July 31, 2011

Random Update!

I feel like I have totally neglected this blog.  We've been so busy trying to get everything ready for Kate's admission that I haven't even pulled out my camera in a week!  So unlike me!

Because everything is better with a picture, here is one from 2 or 3 weeks ago that I never got around to posting!


I think bullets will be best for this randomness!

*Kate has so many tests/ appointments before being admitted.  She has a cardiology appointment tomorrow (Monday) that includes a sedated echo of her heart, a kidney test Friday, chest xray and lung function test next Monday, and surgery to have her central line placed Tuesday morning.  Then, she'll be admitted directly to the BMT unit from day surgery recovery.

*It is stewardship reporting this week at work.  Which means it is my busiest time.  So, I will be training my backfill (I'm taking at least 6 months off starting Thursday), meeting our reporting deadlines, and taking Kate to all of her appointments.

*I've been shopping for Kate's hospital attire all week!  Kate has an adorable wardrobe but, let's be honest, smocked dresses/ bubbles aren't the most comfortable things.  I've picked up so many cute two piece jammies (non of her zipper jammies will work due to her IV lines), leggings, tunics, cute tops, etc.  Kate is going to be the most stylish bone marrow transplant patient ever!

*Packing for a 6 week hospital stay is hard.  I know we will only be 15 minutes from the house but, I'm trying to think of everything we might need.  Thinks like laundry detergent pop into my head at 2am.

*I have become the incredible shrinking woman.  If I could bottle up the way my body reacts to stress (rapid weight loss) and sell it, I would make millions.

*I am totally overwhelmed (in a good way) by all of the support we have received.  Facebook messages, phone calls, texts, emails, blog comments - I am just blown away by how many people are thinking about Kate and praying for our family!  We are very blessed to have such a great support system during this extremely difficult time!

I hope everyone has a great week - I'll try to update about Kate's tests and such when I get a chance!

I can't believe we are already at day -19!  Less than 3 weeks and my sweet girl will be given her second chance at a long life!

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July 30, 2011

Saturday Morning Scene

Saturday Morning Scene


I'm linking up with Katie over at Loves of Life to share our morning with you!!

This morning Kate has:

Eaten waffles with more sass than I knew was possible!




Taken a magical boat ride in a lovely laundry basket!




And learned all about the BMT process at Texas Children's while completing our homework assigned by Kate's doctor!




We have tons of errands to run today as soon as Miss Priss wakes up from her nap! So much to do and so little time - only 10 days until Kate moves into TCH!

I hope y'all are having a great Saturday as well!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

July 28, 2011

Family Pictures!

We had family pictures taken in June with our amazing photographer (who is now a sweet friend of mine).  Melissa wanted to make sure we had some family picture that captured Kate now, pre-chemo and pre-transplant!  She was so gracious to drive down to a fun playground in the Houston Heights to capture us playing with Kate!

I got our CD of images when Melissa took Kate's birthday pictures and I have so many favorites!  I've tried to narrow it down but, I still have tons I want to share!

Swinging with Daddy!


So much sass!

Pretty much how the entire morning went!
Kate avoiding Melissa,  Alex smiling, and me trying
to get Kate to look at the camera!

Sweet girl!

My favorite family picture ever!!

Look at those teeth!

Love that girl more than words can describe!

I just love all of these pictures so much (and I think blogger doesn't show just how amazing they are)!  So glad to have these and can't wait to have a few printed for Kate's hospital room!

July 26, 2011

The Plan

We had our conference with Kate's transplant doctor, nurse practitioner, and coordinator today.  It was a long meeting - well over 2 hours.

In a small room.

With an 11 month old walking baby.

Alex and I played pass the baby back and forth while trying to absorb everything everyone was saying. 

Overall, Kate did good...if by good you mean puking everywhere, walking over to her doctor and attempting to pull up her skirt, licking Alex's shoes, and licking the chairs in the room.

Sigh.  Like I said, it was a long appointment!

Alex and I were shocked to find out that Kate will be admitted to Texas Children's August 9!  That's in 2 weeks!  For some reason, my mind was set on a September transplant and I was totally caught off guard!  I've been very overwhelmed at the thought of getting everything ready in two weeks!

We will be spending a decent amount of time at the hospital the remainder of this week and next week.  Kate needs a lung test (can't remember the name but she will be sedated), a chest xray, a kidney test, and a test on her heart (also sedated) before chemo can start.

August 9 - we will be admitted and her Hickman line (an intravenous catheter) will be placed
August 10 - start chemotherapy.  Kate will be receiving a high dose myeloablative chemotherapy regimen
August 18 - donor cells collected; day of "rest" (i.e. no chemo) for Kate
August 19 - transplant; Kate's first birthday

Days leading up to her transplant will be counted as -X days.  Meaning August 9 is day -10 (and today would be day -24).  Her transplant is considered day 0 and then the days post transplant are positive days with day 100 and day 180 being major milestones.  We will be in the hospital for at least 6 weeks; longer if Kate has any set backs.

I can't believe that everything has worked out so Kate's re-birthday will be exactly one year after our lives were forever changed.  August 19 will always be an extremely special day for our family!  And, you better believe all of her first birthday decorations will be used to decorate her hospital room as we celebrate the end of her first year and the start of her new life!

I also want to say how blessed we are by Kate's donor.  Not only is he graciously giving Kate a second chance at life, he is going above and beyond his call of duty in my opinion.  He has responded to every phone call from the national registry within 24 hours and has had every test done within that same time frame.  His promptness is the only reason Kate is going to transplant so soon.

Donors have to remain anonymous for at least a year.  At the year mark, both the donor and recipient have the ability to agree for personal information to be released.  I pray that Kate's donor is willing to meet us in the future!  I will never be able to thank him enough but, I would love to give him a big hug and make sure he knows just how thankful Alex and I are for his decision to donate.

Until then, I will continue to pray for him, and his family, daily.  God knows who is giving Kate this second chance - He has his hand in every step of this process.  He will hear my prayers and cover our donor with His grace and love during this time!

July 25, 2011

Sneak Peek - Birthday Pictures!

We had Kate's one year pictures taken Saturday and Melissa has a sneak peek up on Facebook!  I love it so much!  I think I am going to order this one in an 8x10 and have it framed for her party!

Kate was obsessed with the balloons.  Like, would not let them go, threw a huge fit when we tried to take pictures without them, obsessed!  Melissa gave us a balloon for the ride home and Kate held on to it the entire way - even after falling asleep!

I'm so glad she loves balloons because they are one of the few things actually allowed in the BMT unit (flowers, plants, etc are not due to risks of bringing fungus into the unit).  I'm betting Alex shows up with a balloon every day!

July 23, 2011

11 Months!

I am almost a week late with this update.  It's been a busy week filled with both good and bad news so Kate's monthly update was put on the back burner!

Better late than never though, right?


Obviously, the good news was the news about Kate's match!  The bad news came Wednesday (before we knew of her match) and was in regards to her biopsy results.  Kate's bone marrow looks horrible and is no longer "healthy".  It was "healthy" back in January meaning her condition is taking over quickly.  I know God's timing of finding a donor was/ is perfect because Kate needs a transplant soon.  Thankfully we do have a donor and continue to pray that the transplant occurs before Kate really starts to deteriorate.

Kate turned 11 months old on Tuesday, the day after her bone marrow biopsy.  She had a jammie day with Danielle (her nanny)!  The only way I was going to get a picture was if she way holding and/or chewing on a bottle of tylenol.  Oh well!


Stats:
Weight: 19 pounds
Length: 29 inches
Diapers: Still in size 3
Clothes: All over the place.  3-6, 6, 6-9, and 12 months - totally depends on brand/ style
Teeth: Cutting #5 and #6 this week (both on the top)

Biggest Milestone: Kate is an exclusive walker now!  She decided that crawling was for babies on her 11 month birthday and has been a walking machine ever since!


I feel bad about this but the last month has been kind of a blur and I don't remember a lot of the smaller milestones.

While I am thrilled about the new of Kate's match, I am now struggling to cope with the emotions I have regarding the next phase of this journey.  Kate's hospitalization, chemo, and transplant were shoved to the back burner while we waited for a donor.  They can't be pushed to the back anymore.

I'm really nervous, scared, anxious about the coming weeks, months, years of out life.  The severity of what Kate is about to go through is setting in and I am struggling. 

Ok, enough deep talk for now!

I cannot believe that we are less than a month from the big one!  This has definitely been the fastest, and best, year of our lives!

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July 21, 2011

Just got the call!

We have a perfect match!! An amazing 24 yr old man will give Kate a second chance at life!!

We will know more details after our conference with the transplant team Tuesday. Looks like transplant will be in the next 6-8 weeks!!

Praise God!!!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

July 19, 2011

We Still Need You to Get Swabbed!!!

We had a wonderful drive in Ocala on Sunday.  I asked my sister to send me a recap and she put together a beautiful post!  She is definitely the gifted writer in the family (and needs to get back on the blogging bandwagon)!


Scattered. Smothered. Diced.



I'm not talking about an order of Waffle House World Famous Hashbrowns; I'm talking about my emotions. I couldn't begin to understand why such an innocent child would be faced with such a diagnosis.


I was supposed to be able to live vicariously through Lindsey - I have two boys, and they are adorable, but pink just isn't a good color on them. and my beaus wear their bows in the form of a bow-tie, not a head accessory. I was supposed to be the favorite aunt (for a little while, until Katelynn officially enters the family). You know, the one who sends the girly treats in the mail, the one that could have little secrets with Kate, the one who could tell Kate which buttons of Linz's get the most heightened response. All of those fun things in life.


Now I'm in the aunt that puts on Bone Marrow Donor Drives in honor of my sweet Kate so that I can watch her grow up and all of those preconceived dreams can become a reality.Let me just put it out there that my family has an awesome church family. When we learned of Kate's diagnosis and need for a life saving bone marrow transplant, I immediately sent an email out to our family and our closest friends. Literally within that hour, my email was jammed with prayers being lifted for Kate and with people asking what they could do to help. Unsure of how people would respond, I began educating people on bone marrow donation. Jeff asked the staff to pray for Kate during a staff meeting, and immediately our pastors were on board with wanting to reach out and help. So they agreed to host a DKMS Bone Marrow Drive. We had 14 people assist us with running the drive on Sunday, and many more were assisting in prayer and spreading the word. We registered over 60 people on Sunday and had to turn away about 40 people due to medical disqualifications. But in one 3 hour period, we had 100 people express an interest in registering to be on the national bone marrow registry. How awesome is that?!? We had people grabbing handouts and business cards, asking what they needed to do to have their co-workers join. How could their family in different states participate?

Donors registering


On several occasions, people were conversing and wondering why they had never heard of registering before. How could there be such a need in this county, yet so many are unaware of how they can help.


We are so grateful to DKMS for allowing us the opportunity to educate and register those within our community. During our drive on Sunday, several folks were asking how they could do a drive at their place of employment; we even had college students asking how they could get their friends to register on campus.


I wish it didn't have to be Kate that was going through the suffering; but I am grateful for the opportunity to participate with educating the community on such an important platform.
 
 
She makes me cry!  Kate is blessed to have her Lala fighting for her!  Kate is also blessed for everything her Uncle Jeff, Uncle Justin, Mimi, and family friends did to make this drive possible.
 
BUT....
 
We still need YOU!
 
So many babies, youth, and adults are waiting.  Waiting for a second chance at life.  Hoping to be at their first birthday party.  Hoping to play little league baseball.  Hoping to be the star of a dance recital.  Hoping to attend the prom.  Hoping to go wedding dress shopping.  Hoping to walk their baby girl down the aisle. Hoping to witness their children have children.
 
So many hopes and dreams are on hold.  So many hopes and dreams are never realized because a match is never found.
 
YOU can make these dreams come true.  YOU can give the best gift ever.
 
YOU can give someone a second chance a life. 
 
YOU can allow Kate to be present for her first birthday party, dance on stage while waving to me as I have a camera glued to my face, shop for the perfect dress to wear as Alex walks her down the aisle, and give Alex and I the opportunity to see her live a long life and bless us with grandbabies. 
 
YOU can shape our future and so many other futures.
 
Please, consider visiting the DKMS website and registering as a bone marrow donor.  It's simple; click the widget below, request a testing kit, swab your cheek when it arrives, and send it back.
 
 
If my little brother can do it, so can you!
 

The team with pictures of Kate

Skin Care Help!

I have a dirty little secret!

Ok, it's not really that juicy. But, here it is!

I have NO skin care routine. And, here's the worst part, I never wash my face/ wash my make up off before getting in bed.

Yep. I'm one of those people that has nasty mascara stains all over my pillow case. One that just gets in the bed and says to hell with washing my face.

I've always had good skin - never had major breakouts, never had dry skin, never had oily skin. I think that's why I don't have a routine. It's hard (at least for me) to dedicate time to something (my skin) that doesn't have any issues. My wash/exfoliate in the shower worked great for so long!

Things have changed. My skin looks terrible. I'm not sure if it is the stress, the post-pregnancy hormones, the insane heat/ humidity, the new meds I've started, or the fact that I'm lucky if I get one shower over the weekend. Did I just admit that? But something is causing me to break out and have somewhat oily skin.

So, I need your help! I would love to hear what works for you!

My requirements:
*Something easy. I'm about to move into a hospital for 2 months. I don't have 30 minutes to spend on my face now and I know I won't then.
*If something cheap works, great! But, I have no problem putting money towards skin care. However, don't bother recommending your $150 eye cream!
*I have combo skin - it seems my problem areas are my chin and the edges of my face/ hair line. That is where I break out and am oilier. Everywhere else is pretty normal.

I can't wait to see what suggestions you guys have! And, I'll be sure to keep you posted on what I try! I've just got to get these breakouts under control!

July 17, 2011

A Visit from Bebe and PawPaw!

I ma so behind with my blogging!  I hope that I can catch back up and get back into the swing of regular updates.  I think my biggest issue right now is that I am SO far behind with editing pictures.  And I hate to recap something and not include pictures!  This blog is Kate's baby book so I want complete recaps (which means words and pretty pictures) for our memories!

Before I move on to our weekend with Alex's parents (which was last weekend), I wanted to ask for prayers for Kate tomorrow.  She has her second bone marrow biopsy around 10:30 or 11 tomorrow morning (I will probably tweet a few updates).  She will be completely sedated for the procedure so I am obviously a nervous wreck. 

Kate had a biopsy done in January and had a really hard time waking up.  I wrote a post but didn't publish until a few weeks ago it as we weren't really open about all of Kate's health issues at that time.  But, here is a link if you want to read about it.  And look how tiny she is!  My goodness she has changed so much in the past 7.5 months!

Ok, so on to our visit.  We had a great time with Alex's parents and kept ourselves busy! 

Friday, we went to the beach and it was an absolutely beautiful day!  We had so much fun and as always, my little fish baby did so well!

Kate and Bebe!
Tired after a long day on the beach!


Saturday we spend a little bit of time at the Museum of Natural Sciences and visited the Butterfly Garden! 


Can I please touch this flower?

Sunday we headed to the Aquarium.  We got there right when it opened in hopes of beating the crowds.  Well, our planned worked for about 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, the place filled up and I turned into a crazy lady that could only see germs.  We didn't last much longer.

We are trying to balance keeping Kate away form people with enjoying our last few weeks/ months before her transplant.  I want to take her to do things, I really do.  But, I just can't help myself from freaking out when we end up around a group of people.  I start getting hot, get short with everyone close by, and want nothing more than to leave the situation and get Kate away.

We had a great time pre-freak out though!

Apparently practicing her toe touch was more fun than the fish?

Our visit was wonderful but I think I gained 10 pound while they were here!  Kate had so much fun with her grandparents and I enjoyed drinking my coffee in peace and some down time!  We can't wait for our next visit!

July 15, 2011

Do you have $1?

I had 2,164 unique visitors to my blog yesterday.  That is a lot of people!  And, I'm hoping that those 2,164 individuals are willing to help us out!

I've mentioned the bone marrow donor drive we are having Sunday several times.  DKMS is sponsoring the drive - meaning they are covering the cost ($65/ donor) to register everyone that shows up.  Organizations like DKMS make it possible for so many people, in all walks of life and income levels, to join the registry and hopefully save a life.

I will not be at the drive in Florida.  I wish I could be there but, it just isn't worth the risk of being exposed to so many germy people in an airport and on an airplane.  My sister and brother-in-law have done an amazing job setting this drive up!  But it has left me feeling like I haven't done much at all.

I've decided that I want to help DKMS raise the money needed to process all of the new donors that sign up on Sunday.

If each person that viewed my blog yesterday donates just $1 we can cover the cost of adding 33 new donors!

If each of those 2,164 people donates just $5 we can cover the cost of adding 167 new donors!

All you have to do is have one less Starbucks this week, one less drink out at the bar (I'm talking to all my college readers out there!), one less donut on your way in to work.  You get the picture - eliminate something small from your life one time and you can help save a life!

That is HUGE!

DKMS and I have set up a fundraising site in Kate's honor.  This money does not go to Kate or our family - 100% of it goes to covering the cost of processing new donors.  It is simply a way for us to track how many people have been moved by Kate's story and led to donate!

Simply head over to Kate's fundraising page (link) and make your donation!

I hope each of you will consider making such a small monetary donation to help DKMS continue to provide donor screening free of charge!

July 12, 2011

Quick Update!

We received some very encouraging news about a potential donor for Kate today!!  While we still have several hurdles to get through before an official donor is named, today's news was very positive, and relatively major for our journey so far!

Please continue to pray for Kate, Alex, and I!  And please continue to spread the word about bone marrow donation as we still have a very long and hard journey ahead of us with naming a donor being our next item to cross off of our timeline!

One of my dear family friends sent us a CD of scripture based lullabies this week along with a wonderful note.  Mrs. Michelle has been a huge prayer warrier for me during my life and struggles and her words meant a lot.  She sent this verse and I wanted to share it - it is so beautiful and so true!

"The Lord with guide Kate continually; satisfy her needs in a drought, and strengthen her bones.  She shall be like a watered garden." Isaiah 58:11

The Lord will heal Kate and she will bloosm like the flowers of a watered garden.  She will be healed and live a long, fullfilling life!

July 11, 2011

Big Girl Seat!

We finally made the change to a convertible car seat!  I have mixed feelings about this change.  I love, love, love the ease of an infant seat.  Clicking Kate directly into our UppaBaby Vista was so easy!  And made napping while out and about even easier! 

Kate still fits in her infant seat but is pushing the height limit.  She is probably 29-29.5 inches now and the seat only goes up to 30 inches.  We are no where near close to the 30 pound weight limit but, I'm starting to learn that my long, skinny baby will most likely outgrow height requirements before weight limits!

I think Kate is a fan of her new seat!  Or maybe she was just a fan of having her grandparents in town this weekend which meant momma and Bebe were riding in the backseat with her!  We'll see how she does in the new sea,t without backseat company, this afternoon!

I am very impressed with the quality of the Recaro ProRide!  It is so sturdy, installed very tightly (it doesn't wiggle at all), and appears comfortable to Kate!  I also really love that it has side impact protection!  Added bonus?  It's pink!  They are currently on sale on Amazon (20% off) so, hurry and order yours soon if you want one!


I have so much catching up to do - donor search updates (no donor yet but we are making progress), Bebe and PawPaw's visit, first birthday party planning, and so much more! 

July 9, 2011

Fourth of July Fun!

I know, I know.  July 4th was almost a week ago. 

Oh well!  I wanted to post some of these pictures and document Kate's first celebration of our nation's birthday!

We had a very low key weekend and spent July 4th with some of our great friends here in Houston.  Andrew and Julia also attended Mississippi State and Alex and Andrew were in the same fraternity!  They live just down the street so we see them often!

Andrew cooked out for all of us before we headed out to watch the big firework show in Downtown Houston!  One perk of city living is the ability to walk and in return drink to the big show!

Kate and Daddy at Uncle Andrew and Aunt Julia's house!

Uncle Andrew!

Waiting on the fireworks.  I think red dixie cups are universally used to walk around outside while sipping on an adult beverage.  No?

The girls!

Like I mentioned Wednesday, Kate did great with the fireworks and was such a trooper being up way past her bedtime!  She passed out as soon as we started walking home - and stayed asleep while I changed her, put her jammies on, and put hr in her crib!

It was such a wonderful holiday!!

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July 8, 2011

Get Swabbed, Save a Life - Ocala, Florida 7/17/11


Within days of posting about Kate's diagnosis, I received a wonderful e-mail from an amazing woman!  Over the past 5 weeks, I have gotten to know that woman - her name is Erika, and she works for DKMS Americas.  Erika has answered questions, provided resources, and acted as a knowledgeable support for me while trying to figure out what we can do to help not just Kate, but others in need of a bone marrow transplant.

DKMS is an organization that devotes all of the time and energy into any and everything related to bone marrow donation/ donors in order to save lives.  Through generous donations, DKMS is able to cover the cost of processing the tests (a simple cheek swab) required to join the registry!

DKMS is working with our friends and family and is helping my sister, brother in law, and their church family hold our first bone marrow drive in Kate's name.

Here are the details:

Bone Marrow Drive
Sunday, July 17, 2011
10am - 1pm
Ocala, FL 

If you are in the Central Florida area, know someone in the Central Florida area, or will be visiting Disney World and want to drive an hour to help save a life (kidding...kind of!) please consider stopping by FMU Ocala and becoming a donor. 

I know there are a lot of myths surrounding the bone marrow donation process so please, take some time, browse the DKMS website, and educate yourself!!

And, for those of you that are not in Florida, and want to help, I have great news!!  Becoming a donor is very easy!  All you have to do it click the widget below, make sure you meet the donor requirements, fill out your information, and wait for your kit to come in the mail!  Once it arrives, all you have to do is swab your cheek, and send the kit back to the lab! 

The neat thing about this widget is that it will track how many people join the registry in Kate's honor! 


I have a goal of 200 new donors signing up between the drive in Ocala and people joining via the link here! 

Do you think that is attainable?  I sure hope so!  And I hope each and every one of you will considering joining the registry to help us meet our goal!

July 7, 2011

Silly Favor

Do any of y'all want to do me a silly little favor? 

We're Finally Three has recently been added to the Top Mommy Blogs Special Needs category!  It would make me very happy if y'all went on over there and voted for us!  We are currently #4 in our category which is great but the more votes we get, the more visible the blog will be.  My hope is that the more visible Kate's story is, more people will become motivated to educate themselves about bone marrow donation which will increase the potential donors on the national registry!

All you have to do it click this little button right here!  And then, every day you can click the badge on my right sidebar under the "about me"section!  Just a click is all it takes - Top Mommy Blogs will track everyone that clicks over to their site from our blog - super easy!

Vote For Us @ Top Mommy Blogs

Kate has already led tons of people to join the national registry - that means my little girl is inspiring y'all to save lives!  That is HUGE!

So, a big thanks for helping Kate, and our family, spread the word about something to simple, yet so very important!

And, because I love my readers so much - I have an amazing giveaway that will be posted either today or tomorrow on the giveaway blog - so keep your eyes out for a post over there!

July 6, 2011

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday!

Waiting for the fireworks to start!  Up way past her bedtime but still a happy girl!!  I pulled this off of facebook because I am not on my computer and the quality is blah.  I'll try to replace it with the full size image this evening!

July 5, 2011

Donor Search

Finally - an update about our donor search! I thought I would try to give some background information about the process before talking about Kate's status. It's one of those things that can get confusing if you don't have a bit of knowledge on the subject. Heck, I am confused by it at times still so I don't expect people not thrown in the middle of it to fully comprehend how everything works!

We had family pictures done two weeks ago - here are a few sneak peeks as a reward for reading this long, detailed post!  I pulled the off of facebook and facebook is known for making pictures look a bit grainy - my apologies!

My hair may be a bit frizzy but oh well!  I love this picture of my sweet family!


Process
The donor search is pretty methodical (at least at Texas Children's it is). Here is the process we are following:

After identifying that a patient is in need of a BMT, they have HLA typing done to determine the characteristics needed in a match. This typing is done on 10 points and we need a 10 out of 10 match for Kate. Immediate family is also typed with siblings being the most likely to be a match.

Interesting fact - extended family members (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) do not have any greater chance of matching than a random stranger on the street!

Once the HLA testing is back, and the patients characteristics are known, an initial pass is made against the national, international, and cord blood registries. Potential donors on the registries have not had HLA testing done - they have have more basic testing that does not cover all 10 match points. Somehow (I don't know the specifics about this as genetics and such just isn't really area of expertise - I don't know any more than what we covered in Mrs. Freeman's freshman biology!) a list of potential donors is generated. This list is then prioritized (again I don't understand the conditions/reasoning behind prioritization) and becomes the list of all potential matches for a specific patient.

The potential matches are "activated" in groups of 5-6. This means that they are contacted about being a potential match and asked to have additional testing done (HLA typing to identify all 10 match points as well as other things like ciral screenings, a physical, etc). At this point, donors can schedule testing, say they are no longer interested in donating, or be deemed unavailable for various reasons (pregnant, had surgery within 12 months, etc).

After the additional testing is processed, it will be compared against Kate's HLA data to determine if they are a 10 out of 10 match for her. There are also other things that will be considered if we have multiple 10 out of 10 matches.  Things like age, overall health, viral screens, etc.

Once the donor is identified, it will be about 6 weeks before transplant. Both Kate and the donor have conditioning/ prep work needed that takes time. But, that's another blog post! I'll get to that once we have a match!

Kate's Progress
Kate has been typed, as have Alex and I. Neither of us are matches which confirmed that Kate will have an "unknown" donor. All that means is that Kate's donor will come from the registry and is not an immediate family member.

Kate's first pass against the database was done almost 2 weeks ago. Her results were pretty low.

During our conference call a few weeks ago with the transplant doctor, I specifically asked what an average potential donor number was for the first pass. Kate's first pass list was less than 10% of that average.

I took the news really hard which is why I probably wasn't motivated to update. I was in the mindset that blogging it made it real and I didn't want to deal with that fact that finding a donor may be difficult.

We activated Kate's first group (which is the best/ most likely matches of her entire list) Thursday, June 23 and we were told to expect that 50% of the potential donors would be unavailable/ wouldn't want to donate.

As of this morning, we have one cord blood unit and 3 individuals that have completed additional testing.

That is 4 potential matches!!

I am very excited by this and cried happy tears when I heard from our coordinator this morning! Just to be clear, we do not know if any of these 4 will be Kate's match. They are just POTENTIAL matches.

BUT, there is a decent chance that one of those four is her match.

I am hopeful that our match is in this batch. I am hopeful that Kate's second chance at life will be known within a few weeks.

I am hopeful that the joy of my life will not be taken away from us entirely too soon.

I am hopeful that Kate will be healed and go on to live a long, beautiful life.

Plain and simple, I am hopeful. And I need a little bit of hope in my life these days.

We won't know more about these potential matches for 3-4 weeks.

But, for now, I am going to continue my daily prayers for Kate's donor. For their strength. Their selflessness. Their willingness. Their ability to give the gift of life.

July 2, 2011

A Visit to the Zoo!

We had a lovely, albeit HOT, trip to the zoo this morning.  Members get in early the first Saturday of the month so we loaded up and headed to visit the animals. 

We are soaking up the time when we can get out as a family of three.  Our days leaving the house together are numbered and Kate loves the zoo so today's visit was a no brainer!  I put Kate in her precious custom smocked 4th of July dress and we headed out.

A lot of the animals were out.  I enjoyed looking at them.  And Alex and Kate enjoyed people watching?  I guess the other zoo goers were more interesting that the cheetah or my camera?

But Kate did enjoyed watching the chimps!

It was so incredibly hot that we didn't see that much.  After the chimps we went to an indoor exhibit to cool off.  Kate had a blast watching an otter and even crawled through the tunnel in the middle of the piranha tank.

I went through it with her.  I'm going to go on the record and say that the tunnel is not mom sized.  I'm pretty sure the poor little girl behind me is forever scarred at the view of my behind.

While cooling off, we notice that a not so lovely smell was following us around.  I knew it was hot; but I also knew I was generous with my deodorant application before leaving the house.

After verifying that it was not me, we realized that it was Kate.  And that she was seeping out of her diaper. 

Yep, Kate had a blowout.
At the zoo.

I guess she wanted to be one with the animals and smell like shit the great outdoors.

We made a stop at the bathroom to change her on our way out.  It was bad - her bloomers were covered in poo.  It may or may not have taken me most of today to realize that I kept smelling poo because it was all over my shirt from carrying Kate post blowout. 

Blowout aside, it was a great little family outing!

Kate took a great nap when we got home!  I took advantage of a sleeping baby and heading out for a pedicure and eyebrow wax.  I cannot even beging to explain how much I needed some "me" time!  It was glorious - my kindle, Starbucks, and peanut m&ms all while getting one of the best pedicures I've had in a while!  Bliss!

We had a fun afternoon at home!  Kate decided to play with Ollie for a bit and really got into throwing the ball for him!

Alex and I cannot stop laughing at this picture!  It looks like Kate is on a mission to hurt Ollie with his ball!

Kate cheesed it up for the camera!


And these curls!  They are so beautiful!  I am so happy, yet so sad, about these sweet curls!  I hope they come back to us after Kate's transplant!

I hope everyone continutes to have a great holiday weekend!  We have several things planned over the next few days that I will be sure to blog about!

And, I know I've said it a million times, but I really will post an update on our donor search soon!

July 1, 2011

iPhone picture dump!

Ok, I'm attempted to blog from my phone! I hope this works because updates will be so much easier if I can do them from my iPhone!

I take so many pictures with my phone and just wanted to share some of them! I know I need to update about Kate - and the donor search. I've started the post but it's still sitting in draft folder and I will post it soon!

Ok onto the pictures!

We spent time at our friend's house last weekend! They have a beautiful pool and by little water baby loved it! We stopped at Walgreens on the way there to pick up a float for Kate. Best $10 I've ever spent! She loved floating all around the pool!


With Daddy!



We had appointments at TCH Monday. Kate got nice and comfy in her stroller with her leg kicked up!



Playing with mommy!



Kate got her first pedicure! I ordered our Piggy Paint from my friend Felicia at www.lovellabowtique.com.



Kate now makes a cheese face when I pull out the camera or my phone but it looks a little angry! I promise she is happy!



Kate and I spent the morning at the pool at Danielle's apartment! She had such a blast and Danielle is going to start taking her during the week!



I hope everyone has a great 4th of July!!!

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