Saturday, May 24, 2008


Sorry about the delay. Jack and Brooklyn were monopolizing computer time by playing Webkinz all night. I didn't ever get my turn at the computer.

So here's what we know (some of this may be repetitive)...

Olivia bone marrow showed a significant cluster of cancerous-looking cells. The dr. sent the sample to St. Jude Memphis yesterday. Being a holiday weekend, the results most likely won't be back until Tuesday or Wednesday. The Dr., his colleague, and the pathologist feel strongly that she has AML.

AML(acute myelogenous leukemia) and ALL(acute lymphocytic leukemia) are the 2 types of cancer that they look for. AML is less common of the two, but more common in children with Down syndrome.

AML is treated with chemotherapy over a 6 month period, whereas ALL is treated with the same amount of chemo over 2 years. So, it is definitely more intense chemotherapy that makes the kids very, very sick.

Ideally, they would want to start chemo now, but because of her heart, she would not be able to tolerate it at this point. It is very important to get her heart fixed as soon as possible and get her recovered from that prior to starting chemo treatments. The dr. mentioned starting a low dose of chemo that won't make her sick to sort of suppress the cancer sometime after surgery.

Once she has recovered from surgery (hopefully within 3 weeks or so), we will have to go to Memphis for the induction part of her treatment. Most likely we will have to stay there for a couple of months, but maybe we will be pleasantly surprised and it will not be that long. We can continue the rest of the treatments here in Peoria.

I asked the surgeon if it would be beneficial to go ahead and replace her mitral valve as oppose to repair it, so we know it is functioning to it's fullest potential. He won't know till he gets in there on Tuesday, but he will not be hesitant to do so. This would require blood thinners, which is not ideal for cancer patients, but they could work around it.

The fact that Olivia is an infant and the fact that she has Down syndrome are two bonuses when it comes to chemotherapy. People in these two categories handle chemo much better than the Average Joe.

The fact that she has cardiac and pulmonary issues, is not a benefit. The chemo will make her very sick and more susceptible to infection, which will make her illnesses much worse than the Average Joe.

The dr.'s will watch her blood counts, electrolytes, uric acid, and some other things very closely. She is getting some platelets this morning.

We are doing really good with all this. We thought she may have leukemia back in February and had prepared our hearts and minds for it. It's hard to think that she is going to have to go through all of this, but she's tough and will fight like she always does.

So, when I was leaving last night, I stepped in the elevator and saw this verse hanging on the wall.

"Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble."
Psalm 119:165

We will continue to draw from Olivia's strength and be strong for her. Another bump in the road. We have never once asked why this is happening to our family. We know why. God never gives us more than we can handle and He will always help us handle what we are given. That hasn't changed. Olivia is still happy and smiley and kicking her little feet this morning. That hasn't changed, either.


Anonymous said...

Dear Chatterton Family,
Please know that we will continue to pray A LOT so that you have the strength to process this news. All along we knew Olivia, her mom and dad, brother and sister, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles were fighters! We know that He will walk with you in this new challenge as you get Olivia healthy so that she can start with her chemo as soon as possible. We will also be walking with you in this journey. We hope you are able to feel all of our love and all of our prayers each and every day! Bless you for keeping us all posted. You are an AMAZING family.
Jen Weber

Judy said...

You're absolutely right Julie, God is still God and he isn't surprised by any of this. I know that he will continue to carry all of you through this. Olivia is so precious to God. He loves her, he created her! Who knows why all of this is happening? Unfortunatly God never promised us an easy or perfect life, but he did promise that he would never leave us!

Isaiah 43:1- “And now thus says the Lord, your Creator, and he who formed you, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”