March '01
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Schedule of Events

bullet3/1 - Well, Jeri gave me a big surprise this morning. She took a few steps without crutches and said that her sprained foot is feeling much better. I like those kinds of surprises! We took a field trip to the med center today to drop off the paperwork for her Vegas trip. We also dropped off some of the California pictures to the Make-A-Wish office. Then, it was on to lunch at King Fish Market (a yummy place to go and stick to your diet!). Tomorrow, Brit will be back and I am sure that he is just as anxious to be home as we are to have him here. 
bullet3/2 - I made it home today in time to see Jeri's good news before she took went to physical therapy. She showed me that her foot was healing enough to take a few steps without crutches. That was nice to see. Here's a link for the Sunshine Kids for those wanting to know about it. Those that follow baseball have probably seen the yellow pin that Craig Biggio wears on his cap for some of the publicity shots. It's from the Sunshine Kids
bullet3/3 - It's the weekend. That means sleeping late for Jeri. She's taken it easy today. No retail therapy, no school and no worries. She managed to work in a bit of physical therapy but didn't want to overdo it. It is the weekend after all. 
bullet3/4 - It started out like another weekend day. Jeri slept late once again. However, she showed a bit more energy today. She played games this afternoon with Randi and her friend Chris. She went to the gym with Virginia and spent time on the cross trainer machine. I'm not sure what it does but Virginia says that Jeri had to work it with her legs without using her arms. That sounds like good exercise to me. She went with Randi to Religious Education class this evening. Oh yes, she's also starting to show hair on that pretty head of hers. We finally finished the trip log for the Make-A-Wish trip. It's at or you can use the links on the home page of this web site.
bullet3/5 - Well, it isn't the weekend anymore, but that didn't keep Jeri from sleeping in until noon.  She got up in time to eat a bite and then study with her home school teacher at 1.  After that, she just goofed off...her favorite kind of day.  We did get more info on the Las Vegas trip for next week.  She will be traveling with a pediatric oncology nurse and two other teenagers from Texas Children's.  There will be cancer kids from all across the US in Las Vegas.  They are staying in the Hard Rock Hotel there.  Jeri is ready to go!  (Virg)
bullet3/6 - I woke Jeri up at 11:30 this morning.  No more sleeping until noon for this chick.  (the girls don't call me mean mom for nothing!)  Since we had a free day today (no tennis for me or physical therapy, school or clinic for Jeri), we went to a movie.  We saw Castaway and enjoyed it very much.  That was about all that was accomplished today.  (Virg)
bullet3/7 - Despite the fact that Jeri had to get out of bed this morning much before she wanted to, she had a really good physical therapy session.  Since her foot is getting better, she is back to practicing with her cane.  She feels like the foot is good enough that she will not need to bring her wheelchair with her to Vegas - just her crutches. (Virg)
bullet3/8 - No school today but Jeri had homework.  She baked cookies this evening as part of the homework.  That's the kind of homework I liked.  She showed me how her walking is progressing when I got home this evening.  She's also standing while putting the sugar on her cookies.  I think they are Mexican Wedding Cookies.
bullet3/9 - It's the last day of school before Spring Break.  Yes, Jeri gets Spring Break too.  Actually, I think it's more for her teacher.  She thinks she got a good grade on the cookies she baked last night.  Hope her teacher gave her as good a grade as I did.  Of course, I graded with my taste buds.  The other event for the day was physical therapy.  Jeri stretched a bit today.  One of her exercises is to step over some cardboard boxes (about 3 inches high) while using her cane.  She managed to do that and kicked over the last one.  She says that it's a rule that one is supposed to kick over the last one.  This may not be the exact story but it should be close.  Jeri decided to show her therapist that she was making improvement so she walked over the boxes without the cane.  Virginia says it was a toss-up to see who more shocked, her therapist or her mother.  I was also surprised when I heard.  Now I've turned up the pressure on Jeri to spend less time on the crutches and more time with the cane.  I also decided to motivate her with retail therapy funding.  Yes, I know that parents shouldn't motivate their kids that way but so what.  Jeri likes to shop and if that's what motivates her, I'll be happy to use it.  The deal is that she has to walk 50 yards in a straight line with no cane, no stopping and pick up a $50 bill at the end of the walk.  I'll be responsible for measuring the course and supplying the funding.  There's no time limit other that what the judge, me, believes is appropriate.  Should be interesting.  Maybe this will give her the motivation to work harder.  I'm open for suggestions........
bullet3/10 - Turns out that Jeri is quite the sandbagger.  We went outside this afternoon and measured a course.  She walked it very easily.  That tells me that she's been sandbagging.  Ok, sandbagging since her foot healed.  Her physical therapy went up at least enough to match the hole that was left in my pocketbook.  She's not got new spending money for the trip to Las Vegas.  The prospect of additional retail therapy should get her even more excited than she already is.
bullet3/11 - Jeri left for Las Vegas today on her trip with the Sunshine Kids.  She's excited about this last vacation before getting back to the grind of treatment.  I think that applies to the rest of us as well.  It's easy to forget what's inside her body when she's feeling as well as she is right not.  Hope she enjoys the vacation.  There may not be many updates until she returns.  I guess it all depends on how often she calls to report the days events.
bullet3/12 - Jeri called in last night to say that they arrived safely and that their hotel, The Hard Rock Hotel, is really cool and that the view from their room is great.  She called in today and added that they had spent lots of time in the Circus Circus theme park.  She rode lots of rides (except for the roller coaster).  Tonight they are going to Excalibur for a medieval dinner and show.  She has already managed to squeeze in some retail therapy too.  The girl is good!
bullet3/15 - Jeri returns home tomorrow.  We're looking forward to having her back home.  She's been having lots of fun but I'm sure she'll be ready to get home.  We pick her up at the airport tomorrow afternoon.
bullet3/16 - Jeri's plane arrived right on time.  She was ready to go out to eat but said no buffets.  She had plenty of those in Las Vegas.  We were all glad to see her and noticed that her hair is continuing to grow.  We'll have to get her debriefed and find out the story of her trip.  She wanted real TexMex food but the rest of us had already decided that it was our turn to overeat.  We chose the Monument Inn and agreed to do TexMex later this weekend.
bullet3/17 - Rest was the order of the day for Jeri.  She left the wheelchair at home so she spent the week on crutches.  That was the longest stretch to date but she said that it left her leg a bit sore and tired.  All she wanted to do was catch up on her rest.
bullet3/18 - Jeri says that she is two time zones off and needs to sleep later to catch up.  I'm fairly slow but that surely sounds like an excuse to stay up late and sleep late.  Wonder how long it will take to adjust.  I'll need a reference for the next long trip I take.  Anyway, not much going on today.  We had lunch with some friends who are here while one of them is receiving treatment from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.  We went to Escalante's so that Jeri could get that TexMex fix.
bullet3/19 - Today, Jeri had an appointment at 10am with Dr. Berg, the experimental procedures Dr.  We got there early (didn't figure on light traffic) so we went over to the hospital and Jeri visited with some of her favorite oncology nurses.  They all exclaimed at how tall she was and how long her hair is getting.  (They never get to see how tall she is when she is in for treatment since she is always in bed!)  Then it was back to the clinic for a quick exam and then the conference.  After discussing a couple of possible treatments, Jeri gave some blood which will be used for some kind of liver test.  If she passes that test, we will try the protocol using a drug called ET374.  This will still keep our options open for the other protocol.  Jeri will have the option to change treatments at any time if the side effects prove to be too awful.  The good news about these treatments as far as Jeri is concerned is that they will not require hospitalization.  They will be given on an outpatient basis.  After we were finished in clinic, we sent Brit off to the airport to catch his flight to Bartlesville and we dashed over to diagnostic imaging for Jeri's CT-scan of her chest.  We should get the results of that test in the morning.  We pray that the tumors have not gone out of control during this chemo-less period.  Jeri continues to feel good and look great.  Thanks to all of you for the prayers and good wishes that you are constantly sending this direction.  Y'all are a constant source of support! - Virg
bullet3/20 - Well, the results of the CT-scan are in and there are no big surprises.  The existing tumors are larger and there are approximately 10 new tumor nodules.  The growth of the cancer on this scan is proportional to the growth of the tumor on the last scan.  Jeri's blood work shows that her kidney and liver functions are all normal.  Her platelets are at 197,000 and her hemoglobin is at 11.4...all in the normal range.  Unfortunately, her ANC (absolute Neutrophil count), the number that measures her infection fighting ability, is only 1200.  This number will have to reach 1500 before Jeri can start treatments again.  Blood work will be drawn again on Thursday to see if this number was an anomaly.  We may have to boost her ANC with G-CSF injections again, but the Dr. would rather see them come up on their own for Jeri's safety.  It will be four to five days before we find out  the results of the specialized liver test that is needed for the first protocol.  Meanwhile, Jeri is planning a rigorous schedule of retail and dining therapy (just to keep her dad on his toes!) - Virg
bullet3/21 - Jeri had physical therapy today.  Virginia told the therapist the tale of the 50 yard challenge and agreed that Jeri should negotiate for easier trials.  The therapist agreed and gave Jeri a good workout.  Jeri says she's still tired from using crutches during last weeks trip.  I don't think she was serious.  The report is that she did well in physical therapy.
bullet3/22 - Jeri participated in a big event this evening.  The Make-A-Wish Foundation found a sponsor for Jeri's Cantoni.jpg (62996 bytes)wish.  It was Cantoni, a very nice furniture store here in Houston.  They adopted Make-A-Wish as a charity and Jeri's wish in particular.  They had a reception this evening and invited Jeri to make an appearance and assist in a drawing for a $3,000 shopping spree.  She was more than happy to assist.  On the way, Jeri and Virginia stopped by TCH to see Jeri's friend, Kristina.  Kristina is 17 years old and has Ewing's Sarcoma.  That is similar to the Osteosarcoma that Jeri has.  Kristina is back in chemo.  Virginia said it was hard to separate the two girls.  She did and they made it to Cantoni a little after me.  It was a very nice event in a very nice store.  The store Manager, Jeff Levine, was very nice to Jeri.  He and Jeri had several pictures taken, including video by our local affiliate of the WB Network, the network of .7th HeavenCantoni is now our favorite furniture store.  I told Virginia that I was glad we weren't eligible for the prize because I couldn't afford to win.  That $3,000 shopping spree would have been twice that.  But I digress........  Thanks to Mr. Levine, Cantoni and the other sponsors of this evening's event.  Oh yes, the local WB Network news comes on early and was in progress when we made it home.  We were just in time to see Jeri and Mr. Levine smiling for the camera but too late to get a videotape loaded.  Maybe next time.
bullet3/23 - Physical therapy went well today.  Jeri didn't try to negotiate easy stuff.  She increased time and resistance on her activities.  She'll be spending lots of time using the cane instead of crutches this weekend.  The blood test results were a different matter.  Yesterday's blood draw showed an Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) of 800 which was down from 1,200 on Monday.  (See 3/20 for minimum requirements information.)  That means she can't start the new therapy on Monday.  Her liver test was normal.  That was good news.  It means she qualifies for the therapy if she can get her ANC to 1,500.  The doctors said that the ANC count indicated that she should be sick.  She isn't.  Therefore, they think it may be possible that the last blood test was tainted.  She will try again on Thursday of next week.  The liver test qualification is date sensitive.  She'll have to have it run again if the blood count data is ok.  In any event, it means that things are delayed at best, until the first week of April.  And so it goes..........
bullet3/24 - One of Jeri's friends came by and spent most of the afternoon.  I got a haircut today so Jeri's hair is now officially longer than mine.
bullet3/25 - Sunday was to be Jeri's day of rest.  She got a bit of rest but her father caught up with her.  The first question was, "where's the cane?"  I caught her using the crutches downstairs.  She explained that she didn't have any shoes on and needed them to use the cane.  That was quickly remedied.  Later during the day, she took the cane outside and walked around our cul-de-sac.  That will become a daily thing for a while.  It will also get longer every few days.  I've still got to get my $50 worth.  (see 3/20)
bullet3/26 - Jeri made it around the cul-de-sac today with only one stop.  She's amazing.  She'll sometimes protest a bit but she always does the work and gives it her best.  She also made Creme Brulee.  I'm going to have mine tomorrow.  Everyone else said they were good.  Not much else going on today.
bullet3/27 - Well, it was raining too hard today to do the tour of the cul-de-sac, so we loaded the crutches into the car and took off.  Jeri and I had lunch at Rudi Lechner's today.  Yummy German food!  Then, it was off to the Galleria.  Jeri got lots of exercise walking the mall.  We did mostly looking today.  The only purchase was some fun eye shadows from Sephora for Jeri and she used her own money for that.  Brit was saved!
bullet3/28 - Jeri graduated from the four-legged cane to the single-legged cane in Physical Therapy today.  She is needing less and less to lean on as she walks.  She practiced quite a bit with the new cane and is already quite comfortable with it.  I think she might want to show off for her dad when he returns tomorrow night.  Her teacher came to the house for lessons today.  Jeri had tests in several subjects and did great on all of them.  Afterwards, Cherry, her teacher, got to sample the last creme brulee.  Jeri got high marks for that as well.
bullet3/29 - Jeri and Virginia went to the clinic this morning to try again with the blood test and get a bone scan.  We don't have the results of the bone scan.  The blood test showed an ANC of 1,150.  She needs 1,500 plus a normal liver test to begin the planned chemo.  The liver test is time sensitive so there was no need to have it run.  Dr. Berg was out of town today so we won't get a chance to discuss next steps until perhaps tomorrow.  She may put Jeri on G-CSF to increase her white blood count and therefore, her ANC.  We shall see.  On another note, Jeri showed me how well she could use the new cane.  She did well.  She's making progress every day.
bullet3/30 - Someone from the clinic called today and said that Dr. Berg had seen Jeri's blood test results.  She was pleased tat the ANC was going up from the last measurement.  Nothing was said about the time before being an anomaly and that this one was a bit lower than the last clinic test.  That about sums up our relationship so far with Dr. Berg.  Jeri had physical therapy this afternoon.  I took her rather than Virg.  Jeri tried to negotiate for easier things.  She quickly discovered that with Dad, the only negotiation was how many more repetitions or how much more weight she could do.  That didn't work out the way she had planned.  She did well, anyway.  Her strength is improving each day.  This evening, Jeri went with some friends to one of the local High Schools to see several team's present their one act plays.  I don't think this was a competition but more of an exhibition of the plays that they used in the state competitions.  She said she enjoyed it a lot.
bullet3/31 - March went out with a whimper.  Jeri relaxed most of the day.  A bit of light shopping but nothing purchased.  Now we'll see what April brings.


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This page last updated:  June 13, 2006