Phoebe's latest chimerism test shows 100% donor 2 cells. Wonderful news to bring into the new year. In addition to this, Phoebe had a bone marrow aspiration done on Wednesday and the preliminary results show no sign of Leukemia cells. This bone marrow sample will be sent for cytogenetics testing to look for the MLL (multi-lineage Leukemia) gene as well as minimal residual disease (MRD) testing to look deeper than what can be seen under a microscope for Leukemia cells. The chimerism of the bone marow sample will also be tested. The results of all of those tests should be in next week, but we are very happy with the initial news.
Phoebe has also put on a tiny bit of weight. She had been steadily losing weight since she was discharged from the hospital so this is good news and reason for another sigh of relief. She is now on a higher calorie formula with a bit of extra fibre, and we have started her on an appetite stimulant with the hopes that it will entice her to eat. She has eaten tiny amounts of her usual snack foods since we have been home, but one cannot live and grow on goldfish and rice cakes alone, so we are hoping to add some healthier and more nutritious food to this list.
As the new year is approaching, I have been thinking back on all that 2011 has brought us. It was a tough year, full of so much joy, but also a fair share of sorrow. To best explain the rollercoaster ride that was 2011, I thought I would tell it in photographs ...
We celebrated birthdays.
We basked in the sunshine at the hospital's park
And we finally made it home for day trips in April.
The Hospital for Sick Children "Sick Kids" and Toronto was our new home for the next 2 and a half months.
Soon, we were all reunited and ...
We also applied for a passport and prayed for a cure.
and was discharged on Dec. 22nd, just in time for Christmas.
Phoebe still has many days of healing ahead of her, but we are entering 2012 in remission with 100% donor cells. Today she started to show an interest in food again and crawled for the first time since her transplant. 2011 brought us to St. Jude and Leukemia aside it was the year that Phoebe learned to crawl, say her first words, cut her first teeth, and try food for the first time. Her fearless big sister Mae turned 3 and appeared to learn a new word everyday, including the words "chemo", "cancer", and "recovering", the third being my favourite, as in "Is Phoebe still 'covering today?". We are hopeful for more firsts in 2012.
The future is bright.