vein in Leah’s arm. This really helps alleviate some of the stress of getting poked. She prefers the poke in her left arm, because she is right-handed, and it’s safe to reuse the same vein. She still feels good about her choice to receive her medicine using IV instead of having a port in her chest again. She explains that it’s more natural to get poked in the arm than the chest. Can’t argue that.

The hospital was making a promotional video for the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and Leah was so excited to be part of the video. They recorded a part of her music therapy session. She was playing the ukulele and singing “Ordinary Miracle” by Sarah McLachlan. Melted my heart. ❤️



I answered a few questions for the video too, but I’m really hoping my responses are not a part of the final product. I was so nervous… And I’m pretty sure I didn’t even answer the questions being asked! Leah definitely didn’t get her love of the stage and gift of gab from me!

We made a few changes in Leah’s medications this week. We changed her anti-nausea medicine and her nerve pain medicine. Due to those changes, we also had to increase one of her chemotherapy drugs. She felt worse than usual on Thursday evening and Friday, just achy and nauseous. She improved on Saturday and was well enough to play with her friends. Doubling the chemotherapy drug may also speed up her hair loss/thinning, but Leah has a great attitude about the possibility of changes with her hair. Most important to her is feeling well enough to go to school. Hoping she continues to feel well through the week and doesn’t have any vomiting. 

Before chemo #7 on April 16th, she’ll have an MRI at 8:30 AM. Please pray that Leah feels calm and peaceful during her MRI, and that we see a reduction in the size of the tumor.

Happy Easter! Thank you for your continued prayers!