Back In The Hospital

Last Week's Blog > "Delayed Intensification"

As the Delayed Intensification phase continued, timing became critical. Being the obsessive planner that I am, I had mapped out exactly when Atia's fourth treatment phase would end - October 16th - 42 days after it had begun. 

I was in my last six weeks of pregnancy (due November 1st) and I was beginning to get nervous. I couldn't seem to reconcile how I was going to manage Atia's treatment while giving birth, recovering AND handling the demands of a newborn.

I was honestly scared to death. Every conversation I had with family and friends seemed to revolve around my anxiety. I felt that the only way I could get through it was if Atia could withstand the phase without complication. I simply couldn't afford any delays.

Famous last words...

Two weeks after Atia's 2nd birthday, she was back in the emergency room with a high temperature, high heart rate, low white and red blood cell counts and mouth ulcers. This time the sores were so bad that the doctors speculated they were throughout her ENTIRE digestive tract. It was awful; chemo patients who've experienced this side-effect have likened the pain to that of chewing and swallowing glass.

Atia was admitted to the hospital.

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She received morphine for the pain, a red blood cell transfusion and an antibiotic cocktail. There wasn't much more to do except wait... and wait we did.

If you've ever been in the hospital for any extended period of time you know exactly how boring it can be. Of course, we all understand that it's a place for recovering and healing, but the moment the patient starts feeling better the solitude, slow pace and numbing silence becomes almost deafening.

As you can imagine, it's not exactly a great environment for a two year old. Atia didn't want to stay in bed, she didn't want to remain hooked up to all the IVs, she didn't want to have the doctors come in and do physical examinations each day. My job quickly turned from consoler to entertainment director.

Hmm... What to do? What to do? There are honestly only so many ways to amuse a bedridden child. Coloring, drawing, reading and puzzles - combined, those activities kept her occupied for 30 to 45 minutes before she got bored. NEXT! Umm...TV and educational DVDs? Yep, another 45 minutes to an hour chipped away. Now what?

Luckily, Steve's family had purchased the "Your Baby Can Read" learning system for Atia as a reward for completing her 1st treatment phase (back a few months before this hospital stay). She really took to it and enjoyed reviewing the flashcards. We practiced at home a lot and it was the one thing she could do for hours on end. In the hospital, it was my lifesaver.

So, that's what we did hour after hour after hour. We reviewed words. It was a win-win!

Here she is at 22 months old:

And here she is just three months later. We started building upon the flashcards by teaching her some sign language and how to spell:


 As Steve and I have said, "Though her body may be weak, her brain is still strong."


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  • OMG, Laura! I loved the videos :-) Thanks for posting them! You have a little baby Einstein in your hands!

  • In reply to NinaGoyco:

    Thanks, Nina! I was so excited to share the videos in the blog. You should get the system. I swear it's magic! It's a bit pricey, but the perfect thing for grandparents to get or friends/family to chip in on.

  • Love this! Hilarious when she has a mouth full of chips & says "turtle". She is a little genius!

  • In reply to skdickey:

    I agree! She's all casual saying her words, like it's no big deal. Sam, thanks for continuing to read the blog. I appreciate you following it.

  • In reply to skdickey:

    But might I add that Atia showed that intelligence way before the videos. She was the first at everything among our kids and Laura has done an amazing job fostering that intelligence.

  • In reply to abelaval:

    Holy Cow, Ana, I think that's the highest compliment I've ever received. Thank you! Atia is a smarty pants, naturally... it doesn't hurt that she actually enjoys learning - she thinks that flashcards are a game and asks to do them all the time!

    But, I also give a lot of credit to the "Your Baby Can Read" system. They've mastered the technique of teaching kids - I truly think it's magic! Gosh, you'd think I worked for that company. Wish I could get Atia on the infomercial! :-)

  • In reply to abelaval:

    The videos are so cute and fun to watch again. :) Atia is a smart little girl! Of course, your work in practicing with her is important and shouldn't be overlooked. :) I remember you going through all this and how tough it was. We continue to pray for Atia every night. Even little Evija adds Atia's name to her prayer. :)

  • She's so ADORABLE!!!!! Love the videos! And I can't believe how smart she is. I'm gonna check out those reading videos right away!

  • In reply to KhadineKubal:

    Yeah, you should totally look into it. I saw an infomercial add and wanted to buy it, but it was a bit pricey... that's why I was SO EXCITED when Steve's family surprised us with the system. It's a GREAT investment and a perfect "wish list" item for grandparents and family members to chip in and buy, when looking to get Dylan a present!

  • In reply to llutarewych:

    I hate typos! Where's my editor when I need her?!? :-) Of course I meant, "...infomercial ad..."

  • In reply to llutarewych:

    Thank you for sharing these videos! I also saw the informercials on TV and naturally, I was a bit skeptical but viewing Atia's videos solidified my decision to purchase the set. Atia is such a precious angel, you and your family are in my prayers.

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