Busy Week & Hemoglobin Saturday

Brax had another great week!

Monday she got her PT in with Rachel and that is all going very well. She’s down to just one day a week now with Rachel, as that is all she really needs.

Tuesday is her normal treatment day this cycle and this week was just a shot thru the IV and no blood or platelets needed, so we got in and out. Hands down it was our fastest one yet – still a couple hours from start to finish, but that is fast these days!

Her ANC had only dropped to 500 which we were happy with. Her liver numbers are a bit elevated, so we need to monitor those as they want to make sure the levels of chemo are not causing other issues. The Team has been very transparent and said they will keep an eye on these weekly and if it means taking a week off or reducing some drugs they will do that if there is concern. As things sit now, she is doing great and things are moving exactly as the Team had hoped and we pray it continues. Dr. Sadak said at her last appointment that she should be hitting her stride as she has now had most everything they are going to throw at her with no major complications and he doesn’t anticipate any moving forward and, if so, he feels they will be minor.

Wednesday she had the day off – no PT, no school, nothing!

Brax and her Consolidation Calendar – we are getting close to another cycle in the books – 2 treatments left and on to Interim Maintenance 1.

Thursday Brax actually went to school for about an hour to finish up her state testing (reading this week) that she started with Mrs. Dahlke on Monday. It was the first time she’s been back in the building for over three months! Testing went great and she is pretty much, if not completely, caught back up.

Friday, Brax was feeling really good. Coach Kim came over to workout with Brax for about an hour which has been great, both mentally and physically. Big thanks to Kim for the help! And, BIG NEWS…..Brax did a back handspring….woot…woot!! (assisted, but still counts) She was pretty excited and for good reason! She’s determined and we are so proud of her for many reasons!

Brax has been working in the kitchen lately….our little “lunch lady” whipping up some sloppy joe, slop sloppy joe…..can’t help but think of Adam Sandler….hahahaha!!

Today, Saturday (or hemoglobin Saturday), one of her fast track teammate’s family opened a new ice cream shop and invited the team over for the Grand Opening. Brax was excited to go and see the girls and coaches. She went for about half an hour before she started feeling weird. She said she got light headed and felt like she was going to pass out. We knew with her hemoglobin being low that this was probably the case, so we weren’t completely caught off guard. Once she got back in the car and sat down she was fine, but she asked if we’d call the on-call fellow to see if we should come in. Being a Saturday the infusion clinic doesn’t have normal hours, so we knew we’d probably have to go to the ER. We talked to the on-call fellow and he said it was really up to us in this case as she had no fever, but Brax made the call to go. Her hemoglobin was in fact low, which we suspected, and they admitted her to the hospital for a transfusion. It’s a lot more involved when having to do it on a weekend, but everything went smoothly and she’s back home in bed tonight and feeling good – tired, but good!

Another good week in the books and looking forward to checking another treatment off the list this week.

Welcome Back Brax! Waiting to start blood – back on Floor 5! Just a quick 7 hour in & out!

We are all doing our best to keep things positive and lite and Brax continues to be a rockstar regardless of what gets thrown at her. I don’t think she cares much for some of mom and dad’s humor (especially dad’s), but she puts up with it!!

Happy Easter!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Brax had a very busy week, but a very good week.

Monday she had PT with Rachel and that is going very well. She also had school that afternoon which is going well too. She is nearly (if not) caught up to where she needs to be which is great.

Tuesday (Treatment Day) went well. We got into sedation early and had labs done to get her counts as this next 4 week stage is count dependent (ANC >=750 is goal). The initial quick results came back at 500, so we were a little bummed. Melissa said that final results can sometimes come back significantly different, so while we were waiting we looked over Brax’s other numbers and things looked really good, both hemoglobin and platelets. Her glucose was a bit low, we assumed from fasting for her IT chemo, so they started her on some sugar water while we waited. About 15-20 mins later final numbers came in and ANC was reporting 700 and Melissa said if she calculated it out by hand she was getting 715 and said she was OK starting based on how well things have been going. We all said ‘YES’ – let’s keep it moving. So we did start and will finish up Consolidation on May 7 – hooray!

Brax has felt really good, a bit tired, but good. We also made a decision to start her on an appetite stimulator to help her keep weight on. She’s doing ok on her own, but come end of the day she just doesn’t have much drive to eat and we know how important it is for her to keep her weight up for many reasons.

Wednesday was a lazy day.

Thursday, Brax had PT and school again.

Friday Brax worked out with Kim at home and then watched all the ex-Twisters compete in the NCAA Gymnastic Championships. Congrats to Maggie on another National All-Around Championship and Team Championship.

Saturday Brax biked 5 miles and felt really good. We also celebrated Easter with the whole immediate Battaglia family. The 4 older kids had their egg hunt in the backyard and Brax’s competitive side kicked into full gear and she found both the Gold and Silver eggs.

Brax, Bry, Landon & Brooklyn in backyard after the egg hunt with their fancy Easter Bags 🙂

Sunday – HAPPY EASTER!! – The girls had another egg hunt in the AM and then Brax dyed eggs with Grandma Paulson. We did Easter lunch after church with the Paulson family and hung out around the house. The girls got another bike ride in as it was a beautiful afternoon.

Brax dying eggs.
Bry & Brax showing off the finished product!

This week looks to be pretty normal with treatment on Tuesday, and if no transfusions needed it will be a fast one. Hoping for another good “event free” week.

End of Week/Weekend

Brax had another good week and weekend.

She was able to get some practice in (at home) with Kim on Friday and things are going very well. She actually did a back walkover (for the non-gymnast people this wont’ mean much, but it’s a pretty big deal for Brax!)

Saturday was a busy day. Saturday AM Brax dropped Bry off at practice. Her Fast Track teammates all sent her some love wearing their Team Brax hats.

Fast Track Teammates showing support for Brax!

“Please tell Braxton everyone says hi, that they all miss her and can’t wait for her to be back!” (text from Coach Kim)

Saturday afternoon she went to her Aunt Em’s wedding shower and got to see a lot of family she hadn’t been able to see since this all transpired. It was nice for all of them to see Brax and see her doing so well. People always seem to feel better after seeing Brax and to know how well she handling all of this. She an incredible little girl.

And Saturday night, we watched the UMD Bulldogs hockey (mom, dad and most of our family – Paulson & Battaglia’s alma mater) win their 2nd National Championship in as many years! Go DOGs!! #BackToBack

Today she had another good day and went to church tonight. It was Palm Sunday and this is the first mass she’s been able to attend since January. She’s getting better everyday!

We are anticipating Brax’s ANC will be ready to start the next 4-week cycle on Tuesday. We will update after that appointment.

Thank you so much to everyone for the continued calls, emails, and prayers. It means so much and whatever we are doing is working!

Snow Day & Bulldogs!

Brax has had a great week so far!

We had her appointment Tuesday and her ANC wasn’t high enough to start the next 4 week cycle. All her other numbers looked very good, but they require the ANC to be at 750 to start and once they start it doesn’t matter if it drops (they expect it too). So, she is feeling really good with no chemo for the last week and half. We are anticipating her being able to start this coming Tuesday based on how well she’s feeling and doing, but we will see. Dr. Sadak said it could be a week or two.

Today was a BIG day though!

Brax had HER first snow day of the year! Her teacher called this AM to see if we could reschedule since the district was closed. Brax was excited to claim an “official” snow day of her own today.

For lunch we went to Olive Garden (the wait time at 1:40 on a Thursday during a snowstorm is minimal…hahahaha!) Brax loves pasta in general, but has been craving Olive Garden lately and when she’s craving something, we have been trying to make it happen, as her eating is very spotty (always has been), but it’s so important we can keep her weight up for many reasons.

Brax & Olive Garden – true love!
Brax and her port pillow she made with G’ma Judy to help with her seat belt.

And then to end the day we were able to cheer the UMD Bulldogs hockey team on to another Frozen Four Championship appearance! GO DOGs!! National Champs last year……repeat?!?!

Brax Babysitting

Brax has had a good week since finishing her 1st half of Consolidation this past Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday she was a bit tired, but felt pretty good. Friday she started to get some more pep back and was actually able to work out a bit with Kim from the gym (at home) and today she was feeling very good. She has a fitbit as part of her PT program and they want her to get up to 10K steps/day as she gets stronger. She had 9505 today!

Brax out for a walk – feeling really good today!

Her baby cousin Beckam kept her busy this afternoon, as well. She helped babysit while the rest of family was at church.

Brax and Beckam!
Brax and Beckam out for a walk!

As of now, they have Brax scheduled to start the 2nd half of Consolidation on Tuesday if her ANC has rebounded. We won’t know until we go in Tuesday. We are hoping we can keep things moving, but would not be shocked if we needed an extra week of recovery to get counts up. We will update on Tuesday either way.

Thanks again to everyone for all the continued prayers, support and gifts. We are so grateful for it all.

Also, fun note, check out the Fun Stuff page to see Brax’s doctor, Dr. Sadak, who was selected as 1 of 5 doctors to play in this weekend’s NCAA #HardwoodHeroes game and then giving a small speech while the Naismith Trophy was at the U today. Awesome!

Halfway thru Consolidation

Brax finished up her last treatment to end the 1st half of induction today. She will begin the 2nd half (mirror image of what she just did) next Tuesday if her counts have recovered. They need her ANC back to 750 before they begin. Today it was low…..100. It’s not uncommon to get a “chemo-break” between sessions for counts to recover. However, we’d all prefer to keep pushing thru and keep things moving, but that is out of our control at this point.

Overall, Brax is feeling really good and doing very well. Her other counts that should be good, were good today (ie. hemoglobin & platelets).

Also, this week she started physical therapy to help work out the kinks from the chemo and to keep her F-I-T! She will do that twice a week.

Her new schedule is becoming a bit more structured.

  • School on Monday & Thursday (teacher comes to house)
  • Physical Therapy on Monday & Friday
  • Labs/Chemo/Procedures on Tuesday (and when needed)
Brax after rocking her chemo today! 1st half of consolidation complete!