Sunday, August 31, 2008


Just a quick note to let everyone know that we will be checking back into the hospital tomorrow to start round two of the chemotherapy. He will get his Cisplatin, which goes in over a period of four hours and then on Wednesday he will get two more injections. If all goes well, we will go home on Wednesday. Please pray that all goes well. The more we are at home, the better it is for him. We have no peace and no rest at the hospital. It is almost impossible for anyone to get any sleep. Moby arrived safely yesterday and we are so happy. She has prepared little meals for us to take to the hospital, so we have been spared from the hospital food.
I must give special thanks to those of you that have been so helpful with Levi. Sis. Deborah took him to the beach for a few days, and he had a blast! Sis. Paula picked him up and took him to the park and the pool, our neighbors (The Sullivans) took him to the pool and to Chuckee Cheese, The Chavez's adopted Levi for the first week we were in the hospital (I will be forever grateful for that), The Smirnoffs (our other neighbors) are having him over for a play date and arranging meals from the neighborhood, and I could go on and on. We are so blessed. I just get choked up when I think of all the support we have gotten from so many friends. I could never tell everyone thank you enough times to really get across how much I mean it. I just pray the God blesses you all for everything you have done for us.

I prayed a special prayer for all our friends in the path of Hurricane Gustav. I pray it is not a repeat of what we all went through a couple of years ago. I pray a hedge of protection around you. I pray the hurricane weakens before it makes landfall and spares the Gulf Coast from devastation. In Jesus name.

I will update you all tomorrow on Day one of chemotherapy round two. We thank you for your continued prayer while we fight this battle.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Luke Update

Today we had a couple of appointments to go to which pretty much took most of the day. First we went to the Children's Clinic to get his blood counts checked and then to the hospital for a hearing test. Luke has had a really great day today. The results of his blood tests were good. His wbc count was around 400 on Monday. Today it was over 4,ooo. This is really great news because it means I don't have to give him any more shots for a while and now he is no longer neutropenic. All of his other counts look really good also. They had originally told us that he would have to receive blood transfusions throughout chemo, but he has not had to have one in quite a while. We saw one of the other oncologists today, so I was interested to hear what she felt while examining him. She also could not feel the tumor. Luke just lay there, calm and smiling as if he already knows that tumor is gone. We left the office feeling very encouraged.

Then we were off to the hospital for a hearing test. The Cisplatin drug can cause hearing loss, so they will check him after each round of chemo. His hearing test came back perfect. Absolutely no hearing loss in any frequency in either ear. Praise God! Luke has been eating very well and I have not had to give him any anti-nausea medicine today. We are going to enjoy the weekend and then check into the hospital on Monday for his next round of chemo. If he is eating well and keeping food down, we will be able to go home after his next two injections on Wednesday. Then it will just be a matter of a few weeks before they do another ct scan to check the tumor. We believe the report of the Lord!

My very dear friend Moby is flying in on Saturday to help us out for a while. I am so relieved to know that she will be here. Levi adores her and we count ourselves blessed to have her and Rengas as our friends. I may have mentioned earlier that we had hired a nanny to help care for Levi while we were at the hospital and such. Well....she left one day and never came back. She would not even return our calls. We were in quite a bind. So I am ready to roll out the red carpet for Moby. I also want to send out a special thanks to the PeteRites. I think I spelled that correctly. These are Ben's friends from school in Sri Lanka. They have been traveling from Maryland to bring us dinners. Thanks so much! I had the best salmon I have ever had in my entire life the other night. I MUST get the recipe!!! Thank you to everyone who has posted us on your blog and spread the news about Luke. We are incredibly grateful. We ask for continued prayer throughout this next round of chemo and then for the ct scans that will be coming up. To God be the Glory for the things He has done!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chemotherapy Day 17

Well we got to come home on Sunday, which was wonderful. We went into the clinic today for Luke's treatment. He did very well and we had to stay for extra fluids. They really don't want him getting dehydrated because it also makes the nausea worse. The Dr. was examining his belly today and the words that came out of her mouth were"I can't feel it". She then said it was because he was crying and she could not get a good exam, but I held tight to those first words "I can't feel it". I also cannot feel it when I press in that general area. We know that it is shrinking because his AFP (alpha fetal protein) test was around 400,000 at diagnosis, and now it is 190,000. This means the tumor is shrinking. Praise God!!

Luke's WBC count is up and down, so he is getting daily shots of Neupogen. Guess who gets to give him the shots at home? You guessed it. ME! They inserted a very small catheter into his arm so I can stick the needle in and give him the shot without sticking him. There is no way I can stick my baby day after day with a needle. I feel like I'm in some kind of nursing crash course. God is revealing so much to me about myself.

On Thursday, we go back to the Dr. to check his WBC count and get a hearing test. The Cisplatin causes hearing loss, so they check them after each round of chemo. Luke will not lose his hearing!! If Luke's WBC count is up and climbing we will start round 2 next Monday. He will have to be in the hospital for it, and the Dr said that after a few weeks of it we can do another scan and see if we can't remove the tumor at that time! I believe it! That tumor is history!!!

We ask for your continued prayer for healing and to help Luke deal with the side effects of chemo and to strengthen him and our family. May the Lord bless you all for everything you have done for us.

At the Dr's office
In the hospital. Mommy kisses.

Uncle John and Uncle Dileep come to entertain and bring Indian food. Yum

His beautiful smile makes it easier for me to get through the day!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Back To the Hospital

On Wednesday I called the Dr. because Luke had been throwing up and not eating well. I was concerned he would become dehydrated again. The office was really busy with sick visits, so they sent us to the ER at INOVA Fairfax. We thought we were just there to get fluids, but Luke spiked a fever and had to be put on antibiotics. After 8 hours in the ER they admitted us. It turns out Luke's white blood count is dropping. This is about the time they said it would start to drop meaning he is Neutropenic. He is at risk for infection right now, so they put him on antibiotics and did several blood tests to check for bacteria in his blood and his central line. They are also giving him shots of Neupogen to boost the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow.

The other thing we are dealing with is constipation. This last chemo he had and the one he will have on Monday cause constipation. They want to solve this problem before his next dose on Monday. Luke has been in great spirits. He has been laughing and smiling at the nurses, unless they come to check his vitals. We got a larger room this time with a crib and two beds! Ben and I don't have to share a small hospital bed this time. The nurses and staff here have been great. We will be here until Monday at least. They will give his next dose of Vincristine here at the hospital and then hopefully we can go home. Levi is missing us once again. Ben goes home during the day and stays with him and then comes back here at night. We feel very blessed to have such a great hospital near us and be seen by such a great group of oncologists. The oncologist that will be here this weekend specializes in Hepatoblastoma, so we are looking forward to talking with him.

We are so thankful for your continued prayer for Luke. Please pray for Luke's healing, strength for his body during chemo, reduced time on chemo, strength for Ben and I, comfort and understanding for Levi, wisdom for the Dr's and nurses, and relief from the side effects (constipation, vomiting, pain, etc.). We cannot even begin to put into words how much you all mean to us. We could not do this alone and we really draw strength from your prayers. We love you all and thank you.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chemotherapy Day 10

Today we took Luke to The Children's clinic to get his second session of Vincristine. We were there for almost 5 hours. What a busy place that is. When the Dr. was examining Luke she said she thought he was dehydrated, so he had to get hooked up to receive some fluids before getting the chemo. They took us to the infusion part of the clinic. So many children there receiving chemotherapy, my heart broke. Luke did very well though. I held him the whole time and he just sat with me, very peaceful. All of his blood work came back good and they had to check his liver function before giving him the chemo, it was good.

After receiving the chemo, he had to get another hour of fluids. We live about 45 minutes (without traffic) from the clinic and Luke slept almost the whole way home. He is sleeping now and I pray he stays asleep for most of the night. Now is the time when his white blood cell count is going to start to really drop. Levi has a little cold and just wants to hug and touch his little brother. I try to get Levi to understand the situation, but he does not want to. I have a lot of guilt regarding my time spent with Levi. I know he will be fine it just breaks my heart. Well Luke is awake again, so I will say good night. Pray for sleep, peace and sleep.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Well we were finally able to go home. They told us to try to get back to a normal routine. I have a hard time thinking in the old "normal" way. We are embracing a new kind of normal. I think Luke is doing much better at home. He is in familiar surroundings and seems to be more comfortable. He is still having trouble sleeping at night. He will sleep if he is being held, but as soon as he is put down he screams. I just want to hold him tight forever, but I would never get any sleep. Luke is gradually starting to take in more food. He threw up again today, but has been doing better. We have a home health nurse that comes to the house to help me with the dressing changes and flushing the line of the catheter. It's weird to me to have medical supplies in the house and it being necessary to use them. My brain is still trying to adjust. We all took a walk to the park today to get some fresh air and let Levi play for awhile. Luke enjoyed the walk, he was looking all around and enjoying the motion of the stroller.
Tomorrow we go for another session of chemotherapy. This one can be done in the office, so hopefully all will go well and we will be back at home after the appointment. Then in seven more days he will have another. We are keeping a bag packed in the car for unforeseen delays. We had to hire a nanny to care for Levi in our absence. This is all part of our new normal. I catch myself looking back sometimes and thinking how simple life was before. I think about all the silly things that stressed me out or made me upset. Then I shake myself and look forward to the miracles that God is going to perform in Luke's life. We are so blessed, and take much for granted. All we can do right now is cross one hurdle at a time. I pray for the strength to make it over the next one. About every couple of days, I lose it and I sob uncontrollably. It can feel like too much and I can't stand to see my baby suffer. But once I have it out I feel a renewed strength and determination. Luke will be healed.
Daddy and Luke. His smile makes my day!

Levi loves his baby brother, but has a hard time understanding about the germs and the bobo's on his tummy.
At the park. Luke needed some fresh air and Levi definitely needed to run and jump and play.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We thought we would be able to go home today, but Luke needed another blood transfusion today and he hasn't been eating. He went the whole day today without throwing up, which is really good. The Dr. said as long as he starts eating and keeping it in we can go home tomorrow. Last night Luke would not go to sleep. He was very fussy and crying. I felt like crying also because I was so tired. Tonight he will sleep a deep, peaceful sleep In Jesus Name. After his blood transfusion, he perked up a bit and started babbling and smiling. Transfusions are something he will have to receive throughout chemotherapy.

Today they taught me how to change the dressing on Luke's central line. It is a little nerve racking to have to clean and dress something that goes into his heart. Everything must be very sterile. That only has to be doe once a week. I also have to flush the line once a day with saline and Heparin. The nurses are very kind and tell me that soon I will be a pro at it. I just wish my hands would not shake. I never thought I would be put in a position where I had to do such things. God is revealing my strengths through my weakness. He said that He would never put more on us than we are able to handle. I trust the Lord with my whole heart. He is going to bring us through this storm. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Holding Luke. He is only really comfortable when he is being held. Reading to Luke. He liked the pop out books the best.
Nana Monica holds Luke.
Daddy gets a smile from Luke.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chemotherapy Days 1-4

On Saturday, August 9th Luke started his chemotherapy. He received his first dose called Cisplatin which took 4 hours. Luke slept through it. He has been having the common side effects which are nausea with vomiting and diarrhea. He has a pretty bad diaper rash already, so we are praying for relief from that. Meanwhile, his stomach, that has been so distended is reducing in size, thank the Lord.

Last night Monday, August 11th Luke received his next two chemotherapy injections of Vincristine and 5-FU. He had a rough spot this morning and had been unable to keep any food down, but this afternoon he has been showing us his beautiful smile that we were missing. The smile that I longed to see every morning when we were at home --he used to patiently wait until I entered his room as to say "mummy, thank you for coming to see me, I'm so glad you're here."

It will be seven days before his next dose of chemo and if he can start to eat and keep food down we will be able to take him home between sessions of chemo. We will have to be very careful now to avoid germs and crowds when his white blood cells drop. There is so much that we have to change now and adjust in our lives that our heads are still spinning. On top of that we were given a binder full of information to go through on having a child with cancer! Through it all we are still believing God for a miracle in Luke's life and praising him for it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Update on Luke

As most of you know, last Tuesday I took Luke to his 6 month checkup. While getting his routine checkup, his pediatrician noticed a mass on his right side. We were immediately sent to the hospital to get some xrays and an ultrasound. I was concerned, but at the time we thought it might be his bowels or something swollen. The Radiologist came in the ultrasound room and said something that has changed our lives forever. He told us he thought Luke had a large tumor on his liver. We were then sent to Inova Fairfax Hospital. After a battery of tests and scans we received the news that Luke has a form of liver cancer called Hepatoblastoma. On Thursday he had a biopsy and a central line placed in his chest for chemotherapy. He has been having some complications due to the surgery, but is a strong little boy. We did find out that the cancer has not spread to any other tissues or the bones, it is only in the liver and we THANK GOD for that! Last night he started his first session of chemotherapy. It went well and we are believing that God will spare him from side effects. Tomorrow he receives two more chemotherapy drugs. This will go on for the next 12-16 weeks. We are praying that God reduces the tumor sooner than that. Ben and I can feel the strength of your prayers. Please continue to pray for Luke and also include Levi in your prayers, he has been without Mom and Dad and is not sure what is going on. We are just trying to go one day at a time. Thinking ahead too much is overwhelming. Please pray for strength for the day. Luke is in Gods hands, which are the best hands to be in. Things to pray for...Healing in Luke's body, wisdom to make the right decisions for the Dr.'s and nurses taking care of Luke, strength for our family, reduced time on chemotherapy, freedom from side effects of chemotherapy, comfort and strength for Levi and Ben and I. We are praising God through this storm and know we will come out of it stronger.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Art of Wearing a Sari

What is a Sari? Six yards of elegance and luxury. They say that a sari is an outfit that reveals as much as it hides. Wearing a sari is an art which requires practice. "A perfectly draped sari makes personality but a clumsily draped sari can equally bring down the look of the sari and spoils the whole appearance of the woman". Hahaha isn't that true with any outfit that's put on clumsily?
I had the opportunity to wear a sari at our very good friends wedding last year in Kansas. Her parents brought it with them from India. It is the most beautiful material and I have to say I loved wearing it. You really do carry yourself differently while wearing one, and not just because the petticoat is too tight and the blouse is tight and revealing. There are three parts to the saree. A petticoat, usually the same color as the sari and reaching to the ankles, a blouse that must be made out of the same material as the sari (and may I say that the blouse is very small), and the sari (six yards of material draped and pleated).
Here I am in my sari (also saree). There are so many different ways to wear a sari. Most ladies wear them according to their state (In India the areas are separated into states). They are also draped according to where you will be wearing it..for instance the office or a party. Sri Lankans also have an entirely different way of draping the sari. On this particular day we draped the sari to cover all skin.
The bridal party. Levi found some new friends. He took off with the brides bouquet earlier. I have to show you a picture of Moby's wedding sari. She looked absolutely gorgeous.
Congratulations on your first year Moby and Rengas! She is an awesome cook. When Ben was traveling a lot and I was pregnant with Luke, she fed me all the time. I miss your Dosa and Biryani and chicken stew and everything else. The wedding was beautiful and I felt very honored to stand in as a sister on the grooms side. Oh and there was this very fine guy there too..check out this picture
I am always looking for an opportunity to wear my sari again. I wish I could get away with wearing one all the time. The sari draping instructional website says " a Saree properly draped transforms a woman to become graceful, stylish, elegant, and sensuous". Yeah I guess I could agree with that. I really liked the part where I just stood there and was dressed by the pros. I could get used to that.