Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bath Time!

Here are some cute pictures that I took of our little Charrito tonight. As you can see from these pictures that his hair is growing back.

Little David had his 6 month check up today and everything looks good. He had 3 shots today so I know he wasn't too happy about that. But David told me he did really good and that all the ladies on the office thought he was the cutest.

Who can resist this smile????

Too cute not to share....

Friday, January 19, 2007

Scan Results are in.....

I just got off the phone with Isabella's Oncologist.....

Her MRI, MIBG and Bone Scan came back............ NORMAL!!

That is AWESOME news! We were a little worried this time around because her VMA levels on her urine came back a little elevated more than once. Then we were told that her NSE blood levels came back a little elevated as well. So the doctor decided to schedule some scans to be sure. It was almost time for her scans again anyways since the last time she had scans it was August. WOW how time flys! So it looks like we still get to stick with scans every six months this year and then probably starting next year we will go to scans once a year.

I thank God every day that she had the strength to endure chemo treatments at such a young age and to beat her cancer. Every day we hear of many little ones loosing the fight with this type of cancer and we definitely do not take our little Isabella for granted. She is a special part of our lives and she makes us laugh every day. We are grateful that we are able to live normal lives after going through weekly doctor appointments and chemo treatments once a month. I miss seeing our doctors and nurses as much, but in the same sense, thankful that I do not see them all the time.

We had the BEST team of doctors at Banner Desert Children's Hospital and I do not thank them enough for what they have done for us.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Here is a short video I took of Isabella coming down the stairs a couple of nights ago.

Prayer Request

Good morning!

Please go to this little girls site and read about her journy with Neuroblastoma. Her name is Ila Jean and she is a beautiful little girl!

Here is her site link : Ila Jean "bean"

She is having surgery this morning to remove a tumor and needs your thoughts and prayers.

***p.s. - I will be adding a picture once Blogger stops going so darn slow!! =)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

******REMINDER******* LONDON'S RUN is in about 2 weeks

Here is my same post from December 27th. To all my fellow Zonies, please spread the word and sign up for the Run, walk, breakfast, or just to donate blood. I have already made my appointment to donate blood that Saturday. It is SUPER easy and after you are all set, it will give you the option of having it added to your calendar so a reminder will pop up.

Hello fellow readers and bloggers!

Today I am trying to spread the word about a Run here in our town of Queen Creek in honor of
a beautiful and courageous 6 year old girl who passed away last year from Leukemia.

The name of the even is called London's Run and the proceeds benefit the Phoenix Children's Hospital Center for Blood Disorders and Cancer. There will be a breakfast for purchase to benefit London's roommate Madison Barton, who just underwent a bone marrow transplant. There will also be a Blood Drive at the event. All entrants will receive a t-shirt and refreshments.

Why Our Event Is Special.

The first London’s Run was a benefit event for London’s family in 2006 made possible by the caring support of the Queen Creek residents. London Solomon was a courageous six year old girl who fought a brave and cheerful fight against an aggressive type of leukemia (AML). Her grace still inspires all of us to take advantage of each new day without fear of doing hard things and cherishing our relationships with each other.

To read London’s story go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/londonsolomon.

London’s Run is a great day for accomplished and beginning runners alike to compete on a flat course, paved and unpaved, through the peaceful farming community of Queen Creek. The proceeds will go to children’s charities. Are you up to the challenge?

United Blood Drive Services Blood Drive
700 blood donors are needed DAILY in Arizona to supply the hospitals United Blood Services serves… including Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Please schedule a blood donation appointment at London’s Run blood drive by visiting http://www.bloodhero.com/and use the sponsor code qcstakes or call Mary Martorana @ 480-987-3472. The UBS Bus will be at Schnepf Farms 22601 E. Cloud from 8:00am-12:00pm. Donor Eligibility Questions? Call 480.675.5497

**************************************************************************************************** So to all my fellow Zonies!!! Get off your couch and get out to Queen Creek for this special event raising money for an AWESOME cause! I'm giving you plenty of notice too!! Even if you don't come to walk, come to donate blood. You never know when you or someone you know is going to need blood. There is a commercial on TV right now that says 1 out of 3 people will need blood, and that stat couldn't be more accurate. Isabella received blood more than once and THE most crucial time was during her surgery to remove her tumor. It doesn't take much to donate blood and you could save someone's life! =) Okay and even if you don't come for the walk or to give blood, at least come for the breakfast!! No one I know can deny food!!!!! hehehe Spread the word Zonies! So we can raise a record amount of money!

New Pictures....

Here are some cute pictures of the little ones in their respective beds. =)

Monday, January 15, 2007

I am the BIGGEST nerd!!

I would like to apologize in advance for posting this video, but I couldn't help myself becuase I will be watching it over and over until the movie comes out.

I should be posting something meaningful like T-Girl in honor of MLK day, but I think she said it perfect. She posted the "I have a Dream" speech and I sat here and watched with Isabella. It brought tears to my eyes! So please, take the time to go to her site and read what she had to say and watch the video of Dr. King's speech, even if you've seen it a million times!

Back to the video at hand. Here is a Sneak peek at Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix :

A messy eater

This afternoon I decided to let little Charrito have his way with one of those Gerber finger cookies. Do you think he enjoyed it much??? =)

I love how he got it all over his pants as well!!! The bib and the face, I totally understand, but why must we cover ourselves from head to toe?!?! hehehe

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Some cute pictures...

Hey everyone! I hope everyone had a good week. I'm really glad that it's Saturday. Isabella had her scans on Wednesday and Thursday. She had her last one on Monday. She was sick for her MRI and they usually don't like to put the kids under anesthesia because it can restrict their airways and make it difficult for them to breath on their own. After her scan the nurse told me that they had to stop during the scan a couple of times to suction her out and then when she started to wake up she threw up a little bit. Which is never fun. So instead of having her go under anesthesia again on Thursday for the MIBG, they decided to try it without. The MIBG lasts about an hour, but the tech told me that she was able to break it up into two 30 minute sessions so that she wouldn't be required to lay still for the whole hour. Since the MIBG is different than the MRI in a sense that it's not magnetic rays, she could bring anything she wanted into the room during the scan and even watch a movie. David brought her to the MIBG scan and he was able to bring one of her favorite DVD's; Monster House. After the scan when I talked to David, he told me she did really really well! So well in fact that she fell asleep towards the end of the scan. So yeah, we can do two of the three scans without anesthesia now! That is really good news!

Well, since Isabella was sick, I knew it was only time before I started to get sick. I tried my hardest not to. I have probably drank 2 gallons of Apple Juice since Wednesday, but it all has been in vein. Yesterday it all started.... the headache, soar throat, sinus pressure, body ache and I was FREEZING while everyone else was just fine. So I got home last night, turned up the heater to like 80 degree and went to bed. I was still freezing until sometime in the middle of the night when I started to sweat and threw off all my blankets and started stripping off my clothes.

Little David woke up around 1AM and so I went in to go get him and I brought him back to our bed. He has been sleeping through the night for the past week and a half really really good, so I was kind of bummed to hear that he was awake last night. Once I brought him next to me he continued to wake every couple of hours to eat. Then around 7 am he was wide awake and staring at me as if he's telling "Mommy, wake up! It's time to play!" So when I noticed he wasn't planning on going back to sleep any time soon I decided to take him to his room so he could play with his toys for a while.

Here are the pictures from this morning :

A cute, but then again not so cute picture of little Charrito...... hehehe

Here again is that feature I like to over use. A lot of times if you choose the color red for the camera to pick up, it will also pick up the color on your lips or face. As you can see...... ;-)

And last but NOT least.... we had to get a naked baby shot in here!! Too cute!

After I changed his diaper and clothes I gave him a bottle and put in down for a nap in his crib. Then it was my turn for a nap! =) Since I am still not feeling good I was really tired from getting up in the middle of the night with him and then getting up really early. Instead of going to my bed, I went and laid down in Isabella's bed. It was nice and comfy. =) I got to take a pretty good nap until about 11AM. Thank you sooooo very much to a wonderful hubby for helping out his sickly wife!

I was really lucky I was asleep too, because I heard David had to change a REALLY nasty poopy diaper! While David was playing with the kids, he took a really cute picture of Isabella that I just had to share!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I have my camera back!!

Last Christmas I bought myself one of those nice Canon Powershot digital camera's. I love the features it has on it and let me tell you, this camera is my baby!

I must say that we have taken some pretty awesome pictures with it, not to sound to full of myself, but we really have! =)

Well, we went to Ensenada for Labor day weekend last year and on our last day there my bag fell from the bed with my camera on top. I didn't think anything of it because for as small as this camera is, it's really durable. So then I went to turn on my camera to take a picture and the LCD screen was just white with a black line going from the bottom to the top. I tried scrolling through the pictures on my memory card, and nothing.... I started to freak. Then I realized that the LCD screen broke during the fall. I couldn't have been more mad at myself because I paid $450 for this camera and it wasn't even a year old. So when we got back I contacted Canon to see how much it would cost to have it fixed and they gave me the quote and told me to mail it to their authorized service center. So there I was, had everything I needed to get it fixed and guess what?!?! It took me 4 damn months to finally send it out. =) I sent it out the week before Christmas and figured it would take them a while to get working on it since it was the holidays. Well I looked up the status of the repair yesterday online and to my surprise they had already fixed it and it was being sent to me via FedEx. It arrived today in a little cardboard box and I proceeded to open it and find my baby! =) I was soooo happy to have it back in my hands! I know, I'm retarded!! LMAO!

Here are some sample pictures I took tonight....

I know, there is nothing too exciting about this picture. But if you saw it full size and then you can see the detail in little Charrito's beautiful eyes!! Did I say I love my camera???

This is one of my favorite features of this camera. You can chose a color to focus on and it will keep that color and turn everything else black and white. Let me show you all a picture I took when I first bought the camera..........

Here is the picture I took of David and Isabella a year ago on December 30th, 2005. I absolutely LOVE this picture of them.

This picture may seem insignificant because there is nothing but toys in this picture. Mind you, the color of that wall is NOT red. The camera does this color switch thingy where you chose a color first then you choose another color that you want it to be. This was the first time I tried this feature. It didn't work on certain objects, but when I got it to work.... WOW!! That is pretty darn cool.
So now that we have our camera back, hopefully you will see much better pictures from us!! =) If anyone cares! hehehe

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

4 MONTHS OLD and dx with Neurblastoma....

I just found this little girl's blog, here is the link to her site : Madelyn Bell's Status Page

I have also added her to the links on the left. Please go to her site and read her story. She is such a beautiful little girl and I am very very hopeful that she will be rid of this beast. The prognosis for children who are diagnosed before the age of one is very good. They usually have the highest survival percentage rate you can get with Neuroblastoma diagnosis.

Also make sure you read their "First Post". I've heard of so many stories of families getting the run around from doctors on what is going on with their child before they actually get the diagnosis of Neuroblastoma. And in some cases it could have been diagnosed way earlier. I don't know how much earlier they could have diagnosed it in Madelyn's case because she is about 3 and 1/2 months old right now, so I must say they did a pretty good job in her case even though they did have to go through a couple of doctors to get to that point. = ) I am just thankful that they know it's there and now they have a plan.

Well, since I'm on the subject of Neuroblastoma.... Isabella has her scheduled MRI tomorrow, Wednesday and then she has the MIBG on Thursday and the Bone Scan on Monday. For those that don't know, the MIBG is a nuclear scan. They inject a small amount of nuclear medicine in her and the next day when they do the scan the injected materials will glow on the scan results. Here is a link to more information about MIBG : http://stokes.chop.edu/programs/maris/MIBG.pdf

We are very lucky that Isabella did not have to go through MIBG treatment which is VERY different than a MIBG scan. For the scan, there is minimal amounts of the nuclear 'stuff' (for lack of better word) given to her.

Please continue to pray for clean scans and a cancer free Isabella. =)

So to my fellow bloggers out there, I will not have access to a computer tomorrow until the evening. So when you don't hear from me during the day, don't get mad. =)

And just so everyone knows, we probably won't hear anything until next week about the results of these scans. I will DEFINITELY (not sure if I spelt that right) let everyone know the results as soon as I know them.

Until then....


To all my fellow bloggers out there. I've been trying to access T-Girl's, Scottsdale Princess and The King's Mama's site all morning and it just keeps giving me errors. Then I went to log in to post about this misshap and it said that the old versions of blogger are not available right now and they are not accepting new accounts and to try back later today. My guess is your blog will be back up this afternoon.
That really sucks because I was really looking forward to some good reading on my lunch break today!! =)

Well, hope to see you all back up and running very soon. Miss you all!!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Our Little Charrito

Here are the finished pictures of little David's haircut. I didn't want everyone thinking that we left him all funny looking. His new look has grown on me a little bit, but i can't wait to see his hair back.

At our daycare provider's house, some of the other parents thought she was taking care of a new baby.

He is sitting on his own pretty well now and he's trying to crawl. He's obsessed with the remote control lately and the fact that I won't let him have it. So I put it out of his reach and he keeps fighting to get it.

Here is little D trying to be cool with daddy's sunglasses. Nah, he really wasn't trying to be cool, he just wanted them off of his head already! =)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Russian Rocket causes Meteor Shower...

Hey all you fellow readers out there check out this video....

Little David's First Hair Cut

Well, Here are some pictures of our little David getting his hair cut for the very first time. We decided to shave it so it would all grow in evenly. We'll see how that works out!!! =)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christi's Contribution to a Cure

Here is an article from The Advertiser-Tribune.com - local newspaper from Tiffin, OH

Here is the link to the story : Christi’s contribution to a cure

Christi’s contribution to a cure

By Jill Gosche

Dr. John Maris (foreground) and Dr. Edward Attiyeh work to identify types of neuroblastoma, a common and aggressive childhood cancer. Maris treated Christi Thomas, who died from the disease in September.

Cancer can't kill a child's legacy of helping others.

Christi Thomas continues to contribute to a science world seeking to defeat the disease her body could not overcome. Her cancer cells grew in a California laboratory despite low odds of success.

“I think Christi would want to help,” said her mother, Angela Thomas.

Researchers first will focus on finding new treatments or a cure for neuroblastoma while using the child’s cancer cells, and then they will turn their efforts to other types of cancer, said Dr. John Maris, associate professor of pediatrics with a specialty in neuroblastoma at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

He said he thinks resistance to chemotherapy is relative to all types of cancer, and Christi’s cell line could play a role in finding the elusive cure.

‘Gives me comfort’

Maris said scientists are more successful when they try to grow cell lines researchers harvest at the end of life; the cells are more likely to adapt to new environments when they’re more resistant.

The procedure involved drawing about 2 cups of blood from 9-year-old Christi’s body in her room at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia within five minutes of her death at 9 a.m. Sept. 19.

He said doctors performing the procedure assume cancer cells are leaking into the blood stream and later attempt to isolate them from the blood for testing.

Maris said the procedure is not routine at the end of life, but he wasn’t too surprised Angela and Shayne, Christi’s father, chose to have their daughter’s blood drawn after death.

They know doctors need better mechanisms to find new drugs if researchers are to identify the cure to neuroblastoma, he said.

“They had a lot of insight,” he said. “They had a very unique way of tapping into a variety of different resources to learn more about the disease than the average family and really champion … the cause of getting Christi the most cutting-edge care as was possible.”

Dr. Patrick Reynolds of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles said his laboratory works in collaboration with the Children’s Oncology Group and receives samples from all over North America.

Doctors harvest some at diagnosis, while others take the cells at times of relapse.

He said he receives an average of one a month from neuroblastoma, and 3 percent of all neuroblastoma samples he receives experience successful growth.

“We’ve done thousands to get the hundreds that we have,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds and technicians put cells in cultures, look at how they behave, decide how to get them to grow and determine their next steps.

Reynolds said researchers generally need one to two months before they’re assured a line is growing enough to test and validate the results. They started noticing hints of success about three to four weeks after they received Christi’s sample, he said.

Angela said she thinks Christi had a hand in the success, and she pictures her daughter helping the scientists as they tried to get the cell line to grow.“That gives me comfort,” she said.Reynolds said researchers will be able to request Christi’s cell line sometime in January, and they will study its response to certain drugs.

He said the key is to test new drugs that could be used for patients participating in clinical trials.

“We’ve already received the cell line in my lab, where we’ll be using it almost immediately,” Maris said. “We will be using it to test new drugs to see if they kill neuroblastoma cells and whether or not we can move these drugs into patient clinical trials.”

Reynolds said he’s learned about a lot of cases where laboratory findings don’t correspond to what doctors see happening in patients.

Doctors diagnose about 600 neuroblastoma cases each year and work from 200 cell lines — a number that grows each year — and each has received different treatments, he said.

“Biology is heterogenous. Tumors are heterogenous, and we have to have lots of these to understand what works,” he said. “We hope that (using cell lines to test new drugs) will help us focus on getting the right kinds of drugs into the patients.”

‘Mad at cancer’

Shayne said the family members tried to keep their spirits elevated — an effort that usually failed — and the atmosphere light during the last weeks of Christi’s life.

He said he and his wife had signed the limited autopsy consent forms and were thinking about packing up their rooms at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Ronald McDonald House and returning to their rural Tiffin home after their daughter’s death.

Also, Shayne and Angela slept in shifts next to Christi’s bed so they wouldn’t miss her passing.

Shayne maintained joking relationships with his daughters and compiled a list of the top 10 insensitive comments he had made. The list included the predicted name of Christi’s cell line: FU-NB-2006.

“It was in jest, but the feeling’s legitimate,” he said.

When Christi’s 7-year-old sister, Shayla, questioned the use of “FU,” Shayne explained, “I’m mad at cancer.”

Maris said he chuckled at the suggested name and thinks Shayne and Angela’s attitude is born out of terrible frustration, but shows they’re strong people who faced a horrible disease for a long time.

“Because of the unique name of the cell line, I’m sure it will become a very famous cell line very quickly,” he said.

Reynolds also said he chuckled when he heard the proposed name and questioned Maris whether what he thought it meant was correct.

“It didn’t surprise me,” he said. “They have a good attitude.”

Reynolds said he spent 17 years in the military, and the Thomas family responded the same way as soldiers when they lose a comrade.

“If you’re in a war … you take losses, (and) you want to hit back at the enemy,” he said. “The only way you hit back at this enemy is research.”

‘We wanted the best’

Shayne said neuroblastoma initially is susceptible to treatment, but it has acquired a multi-drug resistance to front-line agents.

When Christi’s disease did not respond to chemotherapy, her parents started reading about clinical trials. Shayne said often, first-phase trials only have been attempted in mice.

Shayne said Christi’s cancer had progressed through various treatment efforts, and nothing could stop neuroblastoma because of the resistance it had acquired.

“We knew that Christi had seen nearly every experimental agent that was available for neuroblastoma treatment. It’s a pretty impressive list of things she tried,” he said. “Her cancer had had a unique history.”

Shayne said he and Angela wanted to offer Maris the opportunity to harvest her blood because they had four years of treatment and contact with researchers trying to stop neuroblastoma.

He said the family was in the hospital by design at the time of Christi’s death, which meant doctors could draw her blood to attempt to regrow her cells.

“When we were at the end, we were indebted to all this research,” he said. “It’s just part of a common theme we had all along. We wanted the best medicine from the best researchers, and we wanted to do our best to support them.”

On the Web

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles:

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:

Children’s Oncology Group:

Christi Thomas:

New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy:

Support for Christi Thomas:

USC-CHLA Institute for Pediatric Clinical Research: