While it was difficult being back there, Hazel did everything like a champion! In fact, she was counting down the days until her return. Since we spent so much time at the hospital when she was younger, I believe it felt like returning to her second home. She kept talking about her "own room with her own TV", going on her "pole rides", and the amazing "play room". And what child in a family of 7 wouldn't like to have Mommy'a undivided attention and days where people bring gifts and surprises all the time?! I am so thankful that Hazel does not associate feeling poorly, and her difficult experiences with being at the hospital. Even this time, when treatment made her feel so bad, she still did not want to leave come Saturday. Leave it to a child to face these circumstances in this way. Just like the St. Baldrick's Foundation's new Childhood Cancer Campaign says, KIDS ARE GOLD!
As I said, treatment this first week was very difficult for Hazel. The chemo causes nausea and diarrhea, and the immunotherapy causes, in her, extreme pain and itching, and gives her a fever (she was fighting a 103 degree fever most of the week. So not only do they have chemo and immunotherapy running, but they also have her on a continuous drip of pain medication, anti itch medication, around the clock anti nausea medication, Benadryl and Tylenol. One of the chemotherapies she has to take by mouth, as well as the Tylenol (every 4 hours), and an antibiotic to help with the diarrhea. It was very difficult for her because it took us three days to find all the right combinations and timings of the medication to make her comfortable, so she spent those first days in such misery, telling us that what we were doing was not working. Even thought she was miserable and frustrated, she still remained so unbelievably brave and agreed to everything. She slept for a lot of the hours, so that also helped. Your prayers and good thoughts were definitely felt and clearly abounded in that room.
After coming home from a week of difficult treatment, and not eating, Hazel was very tired and not very hungry. It took her a few days to recover and begin eating again, but thankfully, side effects have remained very minimal! Las time she was in treatment, Hazel felt very unwell from the chemo, and we were back in the hospital for days and weeks at a time dealing with low blood counts and troubling side effects. Hazel has felt so well this week, that she even returned to school a few days! Her labs were drawn on Thursday, where she had her very first port access while awake. Although very nervous about it, she did it so bravely, and it went extremely well! I was concerned to get the results because low blood counts would mean no school and back to the hospital for us, but they came back and were great! Since her counts have not dropped yet, it is highly unlikely that they well, since her body should just continue to recover. So that means we get a full two weeks at home between treatments with our little Hazelnut feeling well! THANK YOU GOD FOR HOLDING OUR DAUGHTER IN YOUR HANDS!!!
I know I have stated before that a post is coming about how you can specifically be praying for us, and I promise it still is. However, our big fundraiser, The Ever After Ball is tonight, so with coming home and figuring out our new normal, and getting ready for this event, I have just been so busy! It will come though :) Also, many of you have been asking about sending cards and gifts to Hazel. We have opened a PO BOX just for this very reason, and we would be happy to hear from you all. I just ask that you do not send too many toys, because with five children we not only have enough already, it would also not be fair to her siblings. Hazel, however, loves receiving cards, stickers, headbands/hats, nail polish, and things of that nature. Please send mail to:
PO BOX 2001
Simi Valley, CA 93062
Here are other ways to help our family as well:
- Sign up on our care community! Here you find a list of our needs and a calendar with specific tasks you can sign up for. Just go to www.heretoserve.org and click JOIN. When filling out the registration form, be sure to indicate you want to help Hazel. An email will be sent to you for you to join us!
- Donate to our family! Go to www.talbertfamilyfoundation.org/pages/Hazel.html
- Buy a HOPE FOR HAZEL bracelet and stand in solidarity with our family. They are $5 a bracelet, and we have sizes Regular and Small (I wear the small). To do so, either send a self addressed, stamped envelope to our PO BOX along with a note indicating how many bracelets you would like and in what size; or go to our donation page link above, select your donation amount, and in the "GIFT INFORMATION" section, indicate how many bracelets and what sizes.