Choosing Hope for Mia and Eric

Thanks to all for the support and prayers!It has been a scary couple of months for us and we finally have an answer to what was going on. Over February and March of 2014, Mia had been very emotional, dramatic, tired, limping and just feeling all over yucky. I thought she was having problems with someone at school. That surprised me because she has always been one to stick up for herself. The teachers noticed she was becoming quieter and kind of a loner. Basically, her personality did a 180. I contacted her school counselor to meet with her and even had a therapist lined up for her to see.
Her hip had been hurting her on and off and she fell and hit her knee at Field Day so she was hurting. The knee just wouldn’t get better so I took her to her pediatrician. A substitute doctor was there because Dr. Thaller was on Spring Break. She looked at Mia and sent us to get an ultrasound and x-ray. No big deal. Well, come to find out, she knew before we left the office but she didn’t want to scare us. She and Dr. Thaller called at 3:00 and told us to get to the ER, it looked like Leukemia.
She had several platelet and red blood cell transfusions at the hospital. She, also, had a bone marrow biopsy and spinal tap to determine the type of Leukemia. It was a 20 minute process that she slept through and they went ahead and put chemo in her tail bone just in case it had moved there (that’s where it likes to hide). That night, we got a call around 9 and the doctor let us know the whole story. A week in the hospital, chemo, a knee that was feeling much better pretty much sums it up.
Mia is in the induction phase of chemo. She didn’t have any bad cells in her tail bone, so that was good news. Basically, they pump her with steroids every day and chemo every week to put her in remission by the end of one month. Followed by 6 months or so of a little less chemo to kill any tiny speck that was left. Then, maintenance. About a two and a half year process.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Basically, when the body is making too many immature white blood cells (blast cells). These cells multiply very quickly (Mia’s blood work a month ago was perfect) and push out all of the platelets, red blood cells and good stuff in your bone marrow. Which is why she needed the transfusions. Chemo is also really hard on your body and platelets may be needed as we go along. Germs are a major concern over this process.
I am learning little by little but not from the internet. The doctors have been priceless and so have the nurses. She is scared to death of being poked and stuck again and this will be a very hard month. Steroids are doing a number on her but are non-negotiable because they are major players in this process. She is already on blood pressure meds because of them. She is really wobbly on her feet and stays in jammies but she is a ray of sunshine when she smiles.
Mia has been out of school since a little after Spring Break.  She has homebound school which is 2 hours/2x a week.  Now, she is on to 3rd grade and will continue homebound schooling until after Spring Break 2015.  She is about to start the Interim Maintenance phase of treatment for 8 weeks.  We have had a really hard time getting her blood counts up to even begin this phase.  
Jacob and Mia have really enjoyed being around each other so much since she has been home.  Her hair will begin falling out again very soon with this phase.
I’m sure I forgot something that I will need to add on. Please don’t hesitate to text, call or email me. It isn’t a bother at all.

Okay, on to Eric….

About 4 years ago, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He had surgery and that was that. Back to normal. Last February, his back was hurting him and nothing would help it. After a trip to the ER, we learned that the cancer was now in his liver and lungs.
MD Anderson wasn’t much help so we moved on and found Dr. Block!! I won’t go on and on but he has an integrative approach to fighting cancer. So, with no income and paying COBRA every month, Eric started to fly to Chicago every 2 weeks for 12 rounds of chemo.
The liver tumor is shrinking and Eric was able to go on maintenance chemo. A couple of weeks ago, a scan showed that the maintenance wasn’t effecting his lung tumors and they were growing slightly. They are already super tiny and smaller than when this whole process started. On April 1st, he’ll start a new protocol to zap those things as they are too small for radiation. He is doing chemo in Katy and his oncologist and Dr. Block talk regularly. Because this doctor is so awesome, he is giving Eric IV vitamin C , like Eric got in Chicago (which he doesn’t do for his patients). Eric will go to Chicago and get checked out at the Block Center. If I had hours of time, I’d write 50 pages talking about that awesome place!!

Update 5/21: Both of my patients are doing very well. Mia has finished the second phase of treatment and Eric has just finished his third treatment. Mia and Eric are dealing with a lot of nausea and exhaustion right now. Mia has started homebound schooling. I have gathered a lot of information about websites that we will subscribe to during the summer in order to keep her a little ahead. A homebound teacher comes 4 hours a week. It's awesome but I need to keep her expose her to 3rd grade concepts daily. Eric is loving his new job and travels much more than he used to. Every other week he gets chemo over the weekend and I help him deaccess his port on Sunday. Your support means so much to us. Please visit our Facebook page to stay up to date (Choosing Hope for Mia and Eric).


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Alyssa Thompson Ascencio 
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