Friday, November 11, 2011

On Wednesday morning we headed to Sierra for a blood draw. It went smoothly and fairly quickly which is always great! Autumn was really in no hurry to leave which I take as a good sign, at least she doesn’t hate the place!

We received the results shortly after leaving the hospital. They were great! What good news because I was becoming so worried about Autumn’s hemoglobin. She was remaining in the low 6’s and she should be above 7 at this point and certainly to have another round of chemo. The bone marrow has to work so hard to recover the damage that the chemo has done over the past 9 months. It’s all cumulative of course which means that over time it only gets worse. She also has been doing a lot of the hand flexing as the Vinchristine damages the nerves and can cause all sorts of frustrations and awkward movements within the joints. Autumn really hates how it makes her feel and she gets visibly upset when she becomes conscious of what she is feeling and doing in reaction. She is at that age where she is becoming very conscious of how people perceive her and how they may interact with her. If she isn’t in the mood, she will be very upset if someone starts to laugh. I think she believes they are laughing at her and when I try to explain that they think she is just funny or silly or they just like being around her, it only seems to further irritate her. She can seem so happy and within one second is just screaming at the top of her lungs that no one cares about her and everyone is laughing. Oh, it is heart breaking and I hardly know what to do except not freak out during those moments.

Once we left the hospital, Autumn commented that she would like to visit Loreli, a very sweet woman (as will be attested by anyone who knows her) who used to care for Autumn once a week while I taught at Cuesta. I phoned and she was home, hooray! We make a short trek to Los Osos and spend a bit of time with her and the two babies she is now caring for. Autumn fell in love with the dog who belonged to one of the babies there and proclaimed:

“I really wish I had that dog because it gives you a lot of love!”

She knows how non-judgmental animals are, they just give and do not expect much in return. Perhaps we cannot have that dog, but maybe a dog one day! I think all the girls would benefit from a fun furry creature to love.

It became an animal morning as we made a quick stop at the coffee shop to purchase a bagel and coffee and met a man who had a fabulous parrot who lived on his shoulder. Autumn wanted that bird first, before she met the dog of course!  This was some parrot; it was 18 years old and lived in Morro Bay on a boat on the shoulder of the gentleman we met, what an exciting way to live!

When we arrived home that afternoon, Mrs Dottie met us for a shaved ice fiesta! Mrs Dottie was Autumn’s preschool teacher last year and has been a wonderful help this year with everything Autumn has had to endure. Grandmother’s House Children’s Preschool has allowed us to “drop in” from time to time to maintain a presence for Autumn. She cannot attend hardly ever, but to even just be there can help with her sense of self, to reminder herself that she is a kid and this place has not forgotten about her! The school has never had to work around cancer before, so it has been a learning experience for us all. Autumn, at her young age, has been one heck of teacher for all of us!

Due to Veteran’s Day, the girls didn’t have school on Thursday or Friday. Tracy and Mark graciously lent us the use of their time share in Avila Beach for two nights!! We had a blast swimming and watching TV and pretending to be visitors in our hometown. It’s nice to see things from a different perspective, especially right where you live. It added a little pizzazz to our week which seems to be just what we needed.

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