Gaby's Story
October 16 – 22, 2006

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Monday October 16, 2006

We were up @ 4:00 am this morning so we could get to the airport by 5:00 to check in for our 7:00 am flight to Calgary. Our flight left Vancouver @ 7:15 and we arrived to falling snow in Calgary @ 9:30. Gaby was thrilled to see some snow and wanted to go outside to play. She ran around and played in the snow for a few minutes before checking in for our flight to Los Angeles. She would have stayed in Calgary all day. Our take-off ended up being delayed for 40 minutes while they de-iced the wings and we didn't get into Los Angeles until after 2:00.
We were met at the LA airport again by the same lovely lady who picked us up on our last visit. She drove us to the Ronald McDonald cottage where we will be staying for the duration of Gaby's treatments.
At the cottage, we were met by the Ronald McDonald house manager who gave us a tour of the cottage and got us all signed in. The cottage was even better than we expected it would be. It was all setup for our arrival right down to toys, books and movies for the kids. How awesome is that! These people are really great.
Once we got settled in, we called for our rental car then went to Gaby's favourite restaurant 'El Torito' for a bite to eat. After dinner, we picked up some groceries and headed back to the cottage to finish unpacking…
Gaby was pretty tired by this point so we made up her bed and after a quick call from Mom, she was out cold. Dad stayed up to finish getting things organized in the house as we have a busy day tomorrow and won't have a lot of time to get much else done.

 
 

Tuesday October 17, 2006

Woke Gaby early today to get ready for her first trip to the hospital for proton treatment. We were picked up at the cottage by the International Patient Services social worker. She accompanied us to all Gaby's appointments on our last visit and will be taking us to her appointments today. Gaby was very happy to see her again.
We left the cottage at 7:30 and were checked in at the Proton treatment facility by 7:45. She is going to be put out for all her treatments as they feel she wouldn't be able to be still long enough to get through the procedure. Her first treatment took a lot longer than the normal (almost 2 hours). We are told to expect future treatments to take no longer than 45 minutes as they will get quicker now that they have done all the setup.
When she came into recovery, she had a mesh like impression on her face and head as well as a dent in her nose. They told us the marks would go away in an hour or so. Decided not to tell Gaby about her new look and just let her discover it on her own. Gaby woke up in a very good mood. She had a bit of double vision from the anesthesia but was raring to get out of the bed. After a short wait, she had a little something to drink and was released. The social worker met us in recovery to take us home. Gaby was still a bit wobbly from the anesthesia so we used a wheel chair to get her to the car. Once home, we had a quick lunch then made our way over to the FMO building for Gaby's next appointment with the chemo oncologist. Here, we went over Gaby's chemo protocol and had blood work done. She will get her next chemo treatment tomorrow when she gets to recovery after her proton treatment.
We got home about 3:30 and received a call from Mom saying that their flights have been delayed. They had made it to Oregon after a three hour delay in Vancouver but were still waiting for the connecting flight to California.
Picked up Mom and boys @ 8:45. Gaby was very excited to see everyone...even though it had only been a day and a half. The half hour drive went quickly and when we arrived at the house we all were very tired from long day. Got everyone settled in and put to bed.

 
 

Wednesday October 18, 2006

Up early again...looks like this will be the way pretty much every morning. Decided that Zack could go to the hospital today with Dad and Gaby for the proton treatment. He ended up carrying Gaby's pink bag around for the day and enjoyed that immensely.
Gaby was also given her chemo treatment today and everything went smoothly, not the big dose this week, so we are not expecting any nausea.
In the afternoon we all went to the Ronald McDonald house to get Mom & the boys checked in. Gaby took Grayson upstairs to the playroom to play with all the toys there. We hung out for awhile and then went to Walmart to get some supplies and food for the cottage. Gaby took Mom & boys to El Torito for dinner. Gaby was happy to have the whole family at her favourite restaurant.
After dinner we came home and made popcorn and watched a movie all together, Over the Hedge, which was hilarious for the whole family. Had to cut the movie a bit short tonight as it was getting late and the DVD player over heated, so we'll try to watch the end tomorrow.

 
 

Thursday October 19, 2006

We were at the proton centre by 7:45 this morning. Mom came to treatment today and was a little overwhelmed by the whole procedure and experience. Mom got pretty emotional watching them put Gaby to sleep and then getting her ready for treatment.
After about an hour and a half, Gaby was brought up to recovery. She woke up fairly fussy, very dramatic and cranky from the anesthesia. After getting her to drink a bit of pop, she could be released, so they unhooked her from all the leads and we headed home (after a brief stop at the gift shop).
Most of the afternoon, we hung around the cottage as Gaby recouped from the anesthesia.
At around 3pm we all went to pumpkin patch and played for a while...but Gaby got tired out pretty quickly. She was really hot and complained of a headache. We went back home and she laid on the couch, complaining she was cold. Her temperature was 38.23 so after a couple hours of observation and no break in the temp, we called the hospital.
They said she would need to be admitted and we arrived at hospital shortly before 8pm. Went right upstairs to the oncology ward and Gaby got blood cultures taken and was told we may be there for 2 days. She had a very nice visit from the Child life workers and was given a nice gift! A Barbie head with hair that grows and lots of clips, berets and accessories. She was very happy to receive that and it kept her busy for a while. Her fever was gone by around 9:00 pm and stayed away the rest of the night. It was probably caused by the anesthesia but they would still like to keep her in until the blood tests come back just to be sure.


 
 

Friday October 20, 2006

Gaby was up @ 6:00 am this morning, she was very hungry and couldn't sleep. She won't be allowed to eat until after her proton treatment so she is quite upset. She made her proton treatment as scheduled this morning and was out of recovery and back in her bed in the oncology ward by 9:30. We're hoping to persuade the doctors to let her go home today so she can spend as much time with Mom and the boys before they have to leave. We're pretty convinced she doesn't have an infection of any sort. The doctor decided it would be ok to let Gaby out as we are close to the hospital and have assured them we will bring her back at the first sign of trouble. While they were getting together antibiotics and paperwork, Gaby and Dad met with Radiation Doctor for her weekly visit. He said Gaby is doing well to this point. (This is usually the case for the first little while.) He said after the first couple of weeks we can expect the redness on her face to stay around for a couple of weeks after the proton treatment is over. We then went back to the oncology ward where Gaby got a dose of antibiotics to get her through the next 24 hrs (in case she does have a bacterial infection) and we were home from hospital around 3:30pm. The kids started up with each other about 5 minutes later (ahhh...how nice to be home). We changed her dressing and caps, kids watched TV and then went out for dinner.
We got the kids to bed pretty early tonight as we are hoping to take them to Disneyland tomorrow if Gaby is feeling up to it so we will need an early start.

 
 

Saturday October 21, 2006

Gaby was in good shape this morning so we went to Disneyland. It took us about an hour to drive there and the kids were very excited by the time we arrived. It was an extremely busy day at Disneyland today, busier than the park has been since Christmas. The park was all decorated for Halloween so our first attraction we visited was the Haunted House. It was extra spooky and Gaby and Grayson were very scared for the first part of it, but after we got through the elevator part they seemed a bit more comfortable with the ride. After that we went to Big Thunder Mountain (Gaby's favourite ride) and then from ride to ride to ride. Pretty soon is was parade time. The parade was beautiful with all the characters and floats. After the parade we visited the shops to pick up a couple souvenirs and then before long it was time for the fireworks.
The fireworks display was wonderful and Gaby was in awe of the whole experience. The kids were all exhausted after a very busy day and fell asleep during the ride home. We got home after 11pm so we will probably have a quiet day tomorrow. Earlier in the day we called the hospital about Gaby's blood work from the other day and there was no infection. Since her fever only lasted a few hours we were pretty sure it was only from the anesthesia.


 
 

Sunday October 22, 2006

To our surprise, the kids woke up very early this morning. We expected them to sleep until 10:00 (at least) after the busy day we had yesterday. We decided to go to IHOP for breakfast as Gaby cannot eat breakfast Mon - Fri.
After breakfast, we picked up some more supplies from Walmart then went to Target. While we were at Target, one of the staff there told us about a mall just down the freeway so we headed to there for a look around. Whew! It was huge and busier than Disneyland. At the mall we found a Rainforest Cafe (Gaby's new favourite) and had a bite to eat before heading back to the cottage. Once home, the kids wound down by watching a movie and eating popcorn.
Gaby will back to the hospital for proton treatments tomorrow AM so we tried to get her to bed pretty early.

 
 
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