Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back in the Hospital

Emmett had what appeared to be some stomach pain last night.  We were on the phone with his doctors around midnight and were about to bring him in, but it suddenly went away.  Then when he was napping today he had the same type of pain and also spiked a fever so the doctors had us bring him down to the ER.  Sure enough his blood counts were low so they admitted us for fever and neutropenia.  He'll also get a blood transfusion tonight.  They haven't isolated the cause of the stomach pain but say infections can manifest themselves in many ways.

By the time we arrived at his room in the early evening Emmett had perked up to his normal self and put on a lively show for the nurses.  He had an entourage of 10 or more watching him run around the floor collecting his favorite toys, raiding the kitchen, chasing the pneumatic tubes, and showing off his new words, animal sounds, and walking skills (unaided).  I wish we'd caught the 6:20 showing of "Emmett rolls into Sweet Home 9 North' on video because words don't do it justice.  The nurse practitioner didn't even examine him because of how well he was obviously feeling.  I felt a little badly for the other kids on the floor who had to see Emmett parading around like the healthiest kid on the block tonight.

Unfortunately he slowed down later on with more stomach pain.  They took him for a stomach x-ray and ultrasound.  So far nothing discovered.  Looks like they did find an infection in his blood however, we'll know more tomorrow.

Hopefully they identify the source of his stomach pain soon.  We pray it's nothing serious.

Monday, August 27, 2012


     Is it possible to say those consonants all together without a vowel? I swear that Emmett somehow manages to. In his world, this means "Truck." Oh it's amazing how quickly boys become boys. He loves all things loud, with on off switches, that have motors and especially things that move.
      Probably back in June we took a quick walk after getting home from radiation one day. We walked by this old house that was being gutted out finally by a company that had bought it. They had a bobcat out front that they were filling with debris and then would dump into the dumpster. We watched it a few times, since Emmett seemed to like it, then started leaving and he was upset. The owner  came and said hi to us and was really friendly. He said he'd bring Emmett a company t-shirt next time. Emmett wanted to keep watching it, so we did a few times more, but left with him a little bit mad at us.
      Ever since then, he asks multiple times a day to go see the truck. He loves basketball, almost as much as Caleb Johnson and just like he used to wake up and immediately want to go downstairs, then keep going straight out the front door to play basketball, he now expects to go straight out the door down to the truck. No matter what time of day. No matter how early in the morning or late at night. Yes, these poor nice workers see us in our PJs with unbrushed teeth on a regular basis...lucky for us they are so nice.

Here's us at the house one evening a few weeks ago.  It was salmon pink!

This is a paradise for him....they've got a few different trucks that rotate in and out of the yard.  
Lucky for Emmett, his absolute favorite-the Bobcat-is a constant.
            Emmett's so funny, though. When we get to the house, we have to go around back to where they park the bobcat when it's not in use and touch it and walk around it. If it's not in use (which most the time we're there after hours or weekends), he gets bored pretty quickly. If it is running, we've got to stay and watch it right from the front row seating! It's like we have to go down so many times a day, not really to see the truck (because he's not so fascinated with it being parked) but more for him to check and see if it's running, because he doesn't want to miss any action! Often they have other types of construction trucks there, too, which he loves.  He even knows to say two if there is more than one (which is partially correct, right?).

      Like I said the workers are always so nice and wave hi and don't mind him hanging around.  We try not to get to close and get in their way.  We happened to catch the owner (from Atlantic Power Cleaning) there again another time a few weeks later, and he remembered us!  Not only that, he made true on his promise, but only better!  He handed Emmett this!:
      He said his son wanted to give Emmett this truck, so he'd had it in his truck, waiting to bump into us again.  Emmett was SOOOO excited. He kept pointing from his new truck, to the real truck and back to his truck.  Seriously, it made his week! We got home and he insisted on going outside to play with it.  It's just his manly intuition that knew that trucks were made for being outside in the dirt. 
And then took a nice, comfy nap ;) 
      You can see in the previous pictures that this truck often accompanies us on our short walks down to the 'T'ck" now, too.  Emmett is sooo optimistic -- he even gets excited to see the huge dumpsters that's always parked in front because he thinks it's a "Choo-Choo!" We've made friends and met many of the neighbors on the street because we're there so often! We've even been asked 2 or 3 times if we're buying the house because they assume no one else would be so interested in it otherwise.  Well, we're not in the market for a house, but for sure it will forever hold a place in our hearts because we have spent so much time there and because Emmett loves it so much!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Taste of (Emmett's) Heaven

There are some very random things in life that make Emmett pretty happy and they seem to change now and then....and day to day even, but here are a few things he's loved this past month.

We stayed at some friends' house while they were on vacation.  Emmett LOVED it because landscapers came every week and would do almost all the houses on the street.  If you look closely at this picture, there are THREE!!! big mowers that Emmett could see from the front steps.  (I think only 2 made it in the picture)
The last time Emmett was hospitalized for chemo about 3 weeks ago now, he found this doll.  It was in rough shape and had a tracheotomy and probably some other procedures in his life.  (It was a Child Life doll used for teaching/showing families different procedures)  Emmett found him and loved him and tried to potty train him and carried him around that week.  (I just found my sister's old doll in the house today and showed it to him and he got excited all over again!)
Even though Emmett had met his new baby cousin Benjamin before, after taking care of his own baby, he was excited to see and hold a real baby the next time we were visiting.  (Which is nice, because let's face it....Emmett gets a LOT of attention these days and isn't keen on not getting it all, so I actually was able to hold my sweet nephew for a few minutes, too!)  Even as he sits on my lap right now, he is excited and saying 'by  'by!  (baby) looking at the picture of Benjamin.

And finally....Emmett is a collector of all things LION these days, which is probably not a big surprise.  However, I didn't realize it until now, but something new was added to his collection that has been AMAZING!  A lion that can keep up with him in the pool....
And in the bathtub....YAY for a waterproof lion!

Friday, August 17, 2012

From Across the Country

Micah's good friend Tyler and his family moved away from Albuquerque two years ago :(  They worked together and served together at Church, so they spent a bit of time together.  Tyler and Erin have the cutest twins.  He was in town the first weekend of August for a conference and we got to see him! The only thing that would have been better is if the whole family could have come. 
They sent Emmett a husky puppy (his mascot at UW).  
Emmett's motherly instincts have been kicking in lately.  He had to give the puppy a big kiss on the nose before napping and often hugs lion, gives him kisses and even feeds him (yesterday, he actually got annoyed that lion didn't open his mouth & was trying to actually get food INTO his mouth). 
The second half of that same week, more friends Albuquerque -- Bishop Hjorth and his wife Mee -- were in town for a conference, too!  I know, we have the best luck! What an exciting week for us!  
Emmett even took them to his most favorite place (more to come on that later). 
 I think they liked it almost as much as he does.
You can't imagine how good it was to see friends from home. We try not to worry about home too much, but we sure do miss it.  But if we can't go home, the next best thing is to have home come to us!  We would have kept them here all week with us if we could have! Thanks so much for coming!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sweet Treat

Not sure how we got nominated, but got this fun package from Parker's Custom Cookies in Nebraska as part of a program called Desserts for the Desrving.  Such a simple little thing, but how can a surprise package that's so fun and cute not make your day?!?!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Prayer List

So we're still out of the hospital!  Emmett finished chemotherapy almost a week and a half ago and he's still doing very well.  On previous chemo rounds we've been back in the hospital for 4-5 days by this point in the cycle.  Our doctors told us Friday that this round wasn't any less severe than what he's had before and they expected we'd probably have to bring him in sometime over the weekend.  But here we are Sunday night and he's still doing well.

Though our doctors can't identify why Emmett's surpassing expectations, we're confident it's the concerted prayers of many people that are strengthening him at this time.  And we can't thank you enough for them!  And we especially thank those who were praying and fasting for Emmett last Sunday.  Please continue to keep Emmett in your prayers as we approach his next MRI evaluation in about a month.

Some friends recently asked us for a list of specific things to mention in their prayers for Emmett.  We put together the following list and shared it with their family.  For those others who are looking for specific things to pray for, mentioning just one or two of the items below in your prayers would be helpful.
  • That the therapies he's receiving will successfully treat the tumor.
  • That Emmett's spinal cord will be protected from the radiation and the intrathecal chemotherapy -- no paralysis or other permanent nerve damage resulting from the cancer or the treatment.
  • That immediate side effects will be minimized -- mouth sores, nausea, nerve pain, fevers.
  • That Emmett will be protected from infections while his immune system is suppressed.
  • That Emmett's walking will continue to improve so that he can walk without help.
  • That the damaged nerves in his shoulder, arm and spine will heal and that he will regain full use of his left arm and hand.  
  • That Emmett's cerebral spinal fluid (CSF -- the fluid in his brain and spine) will continue to be free of cancerous cells and that future CSF samples will accurately reflect that there is no cancer in his brain and spine.
  • The Emmett's next MRI evaluation will show no evidence of disease.
  • The we will be directed to the alternative therapies and other treatments that will be most beneficial for Emmett.
  • That Emmett's hearing will be protected during treatment and that he not experience other long-term adverse side effects such as cognitive deficits, learning disabilities, leukemia, and other physical or mental impairments or diseases.
We haven't mentioned on the blog yet that Emmett's latest CSF sample (taken two weeks ago while inpatient for chemotherapy) came back clear!  Chalk it up for another miracle...and then just tonight Emmett was gripping with his left hand!!!  He's tried to do various things with it over the past few weeks with limited success, but tonight he was actually squeezing with it.  Yet another miracle!  And we expect them to continue.

Again, we can't thank you all enough for your continued prayers and faith.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Alex's Lemonade Stand

Some friends from Kalamazoo, MI are hosting an Alex's Lemonade Stand for Emmett this week at the Kalamazoo County Fair.  Great work guys!  Please stop by and check it out!  We'll add more pictures and information soon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Duck Tours

A doctor that doesn't even work with in pediatric oncology at MGH chartered a Duck Tour for the kids at Proton Radiation. Our MGH oncologist said Emmett was fine to go (as it's the same people we see in radiation every day, so there's no extra exposure) and just to make sure he didn't crash the boat into the bridge when it was his turn to drive. We invited our friend, Kylie, to come along and my sister Laree came, too.

Emmett loved the elevators when he first got to Children's. These escalators at MGH became the new elevators. He'd want to ride up and down them multiple times. We waited for the duck boat right by them and there was a little trouble because the duck boat couldn't fit down the narrow road in between buildings, but he couldn't get a hold of us either to plan a new pickup spot, so we waited for a while. Emmett could ride these things for hours, so he didn't mind!

There are a few dozen boats, each a different color/theme and a crazy driver to go along with the theme.  
Duck Boat tours are probably not the best way for a history buff to see the city, but for everyone else, it's a pretty good choice.  Their main goal is entertainment with some history thrown in. 

Right outside the public gardens where the Make Way for Ducklings statues are
 was this ice cream truck with an illustration from the book.

Diving down into the Charles River!

Emmett wanted to go sit with nurse Rachel for a minute. 
She had a great view,so who can blame him?
  She told us that she's hoping for grandkids sometime,
so I think she didn't mind the practice.

Like usual, Emmett got a little stage fright and wouldn't drive.
Emmett wouldn't look away from the crazy captain,
so i did a double big smile for him.
Secretly, I think Emmett was scared to be that close to him. 
So glad these 2 ladies made it - Laree and Kylie

This is for my sweet sis!  (and the other Nicole Anderson we know in ABQ-
how weird is that to know 2 people with the same name!?!) 

We were supposed to be admitted for chemo that weekend, but his counts were too low, so this was kind of last minute.  We're always a little hesitant to take him to events, but since the doctor said it would be fine and our nurse said we had to go and we're glad we did.  Emmett wasn't sure what to think at first, but once we got into the water, he especially perked up and loved it!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hear the Lion ROAR!

We'll call this "Zoo, Take Two!"  Since Franklin Park Zoo's lion was so great last time, we decided we had to go back sometime this summer.  So we went last weekend before Emmett was admitted.  We only went a few hours before closing time, so we didn't see a ton, but we really just went for the train and the lion, and succeeded in seeing both!

When we first got there, we headed straight for the lion, but as you can see, Emmett
saw the train and got pretty excited about that.  
(Pointing to his nose is his sign for lion, just FYI)
The next train ride was sold out so we had to wait for another one.
The nice driver told us to come in front to take a picture and waited for us....so nice!
Turns out, watching and chasing the train is a lot more fun than riding one.  He got on and wasn't that excited and was trying to get off.  Once it started moving, he got a little less antsy and liked moving without
having to be in a carseat.

Then on to the lion...
I'm telling you, this lion puts on a great show!

And then it turned into a real adventure, because it DOWNPOURED...for over an hour!
 We had fun still, though!  After hiding out by the lion shelter, we decided to brave the run over to the enclosed monkeys, anteaters, reptiles and other random's enclosures. 
  Before we left the zoo, Emmett asked for the lion, so we stopped by one last time. 
He came right over by us and had a lot to say!
Luckily, his nurse had given him homework that while he was away at MGH 
he needed to learn to roar (and then after that, learn to say her name;)  
He did both and had quite the conversation with lion!
(and I was trying so hard not to laugh at his cuteness because he was being so serious!)
You can bet we'll be going back a few more times this year!