Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cards For Emily

***To see all updates on Emily and the Cards for Emily Blog Hop click here!***

Welcome to Cards for Emily!

Emily Ziemathis is a 6 year old little girl that I just recently got to call my niece. I never knew my brother Sean until this past May of 2011 when my family was reconnected and we all met for the first time. :) He and his wife Jennifer have 4 beautiful children. Unfortunately, a couple of months ago little Emily took a turn for the worst.

Here is her backstory:

"At the adventurous age of six, Emily is the oldest daughter of four children to Sean and Jennifer Ziemathis. Although small, petite and quiet, she holds her own with her brothers and sister and has a heart the size her mommy and daddy admire. Arts and crafts, pink and purple, horses and kittens are items that will keep her content and comfortable for hours. Unfortunately, that comfort has been disrupted with the recent diagnosis of Leukemia."

She now lives in the Ronald McDonald house in Seattle, Washington where she feels like she belongs, with other children that are sick and going through the same things. Although other children may have other illnesses, she doesn't feel different or awkward due to the effects the chemo has on her little body because all the other children are going through it too.

Here are a few updates throughout her time there and her most recent update on how she is doing:

It all started when Emily began complaining about her legs and joints hurting, among other trips to the pediatrician. This is when her parents decided to take her to the children's hospital, where they found out the bad news about the Leukemia.

Jump now to December 2011
after many, many back pokes, blood draws, bone marrow draws, among lots, lots more...

written by Sean Ziemathis

Good news!

Mommy and Daddy got the results of my bone marrow. My goal for last weeks test was for my bone marrow to contain less than 5% cancer cells. Unfortunately, I still had more than that, so they decided to wait a week and try again this week. If it stays above my goal my treatment would change and become more aggressive. My results came back yesterday and the cancer cells are down to 0.28%!!!!!! That is fantastic news!!! My body has been working hard and my medicine is working! We still have more to go but I'm heading in the right direction! Thank you all SO much for all your kind words, warm thoughts and many prayers!!! They are working! Keep them up and hopefully soon I can be free of this yukky cancer! Love you all!"

Shortly after, she got rotavirus :(

written by Sean Ziemathis

The Rotavirus sucks!! All is okay though. Emily is going to be at Children's for one more day to keep up on fluids and get this stupid virus out of her system. Dad has the other little ones at Grandmas house until their symptoms go away as to not give Emily more reason to be at the hospital. Kind of a bummer weekend, can't wait to be a family again..."

Once she cleared the virus out of her system she was able to go back to the Ronald McDonald house!

"MONDAY, JANUARY 2, 2012 2:08 PM, PST
written by Sean Ziemathis

Yay! I'm finally out of the hospital! Back at the RMcD with the rest of my family. I'm feeling so much better now, still kinda weak and it's getting difficult to walk around a lot, but I'm eating and my tummy feels good!"

Only to go right back and find out now she has pancratitus from the treatments :(

"SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2012 11:29 PM, PST
written by Sean Ziemathis

I wish we had some more great news about our little Emily, but this last week has been a tough one. No sooner did she get out of the hospital, we had to take her right back in. So much has gone on so far, this will be a long entry to post, I'll hit the points as best I can... Emily had to go back the very next morning with bad vommiting, which is normal just after this dose of chemo, but this was excessive. That, in conjunction with blood in her urine had us real worried. It turns out that she has pancreatitis which is a not so common side effect of a month-long lasting chemo she received at the beginning of her treatment. The severe inflammation of her pancreas is giving her stomach extremely high amounts of digestive enzymes that are making her vommit. The only treatment for that is absolutely no food or drink by mouth so the pancreas can heal on its own. The blood in the urine is being caused by calcium deposits (almost stones) in the tube just before her bladder. We think at this point the stones are mostly gone with the help of a special drug which is great! Unfortunately, the only form of that drug has to be ingested. So, one pain out of the way leads to more pancreatic flare-up, which has become so severe she now has had two CT scans to make sure there is no other issues causing the inflammation. Right now all we can do is wait while she gets loaded up with pain meds and anti-vommiting meds for her pancreas to come down to normal enzyme levels, which may take another week. The Heme/Onc team has decided to still do her next bone marrow draw on Monday, and I'm very excited to see the results from that! They're saying that if her marrow shows .01% (which I'm sure it will, she's been doing so great!) that we may be able to take her home for the next phase of chemo!! That's if we can get past these stupid side effects!"

A few days later.. Finally some good news!!

"SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012 10:48 AM, PST
written by Sean Ziemathis

Emily's bone marrow results came back last night and she is at 0.00%!!!!! No more leukemia in her body, yay! So she is now in remission and can go on with a standard treatment!"

Except it's not over yet, for this emotionally and physically drained family..

"SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012 11:05 AM, PST
written by Sean Ziemathis

There is still a lot of pain in Emily's belly and side. We're thinking it's because of her pancreas or constipation. Her enzyme levels are still hanging around the 500-600 mark, but the docs want to give her some food through her feeding tube to get her bowels moving. As far as the pain on her side, she just popped up with some red spots and guess what now! Emily has shingles! So there is treatment for that, but she's back in isolation and it will be at least another 10 days to clear that up. Quick summary: We haven't seem any more stones pass, and no pain there, her pancreatitis isn't gone, but close enough to try giving her food with a close eye on her enzyme levels, and she is getting two more drugs added to her IV to fight off shingles! Everyone says this gets better... But when?..."

Then some good news again!!

"FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2012 10:16 AM, PST
written by Sean Ziemathis

Emily has finally made it over that big hump! Her pain has almost disappeared and her levels are stabilizing back to normal! Only her pancreas enzymes are still high, but her CT scan this morning showed that it is all healed up! She's been eating small amounts at a time and tolerating everything just fine. The docs say that Emily's immune system was so low when she got shingles, that they never really progressed into a full case, and there isn't much of a risk of spreading it to the other kids. So in another day or two, if all stays like this, we will be discharged from the hospital and we can go back to the RMcD house, until her clinic appt on Monday or Tuesday. That's when she starts her consolidation chemo, and we can go HOME!!!!"

She is doing better now and is finally back at the Ronald McDonald house

"SATURDAY, JANUARY 28, 2012 2:38 PM, CST
written by Sean Ziemathis

I am out of the hospital and back at the Ronald house. Today I had a special teacher! I have a super fantastic teacher because she comes to visit me and brings me books, presents, games and schoolwork so I can try to keep up on the days I feel well. She even stays and plays with me and helps me with my reading! How great is that!? Mommy says she is super thankful to have her and loves it when she visits too! I am feeling better each day and look forward to possibly going home soon. I have lab work tomorrow and chemo on Tuesday. Then we will see how long it will be before I can be with my brothers and sister again. I sure do miss them. Thank you all so much for the notes and prayers. They help put a smile on my face and it's great knowing so many others are thinking of me :0) Emily"

She is still at the Ronald McDonald house. She is currently on 7 different chemos and they are taking a toll on this little girl and her family. They are truly on a rollercoaster ride of their lives!

I want to bring some light into her life while she waits for the best news of her life so far, getting to go home!!

Please link up a "get well soon" card or "thinking of you" card or something encouraging, even valentine's day cards! before you mail it out to the provided address. She LOVES arts and crafts and she would really appreciate some hand-made heart-felt love! Just imagine that face when her daddy brings bags of mail to her when he visits! :D

Thank you all in advance for participating in this great cause for a great, and strong little girl!!

Please share the button in the sidebar on your own sidebar and share this post anywhere you can so we can get the word out and cards flowing! :)

Please send cards after linking to my blog to:
Emily Ziemathis
5134 Berger Dr. SE
Lacey, WA 98513


I have moved the inlinkz tool to the left hand sidebar for easier access!

If you would like to see what the ladies in the Cards for Emily Blog Hop made and sent to Emily;
 visit HERE for Day 1
visit HERE for Day 2


Liz said...

This story has brought tears to my eyes. I know how hard it is to battle Leukemia, as I have been battling it for a year and a half now. I have been on remission, relapsed and on remission again. I kmow how this cancer takes a toll on you. I am praying for Emily and your family. She will get through this never lose faith! She seems to be a strong little girl and that is important. I would be more than happy to send Emily a card. I will work on it this weekend and it will be sent our by Monday. God bless her and please keep us updated.


Kristin Kottwitz said...

This story also brought tears to my eyes. Though I did not have leukemia, I am a survivor of childhood bone cancer. I will keep this sweet little girl & her family are in my prayers. I will be making a card to send.

Anonymous said...

hi, i would love to send our cards, even my son made one but i dont know how to do the link, i dont have a blog, can you help me what do in need to do, or should i just send it without posting my card. let me know please my email is
thank you

Bea said...

Wishing Emily keeps strong and healthy - my nephew suffered from a form of leukeamia when he was 3yrs til 6yrs when he received a bone marrow transpland - he is now 19 yrs and studying at university and enjoying life.
take care

Donna K said...

Wishing Emily speedy recovery!!! What a beautiful little girl! I too don't have a blog and would like to send a card. Email me please and let m know what to do. Thanks! Donna,

Anonymous said...

I don't have a blog but I would love to make a card for Emily.
She's such a brave little one.
Please let me know how to participate in her card drive without having a blog.
Thanks & have a blessed day.

Becky and Ruth said...

Dearest Emily and family, As I read your story I was taken back to the day we found out our little katie had leukemia. She was the same age as your Emily. We went through 5 years of chemo. and lots of hospital stays. Good news though she just celebrated her 23rd birthday. She now a wonderful preschool teacher. She also volunteers one week in the summer to be a camp counselor for our local cancer camp. She spent many happy summers there as a camper and she is able to give back some of her time to the new and returning campers. I will post your information on our blog.
Put God first, let God be your guild, lots of prayers coming your way and a card too :)!

Mary R. said...

Emily & Mommy , Hello I read your story amnd yes I think we all are take back by what you have said I wanted to let you know i sent Emily a card , Iam a rumbber stamper and I love making cards and if mommy can tell me what you like I can make you a card with some Emily likes OK ..god bless

Mary R. said...

I sent emily a card and i was wondering if you got it yet and tell me what you like so I can make her more I wanted her to know iam going to go in my art room and tell them about her if its ok thank you so very much .