Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Elijah Hancock

Hello all,
This is a blog to help keep everyone up to date on Elijah's progress. While Levi, Amanda and Elijah appreciate and need everyone's prayers and support, it is difficult for them to update everyone individually. As they get additional information we will update the blog so you can check back as often as you like!

-Elijah is in Room 7735 Bed 15 of the Pediatric ICU in the University Hospital in Iowa City

Elijah hadn't been feeling well for a couple of weeks. He had little energy, was sleepng a lot and had no appetite. Amanda had Alivia in to the doctor last Friday and mentioned Elijah's behavior. The doctor thought he could have a virus like mono and to bring him back in a week or sooner if Elijah had additional symptoms. By Monday he wasn't better, couldn't stand up, kept falling over and complained his leg hurt.

They went in again and the pediatrician did some blood tests for abnormalities and discovered he was anemic. finding that his white blood cell count was far higher than normal. (Normal is around 5-10 thousand- Elijah was in the 700 thousands. In the oncologist's experience no one had ever had numbers like that.) He suspected leukemia and told Levi and Amanda to get to Blank Children's Hospital.

Elijah was able to receive a blessing. He had a partial transfusion as his kidneys and liver were close to failure. They also thought initially his heart was enlarged but it ended up being his thymus gland by his heart which they were unable to see as two separate organs until the CT scan in Iowa City. Blank decided to airlift Elijah to the University Hospital in Iowa City but as there was fog they took him by ambulance instead.

Once at the Hospital in Iowa city Elijah starts a process similar to dialysis for his blood called leukophoresis. They tried to filter out the white blood cells to get them down. Even after this process he was still in the 400 thousand range. The doctors gave him a couple more partial transfusions and sedated him.

At this point Elijah is sedated and has tubes in his nose, down his throat, in both arms and groin for a total of 4 IV lines plus a catheter. They filtered his blood again on 12/25 to get the white cells down again. At one point they were able to get it to 148 thousand though his body continues to overproduce the white blood cells. ***As of 4am 12/26 it dropped to 80 thousand on his own with no assistance from the filter process.

The pediatric hematologist/oncologist said his best guess diagnosis is T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This should be confirmed sometime tomorrow through bone marrow and blood tests. After the confirmed diagnosis, Elijah will be administered chemotherapy. They are trying to stabilize him, that is the goal. Once they are able to give him chemo the white blood cells will be killed quickly. His kidneys and liver will have to filter massive amounts of the dead cells afterwards so his body will be working overtime to get rid of it all.

The 4th floor of the hospital has lodging for families for 15$ per night called the Helen K Rossi Volunteer Guest House. It is a room with a couple of beds, small refridgerator, microwave, bathroom and free laundromat(bring your own detergent). A week has been paid for.
They expect Elijah to stay in Iowa City for two weeks- one in the ICU, another in the pediatric unit. Once he is stablized, they will transfer him back to Des Moines.

The doctor expects to cure him and will not be satisfied with a remission. In order to do this Elijah may have to endure a couple rounds of therapy for a couple of years.

***Just a little update as of 2:00 pm. Elijah is still intubated because they are walking a fine line with removing his breathing tube and making sure that the enlarged thymus won't compromise his breathing. We are hopeful that they will extabate him sometime today, but it might be later tonight. We are anxious to see him awake, but we are glad that for the most part he is sleeping peacefully. He does wake up from time to time and looks quite worried. Levi and I try to comfort him and it somtimes works, but he is on a lot of meds that make him disoriented. His Hemoglobin and hematocrit have dropped and if they go much lower they will transfuse him again. His potassium is also dropping, so they are trying to decide if they want to give him some or try to hold off because once they start the chemo, it will for sure rise and if his potassium gets too high it can affect his heart. He has his favorite blanket and now has a giant stuffed lion and husky dog at the foot of his bed ready to greet him when he wakes up.


The Wilders said...

Amanda and Levi-
My heart breaks for you guys and I don't think there are any adequate words that I can say. All I can do is offer my prayers and support. We have been thinking about you guys non-stop since we heard the news. Said a big prayer for you at dinner. I know that between ours and Levi's family, anything that you need done can be accomplished. All you have to do is ask. We will be checking back on the blog for updates. Sydney sends big kisses to Elijah and Alivia. We love you guys. Take care and we'll be in touch soon, I'm sure.
Ken, Melissa, and Sydney

willmss said...

Amanda & Levi-
We are very encouraged to hear that Elijah is doing so well given the circumstances! What a fighter! Remember that he is in God's loving hands and He will continue to keep him strong and protect him! You have so many of us praying fervently for you! Keep strong and positive! I know he will pull thru this! Let us know if we can help in any way!
Love you lots!
Rachel & Paul

willmss said...

We are praying for you; for your strength and that the white cell count will continue to go down. We are thankful that you can sleep; this gives your body a chance to fight and get better! We are praying for your parents, sister Alivia and your Grandma Arlyce also that they will be able to remian strong and supportive and help you recover.
We love you and pray you are better soon!
Rob and Sheila (Paul and Rachel)

Elijah Hancock said...

Amanda and Levi-our prayers are with you - Remember there are stronger powers that have control and we have the faith that Elijah will be strong!! We made sure that Deb Den, Staci and Chris knew about Elijah, there were many tears that shed when they they heard of what your family was going though--they also want to make sure DUH!!!! is okay- our thoughts and prayers are with you and if there is ANYTHING we can do--we will --take care Love Steve (he is not typing this is:) imagine that Delaine, Jake and Jess

Anonymous said...

Amanda and Levi,
Please know our thoughts and prayers are with your family and Elijah. May God bless you all and give him the strength to keep fighting. Take care-
Lots of Love,
Ryan, Betsi, & Reed
Bob, Beth, & Bobbi

Bobbi said...

We are thinking of all of you during this most difficult time. Little Elijah was first most on our prayers before our Christmas dinner last night. Shi has tried to keep us posted but we will check this often to give her a break. Give him a big warm hug from each of us and one to one another. The strength and fight you both have for your babies is above any. May God watch over him and wrap his arms around you. He has to show his little boy cousin before long how little boys are! Our thoughts and prayers are with you always. Love to all of your family. The Heimbaugh Crew

Jana said...

Dear Amanda & Levi~
We have had several verbal prayers and constant silent prayers in Elijah's behalf ever since Holly & Mark notified us of his condition.We are glad to hear that his treatment will be able to progress soon. We have fond memories of you with our visits to Iowa as well as Amanda & Elijah's visit to Utah and our home. You have many friends, family, and loved ones across the country who care and have you and little Elijah in our hearts and prayers.
Rob & Jana Lloyd
(Holly's parents)

Anonymous said...

Amanda and Levi,
We are devastated to hear this news of Elijah. We have been praying for you and Elijah and will continue to do so. He is such a special little boy! He is very strong also. We have already contacted several friends who will add Elijah and your family to their prayer lists. Please let us know if there is anything at all that we can do. God is with Elijah during this time. He will see him through this! Take care and God bless you all.
Nick,Erin,Paige,and Will

Anonymous said...

Amanda, Levi, and Elijah,
I was so sorry to hear about your your illness. My heart cries for you, but I know that with lots of prayers and faith, we can all overcome this. I have put Elijah on our prayer chain at church and have extended my own prayer chain to several friends. Please know that we all care a great deal and wish the best for all of you. I am thankful for this blog to keep updated. If there is anything else I can do, plese let me know.

Anonymous said...

Amanda & Levi-
There are no words that can comfort you when your child is sick. But know that there are a lot of people out there hoping and praying for you and are supporting you through this. My family's thoughts and prayers are with you.
Garry, Katie, Eryn, Maya & Kyra Lenhart

Joanna said...

Levi & Amanda,

We just wanted you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. It is hard to find the words to express what we want to say. Our hearts go out to brings back so many memories for us. And although the circumstanes are different...we have been in a similar place. So just know that we are here... if you need anything please don't hesitate to ask. All of our love!
The Katchers
Jason, Joanna, Breanna, Baylie, Braeden and Brynne

Girls in blue said...

Amanda and Levi,
We are all thinking about you and our thoughts and prayers are with you. We are glad to hear today was better. Elijah is a strong little man and we know he will be up and around soon. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you guys.
Our loving prayers are with you, Denielle, Mandy, Michelle C., Steph, and all the rest of the night girls on 12/28

Schwab7 said...

Levi & Amanda -
Our thoughts and many prayers are with you and your entire family at this time. Hang in there - God has great plans for Elijah! Your faith and love of our Saviour will get you through this difficult trial in your life. I see that Elijah is a Green Bay Packers Fan. I have a few connections so I'll see if I can't get Elijah something special from the Packers. Take care and if possible get some rest.
Lonnie, Edith & Family