Wednesday December 7, 2011

We awoke to something that made us feel right at home this morning - snow! The people of Memphis are not accustomed to the white stuff and a few St. Jude's staffers tried to blame us for bringing it with us from Minnesota.

Dan and the girls were able to sleep in a bit this morning. I was up early, drinking coffee and reading the protocol for the experimental drug. Our first appointment of the day was Shannon's MRI. We are feeling more comfortable with our surroundings now - comfortable enough that Erin stayed at Grizzlie House to work on homework while we headed over to the Chili's Care Center - the building where all the scans take place.

We had been told that this was an extensive MRI and Shannon was prepared. Luckily the IV went in easily today, no feeling faint like yesterday. But, by the end of the scan, 75 minutes in the tube had Shannon feeling really claustrophobic. As always, she is such a trooper and made it through it.

By the time we came out of the MRI, Erin had joined us. After finishing her homework and checking in with Mrs. Nielsen and some of her friends by telephone, Erin checked out the shuttle schedule, saw that she could catch the 11:45 and texted her dad that she was coming over to the Patient Care Building. She got on the shuttle - alone - and then navigated her way through the building - alone - to find Dan doing some work near the Starbuck's. Completely confident that she knew her way around and could handle herself. Not bad for a 10 year old.

After a quick lunch, we met with Dr. Wetmore. She didn't have time to show us the scan today, but told us she had taken a look at it and while she saw some small changes she didn't see much tumor growth since the scan done 3 weeks ago at Mayo. That was good news. We will have more details from her on Friday when we have time to look at the scan together.

Although she was in a hurry to make it to a meeting today, Dr. Wetmore did have time to hear one dog story form the girls. This morning, we had face timed with Grandma who was staying with Sunny at our house. The girls had Grandma hold the phone up so they could say hi to Sunny and as soon as the girls started saying her name, Sunny's ears perked up and she licked Grandma's iPhone and disconnected the call!  Dr. Wetmore said she hopes she gets to meet Sunny.

Our day finished up with a helpful nurse, Miss Gina, getting us to photography to get Shannon's patient photo visit done quickly and then showing us where to go for a quick EKG for Shannon - part of the protocol for this trial. After all that, Shannon had earned herself a nice long nap this afternoon.

I am struggling for the words to describe this place. It is amazing and overwhelming at the same time. Everyone here has a story. You don't end up at St. Jude unless you have a story. Some people draw strength from sharing their stories and hearing the same from others, but Shannon is not quite to that point in her journey. She is polite, but she likes it better when people chat with her about other things - her friends, her hockey team, her dog, etc. As always, we continue to try and follow her lead.

Tomorrow starts early. Labs at 7:00 am as Shannon prepares for her first dose of the new chemo tomorrow.