Monday, March 15, 2010

Better News . . . . Sustained Improvement!

I've been meaning to give an update for the past month. Anna had an eye appointment about four weeks ago, and we were so pleased that the changes we had made resulted in improvement! The added Pred Forte drops and Methotrexate (with the accompanying Leucovorin) has indeed been effective in decreasing the eye inflammation down to a trace of cells in each eye. Four weeks ago, at that appointment, the doctor was happy, and I was happy, even though I'm a true realist and know that we're making progress in a battle, but the war may be ongoing for some time. For the past four weeks, we were able to decrease the eye drops from three per day to one a day.

Anna's next eye appointment was this afternoon. Another day to be so very thankful! Both eyes again have just a trace of inflammation. Eye pressure in each eye (17 in each, for those who are familiar with eye pressure numbers) is also very good, especially considering she has been on steroid drops. We can now drop the Pred Forte drops and go back in six weeks for another check.

Since Anna has been back on Methotrexate for a few months, she needs frequent labs once again. Our regular lab (a few blocks away from our home) closed at the end of the 2009 (the building had been sold, and the new owners had other plans for that space). We loved that lab, and the people there had been a gift from God to us when Anna first started Methotrexate and was so very scared of needles. But she is now more a young lady than a child.

Since we had to make a change in labs, we made major changes. We decided to have them done 20 miles away at the Hershey Medical Center (since we're in the area so often for eye exams anyway), and she decided to try them without the Emla cream. Also, at the old lab, the lovely people were so good about allowing Anna to use the blood donor lounge chairs and always gave her a snack, and basically welcomed her like family (when my husband went in to give blood once, they looked at his paperwork and said, "Oh! Are you Anna's dad?!"). All of those special concessions and arrangements were part of our plan to get Anna comfortable with labs since she had to have them every 6-8 weeks and started at an age when she was rather needle-phobic. Now Anna has grown up, and she said it was no problem just to sit in the regular old lab chair--no need for the comfy lounge chair. So today while in Hershey, we found the building we needed, found the lab, and were in and out in five minutes! Since Hershey Med has Anna in the system, there was no lengthy registration process (like at the old hometown lab). While Anna may not get to know these people like family (Hershey Med is a great place with great people on staff, but it's so large with so many patients coming and going that it's not usually a homey/family feel), this is still a good change.

The photos above are from Anna's experience with her school's Quiz Bowl team. She's been working and practicing hard, and was able to participate as one of her team's alternates. Her team did so well at the regional competition, only losing to the first and second place teams. Such an intense but fun day! (When she wasn't participating in a particular quiz session, she sat with her brother, Joel to watch her teammates.)

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