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Olivia Mellen

With brave wings she flies! Leukemia won't keep Livi down!!

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Posted 2020-03-02T17:57:37Z

Week 60..... HALFWAY THROUGH TREATMENT!!!

Olivia has officially hit week 60 today!! This means that she is HALF WAY DONE WITH TREATMENT! Next week she will officially have been getting her weekly chemo longer than she has left! She has been doing so well lately and we are so very thankful for that (especially during this aggressive flu season)! She did have a cold- virus that kept her in isolation at St. Jude for a few weeks when she went for her weekly check-ups/chemo but it was nothing that kept her out of anything at home! Her hair continues to get fluffier each day and she is eager to be able to put up in a ponytail LOL. Each week Olivia gets her blood drawn and her counts checked…..Her ANC count continues to be on the high side but they have adjusted her chemo doses so we aren’t really sure why it is still high (actually normal but high for a person in chemo). Dr. Pui is not too concerned about it and has stated that some patients have been found not to need the second year of chemo so she might already be cured?!?! This doesn’t mean we stop chemo, but hopefully means better things for her than where my mind wanders when number are off! Right now her biggest battle has been Memphis allergies and sinus drainage. We can’t seem to get rid of it in her, Owen or myself! Olivia’s appetite continues to grow and she is doing better with being able to keep foods down which is another win! She is also getting so much stronger every single day! She is running almost full speed and constantly climbing, jumping and moving now! She is even strong enough to pedal her own bike for a little while! She is still kinda reserved around friends who are full force playing, but I think with summer coming up her confidence will get stronger and stronger in that aspect too! In the next couple of weeks she will be having some evaluations done at St. Jude to test her baseline cognitive-developmental levels and be participating in another research study to see if certain programming will help kids have lesser delays in memory and processing due to “chemo brain” and how she responds. They are using a program called Cog-Med where she will have an Ipad and be given assignments/games to do every day for 5 weeks. We have been so fortunate not to have any delays yet in her memory or processing, but many kids struggle from this! Any program that can hopefully encourage these things as she will be starting kindergarten soon we are excited about and thankful for! Just another example of how St. Jude really looks out for the entire spectrum of the kids, not just the disease. With all the praises we have seen with Olivia it sometimes is forgotten that not every kid at St. Jude has the same journey. While the doctors do AMAZING work some kids still get taken way too soon. We have been following the story of another St. Jude patient, Bryson (Bryson’s Battle on FB) for the last few weeks, a 3 yr old little boy who was just recently diagnosed with ALL, the same leukemia as Olivia, he had lots of setbacks throughout induction and developed a virus that essentially attacked his body, outside of the cancer that was being attacked by chemo. Last week a huge team of doctors attempted to do life-saving procedures on Bryson, but the infection had done too much. They found out that he was in remission from Leukemia but due to the infection he lost his battle far too soon. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about all this family has had to endure in their short time of being a “cancer family”. We have been so fortunate that Olivia’s journey has had mild setbacks, but nothing that she hasn’t been able to fight and over-come. At any moment though, things can change, infection can set in, nothing is promised. During this season of illness please, please do your part to help watch out for these kids, and adults that are immune-compromised!

As always, we are still, continuously, raising money for St. Jude! We have had LOTS of Team Livi shirts given to us that had a small defect (that no one would know but me) and we are selling them for a donation to Team Livi! If you are interested contact myself or Peter and we can get one to you! We have raised the bar this year and are hoping to raise $9500 for Team Livi for the December St. Jude Marathon weekend and hope to raise a collective team total of $100,000 by April 2021, when Olivia will be done with treatment! If you would like to join Team Livi for ANY St. Jude event, please do so and spread the word! You can join or donate to TEAM LIVI here: https://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?px=3982915&pg=personal&fr_id=121077&copy_link_share 

 Peter has also been working hard on his FORTITUDE 25k/50k trail race even he is putting together to benefit St. Jude. It will be taking place in September (childhood cancer awareness month) and all proceeds will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. If you are a runner or interested in a trail run this is a great one to support! More information can be found here: https://fortitudetrailrace.com/ 

60 Weeks Left Until End of Treatment!!!

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